College of Education to Launch New Arabic Teaching Certification

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The College of Education will launch a new Arabic language specialization certification for future world language teachers, beginning in the Summer 2024 semester. The program aims to increase the number of Arabic language learners in the state of Maryland by supplying classrooms with more teachers trained in the language.

The program is a collaboration between the College of Education and the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures in the College of Arts and Humanities, said Clinical Assistant Professor and World Language/Dual Language Program Coordinator Antonio Alejandro Pérez Belda.  

Pérez Belda said he got the idea to push for the inclusion of an Arabic language specialization two years ago when multiple students called his office to ask about a possible program certifying teachers in the language.

“We want to be responsive to the needs of our communities,” Pérez Belda said. “We have populations and communities where Arabic is spoken, and sometimes we are not emphasizing enough that we need opportunities for these communities to maintain that language.”

In the last five to six years, public schools in Maryland have seen a sharp decrease in Arabic language programs, according to Pérez Belda. Only four schools in Maryland currently offer Arabic language courses, but Pérez Belda hopes that providing a certification track for Arabic language teachers will revitalize these programs.

The certification is available for the Master of Education program in Curriculum and Instruction, World Languages Education Specialization, with preK-12 teaching certification. Pérez Belda said candidates can apply for the program with their graduate school application.