Interview: Dr. Hanaa Wahba speaks about smooth practice of English as a second language

Thursday 21 Dec 2023

Combining the love of languages with years of experience in the American educational system, Dr. Hanaa Wahba is eager to share her knowledge and extensive pedagogical studies to encourage inclusive classrooms that allow for the smooth practice of English as a second language and the cultural exchange that indiscriminately comes with it.

AVEVA

 
1- At the beginning, tell us how your journey with teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) started.

It started with a love for communication and getting to know the different cultures I was exposed to. As an Egyptian American who has lived in the US for the past 25 years, I had early contact with different ways of living and different mindsets, and the only way to bridge that gap and encourage constructive communication was through learning, perfecting and teaching the English language.

2- Has your teaching style evolved as your career developed?

It has definitely changed as I gained more experience working closely with diverse students and finding out the different situations where they put their language to use throughout their daily lives. I am passionate about teaching and working with English language learners; I have rich experience teaching ESL courses in various university settings in the United States: Hofstra University, Adelphi University, and SUNY Old Westbury. I had a great opportunity to develop the ESL Curriculum at Hofstra University in Spring 2019, which includes 7 proficiency levels and follows ACTFL proficiency guidelines. I developed 22 ESL courses for different proficiency levels (novice, intermediate, and advanced) levels. All details about my biography, teaching interests, and research interests are posted on the Hofstra University website.

I served as the Program Manager of INTO Hofstra and Director of the ESL Curriculum for the past four years. I started my new position as an Associate Academic Director of All Academic Programs at INTO Hofstra University in Fall 2023. I am also still holding the position of the Director of the English as a Second Language (ESL) curriculum in the Comparative Literature, Languages, and Linguistics Department at Hofstra University. In this capacity, I manage language proficiency assessments for international students, mentor ESL faculty, and develop Professional Developments for faculty to discuss new practices to teach English language learners. I love inspiring new educators and encouraging them to use different teaching strategies and techniques to help students enjoy learning.

Without a doubt, these years of hands-on practice and assessments for students have added immense, practical input and effectiveness to my approach. This was also consolidated by the numerous studies I completed in the field, with a Doctoral Degree (Ed.D.) in Interdisciplinary Educational Studies from Long Island University and an advanced Certification in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Hofstra University.

We also cannot disregard the huge evolution of social media as well as online material and tools in the last few years. I’ve come to merge these very light and useful tools into my teaching methods and I think it’s indispensable for any educator now.

3- What platforms or mediums are you using to guarantee the best results for your students?

In my project, “All About Education by Dr. Hanaa Wahba”, I use an interactive way to help students level up their English by developing more vocabulary words and using English idioms to improve their conversational skills. I incorporate interactive mini-lessons through dialogue, role-play, and short videos to attract learners’ attention. I share short, self-recorded videos on “All About Education by Dr. Hanaa Wahba” pages about pronunciation, formal and informal English, English expressions to use in daily conversations, business English in the workplace, English idioms, and basic vs. advanced English.

I use Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to reach a wider audience and introduce quick tips that students and educators can use and apply immediately in their day to day. I’m also about to launch my YouTube channel for a more in-depth version of my methods, tips and tricks for a smooth sail through every day expressions and language use.

4- What are you trying to achieve through your platforms, and what are the professional services offered through these mediums?

l developed the English as a Second Language (ESL) Curriculum at Hofstra University and have rich experience teaching English language learners. I aim – through the integration of technology within teaching methods - to help English Language Learners enjoy learning and grow as quickly as the world calls them to.

Social media is a big part of my students’ lives. So, I decided to incorporate social media into my English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. I launched my educational pages under “All About Education by Dr. Hanaa Wahba” on different social platforms to encourage an easy discussion in the English language and motivate students to practice the language easily. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are conducive to conversational English. They are also great sources for users to practice their English in an informal and comfortable setting.

5-What is your dream and vision for the coming stage?

My immediate goal is to launch my YouTube Channel for “All About Education by Dr. Hanaa Wahba” very soon and achieve subscriber growth. I plan to post videos on a daily basis for all proficiency levels on the channel to facilitate the access of international students to a wealth of education and opportunities. The video content on “All About Education by Dr. Hanaa Wahba” would introduce a different teaching technique that facilitates learning and helps English language learners improve their English language skills. Other ESL faculty use my educational videos in their classrooms to help their students develop more vocabulary words and improve their communication skills.

“Acrostic Learning” is the method I’ll focus on to help English language learners develop more vocabulary words in a short period and enjoy learning English while talking about real-life situations in a fun and simple way. “Acrostics Teaching” helps learners to easily memorize and understand English expressions within a fun, exciting and relatable context. This teaching technique will inspire new educators to use it in their English as a Second Language (ESL) classrooms.

6- Do you target a specific age group?

The age group is not necessarily important because my “All About Education by Dr. Hanaa Wahba” channel is based on the student’s proficiency levels. I cover topics for novice, intermediate, and advanced-level students. As for now, the majority of my followers are between the age of 17-30 and l have other adult learners between 30-45.​

7- Was teaching international university students different from other types of students?

It was very enriching, as you derive from students’ experiences and learn about their unique cultures as you teach. It also shows you how people approach language and use it differently based on their individual outlook and habit. Professionally, it gives you new ways to look at language and makes you aware of almost every common trick that students may trip into. It comes in very handy as I teach more and more of them.

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