Long Island City,
NY—February 25, 2010--LaGuardia Community College
has launched a unique method of language teaching
that has students learning Arabic solely through
Soukkary, of the Education and Language Acquisition
Department who is teaching this course, explained
that this unique method combines music and song with
the structuralist approach to language teaching.
Through this method, the basic patterns of a
language are carefully graded from the simple to the
“This approach taps
into the right side of the brain, which deals with
the arts, bypassing the interference with the mother
tongue, which is entrenched in the left side of the
brain,” she said.
For six weeks, the
students, the majority of whom were not of Arabic
descent, learned the language by learning simple
songs. Through this method, the students gained an
understanding of basic structure and were able to
fluently communicate in Arabic.
To demonstrate their
proficiency, the students put on an original
end-of-the- semester play, which was performed for
the college community. The play’s script contained
the vocabulary and basic sentence structures based
on the songs the students learned in class.
“I was struck by the
ease and comfort in which the students performed,”
said Peter Katopes, Vice President for Academic
Dr. Katopes said that
one of the important initiatives at LaGuardia is the
teaching of modern languages. “As a public
institution we understand the importance of training
people to speak Arabic,” he said. “The American job
market is in dire need of all kinds of professionals
who are proficient in Arabic. I hope our students
will be encouraged to go into public service where
Arabic will be useful.”
Along with Arabic, the
Language Acquisition Department offers courses in
American Sign Language, Chinese, French, Italian,
Japanese, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish.
According to Professor
Jack Gantzer, the department chairperson, the
department also offers weekend language courses.
The 12-session basic-language classes are taught in
a combination of in-class lessons that are conducted
by a qualified professors, and online exercises.
Classes can be taken for college credit or
non-credit. For more information, visit
• • • •
Located in Long Island
City, Queens in New York City, LaGuardia Community
College, part of the City University of New York, is
a nationally recognized leader among community
colleges. Founded in 1971, the College is recognized
as an innovator in educating students who are under
prepared for college work and/or are not primary
English speakers. A catalyst for development in
western Queens and beyond, LaGuardia serves New
Yorkers and immigrants from 163 countries through
over 50 majors and certificate programs, enabling
career advancement and transfer to four-year
colleges at twice the national average. Visit
to learn more.