Identifying Teaching Style: The Case of Saudi College English Language and Literature Teachers

By Alhussain, Aisha M. | English Language Teaching, August 2012 | Go to article overview

Identifying Teaching Style: The Case of Saudi College English Language and Literature Teachers


Alhussain, Aisha M., English Language Teaching


Abstract

The purpose of this paper is twofold. The first objective is to give an account of why I set out to study teaching styles, how I carried out and analyzed a questionnaire survey, what results I got, and what the implications of these results are. The intent is to provide teachers with enough information to help them think about how these findings play out in their own classrooms, thus putting them on track to adapt their teaching style to their students' learning style. The second objective is to see if there is any statistically significant correlation between teaching styles and a number of factors, such as age, years of experience, specialty, and student level. Data analysis showed that literature teachers preferred the all-round flexible style, the mixed style, and the official curriculum and big conference styles successively, whereas linguistics teachers preferred the mixed style, the all-round flexible and straight facts styles, and the student-centered and big conference styles consecutively. No statistically significant correlation was found between teaching styles and age, years of experience, and specialty variables. Whereas statistically significant differences were found between level three and the official curriculum teaching style, and between level four and the student-centered teaching style (p< 0.05).

Keywords: teaching style, identifying teaching style, English language and literature teachers, Saudi college teachers

1. Introduction

Teaching style can be defined as comprising the roles a teacher plays in the classroom (Grasha, 1997). Our preferred teaching style(s) might be based on the way we were taught, our abilities, and our beliefs about what constitutes good teaching. Some believe classes should be teacher-centered, where the teacher is the expert and authority in presenting information. Others take a learner-centered approach, viewing their role as more of a vacilitator of student learning. One important theory in the Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) program is that of teacher expertise: domains that develop through teaching practice (Walqui, 2010). To build their expertise so as to effectively offer students quality learning and cater to the increasing diversity of student learning needs, English language teachers need to be aware of their teaching styles (Walqui, 2010; Kulinna & Cothran, 2003).

Through an awareness of their teaching styles, they may gain a better understanding of how best to put into practice their vision of teaching and of how their teaching style can be changed, modified, or supported to improve their interactions with students while maintaining all contextual aspects of teaching. Teaching style awareness may also impact the classroom setting, activities assessment, and teacher/student interactions. After identifying their individual teaching styles, they can analyze ways to highlight their styles to meet students' needs, as well as address any possible areas of weakness in their style and develop a plan to counteract any shortcomings. Teaching style awareness might also reduce teacher-student conflict by matching their styles, especially in foreign language instruction (Felder, 1995; Oxford, Ehrman, & Lavine, 1991; Wallace & Oxford, 1992; Zhenhui, 2001). According to Kumaravadivelu (1991), "the narrower the gap between teacher intention and learner interpretation, the greater are the chances of achieving desired learning outcomes'' (p. 98).

However, a review of the literature showed that no available studies have investigated the teaching styles of female college English language and Literature instructors in Saudi Arabia or examined the relationship between their teaching styles and their specialties (linguistics and literature). Thus, the purpose of this paper is to explore the teaching styles of Saudi college English and literature teachers and then to investigate if there is any correlation between their teaching styles and their specialties, age, student level, and years of experience. …

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