Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia, that officially became independent as a nation in 1932, so the education was limited to some private Islamic schools. Today any citizen of Saudi Arabia has a right to enter the public school, either it is elementary or high. The government’s investment in education is equal to 8.8% of its gross domestic product. The schools mainly focus on Islamic studies; however, more diverse programs have been embedded.
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There are different types of schools, but the primary schools are the center of attention as they lay the foundation for children’s future achievements. Public primary schools in Riyadh imply a six-year program with day education. Among the capital’s local schools, there are international and multinational ones. Although the education system is elaborated, there are problems that teachers still face.
The first problem in Riyadh’s primary schools relates to the insufficient amount of class time. According to Zheng (2015), the limited hours assigned to a teacher do not allow them to fulfill academic objectives. A heavy load of information cannot be explained during one class, so the teacher either skips some topics or, on the contrary, focuses on them more, thus postponing other questions. It is possible to note that “many teachers want to move beyond traditional methods of teaching” (Kaufman & Wandberg, 2015, p.87). The statement underlies the teachers’ desire to find more effective ways of engaging a student in the process of learning.
Nevertheless, this issue can be solved by applying sophisticated methods. Some researchers believe autonomous learning is a key to the solution (Zheng, 2015). Independent learning implies provoking the interest and initiative of a student so that they can complete the task within the preassigned time and develop independence from the teacher. Moreover, it will improve their active learning, i.e., total engagement into activity (Cavanagh, n.d.). Active learning includes class presentations, creating mind maps, and debating, which are especially important for elementary school kids. The next strategy offered is aimed at planning a class (Morrison, 2015).
It means that the teacher should plan questions, define the time for discussion without overloading so that the time spent on the assignment will take less time. Some practitioners offer to use technology tools not only to alleviate the process of learning but to manage the time (Chong, 2018). Such services can help to provide students with feedback or assignments. All these approaches used together can significantly improve time management and get the students involved.
Another problem the Riyadh’s teacher encounter is parental awareness concerning the English language and its effect on children’s native one. Parents assume that the language learned may affect the cultural heritage of their children imposing new perspectives and perceptions (Lindsey, 2015). Thus, unique acquired views can interfere with Arabic culture, religion, and traditions. Many researchers state that learning English is inevitable as it is the language of international importance in the globalized world (Zaidi, 2018).
What is more, the distribution of international institutions obliged the authorities to make English compulsory (Ashraf, 2018). Nowadays, English is mandatory from the sixth grade, and this caused some parents to believe that learning this language will influence their own.
However, raising parents’ awareness of this issue can be increased. Firstly, parents should be notified by school professors that being skillful in English will be beneficial in the future. According to Alharbi (2019), “the students must be able to acquire the basic linguistic skills and sufficient English language which prepares them for the job market” (p.3). It denotes that modern professions demand knowledge of at least one foreign language. The ability to speak English raises chances to broaden cultural awareness and opens new perspectives (Al-Nasser, 2015).
Therefore, Riyadh schools should inform parents about the possibilities the English language can offer to their kids. Another approach towards solving this problem is based on motivating parents, which means providing them with the materials stating the importance of learning the English language (Alsairi, 2018). As a result, a parent should monitor a child’s progress of learning a language, encourage their success, and show interest (Alili & Hassan, 2017). Such methods can help parents to follow the attention of their youths to study languages so that they could spread Arabic culture anywhere in the world.
Taking all things into consideration, it is necessary to state that Riyadh’s primary schools should take measures to solve the abovementioned problems. Proper planning for the classes and self-learning activities can benefit time management. When it comes to learning English, it is essential to encourage not only students but also parents to instill confidence in the future profession. The implementation of these methods in a complex will strengthen the educational system of elementary schools in Riyadh.
Alharbi, Y. (2019). A review of the current status of English as a foreign language (EFL). Education in Saudi Arabia. Global Journal of Education and Training, 2(1), 1-8.
Alili, S., & Hassan, W. (2017). Attitudes of Arabic- and non-Arabic speaking parents toward the importance of learning Arabic in the United States. Journal of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages, 21(1), 1-36.
Al-Nasser, A. (2015). Problems of English language acquisition in Saudi Arabia: An exploratory-cum-remedial study. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 5(8), 1612-1619.
Alsairi, M. (2018). Earlier is better: Learning English in Saudi Arabia. Canadian Center of Science and Education, 18(1), 141-149.
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Ashraf, T. (2018). Teaching English as a foreign language in Saudi Arabia: struggles and strategies. International Journal of English Language Education, 6(1), 133-154.
Cavanagh, S. (n. d.). How to make your teaching more engaging. Web.
Chong, C. (2018). Top ten time-management tips for teachers. Web.
Kaufman, R., Wandberg, R. (2015). Powerful practices for high-performing special educators. NY: Skyhorse Publishing.
Lindsey, U. (2015). How teaching in English divides the Arab world. Web.
Morrison, K. (2015). How to use your teaching time efficiently. Web.
Zaidi, N. (2018). Difficulties in learning English as a secondary language in the Saudi Arabian education system. International Journal of Research – GRANTHAALAYAH, 6(6), 498-502.
Zheng, D. (2015). Education management and management science. London: Taylor & Francis Group.