Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number1. March 2022 Pp.129-144
Investigating the Low English Proficiency of Saudi EFL Learners
Hammad Ali Alshammari
English Department, College of Arts, Jouf University
Sakaka City, Kingdome of Saudi Arabia
Received: 10/7/2021 Accepted: 3/4/2022 Published: 3/24/2022
Saudi students studying English as a foreign language often do poorly in their English courses, and despite a growing number of studies on this issue the root causes have remained a mystery. To gain a more comprehensive perspective, this study investigated the underlying reasons for Saudi EFL learners performing poorly in English by including all major stakeholders. This study attempts to find out the potential underlying reasons for the low performance of Saudi EFL learners. The researcher conducted qualitative interviews with two educational consultants, six university teachers, six graduate students, and six high school teachers. In addition, quantitative data came from high school students via a questionnaire addressed to 100 participants. The data revealed a shared chain of factors related to objectives, learners, teachers, curricula, assessment, and practicality. The findings suggested a gap between the theories consultants used to set class objectives and actual practice. This gap stemmed from consultants not consulting with or directly evaluating people in the field, such as educators, students, or university staff. The study recommends researchers get an overview of Saudi English learners at the macro level rather than focusing solely on their performance in one language skill. That should produce more valid, reliable, and practical suggestions to improve Saudi EFL learners’ performance.
Keywords: English as a oreign anguage, English anguage hallenges
Cite as: Alshammari, H. A. (2022). Investigating the Low English Proficiency of Saudi EFL Learners
Arab World English Journal, 13 (1) 129-144.
Alharbi, H. A. (2015). Improving students’ English speaking proficiency in Saudi public schools. International Journal of Instruction, 8(1), 105–116. https://doi.org/10.12973/iji.2015.818a
Al-Khairy, M. (2013). English as a foreign language learning demotivational factors as perceived by Saudi undergraduates. European Scientific Journal, 9,32 365–382.
Al-Nasser, S. (2015). Problems of English language acquisition in Saudi Arabia: An exploratory-cum-remedial study. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 5(8).10 http://dx.doi.org/10.17507/tpls.0508.10
Alqahtani, M. (2019). Saudi student and teacher perceptions of poor high school results and overall proficiency in English. Journal of Asian Research, 3(3).251 http://dx.doi.org/10.22158/jar.v3n3p251
Alrabai, F. (2016). Factors underlying low achievement of Saudi EFL learners. International Journal of English Linguistics, 6(3), 21–37. http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v6n3p21
Altamimi, D., & Ab Rashid, R. (2019). Spelling Problems and Causes among Saudi English Language Undergraduates. ARAB WORLD ENGLISH JOURNAL, 10(3). doi https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol10no3.12
Alshammari, H. (2021). Assessing the reading skills of the Saudi elementary stage EFL learners. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 12(1).55 http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.12n.1.p.55
Alshammari, H. (2021). Challenges in Pronouncing Onset Clusters in Pseudo-Words: A Quasi-Experiment of Saudi EFL Learners. Journal of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, 5(4).
Bashehab, S., & Buddhapriya, S. (2013). Status of knowledge based economy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: An analysis. Journal of Social and Development Sciences, 4(6), 268–277.
Chatta, B. S., & Haque, M. I. (2020). Improving Paragraph Writing Skills of Saudi EFL University Students Using Flipped Classroom Instruction. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL (6). 228- 247. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/call6.15
Elyas, T., & Picard, M. (2010). Saudi Arabian educational history: Impacts on English language teaching. Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, 3(2), 136–145.
Khan, I. (2011). Learning difficulties in English: Diagnosis and pedagogy in Saudi Arabia. Educational Research, 2(7), 1248–1257.
Khan, R., Shahbaz, M., Kumar, T., & Khan, I. (2020). Investigating reading challenges faced by EFL learners at elementary level. Register Journal, 13(2), 227–292. http://dx.doi.org/10.18326/rgt.v13i2
Rajab, H. (2013). Developing speaking and writing skills of L1 Arabic EFL learners through teaching of IPA phonetic codes. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 3,4 653–659. http://dx.doi.org/10.4304/tpls.3.4.653-659
Vygotsky, L. S. (1962). Thought and language. MIT Press.