Curriculum and Program Details

Curriculum and Program Details

Curriculum and Program Details

“Discover Cairo, Learn Arabic through STARTALK at Rowan University” will provide students with an interactive experience in Arabic language and culture. It is designed around the six principles of an effective STARTALK program: the curriculum is standards-based and thematically organized, uses performance-based assessments, integrates culture with language, and uses Arabic; it is also student-centered and age appropriate. The program will develop students’ skills in listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing, achieving its goal of developing students' proficiency in Arabic language and culture from the Elementary I through the Elementary II level.

Students who successfully complete the entire program (pre-camp remote classes, summer camp, and post-camp remote sessions) will earn 6 credits from Rowan University: 3 credits for ARAB 12.101 Elementary Arabic I and 3 credits for ARAB 12.101 Elementary Arabic II.

Since review and practice outside of class is so important, students will also be required to complete reading and writing exercises outside of class, to review audio visual materials, etc.

Timeline of Instructional Events



Instructional Hours


The in-person Meet and Greet/Orientation occurs from 6:30pm to 8:00 pm.


3/26/24 - 7/2/24

The remote portion of the program meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30pm to 8:00pm (29 sessions). During these sessions, students will complete material equivalent to Elementary Arabic I. 


7/8/24 -7/19/24

The in-person camp meets from 10:00am to 2:30 pm; on the final day of the camp there will be a field trip to Philadelphia to an Arab restaurant.


7/23/24 -8/1/24

4 post-camp remote sessions meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30pm to 8:00 pm with additional language training and assessment so students complete material equivalent to Elementary Arabic II. 


The Pre-Camp Program: 

The pre-camp activities total 45 hours and will begin with an in-person orientation session in order to increase student engagement in the remote class portion of the pre-camp activities.

The remaining 43.5 hours of the pre-camp activities (29 remote sessions of 90 minutes each) will reinforce the goals of the STARTALK program and allow students to complete the content normally covered at Rowan University in Elementary Arabic I, and to begin working on material from Elementary Arabic II.

Students need reliable access to a computer for this portion of the program. Students are also expected to turn on their cameras.

For the first semester beginning 3/26/24, students will use the Alif Baa textbook, published by Georgetown University Press, learning the pronunciation of Arabic sounds, letters and symbols which make up its writing system as well as over two hundred words of basic vocabulary, including important expressions for polite interaction. The textbook will be distributed at the in-person orientation on March 19.

Students will practice speaking in break-out groups led by native Arabic-speaking student assistants. Alif Baa uses an integrated method of learning both colloquial and formal (spoken and written for each) Arabic, and students will have access to audio and videos connected to the textbook. Given the theme of this program, students will focus on the Egyptian dialect, e.g., listen to the videos of students speaking in Egyptian dialect in “real-life” situations.

The outcomes from the pre-camp Elementary Arabic I lessons include:

  • Gaining proficiency in the Arabic alphabet: students will be able to read, write and pronounce Arabic letters and words with accuracy and fluency.
  • Acquiring basic vocabulary: students will acquire a basic vocabulary of Arabic words and phrases, including greetings, introductions, and common expressions.
  • Learning basic grammar: students will learn verb conjugation, noun declension, sentence structure, and word order.
  • Gaining cultural awareness: students will gain an understanding of the culture and traditions of Arabic-speaking communities, such as customs, values, and beliefs.
  • Developing communication skills: students will acquire basic communication skills in Arabic, including the ability to engage in simple conversations, ask and answer questions, and express opinions.

The In-Person Camp

The camp, which meets for 4.5 hours per day from July 8 to July 19, 2024 from 10:00am to 2:30pm, will present material typically studied in Elementary Arabic II as well as additional lessons focused on themes designed to introduce students to Cairo and Egyptian culture. Daily themes include:

  1. Families, cultural norms, and social etiquette in Cairo
  2. Cairo neighborhoods and the geography of the city (with a virtual tour)
  3. Business, business etiquette, and jobs in Cairo
  4. Historical sites and museums in Cairo (with a virtual tour)
  5. Universities and education in Cairo
  6. Markets (suqs) and shopping in Cairo
  7. Food and restaurants in Cairo
  8. Entertainment in Cairo: movies, traditional and modern music
  9. Geography and weather of Arab countries and of Egypt in particular

The working schedule for the first nine days will unfold as follows:

  • 10:00am - 11:30am: Students will engage in activities designed to develop their listening, pronunciation, reading, and writing skills related to that day’s theme.
  • 11:30am - 12:15pm: Lunch which will be sourced from local Arab caterers and Arab and Middle Eastern restaurants with menus written in Arabic; students will engage in informational conversation in small groups led by student assistants; speaking in Arabic, they will use the vocabulary related to that day’s theme.
  • 12:15pm - 1:45pm: Students will continue to engage in activities related to the theme of the day, employing the previously learned vocabulary, answering oral questions, and completing brief written assignments in order to improve their understanding and comprehension of the material. The lead instructor will provide feedback, answer any questions about the lesson, and go over homework assignments.
  • 1:45pm - 2:30pm: The last 45 minutes of each day will be dedicated to activities related to the theme. This will include engaging in role-playing exercises related to the day’s theme with the student assistants, watching movies and videos, participating in virtual tours, working with maps of Cairo, listening to music, etc.

The final day of camp will begin with a one-hour wrap-up, including presenting information about the post-camp and collecting feedback about the program. At 11:00am the group will travel to Philadelphia via a chartered bus, about a 30-minute drive, to have lunch in an Arab restaurant, where they will order food and engage in conversation in Arabic. After lunch, at approximately 1:00pm, the group will go to an Arab market in order to learn about goods produced in various Arab countries, and then leave at 2:00 p.m. to return to Rowan for good-byes.

The Post Camp:

Post-camp activities include four 90-minute classes (totaling 6 hours) to allow students to continue to improve their language skills as they review the material and topics covered during the camp and finish additional material typically covered in Elementary Arabic II. Students will continue to have access to online language resources and practice materials; by the end of the post-camp program, students will be capable of continuing their study of Arabic at the Intermediate I level.

The learning outcomes of the Elementary Arabic II portion of the pre-camp, camp and post-camp activities include:

  • Vocabulary expansion: students will acquire new words and expressions related to topics and themes from the camp, including the family, professions, business, shopping in markets, education, history, food, and weather through daily routines.
  • Verb conjugation mastery and tenses: students will become more proficient in conjugating verbs in the present, past, and future tenses.
  • Complex sentence construction: students will learn how to build more intricate sentences using conjunctions, prepositions, and other grammatical structures;
  • Cultural appreciation: students will deepen their understanding of Cairo and Arabic-speaking cultures, including their family systems, social norms, neighborhoods, history, business culture, and other cultural aspects.
  • Communication proficiency: students will further develop their communication skills, such as participating in more sophisticated conversations, asking and answering questions, and expressing their thoughts and opinions.
  • Students will earn six credits and be able to advance to the Intermediate Arab I level.

The curriculum is designed to facilitate a learner-centered classroom by providing students with opportunities to actively participate in the learning process. The lessons emphasize interactive activities, including pair and group work, role-playing, and games, which encourage learners to use Arabic in a meaningful context. These activities are designed to enhance learners' communication skills and to promote self-directed learning.

The program will provide ample opportunities for participants to practice their language skills in authentic contexts and to receive feedback in order to improve. Participants will receive feedback after completing activities through various means, such as peer feedback, self-assessment, student assistant feedback, and teacher feedback. Feedback will be specific, detailed, and actionable, allowing participants to improve their language skills. Participants will also reflect on their learning experience through other means, such as journaling, self-reflection, and group discussions. Reflection activities will help participants to internalize their learning, identify areas of strengths and weaknesses, and set goals for future learning.