Teaching English Decoding Skills in Qatar: How Computer-assisted Instruction May Overcome Local Challenges in Teacher Preparation and Instructional Skills

By Indrani Ibrahim and Lynne M. Walters.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This small seed study of kindergarten aged students in Qatar set out to determine if the use of a computer based literacy program has a positive impact on these English language learners’ ability to read those selected elements more easily, support the instruction, and/or have the potential to overcome the challenge of local teacher preparation, instructional skills and efficacy. Questionnaires given to the students, as well as the classroom teacher, revealed a positive attitude toward using computer programs to teach decoding skills in English. The results of the teacher’s survey indicated that she had some experience and training, but that she also would welcome the additional support, organization and planning offered by computer-assisted instruction. The results from this case study/action research project indicated that those students who received instruction in decoding patterns and strategies, through the use of a comprehensive computer based literacy program, were more successful in decoding those selected patterns on their own.

Keywords: Early Literacy Computer Programs, English Language Learners, Overcoming Challenges to Teacher Preparation and Quality, Decoding Skills

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp.105-118. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 848.456KB).

Indrani Ibrahim

PhD Candidate in Curriculum & Instruction, College of Education, Department of Teaching, Language, and Culture, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

Ms. Indrani Ibrahim is an English Language Specialist for the US State Department and is placed on short term curriculum and instruction projects at educational institutions in Qatar that request assistance in assessment, evaluation, and development of English language programs. In December 2009, she was invited by the US Embassy, Doha, Qatar to develop a workshop for best practices in teaching writing at the secondary level. In Dec. 2010 she was invited as guest speaker to a women’s forum hosted by the US Embassy, Qatar to discuss English language instruction in Qatar. She has over 15 years of cumulative instructional experience in the areas of Spanish language, ESL and French. In 2008, she was a student teacher supervisor for Texas A&M University and Qatar University on a joint post -Bachelor’s teacher training program based at Qatar University. She has been residing in Qatar for the past 4 years while pursuing her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction through Texas A&M University, College Station. Being involved in the k-12 as well as university systems in Qatar has given her an intimate view of the issues that are affecting educational reform within the country. Her research interests are ESL teacher preparation, literacy issues in language 2, second language acquisition and multicultural education.

Dr. Lynne M. Walters

Texas A&M University, TX, USA

Lynne M. Walters, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, Texas A&M University. She teaches in the area of international and intercultural education, as well as in research methodology. She joined the College of Education in 2005 after serving as director of the International Studies Degree Program, an interdisciplinary major in the College of Liberal Arts. This appointment reflects her interest in international education, as does her Fulbright Fellowship to Budapest, Hungary; five summers directing a Texas A&M study abroad program in Mexico and four terms as faculty on Semester at Sea. In 2010, she led a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad, taking social studies teachers from Texas to China for five weeks. She currently is completing a study on the impact of this experience on the participants’ intercultural competence, as evidenced in their digital stories. This is part of a stream of research into the effect of cross-cultural experiences on classroom teaching. Dr. Walters’ academic background is in the field of communication. She has a B.S. in radio-television (Indiana University), an M.A. in journalism (Pennsylvania State University) and a Ph.D. in mass communication (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

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