My name is Nabila Ikram and I am a student at the University of
Michigan - Dearborn who, along with Dr. Karen Thomas-Brown, runs an
after-school geography program at MacArthur University Academy in
Southfield, MI. The program runs in 4-week sessions (class meets 2
times per week) and most of our students are in the range of 6th-8th
The initial intention of planning and executing this project
is to conduct a research study. The study is to evaluate the current
cultural perceptions our students may have regarding Arab or Muslim
culture and life and vice versa, (Arab or Muslim students'
perceptions on the American culture). The objective of the study is
to help raise cultural awareness and global tolerance in both parties
involved. The plan for this study consists of primarily three levels.
The first one is to administer a relevant pretest to all students to
gauge their perspectives and understanding about their own culture
and the culture of their pen pals. Then over the course of the
program, elements from "The Way We Are" lesson plan and
other activities, will be conducted to help each others students gain
awareness of the cultural environment in the U.S. and the pen pals'
respective country. Terminology such as "Muslim," "Arab,"
"Middle Easterner," "American," "9/11"
and others will be explored to develop accurate concepts that are
essential to gaining a basic understanding of each culture. The third
level, at the end of the program, a post-test, along with other
assessment tools, such as interviews, will be taken to evaluate how
students developed during this program and how their perspectives and
views may or may not have changed. Therefore, we are looking for a
class (anywhere from 5th-8th grade) to collaborate with that speaks
English proficiently enough for proper communication and that is
willing to cooperate and participate in the study that we have
designed. Specifically, we would like to collaborate with a class
that fits any of the following criteria: predominantly Arab (residing
in the West or East), predominantly Muslim (residing in the West or
East), Western (regardless of religion or ethnicity study will
then focus on comparisons between Western perceptions of the concepts
mentioned earlier). However, preference will be given to predominantly Muslim or Arab classes located in the East.
We will provide materials such as the pre-test
and post-test to the teacher to administer to his/her class, along
with other materials or information that may be needed to
successfully conduct this study. We ask that all teachers
participating in this study to maintain an objective and open mind
for the maximum benefit of all the students. We hope that this will
be a learning experience for all involved - children and adults
and will serve as a step towards making this world a better and more
If you are interested or have any questions, please feel free to leave a message or email me.