Investigating Saudi Arabian teachers’ and students’ perspectives on teaching English by using the CLT Approach

Almohideb, Nouf (2019) Investigating Saudi Arabian teachers’ and students’ perspectives on teaching English by using the CLT Approach. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The need for English language as a resource for communication has increased significantly around the world for the reason of its status as the language of globalisation, worldwide communication, business, media, and research. The Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia has taken into consideration this need and initiated important policies to improve English teaching as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The goals of the TEFL curriculum are to emphasise the four basic language skills of English and to encourage students’ communicative competence. However, despite these initiatives, there has only been a slight improvement in the field of TEFL in KSA. Classroom teaching practice in some of the Saudi contexts and the English language curricula at the tertiary levels are inflexible and traditional learning and teacher-centred teaching methods are used. Research is needed to better understand to what extent and whether English language teachers in higher education have their own reasons for not teaching English for communicative purposes or why they may be unable to implement methods, such as Communicative Language Teaching (CLT).
This study aimed to investigate Saudi university teachers’ and students’ perceptions of CLT approaches in teaching and learning English. It also explored perceived challenges faced by the Saudi English teachers and students in their classes that might prevent them from teaching and learning for communicative purposes. In order to meet these aims, data gained from interviews with teachers, student questionnaires, textbook analysis and classroom observations were analysed, using a triangulation approach, and classified into various themes, to discover the participants’ perceptions regarding CLT. The main findings revealed that the present methodological practices of Saudi EFL teachers can be considered as corresponding to a post method approach where teachers can modify pedagogical strategies according to learners’ perceived needs. Although the teachers claimed in the interviews that they used traditional teaching teacher-centred methods, the findings from the other data sources suggest that the teachers were actually using CLT approaches in many of their classes. Moreover, the study identified a variety of challenges that teachers and students associated with CLT. On an individual level, it appeared that Saudi teachers and students had some difficulties accepting some of the main characteristics of CLT and were not very confident to use it, as they perceived it, in their teaching and learning practice. In addition, the data suggested that there were two key limitations that challenge Saudi teachers and students in terms of teaching and learning. Firstly, there are situational features, (such as teaching style and communicative activities, the examination system and classroom setting), and, secondly, socio-cultural features, (for example, the influence of culture and the widely accepted traditional teaching and learning methods in the Saudi context) that seem to be at odds with teaching English interactively.
The study concludes with recommendations that aim to support the development of the present situation of TEFL in Saudi Arabia. For instance, systematically implementing the CLT approach in English classrooms in Saudi schools and universities requires building a highly collaborative system that includes all key parties, such as training programme providers, teaching materials and the examination system.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Crichton, Dr. Hazel
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Nouf Almohideb
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-81760
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2020 08:44
Last Modified: 23 May 2022 07:59
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81760

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