Dubai English Speaking School
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How does Arabic look at DESS?

Foundation Stage

Although Arabic is not taught as part of the curriculum, children in the Foundation Stages are exposed to a variety of Arabic vocabulary through play and the wider school environment. Teachers also use various classroom commands and songs in Arabic to prepare children for their learning in Key Stage 1.

Key Stage 1

Children begin learning Arabic formally as part of the curriculum in Year 1, focussing on learning Arabic letter sounds through active learning and song. In Year 2 children start a more topic based curriculum using a variety of resources continuing their learning through active strategies employed by the teachers. Children are streamed into ability groups from Year 2 onwards. By the end of Year 2 it is expected that most children are able to read and write simple phrases in Arabic.

Key Stage 2

In Key Stage 2 children continue learning a variety of vocabulary and grammatical structures in different contexts as part of the topic based curriculum. All language skills are incorporated into children’s learning, however the focus is on developing reading and writing skills providing children with a good knowledge of Arabic for continuing their learning in Secondary School.

Arabic A

All Arabic Speaking children follow the ministry curriculum, however teachers adapt this to incorporate active learning and make learning Arabic fun!

The expression Arabic may refer either to literary Arabic or to the many spoken varieties of Arabic or dialects. Literary Arabic is considered by most Arabs as the standard language. Classical Literary Arabic (al-fosha) is both the language of the present-day media and the written language across North Africa and the Middle East, as well as the language of the Qur’an.
The Arabic language is the 6th most-spoken language in the world out of nearly 6,800 known languages (around 256 million Arabic speakers worldwide).
Arabic is the language spoken throughout the Arab world and widely known outside it. Arabic has been a literary language for over 1500 years.
The Arabic alphabet derives from the Aramaic script (which variety, Nabataean or Syriac, is a matter of scholarly dispute) to which it bears a loose resemblance like that of Coptic or Cyrillic script to Greek script.

Arabic dialects are the many national or regional languages derived from Literary Arabic and spoken daily from Morocco to Iraq. These sometimes differ enough to be mutually incomprehensible. These dialects are not frequently written although a certain amount of literature exists mainly in Egypt and Lebanon.

Our Aims

  • Develop the ability to communicate accurately and effectively in speech and in writing within the range of the contexts.
  • Make linguistic connections: Students will explore the nature of languages as systems by making comparisons between Arabic and English, leading to an appreciation of the correct application of linguistic structures and vocabulary.
  • Develop an awareness of the nature of the language.
  • Encourage students to recognise that learning more than one language is a valuable life skill.

What skills will the children develop?

  • Recognise and respond to words, phrases and simple sentences in spoken Arabic.
  • Become aware of the connections between culture and language use in Arabic-speaking communities.
  • Identify and respond to features of written Arabic.
  • Use known words in Arabic to interact in everyday activities.

The Arabic Department offers Arabic for Arabic students, and Arabic for non-natives (Arabic as a second language). For Arabic speaking students we teach the Ministry of Education syllabus, but for the non-native students we choose the books which are suitable to their levels.

Note: Students are grouped according to their level of ability – beginners or advanced.


Useful and interesting links: – “Open the portal to learning Arabic” – “A multimedia learning experience”