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UCPS students learn Arabic online

Forest Hills High School junior Tyler Wallace learns Arabic through an online class.

(Reprinted with permission from The Enquirer Journal)
If you see 30 students in a Union County Public School computer lab, there are liable to be 30 different classes going on at the same time, according to Anna Duffey. 

She is the UCPS E-Learning Coordinator. The district began offering virtual classes through North Carolina Virtual Public School in 2007. Since then it has “grown tremendously,” Duffey said.

“It offers us many different things that we’re not necessarily able to offer here due to staff availability or student interest,” she said.

One of the classes students can take online is Arabic, which was added to the online curriculum last year.

While Arabic is not one of their “high interest” languages, the number of enrolled students is growing, Duffey said. The number remains small, but the class is still offered.

“Classes aren’t closed due to lack of interest” with online classes, Duffey explained. “We wouldn’t be able to offer an Arabic class for five students even at one school and these students are spread across four schools.”

Meagan Phillips, a senior at Forest Hills High School, is taking Arabic I online this semester. She took most of the available classes and wanted to try something different, she said. She began online courses since her freshman year.

“It’s really different,” she said.

She said that in her online classes there are a lot fewer distractions.

“There is a lot more time to do this work and study,” she said.

She added that there is less teacher interaction, but you can send the teacher a message if you have a question.

Phillips said she might continue studying Arabic in college.

Tyler Wallace, a junior at Forest Hills High School, is also taking Arabic I this semester.

It is his first time taking an online class.

He said it is a “little bit harder.” He said it is difficult not having a teacher in front of him to show him everything.

Wallace wants to learn German next, which is also available online.

Interest in learning Arabic is growing nationwide. Former President George W. Bush said it is a “critical” language.

There are opportunities for students taking Arabic through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth. One former Forest Hills High Student was able to study in Egypt due to a scholarship from the group.

The languages identified by the group, which is run by the State Department, are Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Korean, Persian, Russian and Turkish.

Read more: The Enquirer Journal - UCPS students learn Arabic online

Written by: Carolyn Steeves, The Enquirer Journal education reporter
Posted: Dec 08, 2011 by Michele Schellhorn

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