One of Laila’s passions is designing and developing teaching materials that can awaken the interest of students and engage them in the process of learning Arabic to become independent and lifelong learners.
She is the founder of Khallina, a website dedicated to the teaching and learning of Arab culture(s) through open source audiovisuals. Khallina aims to help teachers of Arabic at the high school and college levels incorporate teaching materials on a variety of subjects like music, food, politics, humor, gender issues and more, in their curriculum. The project has evolved from an open source library, to Cultural Modules that include materials and pedagogical suggestions, organized by proficiency level.
Laila is also a proponent of integrating literature into the Arabic curriculum as a way to develop and strengthen learners’ linguistic and cultural competencies. She is the editor of two abridged novels for learners of Arabic, originally written by contemporary Arab authors: Sayyidi wa Habibi (2013) by Hoda Barakat and Saaq al-Bambuu (2016) by Saud Al-Sanousi. The range of supplementary materials and exercises accompanying the novels are carefully designed to further assist and guide the reader/learner.
Khallina is an open source website that can be used for free to explore Arab culture and learn Arabic. It contains Cultural Modules at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, on a variety of subject matters including music, food, politics, humor, gender issues, graphic novels, and much more.
Sayyidi wa Habibi (My Master and My Love), by celebrated Lebanese novelist Hoda Barakat takes place during the Lebanese Civil War and tells the story of Wadie, a young man who leaves school and becomes corrupted by crime, and his wife Samia as they flee to Cyprus.
Saaq al-Bambuu (The Bamboo Stalk) by Kuwaiti novelist Saud al-Sanousi is the 2013 winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. The novel is the coming-of-age story of José, a half-Filippino, half-Kuwaiti teen who returns to his father’s Kuwait. There, he explores his own identity as a poor Filipino in a culture he does not know well as he receives a mixed welcome from his own wealthy relatives.
The Frequency Dictionary of Contemporary Arabic Fiction is composed of the most frequently occurring words in contemporary Arabic fiction, and it provides lexical guidelines for authors and publishers interested in producing Graded Readers for learners of Arabic. The work has followed strict corpus linguistics methodology on a highly representative corpus of contemporary Arabic novels.
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