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Share ONLY the things you LIKE about teaching in KSA
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15318

PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Students will communicate orally quite well although with many grammatical and other errors. Their attempts at writing are terrible

That was my observation in different jobs in varied parts of KSA in 17 years in the period from 1970 to 2011.


Last edited by scot47 on Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17604
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dr_haron wrote:
scot47 wrote:
My experience in KSA was that students were always better at speaking than writing. They tell me that this is a feature of their Arabic too. A society where the ability to write is not valued !


This is strange. Being a native Arabic speaker, I find writing (in English) easier than talking.

I agree with Scot on this one. My experience teaching Arabic speakers from 1985 through 2001 was that the normal situation with students entering university around the Gulf was that their speaking/listening ability was a minimum of two levels higher than their writing/reading ability.

The most common was that S/L was at the high intermediate level while they were low beginning at R/W. Most were unable to write even a single grammatical one clause sentence. And proofreading and/or correction was about a year away at best.

And every year students assured me that their Arabic writing/reading ability was little better. It was/is a sad commentary on the public education system in the Gulf.

VS
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abayababy



Joined: 26 Dec 2012
Posts: 109

PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has been my experience as well in the 6 months that I have been here. It's been discouraging to see so little improvement in most of my students' writing, but I am relieved to know that it's not all my fault!
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Heaton



Joined: 02 Jan 2012
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My list of good things about KSA:

1. Tomatoes grow well here
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Zara461



Joined: 17 Nov 2012
Posts: 58
Location: 007-Kingdom

PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Students will communicate orally quite well although with many grammatical and other errors. Their attempts at writing are terrible

Quote:
Most were unable to write even a single grammatical one clause sentence. And proofreading and/or correction was about a year away at best.

Quote:
It's been discouraging to see so little improvement in most of my students' writing, but I am relieved to know that it's not all my fault!

I have heard the same problem with Chinese students!

But, is it not the duty of English teachers to help those weak (or de-motivated?) students to improve their writing and speaking in English?
scot, don’t you think that English teachers should reconsider teaching English grammar and writing to students in the ME?
It seems the English teachers in the ME and China have failed in their mission! Laughing
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 13859
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Zara461,

This sounds like a job for Superman/Superwoman Very Happy.

Up, up and away.

Regards,
John
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17604
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zara461 wrote:
But, is it not the duty of English teachers to help those weak (or de-motivated?) students to improve their writing and speaking in English?
scot, don’t you think that English teachers should reconsider teaching English grammar and writing to students in the ME?
It seems the English teachers in the ME and China have failed in their mission! Laughing

What? I'm not sure exactly what you are trying to say here. Are you serious or tongue in cheek?

Improving their skills is what we are hired for... and slowly, if they make the effort to learn, they improve. I feel that I was successful in improving the skills for most, if not all. But, IMHO, they were still not as high as they should have been for studying in English. It was the decision of the universities to pass them on before most were ready. For most of them, two years was the minimum they needed... but too often we are only given one year.

In most cases, we do/did the best we can/could with what we have/had to work with... Cool

VS
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plumpy nut



Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 1652

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

scot47 wrote:
Thinking of education in KSA we should remember King Faisal who introduced girls education against the wishes of the Pious Ones. For tha, and agreeing to the introduction of televison he was assassinated.


I think the ruling family doesn't quite like the wahabeists but doesn't know how to deal with them. Although I have heard they have started to increasingly thumb their noses at the religious police. The incident where some girls in a boarding school several years ago burned to death while the religious police kept pushing them back into the burning building to protect their modesty may have contributed to a desire to curb the zealousness of the wahabeist police.
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plumpy nut



Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 1652

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zara461 wrote:


But, is it not the duty of English teachers to help those weak (or de-motivated?) students to improve their writing and speaking in English?


If their weaknesses are due to lack of readiness for the material, it can be difficult if not impossible to accomplish.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 13859
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Zara461,

I got the overwhelming scent of irony/sarcasm. Heck, you even had a "smiley." Was I wrong?

Regards,
John
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Zara461



Joined: 17 Nov 2012
Posts: 58
Location: 007-Kingdom

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:
Improving their skills is what we are hired for... and slowly, if they make the effort to learn, they improve. I feel that I was successful in improving the skills for most, if not all. But, IMHO, they were still not as high as they should have been for studying in English. It was the decision of the universities to pass them on before most were ready. For most of them, two years was the minimum they needed... but too often we are only given one year.

In most cases, we do/did the best we can/could with what we have/had to work with... Cool

VS

Well, maybe that was your own personal experience, which was successful. But, in general, the problem of low English proficiency still exists in Oman.
I have crossed an article titled “A Student Perspective on Low English Proficiency in Oman”, written by a lecturer from Sultan Qaboos University. The author wrote the following:
“The table clearly shows that 85% of students thought that teachers are the major cause of their low level of English. The reasons can be summarized as follows:
1) Teachers are not well-prepared or qualified. They use old-fashioned, traditional teaching methods and styles, which are boring for students. There is a gap between teacher preparation programs and curriculum philosophies.
2) Teachers are asked to teach in a certain way as they are guided by the teachers’ book.
3) Teachers’ English proficiency is low and they do not work to improve this. Since most teachers confine themselves to the curriculum, they lose their competence in English.
4) Teachers in the lower grades are often very weak in English.
5) Teachers who graduated from private colleges or universities are especially ill-prepared and their English is weaker than their counterparts’ who graduated from state-run universities and colleges.
6) Teachers use very simple language in the classroom.
7) Most teachers depend solely on the textbook.
8- Teachers’ main concern is to finish the assigned curriculum.
9) Teaching methods stimulate only lower order thinking and cognitive skills.
10) Teachers do not care about their students and are not motivated to teach.
..... “

More about the topic can be found in the following link:
http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=students%20in%20oman%20are%20weak%20in%20english&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CC8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ccsenet.org%2Fjournal%2Findex.php%2Fies%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F19832%2F14386&ei=Y7ZeUeWFOoe50QWK7IDoBQ&usg=AFQjCNERpIIdpnFl5P8VS4btNJ2uBBFLBQ

I guess the problem is similar in the Magic Kingdom.
I wait for John and scot to publish their experiences here! Laughing
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 13859
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Zara461,

"The table clearly shows that 85% of students thought that teachers are the major cause of their low level of English."

Wow - what a shocker!!! You mean there were actually 15% who accepted some personal responsibility for their lack of progress?

That's encouraging.

I used to tell my students: And remember, if you do well on the test, all the credit belongs to you. But if you do poorly, all the blame belongs to me, of course. Very Happy

All I can vouch for - from my personal experience - is that, in my opinion, at least 95 percent of my colleagues over the years ranged from good to excellent as far as teaching ability goes.
And being the language center coordinator for 5 years, I had the opportunity to observe many of the teachers in action.

Are there lousy teachers in the Middle East? I'm sure there are - as there are everywhere else. However, again from personal experience, I've encountered a higher percentage of "less than competent" teachers here in the States than I did in Saudi.

Admittedly, this is all "anecdotal" and subjective (but then, so were the students' opinions); however, my "data" consists of over thirty years in both EFL and ESL and literally hundreds of teachers.

Regards,
John
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17604
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zara461 wrote:
veiledsentiments wrote:
Improving their skills is what we are hired for... and slowly, if they make the effort to learn, they improve. I feel that I was successful in improving the skills for most, if not all. But, IMHO, they were still not as high as they should have been for studying in English. It was the decision of the universities to pass them on before most were ready. For most of them, two years was the minimum they needed... but too often we are only given one year.

In most cases, we do/did the best we can/could with what we have/had to work with... Cool

VS

Well, maybe that was your own personal experience, which was successful. But, in general, the problem of low English proficiency still exists in Oman.

Um... that is what I said. And it always will be a problem. All I claimed was that I "improved their skills" which doesn't mean that I turned them into native speakers. I said that the universities chose "to pass them on."

Zara461 wrote:
I have crossed an article titled “A Student Perspective on Low English Proficiency in Oman”, written by a lecturer from Sultan Qaboos University. The author wrote the following:
“The table clearly shows that 85% of students thought that teachers are the major cause of their low level of English. The reasons can be summarized as follows:
1) Teachers are not well-prepared or qualified. They use old-fashioned, traditional teaching methods and styles, which are boring for students. There is a gap between teacher preparation programs and curriculum philosophies.
2) Teachers are asked to teach in a certain way as they are guided by the teachers’ book.
3) Teachers’ English proficiency is low and they do not work to improve this. Since most teachers confine themselves to the curriculum, they lose their competence in English.
4) Teachers in the lower grades are often very weak in English.
5) Teachers who graduated from private colleges or universities are especially ill-prepared and their English is weaker than their counterparts’ who graduated from state-run universities and colleges.
6) Teachers use very simple language in the classroom.
7) Most teachers depend solely on the textbook.
8- Teachers’ main concern is to finish the assigned curriculum.
9) Teaching methods stimulate only lower order thinking and cognitive skills.
10) Teachers do not care about their students and are not motivated to teach.
..... “

More about the topic can be found in the following link:
http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=students%20in%20oman%20are%20weak%20in%20english&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CC8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ccsenet.org%2Fjournal%2Findex.php%2Fies%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F19832%2F14386&ei=Y7ZeUeWFOoe50QWK7IDoBQ&usg=AFQjCNERpIIdpnFl5P8VS4btNJ2uBBFLBQ

I guess the problem is similar in the Magic Kingdom.
I wait for John and scot to publish their experiences here! Laughing

Having spent years teaching Omanis, that reflects what the students told me over the years. But it also shows their sad lack of self-knowledge of how they learn a language. I would tell them at the beginning of every course that it was up to them... not me... what they would learn or not. I pointed out that they couldn't learn to play football or cook by watching TV. They had to get out on the field and kick the ball... or into the kitchen with the pots and pans. You learn to read by reading, write by writing, and speak by speaking. I am merely there to guide them and help them avoid mistakes.

From what I read here, Saudi students are little different.

VS
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15318

PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plumpynut, it appears, is not too keen on the "Wahabeasts".

As a recovering Calvinist I think I have some symnpathy for this endangered species !
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Mysterious



Joined: 24 Sep 2011
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hehe, some of the posts here are hilarious.

The positives for me:
1. Being a religious woman, it's nice to be able to dress the way I do without having racism or comments like "go back to where you came from" thrown at me (even though I was born in the UK and lived there all my life -- until recently)

2. I love that I can go out and pray in any mosque if I want. Loads of mosques where adhaan's are being called and can be heard easily. Nice reminder for prayer!

3. I like the value of prayer -- where shops shut, etc, so encourage people to pray.

4. I love the heat (extreme cold can hurt my bones a lot, so I enjoy Saudi weather).

5. I love that I can get halaal lamb from NZ and Australia in Carrefour Laughing (didn't have these options in the UK).

6. Hubby gets good wages that doesn't allow us to stress. Praise be to God.

7. Most importantly.. my children love it here.
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