Essays on The Instructional Design for Teaching English Language Skills As a Second Language Research Proposal

The Instructional Design for Teaching English Language Skills As a Second Language Introduction Accounted for by the phenomenon of globalization and its almost complete reduction of the globe into just a village, learning a language that is internationally spoken has become a necessity for all people. With doubt, English is a world language and not just a language of the English speaking countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America. In fact, the number of people who use English as a means of communication has exceeded the number of the people who has it as their mother tongue (see Smith & Nelson, 2009). English was formally introduced as a foreign language to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) with the establishment of the General Directorate of Education in 1924. Since then, English has been the only foreign language to be taught in the country (Al-Haq & Smadi, 1996). In fact, to date, there has been an expansion of scientific specializations in teaching English to Saudi Arabian students (Al-Braik, 2009). This is because English is perceived as an instrument for religious and non-religious purposes. It is needed for the teaching of non-Arab Muslims and preaching Islam in non-Arabic-speaking communities inside and outside the KSA. Moreover, it is essential for assimilating modern technology, higher studies abroad, a wider range of job opportunities and higher status jobs, and for economical development in KSA. Hence, it is not viewed as threat to the national security of the country and to the integrity of the Arabic language (Al-Haq & Smadi, 477). But, just how well is instructional design for teaching English language skills as a second language in KSA? Al-Seghayer (2008) notes that Saudi Arabia has well-formed teaching curriculum for English; however, the achievement levels of learners are unsatisfactory. There have been efforts to revise the curriculum over the years. However, the process is observably not fast enough. Among the things that need to be accomplished are improvement of school environments, placing more emphasis on teaching methods in teacher preparation programs, timely reform of EFL curriculum, and facilitation of students’ motivation and attitudes. Objectives of the study This study is intending to make a contribution to the continuing effort to improve the teaching of English to the Saudi EFL students. Particularly, as it focuses on specific samples, this study aims to: 1. Evaluate the learners-samples’ achievement so as to measure the improvement they have been doing in their command of English language 2. Analyze the problems associated with the four skills – that is, reading, writing, listening and speaking – pertinent to language learning by Saudi EFL learners in view of proposing workable solutions to overcome them 3. Examine whether the adopted instructional design methods (used in the sample-school[s]) produce or bring about the desired instructional outcomes Research questions This study is going to be guided by the following research questions: 1. What level(s) are learners expected to reach in language learning? 2. How effective are the present pedagogical or instructional methods that are being employed in the selected schools in Saudi Arabia? 3. What are the measures that would make the Saudi EFL learners reach the desired achievement level in language learning? 4. How are these measures – i.e., instructional methods – going to bring about the desired level of language achievement by Saudi EFL learners and meet the learners’ needs? Significance of the study This study – which will evaluate the achievement levels of the students, assess the effectiveness of the instructional designs that are currently being used, and suggest some measures for adoption to further the learning of English as second language by the Saudi students – is going to benefit both the teachers and the EFL learners in Saudi Arabia. It is expected to – especially when its suggestions are eventually adopted – result to better quality of learning and more effectively meeting the needs of the learners. Too, this study is capable of making contribution to the national effort to continually revise the curriculum for teaching English. Its findings and ensuing proposals will modestly help the pertinent government bodies or agencies in line with policy and curriculum development. This will likewise inform the foreign contractors in Saudi Arabia that take into consideration the teachers and students’ identity. Literature review English in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is spoken as foreign language, which means that English is not the ordinarily used for communication among the Saudi society (Tomlinson, 1998). English is in used only as an instrument of communication, trade and as a medium in higher education. On account, the Saudi government has decreed the teaching of English language as an obligatory subject from the sixth grade until the secondary level and the tertiary level (see Al-Haq & Smadi, 1996). According to the Saudi’s Ministry of Education, English is taught in the country to provide the students with sufficient knowledge of English to aid them in their future studies and find a suitable job (MOE, 1970). Despite this, though, in the Arab region, there is a general awareness of the problems surrounding the teaching of English (Al-Hajailan, 2003). The current practices of teaching English in Saudi Arabia are still directly connected to their historical methods of teaching the foreign language (Elyas & Picard, 2010). Scarce, though, are local and program-specific data on teaching English as foreign language, and there is still a need to continuously investigate and find methodologies that would more effectively help the weak students in EFL (Al-Braik, 2009). Numerous studies have been made to improve the Saudi Arabian learners’ command of English. Zaide (1996) attempted to address the methodological gap that occurs between the EFL teachers’ personalized theories about teaching and learning of English as second or foreign language (which manifest themselves in the actual language classroom processes) and what the program directors and writers of textbook guidelines expect the teacher to be doing. Alsamadani (2008) suggests that EFL educators in Saudi Arabia focus on increasing the efficiency of reading strategies when planning reading curriculum and instruction. Al-Saadat (2004) contends that EFL teachers in Saudi Arabia are in great need for further training on sound practices of language testing and performance appraisal of learners of English. This proposal comes as the research has uncovered that EFL teachers receive reasonably well structured pre-service training in EFL teaching, but scant opportunities to train on language testing practices. This aggravates the fact that EFL teachers in the country are graduates of faculties of arts and had never had any training in psychology, teaching methodology or educational measurement. Al-Madany (2008) evaluated a Saudi high school EFL textbook, noting its importance in effecting language learning. Methodology This study will engage groups of learners and teachers in Saudi Arabia. They will come from schools that will also be predetermined. The researcher will make a list of prospective samples – schools, teachers and students – for this study. They will be approached, and the details of this research will be discussed with them. Once their permission and accession are obtained, the final list of samples will be made. As this ground working is being done, the theoretical foundation of this study is going to be fortified. Researches of similar nature are going to be accessed, and their findings are going to inform this study. When sufficient theoretical information has been collected, the theoretical design and instrumentation for this study are going to be devised and eventually finalized. To ensure that this research is going to be valid and reliable, the research tools are going to be pre-tested and adjusted – if need be. This research would need to employ triangulation approach as it aims to have fuller gathering of information. In the collation of the information, this research is going to use descriptive and inferential statistical tools. The former would make the presentation of the information manageable; the latter will make possible the formulation of general themes and suggestions that will form part of this study’s contribution to the cause of EFL in Saudi Arabia. References: Al-Braik, M.S., 2009. The relevance of students performance to intensive English program evaluation in Saudi context. Scientific Journal of King Faisal University, 10 (2), pp. 215-231. Al-Hajailan, T.A., 2003. Teaching English in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh: Adar Alsawlatia. Al-Haq, F.A. & Smadi, O., 1996. The status of English in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) from 1940-1990. In J. A. Fishman, A.W. Conrad & A. Rubal-Lopez (Eds.). Post-imperial English: status change in former British and American colonies, 1940-1990, pp. 457-484. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Al-Madany, R.A., 2010. Evaluation of high school Saudi books. Available at: http://raghdah.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/evaluation-of-high-school-saudi-books/ [Accessed 18 July 2010]. Al-Saadat, A.I., 2004. A close look at Saudi EFL teachers preparation in language testing. Scientific Journal of King Faisal University, 5 (2), pp. 227-254. Al-Seghayer, K., 2008. Teaching English in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: slowly but steadily changing. In G. Braine (Ed.), Teaching English to the world: history, curriculm and practice, pp. 133-142. Mahwah (NJ): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Alsamadani, H.S., 2008. The relationship between Saudi EFL college-level students’ use of reading strategies and their EFL reading comprehension. (Ph.D. Dissertation, Ohio University, Curriculum and Instruction Reading Arts and Language Arts Education [Unpublished Material]). Elyas, T. & Picard, M., 2010. Saudi Arabian educational history: impacts on English language teaching. Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, 3 (10), pp. 136-145. Ministry of Education (MOE), 1970. English language syllabus for the secondary stage. Riyadh: Ministry of Education Press. Murali, M., 2009. Teaching English as second language in India: a review. The Modern Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1 (1), pp. 1.10. Smith, L.E. & Nelson, C., 2009. World Englishes and issues of intelligibility. In B. Kachru, Y. Karchru & C. Nelson (Eds.). The handbook of world Englishes, pp. 428-445. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Tomlinson, B., 1998. Introduction. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.). Materials development in language teaching, pp. 1-24. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Zaid, M., 1996. Ascertaining the pedagogical preferences of EFL teachers in Saudi Arabia. Educ. Sci. & Islamic Stud., 8 (2), pp. 1-20.

References

Al-Braik, M.S., 2009. The relevance of students performance to intensive English program evaluation in the Saudi context. Scientific Journal of King Faisal University, 10 (2), pp. 215-231.

Al-Hajailan, T.A., 2003. Teaching English in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh: Adar Alsawlatia.

Al-Haq, F.A. & Smadi, O., 1996. The status of English in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) from 1940-1990. In J. A. Fishman, A.W. Conrad & A. Rubal-Lopez (Eds.). Post-imperial English: status change in former British and American colonies, 1940-1990, pp. 457-484. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Al-Madany, R.A., 2010. Evaluation of high school Saudi books. Available at: http://raghdah.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/evaluation-of-high-school-saudi-books/ [Accessed 18 July 2010].

Al-Saadat, A.I., 2004. A close look at Saudi EFL teachers preparation in language testing. Scientific Journal of King Faisal University, 5 (2), pp. 227-254.

Al-Seghayer, K., 2008. Teaching English in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: slowly but steadily changing. In G. Braine (Ed.), Teaching English to the world: history, curriculum, and practice, pp. 133-142.

Mahwah (NJ): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Alsamadani, H.S., 2008. The relationship between Saudi EFL college-level students’ use of reading strategies and their EFL reading comprehension. (Ph.D. Dissertation, Ohio University, Curriculum, and Instruction Reading Arts and Language Arts Education [Unpublished Material]).

Elyas, T. & Picard, M., 2010. Saudi Arabian educational history: impacts on English language teaching. Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, 3 (10), pp. 136-145.

Ministry of Education (MOE), 1970. English language syllabus for the secondary stage. Riyadh: Ministry of Education Press.

Murali, M., 2009. Teaching English as a second language in India: a review. The Modern Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1 (1), pp. 1.10.

Smith, L.E. & Nelson, C., 2009. World Englishes and issues of intelligibility. In B. Kachru, Y. Karchru & C. Nelson (Eds.). The handbook of world Englishes, pp. 428-445. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Tomlinson, B., 1998. Introduction. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.). Materials development in language teaching, pp. 1-24. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Zaid, M., 1996. Ascertaining the pedagogical preferences of EFL teachers in Saudi Arabia. Educ. Sci. & Islamic Stud., 8 (2), pp. 1-20.