Recently, 26 3rd year students from Emirates College for Advanced Education (ECAE) displayed their writing talents drawing in college students, staff and faculty to explore their stories. The events compromised of a “Big Book Display” for two weeks in the library and a reading-aloud performance called “Reading Corner” in the student lounge. While all texts made by the students were required for their final assessment in the 2nd year Bachelor of Education (B. Ed) English course, “Genre and Text Analysis”, in June 2011, participation in the event was voluntary.
To apply what they have learned in this course, students were asked to create two texts for Grade 2-4 students based on genres featured in the ADEC New School Model curriculum for this age group. Students could choose two texts from among the 6 text types featured in the ADEC curriculum: Procedures, Narratives, Recounts, Explanations, Expositions and Information Reports. They could also choose a topic for the two texts from one of general themes in the curriculum: Emirati Traditions and Culture, Living and Non-Living Things, Math and Life and Health and Nutrition. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as traditional book formats were encouraged.
“Because ECAE students will teach children to write their own texts, we encourage them to first analyze how various text types are made (in terms of linguistic and organizational features) and then to apply what they have learned by creating books which are suitable for use in classrooms. This task requires the integration of all that they have learned over their first two years of the B Ed program. It touches on the social-emotional development of children, the integration of English, Math and Science content as well as how to read curriculum documents for clues about the topics and texts which are appropriate for this grade level. The texts our students made were wonderfully successful in all these aspects. So the Student Author events were a chance to showcase their texts as books to be read, experienced and enjoyed. It was also an opportunity for our students to experience what authorship entails and for the wider college to celebrate our local talent. I believe all students gained a lot from the two events. I noticed that student authors were curious to check on the written comments in the back of the books displayed in the library and eager to tell me about the feedback provided by the staff and other students after they read their stories aloud,” said Melanie van den Hoven, an English Faculty member at the college.
Dr. Robert Thompson, Dean, Academic further added, “This is an inspirational and delightful demonstration of the scholarly and innovative talents possessed by the students in our College. The presented work exceeded our expectations and showcased that our students are developing into creative and knowledgeable teachers.”
“The ECAE Authors event was a huge success! Many students came into the Library to read the students’ books, write comments and feedback and vote for their favorite author. It was wonderful to see all the colorful books on display and I hope this will be a continuing yearly event! Any of these student books that are published will be added to the Library’s collection. Congratulations to all the students who participated, both in having their books displayed and for those who read and presented their computerized books,” said May Moore, the College Librarian.
Lateefa Alabd Musabah Al Menhali, one of two first place winners of ECAE’s Best Student Author book award, developed “The Red Skinned Camel”, illustrating the Emirati Traditions and Culture theme. “Last semester we learnt how to write stories applying what we studied at the “Genre and Text Analysis” course. I really enjoyed the course and was very thrilled to participate in the event. The Reading Corners event was amazing. We had so much support from our teachers and students and many of the comments were inspiring and motivating to work harder to become exceptional Emirati teachers. Winning the best author title came as a surprise but I am pleased and proud of my achievement,” added Lateefa.
Ayesha Al Jabri, another female student who participated in the two events emphasized, “This project was very helpful because it enabled us to use our creativity and innovate new stories to teach young students rather than depending on ready published ones. Besides, we were able to exchange ideas and build on our public presentation and communication skills. Personally, I discovered the writing talent in me. My story, “The Great Emirati Teacher” focuses on encouraging Emirati boys to become teachers, especially that we have a lack of male Emirati teachers in the country. This is one of my concerns and I am aware that our College is doing its best to attract more male Emirati teachers.”