Presentation on theme: "Saudi Arabian Scholarship Students in MELP’s IEP: Goals, Successes,"— Presentation transcript:
1 Saudi Arabian Scholarship Students in MELP’s IEP: Goals, Successes, and ChallengesLeah KronickIntroduce myself (name and position)
2 Saudi Arabian Scholarship Students in MELP’s IEP: Goals, Successes, and Challenges Context and backgroundResearch QuestionsLiterature ReviewMethodsDiscussion and findingsLimitationsImplications for teachers and administratorsSuggestions for Future ResearchQuestions?
3 Context: Minnesota English Language Program (MELP) Intensive English Program (IEP)2013/2014 Academic YearPlan B Project for master’s degree in TESOLExplain what a plan B is
4 Research Questions:What are the goals of KASP students studying in an IEP in the U.S.?What do these students perceive as being the greatest challenges they face and successes they achieve, linguistically and otherwise?How does the programming at the IEP align with the goals of these students residing in the U.S. for the purpose of studying English?
5 Background: Why this study? Why now? 1 of the 3 largest populations at MELPPerceived differences in learning stylesAssumptions about linguistic and cultural backgroundPractical/relevant to teachersPersonal involvement with the population
6 Literature: General Background on Saudi Arabia (KSA) “The starkest mix of medieval and modern of any country in the world” (Coleman, 2012).Islam/ Wahhabism/ Shari’ahConstitutional Monarchy/ no “modern” constitutionOil economyExtremely high unemploymentGender segregated society
7 Literature: Overview of King Abdullah Scholarship Program (KASP) Administered by Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM)Began in 2005Current total numbers somewhat unclearProjections for future totalsGoals of the program, stated and perceivedContinued expansion and extensionNot the first program of its kind, but by far the biggest44,566 in US (as of 2013), 80,00-120,000 total abroad (as of 2011)300,000 by 2015, 1% of the total population of KSA----- Meeting Notes (11/15/14 15:20) -----“to meet the needs of Saudi Arabia in relation to the development of a professional and academic workforce that would be internationally competitive” (Alhazmi & Nyland), to make KSA “world-competitive in the work market and academic research” (website of KSAP), also (unofficially) unemployment, relationship with “The West,” less oil-dominated society, freer/ more open societyAt least 2020, so far
8 Literature: Saudi Students Studying Abroad Cultural DifferencesIdentity and PerformativityShort-term and long-term effectsMotivationGender(Redden, 2013) Cultural differences: dedication to family, negotiation/ Strategies: adapting attendance policies, sensitivity training(Alhazmi & Nyland, 2013) Identity/ performativity/ gender, interaction between individual and environment(Hilal, 2012) Comparison between KSA and UAE, positive: new/ modern ideas, economic benefit, better higher ed, less unemployment, better international perceptions, better educated population/ negative: adoption of Western habits, lack of economic gain, “paid vacation”----- Meeting Notes (11/15/14 15:20) -----Al Zayid, 2012) Motivation over time. Positive: NEST, communicative/ student-centered teaching, KASP, support system. Negative: IELTS/ TOEFL “nightmare”(Al-Shekhly, 2012) Female students: high degrees of inter-cultural competence, high motivation, want to improve outcomes for women at home(Heyn, 2013) Male students: perceptions/ experiences/ strategies/ support. Better teaching, better access to tech, fears about religious freedom, violence, and racism. Language challenge. Support from religion, other Saudi students, family, and teachers
9 Literature: Saudi Students Studying in IEPs Proficiency (writing vs. speaking)Identity constructionLearning strategiesPerceptions(Bollag, 2006) Sudden jump in enrollment, speaking vs. writing proficiency(Giroir, 2014) Case study, 2 male participants. Identity construction, active construction, individual identity vs. national identity. Some hostility related to 9/11. Active participants in identity.(Alhaisoni, 2012) IN KSA! Use of learning strategies. Higher proficiency learners use more strategies, no difference between male and female, need to teach strategies explicitly(Shaw, 2014) Most similar to this study, perceptions: differences: teaching methods/ relationships with teachers, lack of negotiation, mixed-gender classrooms, access to tech. Strategies: time management, planning, goal setting, etc.
10 Methods: Participants 11 participants, 6 male/ 5 femaleAges 19-28In U.S monthsMELP Levels 1-4Wide range of previous education5-15 years of English3 high school, 1 Associates, 6 BA, 2 MA (in progress)
11 Methods: Data Collection and Analysis Semi-structured individual interviews10 standard questionsRecorded and transcribedCodes from dataCoded by theme and research questionQuestions: strengths/ weaknesses, goals, successes and challenges in language, classroom culture, etc.
12 Discussion: Reasearch Question 1 What are the goals of KASP students studying in an IEP in the U.S.?SpecificityEducational vs. Career“First language”Bayan: “I like English very much because I think it’s good for my education to learn about English and it’s very famous to learn English to complete my masters degree and maybe Ph.D.”A lot of what’s included here does not relate explicitly to the lit review, explain why this isMost students mentioned specific fields, all stressed the importance of English (not surprisingly)Most focused more on career goals than educationMinority of participants, but noteworthy for its scope
13 Discussion: Reasearch Question 2 What do these students perceive as being the greatest challenges they face and successes they achieve, linguistically and otherwise?Language skills: student perceptions vs. commonly held assumptionsClassroom activities/ teaching styleQuality of self-evaluationAbdullah: “Here I can talk. My country just I receive.”Maryam: “Mmmm, I don’t know but, maybe...I recognize some of my weaknesses. I thought that I’m okay in something and now I know. I wasn’t aware about this.”“goes against commonly held beliefs”Confirms previous research as far as difficulty with adjustment: group discussion, relationships with teachers, etc.Not mentioned in previous literature
14 Discussion: Reasearch Question 2 What do these students perceive as being the greatest challenges they face and successes they achieve, linguistically and otherwise?Ahmed: “King Abdullah, when he give us the scholarship to come here to study, many people want to study, so they understand many things, they understand other cultures and when they go back to KSA they will do something better.”Independent livingCultural exchange and interactionLength of scholarship programAdvancement policy/ summer programConfidenceSuccesses and challengesAssumed, homesickness etc. is part of cultural adjustment, but not explicitly mentioned in most of the literature: most participants mentioned it and both a challenge and a success, 1 said it wasn’t a problemNot mentioned in literature, but may go against commonly held assumptions:Not mentioned in the literature (notable for being one of the only major issues participants perceived with regard to the scholarship program itselfSpecific to our programSupports findings? (mentioned by nearly all participants)Specific to this study (not mentioned elsewhere)
15 Discussion: Reasearch Question 3 How does the programming at the IEP align with the goals of these students residing in the U.S. for the purpose of studying English?Sense of communityMixed-gender environmentClass schedule/ course catalogFlexibilityMalik: “I have to become comfortable. But also I have to preserve my culture.”Relates to conception of identity formation occurring in the interaction between individual and environment?For the most part, a non-issue, goes against previous literature (mentioned by only 2 people, in both cases as aMay relate to “predisposition to negotiation”? Otherwise, not mentioned elsewhere
16 Limitations: Small/ localized sample Self-selection Relationship with researcherGender of researcher
17 Implications for Teaching and Administration: Individuality/ self-representationAvoiding stereotypesAwareness of challengesExplicit expectationsStudents as whole peopleMaking personal connections
18 Suggestions for Future Research: SLA focusOther IEPsFollow up beyond IEPsResults in KSAOther populations (Omani/ Chinese?)
20 Contact Leah at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!Contact Leah at
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