Fulbright foreign language teaching assistants enhance learning experience for MSU students
Like generations of teachers before them, Yacin Abdessaied and Khalifa Khalfan Al Badi, Minot State Universityís first Fulbright foreign language teaching assistants, enrolled at the university to improve their teaching skills. Abdessaied is from Paris, and Al Badi is from Oman, an Arab country in southwest Asia.
By participating in the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants Program and coming to MSU, Abdessaied and Al Badi intend to enrich their English language skills, gain unique teaching experience that may help them advance their careers and learn American teaching methodologies they can implement in their language teaching. They also want to discover and experience American culture while sharing their cultures with MSU students.
"The addition of the Fulbright teaching assistants is a real asset to Minot State this year. In the foreign languages program, students can spend three hours per week in a class setting, supported by two additional hours of small group or one-on-one practice with a native speaker in the new Hartnett Hall language lab," said Scott Sigel, foreign languages coordinator and assistant professor of Spanish. "So, Minot State is an exceptionally strong place to learn a foreign language or two - we have students who are majors in one language and are also picking up a second language with the Fulbrights."
Abdessaied is teaching French 101, and Al Badi is teaching Arabic 101. In addition, both enrolled in courses that will strengthen their understanding of teaching methodology. Al Badi taught English for three years in his native country. Abdessaied completed a bachelorís degree in France, and he is working on his masterís degree.
The United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsors the Fulbright FLTA Program, and the Institute of International Education administers it. The opportunity for MSU to become a host institution presented itself in 2009 when IIE contacted the university to assess its interest. Libby Claerbout, director of international programs, submitted the application for MSU to become a host institution in February 2010.
"Minot Stateís interest in becoming a host institution stems from part of the mission in Vision 2013, in which internationalizing the campus has been identified as a priority in building a diverse campus community," Claerbout said. "The FLTA Program will assist us in expanding and enhancing our foreign language offerings and will provide students across campus with increased opportunity to learn about other cultures."
As a host university, MSUís commitment includes providing a mentor for the FLTAs and tuition waivers for two classes per FLTA each semester. Amina Escalera, Arabic instructor, serves as the FLTAs mentor.
"Additionally, we encourage students in other Minot State programs to think seriously about taking a minor in a language. We have students from criminal justice, international business, music, English and nursing who are completing a minor in a foreign language," Sigel said. "At Minot State, we build students' confidence in their success, and certainly the Fulbrights from France and Oman are helping to build the students' confidence in learning a new language."
FLTAs, who are between the ages of 21 to 29 and from more than 45 countries worldwide, are English language teachers, or training to become teachers, in their home countries. Individually matched to each institution's unique requirements, the teaching assistants are academically strong students prepared to assume responsibilities of teaching/assistant teaching in their native language.
For questions about the Department of Foreign Languages, call Sigel at 858-4265 or firstname.lastname@example.org.