Shokry Gohar

Senior Faculty Lecturer

Arabic Language Program Director

I have extensive experience in teaching Arabic as a foreign and second language. Since 1992, I have taught Arabic in different institutes and language instruction environments, both in immersion and non-immersion programs, in Egypt, the USA and Canada. I have been teaching Arabic at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University since August 2005. In 2013, I received my MA in Applied Linguistics from Concordia University. As the Arabic Language Program Director, I designed a transparent and concrete syllabus for each level in the program, which leads to high student satisfaction and guides teachers to teach effectively. I have created an innovative curriculum for the advanced level, which helps students acquire the language in a foreign learning environment in which time and foreign language input are limited. The curriculum encourages students to employ higher-order learning skills as they apply the basics of language in a more conceptual manner.

Philosophy of Teaching

My approach to classroom language instruction is mainly comprised of my beliefs in the Communicative Approach as methodology of teaching, the use of authentic materials in an interactive environment, and the psychology of learning. Additionally, I strongly believe in teaching in the target language from the start, since teacher talk is an integral part of comprehensible linguistic input.  

Learning language through the Communicative Approach in an interactive environment not only helps students develop their linguistic fluency but also helps them develop their linguistic accuracy. It provides students with ample opportunities to reinforce new vocabulary and structures in a communicative manner, improves their listening skill, and encourages them to produce output.  Producing output encourages students to move from semantic processing to syntactic processing, which leads to second language acquisition.

I believe that the designated textbook should not be the only linguistic materials used in teaching Arabic and that there should be a wide selection and variety of authentic materials. This can entail materials such as Arabic literature, Arabic music, and authentic reading and listening material from a variety of sources. Being exposed to such authentic materials, students feel that they are immersed in the language and its culture.  

The psychology of learning plays a vital role in my teachning, in such as there exist individual differences in learning foreign languages (e.g., aptitude, learning style, strategy, and motivation), which exhibit variations among students. In our language classroom, each student is equally and unconditionally valued and respected, regardless of their linguistic ability and performance in the classroom. Mistakes are treated as inevitable and important parts of the learning process and corrections are made in a non-threatening manner.

In conclusion, the field of language instruction has come a long way since the days of pure, rote memorization of grammatical structures. As the field continues to evolve and improve, I strive to improve as an instructor. I am earnestly committed to my own professional development in order to provide my students with the highest quality instruction possible. I genuinely enjoy teaching and cannot imagine myself doing anything else. I still teach every class with excitement and enthusiasm as if teaching for it the first time.

Teaching Experience

McGill University
2005-date

- Modern Standard Arabic, Levels 1-4 ISLA 521, 522, 523, 524

Middlebury College, Arabic School
Summers of 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007

- Various levels of Modern Standard Arabic

- Taught the 'Journalism Club', an extra-curricular class on Arabic media

- Inset-sessions to the Arabic School faculty

Kalimāt Language and Cultural Centre
2003-2005

- All levels (1-6) of Modern Standard (MSA) and Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (ECA)

- Public and private classes as well as customized courses for DAAD, the Australian Army, Australian Diplomats, Durham University, the Danish Army, and the British Foreign Office.

The British Council, Arabic Department, Cairo, Egypt
1992-2003

- All levels (1-6) of Modern Standard (MSA) and Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (ECA)

- Public and private classes as well as customized courses for the British Foreign Office, Bremen University, University of Leeds, and the Netherlands Tropical Institute.