Computer assisted language learning for learning English in Saudi Arabia

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The goal of this research was to study the attitudes of English language teachers of intermediate level schools in the Al Madina region with respect to the effectiveness of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) in teaching and learning English, and to seek their views on various issues pertaining to readiness for implementation of teaching using CALL. The views of intermediate level teachers had not been studied prior to this research. A mixture of qualitative and quantitative approaches were used in the data collection process. The researcher designed a questionnaire and an interview to ascertain the teachers’ attitudes, and also the status of computer usage in teaching English in the classrooms, and the teachers’ readiness to use computers to teach English and move away from ‘traditional’ face-to-face methods. This study aimed to inform stakeholders of what might be needed to empower teachers with the skills and equipment necessary for the introduction of this innovation and provide information that could facilitate implementation of computers in teaching English in intermediate level schools, in Al Madina, Saudi Arabia, with the hope that such practice could be generalised throughout the Kingdom at large. The results of the research disclosed that teachers felt that Saudi Arabia was not technologically advanced in teaching English but most teachers had knowledge about using computers and the Internet in teaching English and would welcome the implementation of computers in intermediate schools, but overall they felt that more training and information was needed. It was found that students also have knowledge of using computers and the Internet but some did not have adequate access to either. Also, there were already ICT systems in some (mainly private) schools and that teaching and learning English via computers was believed to be entertaining, enjoyable and more effective than traditional methods and could provide access to remote students, enabling distance education. Teachers were also concerned that there were some problems that needed to be addressed regarding the currently available CALL programs and syllabuses. The implications of the research were, that for general implementation of computers and the Internet for the teaching and learning of English to be successful, improvements needed to be made in providing new, computer oriented syllabuses, sufficient hardware and suitable software and that ongoing training of teachers be implemented to keep them abreast of advances in English language teaching via computer.
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