QatarDebate Center (QDC), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, has held an intensive five-week English language programme in collaboration with the US embassy in Qatar, QNA reported.
The programme was conducted with 25 students based in Qatar from October 2 to November 5.
The series encouraged the 15 to 18-year-old participants to engage with US embassy guests and the QDC team in practising English through discussions and interactive lessons on the environment, water, climate change, moral philosophy and social movements, among others, QatarDebate said in a press statement.
The initiative intended to provide an opportunity for practising conversational English for non-native English-speaking youth in Qatar, the statement noted.
By applying methods customarily featured in debate teaching, the sessions proved to be an effective approach to encourage students to practise speaking English, it added.
Amina Awartani, QatarDebate coach; Khansa Maria, a senior at Georgetown University; ??Paula Masad, English language and education adviser at the US embassy; and Aseel al-Ugaili, cultural affairs specialist at the US embassy, led the sessions.
With the encouragement and support of their trainers, the participants successfully communicated complex concepts in a language that is not their native tongue. They demonstrated that language should not be an obstacle when expressing opinions on social and environmental issues.
“We encouraged students to formulate their own ideas and answer questions raised during the sessions. We in turn, as coaches, helped them clarify and build their arguments, in order to facilitate engaging debates and a healthy exchange of ideas," Awartani said.
She noted that the diversity of participants was instrumental to the success of the workshop.
The students were tested before the start of the programme. On the last day, each student was asked to deliver a presentation on a pre-assigned topic. Marked improvement and increased confidence were seen among all the participants in terms of their English-speaking skills, the statement added.
Masad noted that the goal of the series was to encourage students to speak English confidently, and their final presentations demonstrated that they successfully met this goal. “Throughout the series, we were impressed with the students’ participation and their willingness to engage in challenging conversations and share their opinions with their peers.”