Continuing UTAS-Ibri’s mission to engage with the local community, the CPS Management embraced the initiative to provide a Basic English Crash Course for continuing students. The course ran from September 3 to September 7, 2023. The week-long course reintroduced the most basic concepts in English and provided ample time for the students to practice. Five participants, all from Level 3, attended the course. The course gave these students the chance to reset to English and academic mode without the pressure of a formal classroom.
The participants practiced common phrases, basic numbers, free-time activities, daily routines, and places around town. The course provided a rare opportunity for teachers and students to meet in a no-stress atmosphere. Many thanks to the instructors, Mr. Abdullah Al Balushi, Mr. Muhammad Aslam, Mr. Muhammad Amir Abbass, Mr. Tatha Rao Mukiri, Mr. Jabez Syam, and Mr. Humaid Rashid Al Mamari
The Centre for Preparatory Studies (CPS) of UTAS-Ibri hosted a series of transformative IELTS courses for IELTS test-takers and the general community in Ibri in August 2023. The classes were aimed at empowering students and professionals with the skills and confidence needed to conquer this essential test. To attend to the specific IELTS needs of the students who were taking the IELTS test on the 25 of August, the in-person classes were from August 21 to August 24, while the online classes were held on the 23 and 24 of August, respectively. The online classes held from August 27 to August 31 catered to students aspiring to study abroad and professionals aiming to enhance their career prospects.
A needs analysis was done to find out the specific needs of the IELTS students before the start of the classes. This approach allowed participants to focus on areas where they needed improvement, be it in reading, writing, speaking, or listening skills. This also enabled teachers to prepare suitable IELTS exercises and make the session interactive and engaging.
The course had experienced instructors with a good understanding of the IELTS exam format and assessment criteria. They brought a wealth of knowledge to the classroom, ensuring that participants received high-quality instruction. We thank Mr Dennis Corbita, Mr Michael Cassidy, Mr T.Rao, Ms Zumrut Cassidy, Ms Adeebah Al Sawafi, Mr Jabez Konatham, Ms Heba Qureshi, and Dr Mohsin Amiri for their hard work.
We are thankful to the CPS Management Team, Dr Abdusalam Al Manthari, Dr Maryam Al Ghafri and Dr Sultan Al Ghafri for their guidance and encouragement to the Community Engagement Committee and all the teachers who volunteered to take the free IELTS classes.
There were more than 80 students who attended both the in-person and online sessions and let us know through their feedback that they wanted more such sessions. This is a testament to UTASIbri's commitment to nurturing its students and helping them achieve their aspirations
Continuing UTAS-Ibri’s mission to engage with the local community, the ELC Management embraced the initiative to provide a Turkish Culture and Language course in June 2023. The week-long course introduced Turkish culture in terms of well-known places, traditional drinks and food and taught some basic language. Seventeen participants attended the course with professions ranging from students, teachers, architects, and business people. The popularity of the course stemmed from the students’ enthusiasm for Turkey and its culture acquired from frequent visits to the country.
The participants practiced common daily phrases, basic numbers, and the names of popular food and drink through highly interactive activities led by Ms Zumrut and Mr. Michael Cassidy. It was a fantastic experience for both the teachers and the students. Many of the students picked up the language quickly. Their passion for learning made the lessons more fun, fruitful and productive.
One of UTAS-Ibri’s missions and goals is to serve the community. The ELC management of the University decided to provide an English Proficiency Course for Entrepreneurs. This course was advertised on Social Media platforms. This course is designed for entrepreneurs who need to communicate effectively in English and improve their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in entrepreneurial contexts. Twenty-five candidates appeared for the course and they were inducted by Dr. Maryam Al-Ghafri. The placement test was conducted via online mode and students were also provided with reading transcripts for the reading part. Ms. Heba Qureshi and Ms. Adeebah Al-Sawafi invigilated the placement test. The results were later on shared with the teachers by Dr. Maryam, and as per the result all learners were placed in the beginner level. The teachers who taught the course were Ms. Heba Qureshi, Ms. Samyia Al Ghafri and Mr. Humaid Al Mamari.
The material was created and compiled based on students’ needs. The course ran from June 11 to June 22, 2023) The classes were packed with highly interactive student-centred activities focused on Grammar, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
Unquestionably, the English Proficiency Course for Entrepreneurs was a great success as there was evidence of enjoyment and cheerfulness on the faces of the students and the fact that they were asking for an extension for the course.
Nurturing students is one of the fundamental aims of the Students' Activities Committee. The committee trains foundation students in various skills from the very beginning. Public speaking is one of the skills that the committee trains in the form of a speech competition. Dr. Mohsen and Ms. Adeebah provided rigorous training to all the students for a month. This year, the competition was conducted in two rounds. Twelve students participated in the first round on May 11, 2023. Out of twelve, seven students succeeded in going to the final round. The final round was organized in the theatre hall on May 18, 2023.
The session started with Dr. Abdulsalam’s inspiring words followed by stand-up comedy and a music show by Ms. Adeebah and Shatha from level 2. The seven contestants competed with enthusiasm in their speeches. At the end of the competition, the mentors of the English society and active tutors were awarded along with the winners. The committee sincerely thanked the judges for their outstanding performances in both rounds. The committee appreciated the efforts put in by Dr. Abdulsalam and Dr. Sultan, to motivate the students throughout the whole process of the competition. The list of winners and judges is as follows:
Dr Abdulsalam Al Manthari
Dr. Sultan Al Ghafri
Ms. Zahra Humaid
Ms. Rabeea Ibrahim
Ms. Adeebah Al Sawafi
Ms. Moza Al Abri
First Place: Ahmed Ali Said Badar Ak Manthari
Second Place: Mallak Abdullah Mohammed Al Luwahi
Third Place: Shatha Said Almamari
Fourth Place: Mohammed Ibrahim Ali Al Alawi
The English Language Center of UTAS-Ibri conducted a two-day workshop for level two students on 17th and 18th May 2023. The workshop was organized by the Level Two coordinator Mr Khalid Humaid Masoud Al Gharibi, and was a great initiative to instil self-confidence, leadership quality, gamification, team nature, and interperonsal and intra peronsal skills in level two students, and finally motivate them to prepare for upcoming LEE examinations. The resource persons are: Ms Anwar Abdullah Al Majrafi, Ms Jumana Khalaf Salim Al Shamli, and Ms Bayan Fahad Salim Al Maqrashi, were trainees from Sohar University, Oman.
"All the world's a stage. And all the men and women merely players" William Shakespeare.
Drama as a medium goes beyond language, as social interaction involves communication at multiple levels and cross-cultural exchanges and is beyond language boundaries.The objective of the contest was to generate interest in the English Language through creative channels.
With Drama as the backdrop, Ms Nusaiba Al Ghafri and Mr Humaid Al Mamari, English language lecturers at the ELC, organized a Commercial Drama Contest at the Lecture Theatre Hall in the Engineering Building on Thursday, May 11, from 12:00 am to 2:00 pm. Groups nine and fourteen from level two participated in this contest.
Students prepared short plays in which they had to choose and advertise a product through acting performances on a stage, using English. Mr Humaid and Ms Nusaiba supervised and helped the students rehearse for the short plays. Dr Sultan Al Ghafri, Ms Sharon Ruth and Mr Michael Keeton judged the performances.
Having a drama contest and making students perform English plays were done for the first time in UTAS- Ibri. The impact was huge and impressive. Participants found the contest exciting and beneficial as they developed their English language skills. The participants and audience enjoyed the performances very much and were eager to see more events like this in the future.
Mr. Jumaa Al Shammakhi conducted a workshop titled “Classroom Management” for the ELC-Staff at UTAS-Ibri on May 23, 2023. It was a good opportunity for experienced and new teachers to discuss a fundamental aspect of teaching.
Mr. Jumaa’s main aims were to define classroom management and explain its importance. Drawing upon scholars such as Smith, Kauchak, and Eggen, he surmised that classroom management entails lesson planning and materials, the teacher’s ability to direct and motivate students, and the relationship between the teacher and the students and the students with each other. As classroom management entails all aspects of teaching, it is of the utmost importance that teachers do it well. Lastly, Mr. Jumaa gave the audience 9 ways in which to improve their classroom management skills from using available resources to adjusting the curriculum. The workshop provided a lot to think about and discuss for the next academic year.
The Head of the English Language Centre at UTAS Ibri, Dr Abdulsalam Almanthari, represented UTAS in the Language Assessment Conference held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 8th and 9th, 2023. The British Council organised the conference to share best practices in assessment. The perspectives were shared to motivate teachers to develop modern and realistic assessment systems. The participants and speakers were experts and specialists in assessment from different countries. The conference focused on effective language assessment, modern advances in assessment, using technology such as Artificial Intelligence, automated marking, specific-purpose language assessment, and many other topics. The conference included focused group discussions and opportunities to network and share experiences with others.
UTAS –Ibri has always been at the forefront in facilitating students to ace IELTS. In response to the requests from the IELTS aspirants, The English Language Centre of UTAS, Ibri, conducted three Online IELTS preparation courses in January and February of 2023 for 150 students who attended the sessions.
Experienced teachers conducted the sessions and drew the students' attention to the areas needing improvement. The teachers who taught the four skills were Fazilat Jahan, Miriam Cordova, Humaid Al Mamari, Amal Ashour, Nusaibya Al Ghafri, Mohsin Amiri and Sharon Devaneson.
Many aspirants could successfully clear the series of mock tests conducted during the sessions. A Needs Analysis questionnaire helped the teachers to identify the focus areas and was a ready reckoner for them to customize the activities to introduce tips and strategies to enhance four skills.
Here are the experiences of the teachers.
Teaching IELTS listening was an excellent experience for Humaid Al Mamari. He concentrated on four types of questions and offered some advice. He enjoyed seeing how the students responded and interacted with one another. The students were incredibly keen to take part. Nusaiba Al Ghafri led the IELTS speaking session, which included brief grammar and vocabulary lectures to increase the student's capacity for getting a higher speaking skill score. Applications and websites like Itolki and Discord were shared during the class as a reference and learning aid for learning English. In break-out rooms with Teams, Part 1 also practised in a peer-to-peer setting before being done with everyone.
Sharon Devaneson stressed that students first need to understand the IELTS marking criteria for writing and speaking. Then, the students can find out what they need to work on according to their desired score band.
The online IELTS courses received excellent feedback from students, with some preferring face-to-face classes. It was a good experience for both students and teachers as the number of IELTS aspirants increased and the continued request for IELTS mock sessions indicated the success of the programme.