Refulingua Stories

Refulingua – Spring 2022

There have been several ‘firsts’ for RefuLingua this past term!

For starters, we have run our first class teaching the Somali language. We ran an eight week ‘introductions’ course attended by four committed students who learnt how to how use greetings and to introduce themselves and their families in Somali. Since the Somali language uses the Latin alphabet (with a few vital differences!) participants also learnt to read basic Somali text. The course involved the teacher introducing to the class four famous Somali people, including Edna Adan; a midwife, activist and politician (check her out!). This inaugural term went well with one student giving the following feedback:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the Somali Introductions course! It was fun and interactive, with a variety of activities like games, conversation practice, and music. Iqbal was an excellent teacher and was always happy to answer questions.  She’s patient and encouraging.  I felt that I made a really good start with learning Somali, and I’ve already used it a bit, much to the delight of my Somali friends!  I highly recommend this course.”

A big shout out to our Somali teacher for taking on the challenge of teaching her native language. This was a first for her and she really did a great job.  

Besides the Somali class another highlight of this past term was a visit from Noha Raslan; an Egyptian researcher, Arabic and English teacher and teacher trainer who spent some time visiting us in Bristol completing research for her masters in Adult Education for Social change with the universities of Alexandria and Glasgow. She interviewed the RefuLingua staff, as well as several of the tutors and students and will write this up in her final dissertation due this coming August. We are excited to hear her findings and hope we will be able to use them to keep improving our project. 

A final innovation of this term was the launch of the Medical Arabic course. We have had several requests over the years for language courses specific to healthcare workers, so we put together this course with this request in mind. The plans and materials for the course were drawn up by Wala our project assistant and taught by one of our longstanding tutors, Ahlam. The course covered body parts, ailments and basic dialogue between patients and medical staff.

We also ran the second round of the Afghan Pashto ‘introductions’ course which was very well attended and received excellent feedback, a six-week Gulf Arabic course that was requested by a Bristol-based geospatial mapping business, a Levantine Arabic ‘introductions’ course, and two Levantine Arabic ‘making plans’ courses, one on zoom and one face to face.

As well as a huge thank you to all our brilliant tutors who taught this past term, I want to say a special thank you this term to our many fantastic and committed students who turned up every week and brought positive and proactive learning energy. This has made all the difference and really makes teaching a happy and confidence-building experience for the tutors.

Shukran! Mahadsanid! Manina! 😊

by Rose Codner