Arabic language

QF community members instill a love of the Arabic language in children

If we could look at our children in about 20 years, what would we expect to see?
Amid the expansion of media and digitization in our world, as well as a cultural openness that knows no borders, the mother tongue plays a central role in shaping children’s identities and strengthening their sense of belonging and connection to their ancestral history. And on the occasion of World Arabic Language Day, parents of students from Qatar Foundation schools shared their views on promoting their children’s use of the language and how they allow this within their families.
Nayla Ahmed Al Musallam, mother of a Qatar Academy Msheireb (QAM) student, part of the Qatar Foundation (QF) Pe-University Education (PUE), highlighted the intrinsic value that the Arabic language has had for its family over generations. “First, the importance of the Arabic language is that it is the language of the Holy Quran,” she said. “Without Arabic, how can our children enjoy the stories of the Holy Quran, the Sīrah (prophetic biography), supplication and prayer?
“Secondly, the Arabic language is part of our identity and is of paramount importance in building a powerful personality for children and strengthening their belonging to their community. The feeling of belonging is part of the psychological needs of the child and, without it, his personality and his self-esteem are negatively affected.
“As a family, we believe in the importance of learning languages ​​and being open to other cultures, but a child’s brain needs to master the native language so that it can form a developed linguistic apparatus. which paves the way for learning other languages.Studies have shown that children who are fluent in their mother tongue are better able to learn foreign languages.
Regarding the challenges children face today in adopting their mother tongue and the threat it poses to their association with Arabic, Aisha Sultan Al-Humaidi, the mother of a Qatar Academy student Al Khor (QAK), part of QF’s PUE, believes that the responsibility to solve them lies with the community as a whole.
“I believe there are obvious reasons behind the declining level of Arabic language among the new generations,” she said.
“This includes exposure to insignificant media and many parents’ interest in English and seeing it as the priority language in university studies, with some seeing it as a requirement for social prestige. This is in addition to the spread of the so-called Arabizi (Arabic chat alphabet) among young people on social media platforms and digital apps.
As mothers who understand the importance of Arabic in the formation and development of fundamental aspects of children’s personality, Al Humaidi and Al Musallam believe that there are practices that must be applied and respected by families to inculcate Arabic in the consciousness of their children from a young age. This is particularly the case if we take into account the diffusion of digital technology and foreign languages, which have become a prerequisite for access to education and knowledge.
“From the beginning, we have been keen to instill certain habits to nurture the love of Arabic in our children, including conversing with them at home in Arabic and choosing topics that appeal to and interest them,” said Al Musallam.
“Conversing in Arabic constantly adds new vocabulary that enriches children’s linguistic inventory. We also ensured that our children memorized the Holy Quran and used language games – such as puzzles and puzzles – to engage them, especially in the first seven years of their lives.
“Reading daily in Arabic, whether during the day or before bed, is also vital. In Qatar, we are lucky to have an initiative like Qatar Reads, a QF initiative. We are members of his family reading program and look forward to the monthly books and programs. And we are also watching TV series Siraj also a QF initiative, which aims to nurture the love of Arabic in children. It’s one of our favorite shows.
While, Al Humaidi thinks that innovative ways to engage students in the language are needed. “Our perspective on teaching Arabic to children should go beyond the classroom, where the process should be continuous even outside of school,” she said.
“We should design interesting Arabic language contests, as well as create high-quality Arabic anime. It is one of the most popular types of content among children and young people.
Al Humaidi and Al Musallam agree on the importance of choosing a favorable school environment for children to learn Arabic as a first language, as well as on the role of daily reading to children from birth, and motivating them to choose the topics they prefer without feeling they are being pressured.
The celebration of World Arabic Language Day coincides with Qatar’s National Day, which Al Musallam considers a good thing. “Linking the Arabic language to all things joyful inevitably has a positive impact, and we want to see our children participate in national celebrations as an opportunity to instill a sense of belonging in their consciousness, strengthen their national identity and be proud of our mother tongue.”