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RAK Women’s College students give the thumbs up to American Sign Language course

Students at the Higher Colleges of Technology’s Ras Al Khaimah Women’s College have had a great time participating in the Independent Learning Centre’s Language Clubs and recently they got the chance to immerse themselves in the world of sign language.

Since 2007 RKWC’s ILC has offered a variety of clubs, including language clubs, to enhance students’ college experience.

“I enjoy coordinating these clubs as I love seeing our students seek to learn other languages besides English. I also like to work with our volunteered faculty who enjoy teaching other languages,” states Aaesha Al Dhuhoori, who coordinates the language clubs.

The students “…learn new languages using English to communicate in classes. They will improve their English skills in speaking and writing and they will gain more confidence by learning other languages which will improve their communication skills.”

[caption id="attachment_8735" align="aligncenter" width="300"]ASL Letter Y Dr. Bob Moulton demonstrates the letter y in ASL.[/caption]

Beginning with French and Japanese, the clubs have expanded over the years to include Spanish, German, Hindi, and Korean.

This year’s language club has had the exciting addition of American Sign Language, which is used by deaf people in the USA, and is distinct from written and spoken English.

The language clubs “are really popular with our students, especially those in Foundations.  When we do the orientation for local High School students, this program attracts them.  When they join the college the first question that they ask us is ‘When would we have the Language Club?’,” Aaesha said.

With the growing trend of a globalized economy, the need for an edge is steadily increasing. Studies show that learning another language increases student options in and outside the classroom.

Students who study a third or fourth language are challenging themselves in new ways. They open themselves up to the knowledge that there are many ways to live and experience life.  More importantly, studying additional languages opens a cultural window to the world.

[caption id="attachment_8734" align="aligncenter" width="300"]ASL signs RKWC Director Dr. Bob Moulton demonstrates a sign to the ASL Club participants.[/caption]

Studies by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) have shown that learning an additional language has a beneficial effect on the development of students’ reading, and that there is a clear link between second language learning and higher scores on standardized tests, improved academic performance, and a more accepting and positive approach towards cultural and linguistic differences.

All of the language clubs are run by volunteer teachers who enjoy the opportunity to see the students in a different setting.

Daniel Carroll, Joint ILC Coordinator, comments: "I have taught French and Spanish, and it’s great to see the appetite and enthusiasm of our students for learning a new language. An important benefit is that the students improve their English at the same time.  And students from the Education department, for example, also learn techniques for teaching language at the beginners’ level."

“These clubs are so popular that we have had to offer additional sections on occasion,” said Christine Jones, Joint ILC Coordinator.

These 6-8 week courses offer a brief introduction into the basics of the language, which excite and interest the students.

[caption id="attachment_8736" align="aligncenter" width="300"]ASL Letter demonstration Director Dr. Bob Moulton moves through the ASL finger signing alphabet for the RKWC ASL Club.[/caption]

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