I Heart Arabic : online "working procrastination" resources for Arabic language learners



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Reaching proficiency in Arabic requires a lengthy commitment, and as a result, it is important that students have access to resources that will help them maintain their motivation to learn. Many students are motivated to study because they want to experience the culture of Arabic-speaking countries; however, although the situation is improving, cultural awareness in Arabic language curricula at the elementary level has traditionally been overshadowed. While there are an abundance of online resources available for languages such as Spanish and Japanese that have a consistently strong focus on culture, there are very few comparable online resources for introductory-level Arabic language learners. To address this gap in the resources available to Arabic language learners, I created a website and accompanying social media system called I Heart Arabic. It is directed at introductory students of Arabic and aims to promote cultural awareness, introduce multiple forms of colloquial Arabic, and challenge negative stereotypes of the Arab world. In short, it provides what I have termed "working procrastination" to students of Arabic. "Working procrastination" acts as a break from the rigors of studying Arabic grammar and vocabulary. By focusing on Arab culture in a light-hearted manner, I Heart Arabic can re-motivate students of Arabic language, allowing them to return to their daily studies refreshed and re-energized.