Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Covid 19 Challenges April 2021 Pp,147-159
English Language Teaching in Saudi Arabia in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges
and Positive Outcomes
Reem A. Al-Samiri
English Language Institute,
University of Jeddah, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Recived: 3/6/2021 Accepted: 4/8/2021 Published:4/26/2021
The pandemic of 2020 was a watershed moment for all educators worldwide as schools and universities were forced to close their doors to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Thus, a new movement towards widespread e-learning emerged with unknown consequences for learners and educators alike. The situation in Saudi Arabia was no exception. The purpose of this study is to explore how English as a foreign language (EFL) teaching and learning at the tertiary level in Saudi Arabia was impacted negatively and positively by the move to online learning. It reviews research published since the onset of the pandemic, with a specific focus on English language teaching at Saudi universities, to analyze the challenges faced by Saudi EFL teachers and learners since the shift to e-learning. One of the biggest challenges observed was students’ lack of motivation, which upon further review was found to be linked to other contributing factors, such as technological issues, inapt learning environments, and students’ mental health. This paper also examines the unforeseen positive outcomes resulting from the digital transformation, including the benefits of the flexibility of place and time and promotion of particular language skills. The current research synthesis will help contribute to the knowledge of online English teaching in the Saudi context.
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, distance learning, e-learning, English as a foreign language
(EFL), English language teaching (ELT), remote learning, Saudi university students
Cite as: Al-Samiri, R. A. (2021). English Language Teaching in Saudi Arabia in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Positive Outcomes. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Covid 19 Challenges (1) 147-159.
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