Posted on December 24, 2019

The Qatar University (QU) Foundation Program (FP), under the Deanship of General Studies, held its 4thAnnual International Conference & Exhibition on English Language Teaching (ELT) with the theme “Critical Thinking in Language Curriculum for the 21st Century”.

The conference aimed to highlight the importance of professional development and brought together over 400 English teachers and researcher in ELT from Qatar, GCC, Canada, the US, Africa, and the UK.

QU Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Omar Al-Ansari, inaugurated the conference on behalf of the QU President, Dr. Hassan Al Derham. The Dean of General Studies, Dr Ibrahim Al Kaabi, gave a welcome address. In attendance were the FP Director, Dr. Hezam Al-Awah, and the Assistant Undersecretary for Educational Affairs at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoE&HE), Mrs.Fawzia Abdulaziz Al-Khater and officials from MoE&HE, the US Embassy, as well as QU faculty and staff.

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Plenary speaker, award-winning author, and a Professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Professor Awad Ibrahim, talked about “Critical thinking, curriculum studies, and generation Z in language classrooms”. In addition to more than 60 research-oriented sessions, teaching tips, and workshops that covered topics on L1 relationship with L2 in the context of ELT for example, the conference featured four panels on “Critical Thinking and Language Curriculum”, “Disabilities and Special Needs”, “Incorporating translingual pedagogy into EMI program in the Gulf”, “Improving process-based writing in L2 classrooms”.

In Addition, there was an exhibition with 22 booths. Among the exhibitors were the US Embassy, Oxford University Press, Garnet Education, Cambridge University Press, Express Publishing, Pearson, ASAS Language Center, and many others including, QU Centers such as, QU Testing Center, Center of Continuing Education and Student Learning Center. This year’s conference attendees had the opportunity to learn about the latest trends in ELT.

In his remarks, Dr. Omar Al-Ansari, said “Critical Thinking in the Language Curriculum for the 21st Century” requires us to not only think critically ourselves about what we do and what we offer our students, but also to encourage our students to become inquisitive, critical thinkers.” He added, “The success of our students is our primary goal; we must not lose sight of the importance of this in anything we do. We are  gathered here today to exchange ideas, share knowledge, and  seek ways of making our students not only better learners, but better citizens,  ready to contribute to their society and its development. This conference is geared towards helping us encourage our students to become passionate, life-long learners who can critically engage with the modern world.”

Dr. Ibrahim Al Kaabi said: “we believe strongly in the vital role continuous professional development plays in ensuring that our faculty meet high standards performance. To maintain that, we strive continuously to host and organize professional development events to Qatar University, local, regional and international community. “ he added, “Since not everyone can attend international conferences in any given year, hosting one in Qatar University offers them with the opportunity to network with fellow professionals from outside the university and outside Qatar. ”

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According to Dr. Al Awah, this conference underscores the commitment of the management and faculty to support ELT practitioners in Qatar and the region, and he added, “It is a great opportunity for researchers, presenters, teachers, educational technology developers and ELT textbook writers to network, enhance collaboration among ELT community segments and sustain an ongoing dialogue to optimize the quality of teaching and learning.”

As part of QU collaboration, the US Embassy in Doha, in coordination with the MoE&HE, has sponsoring 50 public school teachers in Qatar to participate in the conference where the Training and Educational Development Center at MoE&HE, has sponsoring 100 English language teachers, to avail themselves of the latest trends and practices in ELT. In addition, Texas A & M University at Qatar has sponsored the plenary speaker for the conference.

Dr. Mohammad Manasreh, the FP Department of English (FPDE) Head added that, “the conference is a unique professional development opportunity for TESOL practitioners in the country and the FPDE is proud of this event. Every year we get to network and share experiences with colleagues from schools, private institutes and higher education institutions, both in Qatar and the GCC countries”.

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