Teaching of English Communication Skills to Arab University Students: Challenges and Antidotes
Bilal Mohd Zakarneh

Students studying English communication skills in Arab universities constitute a significant proportion of the university population. This population is rapidly growing and making teaching of English in Arab universities significant, rewarding yet challenging. Challenging in a way that teachers of English communication skills to Arab students continue to experience unique challenges. This study investigated these challenges and the possible solutions. Quantitative data was collected from 30 English teachers teaching Arab students in Arab countries within the Levantine and the Gulf using survey questionnaire and analyzed descriptively using Microsoft Excel Data Analysis tool. Results revealed that common challenges experienced by English teachers teaching Arab students in Arab countries include; large classes, which makes it difficult for teachers to implement communication skills in the university; inadequate resources needed to teach communication skills; communicative incompetence of students; learning being teacher-centered rather than learner-centered; the rare use of English by students in their conversations. Others included rote learning and unauthentic exam system; difficulty in motivating and encouraging students to orally participate in class discussions; difficulty in assessing students’ ability to communicate in English; and low communicative abilities. Results also revealed challenges unique to specific universities included insufficient knowledge of English among students; the tendency of students to switch to Arabic; vocabulary insufficiency; lack of seriousness by students; students not finding English to be useful; lack of motivation for students; insufficient student interaction; poor oral skills; and shyness. Participants identified the following as possible solutions: offering more English classes and extracurricular activities; making passing exam more difficult; giving more vocabulary; demonstrating the value and importance of English; motivating students; teaching real-life situation while they communicate using proper English orally and in written form; and exposing them to different situations by sending them on trips to English speaking countries.

Full Text: PDF

Copyright © 2014: The Brooklyn Research and Publishing Institute. All Rights Reserved.
Brooklyn, NY 11210, United States