Teachers’ perceptions about the most Effective Teaching Methods for EFL for Elementary School in Saudi Arabia

Teachers’ perceptions about the most Effective Teaching Methods for EFL for Elementary School in Saudi Arabia


Teachers’ perceptions about the most effective teaching methods for  EFL for elementary school in Saudi Arabia

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Table of Content

Serial No. Content Page No.
1 Chapter One

  • Research Problem
  • Purpose statement
  • Significance of the study
  • Primary research questions

·         2-4

·         4-5

·         5

·         6


2 Chapter Two

  • Theoretical Framework
  • Literature Review . Teachers’ perceptions about the most Effective Teaching Methods for EFL for Elementary School in Saudi Arabia


·         7-12

·         12-15

·         15-50


3 Chapter Three

  • Research Design
  • Grounded Theory – Why, How, What
  • Research positionality
  • Study context




·         51

·         51

·         51

·         52-54

4 References 55-64



Chapter One


Education in Saudi Arabia has its foundation in Islam. The Qu’ran, which Islam is based on, emphasizes education and knowledge in its verses (Al-Johani, 2009). Verses in the Qur’an affirm educated men, encourage continued education, and praise those that develop critical thinking skills (The Qu’ran, Translated by M.A.S. A. Haleem). The Saudi government and its laws, ministries, and education program was established based on Islam and the Qur’an. Centuries ago, as migration, globalization, and foreign trade developed, people native to Saudi Arabia and the Arab world began to learn foreign languages. It was vital to learn foreign language skills to trade and communicate with the non-Arab world. For years, Saudi Arabia did not have formal schooling for the public nor classes in foreign languages. In the 1930’s, as the oil boom began, Saudi Arabia began to open public schools. English began to be implemented into public school curriculums as English was necessary for adults in the oil industry to communicate with non-Arabic speakers. This shift in education was dubbed “petro-linguistics” as English was added into public school requirements for middle and high schoolers in the 1940’s (Karmani, 2005; Al Tamimi, 2019).

The first official English Foreign Language (EFL) classes were introduced to Saudi public schools in the late 1940’s (Al Tamimi, 2019). Interest in learning English grew in Saudi Arabia as foreign trade increased and the oil industry matured. From 2003-2013, EFL classes were introduced into elementary schools and English became a mandated language for all citizens to learn while they were in school (Al-Qahtani, 2016). Recently, the Saudi government and the Ministry of Education have concentrated on increasing Saudi students’ and Saudi citizens’ knowledge and exposure of English. Saudi Vision 2030, a plan for the global growth of Saudi Arabia introduced by the Saudi government, states the goals for Saudi citizens to increase their English knowledge at rapid rates (Al-Zahrani & Rajab, 2018). Unfortunately, as of now, most Saudi citizens are not fluent in English, even those that have completed EFL education since elementary school (Al Malihi, 2013). This is one of the reasons why Saudi Vision 2030 has placed such an emphasis on increasing English fluency.

To understand how to best increase English fluency in Saudi Arabia, it is crucial to understand past, current, and future EFL programs at all grade levels (Alqahtani, 2022). EFL classes have many key components, including program goals, textbooks, technology, teaching methodologies, learner needs, and more. EFL teachers in Saudi Arabia have struggled to enmesh all components of the regulated Saudi EFL curriculums to create successful EFL programs (Oudah & Altalhab, 2018). Specifically, EFL teachers have wrestled with which teaching methods work best in EFL classrooms. Most EFL teachers in Saudi Arabia have continued to utilize teacher-centered teaching methodologies, even though they are aware that these methods are not the most successful at fostering proficient English speakers (Aldosari & Alsultan, 2017).

Many teachers have stated that they feel ill-equipped to use other more effective methods for many reasons. Some of these reasons include; the lack of current professional development, feelings of not being supported by the Saudi Ministry of Education, not having enough funding for new materials, or other restrictions such as large class sizes (Almulla, 2015; Aldosari & Alsultan, 2017). Yet, some EFL teachers have attempted to use other teaching methods in their EFL classrooms (Alqahtani, 2022). Many of these EFL teachers have shown that teaching methods, like those based on student-centered learning, have a positive impact on student achievement, fluency rates, motivation, and behavior (Aldosari & Alsultan, 2017; Alqahtani, 2022; Al-Tamimi, 2019). With the continuation of low English proficiency in Saudi students as they graduate high school, even now, is it prudent that research be conducted on these teachers. Additional research will help educators and EFL program developers to understand how to best utilize the teaching methods they believe to be most effective.

Statement of the Problem

Since the introduction of Saudi Vision 2030’s English education goals, EFL education has become even more important in Saudi Arabia. EFL programs in Saudi Arabia, at various grade levels, have been revamped numerous times to try to accommodate the shifting priority of Saudi citizens becoming fluent in English (Al Malihi, 2013). Yet, as these programs have been revamped, there has still been little success in teaching Saudi students English proficiently (Alqahtani, 2022). EFL teachers are critical to ensuring Saudi citizens are learning English successfully and that they retain fluency as much as possible. Teachers are the closest people in schools to Saudi students as they learn English. Teachers are aware of what materials, teaching methods, resources, and more are working to most effectively instruct students in English. Examining EFL teachers’ perceptions about the most effective teaching methods for EFL students is key to understanding and shaping any EFL program in Saudi Arabia. There are few studies that have surveyed this, especially at the elementary school level where EFL classes have only begun in the last 10 years. Therefore, this study would be helpful to understand what EFL teachers experience and how to integrate the best teaching methods into new EFL curriculums.

EFL teachers in Saudi Arabia have admitted to lacking the skills and knowledge to teach EFL effectively (Al-Seghayer, 2014). Many Saudi EFL teachers feel lost and they are unsure of how best to teach the EFL curriculum provided to them by the government. A survey of 1,000 EFL teachers around Saudi Arabia, conducted by Al-Zahrani and Rajab (2017), stated that EFL teachers were mostly using teacher-centered methodology in their classrooms. The teachers did not know how to implement new teaching methods but many had opinions about which teaching methods should be used in EFL classrooms. Saudi EFL teachers felt unheard by the Ministry of Education and explained that their opinions about teaching were not taken into consideration by the Ministry (Al-Seghayer, 2014). Studies have demonstrated the importance of listening to educators continually, especially when new EFL curriculums are being developed (Alqahtani, 2022). Given Saudi Arabia has been continuously revamping its EFL curriculum, with no evidence of greater of  fluency rates among students, it is high time the government consider EFL teachers’ perceptions. This research aims to understand what Saudi EFL teachers’ perceptions are concerning the most effective teaching methods for elementary school classrooms. By exploring this topic, more knowledge will be gathered about EFL teachers in various facets including; what teaching methods they have used or are currently using, which teaching methods are most impactful to students, and more.

The  primary research questions that will be answered through this research study.

  1. What are the instructional methods used in Saudi EFL classrooms?
  2. What opportunities does the teacher create for student interaction while learning English?
  3. How does EFL instruction support students’ linguistic mediation?
  4. What are the ways the EFL curriculum reflects students’ home cultures ?
















Chapter Two

1: Theoretical Framework

EFL teachers and curriculum developers have used educational theories to guide curriculum, EFL programs, textbooks, and teaching methods. By allowing these theories to inform practice, teachers and curriculum developers have a ready foundation to set guidelines, standards, objectives, and goals for EFL programs. Currently, there are multiple theories that have informed these elements of EFL curriculum, including sociocultural theory and cognitive theory. In the context of EFL classes in Saudi Arabia, student-centered teaching methods have been the most effective at improving student performance, increasing student fluency, as well as improving student behavior and motivation (Al-Seghayer, 2014; Al Malihi, 2013; Alqahtani, 2022).

Theories, such as sociocultural theory, provide rich foundations for bilingual education (Alqahtani, 2022). In student-centered teaching methods, educators utilize sociocultural theory to understand how best to instruct students. Many teachers believe that young learners acquire an additional language through learning and experiencing (Alqahtani, 2022; Lucero, 2015). In the 1960s, Lev Vygotsky posited sociocultural theory to explain how young learners learn. Sociocultural theory states, primarily, that language and verbal speech are developed as people learn and experience language (Vygotsky, 1978). Unlike other theories, like cognitive theory, that do not take into consideration culture, Vygotsky’s theory relies on culture to explain learning.

Sociocultural theory has multiple components. One important component is that learning occurs as people interact with one another in any environment, including at school, in public, or at home (Vygotsky, 1978). Each environment has its own culture, which fosters learning opportunities for people. People exchange language and have certain roles (i.e., mother, father, teacher), each role facilitates intellectual adaptation as people understand each other’s roles (Vygotsky, 1962).

One component of sociocultural theory in EFL classes is linguistic mediation. Linguistic mediation refers to learning using each other’s languages to grasp concepts and ideas. According to Fernández (2021), Linguistic mediation is the process of facilitating communication between individuals who do not share a common language or who have limited proficiency in a shared language. Through this process, individuals intrinsically and extrinsically develop meaning and understanding (Lucero, 2015). Furthermore, linguistic mediation encompasses the utilization of all available language practices by individuals to facilitate effective communication and collaboratively construct meaning in situations where a common language might be lacking or where proficiency in a shared language is limited (García & Wei, 2014). EFL classes commonly employ linguistic mediation, and recent studies have shown that it is a proven way for students to learn a second language (DeNicolo, 2010). DeNicolo (2010) correlated linguistic mediation with higher levels of student understanding, improved bilingual abilities, and increased language proficiency, particularly for low-performing students. Lucero (2015) suggested that linguistic mediation is best used with collaborative learning methods, such as think-pair-share and group work, which align with student-centered approaches. Through these teaching methods, students can observe how their peers use languages and build on their own language knowledge.

Sociocultural theory, was posited by Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky believed that language is not originally tied to thought. Instead, language and verbal speech emerges as people experience language (Vygotsky, 1978). He assumed that culture and other social aspects deeply influence how people learn language, develop their thinking, and continue thinking about various contexts. The first tenet of sociocultural theory discusses how learning occurs as people experience each other, at school, at home, in public, etc. Each different culture promotes different language learning. Vygotsky explained that language is essential in two main roles in children’s lives. These roles include that adults communicate information to children through language and that language allows for intellectual adaptation (Vygotsky, 1962). Both roles are informed through culture.

Linguistic mediation is part of the first tenet of sociocultural theory and is extremely relevant to EFL classes. Linguistic mediation is learning ideas and concepts through language from others. Language then facilitates people making meaning and understanding both within themselves and outside of themselves (Lucero, 2015). Within EFL and English Second Language (ESL) classes, linguistic mediation has been shown to be an effective way for students to learn a second language (DeNicolo, 2010). DeNicolo found that for students in lower performing dual language programs, linguistic mediation increased students’ understanding, which aided their abilities to be bilingual. Low proficient students also improved their proficiency in DeNicolo’s study. For linguistic mediation to be used to its full potential, peer to peer interactions, including group work, think pair shares, and student-centered learning should be utilized (Lucero, 2015).Teachers’ perceptions about the most Effective Teaching Methods for EFL for Elementary School in Saudi Arabia

The second tenet of sociocultural theory states that at the foundation of culture is language (Vygotsky, 1978). It could be argued that without the ability to communicate between each other, culture may not exist. Language allows people to emphasize important topics, opinions, feelings, and emotions. Culture is a central principle within EFL classrooms. EFL classrooms are typically filled with students speaking different language, different dialects, with varying home lives, and various cultural practices. To fully learn a new language, culture should be studied and reflected upon (Vygotsky, 1978). Without the understanding of culture, it may be impossible for students to fully understand the new language they are acquiring. By discussing culture in an EFL classroom, students have more context about where how functions of language work, vocabulary, and more. Further, EFL students can compare their own cultural practices, find similarities and differences, and apply this to language learning. Students aim to create a relationship between what they experience and learn at home, within culture, to what they are experience and are learning in class.

The third tenet of sociocultural theory states that people learn and evolve through a community, as they play certain roles, like a parent, worker, etc. (Vygotsky, 1978). The third tenet mimics what students are real-life and within a classroom. This tenet is important to EFL classes and for young learners as they learn a new language. As students play a part in their school community, family, friend community, and the community at large, they are learning language. Students should aim to practice and learn English in real-life situations to see English in various contexts. Different vocabulary is used in these contexts too, which demonstrates the importance of learning, not just from a classroom. In EFL classes, many textbooks and teaching materials group English lessons by context, situation, and vocabulary. Role playing exercises can emphasize these vocabulary groups as well as Vygotsky’s belief in learning through participation in a community (Vygotsky, 1978).

One of Vygotsky’s key components of sociocultural theory is Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The ZPD builds upon the other ideas within sociocultural theory. Vygotsky believed that the ZPD are shaped based on how people interact, share knowledge, and then build knowledge together. In EFL classes, teachers use the ZPD to aid in students constructing vocabulary, speech, mental skills, and other knowledge. Yaghoubi and Farrokh (2022) deliberated about how the ZPD became more developed as people get older and establish their own language, or private speech. As students experience ESL classes and language in real-life, they advance both their private speech and ZPD even more rapidly than in other classes. The use of certain student-centered teaching methods incites both private speech and ZPD. For instance, students’ ZPD are advanced by teachers using modeling and guided learning (Blake & Pope, 2008). Students can experience their classroom community in teacher facilitated teaching methods, while still learning from a teacher, versus being lectured to in traditional teacher-centered classes. A similar study by DeNicolo (2016) associated reflexive dialogue that teachers’ model to language learning and cultural understanding. How does reflexive dialogue relate to ZPD? In reflexive dialogue, teachers can bring their own cultural understanding and language skills to classrooms and invite students to share their own. Within many student-centered activities that use reflexive dialogue, students fashion meaning through dialogue with both the teacher and their peers. According to Wells (1999) Reflexive dialogue can help learners to become more aware of their own cognitive processes and to develop metacognitive skills, which are essential for self-regulated learning. By engaging in reflexive dialogue, learners can also identify gaps in their own understanding and seek out appropriate scaffolding to help them bridge these gaps, which is another key aspect of ZPD.

Developing Vygotsky’s ZPD can be encouraged through collaborative learning practices, such as group work or collaborative writing (Blake & Pope, 2008). Aldossary (2021) demonstrated how collaborative writing was effective in a Saudi EFL classroom, leading to students sharing varying language skills and cultures more quickly than in individual writing exercises. Furthermore, students in collaborative writing groups outperformed students who participated in traditional lecture classes. Collaborative teaching activities, like literature circles, also incorporate both Vygotsky’s ZPD and linguistic mediation, as discussed by DeNicolo and Franquiz (2006). In literature circles, students apply many aspects of sociocultural theory, such as community, culture, and role-playing. They can engage in discussions about stories and passages while debating elements of their own cultures. This collaborative activity encourages students to learn language, consider culture, and develop communication and critical thinking skills. Translanguaging in EFL classrooms supports students in constructing meaning as well. For this to happen, students must feel comfortable in their classrooms to share their cultural experiences and engage in dual language discourse (Romero, DeNicolo, & Fradkin, 2016). Collective learning, which is a central feature of the ZPD and student-centered teaching methods, should be encouraged in effective EFL classes.

Other teaching methods and activities have been shown to effectively apply Vygotsky’s ZPD. In student-centered teaching, educators often use scaffolding to allow students to build upon earlier knowledge. By doing this, students can better learn more complicated skills or concepts (Awadelkarim, 2012). Awadelkarim’s (2012) study examined scaffolding in Saudi elementary school classrooms. Teachers in the study employed student-centered methods, like problem-solving learning, to demonstrate how students could add to their prior knowledge as they solved real-life problems. As scaffolding was used in the study, students were more engaged, developed greater self-awareness, improved their language awareness, and increased their English proficiency. Scaffolding is directly connected to Vygotsky’s ZPD, as it creates opportunities for communication, peer-to-peer interaction, and role-playing.

Lastly, an integral component of EFL classrooms is culture. In effective bilingual EFL classes, learning a new and a home language should be intermixed with both cultures (Alqahtani, 2022). It is not possible to learn a new language without understanding the culture to which the language belongs (Vygotsky, 1978). When learning a language and its culture, students gain more context about how the language functions, the vocabulary within the language, and variations of the language depending on the real-life setting. Especially in bilingual classes, students can compare similarities and differences between languages when they also understand both cultures. Teachers are suggested to find as many ways as possible to integrate culture into their EFL curriculums to increase understanding, language development, and mental development (Lucero, 2015). Through student-centered teaching methodologies, such as problem-solving and collaborative work, students can practice learning English in real-life contexts while engaging with culture. Paired vocabulary games, interactive textbooks, group projects, and role-playing exercises are easy ways to allow students to understand how culture is integrated into the larger language community (Vygotsky, 1978)

2: Literature Review:

The English language has been known around the world, for years, as the language of business (Al-Tamimi, 2019). Starting in the 1930’s, when Saudi Arabia began drilling for oil, the Saudi government and Saudi citizens have had to learn how to communicate with non-Arabic speakers. The oil industry became the main reason why English was learned by Saudi citizens, enough for the term “petro-linugistics” to be coined (Karmani, 2005; Al Tamimi, 2019). At first, Saudi citizens, usually those within the oil industry, learned English on their own or through their employers. However, in 1943, English as Foreign Language (EFL) classes were introduced (Al Tamimi, 2019). In Saudi public schools, EFL was mandated starting in middle school and ending in 12th grade. In most private schools, EFL instruction began in first grade (Al Tamimi, 2019).

Developing English language skills has grown to be priority within Saudi Arabia. Beginning in 2003, English as a Foreign Language (EFL) has been taught in Saudi public elementary schools, starting in the fifth grade (Al-Qahtani, 2016). At the intermediate and upper school levels, EFL is required for all students. The Ministry of Education began a new guideline in 2012, that started that EFL is to be taught, starting in fourth grade. However, EFL is normally only taught four hours and week and 3 days a week (Al Tamimi, 2019). The Saudi government has long believed that for Saudi Arabia to be the global leader it desires; citizens should be fluent in English. From 1995-2000, the Saudi government enacted the Sixth Development Plan. This plan mimicked the World Trade Organization’s requirements for English language skills to be spotlighted during interactions and communications (Al Tamimi, 2019). In 2005, the Saudi government’s efforts to globalize strengthened the desire for citizens to learn English. At the time, the Saudi government was working to diversify its economy by concentrating on other sectors, like tourism (Al Tamimi, 2019). The expansion of the Saudi economy corresponded with Saudi universities offering more English classes. Even now, most students at Saudi universities are required to take English at least one semester. Teachers’ perceptions about the most Effective Teaching Methods for EFL for Elementary School in Saudi Arabia

Saudi citizens have a positive view of English and learning the English language (Al-Seghayer, 2014). Many Saudis believe that learning English will both help the country and themselves acquire jobs. Yet, most Saudis have not learned English properly through the public school system (Al-Seghayer, 204). Saudi students continue to struggle to achieve proficiency in English at all levels (Al-Furaydi, 2013). Today, most of the English teachers in Saudi Arabia are Saudi citizens, who have been trained at Saudi universities (Alrashidi & Phan, 2015). Recently, the Saudi government and the Ministry of Education has developed objectives for the teaching of EFL at schools and universities (Alrashidi & Phan, 2015). The first objectives states that students should acquire English language skills, like writing, reading, listening, and speaking. The second and third objectives state that students must be able to successfully use linguistic competence in various settings, circumstances, and apply English in different professions. The fourth and fifth objectives explain that students should develop positive attitudes towards English and increase their knowledge of English to use English in international communication. The sixth and seventh objectives discuss how students should use English to spread Islam and increase their own awareness of social issues in their society. The last two objectives state that students should be able to communicate effectively, even internationally, and transfer scientific and technological advances from Saudi Arabia to other countries.

If students do not have adequate elementary English skills, they will struggle with English as they advance in schools. Learning beginning English skills early is important because younger students learn language quicker and it is easier to learn a language when people are younger (Al-Qahtani, 2016). Until only recently in the last ten years, the teaching and efficacy of EFL in Saudi Arabia has not examined through research. There are numerous challenges within EFL teaching in Saudi Arabia that have been identified through recent research. Some of the challenges include EFL teacher preparation, students’ prior knowledge and motivation of learning English, barriers within EFL curriculums, and lack of innovative student-centered teaching practices.

Saudi English teachers began to receive training in the 1970’s (Al-Seghayer, 2013). The Ministry of Education created a one-year English teacher training program. The potential teachers had to take a test then, at the end of the year, study at a university abroad for 100 weeks. After which, they would receive a certification to teach English in Saudi Arabia. In the 1980’s, the Ministry of Education moved their English teacher training program to Saudi public universities. Potential teachers currently complete coursework in English, teaching methods, linguistics, English literature, and other education classes. As time has passed, the coursework required to teach English in Saudi Arabia has intensified (Al-Seghayer, 2013). Further, it has been suggested to potential teachers to study abroad, complete a Master’s degree, and to complete student teaching.

Within various teacher preparation programs, Saudi universities have individualized the requirements for teacher preparation programs (Al-Seghayer, 2013). Some universities may require applied linguistic courses where others may require English culture courses, and so on. Potential teachers’ coursework is customized to the grade level they intend to teach at. Almost all Saudi universities are now requiring student teaching to receive their bachelor’s degree and be certified to teach English. Currently, there are 33 English teacher preparation across Saudi Arabia (Al-Seghayer, 2013). In 2011, there were over 21,000 English teachers in Saudi public schools that were mostly trained within Saudi Arabia during their bachelor’s degrees (Al-Seghayer, 2013). The number of teachers has grown as English is now required at the first-grade level, starting in 2021. Recently, Saudi universities’ teacher preparation programs have focused more on student-centered learning and other progressive education approaches. Before this, most teacher preparation programs in Saudi Arabia have been fixated on teacher-centered approaches and traditional teaching methods. Unfortunately, this has led to some issues for Saudi English teachers and Saudi public schools.

Saudi EFL teachers have been found to not be competent English teachers (Al-Seghayer, 2014). When EFL teachers have graduated from college, tests have shown that these future Saudi EFL teachers are not completely English proficient (Al-Seghayer, 2014). Al Mahili (2015) stated that more than 50% of Saudi EFL elementary school teachers do not have the knowledge to properly teach EFL students. For instance, these teachers do not know which teaching methodologies, teaching strategies, and resources to utilize in the classroom. Further, the teachers have not been properly trained on what to use and when to teach students many aspects of EFL, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Teachers are struggling to understand the students’ needs. Al Mahili concluded that Saudi teachers have not had the appropriate professional development or training programs to teach properly.

Al-Seghayer (2014) specified that even in-service training programs, are offered only rarely around the country to graduating EFL teachers. To make matters worse, Saudi teachers are not incentivized to participate in professional development once they graduate (Al-Seghayer, 2014). An additional study supports these claims. Al-Zahrani and Rajab (2017) surveyed the attitudes and opinions of Saudi public school EFL teachers. The study sampled approximately 1,000 teachers and concluded that most EFL teachers in Saudi Arabia believe that teaching English in schools is essential to Saudi Vision 2030. 32% of the EFL teachers did remark, though, that many of their EFL colleagues are not qualified to be teaching EFL. Most EFL teachers stated that more collaboration with English speaking teachers around the world would hasten the development of EFL classes in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi EFL teachers have been found to lack creativity within the teaching methods, strategies, materials, and more that they use in the classroom (Al-Qahtani, 2016). Most Saudi EFL teachers use traditional teaching methods. The teachers rarely or never engaged students in problem-solving tasks, diversified teaching methods, differentiated learning, or utilize open-ended questions. Many teachers in Al-Qathani’s (2016) study felt as though EFL, as a subject, eliminated the ability to be creative. Other in Al-Qathani’s study felt that there was little support from school administrators to implement new teaching methods. Many indicated that the textbooks used in EFL classes hindered creativity and the use of different strategies in the classroom. Some teachers stated that Saudi students had not adapted to creativity in the classroom. This led to their conclusion that many students lacked the cognitive skills to participate and learn from other teaching methods or materials. Lastly, almost all Saudi EFL teachers that participated in the study felt that they had little training in non-traditional teaching methods. They felt uncomfortable being creative in their classrooms due to this and many other factors. The same EFL teachers were discovered to not encourage creativity within their EFL students (Al-Qahtani, 2016). The teachers reported that students felt unmotivated and uninspired in their classrooms.

Much evidence has demonstrated that the teaching methods most commonly used by Saudi EFL teachers are not effective. The grammar translation method (GTM) is commonly applied in Saudi EFL classrooms (Al-Seghayer, 2014). Typically, with GTM, students memorize vocabulary and grammatical rules, then apply these as they translate texts (Al-Seghayer, 2014). In addition to GTM, Saudi teachers use traditional methods, like making corrections, reading passages and echoing as the teacher reads the passage, translating passages, and analyzing grammatical structures in EFL classrooms (Al-Seghayer, 2014).

E-learning is becoming more common within Saudi elementary school EFL classes. Interactive textbooks have offered some collaborative approaches to teaching, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, there are numerous flaws in e-learning in EFL classrooms. Al-Furaydi (2013) indicated that EFL teachers were some of the first to utilize e-learning in classrooms. EFL teachers e-learning skills are stronger than many teachers and their attitudes towards e-learning are positive. Yet, the Ministry of Education and individual schools do not support e-learning fully (Al-Furaydi, 2013). Saudi public schools do not have reliable internet access, proper software, or technology support specialists to support e-learning (Al-Furaydi, 2013). Therefore, the use of e-learning in EFL classrooms is still challenging for teachers.

Within Saudi EFL curriculums, there are numerous barriers to proper implementation Al-Seghayer (2014) detailed that limited instruction time, larger class sizes, inadequate teaching resources available, and the poor quality of EFL textbooks have led to significant issues in EFL classrooms. Saudi public elementary school students do not attend English class daily and have only 45-minutes per class period when they do attend. EFL class sizes are usually 40-50 students and can be larger in high schools. Both the class size and time restraint led to significant difficulties for teachers trying to implement collaborative work, student-centered learning, and to grow students’ English proficiency. The EFL teaching resources offered to students are outdated and still include audio cassettes, posters in poor condition, and textbooks that do not accommodate the latest teaching methodologies (Al-Seghayer, 2014).

Another current issue in Saudi EFL classrooms is student prior knowledge and motivation. Saudi elementary and intermediate level students have been found to lack English reading skills, have low exposure to English materials, have poor English fluency levels, and have limited English vocabulary (Al-Qahtani, 2016). Al-Qahtani (2016) identified that parents struggle assisting their own children to learn English, as they do not have learned English skills to share. Saudi students are also unmotivated to learn English at all levels (Al-Furaydi, 2013). Al-Seghayer (2014) explained that some Saudi EFL students believe that they cannot learn English. With many of the EFL teachers using outdated resources, lacking knowledge themselves of English, and applying mostly teacher-centered methodology, young Saudi EFL students are struggling to find motivation in their English classes. Al-Seghayer discussed that without teachers asking students questions, using collaborative work, or innovative materials, students do not see how English is fun and useful. Some students feel that they have no purpose to learn English, if they are not needing to use it outside the classroom either. Additionally, some Saudi students have language anxiety (Al-Seghayer, 2014). They are afraid of speaking, writing, and reading in English. This then carries into their intermediate, high school, and beyond English classes.

The challenges with Saudi public school EFL classes create much opportunity to remedy these challenges. Al-Seghayer (2013) has proposed a variety of improvements to EFL teacher preparation programs. He divided the improvements into long-term and short-term plans. Short-term plans included encouraging Saudi teacher to visit abroad to participate in conferences or lesson studies, completing workshops, collaborating with other teachers at their own schools to learn new methodologies and strategies, and more. Long-term plans included establishing a national EFL training center in Saudi Arabia and redeveloping the EFL preparation program already in existence.

Group work is a teaching tactic used by EFL teachers more recently. Although, in Saudi Arabia, group work is a new teaching strategy, even in EFL classes. Saudi teachers are more commonly implementing group work in the past ten years than ever before (Alfares, 2017). Saudi EFL teachers who do use group work believe there are benefits to group work. These include students doing a variety of things, like: practicing socio-emotional learning, working with classmates of varying English language fluency levels, working out disagreements, and gaining feedback from classmates (Alfares, 2017). However, many Saudi teachers still feel uncomfortable with group work due to their lack of training and knowledge of how to implement it properly (Al-Seghayer, 2013). It is prudent for EFL teaching programs to instruct teachers on how to use student-centered learning, like collaborative learning in Saudi EFL classes.

It is recommended by Al-Qahtani (2016), Al-Seghayer (2014), Al Mahili (2015) that Saudi schools work several elements to improve their EFL classes. Some of these elements include updating teaching materials, encouraging more student-centered learning, ensuring English classes are taught daily, and developing creative classroom environments. Researchers, like Al-Qahtani (2016), have demonstrated that teaching materials have an enormous impact on students. Saudi EFL classrooms could employ more interactive learning tools, like iPads and updated computers. Additionally, textbooks with real-life scenarios, up-to-date English slang, and other engaging exercises, would help Saudi EFL students feel excited about English and more motivated to learn. Al-Seghayer (2014) remarked that English classes should be taught daily, in at least a 45-minute period. This will allow students to fully engage with learning English constantly. English proficiency rates do increase the more students are exposed to English (Al-Zahrani & Rajab, 2017). Moreover, younger students are more impacted by their exposure to English, than older students are (Al-Zahrani & Rajab, 2017). Concurrently, the development of creative classroom spaces would increase creativity among students, exposure to English, make student-centered learning easier, and allow students to understand English in various contexts (Al-Seghayer, 2014). Even a simple act of a replacing desks with tables and chairs can create a more comfortable atmosphere where students can learn from each other (Al-Segyhayer, 2014).

One area that is improving within Saudi Arabia, is ensuring that English students feel that English is prioritized within Saudi Arabia, the Arab world, and globally. This is rapidly changing. The government of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Education has mandated that English be continued to be taught in all schools. Saudi Vision 2030 is a plan enacted by the government to ensure Saudi Arabia is a formidable global power. The plan includes education and language goals for the country (Al-Zahrani & Rajab, 2017). Some of these goals include continuing to increase English fluency among Saudi citizen, encouraging businesses to have English speaking employees, and working to have university courses taught in English (Al-Zahrani & Rajab, 2017). With Saudi Vision 2030 and the global and the cultural progression of the country, many jobs in Saudi Arabia have required English fluency. Without proper English skills, it can be challenging to find a job, read menus at certain restaurants, take university courses, and more. Saudi citizens must take English exams to be accepted into certain universities, study abroad, or at many jobs.

As students age, they may see more changes within Saudi Arabia occurring, which prioritize English. It is important that teachers point this out to students. Additionally, field trips and role playing may aid students to see and practice English in real-life situations. Rashtchi and Moradzadeh (2018) stated that in storytelling classes, role playing can have a positive impact of students’ grades, English proficiency levels, narrative writing, and understanding of how to use English, in context. Further, students are better able to grasp writing styles and English patterns. In Rashtchi and Moradzadeh’s study, students had more motivation to study English and were more excited to practice English. Creating motivation for students, both intrinsically and extrinsically, is key to having students develop more English fluency.

As mentioned above, there are numerous challenges to EFL classes. Some of the challenges include EFL teacher preparation, students’ prior knowledge and motivation of learning English, barriers within EFL curriculums, and lack of innovative student-centered teaching practices. Some of these can be remedied by developing new teacher training programs, training teachers on student-centered teaching practices, and creating new textbooks. Changing the classroom experience is important to increase fluency and motivation among students. This could be completed by redecorating the classroom, adding new teaching materials, and changing desks to tables to encourage group work. Additionally, Saudi students can learn how to be more motivated about learning English through role playing exercises, inventive teaching materials and methods, and field trips. To expanding fluency even more, Saudi schools should consider increasing the time spent learning English from three or four to five days a week. Overall, there are numerous ways to better elementary school EFL classes in Saudi Arabia, but these recommendations should be seriously considered.

There are two theories that inform how young language learners develop an additional language, sociocultural theory and cognitive theory. The theories were developed around the same era, the 1950’s- 1960’s, and have since been applied to many facets of education (Vygotsky, 1962; Piaget, 1952). Although the theories differ, both theories have informed how early language learners acquire language. The theories have been utilized by teachers for years in various classes. As English as a Foreign Language (EFL) has been popularized, teachers have applied parts of each theory to EFL classes. Additionally, instructional methods have been developed that employ both sociocultural and cognitive theory. This paper will focus on the two theories, which aspects of the theories are relevant to EFL, and provide two instructional methods per theory that are pertinent in EFL classrooms.

Jean Piaget proposed cognitive theory that is based on his stages of development. There are four stages within his theory, sensorimotor intelligence from age birth to two years, preoperational thinking from age two years to seven years, concrete operational thinking from age seven years to eleven years, and formal operational thinking from age eleven on (Piaget, 1952). Piaget believed that each stage occurred in order, all children go through each stage, and the stages build on each other (Piaget, 1952). Unlike Vygotsky, language and culture are not at the forefront of Piaget’s theory. Instead, Piaget assumed that children build schema, or scripts and models of the world around them. As children age, the depth of the schemas grow. This is a fundamental part of EFL classes. As students learn English, they are developing English schemas to communicate in English. Students work to learn new vocabulary, take in new information, and build upon their prior knowledge to develop English schemas. EFL teachers often utilize modeling, group work, role playing, and more to allow students to practice these schemas (Blake & Pope, 2008).

In Piaget’s theory, assimilation is another critical concept. Children assimilate to take in new data or information from the world around them. Children work to accommodate the differences in whatever new environment they are in and adapt their schemas to fit in (Piaget, 1952). People strive to be in equilibrium. In Piaget’s theory, equilibrium occurs after disequilibrium from new environments, people, and language. As people adapt to these new experiences, people grow and develop. This provides motivation for children and people as they age to discover new ideas, people, words, and experiences. Per Piaget, language aids in labeling the experiences children have and language can be developed (Piaget, 1952). Children will build their language repertoire as they experience more and more.

EFL classes are full of examples of equilibrium and assimilation, as they are described by Piaget. Assimilation is sought after in EFL classes, as students combat their linguistic and cultural differences in real-time. Students can learn from each other, like how to pronounce certain words, with assimilation in EFL classes. However, assimilation may not always be a positive motivator for students either. Assimilation can cause students to become too similar or pressure students to ignore their important differences in favor of assimilation (Blake & Pope, 2008). Equilibrium is another Piagetian concept central in EFL classes. Children and people seek equilibrium. In EFL classes, children feel disequilibrium as they learn a new language, as they are unfamiliar with words, language structures, etc. As they improve, equilibrium is more easily felt and experienced as they learn English (Blake & Pope, 2008).

Both Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories can be easily adapted to the classroom environment to promote language learning. Given Vygotsky’s heavy emphasis on culture and social environments, student-centered teaching complement his theory. Think pair share activities and group work promote Vygotsky’s ZPD as students are learning from each other. Each student has varying experiences and prior knowledge and can help others understand their thinking, language, and culture. Moreover, teachers can pair more advanced students with students that need more assistance to elicit learning quicker. Teachers using modeling and guided practice within collaborative learning further fosters students’ ZPD (Blake & Pope, 2008). As teachers could model and use guided practice, students within groups do the same. Students have learned to model teachers over time, and assist learners that may need more help acquiring English language skills. Teachers’ perceptions about the most Effective Teaching Methods for EFL for Elementary School in Saudi Arabia

Aldossary’s (2021) research on collaborative writing and small-group collaborative activities bolsters Black and Pope’s (2008) findings. Aldossary conducted a study examining the use of collaborative writing on Saudi public school students. Many students in Saudi Arabia are more familiar with individual writing and many had never tried collaborative writing, per Aldossary. The study had students try collaborative writing and small-group collaborative activities, then later tested their individual writing skills. By pairing students into small groups, Aldossary stated that Vygotsky’s ZPD zones were initialized. Students could work together and brought different language skills, cultures, and development zones to the group. Within Aldossary’s study, older students were more likely to bring varying and more helpful language resources to the collaborative writing groups, like newer apps or dictionaries. Students were excited to collaborate on writing, as both group work and collaborative writing are newer teaching tactics used in Saudi Arabia. The results of the study proved that students did advance their vocabulary and writing skills.

Additionally, utilizing scaffolding, learners can consider the tasks they are asked to complete, without the task being simplified. Scaffolding is a process of building upon earlier knowledge as students learn more and more complex ideas and skills (Awadelkarim, 2012). Vygotsky’s ZPD informs scaffolding practices in the classroom. As more complex tasks and skills are learned, Vygotsky’s stages of development are furthered. Scaffolding builds students’ collaborative and dialogic communications between each other, which allows them to advance their learning. Awadelkarim (2012) explained that scaffolding is particularly important in the EFL classroom. Within the EFL classroom, students must apply their English language skills to real-life situations, with their peers as they gain more English proficiency, and as they progress into more challenging levels of English classes. In Awadelkarim’s study in Saudi public schools, teachers that used scaffolding regularly helped students gain more self-awareness. Teachers found that students preferred scaffolding within creative activities to traditional rote learning that is used in many Saudi EFL public school classes. Further, both teachers and students felt that meaningful learning with more English proficiency was produced when scaffolding was used in the classroom. For Vygotsky’s theory to be successful in the classroom, it is essential that teachers act as a facilitator to better foster peer to peer interactions. These practices continue to promote language learning effectively in EFL classes (Blake & Pope, 2008). Scaffolding endores this idea as well.

Vygotsky’s theory is highly applicable within the EFL classroom in other forms as well. Romero, DeNicolo, & Fradkin (2016) discussed how the theories of speech and discourse were used to elicit successful bilingual language learning within a first-grade dual language classroom. Students engaged in dual language discourse, using their cultural and home experiences, to facilitate more language language learning. In the study, a classroom culture was created in their study that enabled to students to openly share their cultural experiences, build connections, and feel safe sharing their ideas and knowledge. Collective learning, through culture and language, could take place during their study. The teacher utilized translanguaging practices, which sharped the safe environment where students share their languages. Teachers could understand students lived experiences as well in Romero, DeNicolo, and Fradkin’s study, which contributed to how students talk to each other and communicated in the classroom. The linguistic mediation within their study and other teaching practices, like translanguaging, made way for efficient bilingual language learning.

Teachers have been applying teaching practices, such as literature circles, for years, commonly used in EFL classes to promote sociocultural learning. DeNicolo and Franquiz (2006) examined how literature circles provided a learning context and intermixed the tenets of sociocultural theory. Literature circles provide a way for students to discuss what they are reading and create meaning together. Students can progress their understanding of both language and culture in literature circles. As students and teachers participated in literature circles, linguistic mediation was enabled, teachers supported students as they questioned language, and students discussed multiple perspectives about what they were reading. DeNicolo (2016) cited the idea of reflexive dialogue that teachers can use to model for students. This type of dialogue can be applied to EFL classes to encourage communication, even if different languages are being spoken and cultures are present. Sociocultural theory would promote practices like literature circles and reflexive dialogue, which inherently create language, meaning, and cultural understanding.

Applying Piaget’s theory in the classroom would rely on teachers ensuring a positive learning environment is created, cognitive learning activities are assigned, and a sense of constancy is enmeshed throughout the curriculum (Blake & Pope, 2008). A positive learning environment, with creative resources and materials, stimulates students as they develop through each of Piaget’s cognitive stages. A classroom can be part of a positive learning environment. The physical elements of a classroom, like creative teaching materials, decorations, collaborative work spaces, and technology help students stay engaged (Al-Qahtani, 2016). The non-physical elements of a classroom are also meaningful for teachers to promote. Some of these elements may include respect, understanding, and a positive attitude. Students will feel warm and comforted, if their classroom environment feels positive. Further, they will be more motivated and excited about learning overall (Al-Qahtani, 2016).

Under Piagets theory, cognitive learning activities are highly relevant in an EFL classroom.  Students must be encouraged to construct knowledge throughout the year. Having an intriguing classroom, assignments, resources, and materials better incites students’ motivation and desire to learn. Cognitive learning activities are critical to Piaget’s theory and should be altered as students develop through Piaget’s stages. These may include using problem-solving or jigsaw learning, modeling, abstract thinking, journaling, demonstrations, and educational technology. Moreover, a sense of constancy within curriculums will help ease students into using in-depth thinking, visualization, and reflection, which are part of Piaget’s stages of development and highly important in an EFL classroom (Blake & Pope, 2008). With this sense of constancy, students can identify differences and similarities in the teaching materials and activities that they complete as they learn. Blake and Pope (2008) suggested that playing games, doing chores, and role playing help students feel constancy, within and outside of the classroom. Piaget believed that students need to visualize and reflect to learn. EFL classroom must utilize these skills for students of varying language levels and through any number of creative activities that students can create.

There are a myriad of studies about EFL and ESL classrooms that apply to Piaget’s theory and demonstrate how to use Piaget’s theory in real-life EFL classrooms. Yoon (2017) examined how teaching vocabulary to young learners via vocabulary games must be customized to students based on their age. Yoon cited Piaget’s stages of development and discussed how each stage elicits different understandings. For example, during the concrete-operational stage, students may struggle learning abstract nouns. This is because abstract concepts are challenging for young learners, ages seven to eleven years old. Yoon’s study verified the most effective way for EFL teachers to teach vocabulary and other skills to students, was to carefully consider which cognitive concepts and ideas would be most accessible to students at which ages.

Cevikbas, Yumurtaci, and Mede (2018) completed a corresponding study to Yoon’s (2017) which inspected how Piaget’s theory applied to first grade EFL students’ vocabulary skills. Like Yoon’s study, Cevikbas, Yumurtaci, and Mede asserted that in first graders’ cognitive development stage, the preoperational stage, songs are useful to teach students vocabulary. Due to the students’ ages, some students did not have much background knowledge of the vocabulary words they were learning. The use of songs, helped students to connect new vocabulary to ideas, rhythms, and words they may already know. Students were also asked to draw pictures as they sang. In Piaget’s stages, drawing pictures can promote more understanding for first grade student at the preoperational stage. In elementary EFL classrooms, pictures should be used to help students learn and understand new words and concepts.

Over the last ten years, Saudi Arabian public schools have continued to implement reform with its English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program. In 2005, EFL was added to the curriculum of all public elementary schools in Saudi Arabia (Al-Qahtani, 2016). However, it was shown through multiple studies concerning EFL teaching methodology, Saudi teacher preparation, and student learning, that Saudi Arabian students were not effectively learning English (Alfares, 2017; Al-Qahtani, 2016; Al-Seghayer, 2013; Al-Furaydi, 2013; Al Mahili, 2015; Al-Zahrani & Rajab, 2017). It is crucial for Saudi students to be proficient in English as they graduate from high school. Saudi schools have been in a redevelopment stage to implement changes in their EFL program and teacher preparation programs. As Saudi Arabia considers how to ensure more efficient learners, curriculum developers would be prudent to reflect on what learning theories would best aid their program’s goals. Both Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories can be applied to EFL classrooms. There are many instructional strategies to promote these theories. Some include literature circles, scaffolding, group work, modeling, song use, and cognitive learning activities. If these variety of instructional strategies related to these theories are applied, EFL classes in Saudi Arabia will be better equipped and attain higher levels of English proficiency in the future.

Alrashidi and Phan, (2015), Al-Malki (2011), Alzahrani (2012), Al-Kahtani (2007), and countless other researchers have conducted studies that showed the dramatic need for EFL programs in Saudi Arabia to be redeveloped. Currently, when most Saudi students graduate high school after taking English classes they are not proficient in English. At graduation, most Saudi students were not able to speak English fluently and struggled with English while in college (Al-Malki, 2011). By producing an effective EFL program for Saudi elementary students, Saudi students will have a better chance at obtaining fluency and remaining fluent. A successful EFL program should include specific objectives and goals catered to the Saudi community and needs of the learners, an immersive two or one way bilingual program, a holistic and engaging student-centered curriculum as well as an interactive textbook, smaller class sizes, and creative, yet flexible, classrooms.

Often, EFL programs are based on the textbooks used in the program (Hasman, 1994). This is problematic because it focuses on the content within a textbook, instead of the needs of the learners. To best suit the learners and encourage English attainment, EFL programs should create goals, guidelines, and objectives first before choosing a textbook (Hasman, 1994). A syllabus must be shaped for the ease of both the learners and the teachers. Before the goals, objectives, etc. are fashioned, the needs of an EFL program should be found and defined. An effective way to do this would be to use recent research and conduct supplementary studies to find where the needs of EFL students are currently at. Various areas of an EFL program should be identified. These include what skills do the students need to learn, what teaching methods would be best to use, what resources are available for the program, and more (Hasman, 1994).

The Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia has defined nine broad objectives for Saudi EFL programs (Alrashidi & Phan, 2015). Students acquire English language skills, like writing, reading, listening, and speaking is explained in the first objective. Students should effectively use linguistic competence in various settings, circumstances, and apply English in different professions are discussed within the second and third objectives. Students must employ positive attitudes about English and heighten their knowledge of English to use English in international communication, states the fourth and fifth objectives. The sixth and seventh objectives explain that students must apply English to spread Islam and escalate their own awareness of social issues within Saudi society. The last objectives discuss that students must learn to communicate effectively, including abroad, and increase Saudi technological, business, and medical knowledge around the world. These broad objectives could be applied to the elementary school level and objectives surrounding the four main components of English, reading, writing, listening, and speaking (Wolff, 2009).

Another part of the initial data for developing an EFL program would be to understand the background of the community that will be participating in the EFL program. The EFL program suggested would be within Saudi Arabia, so there are some important data points to take into consideration. Al-Zahrani and Rajab (2018) have asserted the importance of Saudi Vision 2030 in the goals of an EFL program. Saudi Vision 2030 was a program enacted by the Saudi government, that has aimed to make Saudi Arabia a powerful country, outside of the its oil industry. The plan includes an emphasis on language and education for children and adults. Saudi Vision 2030 intends to have increasing English proficiency, for Saudi citizens to be educated in English, and to have Saudi citizens that can use English in multiple contexts (Al-Zahrani & Rajab, 2018). The labor market in Saudi Arabia has been encouraging higher English proficiency levels. Many Saudi citizens, without English language skills, have been locked out of skilled jobs, government jobs, and international companies. This is causing some divide between social classes in Saudi Arabia (Al-Zahrani & Rajab, 2018). Citizens that have English skills have higher paying jobs, more opportunities to study and work abroad, and they can succeed in Saudi universities where some classes are taught in English (Al-Zahrani & Rajab, 2018).

EFL programs in Saudi Arabia may not all be created equal and should be catered to individual populations. English proficiency is higher in urban and suburban areas of the country, versus rural areas (Alrashidi & Phan, 2015). Other areas of Saudi Arabia that are wealthier are more motivated to learn English and the citizens have been pushing to develop more robust EFL programs (Alrashidi & Phan, 2015). Further, some areas of Saudi Arabia have more English speakers, in general. Part of this is due to finances, but also to which economic sectors are in those areas (Alrashidi & Phan, 2015). For instance, certain areas of Saudi Arabia with more foreign workers from the U.S., India, and Europe have a higher concentration of English speaking Saudis. Typically, these areas are within the oil sector and tourism industry, the latter of which is in bustling development. English materials, like books, software, and posters, are more commonly found in these areas and urban areas. Internet access is better in urban and suburban areas too, so Saudis are more frequently using the internet to find English resources, listening to English music, reading English publications, communicating in English, and watching English movies or television shows (Al-Tamimi, 2019).

A potential ESL program would be need consider all the above factors, before deciding upon the goals, objectives, syllabus, and guidelines for the program. Hypothetically, if a program were designed for elementary EFL students in Jeddah or another urban area, students may already have prior knowledge and experience with English. No matter where the program was implemented, it would be prudent to conduct a more recent study on the needs of ESL students in Saudi Arabia. The study should be divided into geographic regions, so that it is easier to understand the needs of ESL students. A needs analysis should consider the current ESL program, teachers, student English fluency rates, physical classrooms, teaching materials, and more (Hasman, 1994). By understanding what is currently available to students via their ESL program, it will be easier to understand what a new ESL should contain. Once this initial research and needs analysis is completed, the goals and objectives of the new EFL program should be written based on the data found. The data should help to drive program developers to write goals based on many factors, including the current knowledge and skills of English language learners (ELLs) in Saudi Arabia (Hasman, 1994). Once the goals and objectives are chosen, a text can be found. The text should mimic the objectives of the EFL program and focus on areas that are most important to the EFL learners (Hasman, 1994). After a text is chosen, curriculum can be produced that integrates the goals, objectives, and text that was chosen.

There are many variations on EFL programs, including two main approaches; the English as a second language (ESL) approach and the bilingual approach. The ESL approach uses English as the main language to communicate instruction. The bilingual approach applies English and students’ home languages to instruct students (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2017). Within the ESL approach, there are three prototypes that are used, including content-based ESL, an ESL only model, and a sheltered instruction model, as described by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (2017). The content-based ESL approach applies content to help students gain English skills, with the primary language of instruction being English. The ESL model works to ensure students are effectively learning English and developing English proficiency explicitly. Sheltered instruction teaches students academic content instead of focusing on the English language, while teachers adapt specific teaching models to accommodate each student. Within the bilingual approaches, there are also three models; transitional bilingual education, on-way dual language programs, and two-way dual language programs. Transitional bilingual education works to transition students from their first language (L1) in elementary schools, then into functioning mostly in the second language (L2) being learned in later grades. One-way dual language programs work best when students have the same home language, but continue to learn English in a cross-cultural way. Two-way dual language programs have students that are ELLs and English proficient, with similar goals to one-way dual language programs.

In Saudi public schools, monolingual programs are most commonly utilized from elementary school through college (Alqahtani, 2022). Bilingual programs are more common in international and private schools. Most teachers in Saudi Arabia are hesitant to implement bilingual programs because they are scared English will be less concentrated on in class. The Ministry of Education has shifted to encouraging some bilingual education, in recent years (Alqahtani, 2022). Saudi Arabia is a monolingual society (Alzahrani, 2012). By adding a second language in a bilingual format to EFL programs, there is no threat to the first language being lost. Many Saudis, especially in the rural and suburban areas do not have consistent exposure to English. In urban areas, Saudis are used to translanguaging even through tourism or other industries (Alqahtani, 2022). Yet, they are still typically lacking in English skills overall, so bilingual programs would be most the effective tool to learn language (Alzahrani, 2012). Teachers’ perceptions about the most Effective Teaching Methods for EFL for Elementary School in Saudi Arabia

There has been some conflicting research about whether bilingual programs are best suited for young language learners (Aldosari & Alsultan, 2017). Bilingual studies conducted mostly in the 1950’s or earlier, demonstrated that monolingual students outperformed bilingual students. Yet, as education research has advanced, these studies have been largely disproven. Over the past 20 years, many studies have confirmed that bilingual programs have a larger positive impact on students than monolingual programs (Aldosari & Alsultan, 2017). Broadly, these studies have shown positive impacts culturally, linguistically, behaviorally, cognitively, and psychologically. Bilingual programs in Saudi Arabia have the most success in developing English proficient students, in all linguistic facets (Alzahrani, 2012). Saudi students improved vastly in their verbal and non-verbal intelligence in their memory skills in a bilingual versus monolingual language program (Alzahrani, 2012). Bilingual programs enable students to apply the cultures of both languages and intertwine them as they learn both languages (Alqahtani, 2022). Saudi students that graduate from bilingual programs have a greater chance at being fluent in English when they graduate high school (Alqahtani, 2022). Due to these factors and others, it is recommended that an EFL program in Saudi Arabian elementary schools apply a bilingual approach. Depending on where the EFL program is located and at which grade level it is applied, a one-way or two-way dual language immersion program would be suggested. A bilingual program would meet the objectives that the Ministry of Education set for its EFL programs, based on Saudi Vision 2030 (Alqahtani, 2022). Additionally, a bilingual program would allow for translanguaging in the classroom. In EFL classes in Saudi Arabia, translanguaging would permit students to use their already developing Arabic skills to bolster their newer English skills. Being able to apply a full language repertoire is crucial to learning an L2 successfully. Translanguaging licenses students to advance a variety of skills, linguistic or otherwise, while being able to speak, read, or write in both languages (Alqahtani, 2022).

EFL programs around the world have employed different strategies within their programs. Wolff (2009) discussed how in China, a holistic approach has been utilized. The holistic approach replaced four separate classes, where components of English learning, including reading, speaking, writing, and listening were taught in different periods. The holistic approach replaces listening and speaking with a conversation class where student-centered learning is applied. Learners are incited to learn English through multiple methods, like role playing and creative activities, instead of only listening and speaking with a teacher. Holistic English classes in China include observation, watching entertaining English programming, and using interactive technology. For these classes, organizing the classroom in a welcoming, warm way is important too, which plants, carpet, moveable desks, and English materials on the walls. Many Saudi EFL programs and curriculums are sectioned off, as Chinese EFL classes used to be. Saudi teachers continue to use teacher-centered methods. This contrasts with studies having shown that student-centered methods are the most effective ways to teach languages (Aldosari & Alsultan, 2017).


A holistic English approach to an EFL program in Saudi Arabia would be recommended as part of an EFL curriculum. Explicit language instruction should be utilized, but the grade level of the students is important too. Depending on the age, geographic location, and prior knowledge of the students, an EFL program’s instruction should be divided as necessary between languages.  As students age and have a higher level of English proficiency, an EFL program can seek to instruct 50/50 in both languages (Alzahrani, 2012). The curriculum should be additive and use additive strategies in the classroom. These would include reading Arabic texts, discussing Arabic culture, practicing Arabic while speaking, etc. (Aldosari & Alsultan, 2017). Academic content must be integrated into the curriculum through engaging activities and collaborative learning. By ensuring students learn academic content in bilingual programs, students are better able to apply their linguistic knowledge to various contexts (Aldosari & Alsultan, 2017).

In bilingual classes, the curriculum must be rigorous and challenging for students, in both languages. Student expectations should not be lowered based on a student’s linguistic abilities (Alzahrani, 2012). The classroom materials and textbook must be engaging and interactive. A textbook must align with the objectives and goals of the program (Hasman, 1994). Further, a textbook that uses audio and video supplements, like websites and apps help students feel more motivated and engaged. Students can also see how English and Arabic are used in real-life contexts. In combination with the curriculum, student-centered teaching methods aid in developing both the L1 and L2 effectively (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2017). Student-centered teaching methods can include collaborative, project-based, problem-solving learning, and more. In a language learning setting, a collaborative approach supports students learning from each other while sharing knowledge and culture together. Further, teachers must act as facilitators to ensure student-centered learning is effective. Teachers should encourage positive interactions that enmesh both English and Arabic cultures.

The classroom organization of an EFL program is key to its success as well. Typical classrooms in Saudi Arabia are small, with only little space for a teacher’s desk. Science classes in Saudi Arabia are more likely to have tables or lab areas. These classrooms are usually much larger, while EFL, math, Arabic, religion, and history classrooms are smaller. It could be proposed that EFL classrooms are bigger to allow for more interaction of students. Additionally, there is little room in most Saudi classes for teaching materials and technology. Most classrooms have desks that are usually movable. Since classes are larger, up to 50 students, the desks are situated so that there is little room between them (Ashraf, 2021). It is rare that Saudi classrooms utilize tables and chairs. Some Saudi public schools have mandates against decorating classrooms with certain items on walls or having other teaching materials around the classroom. Most classrooms in Saudi Arabia are not decorated like those in the U.S. Having little space, large amounts of students, normally low funding to buy classroom materials, and outdated technology does not make for the most welcoming classroom environment for students (Ashraf, 2021).

Saudi Arabia has struggled to provide enough school buildings, classrooms, and teachers for its booming population. The school buildings in Saudi Arabia are typically older. Some buildings with previous uses have been converted into schools, which does not easily allow for large classroom spaces. Buildings converted into school buildings do not have proper ventilation and may not be equipped to be climate controlled (Alghamdi, Hassan, Alzahrani, Almedhadi, & Khoder, 2019). Alghamdi et al. (2019) examined elementary schools in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. They studied students’ exposure to heavy metal particles in classrooms and school buildings. They found that a high number of Jeddah schools had heavy metal particles in their school buildings. The high levels are likely caused by more traffic, with more car emissions around the schools. They discussed how air conditioners in Saudi schools are an absolute necessity to combat the hot desert air. However, air conditioners may be causing more pollution in Saudi school buildings than previously thought. Many Saudi school buildings were outdated and not complete with filtration systems to keep students safe and comfortable, which made learning challenging for students. In suburban areas, there was less toxicity in classrooms, but there was still a higher amount than acceptable of heavy metal particles. It would be suggested that all school buildings and classrooms be inspected in Saudi Arabia. It is concerning that there could be carcinogenetic risks associated with being in Saudi Arabian school classrooms. Not having proper ventilation and working air conditioners is concerning too. Students need to be able to focus while in class and not be worried about negative health impacts either. As Alghamdi, et al. (2019) suggested newer filtration systems, air conditioners, and larger classrooms are important to allow for learning to progress.

The number of students in Saudi EFL classes has been challenging for years. The Saudi population has grown exponentially over the last 50 years. This is due to the oil boom, financial stability of many families in Saudi Arabia, and the increasing birth rate overall (Almulla, 2015). It was reported by Almulla (2015) that class sizes for elementary and intermediate public schools have grown from 22 students in 1999 to 30-45 students currently. Before the late 1990’s, some boys and girls would not attend or stop attending school at 14 or 15 to be prepared for marriage (Almulla, 2015). Large class sizes have been shown to be have a negative impact on language attainment, student achievement, motivation, and student behavior (Almulla, 2015; Ashraf, 2021). With class sizes being 30-45, it is difficult to ensure students can understand English when all students are at varying language attainment levels. Ashraf (2021) remarked that EFL teachers in Saudi Arabia feel stuck to utilize only teacher-centered methodologies with such large classes. In Ashraf’s (2021) study of 29 EFL teachers, the teachers reported consistent problems with classroom management with large class sizes. The teachers felt that the overcrowded classrooms demotivated both themselves as teachers and the students.

There are several recommendations that would be made for Saudi EFL classes, in terms of classroom organization.  First, given Ashraf (2021) and Almulla’s (2015) recent findings, EFL class sizes should be reduced. EFL classes should have 25 students, at maximum in each section. Ideally though, language classes of 15-20 or less are the most effective for students and teachers (Ashraf, 2021). By reducing class sizes, teachers are more easily able to instruct using student-centered methods, like collaborative learning (Amulla, 2015). It is also suggested that teachers consider having movable desks or chairs with tables. Students would more easily be able to work in groups and move around the classroom. The Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia should continue to dedicate more finances and resources to ESL classes and classrooms. This would enable ESL teachers and schools to purchase materials to decorate their classrooms, buy newer technology, and more. ESL classes that employ posters, interactive teaching tools, and other teaching materials displayed increase student motivation and attention (Amulla, 2015). It is recommended that ESL teachers advocate for as much funding as possible for these items.











Chapter Three


A qualitative research approach will be used in this research proposal. Qualitative research is appropriate for the research questions being asked because it allows for an in-depth exploration and understanding of the complex and multifaceted aspects of EFL teaching methodology in Saudi Arabia. Qualitative research methods are often flexible and adaptable, allowing researchers to adjust their methods and strategies as they collect data (Atkins & Wallace, 2012,). This approach is particularly useful when there is limited existing knowledge on the topic, as it enables the researcher to generate new insights and theories based on the data collected.

Research Design:

Grounded theory will be utilized for this research study. Grounded theory will help the researcher to develop a theory and hypothesis about what is being studied (Glesne & Pshkin, 1992). Given there is little known about EFL teaching methodology in Saudi Arabia, grounded theory is appropriate. The multiple methods of data collection in this study; interviews, observations, questionnaires, and artifacts contribute to grounded theory being a valid qualitative method for this study. Additionally, the research plans to apply various methods of coding to analyze the data being collected and use purposive sampling, which are common in grounded theory.

Research Positionality:

This qualitative research study will begin Fall 2023 and end during late Fall 2023. This study will take place in urban schools in Saudi Arabia. Within the Makkah region, there are about 2,000 public schools. Data was not available about how many elementary schools there were. However, it is clear there are more schools for boys than schools for girls. Data was also not available for how many EFL teachers there were. The researcher would like to survey EFL teachers from one region only. This is because EFL teachers from different regions have varying obstacles within their classrooms and their student populations. EFL teachers from one geographic region are more likely to have some similar teacher training and students with similar English proficiency levels (Oudah & Altalhab, 2018). Conducting a more national study in Saudi Arabia may create reliability and validity issues due to varying levels of English exposure among both students and teachers.

Study Context:

The study will take place in the United States and Saudi Arabia Specifically in the Western region of Saudi Arabia utilizing electronic and virtual platforms. Purposive sampling was chosen for this study to strategically select participants based on specific criteria relevant to the research purpose (Wallen & Fraenkel, 2001). The researcher aims to involve 250-300 EFL teachers in the initial questionnaire phase. The selection of this sample size should be justified based on the research objectives and the available population of EFL teachers in the Western region of Saudi Arabia region. A sample size of 250-300 EFL teachers in the Western region is appropriate because it is large enough to represent the diversity of the population, while also being feasible to collect and analyze data from. This sample size is also consistent with the research objectives, which are to explore various aspects of EFL teaching

Regarding the questionnaires’ design, the researcher should provide a clear description of the adapted methodologies from similar studies and Glesne and Peshkin (1992). This could include explaining the specific survey items, scales, or rating systems utilized in the questionnaire. Additionally, the researcher will justify why closed-ended and open-ended questions are chosen and how they complement each other in capturing comprehensive data. Furthermore, the researcher will ensure that the questions are well-structured, unbiased, and align with the research objectives.

To obtain the names of potential participants, the researcher will collaborate with educational institutions, language centers, or official educational authorities in the region. These organizations are part of the Ministry of Education. After establishing communication with the Ministry of Education, which has expressed its support for this project, a collaboration has been initiated to facilitate the acquisition of potential participant names. Specifically, the Ministry of Education will play a pivotal role in providing and curating a comprehensive database of teachers in the Western region. This database will subsequently be shared with the researcher to facilitate the completion of the questionnaire.

The dissemination of the questionnaire to the teachers can occur through two primary methods. First, the researcher can directly engage with the teachers using the database provided by the Ministry of Education. Alternatively, the Ministry of Education has the capability to distribute a publication to teachers within educational institutions, offices, and schools. This publication could potentially include a Quick Response (QR) code, enabling teachers to conveniently access the Qualtrics survey by simply scanning the code. The first page of the survey will be a consent form approved by the WSU IRB that informs teachers that their participation is voluntary. This will clarify the methods and ensure that the process adheres to ethical guidelines.

This collaborative approach between the researcher and the Ministry of Education not only streamlines the participant recruitment process but also ensures the accuracy and relevance of the participant pool, given that the Ministry possesses a comprehensive and up-to-date database of teachers in the region.

In the initial questionnaire, the researcher will include a series of questions on EFL teaching, training, methods they use in the classroom, their personal teaching background (years teaching, grade levels taught), curriculum, how effective they feel the primary methods for teaching English are at their grade level, what are some challenges they experience teaching English, There will also be a question that seeks to gauge the teachers’ interest in participating further in the study. For example, “Would you be willing to participate in interviews and classroom observations as part of the next phase of this study, to further explore your experiences and perspectives on EFL teaching? Your insights would greatly contribute to the depth of this research.”. This question can inquire about their willingness to participate in interviews and observations, providing them with an opportunity to opt-in for the next phase. I will also have a question regarding their availability, for example  “Please indicate your general availability for interviews and classroom observations over the next [specify time frame, e.g., month]. This will help us in scheduling these sessions in a way that accommodates your convenience.”. This step is crucial to ensure that only willing and engaged participants are selected for the subsequent phases of the study. Teachers’ perceptions about the most Effective Teaching Methods for EFL for Elementary School in Saudi Arabia

The selection of 5 five teachers for observations and interviews will be based on specific criteria derived from the initial questionnaire data. The researcher will explain the rationale behind the selection process and what type of responses or characteristics they are looking for when choosing these participants. For instance, the selection criteria could be based on their years of experience, teaching methods, language proficiency, elementary teaching position, interest and availability to participate in the study, and variation in their responses to the effectiveness of their teaching methods. overall, the ultimate goal is to select a diverse group of teachers whose experiences and perspectives collectively provide a well-rounded understanding of teaching methods and their effectiveness.

Overall, the research questions provide a clear rationale for the chosen sample size, the process of participant selection, and the questionnaire design. By addressing these aspects, the research proposal will be more comprehensive and well-founded. Additional data collection in this study will involve observation and interviews, which will complement the information gathered through questionnaires. Observations will be conducted alongside the questionnaires to provide the researcher with real-life context and deeper insights into how EFL teachers instruct their students.

Wallen and Fraenkel (2001) pointed out that observations offer valuable information that may not be obtained through interviews and questionnaires alone. Observations allow researchers to interpret the context, interactions, and behaviors in the classroom setting, providing a more comprehensive understanding of teaching practices and student responses. Unlike interviews and questionnaires, where participants might provide limited or subjective information, observations offer a more direct and objective perspective on the actual teaching and learning process.

However, there are some considerations when conducting virtual observations. Virtual data collection requires using online platforms to observe the classroom activities. While virtual observations offer convenience and flexibility, researchers may not have the same level of access to the classroom environment and interactions as they would in-person. Some elements, such as the physical environment and non-verbal cues, may be more challenging to capture virtually.

During virtual observations, researchers will need to ensure the ethical and privacy considerations of both teachers and students. Informed consent from all participants should be obtained, and measures should be taken to protect the identities and personal information of individuals involved.

Regarding what researchers can see and not see during virtual observations, they will be able to observe how teachers use certain teaching methods, the organization of their lessons, and their interactions with students during virtual classes. Researchers can also witness how students respond to the teacher’s instructions and engage in learning activities. Virtual observations can provide valuable insights into EFL teaching practices. However, there may be limitations in observing some non-verbal cues, classroom dynamics, and the overall classroom atmosphere. Additionally, the researcher’s ability to intervene or interact with participants may also be restricted in virtual settings. Despite these limitations, virtual observations can still provide valuable insights into EFL teaching practices, especially when combined with other data collection methods like interviews and questionnaires. Researchers should carefully plan and adapt their observation methods to suit the virtual environment and optimize the data they can gather.

To ensure the ethical and legal conduct of the research, obtaining permission from all involved parties and the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is crucial. The following steps should be taken:

  1. Prepare a Detailed Research Proposal: Create a comprehensive research proposal that clearly outlines the purpose, objectives, research questions, methodology, data collection methods (including observations and virtual camera placement), and expected outcomes of the study. This proposal will serve as the basis for seeking permission from the IRB.
  2. Seek IRB Approval: Submit the research proposal to the Institutional Review Board for review and approval. The IRB will assess the ethical implications of the study, ensuring the rights and well-being of participants are protected. Approval from the IRB is necessary before commencing the research.
  3. Obtain Informed Consent: Ensure that all participants, including administrators, teachers, and parents, provide informed consent to participate in the study. Informed consent should clearly explain the purpose of the research, the data collection methods, the voluntary nature of participation, and how confidentiality will be maintained.

Camera placement:

Before delving into the details of camera placement, it’s essential to acknowledge its significance in this educational research. By capturing the teacher’s interactions and instructional techniques, the researcher can analyze their teaching methods, communication skills, and overall classroom dynamics. This data is invaluable for identifying areas of improvement and enhancing the learning experience for students.

While the benefits of using cameras for research are undeniable, it’s crucial to address privacy concerns. Teachers must feel comfortable and respected during the observation process. To achieve this, the researcher must communicate their intentions clearly and seek permission from all parties involved. It is also essential to anonymize the data, ensuring that individuals’ identities remain confidential.

Determining the specific research objectives is vital for effective camera placement. Depending on the study’s focus, the camera may need to capture the teacher’s facial expressions and gestures, Clearly defining these objectives allows the researcher to position the camera optimally to capture the relevant data accurately.

To ensure that the camera placement aligns with the teacher’s instructional style and classroom layout, close collaboration is necessary. The researcher should engage in a practice session with the teacher, explaining the camera setup and allowing for experimentation. This enables the teacher to become familiar with the camera’s presence and make any adjustments needed for optimal positioning.

During the practice session, researchers can discuss the research objectives and demonstrate how the camera will record the classroom activities. This allows the teacher to ask questions, express concerns, and provide input on the camera’s location. Open communication is vital to building trust and creating a conducive research environment.

Based on the teacher’s feedback, the researcher may need to make adjustments to the camera placement. The goal is to find a position that offers a comprehensive view of the teacher’s actions without causing distractions or discomfort. Flexibility and adaptability are essential in this process.

Once the ideal camera position is determined, it’s time to implement the setup for data collection. Researchers can opt for a fixed camera installation, ensuring a consistent viewpoint for all observation sessions. Alternatively, if specific devices are not readily available, teachers can use their laptops or smartphones during the observation.

The researcher should reassure the teacher that the focus is on improving educational practices rather than critiquing individual performance. This assurance fosters a positive and productive research environment. By adhering to a clearly defined camera placement strategy, the researcher can enhance the quality of their findings. Analyzing comprehensive footage of the teacher’s performance enables a more detailed assessment, leading to better-informed recommendations for educational improvement.


The researcher should also take into consideration the remote nature of this study and ensure that all necessary arrangements are made for virtual observation sessions. It is crucial to establish clear communication with the teacher to schedule the observation sessions at mutually convenient times, considering any time zone differences or scheduling constraints that may arise due to the remote setup.

In the research proposal, the goal for data collection should be explicitly stated, outlining the specific objectives and research questions that the observation sessions aim to address. Additionally, if the researcher intends to observe multiple virtual classroom sessions, the proposal should specify the number of planned sessions and the frequency of these observations. This information helps provide a clear framework for the study and ensures that the data collection process is well-structured and comprehensive.


During the virtual observation, I will typically use a variety of tools to capture information about the teaching and learning process. This may include note-taking, recording videos, taking screenshots, or using an observation rubric or checklist.

Role explanation:

To explain the virtual observation process, it’s important to emphasize that the purpose of the observation is to support and improve teaching and learning. The observer is there to gather information, not to evaluate or judge the teachers .

In an English class, an observation form can be a useful tool to systematically record and analyze teachers’ behavior and performance. The form typically includes several key components, such as the purpose of the observation, the class activity or lesson being observed, and the methods used to record and analyze the data. The class activity or lesson being observed should also be clearly defined and described in the observation form. This might include information about the instructional strategies being used, or the materials and resources available to students.

Virtual observation:

By using virtual observation, researcher gather information about subjects remotely, usually through online platforms or digital recordings. By conducting a virtual observation, research data can be collected with accuracy and reliability without being physically present at the site. Therefore, virtual observations should capture information and behaviors relevant to the research question. Virtual observations must be defined specifically in order to ensure validity and reliability.

After the observation is completed, the data will be analyzed using qualitative or quantitative methods, depending on the research question and the nature of the data collected. The analysis may involve coding the data, categorizing it into themes, or performing statistical analysis to identify patterns or relationships between variables. Finally, the findings of the observation should be reported in a clear and concise manner, using appropriate language and visuals to convey the results. The report should include a summary of the research question, methodology, and findings, as well as a discussion of the implications and limitations of the study. The report should also adhere to ethical and legal guidelines, such as protecting the privacy and confidentiality of the participants and obtaining their informed consent to participate in the study.

During observation, it is important to pay attention to the instructional strategies being used by the teacher and their effectiveness in supporting student learning. Some common instructional strategies include:

  • Direct Instruction: This involves the teacher providing explicit instruction to students, often through lecture, demonstration or modeling.
  • Cooperative Learning: This strategy encourages students to work together in groups to achieve a common goal, which can help them develop social skills as well as academic skills.
  • Inquiry-based Learning: This approach focuses on student-centered learning, where students are encouraged to ask questions and explore topics on their own.
  • Problem-based Learning: In this approach, students are given a problem to solve and must work collaboratively to find a solution, which can help them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Differentiated Instruction: This strategy involves tailoring instruction to meet the individual needs of each student, which can help to support a diverse range of learners. Teachers’ perceptions about the most Effective Teaching Methods for EFL for Elementary School in Saudi Arabia

In order for these strategies to be effective, they must be implemented effectively by the teacher, be relevant to the curriculum, and satisfy students’ needs. To ensure that all students are able to learn and succeed, teachers need to regularly assess the effectiveness of their instructional strategies.

The process of taking field notes is flexible and can be adapted to fit different contexts and purposes. The goal is to capture as much relevant information as possible and to use it to gain a better understanding of the activity or event being observed.

Finally, the interviews within this research study play a vital role in gaining deeper insights into the forthcoming questionnaire responses and in further exploring the classroom observations. The objective is to enhance comprehension of the data and potentially uncover subtle details that may have been missed through the initial data collection methods. Teachers’ perceptions about the most Effective Teaching Methods for EFL for Elementary School in Saudi Arabia

Prior to commencing the interviews, it is crucial to ensure all necessary arrangements are in order. This encompasses setting up the virtual platform (such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams), scheduling interviews with participating teachers, and confirming that both parties are comfortable with the technology. The interviews can be structured around a predetermined list of open-ended questions. These questions are crafted to extract comprehensive responses and to encourage teachers to openly share their viewpoints, experiences, and insights regarding the research subject. The formulation of these open-ended questions might commence with phrases like “Could you elucidate…”, “Kindly elaborate on…”, or “What are your perceptions about…”.

Throughout the interview process, it is important to be ready to pose probing and follow-up questions based on the participants’ provided answers. These queries aid in clarifying any uncertainties, motivating participants to provide detailed explanations, and delving deeper into their thoughts. Probing questions could encompass requests for examples, inquiries about underlying reasons, or requests for further explanations.

While obtaining the participants’ consent, recording the interviews can be advantageous to ensure accurate capture of responses. Nevertheless, the researcher will also diligently record field notes during the interview process. These comprehensive notes will encompass not only verbatim participant responses but also the researcher’s observations, impressions, and any contextual details that could enhance the data’s richness. Bogdan and Bikten (2003) explained that field notes are an official record in data collection. They contain thoughts, predictions, and comments that the researcher records when participants are observed or interviewed. Through these multiple methods of data collection, it is believed that the researcher will have data in a variety of forms. With this large amount of data, the researcher foresees it being easier to answer the research questions posited at the beginning of the study.

Organizing the Data:

The researcher should create a master list of all teacher participants with demographic data such as gender, town, years of teaching experience in EFL, general teaching experience, English proficiency, and years working at the school. This information will provide valuable context for data analysis.

Folders will be created for each teacher, with subfolders for each observation day. Within each subfolder, the researcher will include the questionnaire used for that specific observation, interview notes, audio recordings, and transcriptions. This organization will facilitate easy access to relevant data for each teacher.

Zoom recordings will be securely stored in a designated location with restricted access to maintain the participants’ privacy and confidentiality. Similarly, consent forms should be securely stored in a separate location with limited access, ensuring compliance with ethical guidelines.


Triangulation is a method of cross-validating data by using multiple sources or methods of data collection to enhance the credibility and reliability of the research findings. In this study, the researcher will triangulate data by comparing and contrasting information gathered from questionnaires, observations, and interviews. By using multiple data sources, the researcher can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the research topic.


Member Check:

Member check is a process where the researcher shares interview transcripts or findings with the participants to verify the accuracy and interpretation of the data. In this study, the researcher can consider conducting member checks by sharing relevant interview transcripts or summarized primary findings with the participating teachers. This step allows teachers to confirm the accuracy of their statements and provide additional insights if needed.

Data Analysis:

Data analysis can be conducted using a qualitative approach. The researcher can start by transcribing interview recordings and organizing field notes. Then, thematic analysis can be employed to identify patterns, themes, and commonalities across the data collected from questionnaires, observations, and interviews. Coding and categorizing data will help in the discovery of meaningful insights and the development of a coherent narrative to answer the research questions.

Software such as Qualtrics can be utilized to manage the survey responses efficiently. Additionally, using numbers or pseudonyms to identify teachers can protect their identities while ensuring data organization and anonymity.

Overall, by thoughtfully organizing and triangulating data, conducting member checks, and employing rigorous qualitative analysis, the researcher can provide robust and meaningful answers to the research questions, thereby contributing to the advancement of knowledge in the field of EFL teaching methodology in Saudi Arabia.

Research Questions Type of Data Timeline for Collection
#1 Instructional Methods Observation of teacher teaching Interview with teacher Observation questionnaire Survey

Linguistic Mediation

Observation of teacher teaching Interview with teacher Observation questionnaire Survey Curriculum activities


National Curriculum Interview with teacher Survey












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1. 20 minutes to share powerpoint on your proposal
a. Research problem – 1 min
b. Research purpose – the purpose of this study is to examine EFL teaching
methods in GOAL FOR STUDY
c. Research questions
d. Theoretical framework – 3 min
e. Key studies from lit review -directly linked to your study
f. Research Methods (talk about what you will do)
i. Data collection
1. Questionnaire/survey
a. Analyze first
b. Select participants to invite
2. Observation (how does it connect with theoretical framework)
3. Curriculum (how does it show you the teaching methods)
ii. Data Analysis – what do you have to do for grounded theory
g. Timeline
i. IRB approval
ii. Recruitment
iii. Data Collection
iv. Data analysis. Teachers’ perceptions about the most Effective Teaching Methods for EFL for Elementary School in Saudi Arabia