ELT Teaching Quality and Practice in Saudi Arabia: A Case Study of the Perspectives of ESP and EGP Students, Teachers and Managers at the ELC in Umm al-Qura University
In recent years EFL education within Saudi Arabia has come under increased scrutiny, due to government efforts to reform the broader education system within the country, and the perceived importance of English as a global language of commerce and enterprise. EFL education within Saudi Arabia suffers from a number of problems, including low standards and a tendency within the Saudi education system to rely upon prescriptive and authoritarian teaching paradigms. In addition to this, there is no cohesive national strategy for EFL teacher training and education, and little emphasis on professional development opportunities for teachers within the EFL field. This study focuses attention on EFL teacher quality within Saudi Arabia as a critical component in improving English language education across the country. The study presents a case study of Umm al-Qura University, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in which the perspectives of students, teachers and managers were explored in depth in order to shed light on the current mechanisms for ensuring teaching quality in EFL. Adopting a mixed-methods approach, the study engaged in an in-depth case study of the English Language Centre (ELC) at the Umm al-Qura University. A quantitative questionnaire was distributed to students within the ELC, and semi-structured interviews were undertaken with teachers and academic managers, in addition to classroom observations conducted by the researcher. The findings corroborated recent research on educational paradigms within Saudi Arabia, and highlighted a number of cultural factors that impacted upon teacher quality within the ELC. The findings of the study form the basis of a series of recommendations for improving English language teaching quality within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.