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Teaching English in elementary schools in Saudi Arabia - Literature review Example

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LITERATURE REVIEW The extant literature on English as a Second Language (ESL) is quite extensive. It covers diverse fields – from teaching methods, theories and strategies to curriculum development. It also includes culture-specific discourses that provide valuable insights on this research either as background information or supporting evidences on arguments, points, and issues that this paper would be able to raise…
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Teaching English in elementary schools in Saudi Arabia
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Teaching English in elementary schools in Saudi Arabia

The reason is that variables involved in the development process cover those areas that this paper is interested in – the demographics of the young learners (at what age children usually learn English), the teaching content (such as how religion can be integrated in the instruction), teaching methodologies, perceived problems that are unique to Saudi children and their solutions, among others. Literature on the demographics of young learners in Saudi Arabia is quite scarce. This is more so in the field of ESL or what in identifying studies that actually investigated the beginning age of ESL learners in the country. There are researchers, however, who have mentioned some information and pertinent facts regarding this matter in their wider discourse of either English learning in the Middle East or as part of the wider profile of Saudi Arabia. An excellent example is Abir’s (1993) insights on the issue. He stated, for instance, that “the standard of education in the urban centres catering to the Saudis of middle-class background is on the whole relatively low,” and that “memorising is still the backbone of the system, while standard of English… is uneven and often very poor.” (p. ...
(Bingham, p. 435) Beginners are usually assessed according to their English language competency and currently they have more than 600 students coming from both expatriates and Saudis alike. Similar international schools roughly adopt the same standards. Meanwhile, the national average of new learners is glaringly different. Wilson, for example, wrote that based on statistics, Saudi children start learning at a later age but that enrolment is increasing rapidly because of extensive support from the government. (p. 106) In addition public elementary schools are usually late in introducing ESL as opposed to the private schools like in the case of Jeddah Prep & Grammar School, which has been established by British and Dutch expatriates. According to Abdan (2002), elementary students should be introduced to English in elementary school because public elementary school students are presently underexposed to the language since English is not part of the national curriculum. (p. 265-266) The benefits of introducing English to young learners, preferably to be integrated in the elementary education curriculum have been cited and proven by numerous studies. These benefits are explained in various arguments ranging from the social, cultural to psychological. According to Nikolov and the European Centre for Modern Languages (2007), young children can benefit from early language learning in the same way as older pupils do. In their research, they found that majority of teachers have been surprised to find how quickly young children pick-up English. (p. 26) It is for this reason why, in America, immigrants immediately send their children to school to learn English as part of the faster strategy to assimilate in the society. (Welch ... Read More
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