Part I: Current Practices and Challenges in Teaching andLearning in the Arab World
Part I: Current Practices and Challenges in Teaching and Learning in the Arab World ABBAD ALABBAD & CHRISTINA GITSAKI Chapter 1 Attitudes toward Learning English: A Case Study of University Students in Saudi Arabia Abstract This chapter discusses Saudi students’ attitudes toward learning English as a foreign language (EFL) and their satisfaction with the current teaching methods used by teachers of English. Data were collected from 215 university students using an attitudinal questionnaire. Seventeen students from the subjects who completed the questionnaire participated in semi-structured interviews to discuss in detail their concerns and suggestions about the current EFL teaching method in Saudi Arabia. The findings revealed the students’ negative attitudes toward learning English largely due to the didactic, teacher-centred approach and the limited use of teaching aids in the classroom. Student suggestions and recommendations confirmed that it is necessary to take practical steps to move from passive learning approaches towards a more learner-centred approach incorporating modern digital technologies. Introduction Teachers and researchers in countries where traditional English as a foreign language (EFL) teaching methods are practised have been 4 Abbad Alabbad & Christina Gitsaki calling for a change in classroom teaching practices. For example, in China (Jin, 2007; Ling, 2008), in Iran (Hayati, 2008), and in Japan (Cooker & Torpey, 2004; Tanaka & Stapleton, 2007), investigations are being directed towards replacing the traditional, didactic, teacher- centred approaches with practices that accommodate learners’ communicative objectives in language learning. In learning environments that still adhere to the traditional teaching methods, such as the grammar-translation method and...
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