Why English courses? Answers from Dr. Hala Tawfik

"Although they [English courses] might seem pointless, they set you up for the rest of your life." - Dr. Hala Tawifk.

With every new academic year and every new class, a new wave of questions arise. Especially when the freshmen receive their schedules. At that moment, they start asking questions about their courses, particularly the English ones. So, in order to reply to their unanswered questions, we have conducted an interview with Dr. Hala Tawfik, Head of the English department in MIU.

What are the basis on which the English department categorizes the students?

  • The English department has a cut-off score on which they specify which student should be in which level. Let’s say that a student got 5 out of 10 on their placement test, then their placement would be Fundamentals of Academic English 1 (FAE1). Actually, the students’ writing skills is the main factor that qualifies each student  to fit in which course.

What are the advantages that students can gain from these courses?

  • First of all, the language of instruction in all the courses is in English. If the students are not up to that standard, then they won’t understand the content of their courses and they will need help. That’s why English courses exist.

Do you think these courses can benefit the students in their career life?

  • Yes, of course! They won’t work in a good place if they don’t have a decent level of English, as most work places require it. They have to have a minimum level of English to function.

Why isn’t there only one English course instead of all these different levels?

  • That’s according to their placement. If they’re good in English, they won’t need to start from FAE1.

Why has the curriculum of “Freshman II” changed several times?

  • We have a mission and a vision. Actually, our mission is to graduate students who excel in certain things. So we, as the English department, try to change the content of the course every once in a while to make sure that the course meets the students’ needs.

Why don’t the Scientific faculties take “Freshman II”?

  • This was a decision made by the faculties as they need to take on more courses in their core curriculum.

“Take English courses very seriously. They set you up for the rest of your life. English is very important for the job market. The skills we teach in the program might seem pointless, but they’re not. So take it very seriously”, this is how Dr. Hala ended the interview, delivering this message for all the new students. If you aren’t taking your English courses seriously, bear these words in mind and always remember that, whatever we learn, is of use.