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How to teach Spanish to Syrian and Palestinian refugees

From January 26, 2017 until February 28, 2017Workshops on two Saturdays, March 4 and 11, 2017, from 12:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). Workshops on two Saturdays, March 4 and 11, 2017, from 12:00 to 7:30 p.m. You must register in advance.
In Spanish.

Series of four workshops given by professors Victoria Khraiche and Nadia Jallad. You may register until February 28.

Casa Árabe is offering this series of four workshops on teaching Spanish as a foreign language (Spanish/LE or ELE), given by two teachers who specialize in humanitarian action and mediation, Victoria Khraiche Ruiz-Zorrilla and Nadia Jallad.

These workshops will discuss the process to apply for asylum in Spain and the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language (Spanish/LE, or ELE) at official reception centers and charitable non-governmental organizations, while also introducing basic concepts about the Levantine dialect of Arabic and useful sociocultural information to promote empathy with students in this field of activity.

They will include three subject areas: teaching Spanish/Spanish as a Foreign Language (ELE), knowledge about the contexts in which asylum applicants arrive, and the Arabic dialect spoken in these countries of origin. First of all, the workshops will take an in-depth look at the cognitive and emotional implications which the asylum application procedure itself has on the applicants’ learning process, while examining the main features of these types of Spanish/foreign language classrooms, which are extremely heterogeneous in terms of skill level and student origins. Along these lines, they will also discuss specific strategies for Spanish teachers to put into practice in such environments, providing a list of the most common linguistic and pragmalinguistic errors made by Arabic-speaking students of Syrian and Palestinian origin when communicating in Spanish, while assessing the potential for transference from Arabic and other foreign languages spoken, such as English and French.

In addition to this, they will analyze the contexts in which these students arrive, examining the origin and development of the conflicts which have led to the arrival of refugees and displaced persons coming from Syria and Palestine.

Last of all, an important part of these workshops is that different elementary expressions in Levantine Arabic will be taught, along with sociocultural information that will allow humanitarian workers and mediators to receive and assist these types of students while promoting empathy.

The four workshops last a total of 12 hours and will be held on two Saturdays, March 4 and 11. The registration fee is 130 euros. A certificate of attendance will be given at the end of the course.

General objectives: 
By the end of the course, those attending will:
▪    Know what the asylum application procedure consists of in Spain.
▪    Have received a general overview of the nature of teaching Spanish as a foreign language to asylum applicants.
▪    Be able to foresee specific learning difficulties among their Arabic-speaking students and take the resulting action to remedy them.
▪    Be able to understand and effectively use basic expressions in the Levantine dialect of Arabic, which will help promote empathy in the classroom.
▪    Have developed their intercultural skills.

Profile of students for whom the course is intended:
Teachers of Spanish as a foreign language. Aid workers. The hired staff and volunteers of humanitarian organizations. Employees and refugee reception centers. Those interested in teaching Spanish as a foreign language in general and to immigrants and refugees in particular.

Asilim website
How to teach Spanish to Syrian and Palestinian refugees
Victoria Khraiche Ruiz-Zorrilla
PhD in Semitic Studies at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She earned her university degree in Arabic Philology and then a Master’s degree in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language at the University of Damascus. After this, she became a collaborating educator at the Cervantes Institutes in Damascus and Cairo. At present, she is combining research and the translation of Arabic poetry with the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language at the Ortega-Marañón Foundation in Toledo and teaching several courses at the university and Asilim (Association for the Linguistic Integration of Immigrants in Madrid), where she coordinates the teacher training courses. Prior to this, she was a teacher of Spanish as a foreign language in the programs which the association holds at the Refugee Reception Center (CAR) in Alcobendas, at La Casa Encendida and at its own Asilim headquarters. She was given the SEEA (Spanish Society of Arab Studies) Award for Young Researchers in 2012.

Nadia Jallad
With a university degree in Business Management and Administration from the European University of Damascus, Jallad has worked in Syria as a project director within several international oil companies, and as a teacher and trainer of adults and children for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Since she came to Spain in 2011, she has received training on teaching foreign languages, having specialized in teaching Arabic for business. For example, she has taught courses on the Levantine dialect and standard Arabic at various academies and the NGO Asilim (Association for the Linguistic Integration of Immigrants in Madrid), where she has been a member of the Executive Board since the year 2012 and is responsible for the Arabic teaching programs. Since 2015, she has taught Arabic language classes to children and Levantine dialect classes at Casa Árabe’s Arabic Language Center and is now fully dedicated to teaching Arabic as a foreign language and translation.
Those interested must send an e-mail message by February 28 to: You will then be sent the information on the account into which you must deposit the registration fee.

In the message topic, please write: Curso ELE Casa Árabe + Your first and last names.
The message body should include a brief explanation of the candidate’s profile, mentioning any prior knowledge of the Arabic language (if any).

The number of participants is limited to a maximum of 15.
The workshops will be given on two Saturdays, March 4 and 11, 2017, from 12:00 to 7:30 p.m., with a break lasting an hour and a half for lunch.

•    Saturday, March 4, 2017
Workshop 1 (from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.): What is a refugee?: The right of asylum and subsidiary protection. The Syrian and Palestinian cases (Victoria Khraiche Ruiz-Zorrilla)
Workshop 2 (from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.): Introduction to the Levantine dialect of Arabic Language and culture I (Nadia Jallad)

•    Saturday, March 11, 2017
Workshop 3 (from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.): Teaching Spanish to Arabic speakers from Syria and Palestine in a heterogeneous classroom environment (Victoria Khraiche Ruiz-Zorrilla)
Workshop 4 (from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.): Introduction to the Levantine dialect of Arabic Language and culture II (Nadia Jallad)