A reflection on the context of Saudi Arabia


In this category I will reflect on my experience as a trainee teacher. First I will shed some light on my background and then I will discuss the great opportunity I had in the UK studying English Language Teaching (ELT), which widened my scope. In Saudi Arabia getting a job as a teacher of English is challenging as it is a competitive atmosphere and native speakers of English are preferred. There are certain criteria that have to be met, such as holding a master degree, having a high level of English language proficiency, and being aware of new teaching methodologies, materials,evaluation, and testing.

I came to the UK with a modest knowledge of ELT, no confidence, no clear vision of my future, and from an atmosphere where the teacher plays a central role in the classroom because teaching methods are still undeveloped (see, Almansour , 2009 and Alseghayer,2005). In addition, Zaid (1993) and Alhazmi (2001) highlight the unsatisfactory outcomes of the teacher preparation course followed in Saudi Arabia as a result retraining of teachers becomes a requirement. Alzahrani (2009) points out that teaching methods, teacher and materials causes a low-level of proficiency in English among Saudi students. As a previous student who had experienced a similar situation,after becoming a teacher I wanted to work in an atmosphere where there are elements of creativity, originality, interaction, and intellectual growth. I discovered during the Teaching Practice (TP) course that teaching reflects all these elements which I was looking for, which made a real change to my beliefs and attitudes toward my job. I used to believe that I was not born as a gifted teacher, but what I found goes in line with what Harmer (2007: 23) states, that if a teacher learns their craft, which is acombination of “personality, intelligence, knowledge, and experience”, then they can become an effective teacher, which I am aiming to become as a competent teacher.


References

Al-Hazmi, S. (2003) EFL Teacher Preparation Programs in Saudi Arabia: trends and challenges. TESOL Quarterly 37 (2), 341–344.

Al-Mansour, N. (2009) Bilingualism and the Need for Early EFL Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. J. King Saud Univ., Vol. 21, Lang. & Transl., pp. 1-12,Riyadh

Al-Seghayer, K. (2005) Teaching English in Saudi Arabia. In Brain, G.(ed.)Teaching English to the World : History, Curriculum, and Practice. London :Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Alzahrani, . (2009) Saudi Secondary School Male Students’ Attitudes Towards English : an Exploratory study . J. King Saud Univ., Vol. 20, Lang. & Transl., pp.25 -36

Harmer, (2007) How to Teach English. London: Pearson Longman.