Language learning is interrelated with learners’ identities (Temples, 2010; He, 2010). However, research that explores Arabic teachers’ innovative identity-targeted pedagogic practices in creating transformative Arabic classrooms is limited. This qualitative study draws upon the field of Positive Futures (Kraft, 2022) where positive perceptions of the future enrich students’ learning outcomes and asks: what pedagogic innovations does the field of Future Studies offer to the teaching of Arabic in the US? Using purposive sampling (Creswell, 2007) and reflexive narratives (John, 2020) as a tool for data collection, 8 Arabic learners in an Arabic class at a California college were invited to write descriptions of versions of their hoped-for identities as speakers of Arabic. The thematic-based analysis (Bernard, 2013) of the collected narratives suggests that Arabic teachers should start by deconstructing negative perceptions (i.e., Arabic is a difficult language to learn) that precede and/or accompany language learning as it lowers language acquisition barriers and gives students more agency over their learning. Other results indicate that student-student and student-teacher exchange of language learning stories and positive images of their hoped-for Arabic-speaking identities enhanced their learning experience. The study findings implicate that it important for language teachers to not only build on students’ prior language experiences or help them envision positive ones, but also to examine and consider any existing perceptions that might interfere with/hinder their learning experience. The pedagogical model proposed in this study can be extended and adopted in other classes and contexts.
Reda Mohamed, Case Western Reserve University, United States
Amer El-Ahraf, California State University, Dominguez Hills, United States