1994 Ph.D., Computational Linguistics, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
1983 M.A., Linguistics, University of Kansas, U.S.A.
1978 B.A., English, University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan.
1978-1983 University of Kansas, U.S.A.
1983-1987 Umm Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia.
1988-1989 University of Auckland, New Zealand.
1989-1991 Umm Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia.
1992-1994 University of Auckland, New Zealand.
1995-1996 IIUM, Malaysia.
1996-2000 Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman.
2000-2006 University of Sharjah, UAE.
2007-2018 University of Jordan.
2018-Present University of Sharjah, UAE.
I have been teaching at university level for the past thirty-nine years. I taught multilingual, multicultural, and multiethnic students from America, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand, and South East Asia. I taught students of freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, master’s, and doctoral levels. I taught, at postgraduate levels, semantics, sociolinguistics, scientific and technical translation, computer-assisted translation, computer-aided research methods, machine translation, corpus linguistics, and computational linguistics. At undergraduate level, I taught, in addition to the English language skills, ESP courses like English for tourism, English for journalism, English for business, technical English, computer-assisted language learning, computer-assisted translation, etc. Below is a brief account of the philosophy that my practical experience led me to develop.
I believe that students are like children, they can see through us. If we are genuine, they know and if we fake it, they know. That is why wholehearted commitment to teaching is a crucial element in our success as teachers. Do not take a course if you do not like the subject! Do not take a class if you do not like the students!
Class dynamics are important. If the teacher finds a group of students in his or her class with poor motivation, their class dynamics will suffer and they may fail to give their best. I would in such a case be positive and make it my priority to motivate the students. This can be done in multiple ways but the most important in my mind is what we do as teachers, perhaps we need to change our technique or to appeal to a variety of learning styles. Perhaps we need to use our parental instincts and establish rapport with the unmotivated to find out the cause of their disengagement and to address it instantly if it relates to us or guide them to where they can seek help. When students see that we care, they will try harder to get involved in our classes.
Some teachers are so focused on knowledge that they come across as being uncaring. A teacher ought to be sensitive to the fact that they are dealing with human beings with emotions, with aspirations and insecurities. All these have consequences for the learning process that the teacher cannot afford to ignore.
I also believe that in language learning there is little value in meta-linguistic knowledge; therefore, it is critical that the teacher make all their teaching skill-oriented. All that goes on in the language classroom must be motivated by skill development and by the conversion of skill to behavior. There is no value in teaching students the past perfect if students do not know when it is appropriate. Students must learn how to read, write, listen, and speak efficiently without having to know the subjunctive, the present perfect continuous, or the third conditional, to cite but a few terms in our meta-linguistic jargon that a teacher must avoid.
I am aware of my limitations, so I never view myself as the fountain of knowledge. I do not have all the answers. If I come across something I do not know or if I am asked a question I am not sure of the answer to, I will tell my students, but I will also show them how to find out. In fact, a good teacher will not readily give answers; they will instead ask simpler questions that would gradually lead the student to the answer. The most memorable lessons are those learned from experience. So, learning by discovery is more valuable than learning by being told.
It is my conviction that my role as a teacher is to guide the learner, to open avenues, to guide and advise. I am very much like a swimming coach who interferes only to save life.