Colleges International TEFL

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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

A.S. - U.S.A. said:
Problems for Saudi Arabian Learners of EnglishRight to left? Top to bottom? New symbols? Word order? A learner of English has many hurdles to get past besides cultural differences. One of the nationalities that encounter a number of immediate obstacles is Saudi Arabian. First, I will address cultural issues in the classroom, then specific problems in language learning. Cultural differences pose a problem until a ?command of control? is established. Saudi men studying English in the U.S. generally have female teachers, maybe for the first time. They need to be instructed that in the U. S. men are taught to respect women that are not covered from head to toe. Also, Saudis most likely will test the teacher. The teacher needs to hand it right back to them in order to gain respect from the Saudi student. It is advisable to set strict behavioral rules from the start and share what appropriate classroom behavior is. According to Carol Costello, presenter at the March 2011TESOL Convention in New Orleans, if someone shows undesirable behaviors (disrespect), one can ask ?WWKAS? ? what would King Abdullah say? ?students who treat the education to which they are exposed [to] here as unimportant not only disappoint the king, but are weakening their nation by using resources and making no contribution. This is also acting against the injunction of the Koran.? (Carol Costello, 2011). In the classroom, a Saudi would be introduced to some new words vocally. Even vocally, a Saudi has sounds that differ from that of an English speaker. Next, he would be introduced to the spelling of the word. This immediately brings up two or three new forms for him to learn. Not only does he have to learn the Roman alphabet, he has to learn the order (for dictionary use), and he has to differentiate vowels and consonants and the many sounds that they represent. He also has to learn to read from left to right, which is opposite of his custom. In addition, he has to learn that there is a definite word order in a sentence. Words can?t just be placed anywhere and still generate the same meaning. In addition to these differences, when asked to open to a specific page in the front of the book, the meaning conveyed is opposite to what they are used to. When asked where they have the most trouble, Saudi students cited grammar issues above pronunciation, reading and spelling. The Editing Guide from Keys for Writers by Ann Raimes, cites several examples of problem areas. Verb formation, verb tenses, and subject-verb agreement are especially key challenge areas. In Arabic, a form of the verb be can be omitted, i.e. He happy instead of He is happy. Also, the verb can precede the subject: Good grades received every student in class rather than Every student in the class received good grades. In Arabic, there is no indefinite article use with professions; therefore, one would see She teacher rather than She is a teacher. The definite article is used with days, months, and places: He lives in the peru. Arabic, like many other languages, restates the subject with a personal pronoun: My sister she lives in North Dakota. The pronoun object is included in a relative clause: The car [that] I used to drive it is red. In English we use gerunds whereas Saudis tend to use an infinitive: I enjoy to watch soccer. An online article by Froilan Vincent Bersamina entitled English as a Second Language (ESL) Learners in Saudi Arabia listed just about every area I studied in my online course as a problem area. He noted as well that there are ?serious syntactic errors in composition? which I have also observed with students. From my limited experience of teaching in the multilingual classroom, my preference would be to separate those with language knowledge of the Roman alphabet from those without; then, the teaching emphasis could be focused on the particular needs of each group. My expectation, in such a situation, would be that learning for those who always work with the Roman alphabet would be accelerated, whereas those without the Roman alphabet could concentrate on their specific needs.