CMU-Q professor praises Qatar’s diverse classrooms at WISE Global Learning Festival 2020
Dudley Reynolds participated in a panel discussion on language policy hosted by the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) as part of the Global Learning Festival 2020, in connection with its work with UNESCO Learning Cities. Reynolds is the co-area head for arts and sciences at CMU-Q, and a teaching professor of English.
Reynolds highlighted how Qatar can adapt its education system during these challenging times by rethinking the role of the classroom as a space for peer learning and capitalizing on the diverse languages spoken by students here.
“At the classroom level, we have to realize that it’s possible to use and engage with multiple languages. The focus should be understanding how language works as a mode of communication. Communities need citizens who can negotiate between languages, not memorize vocabulary or grammar rules.”
Reynolds added, “Many Qatar classrooms are adopting this method. Qatar Foundation schools are pioneers in how they incorporate language diversity in their classrooms.”
The WISE panel brought together professionals working with migrants and speakers of multiple languages to discuss the long-term impact of diversity in community building. Reynolds noted how the COVID-19 pandemic has created opportunities for educators worldwide to transform their approach to education.
“The family has become a resource for language learning. Students are learning to communicate in their grandmother’s language because that is who they are interacting with on a daily basis. Students have taken on the role of a ‘language broker,” Reynolds said.
The WISE panel included Reynolds, Aline Sara from NaTakallam and Laurie Nowell from AMES Australia. It was moderated by WISE research manager, Ahmed Baghdady.
Reynolds will join Kashif Raza, lecturer in English at Qatar University, Foundation Program, Deanship of General Studies, on Sunday, September 20 to discuss his report on language policy. Some parts of the interview will be available in Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi.