This study explored the teaching challenges and instructional practices that teachers of Arabic as a second/foreign language (ASL/AFL) use in their university-level Arabic mixed classes. Data collection procedures included an online questionnaire, class observations and teachers’ interviews. 58 respondents were surveyed, 3 teachers were interviewed, and 4 mixed classes were observed. Data analysis was carried out using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results revealed that the presence of Heritage Language Learners’ (HLLs) in an ASL/AFL classroom poses challenges for ASL/AFL Arabic teachers and entails developing certain types of instructional practices to overcome such challenges. They also revealed that strategies like including discussion of cultural topics, using collaborative learning, and individualized tasks are commonly used by ASL/AFL Arabic teachers to help cater to the needs of Heritage Language Learners in an ASL/AFL Arabic environment. Moreover, the study revealed that ASL/AFL Arabic teachers use certain types of instructional practices that are designed to reduce student anxiety and provide contextualized instruction. Teachers also prefer to design curricula tailored to suit mixed classes that differ from regular ASL/AFL curricula, and to explore HLLs’ motivations and expectations to better fulfill their needs or ensure that they are enrolled in level-appropriate classes. Furthermore, ASL/AFL Arabic teachers do not support the idea of placing heritage students and ASL/AFL learners in separate groups nor separate them in class activities. Such results, therefore, support the notion that Arabic heritage speakers in ASL/AFL Arabic classes present challenges to Arabic teachers; hence, they need certain teaching strategies in order to fulfill their needs.
Applied Linguistics Department
MA in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language
Date of Award
Online Submission Date
Al Essawi, Raghda
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Hassan, Mona K.
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(2016).Heritage language learners in L2 Arabic classes: Challenges and instructional strategies [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Alabd, Almutazbellah. Heritage language learners in L2 Arabic classes: Challenges and instructional strategies. 2016. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.