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Title: The perceptions and practice of L1 Arabic in Saudi university English classrooms
Authors: Alsuhaibani, Y asser
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: During the last four decades, investigations into the use of L1 in L2 classroom have dramatically increased, gaining widespread attention. The current case study took place in the English Department of a Saudi university Teachers College where students are prepared to be EFL teachers after graduating from the BA program. The case study examined the perceptions of teachers, administrators and students, as well as the teachers’ and students’ actual uses of Arabic and their frequency in English language classrooms. In order to reach a good understanding of this issue, three tools were used: two questionnaires, which were answered by 178 students and 18 teachers; 16 interviews (seven students, seven teachers and two administrators); and 13 classroom observations (generally two classroom observations for one teacher). Results of the three methods showed facilitative uses of Arabic by both teachers and students, despite some conflicts between the theoretical understanding of using L1 and how to employ it in the L2 classroom. The findings also revealed that the institutional policy can play a vital role in using or avoiding students’ mother tongue in the classroom. Some of the factors that emerged in the study were students having fluent parents or teachers holding a specific degree, which significantly influenced participants’ opinions of using L1, actual use of L1 and amount of L1 used in the classroom. Teachers and students showed that they preferred using Arabic in certain situations for specific reasons, e.g. explaining a difficult concept to save time; whereas administrators held stricter opinions against the use of L1. A few negative classroom uses of Arabic, nonetheless, were also noted, for instance, students overusing Arabic while working in groups in the classroom. Other issues were revealed in the study, such as the use of Arabic by native English-speaking teachers who have spent some time in Saudi Arabia. The reasons behind utilizing Arabic in the English classroom and the functions of these uses were also discussed.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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