The Al Ain Chapter and READ/WRITE SIG held the last event of the year on the TESOL Arabia calendar on December 17, 2016 at the Continuing Education Center of United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain. The theme of the conference was “Cultivating Readers and Writers from KG through University.”

The morning of workshops included Jonathan Aubrey, of University of Sharjah presenting, “An Introduction to WebQuests and QR Codes.” Dr. Aubrey presented on Webquests giving detailed information about how to construct well-designed Webquests, which were originally created by Bernie Dodge of the University of San Diego in 1998. A Web 2.0 WebQuest can be particularly motiving and engaging for millennial learners because of its interactive capabilities. A well-designed constructivist WebQuest should include an introduction, the tasks, the process, evaluation, and a teacher page.

Dora Anyi, an early years English Teacher-Zayed University, AAESS, GEMS RAK, presented on “Early Years-Reading and Writing up to 6yrs,” which included best practices for how to teach young learners. Some of the key points covered were how young children learn, the importance of play in learning English, how to talk to young learners, creating a safe and happy environment, and monitoring a child’s progress

Osama Alzu’bi presented, “Developing Writing Skills in Emirati Students.” Alzu’bi, a CELTA trained instructor with a MA in English Language and Literature working as training coordinator, discussed some of the problems teaching writing to our students including lack of student involvement, instructions from the teacher, and lack of planning on both the part of the teacher and the student. He offered attendees a framework for teaching writing which includes a introduction to the task which generates student interest; generating ideas for content by brainstorming or noting down ideas, developing or extending ideas, such as a mind map, selecting ideas for inclusion, or ordering ideas; giving the students input language and content required for the task including both vocabulary and grammar, plus, drafting, teacher response, reviewing/editing, and re-writing, as well as publishing either online or in a classroom newsletter. The framework and strategies suggest have been found to be very effective for teaching writing to Emirati students.

The final presentation by Sebah Al-Ali, an Apple Distinguished Educator and a web developer, was “Using Cell Phones as Reading Assistants.” Al-Ali suggested integrating mobiles phones into the reading lesson to facilitate reading comprehension and allow students to demonstrate their understanding. Her presentation included a live demonstration of the techniques.

Refreshments were provided for the attendees and the venue was provided by United Arab Emirates University.

The READ/WRITE SIG and the Research SIG will host a symposium on Research in Reading in the Arab World at the 23rd TESOL Arabia International Conference and Exhibition to be held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Dubai from March 9-11, 2017, in conjunction with the MENA ERF Foundation in recognition of the UAE Year of Reading 2016 and the new UAE National Law on Reading. If you have registered to present at TESOL Arabia, and your proposal has been accepted, and if the topic is suitable for the them of the presentation, please contact Bridie Farah at wfarrah81@gmail.com for more information.

Jonathan Aubrey, of the University of Sharjah, presents, “An Introduction to WebQuests and QR Codes,” at the TESOL Arabia Al Ain Chapter and READ/WRITE SIG event.

Osama Alzu’bi discusses some of the problems teaching writing to Emirati students at the TESOL Arabia event held at the Continuing Education Center of United Arab Emirates University.