International Journal of English Language Teaching (IJELT)

EA Journals

Saudi Arabia

English Language Teaching in Saudi Arabia: A Book Review (Published)

English Language Teaching in Saudi Arabia: An Introduction is a book by Yousif A. N. Alshumaimeri published in 2019 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The first part of the book provides an overview of the study of the English language. The second part analyses the various approaches and teaching methods used in English language instruction. At the end of each chapter, discussion activities for teachers and students are outlined. English is currently being taught in most public learning institutions worldwide. Despite this, there are not enough books available to assist international student teachers from various backgrounds and cultures with different first languages who are studying to be English teachers. Alshumaimeri’s book identifies several methods and approaches that can be used when teaching English, discusses their advantages and disadvantages and describes the roles of teachers and students in these methods. While it targets students of English, this book provides a rich history of teaching English as a foreign language in Saudi Arabia. These factors make the book relevant for student teachers of English.

Keywords: EFL, English language teaching, Saudi Arabia, Teacher Education, Teaching Methods, Undergraduate Students

An Ideological Perspective on Competing Languages and Identities: The Case of Arabic and English in Saudi Arabia (Published)

The spread of English is being promoted as an important driver of social and economic development (Pennycook, 2009, p.116). However, this view can be “misguided”, as English can also be problematic, a source of inequality, and a “formidable obstacle to education” (Tollefson, 2000, p. 9). In this sense, the spread of English is seen as a form of the “linguistic imperialism” in which English enjoys an ideologically higher status over other languages, thus encouraging new forms of capitalism and endorsing the practice of homogeneity (Phillipson, 1999, p.274). In the same vein, it is argued that “language ideology represents statements of identity” (Cummins, 2000, p.xi). With regard to the context of Saudi Arabia, it is argued that if English can be a threat to the Arabic language, then it can also be a threat to the Arabic and Muslims identity (Elyas, 2008a, b), which may not be the true reflection of the Islamic view on learning other languages (Elays and Picard, 2010). Therefore, this article aims to evaluate the linguistic situation in Saudi Arabia in response to the spread of English and the tension this might have created with the Arabic Language to compete with English over gaining access to power and politics in different domains.

Keywords: Arabic, Identity, Media, Saudi Arabia, economy ideology

Teachers’ Attitudes and Perspectives toward Mobile Learning Implementation in Secondary Schools in Saudi Arabia (Published)

This paper aims to study teachers’ attitudes and perspectives toward mobile learning implementation in secondary schools in Saudi Arabia. The study consists of 34 English language teachers, all from Saudi Arabia. The study depends on the descriptive approach to evaluate English language teachers’ attitudes, and perspectives toward using smart phones in pedagogical processes. The results asserts that Saudi English language teachers have positive attitudes and perspectives toward using smart phones in pedagogical process with total mean of (3.04) out of 4. Furthermore, the findings show that the total mean of using or developing mobile learning applications is equal to (2.73) which show that the majority of Saudi English language teachers perceived themselves as undecided or proficient and more close to proficient concerning their ability to use smart phones and mobile applications for language teaching.

Keywords: Mobile Learning, Saudi Arabia, Secondary Schools, Teachers' Attitudes


In a place-conscious culture where marked spaces define national identity and social order, the move from a teacher-centred educational system to the virtual classroom resulted in re-drawing the map of power relations. From the practices of the early Saudi classroom, the Halaga, with its panoptic circle structure, to the modern school classroom with its carefully-drawn rows and set of disciplinary techniques, the Saudi teacher had always exercised his authority from/as the centre. Yet, the educational phenomenon of the virtual-space-based distance learning has left the instructor feeling ‘out of place’. As the setting for the physical presence and the disciplinary gaze is shifted/cancelled in the online classroom, the balance of power has also shifted in favour of the student. This paper explores the hierarchical structure of the virtual space in the not-so-modern Saudi teaching practices and the position of the teacher which has (d)evolved into the power struggles of the 21st century modern ‘educational technological phenomenon’. Applying Foucault’s concept of the panoptic in educational settings, we posit that the traditional power and discipline the teacher used to claim has been transmuted in the reverse panoptic gaze of the students who are in control of the virtual classroom and its time and space. The invisibility of the students in the current distance learning setting, compared to their visibility as a disciplinary tool in the physical Saudi classroom, poses a serious challenge not only to the teacher’s authority, but also to his/her style and methods. On the other hand, some might argue that the students might gain more understanding of a subject via their ‘spatial freedom’ of the online material access. However, we hypothesize that the virtual space in distance learning needs to be teacher-friendly and visual contact between the teacher and the students should still be applied freely.

Keywords: Foucault, Saudi Arabia, distance learning, early Islamic pedagogy, panopticism, spatial freedom, virtual classroom, virtual space


This study aims at identifying the obstacles to teaching English in public schools in Saudi Arabia from the perception of teachers and supervisors. A mixed-method approach was adopted: two instruments were used for data collection, a close-ended questionnaire and an open-ended interview. A total of 50 copies of the questionnaire have been distributed to teachers and supervisors of English language, followed by open-ended interviews with six chosen English language teachers and supervisors. Qualitative and quantitative data have been elicited to aid in the evaluation. The findings of the study have revealed that: There is a scarcity of development programs, scarcity of in-service training, weakness of in-service training programs, low students’ motivation, overuse of traditional teaching methods, scarcity of using teaching aids and modern technology, weakness of school supplies, and scarcity of language laboratories. These are the major obstacles to teaching English in public education schools in Saudi Arabia from the teachers’ and supervisors views

Keywords: Public Schools Teachers, Saudi Arabia, Teaching English

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