University at Albany

Excellence in Teaching (Teaching Assistant)

Each year, the University at Albany honors special members of its community with Excellence Awards denoting exceptional contributions to the life of the campus. Two faculty members received this tribute in 2012 for Excellence in Teaching (Teaching Assistant).

Nabila El GuennouniNabila El Guennouni, Languages, Literatures & Cultures

Literacy plays an important role in Nabila El-Guennouni’s life—she mastered classical Arabic and French, becoming an accomplished writer in both, though her mother never learned to read and write. She brings from her native Morocco to each of her classes a unique appreciation for the privilege of literacy and learning.  Her students say things like:  “In my college career I have never had such a passionate teacher who cared as much as she does about education and language…this teacher inspired me to appreciate a different culture.  Until now, I never cared too much about another language and now I can’t stop talking in French!”

This praise was hard-won.  When Ms. El Guennouni taught her first class, she was unfamiliar with student-centered teaching methods. She took suggestions from classroom observations to heart. She worked to strengthen her teaching, taking pedagogy courses in her department and learning strategies for student engagement at ITLAL.  Now she incorporates drama, structured writing assignments, and group work into her classes. The impact she has on students comes from the fact that she teaches them to think not only about what they are learning, but about how to learn. She spends hours outside of class in office hours, conversation and coffee sessions, and extra pronunciation sessions.  One student commented: “To this day, I still apply the same principles she gave me. She taught me much more than French.  I was given a new perspective on how to learn and step out of [my] comfort zone.” Ms. El-Guennouni accomplishes this without lowering standards.  The laughter she brings and respect she commands in the classroom has significantly increased enrollment in other pronunciation courses. To the SIRF question “Would you recommend the course?” one response says it all:  
“Yeah. Baptism by fire!”

Excellence in Teaching (Teaching Assistant)

Nabila El Guennouni Allen Wong
Nabila El Guennouni
Languages, Literatures & Cultures
Allen Wong

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