Arabic Teachers Council of the South

The Arabic Teachers Council of the South supports the instruction of Arabic by attracting, training, and supporting professional teachers of Arabic. 

Its mission is to strengthen the capacity of Arabic teachers in the region by bringing them together, providing resources and training, recruiting new teachers, and supporting the development of pedagogically sound Arabic programs.

Join today! 

How does the Arabic Teachers Council of the South support Arabic teachers? 

The Arabic Teachers Council of the South is a community of educators from K12 schools, universities, and organizations in the southern U.S. states who are engaged in the instruction of the Arabic language, its dialects, and its multi-faceted cultures. The ATC of the South offers a community of support for these educators, provides professional development opportunities, and hosts cultural events.

For example, the ATC of the South organized and provided one online ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Workshop in Winter 2021 and another in Summer 2021. Federally-funded scholarships, such as the Critical Language Scholarship and the Boren Award, utilize the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) to measure student and program success. In addition, the ACTFL OPI is recommended as a standard assessment tool for college credit by the American Council on Education (ACE) and is accepted in all 37 states that participate in the Seal of Biliteracy initiative.

A total of 25 Arabic instructors from the southern U.S. and beyond were able to attend the trainings free of charge. Dr. Ghazi Abuhakema, Certified ACTFL OPI Trainer and Professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, facilitated the trainings. By offering these workshops, the Arabic Teachers Council of the South has elevated the capacity of its Arabic language instructors by introducing them to the ACTFL rating scale, the structure of the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI), and techniques of administering and rating the OPI, including applications in the language classroom. Participants observed and conducted live practice interviews across all proficiency levels (Novice through Superior). The trainings not only provided participants the resources and confidence to assess students using researched methods, it also introduced them to a cohort of supportive Arabic instructors and a community of practice. 

The online workshops fulfilled the first half of the ACTFL training required for OPI tester certification. Many of the participants plan to receive the second half of the training to become ACTFL Certified OPI Testers.


Why do we need an Arabic Teachers Council of the South?

The importance of Arabic in today’s world is uncontested among educators who understand that language is the gateway to understanding cultures and societies. Language proficiency and intercultural competence can lead to careers that are inaccessible to mono-linguals. Students who graduate with proficiency in Arabic, a language designated as “critical” by the federal government, will find careers in government, commerce, defense, foreign policy, conflict resolution, diplomacy, global health care, communication, education, and more.

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of Americans aged 5 and older who speak Arabic at home grew by 29% between 2010 and 2014 to 1.1 million, making it the seventh most commonly spoken non-English language in the U.S. Nearly 18% of U.S. Arabic speakers reside in the southern U.S., according to some estimates. In addition, the southern U.S. frequently benefits from expanded trade with the Middle East and North Africa. As relationships with the Arabic-speaking world and local Arabic-speaking communities continue to grow in importance in the southern United States, so will the demand for linguistic and cultural competence in Arabic.

To keep up with the growing demand, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities must provide high-quality and engaging Arabic language and culture programming. In order to do so, these institutions must train, hire, and support qualified instructors of Arabic. A 2017 report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences reports that “one of the biggest obstacles to improved language learning is a national shortage of qualified teachers.”

The ATC of the South addresses these needs. The ATC of the South supports the instruction of Arabic by attracting, training, and supporting professional teachers of Arabic. Its mission is to strengthen the capacity of Arabic teachers in the region by bringing them together, providing resources and training, recruiting new teachers, and supporting the development of pedagogically sound Arabic programs. 

The Arabic Teachers Council of the South is funded by Qatar Foundation International and hosted by the Atlanta Global Studies Center (AGSC). It partners with the Georgia Arabic Teachers Association (GATA), Alif Institute, and the Georgia Department of Education (GA DOE) World Languages and Workforce Initiatives. The ATC of the South is an umbrella organization for K16 Arabic teachers and stakeholders interested in Arabic language and culture. Membership in the ATC of the South is open to any Arabic teacher in the Southern U.S. and includes educators from schools in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma (pending), and Arkansas (pending). 

A website for members of the Arabic Teachers Council of the South is under construction. To join, please complete this short form.

ACTFL OPI Workshop

Date: July 1st to July 22nd, 2024

You are invited to apply for the 2025 Summer ACTFL OPI Workshop!

In Summer 2024, AGSC hosted a successful ACTFL OPI Workshop for Arabic Instructors, sponsored by Qatar Foundation International. We welcomed a new cohort of six teachers who participated in the workshop held from July 1st to July 22nd, 2024. This intensive program focused on enhancing teaching skills and methodologies for Arabic language instruction.

Additionally, we supported the Summer 2023 cohort as they progressed to the next step toward full certification. This continued support highlights AGSC's commitment to advancing the professional development of Arabic instructors.

K20 Arabic Teachers Workshop

K20 Arabic Teachers Workshop
Innovations in Teaching Arabic

March 2, 2024 

Time: 9:00am - 4:00pm ET

Location: Alif Institute, 3288 Marjan Dr, Atlanta, Georgia


Blurb / Gallery Set

How to Create Resources to Navigate the Richness of Arab Culture
Raja Benchekroun, Foreign Language & Culture Instructor, The University of South Florida


Teaching Grammar in a Proficiency-Based Curriculum
Dr Ghazi Abuhakema, Associate Professor, College of Charleston, SC

Transforming Arabic Education with AI: Dynamic Teaching, Engaging Activities
Dr Jomana Wilson, Vice President, Georgia Arabic Teachers Association



Connecting People with Places in the Arabic Speaking World through Public Snapchat Maps and Google Earth
Laila Kharrat, Department Chair of Classical and Modern Languages, The Episcopal School of Dallas, Texas


Preparing Students for Study Abroad: A Practical Exploration
Katy Whiting, Managing Director, Sijal Institute in Amman, Jordan



Using Films to Explore Social Justice Issues in Arabic Classes
Mariya Chakir, Senior Lecturer, Valdosta State University, Georgia




Blurb / Gallery Set

K20 Arabic Teachers Workshop
Empowering Educators of Arabic Language and Culture

April 29, 2023

Amana Academy
285 S. Main Street
Alpharetta, GA 30009

Register Here

Recorded Sessions |  ATCS Presentation



Blurb / Gallery Set

Arabic Connections across the Curriculum for Novice Learners

Djaouida Bensaadoun, Amana Academy

Benefits and Challenges of Project-Based Learning in the Arabic Classroom

Dr. Natalie Khazaal & Ahmed Ahmed, Georgia Tech

Expeditionary Learning Protocols in the Arabic Classroom

Hana Arslan & Rula Edilbi, Amana Academy

Arab Scientists in the Golden Age

Hadil Alghoul, Annoor Academy

Language & Culture Beyond Borders: A Teacher's Roadmap to Virtual Exchange

Caroline Sibley, UNC Chapel Hill

Integrating Arabic Grammar into Lessons: A Non-classical Approach to Teaching Grammar

Egbal Almahatwary, Oxford College, Emory University

Using the Pre-During-Post Framework and Active Learning Strategies to Improve Reading Comprehension

Session title in Arabic

Abeer Shehadeh, Al Falah Academy

Using the APPLL Test to Drive Student Achievement

APPLL session title in Arabic

Alia Alabsi, Al Falah Academy


ATCS Workshop Pictures

Blurb / Gallery Set

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee includes K12 Arabic educators, post-secondary Arabic instructors, and representatives from partner organizations. The Executive Committee assesses the needs and interests of Arabic educators in the South (through surveys, etc.), oversees ATC programming, sets priorities for the Council, and makes future plans. The Executive Committee meets three times per year: Fall, Spring, and Summer.

Members of the 2021-2022 Executive Committee

Executive Committee

Blurb / Gallery Set

Mrs. Engy Abdallah

Amana Academy
Georgia Arabic Teachers Association

Dr. Ghazi Abuhakema

College of Charleston
South Carolina

Ian Campbell

Georgia State University

Kinda Hanano

Alif Institute 

Laila Kharrat

The Episcopal School of Dallas, High School

David Marcus

Georgia Institute of Technology

Patrick Wallace

Georgia Department of Education

Katy Whiting

Sijal Institute

Dr. Jomana Hamid Wilson

Al Falah Academy
Georgia Arabic Teachers Association

Support for the Arabic Teachers Council of the South

The establishment of the Arabic Teachers Council of the South was made possible through support and funding from Qatar Foundation International (QFI). QFI engages a diverse, global community of learners and educators, fostering cross-cultural connections through the exploration of the Arabic language and the Arab world's histories, cultures, and peoples in student-centered learning environments. QFI is headquartered in Washington, DC, and is a member of Qatar Foundation (QF). To learn more about QFI please visit: