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Issues in English Education in the Arab World

Though diverse, the Arab world boasts a unique culture and native language, both of which are unlike those found in English-speaking countries. Perhaps due to the nature of these differences, Arab-Western relations have been described as existing on one of the world’s great cultural fault-lines. Debate about the potential effects, both positive and negative, of English-medium education and the learning of English in the region’s schools and universities is one expression of this. Even as debate continues, issues of politics, culture, social mobility, and identity are played out in the English language classrooms of the Arab world on a daily basis. The current volume explores some of the concerns related to the place of English and English-medium education in the Arab world. It examines issues of the relationship between English, Arabic, cultural identity and power in the region within a historical and contemporary framework; the experiences of learners from Arabic-medium secondary schools adjusting to English-medium colleges; and the challenges and potential rewards of promoting student-centered classrooms and technology in traditionally teacher-centered environments. These issues are explored from the perspectives of teachers, students, researchers and other stakeholders in Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Sudan.

COM Abstract This chapter explores the reasons behind the problems learners in
the official school system in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, encounter as they learn
English. I do so by conducting interviews with four English language teachers
and administering a questionnaire to thirty-eight English language learners
between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five who went through the different
phases of the Saudi school system in Jeddah. The questionnaire explores the
problems and ...