A total of 14 Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) students attended a summer course called ‘The Intellectual Map of the Modern and Contemporary Arab World’ recently.
Taught in Arabic for six weeks during the summer session, the class gave advanced-level students the opportunity to take part in debates showcasing their impressive command of Arabic and interest in political currents and trends in the Arab world.
Associate professor Yehia A Mohamed kept the students engaged by preparing a set of discussion points which he used to help them overcome their initial shyness and positively participate.
By asking them provocative questions, and encouraging them to respond to comments or expand on the points raised by their peers, the professor kept a lively discussion throughout the class.
For their part the students’ love for the subjects drove their participation, and they were eager to share their opinions and knowledge of subjects, which they have studied during the year, or followed in the news.
The course was in that way an important counterpoint to their regular studies, with the summer format with fewer classes giving them the ability to take their time and reflect on what they have learned so far.
“The summer period is the best time to teach this advanced class because students have the time to prepare, read and think about the topics that are being discussed,” said Prof Mohamed.
“Some of the students are already doing similar readings out of their own interests, which significantly improves their performance in class.”
Beyond being a lesson in political and ideological terminology and political meanings in Arabic, the course offered a lesson in brainstorming, forming ideas, and refining personal stances.
The students, who are mostly Qataris, had the chance to examine the details of issues either from a historical or comparative perspective.
GU-Q offers a variety of summer programmes for students at GU-Q and across Education City.
The summer students are enrolled in one or more of the seven classes on offer, taught by GU-Q’s world-renowned faculty.
Courses range from Arabic language through economics and politics to theology, and nearly a third of the attending students are enrolled in two courses.
All summer courses earn students college credit.