Enhancing L2 learners' oral communication skills in an industrial setting in Saudi Arabia
This observational study examines classroom instruction in the Basic English Program (BEP) in three Industrial Training Centres in Saudi Aramco, the largest oil producing and marketing company in Saudi Arabia. The researcher has been professionally involved in English language instruction in Saudi Aramco for more than 25 years, and the study emerges from the assumption that the BEP does not provide enough opportunities for learners to build up a communicative competence that helps them to use language for real communication. The subjects in the study ware Saudi high school graduates with little background in English. Successful completion of the BEP program is a pre-requisite for their technical training in Saudi Aramco.;The study sets out to explore the types of L2 learning activities, the teaching methods and strategies the teachers employ, as well as the learners' roles in the class and the organizational policies which control the Basic English Program. The data were collected through direct observation of thirty lessons using one part of the Communicative Orientation of Language Teaching (COLT) Observation Scheme. In addition, audio-recordings of several observed lessons were also made.;The analysis of the data from the COLT Scheme, and the transcribed lesson extracts reveal that the Saudi Aramco Basic English Program does not provide the learners with sufficient and appropriate practice opportunities and this is one reason why there is a lack of competence in the use of English in real communication.;The study concludes that classroom instruction in the Basic English Program limits the students' chances for spontaneous use of language and hence their ability to communicate in real situations. Among the recommendations made are that changes need to be introduced by the syllabus and teaching methods in order that learners are provided with the necessary language skills to enable them to use English to communicate inside and outside the classroom.