Teaching English To Saudi Students

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TESOL: Teaching English to Saudi Students


This paper is based on the topic of teaching TESOL to Saudi students. This paper has two parts. In Part A, general discussion on the TESOL is presented, while in Part B, experience of teaching TESOL to Saudi Students and their difficulties have been documented.

Part A: TESOL / TESOL Environment

TESOL is one of the possible ways to refer to the learning and teaching of English to native speakers of other languages. Due to the range of meanings subsumed under TESOL, many other terms and acronyms have been coined over time, including English as a second or other language (ESOL), teaching of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), teaching of English as a second language (TESL), and English language teaching (ELT) (Spada, 2007, 73). In the past few years, however, the tendency has been toward an acknowledgment of the increasing presence of multilingual speakers for whom English becomes their third, fourth, or fifth language. As a result, English as an additional language (EAL) has been replacing TESOL as an umbrella term in the latest professional literature (Lightbown, 2006, 80).

Who are English Language Learners

ELLs are also referred to as students with limited English proficiency (LEP) in the educational literature and documents in the United States (Hinkel, 2008, 69). Although these terms are used interchangeably, in recent years, the term English language learners has become the preferred term among educators and researchers instead of LEP because of the latter term's negative connotation (Hawkins, 2005, 44). In this chapter, both ELLs and LEP students are used to reflect the usages in different reports.

In general, ELLs are those who speak language(s) other than English at home and who learn English as the dominant language of the media and education in the host culture. In a report released by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), LEP or ELL students are defined as:

“Individuals who were not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; individuals who come from environments where a language other than English is dominant; or individuals who are American Indians or Alaskan Natives and who come from environments where a language other than English has had a significant impact on their level of English language proficiency; and who, by reason thereof, have sufficient difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language to deny such individuals the opportunity to learn successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is English or to participate fully in our society” (Hawkins, 2007, 35).

TESOL learners can be found at all levels. From prekindergarten to graduate studies, programmes aim at meeting the needs of Saudi English language learners. TESOL programmes typically fall into three main categories: TESOL in elementary and secondary schools, TESOL in higher and professional education, and adult TESOL (Harklau, 1999, 71). Regardless of the type of model, successful TESOL programmes always take into account the elements that influence the process of English language teaching and ...
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