Factors Negatively Affect Speaking Skills at Saudi Colleges for Girls in the South

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study investigated factors negatively affect English language speaking skills in Saudi colleges for girls in the South in terms of: a) Instructors, b) Students, c) Curriculum and textbook, d) English Language teaching methods and exercises, e) Teaching and learning environment. To collect data for the study, a questionnaire papers were distributed to 150 students studying at Mhayeal and Almajardah colleges of King Khalid University (KKU) at English languages department, and 10 female instructors were interviewed about the students' questionnaire information. Data generated were subjected to descriptive and analytical approach using SPSS. The findings were: 1. Using Arabic in class affect students' proficiency. 2. Students fear speaking English Language in public and can't make a phone conversation, presentation in English without Arabic translation. 3. Curriculum of listening and speaking does not contain enough exercises for speaking skills. 4. Instructors do not use strategies that develop speaking such as: role-play, debates, and presentation - assignment. 5. More time is devoted to listening skills than speaking skills. 6. Labs are not used for teaching listening and speaking skills. 7. Rarely CD is used as speaking model. 8. More than 30 students are in listening and speaking class. It has been strongly recommended: 1. Prohibit the students from using Arabic in English Language classes. 2. Use motivating teaching strategies such as: cultural debatable topics, discussions, role-play, and presentations - assignment to develop speaking proficiency. 3. Teach Listening and speaking course in the lab. 4. Increase the time of listening and speaking course to six hours instead of three to develop speaking proficiency. 5. Activate English club and societies inside the colleges. 6. Students' number in listening and speaking class must not exceed 30.

Keywords: factors, negatively, affect

1. Introduction

Chinese Proverb "Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere." English as Foreign Language (EFL) or English as Second Language (ESL) is taught in all Arab countries to graduate students and individuals with good competence of English skills to help them communicate in their societies and European countries as well. Wattereson M. (2008) has stated that, the international use of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) - i.e. between non - native speakers of different nationalities, in situations where no native English speakers are present - has become an important feature of business, diplomacy, education, and personal relationships around the world. Judith Munat (2005) stated English today is considered as the international lingua franca and, according to some estimates, is spoken (at various levels of competence) by more than 2,000 million people around the globe, including native speakers (over 380 million) and those who learn it as a second or foreign language. It is the language of air and maritime navigation, of the worldwide web and of diplomacy, as well as the vehicle for international scientific exchange, and its pervasive presence can be felt in pop culture and the worldwide media. English Club the world's premier showed how learning any language involves the four skills which we call "Macro Skills" that we need for complete communication. When we learn our native language, we usually learn to listen first, then to speak, then to read, and finally to write. These are called the four "language skills", (listen-»speak) (read-»write). Each two skills are connected to each other in other words. Listening and reading are the input "reception" while speaking, and writing are the output "production". This rule is the same with learning English. Unfortunately in many schools as well as in universities in Saudi Arabia less attention is given to speaking skills. Students can get high marks in grammar tests and reading comprehension, but they find themselves at a loss when they asked to deliver a speech in front of their colleagues in class, they also hesitate when they happen to get in touch with native speakers of English out the class. …