Abeer Mohamed Hamza
Based on 56 Users
Professor Mohammed is a very kind and interesting professor. She enjoys seeing her students learn, and even though Arabic is not an easy language, she takes you step by step throughout the process to ensure you can absorb all the information. I would definitely recommend her.
Sadly, Abeer is basically the only professor teaching the Arabic language classes at UCLA. Her class was so unorganized, unclear and poorly taught classes I have ever taken at UCLA. When explaining grammar, if a question was asked in English 4 times out of 5 she would not understand or answer the question correctly. If you asked more questions, she would begin to take it personally, getting seemingly infuriated with the student asking the question. Also, Al-Kitaab is probably one of the worst books to learn Arabic from, at least at the Intermediate level and above. Overall, UCLA has a strong Arabic program, but teaching adjuncts like Abeer sadly do not reflect that fact.
I took Arabic 102A, B, and C and Arabic 111A, B, and C with Dr. Mohamed. She is a fantastic Arabic teacher, one of the best I have ever had. She is also one of the nicest profs I have ever taken. She gladly answers questions after class and is very helpful during office hours. Her only fault is that she may be a little too nice, she rarely puts students on the spot or asks them do do things she knows they cannot. Her MA is in translation between Arabic, English, and Spanish and she is very good at helping students translate the meaning and is flexible with translations on tests. She explains difficult grammar concepts very clearly and almost always explains things in a much better manner than the book. She also does her best to speak as much Arabic in class as possible. She is a very generous grader and wants her students to succeed. The biggest problem with Arabic at UCLA is that the classes aren't demanding enough. Many students expect to be able to walk in, do the homework and "learn" Arabic and if they don't they blame the teacher. Learning a foreign language (especially a difficult one) is not like any other class. Constant review is required. You can't forget chapter 1 when you're in chapter 3. In fact, you need to know chapter 1 better in chapter 3 than you did for the chapter 1 test. Language learning is much like learning an instrument, you must build upon and constantly review everything in order to move forward. It's not like a History class where you can skate by and memorize a bunch of facts for a test and then brain dump, every test is a cumulative final. The Al-Kitaab text is not the best, but it's the one most universities use and in fact, there aren't many other texts to choose from. Use of Al-Kitaab also allows students from other universities to study at UCLA and vice versa.
My favorite class I've taken at UCLA was her Egyptian Arabic (111A, B, C) class. The first two quarters were difficult and I felt like I wasn't learning a whole lot, but by midway through the third quarter we had finally covered enough material that things started to click. All of a sudden I could just understand. I now can watch Egyptian movies and actually know whats going on. I am looking forward to taking Advanced Egyptian (Arab112) with Abeer next Fall.
Professor Abeer is a wonderful Arabic teacher. I had her for Arabic 102 (A,B, and C). She's extremely nice, she rarely gets angry, and she's great at explaining the grammar and breaking it down for students to easily understand. To the reviewer who complained about her explanations, I suggest that perhaps the question was poorly formulated. I've been studying Arabic for years, and I've had a lot of teachers. An interesting phenomena I've noticed is that students will ask a question, and the teacher will start giving an explanation for something else. It's usually because the question wasn't specific enough. You have to know what you're asking. This doesn't just happen in Abeer's class, so it's not a problem specific to her, or even specific to professors, but it directly applies to the students. As soon as the student really understands what it is they want to ask, Abeer's explanation is precise, simple, and clear. So I would say your “3 times out of 5” is that the person asking the question didn't know what they wanted to ask and the question was vaguely formulated. She has a PhD in English/Spanish/Arabic translation, and she's very good at it- in fact, her excellence in the English language also allows her to be more lenient in what she accepts for correct answers on a test. If she didn't understand English, people’s grades wouldn’t be as high. I've had teachers who marked the word "groundwater" wrong on students' tests because they interpreted it as "water under the ground" and that was the only translation they'd accept because they didn't understand the English language. So I think Abeer is superior in that respect- she DOES understand what you're trying to say, even if you word it poorly. So with the questions, I think the problem is that the student is just not being specific enough. If a question is vague, how can she be expected to answer that to the student's satisfaction? Arabic is a language with a lot of very specific rules- questions, then, need to be equally specific.
As far as organization goes, it's clear she plans ahead. I thought the lectures were organized very well. She clearly has a sense of what she wants to teach every day and what she wants to go over about each concept. Students hold up the progress by not preparing for class. Sometimes the new concept builds on the last one, so preparation and reinforcement of a concept is key to understanding the lecture. Sometimes the explanations in the book border on the ridiculous, but her explanations a lot of times are way better than the ones in the book, so again, this is evidence of her ability to break things down understandably.
Her only fault is that she’s too nice. She doesn't put her students on the spot, and is very lenient with homework and test answers. I think basically everyone gets an A in her class- showing up and doing the work almost guarantees an A. A bad grade in her class is not her fault. She has office hours and is very available, and is more than happy to help you if you have a problem. So there's no excuse for a bad grade because it's really, really easy to get a good one if you do all the assignments.
As far as the book, she didn't choose it, the department did, and she shouldn't be blamed for that. Also, there would probably be more time to cover interesting things if the students actually prepared for class, but no one ever does except for a few people, and of course you can only be as good as the weakest link, so the class goes slow and because of the people who didn't make the effort, you're chained to the book the whole two hours instead of getting to speak more or do something interesting and fun. It's amazing the amount of people who think they "know" Arabic because they sat in a class or spent a quarter at AUC, but when asked to translate a normal news article or even a simple text about the Wright Brothers, they can't, and then complain about texts that are long but still ridiculously easy for "intermediate" level Arabic. Or they think that they are awesome at speaking and in reality they are terrible and can barely be understood. (There's a huge difference between mokhtalef and motakhalef.) It's a miracle she knows what they're trying to say. I think she’s incredibly patient, very supportive and encouraging, and she definitely knows how to explain things well. She’s a great teacher and one of the best Arabic professors I’ve ever had.
Abeer taught my first ever Arabic class this quarter and she is the BEST language teacher I've ever had. I've actually taken three other languages aside from Arabic before and this is by far the best introductory class I've taken. Of course these specific classes don't come without a lot of preparation outside of class but Abeer really knows how to teach the material if you just put in the effort. I've never had a two hour class go by more quickly.
Also, everyone in my particular class had no expectation of learning as much as we did in a single quarter. She's just amazing and she really, really cares about student experiences in the class.
I had Arabic 1A, 1B, and 1C with Abeer. Don't let others talk you out of taking her. I learned so much from her, and although she's on the stricter side; she's sweet and always willing to help! Going in as a heritage speaker, I had others tell me not to take her because she hated heritage speakers. This is definitely false. Don't go in there thinking you already know everything and show her you're trying and you'll definitely get the grade you deserve! I was better prepared for intermediate Arabic because I took her, unlike a few of my fellow classmates who felt lost because they had other professors. Recommended for sure.
Sooo I have had Abeer 2 times, the other times I had Azza and Sahar, both are very kind and care about their students. Abeer is probably the best at teaching the grammar of the language by FAR.
However, she is also strict and at this point after teaching Arabic for 10 years or more she is very jaded I think. She's extremely strict, its not longer that easy to get an A.
She says she will grade you based on how much effort you seem to be putting in. The problematic thing about that is in your homeworks, you won't get a full score even if you tried because she will judge it "not enough effort" if it isn't good enough in her opinion. What sucks about this is its a language class and everyone puts in the effort, she has ALL KINDS of requirements for us, we literally come in 6 hours a week and do homework at least 2 hours after every class.
Her new policy is no absences without a doctor's note or some other evidence (an obituary for example). And those who do miss class for other less sanctioned reasons (out of town, brother's graduation, whatever) don't get to make up any dictations quizzes or tests they miss.
Also if the online drills don't work, sometimes they don't because its a buggy website, but anyway if they don't work its your fault. Go find a different computer because she will not make allowances. In fact one drill requires you to read a paragraph and record your voice. One student couldn't get the recording to submit through the website so she recorded it as an mp3 and sent it to Abeer's email. Abeer found this inexcusable and told us all in class we can never do this and it's our faults if we can't find a computer that works with the website. AND she sent a snide email saying the same stuff again.
She also is extremely intimidating and if you don't say something right depending on her mood she'll sigh and look at you...
When she's in a good mood she's very nice, and really in office hours she'll take the time to teach you whatever you need. Overall a good professor, but short tempered and jaded with everyone.