A Report on the Cultural activities at the Department of English, Faculty of Education, Sana’a University [Archives:2004/766/Education]

August 23 2004

By Dr. Ayid Sharyan
Dept. of English,
Faculty of Education
Sana'a University

A number of cultural activities were organized by the Department of English at Faculty of Education, Sana'a during the second semester of the academic year 2003-2004, on the occasion of Sana'a as the Cultural City of the Arab World. The Cultural programs were directed towards enhancing student's learning and expanding their knowledge beyond the set syllabus. This emerges from a belief that extra-curricular activities are indispensable for university students, both post-graduates and under-graduates. The program was divided into three axes: specialized talks for postgraduates, general talks for undergraduates, competitions and academic trips for the undergraduates.
I. The first phase of the Cultural fete was geared towards the needs of MA students. The organized talks in the series were devoted to research, statistics and digital advancements. The postgraduate students are expected to benefit from the information technology. This cannot take place without some knowledge of computer programmes. This phase began with the course of Educational Statistics – taught by Dr Sharyan. In addition to the regular students in this course, a number of researchers and academic staff participated as presenters and listeners in the program from different fields. The key-note speakers of this phase are Dr Radman (Head of the Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Education, Sana'a Universality), Dr Ahmad Mahuub (the Teacher of Computer Sciences), Professor Mahuub An'am, the Vice Rector of Science and Technology, and Dr Abdulrhamn Al Eriani, the teacher of Statistics and Experimental Design at the Faculty of Agriculture.
On Tuesday 04-03-2004, Dr Radman (Head of the Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Education, Sana'a Universality) gave a talk on Statistics and Educational Research. The talk was addressed to researchers in general and MA students at the Department of English in particular. After focusing on the importance of educational statistics for postgraduate students, Dr Radman divided statistics into descriptive, inferential, and point of relationship. Then he introduces important concepts that are to be taken into account while statistical analysis as randomization, normal distribution, skewness and kurtosis of data in question. He gave some illustrations from the area of educational research carried out at the Faculty of Education. The talk was attended by some of the staff members as well as postgraduate students from the University of Sana'a and the University of Science and Technology.
After Dr Radman's presentation, Abdulhkaleq Al Dubiani (a senior MA student in the Department of English) presented a summary of his MA Thesis. His thesis dealt with ESP (English for Specific Purpose) at the college of engineering. The session was concluded by questions of students and some remarks by Dr Sharyan.
On Tuesday (20-04-2004), Dr Ahmad Mahuub conducted a workshop for MA students. He concentrated on the use of computer in analyzing data. The focus was on handling the SPSS (Statistical Package Of Social Sciences). He began by giving information about the software and the power of the software in question in handling statistical operations. He explained the different SPSS menus, e.g. Data, Analyze, View and Data Variable. The workshop was novel in terms of the theme and also in the way of presentation. The participants felt they were entering a new horizon in handling postgraduate research.
This was followed by a presentation of a summary of an MA thesis by Fazie (a senior MA student in the Department of English). The study focused on the needs of undergraduate students at the Department of English, Faculty of Education.
On Tuesday (27-04-2004), Professor Mahuub An'am, the Vice Rector of Science and Technology, conducted another workshop on Educational Research and the use of SPSS. He focused in his talk on reading and interpreting the results of tables produced by the package. The focus was on inferential statistics with special reference to T-Test, One-Way and Two-Way ANOVA. Mr Mohammed Al-Mazah (Ph.D. scholar in statistics) gave illustrations on the use of Chi-Square and Factorial Analysis as well as MANAOVA.
On Tuesday (11-05-2004), Dr Abdulrhamn Al Eriani, the teacher of Statistics and Experimental Design at the Faculty of Agriculture, gave a talk on Correlation, Regression & ANCOVA (Analysis of Covariance) and their use in research. He spoke about randomization of sampling, determining the dependent and independent variables and the processes of interpreting the results. He illustrated the meaning of linear regression by giving examples where the independent variable or predicator affects the dependent or predicated variable. Then he showed the meaning of ANCOA through examples from both the natural and social sciences where the variables are tested while one variable is under control.

II. The second phase of the cultural series includes talks by Dr Mahmoudul Hasani, Head of the Department of English, University of Science and Technology, Prof Sahu, Faculty of Education, Mahweet, and the editor of the Education Page in Yemen Times, Students Speech Debate at the Department, and a journey to Yemen Times.
On Saturday (03-04-2004), Dr Mahmoudul Hasani, Head of the Department of English, University of Science and Technology- Yemen, gave a talk on English Poetry up to the 18th Century. Dr Hasani gave an overview to the classical period that includes, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Marlowe, Herbert, Herrick, Dryden, Samuel Johnson, and Pope. He spoke about the recurrent features of the period as wit, elevated style, elegiac tone, satiric nature of the period, appearance, etc. He gave instances from Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Church Yard, John Dryden's Mac Flecknoe, Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock to illustrate his point on the diverse nature of the classical period. This was followed by questions of students that were answered by Dr Hasani. Prof Abraham and Dr Sharyan participated gave some comments on the issues raised by Dr Hasani.
On Wed. 07-04-2004, Prof Sahu, the editor of the Education Page in Yemen Times gave a talk on 19th Century Poetry. Prof Sahu began his talk by some funny situations that he experienced when he arrived to Yemen. Teaching in the Faculty of Education at Al Mahweit and Khawlan, gave him a unique and first hand experience of the problem of Yemen students in learning English. The idea of the Educational Page in Yemen Times came into being through interactions with a section of students who want to master English but faced difficulties. He, then, touched on the concept of romanticism, as a major movement during the 19th century England which emerged as a reaction to neo-classicism. After giving the background of romanticism and early romantic poets, as well as the pioneers of romanticisms as Robert Burns and William Blake, he spoke on romantic features as loneliness, sad tone, simple language, rustics life, focus on common man, etc. This was as a reaction to some socio-economic and sometimes political factors as the French revolution. Though the time was limited but the talk was highly informative and the students were so much engrossed in the topic so much so that they wanted it to be repeated.
On Wednesday (21-04-2004), the students invited two speakers from the Centre of the Call for Islam. Anwar Al-Awlaqi spoke on The Truth in Islam. He illustrated how Islam is truth and truth is Islam by giving scientific and historical examples from the Holy Qura'an and the Bible. He threw some light on major issues as the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims. He drew the audience attention to the duty of a bilingual Muslim to give Islam as it is without any change or polish. One has to convey only the truth without any insistence on the recipient of the message. It is left to the receiver. There was a lot of interaction with students in the presence of some of the staff members as Prof Abraham and Dr Sharyan. The talk was followed by a lot of questions about the way to call to Islam, Muslims and the media, the life of Muslims minorities in different parts of the world, the challenges that face Muslims nowadays. When asked about the treatment of the students and the non-Muslims teachers, Anwar said that students owe gratitude and thankfulness to their teachers whether Muslims or non-Muslims.
The Department organized a debate for students at all levels. This was followed by a final debate. It was attended by students of the Department, staff members, Head of the Department Dr Mohammd Al Mekhlafi, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Professor Ismail Masoud, and judges from other Faculties. Prizes were disturbed for the winners. Such an event was not held at the Department for a long time.
This phase concluded with a journey to Yemen Times. This was organised by the first level students who show boundless enthusiasm in learning and cultural activities. More than a hundred and fifty students accompanied by Dr Sharyan came to visit the first English Newspaper in Yemen, Yemen Times so as to gain firsthand knowledge about the paper they read two times a week. The students were received by the Yemen Times editor Waleed Al Saqaf and the staff in the paper who cordially welcomed the visitors. The students were impressed by the new printing press. The editor spoke to the students about the paper and the ups and downs that pose some threat for the independent press. Then he and the staff showed the students the different stages of processing the news from the beginning to the end. He wished some of the students would be qualified to work in the paper in the future. At the end, in response to a request from students to obtain the paper in the university, the editor offered to arrange to supply them with copies of the paper with some discount for university students if they manage to organize for obtaining the paper at the university.
Finally the cited activities that were held at the Department of English, Faculty of Education- Sana,a University can never be achieved without the support of many people who work silently for the benefit of others. Thanks are due to all of those who participated or supported the Cultural Series and rendered it a success during the second semester of the academic year 2003-2004. With the help of students, colleagues, and employees, we look forward to do better in the future.