Perceptions of Saudi School Teachers about Teaching Arabic Language Arts Using an Integrated Approach: An Exploratory Study

Open Access
Author:
Almoaiqel, Salman Abdullah
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
October 15, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Jamie Myers, Dissertation Advisor
  • Jamie Myers, Committee Chair
  • James F Nolan Jr., Committee Member
  • Angiline Louisa Whitney, Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Special Member
Keywords:
  • Teaching Arabic Language Arts
  • Integrated Approach
  • Perceptions of Saudi School Teachers
  • Integrating Arabic Language Arts
Abstract:
ABSTRACT This study was conducted to examine the perceptions of elementary and middle school teachers in Saudi Arabia toward using an integrated approach to teaching Arabic language Arts. These teachers have taught Arabic language arts and skills separately through the specialized textbooks as directed for many decades by the Ministry of Education and district mandates. In late 2007 the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia decreed a change towards integrating the language arts in both teaching and students’ textbooks. This new language arts program is being applied since then in 40 elementary and middle schools in different school districts before it was circulated to all schools around the country in September 2010. The main goal of this study is to explore the teachers’ opinions toward the integration within the Arabic language after having tried in their own schools and compared it with the former method they have used for several years. This study analyzed the current practices in teaching the Arabic language and examined to what extent this change has been efficient according to the teachers applying the integrated approach. The study also examined their perceptions about the problems and barriers that affect the implementation of the integration. Moreover, this study discovered the impact of such a change on students’ communication skills and how efficient the approach was on their motivation to learn the Arabic language. Additionally, the study assessed the extent to which such method fits the Arabic language and how teachers see the appropriateness of the provided Arabic textbooks and the practiced evaluation methods to the integration approach. The level of teachers’ enthusiasm to this approach and their satisfaction with implementing this program were also discovered. The results of this study revealed that 84% of the Arabic language teachers see the integration within the Arabic language arts important as it is an efficient way of teaching students, which increases flexibility in teaching, and encourages critical thinking and deeper comprehension. This study discovered that 79% of the teachers see the integrated Arabic language curriculum effective in helping them achieve the teaching goals. About 73% of the teachers agreed that the integrated Arabic language curriculum and the integrative approach had a positive impact on their students’ language skills. For students’ motivation, 82.7% of the teachers believed that the integrated Arabic language curriculum and the integrative approach had a positive impact on their students’ learning motivation. As for the integration barriers, the results revealed that 73.71% of the teachers believed that the large number of students in the classroom was a big barrier obstructing the integration practice, while only 53.71% believed that insufficiency of the equipment and school supplies was a big barrier, and only 49.14% believed that the insufficiency of teachers training and development was a large barrier affecting the integration. This study found that 85% of the teachers were satisfied with the new integrated Arabic language curriculum they teach and they enjoyed teaching Arabic in this approach more than the previous separated curriculum. Findings discovered that 92% of teachers believed that the Arabic language is suitable to the integration notion. About 71.57% of them believed that the students’ Arabic textbooks provided by the Ministry of Education for this new program were appropriate for applying the integration approach, and only 44.73% of the teachers believed that the students’ assessment procedures applied and the evaluation methods practiced were appropriate to assess students’ language learning. Most of teachers’ recommendation for improving the implementation of the integrated curriculum were concerning increasing the number of training courses and improving the quality and comprehensiveness of training; providing the necessary educational means and equipment such as computers, CD-ROM's, DVD’s, and projectors; and reducing students’ number in classrooms. Finally, this study found significant differences between male and female teachers on all the integration variables. Female teachers favored the integration program the most and expressed its effect on their students more than the male teachers did. These differences may be due to the fact that the female teachers had more teaching experience than the male teachers. In addition, the results showed that 70% of the female teachers had training before implementing the program, while only 47% of the male teachers had that kind of training. The more experience that the female teachers had in teaching Arabic language, and the more training they received might have positively affected their opinions and their implementation of this program.