Teaching Arabic for specific purposes in America
The purpose of the study is to examine whether or not the teaching of ASP, compared to teaching conventional Arabic, will motivate the learners and enhance their performance. The idea of conducting such a study is motivated by the following factors: (1) The lack of literature in the area of teaching Arabic as a second or foreign language, which resulted in the lack of materials pertaining to the teaching of Arabic. (2) The realization of the fact that the material used is conventional and not relevant to learners' needs and interests. (3) The increasing number of learners of Arabic as part of the pluralistic society that has developed in America which creates the need for learning foreign languages such as Arabic. (4) The globalization of American education because of the interconnection and interculturalism that characterizes every aspect of life today and made a pressing need for learning active languages among which is Arabic. The study assumed that there are five need-specific purposes for learning Arabic in America and accordingly categorized ASP into five categories including Arabic for diplomacy, business, religion, occupation, and culture. The quasi-experimental research design chosen for this study involved the use of two treatment groups and two control groups. These groups were first pre-tested and then post-tested. A model which represents the five subcategories of Arabic was developed and used to design a course of five units taught to the treatment groups for ten weeks, whereas the control groups continued learning conventional Arabic. Results from the pre-test and post-test were compared using T-test which indicated that the mean average scores of the treatment groups is significantly higher than that of the control groups. These findings may be applicable to other institutes offering Arabic classes and other foreign languages, and imply that great attention should be given to learners' needs and purposes in materials development. Accordingly, the study provided guidelines and recommendations for teachers, curriculum/materials developers on how to design and select the appropriate courses for ASP.