English, Spanish, and French obviously stand out as the most commonly learnt foreign languages, but others are emerging in the market, and garnering interest from teachers and recruiters alike.
Arabic is one such language, becoming highly valuable.
For Arabic instruction though, what level is required? Are diplomas needed? Should we have to get a certification or university accreditation to teach it?
Superprof gives you an outline here to better comprehend the rising popularity of teaching Arabic, and gives tips on how to break into the market.
Assessing your Level of Arabic
Arabic is far from similar to any European language, and between Modern Standard Arabic (based on Quranic and generally taught in schools) and dialectical Moroccan, Egyptian, and Levantine varieties, plenty of different phrasings, lexicons, and grammar differences come into play, not to mention accents and cultural understanding.
In fact, it doesn't quite cut it to say that you're just learning Arabic; you're only learning a specific subset of a wide grouping of dialects, the subset being relative to the origin of the teacher and materials available.
This is therefore crucial when comprehending the kind of Arabic you'll be speaking and the groups you can communicate with. To assess this, check online for websites to test your spoken and written Arabic, and they'll give you a level.
Arabic Language Teaching in Australia
There is a wide range of language lessons available in Australia.
There are the more commonly taught "global" languages - English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Asian counterparts Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean - then there are the more community based ones, such as Cantonese, Vietnamese, Bosnian, and of course Arabic.
Despite our apparent lack of interest, Australians are picking up the knack for foreign tongues, for communication or education.
So as this demand rises, how do we meet it? Is Australia well stocked in Arabic tutors?
Sadly not, as becoming an Arabic teacher is lagging in our interest.
For this reason, many professors of the language resort to dedicated foreign language teaching bodies.
Such institutions usually rank Arabic amongst the idioms offered.
Becoming an Arabic Teacher
Arabic language teaching has 3 pillars in Australia:
- Instruction stipulates the necessity of knowing not just the language, but the culture and history
- Teaching needs to be specifically language focussed
- Often, an affiliation with a mosque or religious body, focussing mainly on Quranic or Literary Arabic.
These teaching methods are often overlooked as they don't appeal directly to what schools deem to interest teenagers in foreign languages, leading to lower enrolment numbers.
Arabic teachers moreover tend to stick to their own domain, not often being integrated into a wider syllabus environment. They do however tend to appear more recognised at university, where enrolment numbers pick up. The question lingers though of the languages difficulty, and how much you need to know to teach it.
Private Arabic Lessons
It is rather common for teachers of Arabic employing their craft to seek online enrolments through specifically targeted educational platforms.
This kind of tutoring system enables the tutor to offer a personalised course of study for the student, which the teacher can call upon to hone the bespoke syllabus they will create for said pupil. Drawing from school and university programmes, and being up to date with the expectations of assessors in official Arabic language exams, the teacher can optimise the course to the student's needs and expectations.
Registering in a school support database will also further highlight the skills and qualifications of a given Arabic tutor, especially is they have worked in a private institution.
There nonetheless remain some core expectations of an Arabic teacher:
- Teaching experience
- Having a teaching qualification
- Possessing a state-recognised diploma
- Having a flexible timetable and adaptable teaching method
- Being willing to work for $25 to $75 per hour based on skills and experience
Check this article out for more information on the cost of giving or taking Arabic classes.
Arabic Courses and Diplomas
Whatever outlets or teaching methods you avail yourself of when teaching Arabic, it's always handy to remind students that language learning requires diligence and can take time to master.
To attain a level of fluency that would permit you to become a teacher, 4-5 years of semi-intensive, regular study of a language is required, i.e. a bachelor's with research or a masters. This length of time may also depend on the language you want to teach, with Arabic demanding 80 weeks of consistent study to even becoming fluent in conversational style.
Acquiring a Degree
A bachelor's degree in ancient languages/classics is the ideal one if you're mostly interested in ancient cultures and civilisations, as well as literature, history and archaeology
Through this, it is possible to gain a a pathway to a teaching qualification, or even sufficient experience if you're wanting to teach more Quranic or literary Arabic.
Most major Australian universities offer a specialising with a bachelor in languages, sometimes even offering a concurrent diploma. In this vein, it will be easy to tack a languages component onto a literature or classics degree.
Through the Arabic courses offered at the university, you will come to grips with oral and written expression, reading and writing the alphabet, getting comfortable with grammar and conversation, but also the pragmatics of the language and its cultures through Arabic history and civilisation studies and linguistics.
It's also wise to consider what courses to take to complement your end goal, be that concurrently or at a postgraduate level. These could include: a certificate, diploma, or masters of teaching or education, translation studies, linguistics, cultural heritage and management studies, or theology, among others.
A Languages Degree
If you're more international or business focussed, an applied foreign language degree might be the way to go. Your lessons throughout your three years of study will generally go hand in hand with contemporary social, political, or business issues for you to get a more hands on approach.
These kinds of degrees tend to focus more on language in context, and may fall under an international business or relations umbrella. This is because the use of the language that you train for is destined to such fields.
Consequently, on top of general language classes, in which you will learn grammar, speaking, reading, and writing, you will also acquire topic specific vocabulary to help you succeed in your given field, be that IT, diplomacy, translation, international education, economics, law, etc.
Therefore, if you're wanting to focus more on contemporary modern Arabic, it would be wise to choose a degree like this. If you're specifically looking for a target market of students who have international trade in their sights, then this, like the above mentioned degrees, would be a clear path to teaching, especially if coupled with an educational certificate component.
Certified Teaching Qualifications
So you've got your heart set on being an Arabic teacher, what are the next steps for officiating this in Australia? Each state has different registered qualifications if you want to teach in primary or secondary education, which you will have to get on top of a bachelors and masters of teaching. In Victoria, it's called the VIT and generally has to be reregistered every few years, while in NSW their testing is slightly different but nonetheless rigorous. Queensland's system can be found here.
We recommend looking on your respective government's website to see what steps you need to take and how many years it will take to get there, including what pathways to follow if you're wanting to give Arabic lessons. There is some overlap between states in what qualifications and certificates are recognised, so have a look into this also.
To teach Arabic privately, you'll only need to prove to your students your teaching experience, language level, and knowledge of the culture and materials.
Teaching in video
Online teaching is becoming more and more popular through online channels like Youtube or Dailymotion, where people teach Arabic lessons (albeit for beginners or advanced speakers usually) for free and can offer deep cultural and linguistic insights.
This is particularly good for language lovers, and those who want to adapt their learning to particular points, maybe that's the Arabic alphabet, grammar, or to get a certificate or diploma. This is particularly good for activities like calligraphy where you only need to watch and imitate. There's also extensive explanations for those who love Arabic history and culture, so try a key word search of 'Arabic grammar for school', 'teach me Arabic alphabet', or even 'Arabic teaching for pros'. Just make sure that your key word search is specific otherwise you'll be swamped.
If you yourself want to teach online, Youtube is a good place to start, but bear in mind that you'll only be paid per number of views, so you really have to refine your content. The plus side is that you don't need a diploma and can reach a wide audience, although there's the downside of not being able to control your number of students, nor focus on their specific personal needs.
Another online solution is finding students through Superprof, but it's down to the teacher and student to see how the vibe is. To get an understanding your students' needs and how to grow your client base, check out our guide to finding students.
To start with, check our other guide to any in steps you may need to take before starting your Arabic teaching journey.