GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Title of Paper:
LotC and learning English in KAU
Paper Proposal Text :
Enhancing the Learning Ecosystem in the GCC: Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC)

Khadijah Bawazeer
King Abdelaziz University
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

I am really happy that you bring this issue out for investigation and discussion for many reasons. Primary among these reasons is that the idea challenges the stress on standardization that is taking place across GCC countries and the impact of this or the learners and education in general. I am aware that the issue has been discussed but we need to emphasize it further, incorporate it into the formal learning schemes, talk about it, explore the learning possibilities it offers, and examine the relationships between it and other learning theories such as the theories and practices of multiple intelligences and the theories and practices of thinking based learning.

Just like Finland, we must have voices that recommend and request a broad and non-restrictive sense of education that focuses on unleashing true creativity rather than controlled lip service to it. Creativity survives in nonrestrictive, non-standardized environment. We need to keep remembering that the modern school system, as prevalent as it is with its overreaching restrictions, sometimes, is a relatively new system in human history that came around within the last 300 years.

Furthermore, it is important to adapt education to the learners’ realities. In GCC countries, most kids use laptops, social media and smart phones and these can be employed to enhance education and to improve the rote memorization study habits that plague the area.

LOtC is a trip back to older systems of learning in which interested people went to the specific scholars they like and when education was not standardized and restrictive and when a learner developed their overall awareness of the world rather than learning a specific subject only. In many ways, this is a much more wholesome and less segmented approach to education that mimics an overall global tendency to non-segmentation and wholesomeness.

Some educators might be worried about loosing control. However, a less restrictive and broader learning mode does not necessarily mean loosing structure or formal control of the mainstream of the educational process. One can still achieve the goals of educational programs or most of them without being bored or boring. For example, a colleague wanted to teach her students how to write in details so she took them to the school’s garden. The garden happened to be somewhat debilitated so when she asked them to write about it, most of the students responded that there is nothing to write about. The teacher then organized them into groups of four. Each groups was to come up with four points, which they later related to the whole class. For example, one group was to speak about the garden’s basic structure; another about seating arrangements; a third about colors; a fourth about types of trees…etc. The learners ended up coming with more than twenty points of description and while the learned about how to write a paragraph and about using synonyms and providing details, they learned about group collaboration, exercised their bodies, filled their lungs with oxygen and enjoyed themselves. .
Another colleague was teaching her students oral English and instead of the boring books, she asked them do three presentations each then a play. The presentations were done individually but the play was a group activity. This was done in the first term of their second university year. Asking them about their experience two and half years later, they responded that this was a very enjoyable class. A third example is using the Internet immersion methodologies to learn a foreign language instead of paying an arm and a leg to be in a native environment of that language.

These are all examples of activities that respond to learner’s needs conducted with what is available to them. Writing about this, it occurred to me that may be you want to give a day or half a day of experience presentations because examples stand out and register more than dry theories.

Khadijah Bawazeer Ph.D.