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Am I taking too many (or not enough) audio recordings in my Arabic sessions?

This is a question that frequently arises for Arabic language learners.

In Arabic sessions, a nurturer will make audio recordings for a participant based on the current activity they are doing so that the participant can progress in their understanding and speaking ability. Participants will then listen to that recording together with their nurturer, working to clarify new words and grammar patterns. Additionally, participants have access to Shababeek’s online listening library. This audio library contains hundreds of recordings created by our staff that engage participants in important cultural and linguistic concepts, as well as introduce new vocabulary words. 

What’s important is not how many of these recordings you do or don’t take. Rather than thinking in terms of the number of recordings you can cover per session, think instead about the length

How many minutes of new audio exposure should I have in a session?

Here’s a helpful rule of thumb: For each hour of a session you should be able to work through clarifying 2 minutes of new material (audio recordings).  In other words, if it takes more than 30 minutes for you to get through 1 min of audio, you may be taking something too dense or challenging for your level. 

If you’re going through recordings much faster than that, you might need to start taking more challenging material. However, moving through a lot of audio quickly helps you discover and pour in new content, and this includes words you already know well. This helps you move to the next phase more rapidly if recordings are not yielding many new words that need clarified. 

Beware of chit-chat

A lot of Levantine Arabic learners get bogged down in early phases by spending too much time on side conversations. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of chit-chat, but it can slow down progression to phases where you will be doing much more conversing as the primary activity. Instead, press through those recordings more rapidly to get on to more challenging resources.  And if you do spend some time chatting, make sure any new words are added to your word log or captured in a quick summary recording so they are not disconnected from the context they belong.