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Booklet promotes understanding of Arab and Muslim cultures

May 10, 2016 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor

If you’re a classroom teacher or school administrator who’s struggling to understand the culture and needs of Arab immigrant students in your school, the Alberta Teachers’ Association has a new booklet aimed at helping you.


Entitled Promoting Success With Immigrant Arab Students, the Association’s latest publication provides background information on the beliefs and practices of Arab and Muslim people, outlines some myths and misconceptions, and provides suggestions for teachers and administrators.

Intended to promote the success of students from Arab immigrant families and strengthen connections between schools and  the Arab community, the booklet is a response to changing demographics.

“Teachers are really appealing for any kind of resources to help them understand the different cultural backgrounds of their students,” said executive staff officer Andrea Berg.

As secretary to the Association’s Diversity, Equity and Human Rights (DEHR)Committee, Berg acted as liaison for the book project, which was produced in partnership with the Canadian Multicultural Education Foundation.

The tips contained in the booklet come from teachers who are of Arab descent themselves or who have worked extensively with people from that culture.

“It’s really speaking from the trenches, [from] people who are actually in the classroom doing the work, through their experiences,” Berg said.

While the resource may be particularly timely and relevant given the influx of Syrian refugees who are coming to Alberta, it’s applicable to a wide variety of students, Berg said.

So far the book is a hot commodity. Berg took 150 copies to the recent DEHR conference, and they disappeared.

“We can’t keep it on the shelf. We have a backlog of orders and can’t keep up with the printing,” she said. ❚

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