I'm sitting in my classroom. Like the naughty pupil who does his own thing while the teacher thinks he's studying, I work at my blog. But I'm the teacher, not the student. My small class of Emiratis are chatting in Arabic about last night's soccer match, I presume. I was told I am not to refer to them as students, as they are all adults and may be insulted by the suggestion that they are akin to school brats.
I've been teaching similar groups of Emirati young men for the past 6 1/2 years. They've ranged in age from 17 to the late 30's. It is easy to generalize and say that they are not keen learners. Why would they be, actually, when education and learning are presented to them more as a formality for the job or position they are otherwise guaranteed to get?
Despite that, there are always a few who are well-motivated and gifted. Likewise, while many are boisterous and insolent, there are the few who are quiet and reserved. This exception is one that really stands out. Such individuals seem to possess a spirit of quiet resolve and defiance. They appear to go against the grain of Emerati society which tends to enforce a common group identity above that of the individual.
My trainees, as I am asked to refer to them, are enjoying their chance to chat unfettered as much as I am my chance to blog. But it's time to get back to the job at hand.
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