Towards improving the teaching of English as a foreign language in the Saudi context : a case study of five Saudi boys secondary schools
Although students in Saudi schools receive six years of formal English teaching, they
graduate from secondary school unable to use the language. The low level of academic
achievement among secondary school students in English has become a matter of
concern to Saudi society in recent years. This concern drives me to undertake this
research project in an attempt to provide information that will help improve TEFL in
Saudi Arabian secondary schools.
This study investigates TEFL in Saudi boys secondary schools. It goes beyond EFL
teachers' current classroom practices for teaching English to focus on their experiences
with respect to English language teaching in Saudi state schools and on their
perceptions and concerns. It looks at the problems and difficulties the EFL teachers face
in their day-to-day classroom reality and suggests that these problems and difficulties
fundamentally affect the EFL teachers' decisions about their classroom practices and
This study follows a qualitative approach to the research, where a case study is adopted
as the methodology to study in-depth the phenomenon of TEFL in the chosen schools.
Observation and interview are used as the main instruments for collecting data.
This study reveals that traditional methods of teaching such as the Grammar Translation
Method and the Audio-Lingual Method are the predominant approaches practised by the
EFL teachers included in this study. It also reveals the constraints that the EFL teachers
claim influence their teaching practices. These constraints include their heavy working
load, the lack of teaching aids, insufficient time for teaching the language, the large
classes they teach, the nature of their professional culture and teaching staff meeting and
relationships, their relationships with their educational supervisors, lack of appropriate
in-service training, the EFL course textbooks they teach from and the student evaluation
In the light of the findings, this study concludes with some recommendations and
implications for teacher development which should improve English language teaching
in Saudi secondary schools.