Exploring Saudi EFL teachers’ and learners’ perceptions regarding the application of communicative language teaching (CLT) in the English language classroom

Abdulkader, Fatuma (2019) Exploring Saudi EFL teachers’ and learners’ perceptions regarding the application of communicative language teaching (CLT) in the English language classroom. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

Language teaching is a dynamic activity in the field of education in which great changes have been suggested and continuously implemented since communicative language teaching (CLT) was first proposed in the 1970s, now considered a major source of influence on language teaching practice (Richards, 2006; Tudor, 2001). The rationale for the study to evaluate CLT was based on the plan for English language teaching articulated by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Saudi Arabia in 2006, which argued that it should be based on an internationally based curriculum and stated that the goal is to develop learners’ communicative competence (CC) in the four core language skills – speaking, listening, reading and writing – through collaborative class practices, focusing primarily on learners’ fluency rather than accuracy.

Therefore, the overarching research purpose was to investigate English as a foreign language (EFL) students’ and teachers’ perspectives concerning CLT and the extent to which teaching practices were in line with the principles of the approach, particularly in the Preparatory Year Programme (PYP), an area in which there has been a gap in research. Three sources were used for data collection, classroom observation, semi-structured interviews and questionnaires, enabling triangulation. A mixed-methods approach was employed, involving both quantitative and qualitative data and analysis. The data from the questionnaire were analysed statistically using appropriate methods. The participants included female EFL students (N = 175) and female EFL teachers (N = 47).

With regard to the main findings, analysis of the data indicated differences among the participants in relation to perceptions of EFL teachers and their classroom practices. The findings also showed that teachers focus on forms and use traditional methods (e.g. grammar translation, the audio-lingual method and techniques, a lecturing style). In addition, the results show that although Saudi EFL teachers have positive attitudes towards the CLT approach, the English language programme as currently implemented is not in line with the principles of CLT. In terms of the wider pedagogical implications, the findings revealed that teachers in Saudi Arabia apply a combination of both traditional and communicative approaches in their classroom practices, with aspects of traditional teaching appearing more dominant (Batawi, 2006). Moreover, there are inconsistencies between teachers' perceptions and classroom practices. The findings concern EFL teaching in Saudi Arabia, but can potentially be extended to EFL teaching in other countries. In particular, discrepancies between teachers’ perceptions and their actual classroom practices that prevent the effective use of CLT in many EFL settings such as Saudi Arabia must be identified and addressed to achieve the maximum benefits from the approach.

The findings also revealed that EFL teachers in Saudi Arabia encounter many problems in implementing CLT in their classrooms. Three sources of difficulty were consistently identified: problems faced by the teachers, those faced by the students and those related to the administrative system. Overall, the results indicated that although Saudi EFL teachers view the CLT approach in a positive light, the English language programme as currently implemented is not in line with CLT principles.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: competence, group work, teaching methods, discrepancies, language skills
Subjects: Q300 English studies
X200 Research and Study Skills in Education
X300 Academic studies in Education
X900 Others in Education
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2020 15:32
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2020 15:45
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/42081

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