Arab Reading Challenge judges teach life skills too


arab reading challenge, arc, judges, life skills, teach, laila labidi

The challenges that semi-finalists have to partake in are designed to test different skills.


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sun 20 Oct 2019, 1:18 PM

Last updated: Sun 20 Oct 2019, 3:22 PM

For the members of the judging panel, their role goes beyond evaluation to equipping students with life skills and guiding them into becoming avid readers and thinkers.
On the judging panel, Dr Laila Labidi, assistant professor in the Arabic Language Department at the University of Sharjah, said the focus has been in helping contestants develop a deeper exploration of reading, honing their critical eye, and inspiring them to accept constructive criticism.
With more than 20 years in teaching, Labidi has mastered ways of constructive criticism, especially with contestants who have gone a long way to reach the semi-finals.
"We first acknowledge the contestants' presentation efforts before advising them with ways to improve their character analysis, critical eye, and articulation. We balance between considering the pressure they are facing and avoiding the possibility of giving them a wrong image about themselves."
Filtering down the 16 contestants into five finalists seems a daunting task, and the judges are looking at certain skills that will set the semi-finalists apart from the 13.5 million students across the Arab world.
"We are looking at a champion who has to earn the title among millions of others through their personality, confidence, expression and knowledge," Labidi said.
The challenges that semi-finalists have to partake in are designed to test different skills. The evaluation, Labidi said, depends on each challenge.
"When we ask contestants to change the ending of a short story, it puts to test their awareness of story techniques, revealing their depth, diversity and consistency of reading.
"An avid reader develops awareness of character growth and dimensions and flow of events and strengthens their linguistic skills."
Through her experience in the show, Labidi noted the need to diversify reading choices among youth.
She pointed the need to be open to modern and global literature.
"Children must be open to read history, geography, science and fiction to broaden their intellect," she added, noting the excellent skills and progress contestants have shown so far.
"They read more books, challenged themselves and faced their weaknesses. Viewers across the Arab world see this and see hope in the coming generation."

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