AWEJ Volume.4 Number.3, 2013                                                                     Pp.226-238

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Oral Communication Problems Encountering English Major Students: Perspectives of Learners and Teachers in Palestinian EFL University Context

Abedrabu Abu Alyan
The Islamic University of Gaza


The present study investigates Palestinian English major students’ problems in oral communication. To that end, qualitative analysis is manipulated to explore such potential problems from learners and teachers’ perspectives. Levelt’s (1989) L1 speech production model and De Bot’s (1992) L2 speech production models are used as a theoretical framework for the study. Participants were 20 students and 6 senior teachers from a large Palestinian university in Gaza. Analyzing data from participants’ interviews, the study unveiled that students’ incorrect pronunciation, limited vocabulary, lack of exposure to the target language, and L1 interference were amongst the main oral communication problems. The study also revealed that students had not developed the habit of extensive listening and reading. Further, the students were unable to organize their ideas and meanings in a coherent way, and they seemed to lack self-confidence. The pedagogical implications of the study are of significant value to EFL university teachers who are interested in developing learners’ oral communication skills.

Keywords: exposure to the target language, L1 interference, oral communication problems, self-confidence, speech production models


Dr. Abedrabu Abu Alyan is an assistant professor in the department of English at the Islamic
University of Gaza. He graduated with a doctorate in education from the University of
Massachusetts, USA. His research interests are TEFL, intercultural communication, CALL, and
discourse analysis.