I am currently a tutor for Al-Bustan in an afterschool program called طموحات, or Tumuhat that serves students from grades three to eight in the ESL program. Initially, this began as a volunteering opportunity that I sought out in September with Al-Bustan. I have been tutoring students learning Arabic at Drexel since sophomore year and I naturally steered towards wanting to tutor again at Al-Bustan. With the help of Bridget Peak and David Heayn-Menendez, there were a number of students enrolled in the class, which we split by age group. One class consisted of students in grades 3-5 and another consisted of students in grades 5-8.
In the beginning weeks of the class, many students didn’t come with homework for me to help them with, so we primarily focused on reading stories, conversing in English, and doing show and tell for exercise speaking. My experience so far with the kids has been wonderful and exciting. Throughout the span of the program so far, I have noticed many of the kids open up to me since class one. They have relied more on speaking in English and have not worried about making mistakes during their sessions. In addition, more students began to become more engaged with the exercises that I would have during the beginning of each class. I am excited to see the continuation of this program and to see how it could flourish. Currently, many students come with homework help only, leaving little time for doing exercises and other activities. I am still trying to find that balance, but I am very optimistic about the future of this tutoring program for the kids.
Amna Khalafalla is a fourth year student at Drexel studying Political Science and Economics with a minor in Arabic. She is a Philadelphia native and was a previous ELL student in the Philadelphia School District. She is an official class tutor for students learning Arabic at Drexel. Al-Bustan has been so fortunate to have Amna join our tutoring program, Tumuhat.