Zayed University Hosts 2nd ALLT International Conference and Exhibition

12 Mar 2019

Under the Patronage of Her Excellency Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture And Knowledge Development, President Of Zayed University, the 2nd edition of the Applied Linguistics & Language Teaching (ALLT) International Conference & Exhibition was launched to showcase Latest Technologies and Practices in the field.

Themed 'Engaging in Change: New Perspectives of Teaching and Learning’ the conference was organized by the University College at Zayed University, it enclosed topics related to the enhancement of the professional and knowledge levels of the teachers and applied linguists by knowledge exchange, experiences and mechanisms of elevating the performance level of both field specialists.

Zayed University Vice-President, Prof. Reyadh Al Mehaideb, stated that the university heavily supports linguists and language teachers in not only staying up to date with developments in the field but also leading and driving the development of teaching and learning by providing opportunities for engaging in professional development. He informed that the field is continuously growing and engaging in changes, ALLT 2019 is responsive to these changes and open to new ideas and theories of teaching and learning.

Dr. Wafa Zoghbor, Assistant Dean of Research and Outreach at the ZU University College, said, “300 presentations and workshops at the conference were offered during four plenary sessions. It included 12 training courses in both Arabic and English, including a classroom research course offered by Zayed University to private school teachers in cooperation with the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority.” It also hosted a student’s contest "The Little Narrator" in which 118 children, including three children of determination (with special needs), participated. The competition, which was organized by the university in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Arabic Language Protection Foundation, aimed to encourage (4 to 8)-year-old students to narrate a story in Arabic and present it via a recorded video.

Prof. Ali Shehadeh, College of Education - UAE University, informed that Task-based language teaching (TBLT) “Stood the test of time for well over two decades.” He argued that for 20-25 years TBLT has expanded and still expands in range, scope, complexity, and importance as an approach and methodology to second/foreign language learning, teaching, and assessment. “No wonder that many teachers around the world are shifting their teaching practices toward TBLT based on the strong belief that it facilitates second language acquisition and makes learning and teaching more principled and more effective.”

Prof. Brutt Griffler, Language Education Expert from the State University of New York (USA), argued that evidence-based decision making, whether it pertains to language policy, instructional practices, teacher professional development or curriculum building needs to be based on a rigorous program of research and assessment. “The ability of nations to produce multilinguals with advanced English proficiency alongside their mastery of other language(s) has become a key to global competitiveness.”

Dr. Hanada Taha, Professor of Arabic Language and Chair of the Arabic Department at Zayed University, said, “Arabic language education has been weighted down by several linguists, political and pedagogic factors that have stalled its movement into the 21st century. Today, however, we might be witnessing unprecedented efforts and care to change that and to start looking at it as a world language that deserves better.”

Dr. Kevin S. Carroll, Associate Professor in the Department of Graduate Studies at the University of Puerto Rico, said that professors and institutions in the Arabian Peninsula should work to build on the rich linguistic repertoires that students bring into the classroom, “Such adoption can be challenging, particularly for students and professors who have grown up with strong monolingual ideologies.”

It is worth noting that the Applied Linguistics Initiative started with fruitful cooperation between public and private universities seeking to provide opportunities for professional growth and support linguistic diversity in the UAE in line with the UAE's demographic diversity, which includes nearly 200 nationalities and more than 100 languages.

The U.S. Embassy to the UAE sponsored the event, as well as Liberty Education UK Ltd is an independent international publisher, The American English website, designed for English learners and their teachers worldwide. And also, ETS, which develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually, including the TOEFL and GRE tests, in more than 180 countries worldwide, and Amideast, an American non­profit organization with a long and distinguished record of engagement in international education, training, and development assistance in the Middle East and North Africa.