Developing the Arabic language curriculum for Saudi intermediate and secondary schools : an empirical study involving views of practitioners and specialists in the city of Riyadh
The evident weaknesses of Saudi students in Intermediate and Secondary schools in the field of Arabic language have raised concerns about the current Arabic language curriculum. This study examines the background to the problems, the current situation and the possibilities of solving them. The study consisted of two main parts. The first part was a documentary study, which identified the main characteristics of the Arabic language and its historical pedagogy and examined the current situation of the Arabic language in Saudi Arabia. Literature on acquiring and learning language was reviewed, as was the curriculum-related literature, to find an appropriate model for developing the Arabic language curriculum. This first part of the study provided the basis for the second, empirical part. To clarify the nature and extent of the problem and obtain some opinions about how it can be rectified, 24 interviews were conducted with some educational supervisors, Arabic language specialists and the most responsible personnel involved with the Arabic language curriculum in Saudi Arabia, which revealed the need to develop the curriculum and some suggested requirements for achieving this. Based on both the documentary study and the exploratory interviews, a questionnaire was constructed, piloted and administered amongst all Arabic language intermediate and secondary teachers and educational supervisors in the city of Riyadh in addition to 50% of AI-Imam and King Saud University lecturers. Valid responses were received from 200 Intermediate teachers, 70 Secondary teachers, 18 educational supervisors and 45 University lecturers. The main findings led to identification of four lists of requirements covering the four components of the curriculum: the curriculum objectives, content, teaching methods and resources and evaluation. Other findings included the lack of training amongst teachers, the lack of experience amongst teachers and educational supervisors and the lack of recognition among samples of the importance of students' participation in the educational process. Based on the findings of the study, recommendations have been drawn up, which include a suggested framework for developing the curriculum, in addition to a model believed helpful for the decision-makers in Saudi Arabia.