Hear the Project Manager’s speech 09:20
Al Jazeera International Academy has 10 branches situated throughout Saudi Arabia; this also includes a couple of female branches. As well as offering English courses at its own academies, Al Jazeera organises projects at universities, government institutions, the King’s Scholarship Program as well as online English distance learning programmes. I am personally working with Al Jazeera and am currently employed as Project Manager of the English Language Unit at Al Baha University.
Al Jazeera’s preferred methodology is the Communicative Approach which places students into groups and pairs with the emphasis being put onto ‘Real Life Situations’.
The teachers come from a variety of countries including, The United States, Great Britain,The Middle East, Philippines, South Africa and Sudan. All the teachers are qualified to teach English. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ddb87jJpWqI
From CNN to COMMunity
Sem. Ives Eula
This essay was an entry in the seminary’s annual English Month celebration, ’11-’12.
I remember when I was a lad, one of my favorites to sit on were cartoons. At that age, they were something to die for. But on the other side of it, there was also another one which I also enjoyed watching at. Believe it or not, it was watching CNN or BBC World. If cartoons entertained my juvenile and innocent thoughts, anchors talking or people being interviewed on BBC World or CNN were catching up my interest on the way they speak – literally. I would even imitate the way they pronounce the words, the way they mumble and express their thoughts. This scenario was just a matter of imitation and to a degree entertainment already for me…not minding what they were actually saying, it was not a big deal for me yet.
How I wish I had spontaneity the way anchors and hosts on television do (CNN, BBC or Ian Wright in Globe Trekker). The dawn of this idea was the start of my love for language, especially English. At a young age, I was exposed to different pictures of communication or even just simple dialogue. My mom didn’t have much time for me at home so as to fuel up more such desire. There was my father who ushered me into it. Then lo and behold, modesty aside, I was enrolled at Angelicum School in our place, a prestigious-English-speaking kindergarten-school. This was a surprise for me. From here, I was thankful of the opportunity that it gave me. I wasn’t estranged from the common tongue that there was, at least I already had a dose of confidence as a lad like the rest.
Upon reaching grade school, there was an adjustment. All were encouraged to have English as the main tongue of all, but it was just a policy left on the walls. Nevertheless, this didn’t stop me from aiming the best in English. In fact, there had been academic posts where in English as medium was a top priority. I was also involved in declamation and essay contests. Even my English teacher then had a foresight that I would be like some famous local news anchors in my country (with all the applause from my close friends, modesty aside)! I just smiled, having something else in thought in lieu of a news anchor. But it was elating, knowing that you had such potential. Until I reached high school, those words were still lingering around. And thus explains why I joined more activities stringed to English Communications apart from my English subject, whose teacher was totally a professor who’d tie you up if you have no knowledge about literature!
Yet among all these, I realized that English itself is not just a medium; per se is already a community. For how can one speak without any set of letter, words – ideas in one’s mind? One song even affirms it: ‘If there were no words, no way to speak…’ On the contrary, if one does, he summons already others to be part of a community of dialogue. Dynamism in English as both community and dialogue entails versatility, vivacity and adaptability as characterized by the nature of communication.
So to speak, this simple journey of my beloved English has fostered in me the passion to communicate – and I am blessed sharing such ‘gift and passion’ to those who wish to espouse it in their lives. What was said to be mere mumbling and entertainment of words has now flourished into something of a wider purpose, reason and expression. Moreover, what made it more dynamic was of the fact that it made me both welcome and welcoming to any community to which I was and am involved. If there is such thing as dynamism with language, it first occurred in me, and later on it overflowed to others, cascaded to the community, or perhaps to a team….
Bobbie Jimmy C Eula Jr.
The first of the Preparatory year’s Open Days, Al Baha University, Saudi Arabia; organised by the English Language Unit (Al-Jazeera International Academy). Project Manager Paul Rafferty.