Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number4  December 2020                                         Pp.291- 306

 Full Paper PDF


 Revisiting Grammar Teaching in a Saudi EFL Context: Teachers’ Perceptions and


Mariam Yousef Abduh
        Department of English
College of Languages and Translation, Najran, Saudi Arabia

Sami Algouzi
      Department of English
College of Languages and Translation, Najran, Saudi Arabia



In language, meaning is conveyed and received through words and grammar.  A phrase or a sentence is not a random collection of words. In the absence of grammar, words hang together without any real meaning. Thus, grammar plays an essential role in language teaching. With adequate grammar explanations in meaningful contexts and practice, some serious errors in learners’ language can be avoided. This study aimed at examining the relationship between teachers’ perceptions of grammar teaching and their actual practices in a Saudi EFL context. Questionnaires and classroom observation checklists were used to gather information about teachers’ perceptions of grammar teaching and to compare that with their practices. The paper sought to find answers to these questions: 1) What are teachers’ perceptions of grammar teaching? 2) Do teachers’ perceptions of grammar correlate with their actual teaching in EFL classes? 3) What are teachers’ perceptions of problems, if any, hindering their practice of grammar teaching? The sample consisted of 23 teachers who completed a questionnaire discussing their perceptions of grammar teaching and practice. Six of these teachers were observed teaching grammar in classes. The findings revealed that there was a negative correlation between teachers’ perceptions of grammar teaching and their perceptions of their grammar classes. Also, there was a negative correlation between teachers’ perceptions of grammar teaching and the observed classes. However, teachers’ perceptions of their classes were mostly reflected in observation cards, and they were positively correlated. Further, the study revealed teachers’ tendency towards traditional methods of teaching where the meaningful practice was overlooked.
Keywords: belief, grammar teaching, perception, practices, Saudi EFL Context 

Cite as: Abduh, M. Y., & Algouzi, S. (2020). Revisiting Grammar Teaching in a Saudi EFL Context: Teachers’ Perceptions and Practices.  Arab World English Journal11 (4) 291- 306.


Alghanmi, B., & Shukri, N.(2016). The Relationship between Teachers’ Beliefs of Grammar Instruction and Classroom Practices in the Saudi Context. English Language Teaching; 9(7), 70-86.    DOI:10.5539/elt.v9n7p70

Aljohani, M. A. S. (2012). Grammar beliefs of in-service teachers. British Journal of Arts and Social Sciences, 11(1), 96-108.

Al-Mekhlafi, A., & Nagaratnam, R. (2011). Difficulties in Teaching and Learning Grammar in an EFL Context. International Journal of Instruction, 4(2), 69-92

Almuhammadi, A. (2020). Teaching grammar: Professional needs of Saudi EFL instructors. International Journal of English Linguistics, 10(3), 14-20. Doi:10.5539/ijel.v10n3p14

Al-Naeem, L. (2007). Teaching grammar via the inductive approach: A quantitative-qualitative study Conducted in an EFL Setting, (Unpublished master’s thesis). Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Andrews, S. (2003). ‘Just like instant noodles’: L2 teachers and their beliefs about grammar pedagogy. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 9(3), 315-375.

Ariel, M. (2009). Discourse, grammar, discourse. Discourse Studies, 11(1), 5-32. Available:

Ariel, M. (2008). Pragmatics and Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Assalahi, H. M. (2013). Why is the grammar-translation method still alive in the Arab world? Teachers’ beliefs and its implications for EFL teacher education. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 3(4), 589-599. DOI:10.4304/tpls.3.4.589-599

Batstone, R., Candlin, C., & Widdowson, G. (eds.). (1994). Grammar: Language teaching: A Scheme for teacher education). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bitchener, B. (2018). Direct Versus Indirect Grammar Feedback. The TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching (pp. 1-8 18).  /10.1002/9781118784235.eelt0055

Borg, S. (2003). Teacher cognition in grammar teaching: A literature review. Language Awareness, 12(2), 96-108.

Borg, S. (2009). Introducing language teacher cognition. Retrieved from

Borg, S. (2013). Teacher research in language teaching: A critical analysis. Cambridge, UK:  Cambridge University Press.

Borg, S., & Burns, A. (2008). Integrating grammar in adult TESOL classrooms. Applied Linguistics, 29 (3), 456-482. DOI: 10.1093/applin/amn020

Bybee, J.L. (2006). From Usage to Grammar: The Mind’s Response to Repetition. Language,      82(4), 711-733. DOI:10.1353/lan.2006.0186

Chowdhury, M. H. (2014). Teaching Grammar in the English Language Classroom in Saudi Universities. Express, an International Journal of Multi-Disciplinary Research, 1(1), 1-9.

 Deng, F., & Lin, Y. (2016). A Comparative Study on Beliefs of Grammar Teaching between High School English Teachers and Students in China. English Language Teaching, 9(8), 1-10. Doi:  10.5539/elt.v9n8p1

Eisenstein-Ebsworth, M., & Schweers, R. (1997). What researchers say and what practitioners do: perspectives on conscious grammar instruction in the ESL classroom. Applied Language Learning, 8(2), 237-260.

Farrell, T. S., & Lim, P. C. P. (2005). Conceptions of grammar teaching: A case study of teachers’ beliefs and classroom practices. TESL-EJ, 9(2), 1-13

  Ferreira, P. (2014). Beliefs and practices towards teaching and learning grammar: A multicase study. Journal of teaching and learning language and literature, 7(3), 14-29. doi: 10.5565/290883.

Ferlazzo, L., & Sypnieski, K.H. (2018). The ELL Teacher’s Toolbox: Hundreds of Practical Ideas to Support Your StudentsJohn Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Grami, M. A. G. (2010). The Effects of Integrating Peer Feedback into University-level ESL Writing Curriculum: A Comparative Study in a Saudi Context, (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyrne, United Kingdom.

Hassan, N. (2013). The Impact of Teachers’ Beliefs on L2 Grammar Teaching. Language in India, 13(8), 1–87.

Hos, R., & Kekec, M. (2014). The mismatch between non-native English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers’ grammar beliefs and classroom practices. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 5(1), 80-87.

Javid, C. Z., Farooq, U., & Gulzar, M. A. (2012). Saudi English-major undergraduates and English Teachers’ perceptions regarding effective ELT in the KSA: A Comparative Study. European Journal of Scientific Research, 85(1), 55-70.

Jeram, R. (2017). On bridging the gap between theory and practice: A conceptual analysis of practice in relation to a teacher professional learning programme at Stellenbosch University, (Unpublished PhD dissertation).

Kagan, D. M. (1992). Implications of research on teacher beliefs. Educational Psychologist,

27(1), 65-90. doi:10.1207/s15326985ep2701_6.

Kalsoom, T., & Akhtar, M. (2013). Teaching Grammar: Relationship between Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices, (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation). Institute of Education and Research, University of the Punjab, Lahore.

Khan, I. A. (2011). The Teacher of English: Pedagogic Relevance in Saudi Arabia. English Language Teaching, 4(2), 112-120.

Larsen-Freeman, D. (1991) Teaching grammar. In M. Celce-Murcia (ed.), Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language (2nd ed., pp. 279-295). Boston: Heinle and Heinle Hemstead.

Larsen-Freeman, D. (2002). The grammar of choice. In E. Hinkel, & S. Fotos (eds.), New perspectives on grammar teaching in second language classrooms (pp. 103-118). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Loewen, S. & Sato, M. (Eds.) (2017). The Routledge handbook of instructed second language acquisition. New York: Routledge.

McCormick, D. E., & Vercellotti, M. L. (2013). Examining the impact of self‐correction notes on grammatical accuracy in speaking. TESOL Quarterly, 92, 410– 420.|.

Mohamed, N. (2006). An Exploratory Study of the Interplay between Teachers’ Beliefs, Instructional Practices & Professional Development, (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). The University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Nishimuro, M., & Borg, S. (2013). Teacher Cognition and Grammar Teaching in a Japanese High School. JALT Journal, 35(1), 29-50. DOI: 10.37546/JALTJJ35.1-2

Öztürk, M., & Ali Yildirim, A. (2019). Relationships between Foreign Language Teachers’ Cognitions and Actions: Evidence from Instructors at Tertiary-Level. Hacettepe University Journal of Education 34 (1), 145–59. Doi:10.16986/HUJE.2018038544.

Pajares, M. F. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and educational research: Cleaning up a messy construct. Review of Educational Research, 62(3), 307-332.  DOI:10.3102/00346543062003307

Phipps, S., & Borg, S. (2009). Exploring tensions between teachers’ grammar teaching beliefs and practices. System, 37(3), 380-390.

Pishghadam, R., & Ebrahimi, S.  (2019) Teaching Grammar Revisited: An Introduction to Applicative Teaching. Tarbiat Modares University Press, 10(5), 101-127. URL:

Salimi, E. A., Safarzadeh, M. M., & Monfared, A. (2016). Teaching grammar: language teachers’ cognition and classroom practice. International Journal of Language Studies, 10(4), 1-18.

Sadat, M. (2017). Revisiting the Debate of Grammar Teaching: A Young Scholar’s Perspective. Sino-US English Teaching, 14(1), 1-7. doi:10.17265/1539-8072/2017.01.001

Shatat, Z. Y. M. (2011). Grammar Teaching in Sharjah Preparatory (Cycle 2) Schools Teachers’ Beliefs and classrooms practices, (Unpublished Master’s thesis). The British University in Dubai.UAE.

Sofi, L. (2015). Teaching English in Saudi Arabia through the Use of Multimedia, (Unpublished Master’s thesis). The University of San Francisco. USA. Retrieved from

Wong W. (2005). Input Enhancement: From theory and research to the classroom. New York:  McGraw-Hil


Dr. Mariam Yousef Abduh is an assistant professor of Applied Linguistics (ELT) at the
Department of English, College of Languages and Translation at Najran University. Her main
research interests include applied linguistics, ELT and CALL research.