A descriptive study on the experience, attitudes and perceptions of

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EFL LEARNING STRATEGIES IN KSA

A descriptive study on the experience, attitudesand perceptions of English majors in Taibah University towardscurrent TESL methodologies applied by their teachers

Unit

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Supervisor

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Dedication

Declaration

Abstract

Resultsfrom previous studies on second/foreign language learning both in KSAand other non-Anglophone countries indicate that language learningstrategies play an influential role in the process of languagelearning. The perception towards these strategies/methods and theirfunctioning in achieving the objectives of EFL learning vary widelyand are influenced by numerous factors. This current research makesan attempt to present a synthesis of research results on attitudesand perceptions of English majors at Taibah University towardsEFL/ESL teaching methods /styles/strategies employed by theirteachers. Data from a sample of 20 participants was collected throughquestionnaires that used largely formalized and standardizedquestions to find their views. Data was analyzed through thematicanalysis to find recurring themes from the responses.

Acknowledgements

Iam sincerely grateful to ………, my supervisor and mentor in thisproject for his/her unending support, guidance and encouragementthroughout all the stages of this project.

Glossary

EFL English as a foreign language

ESL English as a second language

L1 First Language

L2 Second language

LLS Language learning strategies

KSA Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

TEFL Teaching English as a foreign Language

TESL Teaching English as a second language

TESOL Teaching English to speakers of other languages

Table of Contents

Abstract 4

Acknowledgements 5

Glossary 6

1.0 Introduction 8

1.1 Background 10

1.1.1 The country 10

1.1.2 Background of English learning and teaching in KSA 12

1.1.3 Place of English in the Saudi Higher education system 14

1.1.4 Saudi English teaching system 14

1.2 Challenges facing ESL teaching and learning 15

2.0 Research plan 16

2.1 Research questions 17

2.2.0 Research purpose 17

2.2.1Objectives 17

2.2 Significance of the study 18

3.0 Literature review 19

3.1 Introduction 19

3.2 EFL methods 19

3.2.1 Grammar Translation 20

3.2.2 Direct Method 20

3.2.3 Audio-lingualism 21

3.2.4 Humanistic Approaches 22

3.5 Past primary studies 23

3.6 Summary 28

4.0 Method 28

4.1 Study design 28

4.2 Methodology 29

4.3 Instrumentation 30

4.4 Informed Consent 31

4.5 Authorization and ethical considerations 31

4.6 Sampling 32

4.7 Participants 32

4.8 Research settings 32

4.9 Research limitations 34

5.0 Results and discussion 34

5.1 Summary 48

6.0 Findings and recommendations 49

7.0 Conclusion 51

References 52

1.0 Introduction

There are about one million students enrolled inSaudi universities and colleges (Saudi Embassy 2015). Most of thesestudents have undergone several years of learning English inelementary and secondary schools. Some may choose to study English asa major or minor at the university level. Others may seek to pursuehigher learning abroad with majority of them ending up in the US,Australia or UK where English is the official language. Studying inthe west is also coupled with the expected proficiency in Englishlanguage and a foreign accent which is viewed as a prestigious skillthat can lead to better paying jobs (Moskovsky &amp Alrabai, 2009).The West’s sociocultural environment and better quality educationin those countries are the main motivators for studying abroad(Al-Seghayer, 2012). Bonus perks to studying abroad are increasedemployability and social prestige. This huge demand for Englishproficiency emanates from the establishment of English as the soleinternational language with 85% of global organizations using Englishas the official language as well as 90% of online content being inEnglish (Al-Jarf, 2008).

Such dominance by the English language whosenative speakers are comparatively few has driven many non-Anglophonecountries to introduce English language as a subject at variouslevels of schooling. Same as KSA, non-native English learners haveopted to immigrate to English-speaking countries to improve theirproficiency in English not just through classroom learning but alsothrough interacting with native speakers of the language (Al-Jarf,2008). As a subject and a language, the approach to teaching Englishis largely different to other teaching methods applied in othersubjects. However, competence and proficiency in the language islargely dependent on the teaching methods used in imparting knowledgeand skills in the language. Academic performance in other subjectsmay not necessarily provide an accurate prediction in performance ina language. Furthermore, enthusiasm and investment in languagelearning may n tiled desired results at all times. Abdellah (2012)for instance notes that reading achievement among Saudi Englishmajors has been reported to be of low quality despite the governmentinvesting a lot towards English language proficiency among itscitizenry.

L2 proficiency is largely influenced by the L2teaching methods. Teaching methods may vary by instructor choice,curriculum and teacher skills in applying the methods. The majorityof Saudi ESL learners in secondary and sometimes universities learnthe language through unreliable methods such as memorizing phrasewhich they do not understand (Moskovsky &amp Alrabai, 2009).Nonetheless, following pedagogical and curriculum changes n thecountry, new and modern EFL methods are being used. These methodsalone cannot guarantee EFL learning and teaching success. Theapplication of the method, motivation towards teaching/learning EFLand even the attitudes that both learners and teachers have towardsthese methods also play a critical role.

1.1 Background 1.1.1 The country

Saudi Arabia, which was established as a republicis 1932, is the world’s leading oil producer. This has made thecountry a key player in global economic and geopolitical affairs. Itsvast natural resources deposits and its growing geopoliticalinfluence in the region have seen the country host thousands offoreign expatriates largely from western countries (Ojha,2011). Consequently, English as a language has grown in popularityand use in the country and more so in organizations that interactfrequently with expatriates. In fact, English is the second mostcommonly used language in the country, although it is not officiallyrecognized as a second language (Al-Jarf, 2008). The growth inEnglish has grown in use and popularity through support by Article 50of the Educational Policy in the KSA, which states that studentsshould learn at least one foreign language to increase theircompetence in relating with speakers of other languages (Al-Seghayer,2012). This is one of the new ways that English is spreading from itsparent country, Britain.

Conversely, the majority of non-native Englishspeaking countries around the world such as the USA, Canada, NewZealand, Australia and several African countries came to adoptEnglish through colonization. Some of these colonizers settled inthese countries and set out to assimilate and indoctrinate thenatives to their own culture and language. However, KSA has neverbeen colonized by Britain. In the countries that British explorersvisited, they desired to actively spread English and their culture toincrease their global dominance through trade and occupation. Such anapproach was not always perceived well as many traditional societiessuch as the native Indians of Canada resisted (Larsen-Freeman, 2000).During colonization, there was a basic translation of common wordsand phrases regularly used such as greetings were used (Ahmed,Yassatorn &amp Yossiri, 2012). Today, the situation is verydifferent. Non-Anglophone countries are encouraging their people tolearn English voluntarily for their own good. Therefore, the growingpopularity of English in the KSA is largely influenced by businessprospects and government policy.

Interestingly,the same government is wary of over-dominance of English in thecountry which may be crowding out Arabic. A 2012 directive from theInterior Ministry instructed all government departments and privateagencies to abandon some western/English related practices. Forinstance, front office staffs at major government facilities andhotels were instructed to answer telephones in Arabic as opposed toEnglish. Further, all government and private agencies were requiredto shun the Gregorian/English calendar in favour of the Arabic Hijricalendar (Saudi Arabia bans, 2013). This clearly demonstrates thatwhile the government is aware of the importance of English to thenation, the same government is concerned that English as a languageis being used a cultural vehicle for western ideas that are basicallycontrary to conservative Islamic teachings and culture.

With that said, teaching experts and linguists allagree that gaining L2 proficiency requires proficiency in the cultureof target language speakers. Culture comes in handy in that learnersget to apply the language in a cultural context as intended giventhat language is a part and parcel culture (Larsen-Freeman, 2000).Empirical observations would also reveal that non-native Englishlearners who school in western countries where they study thelanguage in its cultural context are better placed in theirproficiency than those who school in KSA (Smith, 2005). In the caseof government policies in KSA, there is conflict on the intended roleof English as a foreign language. To start with, the government iseager to curtail increased use of English in business circles insideKSA which is crowding out Arabic. Secondly, English has no legalrecognition as a second language in the country despite the growingpercentage of the population that speaks it and the language beingoffered in elementary schools.

1.1.2 Background of English learning and teaching in KSA

English was introduced into the Saudi Arabiansociety by the Saudi government. After the establishment of theDirectorate of Education in 1923, before, the kingdom was formed in1932, English was introduced as foreign language alongside Frenchinto the Saudi Arabian educational system in 1927. The language wasregistered as a subject at the secondary school level with nodefinite learning objectives identified. With the establishment ofthe intermediate level, specific instructional objectives and syllabifor English language were established. This was later to bereplicated in secondary schools. With education being fully funded bythe government, it was seen as a direct government effort to increasethe number of English speaking locals (Al-Seghayer, 2012). This wasin recognition of English as a world language.

In a number of books and models exploring thespread of English around the world, the term ‘Englishes’ iscommon (Bolton, 2006 McKenzie, 2010). This plural term is used inthe belief that there are various types of the English language.Bolton (2008) indicates that the term Englishes recognizes theexistence of functional and formal variation in the language, and itsinternational acculturation, for example in KSA. Using this logictherefore, it can be argued that there exists Saudi Arabian Englishor Gulf English in respect to acculturation and localization of thelanguage. One renowned expert in sociolinguistics, Pico Iyer (1983)indicated “there is not one English language anymore, but there aremany English languages….each of these English is creating its ownvery special literature, which, because it doesn’t feel oppressedby the immensely influential literary tradition in England is somehowfreer” (Bolton, 2006, p. 369) Such a language therefore belongs tothe people who use it as their first language and those who use it asan additional language, whether in localized of standard form. Boltonfurther explores this issue to cite Llazmon (1983) who says that thenew varieties of English as identifiable with four essential sets offeatures: ecological, historical, sociolinguistic and cultural.

For over 70 years since the introduction ofEnglish Language in the Saudi Arabian education system, the Englishlanguage curriculum has evolved in various ways. The initialcurriculum developed in the country was made with assistance fromforeign expatriates and teachers guided by particular curriculumdevelopment model. A curriculum aimed at streamlining the acquisitionof the language by learners. Stenhouse (1975, p. 4), as cited inPring, 2004, p. 124 defines curriculum as “an attempt tocommunicate the essential principles and features of an educationalproposal in such a form that it is open to critical scrutiny andcapable of effective translation into practice”. True to the word,the KSA English language curriculum has been critiqued by varioussources. One of the core accusations is that the English taught inSaudi Arabian schools is not useful beyond the classroom. For thisreason, a number of evaluations and changes have been made to meetcurrent needs.

1.1.3 Place of English in the Saudi Higher education system

As mentioned, majority of students in KSA pursueEnglish major to increase their skills level and land better payingjobs. The larger government policy higher education has wider targetsfor inclusion in English in the curriculum. The Higher Committee forEducational Policy cited in Rahman and Alhaisoni (2013, p. 112)stated that the core purposes of education of education in KSA are:

  1. To have the student understand Islam in a correct and comprehensive manner.

  2. To plant and spread the Islamic creed, and to furnish the student with the values, teachings, and ideals of Islam.

  3. To equip him with various skills and knowledge, and to develop his conduct in constructive directions.

  4. To develop the society economically, socially, and culturally, and to prepare the individual to become a useful member in the building of his community.

1.1.4 Saudi English teaching system

As mentioned in the previous chapter, English hasevolved into a global language. Non English speaking countries, KSAincluded have joined the clamour to learn English to increase theirinvolvement in global affairs. In so doing, teaching of English as asecond of foreign language has gained momentum. Policy makers andsociologists have developed several theories that attempt to explainthe alignment of nations based on their economies, labour, people andlanguage among others. The Immanuel Wallerstein world system theoryis one such theory that has been applied to explain the place androle of English in KSA that would affect the teaching methods used.This is macro scale approach to the social change. The world systemfocuses on the world as opposed to the nation states. The theoryasserts that aspects such as language should not be based on countryafter country, but should be global phenomena.

The education system is also subject to the Saudicultural, social and political environment. While many westernnations religious freedom is widely practiced, this is not the casein KSA. Islam as a religion and a way of life plays a dominant rolein the education system. The Sharia law which guides the country isalso applied in the education sectors. Gender separation is a keydifferent between western education and KSA education. Except in afew cases, learners of different genders are not allowed to mix andinteract in school even though they pursue the same syllabus.Additionally, male teachers are not allowed in learning institutionsof females and vice versa. This has a huge impact in the learningprocess.

This approach to the education system has denied learners greatopportunities to benefit from gender interactions. Additionallylearning institutions are progressively required to be genderdiscriminatory in hiring. This kind of system not only denies theeducation system the diversity that it requires in thoughtdevelopment but also denies some learning institution access to someof the best and most qualified instructors in EFL and other courses.For instance, it is notable that in the western countries, femaleteachers are more concentrated in languages, humanities and socialsciences as opposed to sciences. This could imply that females allover the world dominate TEFL and thus male university may faceunprecedented difficulties in landing qualified male EFL teachers inthe advanced level.

1.2 Challenges facing ESL teaching and learning

AlthoughKSA has made considerable progress in western education and more soin EFL learning, there are key challenges that continue to face thecountry. Some of the challenges are country-specific, policy orientedand others and driven by context. All these challenges are likely toimpact the teaching methodologies that can be applied in the country.They include:

  1. Improperly trained teachers or inadequate teaching methodology.

  2. Teacher-centred rather than learner-centred activities.

  3. Students’ aptitude, initial preparedness and motivation: School and university teachers often complain of the low proficiency of their students. They also claim that students are not motivated to learn.

  4. Compartmentalization vs. whole language approach.

2.0Research plan

This section illustrates the plans that theresearcher made in preparing for this study and notably collectingdata from the field. To do this, the researcher was guided by theinstitution’s Graduate student’s expectations and the study’spurpose which is to gain an understanding of the perception of SaudiEnglish majors at Taibah University.

2.1 Research questions

  1. What are the students’ perceptions and attitudes towards the current EFL methods being used?

  2. Are Saudi university students satisfied with the EFL teaching methods currently used?

  3. How efficient are EFL teaching methods in enhancing the proficiency of students in EFL.

  4. What is the most prevalent LLSP (Language Learning Style Preference) in Saudi Arabia university students that are studying English major?

  5. Which are the most prevalent strategies for vocabulary learning that the Saudi students use in comprehension?

  6. Is there a link between the use of vocabulary learning strategies and the performance of the students in writing?

2.2.0 Research purpose

The purpose of this research is to ascertain whether Saudi universityEFL majors are satisfied with the current EFL learning strategies andmethods and how they perceive them against the standard expectationsof these methods and strategies as presented by the literaturereview.

2.2.1Objectives

This research initiative involves a complexprocess that involves sourcing, collecting and analyzing data that isspecifically designed to answer research questions. Therefore, theresearch will collect, analyze and interpret guided by a broad set ofquestions organized into research objectives listed as below:

  1. To find out the most prevalent LLSP (Language Learning Style Preference) among Saudi university students that are studying English major

  2. Identify the most prevalent strategies for vocabulary learning that the Saudi students use in comprehension

  3. To investigate whether there is a link between the use of vocabulary learning strategies and the performance of the students in writing

  4. To find out the perception and the attitude of the students towards the current EFL methods being used.

  5. To find out whether the students are satisfied with the current EFL methods being used.

2.2 Significance of the study

The study seeks to explore how Saudi universitystudents majoring in English relate with the current TESOLmethodologies being employed by their teachers/lecturers/instructors.The findings will be descriptive in nature and will give a view ofhow learners perceive and relate to these teaching methodologies. Thestudy will be helpful to individual teachers, curriculum designers,teacher training institutions and trainers, and policy makers onexisting teaching constraints faced by the EFL teachers in SaudiArabia. Additionally, it will raise pedagogical understanding byguiding less experienced teachers especially new to the culture andcontext of teaching in KSA to reflect on their teaching practices andexisting methodologies. For prospective EFL teachers, the study willassist them in developing adaptive skills in the case of teachingEnglish majors in KSA.

3.0 Literature review3.1 Introduction

This section of the dissertation reviews relevantliterature on EFL learning methods/styles/strategies as well asprevious studies on the subject and information on the effective EFLteaching practices and methodologies. After reviewing the theory onthe strategies and styles, the paper then previous studies whereprimary studies are given precedence while other peer reviewedjournal articles, conference proceedings, and relevant literature arealso utilized to provide a concrete picture of existing informationon the subject. Primary research studies that address EFL teachingand learning in the Saudi higher education context were preferred asopposed to EFL teaching method studies from other countries in orderto factor in the issue of context. The researcher further restrictedthe primary studies to those not older than ten years. This isbecause recent primary sources will provide updated information withthe most recent information and EFL methods.

3.2 EFL methods

Borrowing largely from research there are severaldistinct methods of teaching L2 that have emerged. It is worth notingthat not all the methods below were used in KSA. They include:

3.2.1 Grammar Translation

This is also called the classical method. It isone of the earliest TESOL methodologies applied widely around theworld. In fact, the name classical method originated from the use ofthe method in teaching classical languages Latin and Greek(Larsen-Freeman, 2000). Initially, themethod was applied with the intention of allowing students learn thegrammar of their native language by applying the grammar rules of aforeign language. This was mainly because natives or target studentsdid not have reading and writing skills or ways to grammar rules toformalize their language. It was therefore thought that by learninggrammar rules of a foreign language (target language), they would bebetter placed to apply grammar rules in their native language. Forthis reason, the method was criticized by early scholars such asRouse (1925) who termed it as a method through which “to knoweverything about something rather than the thing itself” (cited inRichards &amp Rodgers, p. 6).

After such criticism, the intentions of methodwere changed. The new goal of teaching foreign languages using themethod was adopted as to improve learners intellectually(Larsen-Freeman, 2000). However, this was also problematic becausethe method was not created by the originators to serve in theclassroom environment. Howatt &amp Widdowson (2004) indicate thatprior to the 19thcentury foreign language learning was a preserve of adult scholars.Furthermore, the method was best suited for self-study situations butnot for use by instructors. In spite of the issues raised, the methodcontinues to be applied today given that it can be used to achievesome goals of EFL.

3.2.2 Direct Method

Just like the grammar translation method, thedirect method has been around for many years. The only differencebeing that the direct method was developed to correct theinefficiencies of the former, specifically in addressing speaking andlistening skills in the target language. The method obtains its namefrom the fact that meaning of words in target language is conveyeddirectly without translation or recourse to L1. The meaning of wordsis conveyed in any format such as demonstrations, visual aids, andillustrations but not through translation. In fact, no translation isallowed whatsoever under this methodology (Larsen-Freeman, 2000).

Nonetheless, language experts are opposed to the consideration of thedirect approach as a language teaching methodology. Prof. Gurreynotes that

It is essentially a principle, not teachingmethod, a system that operates through many methods a way ofhandling the new language and of presenting to the class. It dependson direct bond, that is, a direct association, between word and thingand between sentence and idea instead of an indirect one through themother tongue.

Anothercriticism levelled against the methodology pertains to the assumptionthat the method takes towards acquisition of L2. The method assumesthat L2 acquisition follows the same path that a baby takes towardsacquisition of L1 in the early stages of development. Ideally, babiesdo not have any idea of the mother tongue but learn with time as itis used with visual aids and demonstrations In so doing, the methodassumes that L2 learners are blank pages and the role of theirexperiences, culture and L1 in learning and interpreting new languagedo not count (Smith 2005, p. 194).

3.2.3 Audio-lingualism

This is one the recent methodologies specifically developed toaddress the shortcomings of the past methods. The development of themethod was spearheaded by Charles Froes from the University ofMichigan and thus the method has sometimes been named the MichiganMethod. What sets this method apart from its predecessors is the factthat the method does not seek to teach L2 through exposure tosituations or seek to use translation but rather is founded on“strong theoretical base in linguistics and psychology”(Larsen-Freeman, 2000 p. 35). The psychology element of the theorywas borrowed from Skinner’s (1957) work on the behaviouralconditioning theory that identified language learning and sentencestructures as some things that can be learned through conditioningwhich involved exposing learners to stimuli and shaping andreinforcing behaviour (cited in Larsen-Freeman, 2000).

3.2.4 Humanistic Approaches

The term refers to a range of holistic methodsapplied in language learning. The most common and often used is theperson-centred education. This type of learning is informed byhumanistic psychologists led by Abraham Maslow and Carl Rodgers(Larsen-Freeman, 2000). These psychologists believed that learnershave different needs and that the relationship between the teacherand learner impacts the learning process. Although this approach islargely applied in psychotherapy where a therapist is required toshow empathy and care as well as place him/herself in the shoes ofthe client, it is relevant in L2 teaching whether the teacher engagesthe learner as a whole. In this case, learning entails developing alearner’s self esteem, motivation and the ability to be focused andfully autonomous in learning (Ganza 2008).

Therefore, it emerges that learner autonomy is a key pillar is thehumanistic approaches. Although the traditional education system inKSA has shunned this method, there is new impetus to drive learnerautonomy and approach learning from a humanistic approach. In thatregard, there is need to better understand what learner autonomygiven that Ganza (2008) warns that the approach is easilymisunderstood which can lead to poor application. One of the mostwidely used and earliest definition was provided by David Little’s(1991) who said:

Autonomyis a capacity-for detachment, critical reflection, decision making,and independent action. It presupposes, but also entails, that thelearner will develop a particular kind of psychological relation tothe process and content of his learning. The capacity for autonomywill be displayed both in the way learners learns and in the way heor she transfers what has been learned to wider contexts (cited inSchwienhorst 2012, p. 12).

3.5 Past primary studies

The study by Liton (2013) set to exploreinstructors’ perceptions, evaluations and expectations about EFLcourses in Saudi universities. The study is relevant in the currentsubject in the sense that the perceptions, evaluations andexpectations about English affected the teaching methodologies usedby EFL teachers at all levels. A study Iranian RFL teachers andlearners showed that teachers believe that “the mastery of thetarget language, good knowledge of pedagogy, ability to apply diverseteaching methods and techniques as well as personality” make up agood EFL instructor (Shishavan &amp Sadeghi 2009, p. 130). On theother hand, EFL learners believe that an EFL instructor’spersonality and relationship with students are more important thanthe choice and application EFL teaching methodologies (ibid). Rahmanand Alhaison (2013) also indicate that the instructors’ perceptionstowards English and the expectations they have on learners influencethe choice of teaching methodologies applied by EFL instructors.

Therefore, Liton’s (2013) study which assessedthe perceptions and views of 25 randomly chosen EFL instructors inSaudi Arabia could explain the reasons behind the current methodsbeing used in Saudi universities. The study relied on questionnairesdistributed to participants chosen from renowned universities in thesouthern region of the country. In this region, there are two typesof English taught: for English major students and for non-Englishmajor students. The TEFL English major students focuses on“developing student language proficiency in advanced level” whichwould call for more intensive TEFL methodologies as opposed to TEFLfor non-English majors which focuses on equipping learners with a“relatively high level of competence in reading and an intermediatelevel of competence in listening, speaking, writing, and translating”(Liton, 2013, p. 24).

Following analysis of data collected, the findingsfrom the study proved very informative. On the question whether theinstructors thought an “EFL class will be task-based languageteaching (TBLT) practice,” 80% answered in the affirmative and 16%in the negative while 4% said they were not sure (Liton 2013, p. 25).On whether the instructors thought that the courses were welldesigned to meet the language needs of students, 60% said yes and 40%said no. again, 80% were in full support of use of English as thelanguage of instruction, 16% were in support of use of both Englishand Arabic while 4% suggested that Arabic should be gradually phasedout.

Intensity in terms of English courses offered inKSA has been criticized widely over its shallowness, poor teachingmethods and narrow courses among others (Al-Jarf 2008 Khresheh2011). One of the question in Liton (2013) research study addressedthis issue by asking respondents whether they felt that studentsneeded more English credit courses or not and majority of them (88%)indicated yes and only 12% indicated no. Another question asked theinstructors to rank what should be the focus of English. The resultswere “grammar 8% reading 8% writing 4% vocabulary 44% listening24%, and speaking 12%” (Liton 2013, p. 29). The answers to thisquestion corroborates the views by Al-Jarf (2008) that science andtechnology courses in university require an advanced level of Englishknowhow while some KSA universities seek to offer intermediateEnglish proficiency courses for Saudi students majoring in thesecourses and in the process results to poor performance in theirmajors because of insufficient EFL skills. Furthermore, the higherranking of vocabulary as the main focus of English points to a poorfocus of English which is reiterated by Fageeh (2011) who writes thatsome Saudi students who have majored in English at the universitylevel have poor skills formation of grammatically correct sentences.

On a more specific research, Khresheh (2012) theexplored principled eclecticism as a methodology and the use ofArabic in Saudi EFL classrooms. The sample comprised of 94 studentsand 15 teachers (non-native speakers) from the University of Hail,KSA. A preliminary test in English was given to the participants andthe scores were used to group the participants into three distinctgroups beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each group was assigneda different book to study in a series of lessons. Thestudent-participants were required to attend classes offered byteachers in their group. During these lessons, observations were madeon when Arabic was used and the participants were subjected to aninterview to assess why Arabic was used in the EFL classes.

The interviewees revealed that English was usedfor many reasons. One of the common ones was that there was lack ofEnglish vocabulary to express certain actions or practices due tocultural variations. Another reason given by the advanced learnerswas that Arabic was used when participants were not satisfied withsome cultural meanings of some English worlds which contrast tolearners’ cultural values and do not exist in their culture.Another common issue that triggered the use of Arabic for 17beginners and five intermediate students was the need to explainsynonyms. The students could not understand well the existence ofcertain English words having more than one meaning, homophones. Toexplain this required the teachers to use Arabic to explain toindividuals students who faced such difficulties (Khresheh, 2012)

Apart from the teachers’ issues, the societalbehaviour and attitude towards education is very different in KSA.The research identified and confirmed previous claims that the Saudishave a negative attitude towards education. The society does notvalue education and parents do very little to participate in theirchildren’s education. One participant lamented “From apsychological view, the actual value they are putting on education isminimal. I never received parents asking about the progress of theirkids or expressing their expectations of the child” (Shah, Hussain,&amp Nasseef, 2013, p. 113). The same negative attitude is evidentin learners whose main preferences and goals in learning English isto achieve good grades and certificate “with little attention onreal learning and academic growth” (ibid). The education policy inthe country that allows learners to repeat a particular grade if theyfail to achieve a certain grade also discourages learners. Oneparticipant claimed that “Teaching repeaters is just like bangingyour head against the wall. There is hardly any suitable methodologyfor such learners” (ibid p. 113). Other issues noted to hinder EFLteaching practice were long lessons of 80 minutes, poor timing oflessons, poor learning resources, poor teacher supervision practicesand student absenteeism.

Technology has been widely employed in educationand in EFL teaching in various contexts with various institutions andcountries reporting varying progress and outcomes (McKenzie, 2010).Sun (2009) examined the use and efficiency of voice blogging amongChinese EFL learners. The study was identified the voice blogging asone of the key methods that technology can be adopted EFL with otherbeing identified by other scholars to include class forums, emails,voicemails, online chat rooms, student feedbacks online andparticipation in social media in the target language. SuchComputer-mediated communication (CMC) is slowly growing in popularityas online learning spreads globally to include teaching newlanguages. The use of CMC in EFL is largely praised as it allowslearners to take greater control of the learning process in line withthe call for student-centred learning that is widely recommended forcountries such as KSA that have in the past concentrated onteacher-centred learning.

However, student centeredness is not an EFLteaching methodology per se. It is an approach that that insists onstudents playing an active participatory role in the learningprocess. This means that the approach can be adopted alongside othercommon EFL teaching models such as direct method or audio-lingualismas the instructor desires. Therefore, Sun (2009) recognized thislimitation in his study in that he acknowledged that it wasimpossible to differentiate the contribution of CMC alone as themethodologies alongside which the approach was applied varied.However, some of the noted benefits of adopting CMC in EFL are “ability to encourage students to notice and modify output content andstructure, enhance motivation, reduce anxiety, foster learnerautonomy, and promote cooperative learning” and also works best forshy students as the approach reduces “social-context clues such asgender, race, and status, and nonverbal cues such as facialexpressions and body language” that may hamper participation inclass and the goals of EFL learning (Sun, 2009, p. 88).

Results indicated that a very small percentage(5%) had prior experience in blogs though majority of them had priorexperience in the internet (88%), email (86%), chats (76%), andsocial networks (72%). Nearly all participants (91%) felt thatblogging was fun and enjoyable while another 80% thought of it as nota waste of time (Aljumah, 2012). Majority of the student were alsoimpressed with blogging works as it allowed them to post theirassignments for comments before handing them over. A small percentagealso expressed disadvantage of blogs such as the claim that peersposted rants and not actual helpful content. Generally, resultsindicated that blogging was new enjoyable way of learning that breaksthe monotony of 80 minutes lessons. Based on these findings theresearcher thus recommends the wide use of blogging in EFL teachingalongside other established EFL teaching methodologies.

In spite of this, comprehensible data was obtainedfrom the study. All students and teachers preferred receivingfeedback at more than one stage of the writing process. About 20% ofteachers do not prefer offering feedback at the early stages ofwriting 70% of learners dislike feedback at the early stages ofwriting and specifically during the drafting processing characterizedby brainstorming (Hamouda 2011).

3.6 Summary

The literature review captured key elementsteaching EFL. Apart from identifying the specific methodologiesdeveloped by teaching EFL over time, the review identified particularstrategies and tactics that EFL teachers can apply in the classroomwithin the given methodologies. The review on literature alsoenlightened the researcher in developing refining questions tospecifically address the gap in knowledge. Based on these views, thenext section addresses the data collection process. This relates tothe research questions in that it discusses the elements that werecaptured in the EFL teaching. This included the methods which wereraised in the research questions.

4.0 Method4.1 Study design

The new Saudi education policy has enforced theuse of English as the language of instruction in all sciencedepartments. This has played a major role in popularizing Englishmajor as an option among university students. With English as thepreferred language of research, science, commerce and education,higher levels of understanding English by majoring in English isdesired (Al-Jarf 2008). Compared to other non-English speakingcountries, Arab and Saudi English-major students fair comparativelypoorer than other EFL from other countries. Researchers have pointedto poor methodologies used in the Saudi context (Al-Jarf, 2008). Thestudy is thus designed in manner that it seeks to explain whyproblems exist in studying and teaching among Saudi universityEnglish majors.

4.2 Methodology

The current study adopted an exploratory approachsituated in the interpretive paradigm of research. This yields aresearch design qualitative and focuses on the subjective realitiesof the participants in regards to EFL teaching methodologies. Theresearcher is thus interested in exploring the perceptions,experiences, and multiple socially constructed realities ofEFL-majors in Taibah University in a KSA. While the EFL teachingmethodologies maybe uniform globally, the experiences that Saudi EFL-majors may have may differ depending on the social, religious andcultural contexts. Thus as a qualitative research, the researcherattempts to understand unique interactions between a sample of EFLlearners and the learning environment and the teaching methodologiesused (Jupp, 2006). The researcher is thus tasked with presentingfindings truthfully to interested parties.

Furthermore, “for for a study focusing onindividual lived experiences, the researcher could argue that onecannot understand human actions without understanding the meaningthat participants attribute to these actions, their thoughts,feelings, beliefs, values, and assumptive worlds&quot (Marshall &ampRossmans, 1999, p. 57 cited in Ahmad &amp Shah 2014). To fullyunderstand these meanings, the researcher needs to study things intheir natural settings to discover the meanings seen by those beingresearched or subjects as opposed to the meaning seen by theresearcher.

4.3 Instrumentation

The study applied questionnaires to collect data.A two-part instrument comprising of closed and open ended questionswas used to collect data. Questionnaires are some of the most widelyused data collection methods used by researchers in different fields.However, the efficiency of these questionnaires largely depend on thecompetence of the researcher in developing questions that are easy toanswer, will encourage participants to answer them, address therelevant phenomenon targeted by the research and are devoid ofconfusion. Again, most questionnaires applied in second language (L2)research are somewhat ad hoc instruments, and questionnaires withsufficient (and well-documented) psychometric reliability andvalidity are not that easy to come by in our field…and practice ofquestionnaire design/use has remained largely uninformed by theory(Dornyei, 2003, p. 4)

The questionnaires were in English given thatparticipants had substantial English background having been throughthe preliminary and intermediate levels in EFL learning. This wouldalso mean that the questionnaire faced a limitation in that onlylimited vocabulary would be used in asking questions to factor inEnglish being a second language to the learners. Additionally, use ofquestionnaires as opposed to interviews means that the researcherwould not be there to explain questions to participants in case ofdifficulties in understanding the questions.

Another issue that was put into consideration indeveloping the questionnaire pertains to simplicity, motivation,social desirability, time and length. On simplicity, the researcherhad to develop simple language to ensure that participants wouldeasily understand what was being asked of them by the individualquestions and that they could respond in a simple manner in the caseof open questions. On the case of social desirability, the researchermade all attempts to create questions that would be perceived asself-incriminating which would tend to encourage the participant tolie. On desirability and time, the author made sure that thequestions were simple to answer and that the participant could takeabout15-20 minutes at most to answer all questions.

Regrettably, questionnaires cannot address all issues that theresearcher would like to know about the phenomena being studied. Theidea is to structure questions to address the purpose of the studyand the research question. In fact, Donryei (2003) anticipates thisand cautions researchers that the “the generaltemptation is always to cover too much ground by asking everythingthat might turn out to be interesting. This must be resisted: inquestionnaire design less is often more because long questionnairescan become counterproductive” (p. 18). Consequently, only 18questions were included in the questionnaire.

4.4 Informed Consent

Each interview sheet was accompanied by anothersheet seeking authorization from participants. Informed consentensures that participants are well informed about the informationthat the researcher, the intention of the research and also clarifieson the participants’ confidentiality by holding researchersresponsible for safeguarding any confidential information that may becollect. This is especially so where questionnaires are mailed toparticipants or are emailed. Access to such confidential details suchas home address, email address or telephone number could be a softtarget on breach of confidentiality laws. However, in the currentcase, the researcher did not collect any confidential information.

4.5 Authorization and ethical considerations

Before commenting the research, the researchersought written permission to conduct the research from thedean/faculty upon which the researcher was issued with a certificateof ethical research approval. This was done in line with preparingthe proposal which indicated the scope and intention of the researchin brief.

4.6 Sampling

Purposive sampling was used to identifyparticipants in the study. This method of sample selection differsfrom probability sampling in that it is largely reliant on thejudgment of the researcher in choosing the units of study. The choiceof sampling method is determined largely by the size of thepopulation targeted, resources at hand, and the data collectionmethod intended to be used. Random sampling method is best suited forquantitative data as they surveys seeking on identifying trends thatare best informed by statistical data. On the other hand, purposivesampling is best suited to studies where the target population isrelatively small and a strict requirement or characteristic inparticipants is necessary. One major weakness of this approach tosampling is that it is subject to bias as it relies of the researchersubjective choice of participants. However, given the legal andsocial restrictions that do not allow gender mixing Saudi contextimplies that the method fits with the researcher’s social bias.

4.7 Participants

Thecurrent research applied purposive sampling in identifying a sampleof 20 male students all taking English major at Taibah University andin their final year. All participants were over 18 years old and werepursuing English major. The participants were all in session in thesemester to ensure that their recollection of the teachingenvironment is up to date and relevant.

4.8 Research settings

The researcher took a lengthy period to prepare aset of questions that would make up the questionnaire and also answerthe research question. In constructing the questions, there was needto formalize the answers and address researcher subjectivity. This islight of the fact that the current research already faced a degree ofbias in terms of the sampling method used as mentioned earlier. Toaddress, the author thus school the Likert scale to formalize andstandardize responses and at the same time used closed No/Yesquestions. To make the research questionnaires align with theexpectations of qualitative study, thee open questions were alsoincluded. This made a questionnaire of 18 questions touching onbehaviours, beliefs and demographic issues. The element offormalizing and standardization of data in L2 research has beenacknowledged by several researchers. To address the shortfall ofquestionnaires, Anderson (2005) suggests used of students“standardized inventories, think-aloud protocols and reflectivejournals” (p. 760). However, due to time and resource limitations,the researcher stuck to questionnaires but took necessary measuressuch formalizing responses. This may include organizing the responsesformally.

Afterfinalizing the questionnaires, the researcher printed several copieswhich were attached to the consent forms. The questionnaires weredistributed at one EFL-majors’ class for students in the finalyear. The researcher sought the assistance of an acquaintance in theuniversity who helped in identifying potential participants.Instructions were given that that consent form must first be read andunderstood before agreeing to complete the questionnaire. A total of36 questionnaires sheets were distributed but only 26 were returned.Of the 26 returned questionnaires, one did not have a completed constsheet while another five were incomplete. The researcher thus reliedon 20 fully complete questionnaires to collect data and makeinferences.

4.9 Research limitations

The current limitations had faced severallimitations. One of the main one was reluctance by students toparticipant in the study in fear that they views would be captured byteachers which would lead to unfavourable grades. This was one of themost common reasons given by students approached to participate inthe study. Another key limitation that this study had was that theresearcher was only able to access male participants only due tosocial restrictions.

The third limitation that the study faced andcould have major implications on the findings is that data wascollected through interviews while a combination of interviews andobservation would have been better in ascertaining teachers assumedcompetence in the classroom environment (Creswell, 2012). Again, thesample comprised of male participants only.

The fourth limitation that this study facedpertained to the use of questionnaires to collect data for aqualitative research. Ideally, there is very little literaturesupport for use of questionnaires in collecting qualitative datagiven that open ended questions that would collect qualitative datatend to take to complete and thus encourage poor results withincomplete answers and eventual withdrawal from participation(Dornyei 2003). For these reasons, the researcher opted to use moreclosed questions.

5.0Results and discussion

Thissection provides a brief summary to the results obtained from thestudy as well as providing a brief interpretation of the results toindividual questions with support from relevant literature. Of the 20participants targeted by the study, all of them returned completedquestionnaires. Such a high success rate was attributed to the timingof the distribution of questionnaires. Results indicate that learnersare largely opposed to strategies that primarily recommended for usein EFL learning thereby highlight a general negative attitude towardsEFL learning strategies employed the institution.

Questionone (Age)

Results showed that majority of the participantswere aged 19-22 years. This falls within the acceptable age bracketfor students in studying at the university within the KSA educationsystem. Another six participants were in the 23-26 years age bracketand another four in the 27-30 age brackets. There were only twostudents over the age of 30 meaning that they are outside the normalage bracket for university students. However, this is explained bythe advent of adult learning and the concept of continuous learningwhere adults who never had the opportunity to study seek to pursueeducation. Under Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, such peoplefall within the self actualisation phase where they seek to acquireeducation or even a certificate to satisfy their egos and persona.Age in this case can influence students’ relationships withteachers.

While age may point to important direction towards sources ofmotivation for learners and the relationships with teachers,psychologists point to another direction of cognitive development.The cognitive theory posits that there is a learning curve incognitive development and general learning. Hernandez, Ping andMacWhinney say, “the idea of a biologically determined criticalperiod plays a pivotal role not just in linguistic theory, but incognitive science as a whole” (2005, p. 220). This critical periodis very important in life as it influence how individuals learn andmake use of new information. Again, the method in which adultsprocess information is not the same as children process it. Hernandezand colleagues add that in the field of learning there are two mainsystems: rule-based analytic procedural system,and a formulaic, exemplar-based declarative system. In the rule-basedanalytic procedural system, the individual relies more on generativerules which is more compatible with adults.

On the other hand, the formulaic, exemplar-baseddeclarative system is largely driven by memory with small portions ofrules Young children, usually about two years acquire L1 through theformulaic, exemplar-based declarative system. This explains whychildren learn language by repeating the sounds that they hear mostfrom the environment. Across the lifespan, cognitive capabilitieshave a shown a linear decline implying that L2 acquisition capacitiesare likely to decrease with age. However, this is not always thecase. Hyltenstam and Abrahamsson (2003) explains that given thatadults rely both on generative rules and a small portion of memory,not all cases of L2 learning capabilities can be explained by age asother non-age related factors also contribute to this. In fact, ageis just one of the factors among a multitude.

For the current research, the results mean thatthe age of the participants are not sufficient to explain theperformance of the learners and their attitudes assuming that higherperformers in L2 are likely to have a better attitude towards thecurrent methods used.

Question 2 (Arabic as the mother tongue shouldbe used sparingly in class in explaining some English words.)

This question was formulated based on the 5-pointLikert scale. The question sought to find out whether participantswould agree to the use of Arabic in EFL classroom. Over half of theparticipants prefer the use of Arabic in class (9 strongly agree and2 agree), with two unsure and the rest opposing the use (2 disagree4 strong disagree). This view is largely influence by the level ofstudy. Advanced learners are less likely to encourage the use ofArabic according to Khresheh (2012). However,in this case, the results contradicted this view. Such deviation fromthe findings of Khresheh could be linked tothe teaching styles and strategies employed by the teacher as well asthe vocabulary used by the teacher. Empirical expectations would bethat native speakers have a richer vocabulary in English which mightbe even too complex for advanced learners who need Arabic tounderstand such complex words and sentence structures. The use ofnative language for teaching English language would be effective inthis case scenario. It is evident that the teachers and the studentsare well conversant with the native Arabic language and this would bean additional advantage since the teachers can use the language toexplain English terms and their meaning in native language. Thiswould enhance the understanding of the English language by thestudents. Subsequently, the students will be in a position to explainto the teachers or the instructors some of the terms in English thatthey do not understand. Learners of the English language will find itextremely difficult to ask questions in English language consideringthat they do not understand the language. On the contrary, argumentsstipulating that the learners will put little effort are also broughtforward. The literature reviewed indicated that learners are supposedto be encouraged to ask questions or address their Englishinstructors in English language. This will encourage the learners topractice in order to communicate in the English language. The bestapproach that can be proposed for teaching the English language is tohave learners understand the Basic English terms which can be used toask basic questions. The initial lessons when the students arelearning the basic terms can be taught in the native Arabic language.However, the learners should be discouraged to continue using thenative language to ask questions or to address the instructors. Inother words, the teaching of English should be a progressive processand instructors must be aware of the pace at which the learners areunderstanding the English terms.

Question3 (EFL instructors are flexible in terms of style andmethod to meet different needs of learners)

A total of eleven students strongly agreed thatteachers are flexible in style and responding to student needs. Thiskind of flexibility is correspondent with the view posited by theprincipled eclecticism theory. However, the researcher was unable toascertain the nature and variation sin the level of variation inmethodology that the students had observed in class. An additionally4 students agreed to the idea that teachers varied their approach tosuit individual needs of students while four of them neither agreednor disagreed. It is worth noting that different learners willcapture or understand the foreign language differently. It is duty ofthe instructor to ensure that the learners are handled individually.The teachers must vary the style that is being used for each studentto ensure that the learners will understand the language. Researchhas indicated that there are some students who are quick at capturingor understanding a foreign language while others are extremely slow.It is the duty of the teacher or the instructor to look into thedifferent needs of such students.

Question4 (I am satisfied with the EFL teaching methods currently used by myinstructor).

This question sought to assess the approval of thecurrent EFL methodologies in use. Only four participants indicatedthat they strongly agreed with the method, with another twelve onlyagreeing. One responding neither agreed nor disagreed with anotherdisagreeing and another two strongly disagreeing. Several researchershave often pointed out that it can be difficult to identifyparticular EFL methods applied in class unless they get to identifyvarious strategies, styles and principles assisted with such methods.In this regard, the agreement to the methods in this case can be alsoassociated with the teaching strategies and styles and not just themethodology.

One aspect that came out clearly is that thelearners who are studying English are not even aware of thestrategies or the methods being used by the teachers or the Englishinstructors. The variation in students’ abilities to understand aforeign language was evident in these responses. The students whoagreed that the methods applied were satisfactory seemed to be quicklearners. It is, however, worth noting that majority of the studentssimply agreed that the methods used were satisfactory. Lack ofknowledge of various effective teaching methods by the studentscontributed to the answers that they gave.

Questionfive (Different instructors and learners are suited differently bydifferent EFL teaching methods).

Results showed that 10 participants stronglyagree, 8 agree and two neither disagree nor agree that differentinstructors and learners are suited differently by different EFLteaching methods. In the case of students having different needs,there is need for teachers to be competent in employing more than onemethod and even several strategies in order to reach out students whomay have unique needs. One point worth noting here is that there wasno participant who disagreed with the statement in the questionnaire.This is an indication that the participants were aware of thedifferent abilities that students have. The need of having differentteaching methods for the English language is to ensure that thedifferent students can apply different methods to learn the language.One methodology of teaching may apply to one student while it mightbe ineffective to another student. This means that the teacher mustbe in a position use different teaching methods to teach thestudents. The same case applies to the teachers and the instructors.There are some instructors who are comfortable using a particularmethod of teaching while other are not.

Q6 (There are better and easier ways to gain EFL competence than theones employed in class).

A total of 13 participants strongly agreed, 4agreed, 2 disagreed and 1 strongly disagreed. In the modern age,there are numerous avenues that individuals can learn a secondlanguage. In this case, learners believe there are better methods tolearn English other than through the methods applied in theclassroom. Before the introduction of modern teaching of L2, scholarsrelied on self-teaching methods to acquire competence in a newlanguage (Howatt &amp Widdowson, 2004). Such an approach is stillwidely used especially by adult learners who get to learn newlanguages without going through the formal educational process tolearn that language. This is most common among immigrants andexpatriates who upon moving into new countries may end up learning anew language as a result of interacting with the natives. However,this kind of language competence largely involves hearing andspeaking and largely excludes writing and reading. The concept ofwatching western movies and listening to English music also plays asa way of encouraging English competence is one of the avenuessuggested by Hamouda (2011) and the most likely being considered bythe high number of participants who believe that there exists betterEnglish learning methods other the classroom.

Listening and speaking seems to be one of the bestmethods of learning the English language. It is only through practicethat learners can learn a foreign language. It is evident that in aclass setting, there is little time for practice and the learnersrevert back to their native language once they are out of class. Thisimplies that the teaching methods used in class need to becomplemented with immense practice by the students. Students viewlearning English language in class as a waste of time since they canlearn the language through other means such as through watchingmovies or listening to their English speaking friends who reside inSaudi Arabia.

Q7.(Learning English about the western culture and values contributespositively towards EFL competence.)

A high number of participants (10) neither agreednor disagreed with this statement while five strongly disagreed andanother five strongly agreed. This shows that this issue is verysensitive and divisive according to the results. With allparticipants being Arab, they avoided being engaged in the debate onthe morally and suitability of western values in the face of strictconservative Islamic values. At the same time, there is an emergingvoice of dissent among Muslims and Arabs in general that view somecultural practices and beliefs have held the society back. Thesevoices of dissent are largely expressed by younger people who havedesire to experience the American idealization of freedom and awestern lifestyle. This is evident through the internet, video games,western movies and music videos. The internet has emerged as one ofthe most potential avenues to learn and teach English in the age ofonline learning.

English language in Saudi Arabia is considered asa western aspect and as a language that promotes the western culture.The Islamic culture and religion is totally against the westernculture. This negative attitude towards the western culture is rifeand evident in the schools across Saudi Arabia. Although there are afew modern, young students who are disagreeing with this attitudetowards the western culture, majority of the people are in support ofthe local culture which includes the Arabic language. Students do notwant to agree with the fact that knowledge of western culture andvalues will enhance their competency in English language.

Q8.(Would you like to be engaged in choosing the EFL teaching methodsused?)

On the willingness to be engaged in choosing theteaching strategies and style, 15 participants agreed by saying yeswhile five no. This in particular shows a desire to challenge thetraditional teaching approach in KSA where the teacher has been theactive player in the classroom with learners perceived as sponges toabsorb knowledge from the instructor. On the other hand, the fiveparticipants who indicated that they would not to be engaged inchoosing the teaching methodology capture one of the most citedissues that hinder EFL teaching in KSA societal attitude towardsEnglish. Although competence in English as a language is a source ofprestige for many in KSA, the use and value of learning the languageis yet to be fully acknowledged. From a psychological view, theactual value they are putting on education is minimal. Shah Hussainand Nasseef (2013, p. 113) reported the same issue with oneparticular teacher indicating that he has never seen a single parentinquiring about the progress of their children or even expressingtheir expectations and desires about the education of their children.

Thestudents are uncomfortable with the focus on the teacher with thecurrent methods being used. The students need a voice that wouldenhance their participation and a method that would focus on them.The five students who showed no interest in choosing the teachingmethod that is being used indicates that the social attitude towardseducation is negative in the country. Few students understand theneed of studying the English language and its use in the SaudiArabian society. As a result, the students have little or no interestin deciding what methods should be used to teach them.

Q9.(Does the current TEFL teaching method used in EFL class match wellwith role of EFL in your life?)

On this question, 14 participants answered yes and6 no. This concurs with the view policy adopted by the ministry ofeducation and the ministry for higher education that view leaning ofEnglish as the best to offer modern knowledge on sciences andhumanities that largely exists in English. Alhamuda (2012) capturedthis view in his study where most students indicated that the reasonmany were taking English majors was because they wanted to pursuecourses in other fields. This does not necessarily involve pursuingthese courses in foreign countries but also locally in KSA. Severalhigher learning institutions such as King Fahd University ofPetroleum and Minerals have already adopted English as the languageof instruction though Islam and Arabic language are offered in Arabic(Ministry of Education 2015).

Q10.(Do you think that the TESL methodology being used in class currentlyinfluences your attitude and motivation towards learning EFL)

On this question 17 participants indicate that theTEFL methodology currently used in class influence their attitudetowards the language. The method used can create a positive attitudewhich is likely to motivate learners to learn and even out in extraeffort in order to succeed. Conversely, a wrong methodology or apoorly applied methodology is likely to discourage learners fromputting in extra effort in the belief that they cannot succeed. Thelatter is a recurrent issue among Saudi EFL learners who do no accordEFL leaning and education at large the level of attention andseriousness it deserves. Another aspect that can be identified withregard to the attitude of the learners towards the methods is thesocial value accorded to education in the country. Considering thatthe students might be having an already existing negative attitudetowards education and more so the English language, it is evidentthat the learners will develop a negative attitude towards theteaching methods.

Q11(Would you suggest the current TESL method used by your teacher toanother EFL learner?)

Half of the participants indicated that they wouldsuggest the current methodology to other EFL learners while the otherhalf would not. The fact that half of the participants believed thatthe method was not good enough to be used by other learners couldsuggest that the methodology itself was perceived to be unsuitable orthat the application of that particular methodology a particularteacher was responsible for creating the negative attitude towardsthe method. A study by Ahmed, Yassatorn and Yossiri (2012) among EFLlearners in Thailand shows that the inclusion of certain activities,strategies and styles in EFL methods used by teachers impacted theattitudes towards the method and even teachers. Therefore it can beassumed that these responses provided by the learners in regards tothe methods applied might be heavily influenced by the feelings andattitudes have towards the teacher more so in regards to the personarather than ability to apply and execute a given EFL teaching method.

Q12(Are you satisfied with the level of IT adoption in EFL learning inyour university?)

Nearly all (17) the participants were notsatisfied with the level of technology adoption in their EFL classesat Taibah University. Although computer assisted learning (CAL) hasbeen adopted in many developed countries, not many developingcountries such as KSA have made full use of the potential of CAL.Many researchers continue to indicate that CAL adoption in mostcountries is driven by the willingness of teachers to apply thetechnology, sociocultural beliefs and institutional support. In thecurrent case, it is clear to see that learners are not in any waysatisfied field with technology adoption. Interestingly, among thethree participants who indicate that they were satisfied with thetechnology infusion in the current teaching method, two were olderthan thirty years. This is not surprising as empirical observationshave shown that the generation x and the millennial are some of thebest equipped in technology while older individuals have trouble inadopting more complicated modern technology. Nonetheless, where thetechnology is adopted, there is unlimited potential. One suchadvantage include increased motivation for learners, ability to adoptto individual learner needs, authenticity, reduced pressure onlearners and development of critical thinking skills (Afrin 2014).The notion of motivation as far as blogging is concerned has beendocumented by several studies (Fageeh, 2011). However, blogging doesnot account as a CAL but rather a technology aided classroom activityand strategy (Afrin 2014) which according to Ahmed, Yassatorn andYossiri (2012) does not actually improve L2 acquisition but increasesmotivation towards L2 acquisition.

The method being used by the Saudi Arabianteachers is traditional and it involves teacher-student learningwithout the use of technology. This is why numerous of therespondents stated that they were not satisfied with the level of ITadoption that was being used. It is worth stating that technologychanges the morale and motivation of students and therefore theEnglish learners at Taibah University have little or no motivation tolearn. There is need by the government to invest heavily in theeducation sector in Saudi Arabia to ensure that the learners arehighly motivated. It is, however, worth to remember that the learnersand the government has little interest in education and therefore thegovernment would be reluctant in investing in computers that can beused for the computer assisted learning in schools.

Q13(Do you think that a teachers experience and competence influenceschoice and use of EFL teaching method?)

Sixteen participants believed that the choice andapplication of any teaching methodology was dependant on theteachers’ competence, application, and experience. The viewsuggests that many learners have a huge respect for instructors andare more likely to attribute to their success in EFL learning to theteachers as opposed to the teaching method used. On the other hand,it indicates that research in individual methods maybe tricky tocarry out because the attitudes towards any methodology are tied tothe views towards individual teachers. Considering that numerousteachers of English language are incompetent, there is enoughevidence that the learners will hardly have a positive attitudetowards the teaching methods used. This calls for the government toallow foreign teachers who are competent in English language to cometo Saudi Arabia as English instructors.

Q14(What do you think is the most important area of English language anygiven TESL methodology should emphasize on?)

The question provided learners with multipleanswers and they were required to identify the most important aspectof EFL learning any given methodology should address (A. Reading andwriting B. Speaking and hearing C. Grammar rules D. Real lifeapplication). As stated by the ministry of education KSA, one of thecore purposes of learning English and even making it mandatory in theelementary levels was to increase Saudi participation in globalaffairs conspicuously dominated by the English language. Similarly,16 students indicated that they were more concerned about EFLmethodologies addressing this goal. Two participants wanted EFLmethodologies to address reading and writing skills, one wanted themethodology to address speaking and listening skills and another onewanted methodologies to address grammar rules. Although knowledge ofthe English language improves communicative competence and generalfunctioning in the global society which aligns to real lifeapplication, the other choices made the other participants are notwrong. It is most likely these participants felt that the respectiveareas identified to be given priority by EFL methodologies representtheir weakest areas.

Question15. (Give reasons why you believe or do not believe the current EFLstrategies and methods enables you to achieve your personal reasonsfor pursuing EFL major?)

Participants gave varying reasons to this question. Dominant themeswere career, social prestige, pursue other courses, and relocate tothe west. One participant indicated that

I working on my English to be fluent and then relocate to the US.Learning English here is OK for me and will make me relate betterwith American society when I move there. I would hate to be seenstereotypes as terrorist because of my accent.

Thisshows that the learner is eager to integrate into an Americansociety. It therefore mean that the best fitting methodology in thiscase would be one that places emphasis on listening skills, speakingskills, pronunciation and American culture. Thirteen participantswere very specific in that they were looking forward to perfectingtheir English to increase career prospects. Nine of them explicitlyindicated that they were happy with the methodology and believed thatthe methodology employed in class would help them achieve theirgoals.

Question16 (In order of importance, list the five top aspects that make youfeel good about the current EFL teaching method employed by yourteacher).

One again, the responses to this question varied widely. Participantswere however agreed on several things though not explicitly as shownby dominant themes. One such dominant theme was the issue ofpeer-to-peer engagement. Students were very positive about correctingeach other in the classroom environment and engaging in groupdiscussions outside the classroom engagement. Research has indicatedthat it is easy for students to learn from each rather than learningfrom the teacher. This is because there are no boundaries between thestudents as there are between a student and a teacher. The studentswill interact freely and will ask each other questions freely.Additionally, the students while engaging with each other do not havemind whether they are wrong or right hence making learning easy.

Q17(List two or more aspects that make you feel bad about the currentEFL teaching method/style/strategies employed by your teacher?)

The ideas expressed by the participants in this question also variedwidely. However, most of the participants indicated teacher-relatedissues as opposed to the methodology itself. For instance, oneparticipant listed teacher feedback in front of other peers as ahugely problematic issue. Three participants also indicated that theinsistence by teachers to use ‘specified pronunciation’ ofcertain words without giving allowance to L1 influences as one thattend to frustrate some students. Another participant indicated thatthe approach employed the teacher does not motivate them to learn asthe teacher is “boring” in class.

5.1 Summary

In summary, the results indicate that students are more responsive toEFL teaching strategies and styles as opposed to methodologies. Forthe majority of the students, perception and beliefs towardsactivities conducted in class and their expectation of EFL teachingapproach coincide with views presented by findings in past studies.For instance, students indicated a higher level preference for betteradoption of technology in EFL teaching which increases motivation tolearn. Ideally, students are convinced that the choices that teachersmake in class are directed by their personal choices as opposed tostructured methodologies. This is clearly indicated by the notionthat participants showed by the majority believing that differentteaching methods suited different instructors. This would imply thatthere are no standard formats on applying various methodologies.

6.0 Findings and recommendations

An analysis of past research studies have demonstrated that manyfactors affect the choice of learning strategies, styles and methodsamong teachers. There are also many other factors that influence thelearners attitudes and perception of the same. As mentioned earlier,the learners tend to link the EFL methods to the personal traits ofteacher which in the same manner as strategies. It must be noted thatwhile learning methods are general, strategies are specific and tiedto the persona of the teacher. It is therefore almost impossible toascertain whether perception towards a teacher’s personality isreflected in the perception towards teaching strategies employed.

Another issue that this study reveals from the literature review andthe current study is that the education system is not well equippedto offer EFL courses. Apart from previous studies indicating negativestudents’ attitudes, negative perceptions towards some acceptablelearning practices such as teacher’s feedback, shows that thelearners have not gone through a thorough education system thatshould instill such practices as common standard. Alternatively, itcould be explained that there is a huge problem with the negativeattitude towards teachers and learning strategies and stylesemployed.

It was found out that the government of Saudi Arabia sought to haveEnglish language as a means of spreading Islam and not as anessential tool for communication and as a means of making the youthcompetitive in the global job market. This is an aspect that made thestudents to view the language as foreign tool and as a language thatthey should learn. This has made the students to have a negativeattitude towards not only the teachers but also the strategies andthe methods that they use to teach EFL. The teachers that teach theSaudi Arabian university students are also incompetent and havelittle or no knowledge regarding the teaching approaches they shoulduse. It has been found out that majority of the teachers use methodswhich are teacher centered as opposed to methods that are studentcentered. This makes the students to develop the negative attitudetowards the teacher and therefore end up have a bad negativeperception about the teaching methods and strategies being used.

Therefore, it is recommended that Saudi EFL teachers be exposed tofurther training to increase their competence in handling students.Such perceived lower quality of education by the students themselvesand high demand for foreign education shows that the public’s truston the education system is waning. Furthermore, the conservativesociety and strict Sharia laws in the country have played a greatrole in preventing the country from attracting foreign instructorswho are highly experienced and qualified to offer EFL learning tomatch global standards. It is high time for the Saudi Arabiangovernment to realize that the English language is a global languageand a universal language. It is therefore necessary for thegovernment to understand that the future generations will need tohave the knowledge of the English language. There are numerous SaudiArabia young people in other countries such as the US where they seekjob opportunities. It is therefore necessary to ensure that thestudents in the universities are equipped with effective Englishlanguage skills to ensure that they are competitive in the global jobmarket. It is recommended that the government should let lose theSharia laws which inhibit qualified English teachers from othercountries coming to Saudi Arabia and teaching. It is the duty of thegovernment to understand that the English language is essential evenfor business. Considering that this is a country which engages inproduction and sale of oil to other countries, there needs to beyoung people in the country who can comfortably communicate inEnglish language. In order to change the perception of the studentsregarding the teaching methods, strategies, as well as theirteachers, it is essential to portray the language in good manner.

7.0 Conclusion

This research has clearly demonstrated that the teachingmethodologies that are applied KSA in teaching the English languageare ineffective. This is due to a number of factors which includereligion and personal beliefs. It is also evident that the Englishlanguage is essential for the development of the country andenhancement of its relations with other countries, as well as forbusiness purposes. This research has indicated that the studentsmajoring in English are willing to learn the language due to variousreasons such as travel and employment opportunities. One biggestchallenge in that country why English language teaching strategiesare not welcome is that the language is considered as a culture ofthe western nations such as the USA. It is worth noting that thewestern culture is a controversial issue in the country and thisaffects the teaching of the language. The negative perception thatthe students have towards English language learning strategies are asa result of their religion and not the ineffectiveness of thestrategies. Another aspect that this research managed to establish isthe fact that the government seeks to have the language learnt inorder to use it to spread Islam. As a consequence, some instructorsfind it difficult to separate the EFL teaching methods and the callby the government. This creates conflict hence making the EFLteaching methods ineffective.

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Questionnaires

A descriptive study on Taibah University English major experience,attitude and perceptions regarding the current TESL methodologiesapplied by their teachers.

Questionnaires: Please answer each question in the space provided andtick where appropriate.

NB: Please do not write your name or any personal information onthis questionnaire.

  1. Age

19-22

23-25

&gt25

  1. Should Arabic as the mother tongue be used sparingly in class in explaining some English words?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Are EFL instructors flexible in terms of style and method to meet different needs of learners?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Are you satisfied with the EFL teaching methods currently used by your instructor?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Are different instructors and learners are suited differently by different EFL teaching methods?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Are there are better and easier ways to gain EFL competence than the ones employed in class?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Learning English about the western culture and values contributes positively towards EFL competence

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Would you like to be engaged in choosing the EFL teaching methods used?

Yes

No

  1. Does the current TEFL teaching method used in EFL class match well with role of EFL in your life?)

Yes

No

  1. Do you think that the TESL methodology being used in class currently influences your attitude and motivation towards learning EFL?

Yes

No

  1. Would you suggest the current TESL method used by your teacher to another EFL learner?

Yes

No

  1. Are you satisfied with the level of IT adoption in EFL learning in your university?

Yes

No

  1. Do you think that a teachers experience and competence influences choice and use of EFL teaching method?

Yes

No

  1. What do you think is the most important area of English language any given TESL methodology should emphasize on?

A. Reading and writing

B. Speaking and hearing

C. Grammar rules

D. Real life application

  1. Give reasons why you believe or do not believe the current EFL strategies and methods enable you to achieve your personal reasons for pursuing EFL major?

  2. In order of importance, list the five top aspects that make you feel good about the current EFL teaching method employed by your teacher

  3. List two or more aspects that make you feel bad about the current EFL teaching method/style/strategies employed by your teacher?

SPSSAnalysis

Employment Period (Years)

Sample

Percentage (%)

19-22

14

70.00

23-26

4

20.00

27-30

2

10.00

&gt30

0

0.00

Total

20

100.0

Variable

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Total

2. Arabic as the mother tongue should be used sparingly in class in explaining some English words

9

3

2

2

4

20

3. EFL instructors are flexible in terms of style and method to meet different needs of learners

11

5

4

0

0

20

4. I am satisfied with the EFL teaching methods currently used by my instructor

4

12

1

1

2

20

5. Different instructors and learners are suited differently by different EFL teaching methods

10

8

2

0

0

20

6. There are better and easier ways to gain EFL competence than the ones employed in class)

13

4

0

2

1

20

7. Learning English about the western culture and values contributes positively towards EFL competence

5

0

10

0

5

20

Variable

Yes

No

Total

8. Would you like to be engaged in choosing the EFL teaching methods used?

15

5

20

9. Does the current TEFL teaching method used in EFL class match well with role of EFL in your life

14

6

20

10. Do you think that the TESL methodology being used in class currently influences your attitude and motivation towards learning EFL?

17

3

20

11. Would you suggest the current TESL method used by your teacher to another EFL learner?

10

10

20

12. Are you satisfied with the level of IT adoption in EFL learning in your university?

3

17

20

13. Do you think that a teachers experience and competence influences choice and use of EFL teaching method?

16

4

20

Question14

What do you think is the most important area of English language any given TESL methodology should emphasize on?

Frequency

Reading and writing

2

Speaking and hearing

1

Grammar rules

1

Real life application

16

Total

20

Question15.

Give reasons why you believe or do not believe the current EFL strategies and methods enable you to achieve your personal reasons for pursuing EFL major

Frequency

Career

8

Social Prestige

5

Pursuing other Causes

4

Relocating to the west

3

Total

20

Question16.

Aspects that make you feel good about the current EFL teaching method applied by the teachers.

Frequency

Peer-to-peer engagement

17

Group discussions

13

Ability to fit into diverse personal goals.

12

Standard evaluation measures

12

Teacher professionalism

11

Independent search for knowledge

8

Question17.

Aspects disliked by the respondents on the current teaching method/style/strategies employed by your teacher.

Frequency

Teachers monopolising knowledge

12

Poor integration of technology

9

Teachers insisting on use of ‘specified pronunciation’ on certain words without making allowances for L1 influences

3

Teacher feedback in front of peers

1

Teachers approach

1

A descriptive study on the experience, attitudes and perceptions of

  • Uncategorized

62

EFL LEARNING STRATEGIES IN KSA

A descriptive study on the experience, attitudesand perceptions of English majors in Taibah University towardscurrent TESL methodologies applied by their teachers

Unit

Module

Supervisor

Submitted on

Dedication

Declaration

Abstract

Resultsfrom previous studies on second/foreign language learning both in KSAand other non-Anglophone countries indicate that language learningstrategies play an influential role in the process of languagelearning. The perception towards these strategies/methods and theirfunctioning in achieving the objectives of EFL learning vary widelyand are influenced by numerous factors. This current research makesan attempt to present a synthesis of research results on attitudesand perceptions of English majors at Taibah University towardsEFL/ESL teaching methods /styles/strategies employed by theirteachers. Data from a sample of 20 participants was collected throughquestionnaires that used largely formalized and standardizedquestions to find their views. Data was analyzed through thematicanalysis to find recurring themes from the responses.

Acknowledgements

Iam sincerely grateful to ………, my supervisor and mentor in thisproject for his/her unending support, guidance and encouragementthroughout all the stages of this project.

Glossary

EFL English as a foreign language

ESL English as a second language

L1 First Language

L2 Second language

LLS Language learning strategies

KSA Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

TEFL Teaching English as a foreign Language

TESL Teaching English as a second language

TESOL Teaching English to speakers of other languages

Table of Contents

Abstract 4

Acknowledgements 5

Glossary 6

1.0 Introduction 8

1.1 Background 10

1.1.1 The country 10

1.1.2 Background of English learning and teaching in KSA 12

1.1.3 Place of English in the Saudi Higher education system 14

1.1.4 Saudi English teaching system 14

1.2 Challenges facing ESL teaching and learning 15

2.0 Research plan 16

2.1 Research questions 17

2.2.0 Research purpose 17

2.2.1Objectives 17

2.2 Significance of the study 18

3.0 Literature review 19

3.1 Introduction 19

3.2 EFL methods 19

3.2.1 Grammar Translation 20

3.2.2 Direct Method 20

3.2.3 Audio-lingualism 21

3.2.4 Humanistic Approaches 22

3.5 Past primary studies 23

3.6 Summary 28

4.0 Method 28

4.1 Study design 28

4.2 Methodology 29

4.3 Instrumentation 30

4.4 Informed Consent 31

4.5 Authorization and ethical considerations 31

4.6 Sampling 32

4.7 Participants 32

4.8 Research settings 32

4.9 Research limitations 34

5.0 Results and discussion 34

5.1 Summary 48

6.0 Findings and recommendations 49

7.0 Conclusion 51

References 52

1.0 Introduction

There are about one million students enrolled inSaudi universities and colleges (Saudi Embassy 2015). Most of thesestudents have undergone several years of learning English inelementary and secondary schools. Some may choose to study English asa major or minor at the university level. Others may seek to pursuehigher learning abroad with majority of them ending up in the US,Australia or UK where English is the official language. Studying inthe west is also coupled with the expected proficiency in Englishlanguage and a foreign accent which is viewed as a prestigious skillthat can lead to better paying jobs (Moskovsky &amp Alrabai, 2009).The West’s sociocultural environment and better quality educationin those countries are the main motivators for studying abroad(Al-Seghayer, 2012). Bonus perks to studying abroad are increasedemployability and social prestige. This huge demand for Englishproficiency emanates from the establishment of English as the soleinternational language with 85% of global organizations using Englishas the official language as well as 90% of online content being inEnglish (Al-Jarf, 2008).

Such dominance by the English language whosenative speakers are comparatively few has driven many non-Anglophonecountries to introduce English language as a subject at variouslevels of schooling. Same as KSA, non-native English learners haveopted to immigrate to English-speaking countries to improve theirproficiency in English not just through classroom learning but alsothrough interacting with native speakers of the language (Al-Jarf,2008). As a subject and a language, the approach to teaching Englishis largely different to other teaching methods applied in othersubjects. However, competence and proficiency in the language islargely dependent on the teaching methods used in imparting knowledgeand skills in the language. Academic performance in other subjectsmay not necessarily provide an accurate prediction in performance ina language. Furthermore, enthusiasm and investment in languagelearning may n tiled desired results at all times. Abdellah (2012)for instance notes that reading achievement among Saudi Englishmajors has been reported to be of low quality despite the governmentinvesting a lot towards English language proficiency among itscitizenry.

L2 proficiency is largely influenced by the L2teaching methods. Teaching methods may vary by instructor choice,curriculum and teacher skills in applying the methods. The majorityof Saudi ESL learners in secondary and sometimes universities learnthe language through unreliable methods such as memorizing phrasewhich they do not understand (Moskovsky &amp Alrabai, 2009).Nonetheless, following pedagogical and curriculum changes n thecountry, new and modern EFL methods are being used. These methodsalone cannot guarantee EFL learning and teaching success. Theapplication of the method, motivation towards teaching/learning EFLand even the attitudes that both learners and teachers have towardsthese methods also play a critical role.

1.1 Background 1.1.1 The country

Saudi Arabia, which was established as a republicis 1932, is the world’s leading oil producer. This has made thecountry a key player in global economic and geopolitical affairs. Itsvast natural resources deposits and its growing geopoliticalinfluence in the region have seen the country host thousands offoreign expatriates largely from western countries (Ojha,2011). Consequently, English as a language has grown in popularityand use in the country and more so in organizations that interactfrequently with expatriates. In fact, English is the second mostcommonly used language in the country, although it is not officiallyrecognized as a second language (Al-Jarf, 2008). The growth inEnglish has grown in use and popularity through support by Article 50of the Educational Policy in the KSA, which states that studentsshould learn at least one foreign language to increase theircompetence in relating with speakers of other languages (Al-Seghayer,2012). This is one of the new ways that English is spreading from itsparent country, Britain.

Conversely, the majority of non-native Englishspeaking countries around the world such as the USA, Canada, NewZealand, Australia and several African countries came to adoptEnglish through colonization. Some of these colonizers settled inthese countries and set out to assimilate and indoctrinate thenatives to their own culture and language. However, KSA has neverbeen colonized by Britain. In the countries that British explorersvisited, they desired to actively spread English and their culture toincrease their global dominance through trade and occupation. Such anapproach was not always perceived well as many traditional societiessuch as the native Indians of Canada resisted (Larsen-Freeman, 2000).During colonization, there was a basic translation of common wordsand phrases regularly used such as greetings were used (Ahmed,Yassatorn &amp Yossiri, 2012). Today, the situation is verydifferent. Non-Anglophone countries are encouraging their people tolearn English voluntarily for their own good. Therefore, the growingpopularity of English in the KSA is largely influenced by businessprospects and government policy.

Interestingly,the same government is wary of over-dominance of English in thecountry which may be crowding out Arabic. A 2012 directive from theInterior Ministry instructed all government departments and privateagencies to abandon some western/English related practices. Forinstance, front office staffs at major government facilities andhotels were instructed to answer telephones in Arabic as opposed toEnglish. Further, all government and private agencies were requiredto shun the Gregorian/English calendar in favour of the Arabic Hijricalendar (Saudi Arabia bans, 2013). This clearly demonstrates thatwhile the government is aware of the importance of English to thenation, the same government is concerned that English as a languageis being used a cultural vehicle for western ideas that are basicallycontrary to conservative Islamic teachings and culture.

With that said, teaching experts and linguists allagree that gaining L2 proficiency requires proficiency in the cultureof target language speakers. Culture comes in handy in that learnersget to apply the language in a cultural context as intended giventhat language is a part and parcel culture (Larsen-Freeman, 2000).Empirical observations would also reveal that non-native Englishlearners who school in western countries where they study thelanguage in its cultural context are better placed in theirproficiency than those who school in KSA (Smith, 2005). In the caseof government policies in KSA, there is conflict on the intended roleof English as a foreign language. To start with, the government iseager to curtail increased use of English in business circles insideKSA which is crowding out Arabic. Secondly, English has no legalrecognition as a second language in the country despite the growingpercentage of the population that speaks it and the language beingoffered in elementary schools.

1.1.2 Background of English learning and teaching in KSA

English was introduced into the Saudi Arabiansociety by the Saudi government. After the establishment of theDirectorate of Education in 1923, before, the kingdom was formed in1932, English was introduced as foreign language alongside Frenchinto the Saudi Arabian educational system in 1927. The language wasregistered as a subject at the secondary school level with nodefinite learning objectives identified. With the establishment ofthe intermediate level, specific instructional objectives and syllabifor English language were established. This was later to bereplicated in secondary schools. With education being fully funded bythe government, it was seen as a direct government effort to increasethe number of English speaking locals (Al-Seghayer, 2012). This wasin recognition of English as a world language.

In a number of books and models exploring thespread of English around the world, the term ‘Englishes’ iscommon (Bolton, 2006 McKenzie, 2010). This plural term is used inthe belief that there are various types of the English language.Bolton (2008) indicates that the term Englishes recognizes theexistence of functional and formal variation in the language, and itsinternational acculturation, for example in KSA. Using this logictherefore, it can be argued that there exists Saudi Arabian Englishor Gulf English in respect to acculturation and localization of thelanguage. One renowned expert in sociolinguistics, Pico Iyer (1983)indicated “there is not one English language anymore, but there aremany English languages….each of these English is creating its ownvery special literature, which, because it doesn’t feel oppressedby the immensely influential literary tradition in England is somehowfreer” (Bolton, 2006, p. 369) Such a language therefore belongs tothe people who use it as their first language and those who use it asan additional language, whether in localized of standard form. Boltonfurther explores this issue to cite Llazmon (1983) who says that thenew varieties of English as identifiable with four essential sets offeatures: ecological, historical, sociolinguistic and cultural.

For over 70 years since the introduction ofEnglish Language in the Saudi Arabian education system, the Englishlanguage curriculum has evolved in various ways. The initialcurriculum developed in the country was made with assistance fromforeign expatriates and teachers guided by particular curriculumdevelopment model. A curriculum aimed at streamlining the acquisitionof the language by learners. Stenhouse (1975, p. 4), as cited inPring, 2004, p. 124 defines curriculum as “an attempt tocommunicate the essential principles and features of an educationalproposal in such a form that it is open to critical scrutiny andcapable of effective translation into practice”. True to the word,the KSA English language curriculum has been critiqued by varioussources. One of the core accusations is that the English taught inSaudi Arabian schools is not useful beyond the classroom. For thisreason, a number of evaluations and changes have been made to meetcurrent needs.

1.1.3 Place of English in the Saudi Higher education system

As mentioned, majority of students in KSA pursueEnglish major to increase their skills level and land better payingjobs. The larger government policy higher education has wider targetsfor inclusion in English in the curriculum. The Higher Committee forEducational Policy cited in Rahman and Alhaisoni (2013, p. 112)stated that the core purposes of education of education in KSA are:

  1. To have the student understand Islam in a correct and comprehensive manner.

  2. To plant and spread the Islamic creed, and to furnish the student with the values, teachings, and ideals of Islam.

  3. To equip him with various skills and knowledge, and to develop his conduct in constructive directions.

  4. To develop the society economically, socially, and culturally, and to prepare the individual to become a useful member in the building of his community.

1.1.4 Saudi English teaching system

As mentioned in the previous chapter, English hasevolved into a global language. Non English speaking countries, KSAincluded have joined the clamour to learn English to increase theirinvolvement in global affairs. In so doing, teaching of English as asecond of foreign language has gained momentum. Policy makers andsociologists have developed several theories that attempt to explainthe alignment of nations based on their economies, labour, people andlanguage among others. The Immanuel Wallerstein world system theoryis one such theory that has been applied to explain the place androle of English in KSA that would affect the teaching methods used.This is macro scale approach to the social change. The world systemfocuses on the world as opposed to the nation states. The theoryasserts that aspects such as language should not be based on countryafter country, but should be global phenomena.

The education system is also subject to the Saudicultural, social and political environment. While many westernnations religious freedom is widely practiced, this is not the casein KSA. Islam as a religion and a way of life plays a dominant rolein the education system. The Sharia law which guides the country isalso applied in the education sectors. Gender separation is a keydifferent between western education and KSA education. Except in afew cases, learners of different genders are not allowed to mix andinteract in school even though they pursue the same syllabus.Additionally, male teachers are not allowed in learning institutionsof females and vice versa. This has a huge impact in the learningprocess.

This approach to the education system has denied learners greatopportunities to benefit from gender interactions. Additionallylearning institutions are progressively required to be genderdiscriminatory in hiring. This kind of system not only denies theeducation system the diversity that it requires in thoughtdevelopment but also denies some learning institution access to someof the best and most qualified instructors in EFL and other courses.For instance, it is notable that in the western countries, femaleteachers are more concentrated in languages, humanities and socialsciences as opposed to sciences. This could imply that females allover the world dominate TEFL and thus male university may faceunprecedented difficulties in landing qualified male EFL teachers inthe advanced level.

1.2 Challenges facing ESL teaching and learning

AlthoughKSA has made considerable progress in western education and more soin EFL learning, there are key challenges that continue to face thecountry. Some of the challenges are country-specific, policy orientedand others and driven by context. All these challenges are likely toimpact the teaching methodologies that can be applied in the country.They include:

  1. Improperly trained teachers or inadequate teaching methodology.

  2. Teacher-centred rather than learner-centred activities.

  3. Students’ aptitude, initial preparedness and motivation: School and university teachers often complain of the low proficiency of their students. They also claim that students are not motivated to learn.

  4. Compartmentalization vs. whole language approach.

2.0Research plan

This section illustrates the plans that theresearcher made in preparing for this study and notably collectingdata from the field. To do this, the researcher was guided by theinstitution’s Graduate student’s expectations and the study’spurpose which is to gain an understanding of the perception of SaudiEnglish majors at Taibah University.

2.1 Research questions

  1. What are the students’ perceptions and attitudes towards the current EFL methods being used?

  2. Are Saudi university students satisfied with the EFL teaching methods currently used?

  3. How efficient are EFL teaching methods in enhancing the proficiency of students in EFL.

  4. What is the most prevalent LLSP (Language Learning Style Preference) in Saudi Arabia university students that are studying English major?

  5. Which are the most prevalent strategies for vocabulary learning that the Saudi students use in comprehension?

  6. Is there a link between the use of vocabulary learning strategies and the performance of the students in writing?

2.2.0 Research purpose

The purpose of this research is to ascertain whether Saudi universityEFL majors are satisfied with the current EFL learning strategies andmethods and how they perceive them against the standard expectationsof these methods and strategies as presented by the literaturereview.

2.2.1Objectives

This research initiative involves a complexprocess that involves sourcing, collecting and analyzing data that isspecifically designed to answer research questions. Therefore, theresearch will collect, analyze and interpret guided by a broad set ofquestions organized into research objectives listed as below:

  1. To find out the most prevalent LLSP (Language Learning Style Preference) among Saudi university students that are studying English major

  2. Identify the most prevalent strategies for vocabulary learning that the Saudi students use in comprehension

  3. To investigate whether there is a link between the use of vocabulary learning strategies and the performance of the students in writing

  4. To find out the perception and the attitude of the students towards the current EFL methods being used.

  5. To find out whether the students are satisfied with the current EFL methods being used.

2.2 Significance of the study

The study seeks to explore how Saudi universitystudents majoring in English relate with the current TESOLmethodologies being employed by their teachers/lecturers/instructors.The findings will be descriptive in nature and will give a view ofhow learners perceive and relate to these teaching methodologies. Thestudy will be helpful to individual teachers, curriculum designers,teacher training institutions and trainers, and policy makers onexisting teaching constraints faced by the EFL teachers in SaudiArabia. Additionally, it will raise pedagogical understanding byguiding less experienced teachers especially new to the culture andcontext of teaching in KSA to reflect on their teaching practices andexisting methodologies. For prospective EFL teachers, the study willassist them in developing adaptive skills in the case of teachingEnglish majors in KSA.

3.0 Literature review3.1 Introduction

This section of the dissertation reviews relevantliterature on EFL learning methods/styles/strategies as well asprevious studies on the subject and information on the effective EFLteaching practices and methodologies. After reviewing the theory onthe strategies and styles, the paper then previous studies whereprimary studies are given precedence while other peer reviewedjournal articles, conference proceedings, and relevant literature arealso utilized to provide a concrete picture of existing informationon the subject. Primary research studies that address EFL teachingand learning in the Saudi higher education context were preferred asopposed to EFL teaching method studies from other countries in orderto factor in the issue of context. The researcher further restrictedthe primary studies to those not older than ten years. This isbecause recent primary sources will provide updated information withthe most recent information and EFL methods.

3.2 EFL methods

Borrowing largely from research there are severaldistinct methods of teaching L2 that have emerged. It is worth notingthat not all the methods below were used in KSA. They include:

3.2.1 Grammar Translation

This is also called the classical method. It isone of the earliest TESOL methodologies applied widely around theworld. In fact, the name classical method originated from the use ofthe method in teaching classical languages Latin and Greek(Larsen-Freeman, 2000). Initially, themethod was applied with the intention of allowing students learn thegrammar of their native language by applying the grammar rules of aforeign language. This was mainly because natives or target studentsdid not have reading and writing skills or ways to grammar rules toformalize their language. It was therefore thought that by learninggrammar rules of a foreign language (target language), they would bebetter placed to apply grammar rules in their native language. Forthis reason, the method was criticized by early scholars such asRouse (1925) who termed it as a method through which “to knoweverything about something rather than the thing itself” (cited inRichards &amp Rodgers, p. 6).

After such criticism, the intentions of methodwere changed. The new goal of teaching foreign languages using themethod was adopted as to improve learners intellectually(Larsen-Freeman, 2000). However, this was also problematic becausethe method was not created by the originators to serve in theclassroom environment. Howatt &amp Widdowson (2004) indicate thatprior to the 19thcentury foreign language learning was a preserve of adult scholars.Furthermore, the method was best suited for self-study situations butnot for use by instructors. In spite of the issues raised, the methodcontinues to be applied today given that it can be used to achievesome goals of EFL.

3.2.2 Direct Method

Just like the grammar translation method, thedirect method has been around for many years. The only differencebeing that the direct method was developed to correct theinefficiencies of the former, specifically in addressing speaking andlistening skills in the target language. The method obtains its namefrom the fact that meaning of words in target language is conveyeddirectly without translation or recourse to L1. The meaning of wordsis conveyed in any format such as demonstrations, visual aids, andillustrations but not through translation. In fact, no translation isallowed whatsoever under this methodology (Larsen-Freeman, 2000).

Nonetheless, language experts are opposed to the consideration of thedirect approach as a language teaching methodology. Prof. Gurreynotes that

It is essentially a principle, not teachingmethod, a system that operates through many methods a way ofhandling the new language and of presenting to the class. It dependson direct bond, that is, a direct association, between word and thingand between sentence and idea instead of an indirect one through themother tongue.

Anothercriticism levelled against the methodology pertains to the assumptionthat the method takes towards acquisition of L2. The method assumesthat L2 acquisition follows the same path that a baby takes towardsacquisition of L1 in the early stages of development. Ideally, babiesdo not have any idea of the mother tongue but learn with time as itis used with visual aids and demonstrations In so doing, the methodassumes that L2 learners are blank pages and the role of theirexperiences, culture and L1 in learning and interpreting new languagedo not count (Smith 2005, p. 194).

3.2.3 Audio-lingualism

This is one the recent methodologies specifically developed toaddress the shortcomings of the past methods. The development of themethod was spearheaded by Charles Froes from the University ofMichigan and thus the method has sometimes been named the MichiganMethod. What sets this method apart from its predecessors is the factthat the method does not seek to teach L2 through exposure tosituations or seek to use translation but rather is founded on“strong theoretical base in linguistics and psychology”(Larsen-Freeman, 2000 p. 35). The psychology element of the theorywas borrowed from Skinner’s (1957) work on the behaviouralconditioning theory that identified language learning and sentencestructures as some things that can be learned through conditioningwhich involved exposing learners to stimuli and shaping andreinforcing behaviour (cited in Larsen-Freeman, 2000).

3.2.4 Humanistic Approaches

The term refers to a range of holistic methodsapplied in language learning. The most common and often used is theperson-centred education. This type of learning is informed byhumanistic psychologists led by Abraham Maslow and Carl Rodgers(Larsen-Freeman, 2000). These psychologists believed that learnershave different needs and that the relationship between the teacherand learner impacts the learning process. Although this approach islargely applied in psychotherapy where a therapist is required toshow empathy and care as well as place him/herself in the shoes ofthe client, it is relevant in L2 teaching whether the teacher engagesthe learner as a whole. In this case, learning entails developing alearner’s self esteem, motivation and the ability to be focused andfully autonomous in learning (Ganza 2008).

Therefore, it emerges that learner autonomy is a key pillar is thehumanistic approaches. Although the traditional education system inKSA has shunned this method, there is new impetus to drive learnerautonomy and approach learning from a humanistic approach. In thatregard, there is need to better understand what learner autonomygiven that Ganza (2008) warns that the approach is easilymisunderstood which can lead to poor application. One of the mostwidely used and earliest definition was provided by David Little’s(1991) who said:

Autonomyis a capacity-for detachment, critical reflection, decision making,and independent action. It presupposes, but also entails, that thelearner will develop a particular kind of psychological relation tothe process and content of his learning. The capacity for autonomywill be displayed both in the way learners learns and in the way heor she transfers what has been learned to wider contexts (cited inSchwienhorst 2012, p. 12).

3.5 Past primary studies

The study by Liton (2013) set to exploreinstructors’ perceptions, evaluations and expectations about EFLcourses in Saudi universities. The study is relevant in the currentsubject in the sense that the perceptions, evaluations andexpectations about English affected the teaching methodologies usedby EFL teachers at all levels. A study Iranian RFL teachers andlearners showed that teachers believe that “the mastery of thetarget language, good knowledge of pedagogy, ability to apply diverseteaching methods and techniques as well as personality” make up agood EFL instructor (Shishavan &amp Sadeghi 2009, p. 130). On theother hand, EFL learners believe that an EFL instructor’spersonality and relationship with students are more important thanthe choice and application EFL teaching methodologies (ibid). Rahmanand Alhaison (2013) also indicate that the instructors’ perceptionstowards English and the expectations they have on learners influencethe choice of teaching methodologies applied by EFL instructors.

Therefore, Liton’s (2013) study which assessedthe perceptions and views of 25 randomly chosen EFL instructors inSaudi Arabia could explain the reasons behind the current methodsbeing used in Saudi universities. The study relied on questionnairesdistributed to participants chosen from renowned universities in thesouthern region of the country. In this region, there are two typesof English taught: for English major students and for non-Englishmajor students. The TEFL English major students focuses on“developing student language proficiency in advanced level” whichwould call for more intensive TEFL methodologies as opposed to TEFLfor non-English majors which focuses on equipping learners with a“relatively high level of competence in reading and an intermediatelevel of competence in listening, speaking, writing, and translating”(Liton, 2013, p. 24).

Following analysis of data collected, the findingsfrom the study proved very informative. On the question whether theinstructors thought an “EFL class will be task-based languageteaching (TBLT) practice,” 80% answered in the affirmative and 16%in the negative while 4% said they were not sure (Liton 2013, p. 25).On whether the instructors thought that the courses were welldesigned to meet the language needs of students, 60% said yes and 40%said no. again, 80% were in full support of use of English as thelanguage of instruction, 16% were in support of use of both Englishand Arabic while 4% suggested that Arabic should be gradually phasedout.

Intensity in terms of English courses offered inKSA has been criticized widely over its shallowness, poor teachingmethods and narrow courses among others (Al-Jarf 2008 Khresheh2011). One of the question in Liton (2013) research study addressedthis issue by asking respondents whether they felt that studentsneeded more English credit courses or not and majority of them (88%)indicated yes and only 12% indicated no. Another question asked theinstructors to rank what should be the focus of English. The resultswere “grammar 8% reading 8% writing 4% vocabulary 44% listening24%, and speaking 12%” (Liton 2013, p. 29). The answers to thisquestion corroborates the views by Al-Jarf (2008) that science andtechnology courses in university require an advanced level of Englishknowhow while some KSA universities seek to offer intermediateEnglish proficiency courses for Saudi students majoring in thesecourses and in the process results to poor performance in theirmajors because of insufficient EFL skills. Furthermore, the higherranking of vocabulary as the main focus of English points to a poorfocus of English which is reiterated by Fageeh (2011) who writes thatsome Saudi students who have majored in English at the universitylevel have poor skills formation of grammatically correct sentences.

On a more specific research, Khresheh (2012) theexplored principled eclecticism as a methodology and the use ofArabic in Saudi EFL classrooms. The sample comprised of 94 studentsand 15 teachers (non-native speakers) from the University of Hail,KSA. A preliminary test in English was given to the participants andthe scores were used to group the participants into three distinctgroups beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each group was assigneda different book to study in a series of lessons. Thestudent-participants were required to attend classes offered byteachers in their group. During these lessons, observations were madeon when Arabic was used and the participants were subjected to aninterview to assess why Arabic was used in the EFL classes.

The interviewees revealed that English was usedfor many reasons. One of the common ones was that there was lack ofEnglish vocabulary to express certain actions or practices due tocultural variations. Another reason given by the advanced learnerswas that Arabic was used when participants were not satisfied withsome cultural meanings of some English worlds which contrast tolearners’ cultural values and do not exist in their culture.Another common issue that triggered the use of Arabic for 17beginners and five intermediate students was the need to explainsynonyms. The students could not understand well the existence ofcertain English words having more than one meaning, homophones. Toexplain this required the teachers to use Arabic to explain toindividuals students who faced such difficulties (Khresheh, 2012)

Apart from the teachers’ issues, the societalbehaviour and attitude towards education is very different in KSA.The research identified and confirmed previous claims that the Saudishave a negative attitude towards education. The society does notvalue education and parents do very little to participate in theirchildren’s education. One participant lamented “From apsychological view, the actual value they are putting on education isminimal. I never received parents asking about the progress of theirkids or expressing their expectations of the child” (Shah, Hussain,&amp Nasseef, 2013, p. 113). The same negative attitude is evidentin learners whose main preferences and goals in learning English isto achieve good grades and certificate “with little attention onreal learning and academic growth” (ibid). The education policy inthe country that allows learners to repeat a particular grade if theyfail to achieve a certain grade also discourages learners. Oneparticipant claimed that “Teaching repeaters is just like bangingyour head against the wall. There is hardly any suitable methodologyfor such learners” (ibid p. 113). Other issues noted to hinder EFLteaching practice were long lessons of 80 minutes, poor timing oflessons, poor learning resources, poor teacher supervision practicesand student absenteeism.

Technology has been widely employed in educationand in EFL teaching in various contexts with various institutions andcountries reporting varying progress and outcomes (McKenzie, 2010).Sun (2009) examined the use and efficiency of voice blogging amongChinese EFL learners. The study was identified the voice blogging asone of the key methods that technology can be adopted EFL with otherbeing identified by other scholars to include class forums, emails,voicemails, online chat rooms, student feedbacks online andparticipation in social media in the target language. SuchComputer-mediated communication (CMC) is slowly growing in popularityas online learning spreads globally to include teaching newlanguages. The use of CMC in EFL is largely praised as it allowslearners to take greater control of the learning process in line withthe call for student-centred learning that is widely recommended forcountries such as KSA that have in the past concentrated onteacher-centred learning.

However, student centeredness is not an EFLteaching methodology per se. It is an approach that that insists onstudents playing an active participatory role in the learningprocess. This means that the approach can be adopted alongside othercommon EFL teaching models such as direct method or audio-lingualismas the instructor desires. Therefore, Sun (2009) recognized thislimitation in his study in that he acknowledged that it wasimpossible to differentiate the contribution of CMC alone as themethodologies alongside which the approach was applied varied.However, some of the noted benefits of adopting CMC in EFL are “ability to encourage students to notice and modify output content andstructure, enhance motivation, reduce anxiety, foster learnerautonomy, and promote cooperative learning” and also works best forshy students as the approach reduces “social-context clues such asgender, race, and status, and nonverbal cues such as facialexpressions and body language” that may hamper participation inclass and the goals of EFL learning (Sun, 2009, p. 88).

Results indicated that a very small percentage(5%) had prior experience in blogs though majority of them had priorexperience in the internet (88%), email (86%), chats (76%), andsocial networks (72%). Nearly all participants (91%) felt thatblogging was fun and enjoyable while another 80% thought of it as nota waste of time (Aljumah, 2012). Majority of the student were alsoimpressed with blogging works as it allowed them to post theirassignments for comments before handing them over. A small percentagealso expressed disadvantage of blogs such as the claim that peersposted rants and not actual helpful content. Generally, resultsindicated that blogging was new enjoyable way of learning that breaksthe monotony of 80 minutes lessons. Based on these findings theresearcher thus recommends the wide use of blogging in EFL teachingalongside other established EFL teaching methodologies.

In spite of this, comprehensible data was obtainedfrom the study. All students and teachers preferred receivingfeedback at more than one stage of the writing process. About 20% ofteachers do not prefer offering feedback at the early stages ofwriting 70% of learners dislike feedback at the early stages ofwriting and specifically during the drafting processing characterizedby brainstorming (Hamouda 2011).

3.6 Summary

The literature review captured key elementsteaching EFL. Apart from identifying the specific methodologiesdeveloped by teaching EFL over time, the review identified particularstrategies and tactics that EFL teachers can apply in the classroomwithin the given methodologies. The review on literature alsoenlightened the researcher in developing refining questions tospecifically address the gap in knowledge. Based on these views, thenext section addresses the data collection process. This relates tothe research questions in that it discusses the elements that werecaptured in the EFL teaching. This included the methods which wereraised in the research questions.

4.0 Method4.1 Study design

The new Saudi education policy has enforced theuse of English as the language of instruction in all sciencedepartments. This has played a major role in popularizing Englishmajor as an option among university students. With English as thepreferred language of research, science, commerce and education,higher levels of understanding English by majoring in English isdesired (Al-Jarf 2008). Compared to other non-English speakingcountries, Arab and Saudi English-major students fair comparativelypoorer than other EFL from other countries. Researchers have pointedto poor methodologies used in the Saudi context (Al-Jarf, 2008). Thestudy is thus designed in manner that it seeks to explain whyproblems exist in studying and teaching among Saudi universityEnglish majors.

4.2 Methodology

The current study adopted an exploratory approachsituated in the interpretive paradigm of research. This yields aresearch design qualitative and focuses on the subjective realitiesof the participants in regards to EFL teaching methodologies. Theresearcher is thus interested in exploring the perceptions,experiences, and multiple socially constructed realities ofEFL-majors in Taibah University in a KSA. While the EFL teachingmethodologies maybe uniform globally, the experiences that Saudi EFL-majors may have may differ depending on the social, religious andcultural contexts. Thus as a qualitative research, the researcherattempts to understand unique interactions between a sample of EFLlearners and the learning environment and the teaching methodologiesused (Jupp, 2006). The researcher is thus tasked with presentingfindings truthfully to interested parties.

Furthermore, “for for a study focusing onindividual lived experiences, the researcher could argue that onecannot understand human actions without understanding the meaningthat participants attribute to these actions, their thoughts,feelings, beliefs, values, and assumptive worlds&quot (Marshall &ampRossmans, 1999, p. 57 cited in Ahmad &amp Shah 2014). To fullyunderstand these meanings, the researcher needs to study things intheir natural settings to discover the meanings seen by those beingresearched or subjects as opposed to the meaning seen by theresearcher.

4.3 Instrumentation

The study applied questionnaires to collect data.A two-part instrument comprising of closed and open ended questionswas used to collect data. Questionnaires are some of the most widelyused data collection methods used by researchers in different fields.However, the efficiency of these questionnaires largely depend on thecompetence of the researcher in developing questions that are easy toanswer, will encourage participants to answer them, address therelevant phenomenon targeted by the research and are devoid ofconfusion. Again, most questionnaires applied in second language (L2)research are somewhat ad hoc instruments, and questionnaires withsufficient (and well-documented) psychometric reliability andvalidity are not that easy to come by in our field…and practice ofquestionnaire design/use has remained largely uninformed by theory(Dornyei, 2003, p. 4)

The questionnaires were in English given thatparticipants had substantial English background having been throughthe preliminary and intermediate levels in EFL learning. This wouldalso mean that the questionnaire faced a limitation in that onlylimited vocabulary would be used in asking questions to factor inEnglish being a second language to the learners. Additionally, use ofquestionnaires as opposed to interviews means that the researcherwould not be there to explain questions to participants in case ofdifficulties in understanding the questions.

Another issue that was put into consideration indeveloping the questionnaire pertains to simplicity, motivation,social desirability, time and length. On simplicity, the researcherhad to develop simple language to ensure that participants wouldeasily understand what was being asked of them by the individualquestions and that they could respond in a simple manner in the caseof open questions. On the case of social desirability, the researchermade all attempts to create questions that would be perceived asself-incriminating which would tend to encourage the participant tolie. On desirability and time, the author made sure that thequestions were simple to answer and that the participant could takeabout15-20 minutes at most to answer all questions.

Regrettably, questionnaires cannot address all issues that theresearcher would like to know about the phenomena being studied. Theidea is to structure questions to address the purpose of the studyand the research question. In fact, Donryei (2003) anticipates thisand cautions researchers that the “the generaltemptation is always to cover too much ground by asking everythingthat might turn out to be interesting. This must be resisted: inquestionnaire design less is often more because long questionnairescan become counterproductive” (p. 18). Consequently, only 18questions were included in the questionnaire.

4.4 Informed Consent

Each interview sheet was accompanied by anothersheet seeking authorization from participants. Informed consentensures that participants are well informed about the informationthat the researcher, the intention of the research and also clarifieson the participants’ confidentiality by holding researchersresponsible for safeguarding any confidential information that may becollect. This is especially so where questionnaires are mailed toparticipants or are emailed. Access to such confidential details suchas home address, email address or telephone number could be a softtarget on breach of confidentiality laws. However, in the currentcase, the researcher did not collect any confidential information.

4.5 Authorization and ethical considerations

Before commenting the research, the researchersought written permission to conduct the research from thedean/faculty upon which the researcher was issued with a certificateof ethical research approval. This was done in line with preparingthe proposal which indicated the scope and intention of the researchin brief.

4.6 Sampling

Purposive sampling was used to identifyparticipants in the study. This method of sample selection differsfrom probability sampling in that it is largely reliant on thejudgment of the researcher in choosing the units of study. The choiceof sampling method is determined largely by the size of thepopulation targeted, resources at hand, and the data collectionmethod intended to be used. Random sampling method is best suited forquantitative data as they surveys seeking on identifying trends thatare best informed by statistical data. On the other hand, purposivesampling is best suited to studies where the target population isrelatively small and a strict requirement or characteristic inparticipants is necessary. One major weakness of this approach tosampling is that it is subject to bias as it relies of the researchersubjective choice of participants. However, given the legal andsocial restrictions that do not allow gender mixing Saudi contextimplies that the method fits with the researcher’s social bias.

4.7 Participants

Thecurrent research applied purposive sampling in identifying a sampleof 20 male students all taking English major at Taibah University andin their final year. All participants were over 18 years old and werepursuing English major. The participants were all in session in thesemester to ensure that their recollection of the teachingenvironment is up to date and relevant.

4.8 Research settings

The researcher took a lengthy period to prepare aset of questions that would make up the questionnaire and also answerthe research question. In constructing the questions, there was needto formalize the answers and address researcher subjectivity. This islight of the fact that the current research already faced a degree ofbias in terms of the sampling method used as mentioned earlier. Toaddress, the author thus school the Likert scale to formalize andstandardize responses and at the same time used closed No/Yesquestions. To make the research questionnaires align with theexpectations of qualitative study, thee open questions were alsoincluded. This made a questionnaire of 18 questions touching onbehaviours, beliefs and demographic issues. The element offormalizing and standardization of data in L2 research has beenacknowledged by several researchers. To address the shortfall ofquestionnaires, Anderson (2005) suggests used of students“standardized inventories, think-aloud protocols and reflectivejournals” (p. 760). However, due to time and resource limitations,the researcher stuck to questionnaires but took necessary measuressuch formalizing responses. This may include organizing the responsesformally.

Afterfinalizing the questionnaires, the researcher printed several copieswhich were attached to the consent forms. The questionnaires weredistributed at one EFL-majors’ class for students in the finalyear. The researcher sought the assistance of an acquaintance in theuniversity who helped in identifying potential participants.Instructions were given that that consent form must first be read andunderstood before agreeing to complete the questionnaire. A total of36 questionnaires sheets were distributed but only 26 were returned.Of the 26 returned questionnaires, one did not have a completed constsheet while another five were incomplete. The researcher thus reliedon 20 fully complete questionnaires to collect data and makeinferences.

4.9 Research limitations

The current limitations had faced severallimitations. One of the main one was reluctance by students toparticipant in the study in fear that they views would be captured byteachers which would lead to unfavourable grades. This was one of themost common reasons given by students approached to participate inthe study. Another key limitation that this study had was that theresearcher was only able to access male participants only due tosocial restrictions.

The third limitation that the study faced andcould have major implications on the findings is that data wascollected through interviews while a combination of interviews andobservation would have been better in ascertaining teachers assumedcompetence in the classroom environment (Creswell, 2012). Again, thesample comprised of male participants only.

The fourth limitation that this study facedpertained to the use of questionnaires to collect data for aqualitative research. Ideally, there is very little literaturesupport for use of questionnaires in collecting qualitative datagiven that open ended questions that would collect qualitative datatend to take to complete and thus encourage poor results withincomplete answers and eventual withdrawal from participation(Dornyei 2003). For these reasons, the researcher opted to use moreclosed questions.

5.0Results and discussion

Thissection provides a brief summary to the results obtained from thestudy as well as providing a brief interpretation of the results toindividual questions with support from relevant literature. Of the 20participants targeted by the study, all of them returned completedquestionnaires. Such a high success rate was attributed to the timingof the distribution of questionnaires. Results indicate that learnersare largely opposed to strategies that primarily recommended for usein EFL learning thereby highlight a general negative attitude towardsEFL learning strategies employed the institution.

Questionone (Age)

Results showed that majority of the participantswere aged 19-22 years. This falls within the acceptable age bracketfor students in studying at the university within the KSA educationsystem. Another six participants were in the 23-26 years age bracketand another four in the 27-30 age brackets. There were only twostudents over the age of 30 meaning that they are outside the normalage bracket for university students. However, this is explained bythe advent of adult learning and the concept of continuous learningwhere adults who never had the opportunity to study seek to pursueeducation. Under Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, such peoplefall within the self actualisation phase where they seek to acquireeducation or even a certificate to satisfy their egos and persona.Age in this case can influence students’ relationships withteachers.

While age may point to important direction towards sources ofmotivation for learners and the relationships with teachers,psychologists point to another direction of cognitive development.The cognitive theory posits that there is a learning curve incognitive development and general learning. Hernandez, Ping andMacWhinney say, “the idea of a biologically determined criticalperiod plays a pivotal role not just in linguistic theory, but incognitive science as a whole” (2005, p. 220). This critical periodis very important in life as it influence how individuals learn andmake use of new information. Again, the method in which adultsprocess information is not the same as children process it. Hernandezand colleagues add that in the field of learning there are two mainsystems: rule-based analytic procedural system,and a formulaic, exemplar-based declarative system. In the rule-basedanalytic procedural system, the individual relies more on generativerules which is more compatible with adults.

On the other hand, the formulaic, exemplar-baseddeclarative system is largely driven by memory with small portions ofrules Young children, usually about two years acquire L1 through theformulaic, exemplar-based declarative system. This explains whychildren learn language by repeating the sounds that they hear mostfrom the environment. Across the lifespan, cognitive capabilitieshave a shown a linear decline implying that L2 acquisition capacitiesare likely to decrease with age. However, this is not always thecase. Hyltenstam and Abrahamsson (2003) explains that given thatadults rely both on generative rules and a small portion of memory,not all cases of L2 learning capabilities can be explained by age asother non-age related factors also contribute to this. In fact, ageis just one of the factors among a multitude.

For the current research, the results mean thatthe age of the participants are not sufficient to explain theperformance of the learners and their attitudes assuming that higherperformers in L2 are likely to have a better attitude towards thecurrent methods used.

Question 2 (Arabic as the mother tongue shouldbe used sparingly in class in explaining some English words.)

This question was formulated based on the 5-pointLikert scale. The question sought to find out whether participantswould agree to the use of Arabic in EFL classroom. Over half of theparticipants prefer the use of Arabic in class (9 strongly agree and2 agree), with two unsure and the rest opposing the use (2 disagree4 strong disagree). This view is largely influence by the level ofstudy. Advanced learners are less likely to encourage the use ofArabic according to Khresheh (2012). However,in this case, the results contradicted this view. Such deviation fromthe findings of Khresheh could be linked tothe teaching styles and strategies employed by the teacher as well asthe vocabulary used by the teacher. Empirical expectations would bethat native speakers have a richer vocabulary in English which mightbe even too complex for advanced learners who need Arabic tounderstand such complex words and sentence structures. The use ofnative language for teaching English language would be effective inthis case scenario. It is evident that the teachers and the studentsare well conversant with the native Arabic language and this would bean additional advantage since the teachers can use the language toexplain English terms and their meaning in native language. Thiswould enhance the understanding of the English language by thestudents. Subsequently, the students will be in a position to explainto the teachers or the instructors some of the terms in English thatthey do not understand. Learners of the English language will find itextremely difficult to ask questions in English language consideringthat they do not understand the language. On the contrary, argumentsstipulating that the learners will put little effort are also broughtforward. The literature reviewed indicated that learners are supposedto be encouraged to ask questions or address their Englishinstructors in English language. This will encourage the learners topractice in order to communicate in the English language. The bestapproach that can be proposed for teaching the English language is tohave learners understand the Basic English terms which can be used toask basic questions. The initial lessons when the students arelearning the basic terms can be taught in the native Arabic language.However, the learners should be discouraged to continue using thenative language to ask questions or to address the instructors. Inother words, the teaching of English should be a progressive processand instructors must be aware of the pace at which the learners areunderstanding the English terms.

Question3 (EFL instructors are flexible in terms of style andmethod to meet different needs of learners)

A total of eleven students strongly agreed thatteachers are flexible in style and responding to student needs. Thiskind of flexibility is correspondent with the view posited by theprincipled eclecticism theory. However, the researcher was unable toascertain the nature and variation sin the level of variation inmethodology that the students had observed in class. An additionally4 students agreed to the idea that teachers varied their approach tosuit individual needs of students while four of them neither agreednor disagreed. It is worth noting that different learners willcapture or understand the foreign language differently. It is duty ofthe instructor to ensure that the learners are handled individually.The teachers must vary the style that is being used for each studentto ensure that the learners will understand the language. Researchhas indicated that there are some students who are quick at capturingor understanding a foreign language while others are extremely slow.It is the duty of the teacher or the instructor to look into thedifferent needs of such students.

Question4 (I am satisfied with the EFL teaching methods currently used by myinstructor).

This question sought to assess the approval of thecurrent EFL methodologies in use. Only four participants indicatedthat they strongly agreed with the method, with another twelve onlyagreeing. One responding neither agreed nor disagreed with anotherdisagreeing and another two strongly disagreeing. Several researchershave often pointed out that it can be difficult to identifyparticular EFL methods applied in class unless they get to identifyvarious strategies, styles and principles assisted with such methods.In this regard, the agreement to the methods in this case can be alsoassociated with the teaching strategies and styles and not just themethodology.

One aspect that came out clearly is that thelearners who are studying English are not even aware of thestrategies or the methods being used by the teachers or the Englishinstructors. The variation in students’ abilities to understand aforeign language was evident in these responses. The students whoagreed that the methods applied were satisfactory seemed to be quicklearners. It is, however, worth noting that majority of the studentssimply agreed that the methods used were satisfactory. Lack ofknowledge of various effective teaching methods by the studentscontributed to the answers that they gave.

Questionfive (Different instructors and learners are suited differently bydifferent EFL teaching methods).

Results showed that 10 participants stronglyagree, 8 agree and two neither disagree nor agree that differentinstructors and learners are suited differently by different EFLteaching methods. In the case of students having different needs,there is need for teachers to be competent in employing more than onemethod and even several strategies in order to reach out students whomay have unique needs. One point worth noting here is that there wasno participant who disagreed with the statement in the questionnaire.This is an indication that the participants were aware of thedifferent abilities that students have. The need of having differentteaching methods for the English language is to ensure that thedifferent students can apply different methods to learn the language.One methodology of teaching may apply to one student while it mightbe ineffective to another student. This means that the teacher mustbe in a position use different teaching methods to teach thestudents. The same case applies to the teachers and the instructors.There are some instructors who are comfortable using a particularmethod of teaching while other are not.

Q6 (There are better and easier ways to gain EFL competence than theones employed in class).

A total of 13 participants strongly agreed, 4agreed, 2 disagreed and 1 strongly disagreed. In the modern age,there are numerous avenues that individuals can learn a secondlanguage. In this case, learners believe there are better methods tolearn English other than through the methods applied in theclassroom. Before the introduction of modern teaching of L2, scholarsrelied on self-teaching methods to acquire competence in a newlanguage (Howatt &amp Widdowson, 2004). Such an approach is stillwidely used especially by adult learners who get to learn newlanguages without going through the formal educational process tolearn that language. This is most common among immigrants andexpatriates who upon moving into new countries may end up learning anew language as a result of interacting with the natives. However,this kind of language competence largely involves hearing andspeaking and largely excludes writing and reading. The concept ofwatching western movies and listening to English music also plays asa way of encouraging English competence is one of the avenuessuggested by Hamouda (2011) and the most likely being considered bythe high number of participants who believe that there exists betterEnglish learning methods other the classroom.

Listening and speaking seems to be one of the bestmethods of learning the English language. It is only through practicethat learners can learn a foreign language. It is evident that in aclass setting, there is little time for practice and the learnersrevert back to their native language once they are out of class. Thisimplies that the teaching methods used in class need to becomplemented with immense practice by the students. Students viewlearning English language in class as a waste of time since they canlearn the language through other means such as through watchingmovies or listening to their English speaking friends who reside inSaudi Arabia.

Q7.(Learning English about the western culture and values contributespositively towards EFL competence.)

A high number of participants (10) neither agreednor disagreed with this statement while five strongly disagreed andanother five strongly agreed. This shows that this issue is verysensitive and divisive according to the results. With allparticipants being Arab, they avoided being engaged in the debate onthe morally and suitability of western values in the face of strictconservative Islamic values. At the same time, there is an emergingvoice of dissent among Muslims and Arabs in general that view somecultural practices and beliefs have held the society back. Thesevoices of dissent are largely expressed by younger people who havedesire to experience the American idealization of freedom and awestern lifestyle. This is evident through the internet, video games,western movies and music videos. The internet has emerged as one ofthe most potential avenues to learn and teach English in the age ofonline learning.

English language in Saudi Arabia is considered asa western aspect and as a language that promotes the western culture.The Islamic culture and religion is totally against the westernculture. This negative attitude towards the western culture is rifeand evident in the schools across Saudi Arabia. Although there are afew modern, young students who are disagreeing with this attitudetowards the western culture, majority of the people are in support ofthe local culture which includes the Arabic language. Students do notwant to agree with the fact that knowledge of western culture andvalues will enhance their competency in English language.

Q8.(Would you like to be engaged in choosing the EFL teaching methodsused?)

On the willingness to be engaged in choosing theteaching strategies and style, 15 participants agreed by saying yeswhile five no. This in particular shows a desire to challenge thetraditional teaching approach in KSA where the teacher has been theactive player in the classroom with learners perceived as sponges toabsorb knowledge from the instructor. On the other hand, the fiveparticipants who indicated that they would not to be engaged inchoosing the teaching methodology capture one of the most citedissues that hinder EFL teaching in KSA societal attitude towardsEnglish. Although competence in English as a language is a source ofprestige for many in KSA, the use and value of learning the languageis yet to be fully acknowledged. From a psychological view, theactual value they are putting on education is minimal. Shah Hussainand Nasseef (2013, p. 113) reported the same issue with oneparticular teacher indicating that he has never seen a single parentinquiring about the progress of their children or even expressingtheir expectations and desires about the education of their children.

Thestudents are uncomfortable with the focus on the teacher with thecurrent methods being used. The students need a voice that wouldenhance their participation and a method that would focus on them.The five students who showed no interest in choosing the teachingmethod that is being used indicates that the social attitude towardseducation is negative in the country. Few students understand theneed of studying the English language and its use in the SaudiArabian society. As a result, the students have little or no interestin deciding what methods should be used to teach them.

Q9.(Does the current TEFL teaching method used in EFL class match wellwith role of EFL in your life?)

On this question, 14 participants answered yes and6 no. This concurs with the view policy adopted by the ministry ofeducation and the ministry for higher education that view leaning ofEnglish as the best to offer modern knowledge on sciences andhumanities that largely exists in English. Alhamuda (2012) capturedthis view in his study where most students indicated that the reasonmany were taking English majors was because they wanted to pursuecourses in other fields. This does not necessarily involve pursuingthese courses in foreign countries but also locally in KSA. Severalhigher learning institutions such as King Fahd University ofPetroleum and Minerals have already adopted English as the languageof instruction though Islam and Arabic language are offered in Arabic(Ministry of Education 2015).

Q10.(Do you think that the TESL methodology being used in class currentlyinfluences your attitude and motivation towards learning EFL)

On this question 17 participants indicate that theTEFL methodology currently used in class influence their attitudetowards the language. The method used can create a positive attitudewhich is likely to motivate learners to learn and even out in extraeffort in order to succeed. Conversely, a wrong methodology or apoorly applied methodology is likely to discourage learners fromputting in extra effort in the belief that they cannot succeed. Thelatter is a recurrent issue among Saudi EFL learners who do no accordEFL leaning and education at large the level of attention andseriousness it deserves. Another aspect that can be identified withregard to the attitude of the learners towards the methods is thesocial value accorded to education in the country. Considering thatthe students might be having an already existing negative attitudetowards education and more so the English language, it is evidentthat the learners will develop a negative attitude towards theteaching methods.

Q11(Would you suggest the current TESL method used by your teacher toanother EFL learner?)

Half of the participants indicated that they wouldsuggest the current methodology to other EFL learners while the otherhalf would not. The fact that half of the participants believed thatthe method was not good enough to be used by other learners couldsuggest that the methodology itself was perceived to be unsuitable orthat the application of that particular methodology a particularteacher was responsible for creating the negative attitude towardsthe method. A study by Ahmed, Yassatorn and Yossiri (2012) among EFLlearners in Thailand shows that the inclusion of certain activities,strategies and styles in EFL methods used by teachers impacted theattitudes towards the method and even teachers. Therefore it can beassumed that these responses provided by the learners in regards tothe methods applied might be heavily influenced by the feelings andattitudes have towards the teacher more so in regards to the personarather than ability to apply and execute a given EFL teaching method.

Q12(Are you satisfied with the level of IT adoption in EFL learning inyour university?)

Nearly all (17) the participants were notsatisfied with the level of technology adoption in their EFL classesat Taibah University. Although computer assisted learning (CAL) hasbeen adopted in many developed countries, not many developingcountries such as KSA have made full use of the potential of CAL.Many researchers continue to indicate that CAL adoption in mostcountries is driven by the willingness of teachers to apply thetechnology, sociocultural beliefs and institutional support. In thecurrent case, it is clear to see that learners are not in any waysatisfied field with technology adoption. Interestingly, among thethree participants who indicate that they were satisfied with thetechnology infusion in the current teaching method, two were olderthan thirty years. This is not surprising as empirical observationshave shown that the generation x and the millennial are some of thebest equipped in technology while older individuals have trouble inadopting more complicated modern technology. Nonetheless, where thetechnology is adopted, there is unlimited potential. One suchadvantage include increased motivation for learners, ability to adoptto individual learner needs, authenticity, reduced pressure onlearners and development of critical thinking skills (Afrin 2014).The notion of motivation as far as blogging is concerned has beendocumented by several studies (Fageeh, 2011). However, blogging doesnot account as a CAL but rather a technology aided classroom activityand strategy (Afrin 2014) which according to Ahmed, Yassatorn andYossiri (2012) does not actually improve L2 acquisition but increasesmotivation towards L2 acquisition.

The method being used by the Saudi Arabianteachers is traditional and it involves teacher-student learningwithout the use of technology. This is why numerous of therespondents stated that they were not satisfied with the level of ITadoption that was being used. It is worth stating that technologychanges the morale and motivation of students and therefore theEnglish learners at Taibah University have little or no motivation tolearn. There is need by the government to invest heavily in theeducation sector in Saudi Arabia to ensure that the learners arehighly motivated. It is, however, worth to remember that the learnersand the government has little interest in education and therefore thegovernment would be reluctant in investing in computers that can beused for the computer assisted learning in schools.

Q13(Do you think that a teachers experience and competence influenceschoice and use of EFL teaching method?)

Sixteen participants believed that the choice andapplication of any teaching methodology was dependant on theteachers’ competence, application, and experience. The viewsuggests that many learners have a huge respect for instructors andare more likely to attribute to their success in EFL learning to theteachers as opposed to the teaching method used. On the other hand,it indicates that research in individual methods maybe tricky tocarry out because the attitudes towards any methodology are tied tothe views towards individual teachers. Considering that numerousteachers of English language are incompetent, there is enoughevidence that the learners will hardly have a positive attitudetowards the teaching methods used. This calls for the government toallow foreign teachers who are competent in English language to cometo Saudi Arabia as English instructors.

Q14(What do you think is the most important area of English language anygiven TESL methodology should emphasize on?)

The question provided learners with multipleanswers and they were required to identify the most important aspectof EFL learning any given methodology should address (A. Reading andwriting B. Speaking and hearing C. Grammar rules D. Real lifeapplication). As stated by the ministry of education KSA, one of thecore purposes of learning English and even making it mandatory in theelementary levels was to increase Saudi participation in globalaffairs conspicuously dominated by the English language. Similarly,16 students indicated that they were more concerned about EFLmethodologies addressing this goal. Two participants wanted EFLmethodologies to address reading and writing skills, one wanted themethodology to address speaking and listening skills and another onewanted methodologies to address grammar rules. Although knowledge ofthe English language improves communicative competence and generalfunctioning in the global society which aligns to real lifeapplication, the other choices made the other participants are notwrong. It is most likely these participants felt that the respectiveareas identified to be given priority by EFL methodologies representtheir weakest areas.

Question15. (Give reasons why you believe or do not believe the current EFLstrategies and methods enables you to achieve your personal reasonsfor pursuing EFL major?)

Participants gave varying reasons to this question. Dominant themeswere career, social prestige, pursue other courses, and relocate tothe west. One participant indicated that

I working on my English to be fluent and then relocate to the US.Learning English here is OK for me and will make me relate betterwith American society when I move there. I would hate to be seenstereotypes as terrorist because of my accent.

Thisshows that the learner is eager to integrate into an Americansociety. It therefore mean that the best fitting methodology in thiscase would be one that places emphasis on listening skills, speakingskills, pronunciation and American culture. Thirteen participantswere very specific in that they were looking forward to perfectingtheir English to increase career prospects. Nine of them explicitlyindicated that they were happy with the methodology and believed thatthe methodology employed in class would help them achieve theirgoals.

Question16 (In order of importance, list the five top aspects that make youfeel good about the current EFL teaching method employed by yourteacher).

One again, the responses to this question varied widely. Participantswere however agreed on several things though not explicitly as shownby dominant themes. One such dominant theme was the issue ofpeer-to-peer engagement. Students were very positive about correctingeach other in the classroom environment and engaging in groupdiscussions outside the classroom engagement. Research has indicatedthat it is easy for students to learn from each rather than learningfrom the teacher. This is because there are no boundaries between thestudents as there are between a student and a teacher. The studentswill interact freely and will ask each other questions freely.Additionally, the students while engaging with each other do not havemind whether they are wrong or right hence making learning easy.

Q17(List two or more aspects that make you feel bad about the currentEFL teaching method/style/strategies employed by your teacher?)

The ideas expressed by the participants in this question also variedwidely. However, most of the participants indicated teacher-relatedissues as opposed to the methodology itself. For instance, oneparticipant listed teacher feedback in front of other peers as ahugely problematic issue. Three participants also indicated that theinsistence by teachers to use ‘specified pronunciation’ ofcertain words without giving allowance to L1 influences as one thattend to frustrate some students. Another participant indicated thatthe approach employed the teacher does not motivate them to learn asthe teacher is “boring” in class.

5.1 Summary

In summary, the results indicate that students are more responsive toEFL teaching strategies and styles as opposed to methodologies. Forthe majority of the students, perception and beliefs towardsactivities conducted in class and their expectation of EFL teachingapproach coincide with views presented by findings in past studies.For instance, students indicated a higher level preference for betteradoption of technology in EFL teaching which increases motivation tolearn. Ideally, students are convinced that the choices that teachersmake in class are directed by their personal choices as opposed tostructured methodologies. This is clearly indicated by the notionthat participants showed by the majority believing that differentteaching methods suited different instructors. This would imply thatthere are no standard formats on applying various methodologies.

6.0 Findings and recommendations

An analysis of past research studies have demonstrated that manyfactors affect the choice of learning strategies, styles and methodsamong teachers. There are also many other factors that influence thelearners attitudes and perception of the same. As mentioned earlier,the learners tend to link the EFL methods to the personal traits ofteacher which in the same manner as strategies. It must be noted thatwhile learning methods are general, strategies are specific and tiedto the persona of the teacher. It is therefore almost impossible toascertain whether perception towards a teacher’s personality isreflected in the perception towards teaching strategies employed.

Another issue that this study reveals from the literature review andthe current study is that the education system is not well equippedto offer EFL courses. Apart from previous studies indicating negativestudents’ attitudes, negative perceptions towards some acceptablelearning practices such as teacher’s feedback, shows that thelearners have not gone through a thorough education system thatshould instill such practices as common standard. Alternatively, itcould be explained that there is a huge problem with the negativeattitude towards teachers and learning strategies and stylesemployed.

It was found out that the government of Saudi Arabia sought to haveEnglish language as a means of spreading Islam and not as anessential tool for communication and as a means of making the youthcompetitive in the global job market. This is an aspect that made thestudents to view the language as foreign tool and as a language thatthey should learn. This has made the students to have a negativeattitude towards not only the teachers but also the strategies andthe methods that they use to teach EFL. The teachers that teach theSaudi Arabian university students are also incompetent and havelittle or no knowledge regarding the teaching approaches they shoulduse. It has been found out that majority of the teachers use methodswhich are teacher centered as opposed to methods that are studentcentered. This makes the students to develop the negative attitudetowards the teacher and therefore end up have a bad negativeperception about the teaching methods and strategies being used.

Therefore, it is recommended that Saudi EFL teachers be exposed tofurther training to increase their competence in handling students.Such perceived lower quality of education by the students themselvesand high demand for foreign education shows that the public’s truston the education system is waning. Furthermore, the conservativesociety and strict Sharia laws in the country have played a greatrole in preventing the country from attracting foreign instructorswho are highly experienced and qualified to offer EFL learning tomatch global standards. It is high time for the Saudi Arabiangovernment to realize that the English language is a global languageand a universal language. It is therefore necessary for thegovernment to understand that the future generations will need tohave the knowledge of the English language. There are numerous SaudiArabia young people in other countries such as the US where they seekjob opportunities. It is therefore necessary to ensure that thestudents in the universities are equipped with effective Englishlanguage skills to ensure that they are competitive in the global jobmarket. It is recommended that the government should let lose theSharia laws which inhibit qualified English teachers from othercountries coming to Saudi Arabia and teaching. It is the duty of thegovernment to understand that the English language is essential evenfor business. Considering that this is a country which engages inproduction and sale of oil to other countries, there needs to beyoung people in the country who can comfortably communicate inEnglish language. In order to change the perception of the studentsregarding the teaching methods, strategies, as well as theirteachers, it is essential to portray the language in good manner.

7.0 Conclusion

This research has clearly demonstrated that the teachingmethodologies that are applied KSA in teaching the English languageare ineffective. This is due to a number of factors which includereligion and personal beliefs. It is also evident that the Englishlanguage is essential for the development of the country andenhancement of its relations with other countries, as well as forbusiness purposes. This research has indicated that the studentsmajoring in English are willing to learn the language due to variousreasons such as travel and employment opportunities. One biggestchallenge in that country why English language teaching strategiesare not welcome is that the language is considered as a culture ofthe western nations such as the USA. It is worth noting that thewestern culture is a controversial issue in the country and thisaffects the teaching of the language. The negative perception thatthe students have towards English language learning strategies are asa result of their religion and not the ineffectiveness of thestrategies. Another aspect that this research managed to establish isthe fact that the government seeks to have the language learnt inorder to use it to spread Islam. As a consequence, some instructorsfind it difficult to separate the EFL teaching methods and the callby the government. This creates conflict hence making the EFLteaching methods ineffective.

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Questionnaires

A descriptive study on Taibah University English major experience,attitude and perceptions regarding the current TESL methodologiesapplied by their teachers.

Questionnaires: Please answer each question in the space provided andtick where appropriate.

NB: Please do not write your name or any personal information onthis questionnaire.

  1. Age

19-22

23-25

&gt25

  1. Should Arabic as the mother tongue be used sparingly in class in explaining some English words?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Are EFL instructors flexible in terms of style and method to meet different needs of learners?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Are you satisfied with the EFL teaching methods currently used by your instructor?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Are different instructors and learners are suited differently by different EFL teaching methods?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Are there are better and easier ways to gain EFL competence than the ones employed in class?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Learning English about the western culture and values contributes positively towards EFL competence

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Would you like to be engaged in choosing the EFL teaching methods used?

Yes

No

  1. Does the current TEFL teaching method used in EFL class match well with role of EFL in your life?)

Yes

No

  1. Do you think that the TESL methodology being used in class currently influences your attitude and motivation towards learning EFL?

Yes

No

  1. Would you suggest the current TESL method used by your teacher to another EFL learner?

Yes

No

  1. Are you satisfied with the level of IT adoption in EFL learning in your university?

Yes

No

  1. Do you think that a teachers experience and competence influences choice and use of EFL teaching method?

Yes

No

  1. What do you think is the most important area of English language any given TESL methodology should emphasize on?

A. Reading and writing

B. Speaking and hearing

C. Grammar rules

D. Real life application

  1. Give reasons why you believe or do not believe the current EFL strategies and methods enable you to achieve your personal reasons for pursuing EFL major?

  2. In order of importance, list the five top aspects that make you feel good about the current EFL teaching method employed by your teacher

  3. List two or more aspects that make you feel bad about the current EFL teaching method/style/strategies employed by your teacher?

A descriptive study on the experience, attitudes and perceptions of

  • Uncategorized

62

EFL LEARNING STRATEGIES IN KSA

A descriptive study on the experience, attitudesand perceptions of English majors in Taibah University towardscurrent TESL methodologies applied by their teachers

Unit

Module

Supervisor

Submitted on

Dedication

Declaration

Abstract

Resultsfrom previous studies on second/foreign language learning both in KSAand other non-Anglophone countries indicate that language learningstrategies play an influential role in the process of languagelearning. The perception towards these strategies/methods and theirfunctioning in achieving the objectives of EFL learning vary widelyand are influenced by numerous factors. This current research makesan attempt to present a synthesis of research results on attitudesand perceptions of English majors at Taibah University towardsEFL/ESL teaching methods /styles/strategies employed by theirteachers. Data from a sample of 20 participants was collected throughquestionnaires that used largely formalized and standardizedquestions to find their views. Data was analyzed through thematicanalysis to find recurring themes from the responses.

Acknowledgements

Iam sincerely grateful to ………, my supervisor and mentor in thisproject for his/her unending support, guidance and encouragementthroughout all the stages of this project.

Glossary

EFL English as a foreign language

ESL English as a second language

L1 First Language

L2 Second language

LLS Language learning strategies

KSA Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

TEFL Teaching English as a foreign Language

TESL Teaching English as a second language

TESOL Teaching English to speakers of other languages

Table of Contents

Abstract 4

Acknowledgements 5

Glossary 6

1.0 Introduction 8

1.1 Background 10

1.1.1 The country 10

1.1.2 Background of English learning and teaching in KSA 12

1.1.3 Place of English in the Saudi Higher education system 14

1.1.4 Saudi English teaching system 14

1.2 Challenges facing ESL teaching and learning 15

2.0 Research plan 16

2.1 Research questions 17

2.2.0 Research purpose 17

2.2.1Objectives 17

2.2 Significance of the study 18

3.0 Literature review 19

3.1 Introduction 19

3.2 EFL methods 19

3.2.1 Grammar Translation 20

3.2.2 Direct Method 20

3.2.3 Audio-lingualism 21

3.2.4 Humanistic Approaches 22

3.5 Past primary studies 23

3.6 Summary 28

4.0 Method 28

4.1 Study design 28

4.2 Methodology 29

4.3 Instrumentation 30

4.4 Informed Consent 31

4.5 Authorization and ethical considerations 31

4.6 Sampling 32

4.7 Participants 32

4.8 Research settings 32

4.9 Research limitations 34

5.0 Results and discussion 34

5.1 Summary 48

6.0 Findings and recommendations 49

7.0 Conclusion 51

References 52

1.0 Introduction

There are about one million students enrolled inSaudi universities and colleges (Saudi Embassy 2015). Most of thesestudents have undergone several years of learning English inelementary and secondary schools. Some may choose to study English asa major or minor at the university level. Others may seek to pursuehigher learning abroad with majority of them ending up in the US,Australia or UK where English is the official language. Studying inthe west is also coupled with the expected proficiency in Englishlanguage and a foreign accent which is viewed as a prestigious skillthat can lead to better paying jobs (Moskovsky &amp Alrabai, 2009).The West’s sociocultural environment and better quality educationin those countries are the main motivators for studying abroad(Al-Seghayer, 2012). Bonus perks to studying abroad are increasedemployability and social prestige. This huge demand for Englishproficiency emanates from the establishment of English as the soleinternational language with 85% of global organizations using Englishas the official language as well as 90% of online content being inEnglish (Al-Jarf, 2008).

Such dominance by the English language whosenative speakers are comparatively few has driven many non-Anglophonecountries to introduce English language as a subject at variouslevels of schooling. Same as KSA, non-native English learners haveopted to immigrate to English-speaking countries to improve theirproficiency in English not just through classroom learning but alsothrough interacting with native speakers of the language (Al-Jarf,2008). As a subject and a language, the approach to teaching Englishis largely different to other teaching methods applied in othersubjects. However, competence and proficiency in the language islargely dependent on the teaching methods used in imparting knowledgeand skills in the language. Academic performance in other subjectsmay not necessarily provide an accurate prediction in performance ina language. Furthermore, enthusiasm and investment in languagelearning may n tiled desired results at all times. Abdellah (2012)for instance notes that reading achievement among Saudi Englishmajors has been reported to be of low quality despite the governmentinvesting a lot towards English language proficiency among itscitizenry.

L2 proficiency is largely influenced by the L2teaching methods. Teaching methods may vary by instructor choice,curriculum and teacher skills in applying the methods. The majorityof Saudi ESL learners in secondary and sometimes universities learnthe language through unreliable methods such as memorizing phrasewhich they do not understand (Moskovsky &amp Alrabai, 2009).Nonetheless, following pedagogical and curriculum changes n thecountry, new and modern EFL methods are being used. These methodsalone cannot guarantee EFL learning and teaching success. Theapplication of the method, motivation towards teaching/learning EFLand even the attitudes that both learners and teachers have towardsthese methods also play a critical role.

1.1 Background 1.1.1 The country

Saudi Arabia, which was established as a republicis 1932, is the world’s leading oil producer. This has made thecountry a key player in global economic and geopolitical affairs. Itsvast natural resources deposits and its growing geopoliticalinfluence in the region have seen the country host thousands offoreign expatriates largely from western countries (Ojha,2011). Consequently, English as a language has grown in popularityand use in the country and more so in organizations that interactfrequently with expatriates. In fact, English is the second mostcommonly used language in the country, although it is not officiallyrecognized as a second language (Al-Jarf, 2008). The growth inEnglish has grown in use and popularity through support by Article 50of the Educational Policy in the KSA, which states that studentsshould learn at least one foreign language to increase theircompetence in relating with speakers of other languages (Al-Seghayer,2012). This is one of the new ways that English is spreading from itsparent country, Britain.

Conversely, the majority of non-native Englishspeaking countries around the world such as the USA, Canada, NewZealand, Australia and several African countries came to adoptEnglish through colonization. Some of these colonizers settled inthese countries and set out to assimilate and indoctrinate thenatives to their own culture and language. However, KSA has neverbeen colonized by Britain. In the countries that British explorersvisited, they desired to actively spread English and their culture toincrease their global dominance through trade and occupation. Such anapproach was not always perceived well as many traditional societiessuch as the native Indians of Canada resisted (Larsen-Freeman, 2000).During colonization, there was a basic translation of common wordsand phrases regularly used such as greetings were used (Ahmed,Yassatorn &amp Yossiri, 2012). Today, the situation is verydifferent. Non-Anglophone countries are encouraging their people tolearn English voluntarily for their own good. Therefore, the growingpopularity of English in the KSA is largely influenced by businessprospects and government policy.

Interestingly,the same government is wary of over-dominance of English in thecountry which may be crowding out Arabic. A 2012 directive from theInterior Ministry instructed all government departments and privateagencies to abandon some western/English related practices. Forinstance, front office staffs at major government facilities andhotels were instructed to answer telephones in Arabic as opposed toEnglish. Further, all government and private agencies were requiredto shun the Gregorian/English calendar in favour of the Arabic Hijricalendar (Saudi Arabia bans, 2013). This clearly demonstrates thatwhile the government is aware of the importance of English to thenation, the same government is concerned that English as a languageis being used a cultural vehicle for western ideas that are basicallycontrary to conservative Islamic teachings and culture.

With that said, teaching experts and linguists allagree that gaining L2 proficiency requires proficiency in the cultureof target language speakers. Culture comes in handy in that learnersget to apply the language in a cultural context as intended giventhat language is a part and parcel culture (Larsen-Freeman, 2000).Empirical observations would also reveal that non-native Englishlearners who school in western countries where they study thelanguage in its cultural context are better placed in theirproficiency than those who school in KSA (Smith, 2005). In the caseof government policies in KSA, there is conflict on the intended roleof English as a foreign language. To start with, the government iseager to curtail increased use of English in business circles insideKSA which is crowding out Arabic. Secondly, English has no legalrecognition as a second language in the country despite the growingpercentage of the population that speaks it and the language beingoffered in elementary schools.

1.1.2 Background of English learning and teaching in KSA

English was introduced into the Saudi Arabiansociety by the Saudi government. After the establishment of theDirectorate of Education in 1923, before, the kingdom was formed in1932, English was introduced as foreign language alongside Frenchinto the Saudi Arabian educational system in 1927. The language wasregistered as a subject at the secondary school level with nodefinite learning objectives identified. With the establishment ofthe intermediate level, specific instructional objectives and syllabifor English language were established. This was later to bereplicated in secondary schools. With education being fully funded bythe government, it was seen as a direct government effort to increasethe number of English speaking locals (Al-Seghayer, 2012). This wasin recognition of English as a world language.

In a number of books and models exploring thespread of English around the world, the term ‘Englishes’ iscommon (Bolton, 2006 McKenzie, 2010). This plural term is used inthe belief that there are various types of the English language.Bolton (2008) indicates that the term Englishes recognizes theexistence of functional and formal variation in the language, and itsinternational acculturation, for example in KSA. Using this logictherefore, it can be argued that there exists Saudi Arabian Englishor Gulf English in respect to acculturation and localization of thelanguage. One renowned expert in sociolinguistics, Pico Iyer (1983)indicated “there is not one English language anymore, but there aremany English languages….each of these English is creating its ownvery special literature, which, because it doesn’t feel oppressedby the immensely influential literary tradition in England is somehowfreer” (Bolton, 2006, p. 369) Such a language therefore belongs tothe people who use it as their first language and those who use it asan additional language, whether in localized of standard form. Boltonfurther explores this issue to cite Llazmon (1983) who says that thenew varieties of English as identifiable with four essential sets offeatures: ecological, historical, sociolinguistic and cultural.

For over 70 years since the introduction ofEnglish Language in the Saudi Arabian education system, the Englishlanguage curriculum has evolved in various ways. The initialcurriculum developed in the country was made with assistance fromforeign expatriates and teachers guided by particular curriculumdevelopment model. A curriculum aimed at streamlining the acquisitionof the language by learners. Stenhouse (1975, p. 4), as cited inPring, 2004, p. 124 defines curriculum as “an attempt tocommunicate the essential principles and features of an educationalproposal in such a form that it is open to critical scrutiny andcapable of effective translation into practice”. True to the word,the KSA English language curriculum has been critiqued by varioussources. One of the core accusations is that the English taught inSaudi Arabian schools is not useful beyond the classroom. For thisreason, a number of evaluations and changes have been made to meetcurrent needs.

1.1.3 Place of English in the Saudi Higher education system

As mentioned, majority of students in KSA pursueEnglish major to increase their skills level and land better payingjobs. The larger government policy higher education has wider targetsfor inclusion in English in the curriculum. The Higher Committee forEducational Policy cited in Rahman and Alhaisoni (2013, p. 112)stated that the core purposes of education of education in KSA are:

  1. To have the student understand Islam in a correct and comprehensive manner.

  2. To plant and spread the Islamic creed, and to furnish the student with the values, teachings, and ideals of Islam.

  3. To equip him with various skills and knowledge, and to develop his conduct in constructive directions.

  4. To develop the society economically, socially, and culturally, and to prepare the individual to become a useful member in the building of his community.

1.1.4 Saudi English teaching system

As mentioned in the previous chapter, English hasevolved into a global language. Non English speaking countries, KSAincluded have joined the clamour to learn English to increase theirinvolvement in global affairs. In so doing, teaching of English as asecond of foreign language has gained momentum. Policy makers andsociologists have developed several theories that attempt to explainthe alignment of nations based on their economies, labour, people andlanguage among others. The Immanuel Wallerstein world system theoryis one such theory that has been applied to explain the place androle of English in KSA that would affect the teaching methods used.This is macro scale approach to the social change. The world systemfocuses on the world as opposed to the nation states. The theoryasserts that aspects such as language should not be based on countryafter country, but should be global phenomena.

The education system is also subject to the Saudicultural, social and political environment. While many westernnations religious freedom is widely practiced, this is not the casein KSA. Islam as a religion and a way of life plays a dominant rolein the education system. The Sharia law which guides the country isalso applied in the education sectors. Gender separation is a keydifferent between western education and KSA education. Except in afew cases, learners of different genders are not allowed to mix andinteract in school even though they pursue the same syllabus.Additionally, male teachers are not allowed in learning institutionsof females and vice versa. This has a huge impact in the learningprocess.

This approach to the education system has denied learners greatopportunities to benefit from gender interactions. Additionallylearning institutions are progressively required to be genderdiscriminatory in hiring. This kind of system not only denies theeducation system the diversity that it requires in thoughtdevelopment but also denies some learning institution access to someof the best and most qualified instructors in EFL and other courses.For instance, it is notable that in the western countries, femaleteachers are more concentrated in languages, humanities and socialsciences as opposed to sciences. This could imply that females allover the world dominate TEFL and thus male university may faceunprecedented difficulties in landing qualified male EFL teachers inthe advanced level.

1.2 Challenges facing ESL teaching and learning

AlthoughKSA has made considerable progress in western education and more soin EFL learning, there are key challenges that continue to face thecountry. Some of the challenges are country-specific, policy orientedand others and driven by context. All these challenges are likely toimpact the teaching methodologies that can be applied in the country.They include:

  1. Improperly trained teachers or inadequate teaching methodology.

  2. Teacher-centred rather than learner-centred activities.

  3. Students’ aptitude, initial preparedness and motivation: School and university teachers often complain of the low proficiency of their students. They also claim that students are not motivated to learn.

  4. Compartmentalization vs. whole language approach.

2.0Research plan

This section illustrates the plans that theresearcher made in preparing for this study and notably collectingdata from the field. To do this, the researcher was guided by theinstitution’s Graduate student’s expectations and the study’spurpose which is to gain an understanding of the perception of SaudiEnglish majors at Taibah University.

2.1 Research questions

  1. What are the students’ perceptions and attitudes towards the current EFL methods being used?

  2. Are Saudi university students satisfied with the EFL teaching methods currently used?

  3. How efficient are EFL teaching methods in enhancing the proficiency of students in EFL.

  4. What is the most prevalent LLSP (Language Learning Style Preference) in Saudi Arabia university students that are studying English major?

  5. Which are the most prevalent strategies for vocabulary learning that the Saudi students use in comprehension?

  6. Is there a link between the use of vocabulary learning strategies and the performance of the students in writing?

2.2.0 Research purpose

The purpose of this research is to ascertain whether Saudi universityEFL majors are satisfied with the current EFL learning strategies andmethods and how they perceive them against the standard expectationsof these methods and strategies as presented by the literaturereview.

2.2.1Objectives

This research initiative involves a complexprocess that involves sourcing, collecting and analyzing data that isspecifically designed to answer research questions. Therefore, theresearch will collect, analyze and interpret guided by a broad set ofquestions organized into research objectives listed as below:

  1. To find out the most prevalent LLSP (Language Learning Style Preference) among Saudi university students that are studying English major

  2. Identify the most prevalent strategies for vocabulary learning that the Saudi students use in comprehension

  3. To investigate whether there is a link between the use of vocabulary learning strategies and the performance of the students in writing

  4. To find out the perception and the attitude of the students towards the current EFL methods being used.

  5. To find out whether the students are satisfied with the current EFL methods being used.

2.2 Significance of the study

The study seeks to explore how Saudi universitystudents majoring in English relate with the current TESOLmethodologies being employed by their teachers/lecturers/instructors.The findings will be descriptive in nature and will give a view ofhow learners perceive and relate to these teaching methodologies. Thestudy will be helpful to individual teachers, curriculum designers,teacher training institutions and trainers, and policy makers onexisting teaching constraints faced by the EFL teachers in SaudiArabia. Additionally, it will raise pedagogical understanding byguiding less experienced teachers especially new to the culture andcontext of teaching in KSA to reflect on their teaching practices andexisting methodologies. For prospective EFL teachers, the study willassist them in developing adaptive skills in the case of teachingEnglish majors in KSA.

3.0 Literature review3.1 Introduction

This section of the dissertation reviews relevantliterature on EFL learning methods/styles/strategies as well asprevious studies on the subject and information on the effective EFLteaching practices and methodologies. After reviewing the theory onthe strategies and styles, the paper then previous studies whereprimary studies are given precedence while other peer reviewedjournal articles, conference proceedings, and relevant literature arealso utilized to provide a concrete picture of existing informationon the subject. Primary research studies that address EFL teachingand learning in the Saudi higher education context were preferred asopposed to EFL teaching method studies from other countries in orderto factor in the issue of context. The researcher further restrictedthe primary studies to those not older than ten years. This isbecause recent primary sources will provide updated information withthe most recent information and EFL methods.

3.2 EFL methods

Borrowing largely from research there are severaldistinct methods of teaching L2 that have emerged. It is worth notingthat not all the methods below were used in KSA. They include:

3.2.1 Grammar Translation

This is also called the classical method. It isone of the earliest TESOL methodologies applied widely around theworld. In fact, the name classical method originated from the use ofthe method in teaching classical languages Latin and Greek(Larsen-Freeman, 2000). Initially, themethod was applied with the intention of allowing students learn thegrammar of their native language by applying the grammar rules of aforeign language. This was mainly because natives or target studentsdid not have reading and writing skills or ways to grammar rules toformalize their language. It was therefore thought that by learninggrammar rules of a foreign language (target language), they would bebetter placed to apply grammar rules in their native language. Forthis reason, the method was criticized by early scholars such asRouse (1925) who termed it as a method through which “to knoweverything about something rather than the thing itself” (cited inRichards &amp Rodgers, p. 6).

After such criticism, the intentions of methodwere changed. The new goal of teaching foreign languages using themethod was adopted as to improve learners intellectually(Larsen-Freeman, 2000). However, this was also problematic becausethe method was not created by the originators to serve in theclassroom environment. Howatt &amp Widdowson (2004) indicate thatprior to the 19thcentury foreign language learning was a preserve of adult scholars.Furthermore, the method was best suited for self-study situations butnot for use by instructors. In spite of the issues raised, the methodcontinues to be applied today given that it can be used to achievesome goals of EFL.

3.2.2 Direct Method

Just like the grammar translation method, thedirect method has been around for many years. The only differencebeing that the direct method was developed to correct theinefficiencies of the former, specifically in addressing speaking andlistening skills in the target language. The method obtains its namefrom the fact that meaning of words in target language is conveyeddirectly without translation or recourse to L1. The meaning of wordsis conveyed in any format such as demonstrations, visual aids, andillustrations but not through translation. In fact, no translation isallowed whatsoever under this methodology (Larsen-Freeman, 2000).

Nonetheless, language experts are opposed to the consideration of thedirect approach as a language teaching methodology. Prof. Gurreynotes that

It is essentially a principle, not teachingmethod, a system that operates through many methods a way ofhandling the new language and of presenting to the class. It dependson direct bond, that is, a direct association, between word and thingand between sentence and idea instead of an indirect one through themother tongue.

Anothercriticism levelled against the methodology pertains to the assumptionthat the method takes towards acquisition of L2. The method assumesthat L2 acquisition follows the same path that a baby takes towardsacquisition of L1 in the early stages of development. Ideally, babiesdo not have any idea of the mother tongue but learn with time as itis used with visual aids and demonstrations In so doing, the methodassumes that L2 learners are blank pages and the role of theirexperiences, culture and L1 in learning and interpreting new languagedo not count (Smith 2005, p. 194).

3.2.3 Audio-lingualism

This is one the recent methodologies specifically developed toaddress the shortcomings of the past methods. The development of themethod was spearheaded by Charles Froes from the University ofMichigan and thus the method has sometimes been named the MichiganMethod. What sets this method apart from its predecessors is the factthat the method does not seek to teach L2 through exposure tosituations or seek to use translation but rather is founded on“strong theoretical base in linguistics and psychology”(Larsen-Freeman, 2000 p. 35). The psychology element of the theorywas borrowed from Skinner’s (1957) work on the behaviouralconditioning theory that identified language learning and sentencestructures as some things that can be learned through conditioningwhich involved exposing learners to stimuli and shaping andreinforcing behaviour (cited in Larsen-Freeman, 2000).

3.2.4 Humanistic Approaches

The term refers to a range of holistic methodsapplied in language learning. The most common and often used is theperson-centred education. This type of learning is informed byhumanistic psychologists led by Abraham Maslow and Carl Rodgers(Larsen-Freeman, 2000). These psychologists believed that learnershave different needs and that the relationship between the teacherand learner impacts the learning process. Although this approach islargely applied in psychotherapy where a therapist is required toshow empathy and care as well as place him/herself in the shoes ofthe client, it is relevant in L2 teaching whether the teacher engagesthe learner as a whole. In this case, learning entails developing alearner’s self esteem, motivation and the ability to be focused andfully autonomous in learning (Ganza 2008).

Therefore, it emerges that learner autonomy is a key pillar is thehumanistic approaches. Although the traditional education system inKSA has shunned this method, there is new impetus to drive learnerautonomy and approach learning from a humanistic approach. In thatregard, there is need to better understand what learner autonomygiven that Ganza (2008) warns that the approach is easilymisunderstood which can lead to poor application. One of the mostwidely used and earliest definition was provided by David Little’s(1991) who said:

Autonomyis a capacity-for detachment, critical reflection, decision making,and independent action. It presupposes, but also entails, that thelearner will develop a particular kind of psychological relation tothe process and content of his learning. The capacity for autonomywill be displayed both in the way learners learns and in the way heor she transfers what has been learned to wider contexts (cited inSchwienhorst 2012, p. 12).

3.5 Past primary studies

The study by Liton (2013) set to exploreinstructors’ perceptions, evaluations and expectations about EFLcourses in Saudi universities. The study is relevant in the currentsubject in the sense that the perceptions, evaluations andexpectations about English affected the teaching methodologies usedby EFL teachers at all levels. A study Iranian RFL teachers andlearners showed that teachers believe that “the mastery of thetarget language, good knowledge of pedagogy, ability to apply diverseteaching methods and techniques as well as personality” make up agood EFL instructor (Shishavan &amp Sadeghi 2009, p. 130). On theother hand, EFL learners believe that an EFL instructor’spersonality and relationship with students are more important thanthe choice and application EFL teaching methodologies (ibid). Rahmanand Alhaison (2013) also indicate that the instructors’ perceptionstowards English and the expectations they have on learners influencethe choice of teaching methodologies applied by EFL instructors.

Therefore, Liton’s (2013) study which assessedthe perceptions and views of 25 randomly chosen EFL instructors inSaudi Arabia could explain the reasons behind the current methodsbeing used in Saudi universities. The study relied on questionnairesdistributed to participants chosen from renowned universities in thesouthern region of the country. In this region, there are two typesof English taught: for English major students and for non-Englishmajor students. The TEFL English major students focuses on“developing student language proficiency in advanced level” whichwould call for more intensive TEFL methodologies as opposed to TEFLfor non-English majors which focuses on equipping learners with a“relatively high level of competence in reading and an intermediatelevel of competence in listening, speaking, writing, and translating”(Liton, 2013, p. 24).

Following analysis of data collected, the findingsfrom the study proved very informative. On the question whether theinstructors thought an “EFL class will be task-based languageteaching (TBLT) practice,” 80% answered in the affirmative and 16%in the negative while 4% said they were not sure (Liton 2013, p. 25).On whether the instructors thought that the courses were welldesigned to meet the language needs of students, 60% said yes and 40%said no. again, 80% were in full support of use of English as thelanguage of instruction, 16% were in support of use of both Englishand Arabic while 4% suggested that Arabic should be gradually phasedout.

Intensity in terms of English courses offered inKSA has been criticized widely over its shallowness, poor teachingmethods and narrow courses among others (Al-Jarf 2008 Khresheh2011). One of the question in Liton (2013) research study addressedthis issue by asking respondents whether they felt that studentsneeded more English credit courses or not and majority of them (88%)indicated yes and only 12% indicated no. Another question asked theinstructors to rank what should be the focus of English. The resultswere “grammar 8% reading 8% writing 4% vocabulary 44% listening24%, and speaking 12%” (Liton 2013, p. 29). The answers to thisquestion corroborates the views by Al-Jarf (2008) that science andtechnology courses in university require an advanced level of Englishknowhow while some KSA universities seek to offer intermediateEnglish proficiency courses for Saudi students majoring in thesecourses and in the process results to poor performance in theirmajors because of insufficient EFL skills. Furthermore, the higherranking of vocabulary as the main focus of English points to a poorfocus of English which is reiterated by Fageeh (2011) who writes thatsome Saudi students who have majored in English at the universitylevel have poor skills formation of grammatically correct sentences.

On a more specific research, Khresheh (2012) theexplored principled eclecticism as a methodology and the use ofArabic in Saudi EFL classrooms. The sample comprised of 94 studentsand 15 teachers (non-native speakers) from the University of Hail,KSA. A preliminary test in English was given to the participants andthe scores were used to group the participants into three distinctgroups beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each group was assigneda different book to study in a series of lessons. Thestudent-participants were required to attend classes offered byteachers in their group. During these lessons, observations were madeon when Arabic was used and the participants were subjected to aninterview to assess why Arabic was used in the EFL classes.

The interviewees revealed that English was usedfor many reasons. One of the common ones was that there was lack ofEnglish vocabulary to express certain actions or practices due tocultural variations. Another reason given by the advanced learnerswas that Arabic was used when participants were not satisfied withsome cultural meanings of some English worlds which contrast tolearners’ cultural values and do not exist in their culture.Another common issue that triggered the use of Arabic for 17beginners and five intermediate students was the need to explainsynonyms. The students could not understand well the existence ofcertain English words having more than one meaning, homophones. Toexplain this required the teachers to use Arabic to explain toindividuals students who faced such difficulties (Khresheh, 2012)

Apart from the teachers’ issues, the societalbehaviour and attitude towards education is very different in KSA.The research identified and confirmed previous claims that the Saudishave a negative attitude towards education. The society does notvalue education and parents do very little to participate in theirchildren’s education. One participant lamented “From apsychological view, the actual value they are putting on education isminimal. I never received parents asking about the progress of theirkids or expressing their expectations of the child” (Shah, Hussain,&amp Nasseef, 2013, p. 113). The same negative attitude is evidentin learners whose main preferences and goals in learning English isto achieve good grades and certificate “with little attention onreal learning and academic growth” (ibid). The education policy inthe country that allows learners to repeat a particular grade if theyfail to achieve a certain grade also discourages learners. Oneparticipant claimed that “Teaching repeaters is just like bangingyour head against the wall. There is hardly any suitable methodologyfor such learners” (ibid p. 113). Other issues noted to hinder EFLteaching practice were long lessons of 80 minutes, poor timing oflessons, poor learning resources, poor teacher supervision practicesand student absenteeism.

Technology has been widely employed in educationand in EFL teaching in various contexts with various institutions andcountries reporting varying progress and outcomes (McKenzie, 2010).Sun (2009) examined the use and efficiency of voice blogging amongChinese EFL learners. The study was identified the voice blogging asone of the key methods that technology can be adopted EFL with otherbeing identified by other scholars to include class forums, emails,voicemails, online chat rooms, student feedbacks online andparticipation in social media in the target language. SuchComputer-mediated communication (CMC) is slowly growing in popularityas online learning spreads globally to include teaching newlanguages. The use of CMC in EFL is largely praised as it allowslearners to take greater control of the learning process in line withthe call for student-centred learning that is widely recommended forcountries such as KSA that have in the past concentrated onteacher-centred learning.

However, student centeredness is not an EFLteaching methodology per se. It is an approach that that insists onstudents playing an active participatory role in the learningprocess. This means that the approach can be adopted alongside othercommon EFL teaching models such as direct method or audio-lingualismas the instructor desires. Therefore, Sun (2009) recognized thislimitation in his study in that he acknowledged that it wasimpossible to differentiate the contribution of CMC alone as themethodologies alongside which the approach was applied varied.However, some of the noted benefits of adopting CMC in EFL are “ability to encourage students to notice and modify output content andstructure, enhance motivation, reduce anxiety, foster learnerautonomy, and promote cooperative learning” and also works best forshy students as the approach reduces “social-context clues such asgender, race, and status, and nonverbal cues such as facialexpressions and body language” that may hamper participation inclass and the goals of EFL learning (Sun, 2009, p. 88).

Results indicated that a very small percentage(5%) had prior experience in blogs though majority of them had priorexperience in the internet (88%), email (86%), chats (76%), andsocial networks (72%). Nearly all participants (91%) felt thatblogging was fun and enjoyable while another 80% thought of it as nota waste of time (Aljumah, 2012). Majority of the student were alsoimpressed with blogging works as it allowed them to post theirassignments for comments before handing them over. A small percentagealso expressed disadvantage of blogs such as the claim that peersposted rants and not actual helpful content. Generally, resultsindicated that blogging was new enjoyable way of learning that breaksthe monotony of 80 minutes lessons. Based on these findings theresearcher thus recommends the wide use of blogging in EFL teachingalongside other established EFL teaching methodologies.

In spite of this, comprehensible data was obtainedfrom the study. All students and teachers preferred receivingfeedback at more than one stage of the writing process. About 20% ofteachers do not prefer offering feedback at the early stages ofwriting 70% of learners dislike feedback at the early stages ofwriting and specifically during the drafting processing characterizedby brainstorming (Hamouda 2011).

3.6 Summary

The literature review captured key elementsteaching EFL. Apart from identifying the specific methodologiesdeveloped by teaching EFL over time, the review identified particularstrategies and tactics that EFL teachers can apply in the classroomwithin the given methodologies. The review on literature alsoenlightened the researcher in developing refining questions tospecifically address the gap in knowledge. Based on these views, thenext section addresses the data collection process. This relates tothe research questions in that it discusses the elements that werecaptured in the EFL teaching. This included the methods which wereraised in the research questions.

4.0 Method4.1 Study design

The new Saudi education policy has enforced theuse of English as the language of instruction in all sciencedepartments. This has played a major role in popularizing Englishmajor as an option among university students. With English as thepreferred language of research, science, commerce and education,higher levels of understanding English by majoring in English isdesired (Al-Jarf 2008). Compared to other non-English speakingcountries, Arab and Saudi English-major students fair comparativelypoorer than other EFL from other countries. Researchers have pointedto poor methodologies used in the Saudi context (Al-Jarf, 2008). Thestudy is thus designed in manner that it seeks to explain whyproblems exist in studying and teaching among Saudi universityEnglish majors.

4.2 Methodology

The current study adopted an exploratory approachsituated in the interpretive paradigm of research. This yields aresearch design qualitative and focuses on the subjective realitiesof the participants in regards to EFL teaching methodologies. Theresearcher is thus interested in exploring the perceptions,experiences, and multiple socially constructed realities ofEFL-majors in Taibah University in a KSA. While the EFL teachingmethodologies maybe uniform globally, the experiences that Saudi EFL-majors may have may differ depending on the social, religious andcultural contexts. Thus as a qualitative research, the researcherattempts to understand unique interactions between a sample of EFLlearners and the learning environment and the teaching methodologiesused (Jupp, 2006). The researcher is thus tasked with presentingfindings truthfully to interested parties.

Furthermore, “for for a study focusing onindividual lived experiences, the researcher could argue that onecannot understand human actions without understanding the meaningthat participants attribute to these actions, their thoughts,feelings, beliefs, values, and assumptive worlds&quot (Marshall &ampRossmans, 1999, p. 57 cited in Ahmad &amp Shah 2014). To fullyunderstand these meanings, the researcher needs to study things intheir natural settings to discover the meanings seen by those beingresearched or subjects as opposed to the meaning seen by theresearcher.

4.3 Instrumentation

The study applied questionnaires to collect data.A two-part instrument comprising of closed and open ended questionswas used to collect data. Questionnaires are some of the most widelyused data collection methods used by researchers in different fields.However, the efficiency of these questionnaires largely depend on thecompetence of the researcher in developing questions that are easy toanswer, will encourage participants to answer them, address therelevant phenomenon targeted by the research and are devoid ofconfusion. Again, most questionnaires applied in second language (L2)research are somewhat ad hoc instruments, and questionnaires withsufficient (and well-documented) psychometric reliability andvalidity are not that easy to come by in our field…and practice ofquestionnaire design/use has remained largely uninformed by theory(Dornyei, 2003, p. 4)

The questionnaires were in English given thatparticipants had substantial English background having been throughthe preliminary and intermediate levels in EFL learning. This wouldalso mean that the questionnaire faced a limitation in that onlylimited vocabulary would be used in asking questions to factor inEnglish being a second language to the learners. Additionally, use ofquestionnaires as opposed to interviews means that the researcherwould not be there to explain questions to participants in case ofdifficulties in understanding the questions.

Another issue that was put into consideration indeveloping the questionnaire pertains to simplicity, motivation,social desirability, time and length. On simplicity, the researcherhad to develop simple language to ensure that participants wouldeasily understand what was being asked of them by the individualquestions and that they could respond in a simple manner in the caseof open questions. On the case of social desirability, the researchermade all attempts to create questions that would be perceived asself-incriminating which would tend to encourage the participant tolie. On desirability and time, the author made sure that thequestions were simple to answer and that the participant could takeabout15-20 minutes at most to answer all questions.

Regrettably, questionnaires cannot address all issues that theresearcher would like to know about the phenomena being studied. Theidea is to structure questions to address the purpose of the studyand the research question. In fact, Donryei (2003) anticipates thisand cautions researchers that the “the generaltemptation is always to cover too much ground by asking everythingthat might turn out to be interesting. This must be resisted: inquestionnaire design less is often more because long questionnairescan become counterproductive” (p. 18). Consequently, only 18questions were included in the questionnaire.

4.4 Informed Consent

Each interview sheet was accompanied by anothersheet seeking authorization from participants. Informed consentensures that participants are well informed about the informationthat the researcher, the intention of the research and also clarifieson the participants’ confidentiality by holding researchersresponsible for safeguarding any confidential information that may becollect. This is especially so where questionnaires are mailed toparticipants or are emailed. Access to such confidential details suchas home address, email address or telephone number could be a softtarget on breach of confidentiality laws. However, in the currentcase, the researcher did not collect any confidential information.

4.5 Authorization and ethical considerations

Before commenting the research, the researchersought written permission to conduct the research from thedean/faculty upon which the researcher was issued with a certificateof ethical research approval. This was done in line with preparingthe proposal which indicated the scope and intention of the researchin brief.

4.6 Sampling

Purposive sampling was used to identifyparticipants in the study. This method of sample selection differsfrom probability sampling in that it is largely reliant on thejudgment of the researcher in choosing the units of study. The choiceof sampling method is determined largely by the size of thepopulation targeted, resources at hand, and the data collectionmethod intended to be used. Random sampling method is best suited forquantitative data as they surveys seeking on identifying trends thatare best informed by statistical data. On the other hand, purposivesampling is best suited to studies where the target population isrelatively small and a strict requirement or characteristic inparticipants is necessary. One major weakness of this approach tosampling is that it is subject to bias as it relies of the researchersubjective choice of participants. However, given the legal andsocial restrictions that do not allow gender mixing Saudi contextimplies that the method fits with the researcher’s social bias.

4.7 Participants

Thecurrent research applied purposive sampling in identifying a sampleof 20 male students all taking English major at Taibah University andin their final year. All participants were over 18 years old and werepursuing English major. The participants were all in session in thesemester to ensure that their recollection of the teachingenvironment is up to date and relevant.

4.8 Research settings

The researcher took a lengthy period to prepare aset of questions that would make up the questionnaire and also answerthe research question. In constructing the questions, there was needto formalize the answers and address researcher subjectivity. This islight of the fact that the current research already faced a degree ofbias in terms of the sampling method used as mentioned earlier. Toaddress, the author thus school the Likert scale to formalize andstandardize responses and at the same time used closed No/Yesquestions. To make the research questionnaires align with theexpectations of qualitative study, thee open questions were alsoincluded. This made a questionnaire of 18 questions touching onbehaviours, beliefs and demographic issues. The element offormalizing and standardization of data in L2 research has beenacknowledged by several researchers. To address the shortfall ofquestionnaires, Anderson (2005) suggests used of students“standardized inventories, think-aloud protocols and reflectivejournals” (p. 760). However, due to time and resource limitations,the researcher stuck to questionnaires but took necessary measuressuch formalizing responses. This may include organizing the responsesformally.

Afterfinalizing the questionnaires, the researcher printed several copieswhich were attached to the consent forms. The questionnaires weredistributed at one EFL-majors’ class for students in the finalyear. The researcher sought the assistance of an acquaintance in theuniversity who helped in identifying potential participants.Instructions were given that that consent form must first be read andunderstood before agreeing to complete the questionnaire. A total of36 questionnaires sheets were distributed but only 26 were returned.Of the 26 returned questionnaires, one did not have a completed constsheet while another five were incomplete. The researcher thus reliedon 20 fully complete questionnaires to collect data and makeinferences.

4.9 Research limitations

The current limitations had faced severallimitations. One of the main one was reluctance by students toparticipant in the study in fear that they views would be captured byteachers which would lead to unfavourable grades. This was one of themost common reasons given by students approached to participate inthe study. Another key limitation that this study had was that theresearcher was only able to access male participants only due tosocial restrictions.

The third limitation that the study faced andcould have major implications on the findings is that data wascollected through interviews while a combination of interviews andobservation would have been better in ascertaining teachers assumedcompetence in the classroom environment (Creswell, 2012). Again, thesample comprised of male participants only.

The fourth limitation that this study facedpertained to the use of questionnaires to collect data for aqualitative research. Ideally, there is very little literaturesupport for use of questionnaires in collecting qualitative datagiven that open ended questions that would collect qualitative datatend to take to complete and thus encourage poor results withincomplete answers and eventual withdrawal from participation(Dornyei 2003). For these reasons, the researcher opted to use moreclosed questions.

5.0Results and discussion

Thissection provides a brief summary to the results obtained from thestudy as well as providing a brief interpretation of the results toindividual questions with support from relevant literature. Of the 20participants targeted by the study, all of them returned completedquestionnaires. Such a high success rate was attributed to the timingof the distribution of questionnaires. Results indicate that learnersare largely opposed to strategies that primarily recommended for usein EFL learning thereby highlight a general negative attitude towardsEFL learning strategies employed the institution.

Questionone (Age)

Results showed that majority of the participantswere aged 19-22 years. This falls within the acceptable age bracketfor students in studying at the university within the KSA educationsystem. Another six participants were in the 23-26 years age bracketand another four in the 27-30 age brackets. There were only twostudents over the age of 30 meaning that they are outside the normalage bracket for university students. However, this is explained bythe advent of adult learning and the concept of continuous learningwhere adults who never had the opportunity to study seek to pursueeducation. Under Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, such peoplefall within the self actualisation phase where they seek to acquireeducation or even a certificate to satisfy their egos and persona.Age in this case can influence students’ relationships withteachers.

While age may point to important direction towards sources ofmotivation for learners and the relationships with teachers,psychologists point to another direction of cognitive development.The cognitive theory posits that there is a learning curve incognitive development and general learning. Hernandez, Ping andMacWhinney say, “the idea of a biologically determined criticalperiod plays a pivotal role not just in linguistic theory, but incognitive science as a whole” (2005, p. 220). This critical periodis very important in life as it influence how individuals learn andmake use of new information. Again, the method in which adultsprocess information is not the same as children process it. Hernandezand colleagues add that in the field of learning there are two mainsystems: rule-based analytic procedural system,and a formulaic, exemplar-based declarative system. In the rule-basedanalytic procedural system, the individual relies more on generativerules which is more compatible with adults.

On the other hand, the formulaic, exemplar-baseddeclarative system is largely driven by memory with small portions ofrules Young children, usually about two years acquire L1 through theformulaic, exemplar-based declarative system. This explains whychildren learn language by repeating the sounds that they hear mostfrom the environment. Across the lifespan, cognitive capabilitieshave a shown a linear decline implying that L2 acquisition capacitiesare likely to decrease with age. However, this is not always thecase. Hyltenstam and Abrahamsson (2003) explains that given thatadults rely both on generative rules and a small portion of memory,not all cases of L2 learning capabilities can be explained by age asother non-age related factors also contribute to this. In fact, ageis just one of the factors among a multitude.

For the current research, the results mean thatthe age of the participants are not sufficient to explain theperformance of the learners and their attitudes assuming that higherperformers in L2 are likely to have a better attitude towards thecurrent methods used.

Question 2 (Arabic as the mother tongue shouldbe used sparingly in class in explaining some English words.)

This question was formulated based on the 5-pointLikert scale. The question sought to find out whether participantswould agree to the use of Arabic in EFL classroom. Over half of theparticipants prefer the use of Arabic in class (9 strongly agree and2 agree), with two unsure and the rest opposing the use (2 disagree4 strong disagree). This view is largely influence by the level ofstudy. Advanced learners are less likely to encourage the use ofArabic according to Khresheh (2012). However,in this case, the results contradicted this view. Such deviation fromthe findings of Khresheh could be linked tothe teaching styles and strategies employed by the teacher as well asthe vocabulary used by the teacher. Empirical expectations would bethat native speakers have a richer vocabulary in English which mightbe even too complex for advanced learners who need Arabic tounderstand such complex words and sentence structures. The use ofnative language for teaching English language would be effective inthis case scenario. It is evident that the teachers and the studentsare well conversant with the native Arabic language and this would bean additional advantage since the teachers can use the language toexplain English terms and their meaning in native language. Thiswould enhance the understanding of the English language by thestudents. Subsequently, the students will be in a position to explainto the teachers or the instructors some of the terms in English thatthey do not understand. Learners of the English language will find itextremely difficult to ask questions in English language consideringthat they do not understand the language. On the contrary, argumentsstipulating that the learners will put little effort are also broughtforward. The literature reviewed indicated that learners are supposedto be encouraged to ask questions or address their Englishinstructors in English language. This will encourage the learners topractice in order to communicate in the English language. The bestapproach that can be proposed for teaching the English language is tohave learners understand the Basic English terms which can be used toask basic questions. The initial lessons when the students arelearning the basic terms can be taught in the native Arabic language.However, the learners should be discouraged to continue using thenative language to ask questions or to address the instructors. Inother words, the teaching of English should be a progressive processand instructors must be aware of the pace at which the learners areunderstanding the English terms.

Question3 (EFL instructors are flexible in terms of style andmethod to meet different needs of learners)

A total of eleven students strongly agreed thatteachers are flexible in style and responding to student needs. Thiskind of flexibility is correspondent with the view posited by theprincipled eclecticism theory. However, the researcher was unable toascertain the nature and variation sin the level of variation inmethodology that the students had observed in class. An additionally4 students agreed to the idea that teachers varied their approach tosuit individual needs of students while four of them neither agreednor disagreed. It is worth noting that different learners willcapture or understand the foreign language differently. It is duty ofthe instructor to ensure that the learners are handled individually.The teachers must vary the style that is being used for each studentto ensure that the learners will understand the language. Researchhas indicated that there are some students who are quick at capturingor understanding a foreign language while others are extremely slow.It is the duty of the teacher or the instructor to look into thedifferent needs of such students.

Question4 (I am satisfied with the EFL teaching methods currently used by myinstructor).

This question sought to assess the approval of thecurrent EFL methodologies in use. Only four participants indicatedthat they strongly agreed with the method, with another twelve onlyagreeing. One responding neither agreed nor disagreed with anotherdisagreeing and another two strongly disagreeing. Several researchershave often pointed out that it can be difficult to identifyparticular EFL methods applied in class unless they get to identifyvarious strategies, styles and principles assisted with such methods.In this regard, the agreement to the methods in this case can be alsoassociated with the teaching strategies and styles and not just themethodology.

One aspect that came out clearly is that thelearners who are studying English are not even aware of thestrategies or the methods being used by the teachers or the Englishinstructors. The variation in students’ abilities to understand aforeign language was evident in these responses. The students whoagreed that the methods applied were satisfactory seemed to be quicklearners. It is, however, worth noting that majority of the studentssimply agreed that the methods used were satisfactory. Lack ofknowledge of various effective teaching methods by the studentscontributed to the answers that they gave.

Questionfive (Different instructors and learners are suited differently bydifferent EFL teaching methods).

Results showed that 10 participants stronglyagree, 8 agree and two neither disagree nor agree that differentinstructors and learners are suited differently by different EFLteaching methods. In the case of students having different needs,there is need for teachers to be competent in employing more than onemethod and even several strategies in order to reach out students whomay have unique needs. One point worth noting here is that there wasno participant who disagreed with the statement in the questionnaire.This is an indication that the participants were aware of thedifferent abilities that students have. The need of having differentteaching methods for the English language is to ensure that thedifferent students can apply different methods to learn the language.One methodology of teaching may apply to one student while it mightbe ineffective to another student. This means that the teacher mustbe in a position use different teaching methods to teach thestudents. The same case applies to the teachers and the instructors.There are some instructors who are comfortable using a particularmethod of teaching while other are not.

Q6 (There are better and easier ways to gain EFL competence than theones employed in class).

A total of 13 participants strongly agreed, 4agreed, 2 disagreed and 1 strongly disagreed. In the modern age,there are numerous avenues that individuals can learn a secondlanguage. In this case, learners believe there are better methods tolearn English other than through the methods applied in theclassroom. Before the introduction of modern teaching of L2, scholarsrelied on self-teaching methods to acquire competence in a newlanguage (Howatt &amp Widdowson, 2004). Such an approach is stillwidely used especially by adult learners who get to learn newlanguages without going through the formal educational process tolearn that language. This is most common among immigrants andexpatriates who upon moving into new countries may end up learning anew language as a result of interacting with the natives. However,this kind of language competence largely involves hearing andspeaking and largely excludes writing and reading. The concept ofwatching western movies and listening to English music also plays asa way of encouraging English competence is one of the avenuessuggested by Hamouda (2011) and the most likely being considered bythe high number of participants who believe that there exists betterEnglish learning methods other the classroom.

Listening and speaking seems to be one of the bestmethods of learning the English language. It is only through practicethat learners can learn a foreign language. It is evident that in aclass setting, there is little time for practice and the learnersrevert back to their native language once they are out of class. Thisimplies that the teaching methods used in class need to becomplemented with immense practice by the students. Students viewlearning English language in class as a waste of time since they canlearn the language through other means such as through watchingmovies or listening to their English speaking friends who reside inSaudi Arabia.

Q7.(Learning English about the western culture and values contributespositively towards EFL competence.)

A high number of participants (10) neither agreednor disagreed with this statement while five strongly disagreed andanother five strongly agreed. This shows that this issue is verysensitive and divisive according to the results. With allparticipants being Arab, they avoided being engaged in the debate onthe morally and suitability of western values in the face of strictconservative Islamic values. At the same time, there is an emergingvoice of dissent among Muslims and Arabs in general that view somecultural practices and beliefs have held the society back. Thesevoices of dissent are largely expressed by younger people who havedesire to experience the American idealization of freedom and awestern lifestyle. This is evident through the internet, video games,western movies and music videos. The internet has emerged as one ofthe most potential avenues to learn and teach English in the age ofonline learning.

English language in Saudi Arabia is considered asa western aspect and as a language that promotes the western culture.The Islamic culture and religion is totally against the westernculture. This negative attitude towards the western culture is rifeand evident in the schools across Saudi Arabia. Although there are afew modern, young students who are disagreeing with this attitudetowards the western culture, majority of the people are in support ofthe local culture which includes the Arabic language. Students do notwant to agree with the fact that knowledge of western culture andvalues will enhance their competency in English language.

Q8.(Would you like to be engaged in choosing the EFL teaching methodsused?)

On the willingness to be engaged in choosing theteaching strategies and style, 15 participants agreed by saying yeswhile five no. This in particular shows a desire to challenge thetraditional teaching approach in KSA where the teacher has been theactive player in the classroom with learners perceived as sponges toabsorb knowledge from the instructor. On the other hand, the fiveparticipants who indicated that they would not to be engaged inchoosing the teaching methodology capture one of the most citedissues that hinder EFL teaching in KSA societal attitude towardsEnglish. Although competence in English as a language is a source ofprestige for many in KSA, the use and value of learning the languageis yet to be fully acknowledged. From a psychological view, theactual value they are putting on education is minimal. Shah Hussainand Nasseef (2013, p. 113) reported the same issue with oneparticular teacher indicating that he has never seen a single parentinquiring about the progress of their children or even expressingtheir expectations and desires about the education of their children.

Thestudents are uncomfortable with the focus on the teacher with thecurrent methods being used. The students need a voice that wouldenhance their participation and a method that would focus on them.The five students who showed no interest in choosing the teachingmethod that is being used indicates that the social attitude towardseducation is negative in the country. Few students understand theneed of studying the English language and its use in the SaudiArabian society. As a result, the students have little or no interestin deciding what methods should be used to teach them.

Q9.(Does the current TEFL teaching method used in EFL class match wellwith role of EFL in your life?)

On this question, 14 participants answered yes and6 no. This concurs with the view policy adopted by the ministry ofeducation and the ministry for higher education that view leaning ofEnglish as the best to offer modern knowledge on sciences andhumanities that largely exists in English. Alhamuda (2012) capturedthis view in his study where most students indicated that the reasonmany were taking English majors was because they wanted to pursuecourses in other fields. This does not necessarily involve pursuingthese courses in foreign countries but also locally in KSA. Severalhigher learning institutions such as King Fahd University ofPetroleum and Minerals have already adopted English as the languageof instruction though Islam and Arabic language are offered in Arabic(Ministry of Education 2015).

Q10.(Do you think that the TESL methodology being used in class currentlyinfluences your attitude and motivation towards learning EFL)

On this question 17 participants indicate that theTEFL methodology currently used in class influence their attitudetowards the language. The method used can create a positive attitudewhich is likely to motivate learners to learn and even out in extraeffort in order to succeed. Conversely, a wrong methodology or apoorly applied methodology is likely to discourage learners fromputting in extra effort in the belief that they cannot succeed. Thelatter is a recurrent issue among Saudi EFL learners who do no accordEFL leaning and education at large the level of attention andseriousness it deserves. Another aspect that can be identified withregard to the attitude of the learners towards the methods is thesocial value accorded to education in the country. Considering thatthe students might be having an already existing negative attitudetowards education and more so the English language, it is evidentthat the learners will develop a negative attitude towards theteaching methods.

Q11(Would you suggest the current TESL method used by your teacher toanother EFL learner?)

Half of the participants indicated that they wouldsuggest the current methodology to other EFL learners while the otherhalf would not. The fact that half of the participants believed thatthe method was not good enough to be used by other learners couldsuggest that the methodology itself was perceived to be unsuitable orthat the application of that particular methodology a particularteacher was responsible for creating the negative attitude towardsthe method. A study by Ahmed, Yassatorn and Yossiri (2012) among EFLlearners in Thailand shows that the inclusion of certain activities,strategies and styles in EFL methods used by teachers impacted theattitudes towards the method and even teachers. Therefore it can beassumed that these responses provided by the learners in regards tothe methods applied might be heavily influenced by the feelings andattitudes have towards the teacher more so in regards to the personarather than ability to apply and execute a given EFL teaching method.

Q12(Are you satisfied with the level of IT adoption in EFL learning inyour university?)

Nearly all (17) the participants were notsatisfied with the level of technology adoption in their EFL classesat Taibah University. Although computer assisted learning (CAL) hasbeen adopted in many developed countries, not many developingcountries such as KSA have made full use of the potential of CAL.Many researchers continue to indicate that CAL adoption in mostcountries is driven by the willingness of teachers to apply thetechnology, sociocultural beliefs and institutional support. In thecurrent case, it is clear to see that learners are not in any waysatisfied field with technology adoption. Interestingly, among thethree participants who indicate that they were satisfied with thetechnology infusion in the current teaching method, two were olderthan thirty years. This is not surprising as empirical observationshave shown that the generation x and the millennial are some of thebest equipped in technology while older individuals have trouble inadopting more complicated modern technology. Nonetheless, where thetechnology is adopted, there is unlimited potential. One suchadvantage include increased motivation for learners, ability to adoptto individual learner needs, authenticity, reduced pressure onlearners and development of critical thinking skills (Afrin 2014).The notion of motivation as far as blogging is concerned has beendocumented by several studies (Fageeh, 2011). However, blogging doesnot account as a CAL but rather a technology aided classroom activityand strategy (Afrin 2014) which according to Ahmed, Yassatorn andYossiri (2012) does not actually improve L2 acquisition but increasesmotivation towards L2 acquisition.

The method being used by the Saudi Arabianteachers is traditional and it involves teacher-student learningwithout the use of technology. This is why numerous of therespondents stated that they were not satisfied with the level of ITadoption that was being used. It is worth stating that technologychanges the morale and motivation of students and therefore theEnglish learners at Taibah University have little or no motivation tolearn. There is need by the government to invest heavily in theeducation sector in Saudi Arabia to ensure that the learners arehighly motivated. It is, however, worth to remember that the learnersand the government has little interest in education and therefore thegovernment would be reluctant in investing in computers that can beused for the computer assisted learning in schools.

Q13(Do you think that a teachers experience and competence influenceschoice and use of EFL teaching method?)

Sixteen participants believed that the choice andapplication of any teaching methodology was dependant on theteachers’ competence, application, and experience. The viewsuggests that many learners have a huge respect for instructors andare more likely to attribute to their success in EFL learning to theteachers as opposed to the teaching method used. On the other hand,it indicates that research in individual methods maybe tricky tocarry out because the attitudes towards any methodology are tied tothe views towards individual teachers. Considering that numerousteachers of English language are incompetent, there is enoughevidence that the learners will hardly have a positive attitudetowards the teaching methods used. This calls for the government toallow foreign teachers who are competent in English language to cometo Saudi Arabia as English instructors.

Q14(What do you think is the most important area of English language anygiven TESL methodology should emphasize on?)

The question provided learners with multipleanswers and they were required to identify the most important aspectof EFL learning any given methodology should address (A. Reading andwriting B. Speaking and hearing C. Grammar rules D. Real lifeapplication). As stated by the ministry of education KSA, one of thecore purposes of learning English and even making it mandatory in theelementary levels was to increase Saudi participation in globalaffairs conspicuously dominated by the English language. Similarly,16 students indicated that they were more concerned about EFLmethodologies addressing this goal. Two participants wanted EFLmethodologies to address reading and writing skills, one wanted themethodology to address speaking and listening skills and another onewanted methodologies to address grammar rules. Although knowledge ofthe English language improves communicative competence and generalfunctioning in the global society which aligns to real lifeapplication, the other choices made the other participants are notwrong. It is most likely these participants felt that the respectiveareas identified to be given priority by EFL methodologies representtheir weakest areas.

Question15. (Give reasons why you believe or do not believe the current EFLstrategies and methods enables you to achieve your personal reasonsfor pursuing EFL major?)

Participants gave varying reasons to this question. Dominant themeswere career, social prestige, pursue other courses, and relocate tothe west. One participant indicated that

I working on my English to be fluent and then relocate to the US.Learning English here is OK for me and will make me relate betterwith American society when I move there. I would hate to be seenstereotypes as terrorist because of my accent.

Thisshows that the learner is eager to integrate into an Americansociety. It therefore mean that the best fitting methodology in thiscase would be one that places emphasis on listening skills, speakingskills, pronunciation and American culture. Thirteen participantswere very specific in that they were looking forward to perfectingtheir English to increase career prospects. Nine of them explicitlyindicated that they were happy with the methodology and believed thatthe methodology employed in class would help them achieve theirgoals.

Question16 (In order of importance, list the five top aspects that make youfeel good about the current EFL teaching method employed by yourteacher).

One again, the responses to this question varied widely. Participantswere however agreed on several things though not explicitly as shownby dominant themes. One such dominant theme was the issue ofpeer-to-peer engagement. Students were very positive about correctingeach other in the classroom environment and engaging in groupdiscussions outside the classroom engagement. Research has indicatedthat it is easy for students to learn from each rather than learningfrom the teacher. This is because there are no boundaries between thestudents as there are between a student and a teacher. The studentswill interact freely and will ask each other questions freely.Additionally, the students while engaging with each other do not havemind whether they are wrong or right hence making learning easy.

Q17(List two or more aspects that make you feel bad about the currentEFL teaching method/style/strategies employed by your teacher?)

The ideas expressed by the participants in this question also variedwidely. However, most of the participants indicated teacher-relatedissues as opposed to the methodology itself. For instance, oneparticipant listed teacher feedback in front of other peers as ahugely problematic issue. Three participants also indicated that theinsistence by teachers to use ‘specified pronunciation’ ofcertain words without giving allowance to L1 influences as one thattend to frustrate some students. Another participant indicated thatthe approach employed the teacher does not motivate them to learn asthe teacher is “boring” in class.

5.1 Summary

In summary, the results indicate that students are more responsive toEFL teaching strategies and styles as opposed to methodologies. Forthe majority of the students, perception and beliefs towardsactivities conducted in class and their expectation of EFL teachingapproach coincide with views presented by findings in past studies.For instance, students indicated a higher level preference for betteradoption of technology in EFL teaching which increases motivation tolearn. Ideally, students are convinced that the choices that teachersmake in class are directed by their personal choices as opposed tostructured methodologies. This is clearly indicated by the notionthat participants showed by the majority believing that differentteaching methods suited different instructors. This would imply thatthere are no standard formats on applying various methodologies.

6.0 Findings and recommendations

An analysis of past research studies have demonstrated that manyfactors affect the choice of learning strategies, styles and methodsamong teachers. There are also many other factors that influence thelearners attitudes and perception of the same. As mentioned earlier,the learners tend to link the EFL methods to the personal traits ofteacher which in the same manner as strategies. It must be noted thatwhile learning methods are general, strategies are specific and tiedto the persona of the teacher. It is therefore almost impossible toascertain whether perception towards a teacher’s personality isreflected in the perception towards teaching strategies employed.

Another issue that this study reveals from the literature review andthe current study is that the education system is not well equippedto offer EFL courses. Apart from previous studies indicating negativestudents’ attitudes, negative perceptions towards some acceptablelearning practices such as teacher’s feedback, shows that thelearners have not gone through a thorough education system thatshould instill such practices as common standard. Alternatively, itcould be explained that there is a huge problem with the negativeattitude towards teachers and learning strategies and stylesemployed.

It was found out that the government of Saudi Arabia sought to haveEnglish language as a means of spreading Islam and not as anessential tool for communication and as a means of making the youthcompetitive in the global job market. This is an aspect that made thestudents to view the language as foreign tool and as a language thatthey should learn. This has made the students to have a negativeattitude towards not only the teachers but also the strategies andthe methods that they use to teach EFL. The teachers that teach theSaudi Arabian university students are also incompetent and havelittle or no knowledge regarding the teaching approaches they shoulduse. It has been found out that majority of the teachers use methodswhich are teacher centered as opposed to methods that are studentcentered. This makes the students to develop the negative attitudetowards the teacher and therefore end up have a bad negativeperception about the teaching methods and strategies being used.

Therefore, it is recommended that Saudi EFL teachers be exposed tofurther training to increase their competence in handling students.Such perceived lower quality of education by the students themselvesand high demand for foreign education shows that the public’s truston the education system is waning. Furthermore, the conservativesociety and strict Sharia laws in the country have played a greatrole in preventing the country from attracting foreign instructorswho are highly experienced and qualified to offer EFL learning tomatch global standards. It is high time for the Saudi Arabiangovernment to realize that the English language is a global languageand a universal language. It is therefore necessary for thegovernment to understand that the future generations will need tohave the knowledge of the English language. There are numerous SaudiArabia young people in other countries such as the US where they seekjob opportunities. It is therefore necessary to ensure that thestudents in the universities are equipped with effective Englishlanguage skills to ensure that they are competitive in the global jobmarket. It is recommended that the government should let lose theSharia laws which inhibit qualified English teachers from othercountries coming to Saudi Arabia and teaching. It is the duty of thegovernment to understand that the English language is essential evenfor business. Considering that this is a country which engages inproduction and sale of oil to other countries, there needs to beyoung people in the country who can comfortably communicate inEnglish language. In order to change the perception of the studentsregarding the teaching methods, strategies, as well as theirteachers, it is essential to portray the language in good manner.

7.0 Conclusion

This research has clearly demonstrated that the teachingmethodologies that are applied KSA in teaching the English languageare ineffective. This is due to a number of factors which includereligion and personal beliefs. It is also evident that the Englishlanguage is essential for the development of the country andenhancement of its relations with other countries, as well as forbusiness purposes. This research has indicated that the studentsmajoring in English are willing to learn the language due to variousreasons such as travel and employment opportunities. One biggestchallenge in that country why English language teaching strategiesare not welcome is that the language is considered as a culture ofthe western nations such as the USA. It is worth noting that thewestern culture is a controversial issue in the country and thisaffects the teaching of the language. The negative perception thatthe students have towards English language learning strategies are asa result of their religion and not the ineffectiveness of thestrategies. Another aspect that this research managed to establish isthe fact that the government seeks to have the language learnt inorder to use it to spread Islam. As a consequence, some instructorsfind it difficult to separate the EFL teaching methods and the callby the government. This creates conflict hence making the EFLteaching methods ineffective.

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Questionnaires

A descriptive study on Taibah University English major experience,attitude and perceptions regarding the current TESL methodologiesapplied by their teachers.

Questionnaires: Please answer each question in the space provided andtick where appropriate.

NB: Please do not write your name or any personal information onthis questionnaire.

  1. Age

19-22

23-25

&gt25

  1. Should Arabic as the mother tongue be used sparingly in class in explaining some English words?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Are EFL instructors flexible in terms of style and method to meet different needs of learners?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Are you satisfied with the EFL teaching methods currently used by your instructor?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Are different instructors and learners are suited differently by different EFL teaching methods?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Are there are better and easier ways to gain EFL competence than the ones employed in class?

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Learning English about the western culture and values contributes positively towards EFL competence

Stronglyagree

Agree

Neither

Disagree

Strongly disagree

  1. Would you like to be engaged in choosing the EFL teaching methods used?

Yes

No

  1. Does the current TEFL teaching method used in EFL class match well with role of EFL in your life?)

Yes

No

  1. Do you think that the TESL methodology being used in class currently influences your attitude and motivation towards learning EFL?

Yes

No

  1. Would you suggest the current TESL method used by your teacher to another EFL learner?

Yes

No

  1. Are you satisfied with the level of IT adoption in EFL learning in your university?

Yes

No

  1. Do you think that a teachers experience and competence influences choice and use of EFL teaching method?

Yes

No

  1. What do you think is the most important area of English language any given TESL methodology should emphasize on?

A. Reading and writing

B. Speaking and hearing

C. Grammar rules

D. Real life application

  1. Give reasons why you believe or do not believe the current EFL strategies and methods enable you to achieve your personal reasons for pursuing EFL major?

  2. In order of importance, list the five top aspects that make you feel good about the current EFL teaching method employed by your teacher

  3. List two or more aspects that make you feel bad about the current EFL teaching method/style/strategies employed by your teacher?

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