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Saudi Arabian Scholarship Students in MELP’s IEP: Goals, Successes,

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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 Challenges Leah Kronick Introduce myself (name and position)

2 Saudi Arabian Scholarship Students in MELP’s IEP: Goals, Successes, and Challenges
Context and background Research Questions Literature Review Methods Discussion and findings Limitations Implications for teachers and administrators Suggestions for Future Research Questions?

3 Context: Minnesota English Language Program (MELP)
Intensive English Program (IEP) 2013/2014 Academic Year Plan B Project for master’s degree in TESOL Explain 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 MELP Perceived differences in learning styles Assumptions about linguistic and cultural background Practical/relevant to teachers Personal 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’ah Constitutional Monarchy/ no “modern” constitution Oil economy Extremely high unemployment Gender segregated society

7 Literature: Overview of King Abdullah Scholarship Program (KASP)
Administered by Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM) Began in 2005 Current total numbers somewhat unclear Projections for future totals Goals of the program, stated and perceived Continued expansion and extension Not the first program of its kind, but by far the biggest 44,566 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 society At least 2020, so far

8 Literature: Saudi Students Studying Abroad
Cultural Differences Identity and Performativity Short-term and long-term effects Motivation Gender (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 construction Learning strategies Perceptions (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 female Ages 19-28 In U.S months MELP Levels 1-4 Wide range of previous education 5-15 years of English 3 high school, 1 Associates, 6 BA, 2 MA (in progress)

11 Methods: Data Collection and Analysis
Semi-structured individual interviews 10 standard questions Recorded and transcribed Codes from data Coded by theme and research question Questions: 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.? Specificity Educational 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 is Most students mentioned specific fields, all stressed the importance of English (not surprisingly) Most focused more on career goals than education Minority 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 assumptions Classroom activities/ teaching style Quality of self-evaluation Abdullah: “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 living Cultural exchange and interaction Length of scholarship program Advancement policy/ summer program Confidence Successes and challenges Assumed, 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 problem Not 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 itself Specific to our program Supports 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 community Mixed-gender environment Class schedule/ course catalog Flexibility Malik: “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 a May relate to “predisposition to negotiation”? Otherwise, not mentioned elsewhere

16 Limitations: Small/ localized sample Self-selection
Relationship with researcher Gender of researcher

17 Implications for Teaching and Administration:
Individuality/ self-representation Avoiding stereotypes Awareness of challenges Explicit expectations Students as whole people Making personal connections

18 Suggestions for Future Research:
SLA focus Other IEPs Follow up beyond IEPs Results in KSA Other populations (Omani/ Chinese?)

19 Questions?

20 Contact Leah at
Thank you! Contact Leah at

21 References Al Zayid, A. A. (2012). The role of motivation in the L2 acquisition of English by Saudi students: a dynamic perspective (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Al-Abdulkareem, S. (n.d.). Education development in Saudi Arabia. Informally published manuscript, Retrieved from Al-Sheikhly, N. A. (2012). Saudi Arabian women pursuing higher education at Oregon State University (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Al-Zaid, A. M. (1982). Education in Saudi Arabia: A model with a difference. (2 ed.). Jeddah: Tihama. About Saudi Arabia: Education. (2012). Retrieved from Alamri, M. (2011). Higher education in Saudi Arabia. Journal of higher education and practice, 11(4), Retrieved from Alhaisoni, E. (2012). Language learning strategy use of Saudi EFL students in an intensive English learning context. Asian Social Science, 8(13), doi: /ass.v8n13p115 Alhazmi, A., & Nyland, B. (2013). The Saudi Arabian international student experience: From a gender-segregated society to studying in a mixed-gender environment. Compare, 43(3), doi: / Allam, A. (2011, April 25). Saudi education reforms face resistance. Retrieved from Analysis wahhabism. (2014). Retrieved from Application and registration. (2014, January 2). Retrieved from Bollag, B. (2006). American colleges see more Saudi students on scholarships. Chronicle of Higher Education, 52(29), A53. Retrieved from Chapin Metz, H. (1993). Saudi Arabia: A country study. Washington D.C.: Government Publishing Office for United States Library of Congress. Retrieved from Coleman, I. (2012, June 26). Saudi Arabia's study abroad program. Retrieved from Doumato, E. A. (2003). Education in Saudi Arabia: Gender, jobs, and the price of religion. In E. A. Doumato & M. A. Posusney (Eds.), Women and globalization in the Arab Middle East: Gender, economy, and society (pp ). Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. Elyas, T. & Picard, M. (2010). Saudi Arabian educational history: impacts on English language teaching. Education, Business, and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues,3(2), doi: / Extension of king Abdullah foreign scholarship program for a third phase. (2013, February 11). Retrieved from Giroir, S. (2014). Narratives of participation, identity, and positionality: Two cases of Saudi learners of English in the United States. TESOL Quarterly, 48(1), doi: /tesq.95 Heyn, M. E. (2013). Experiences of male Saudi Arabian international students in the United States (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Hilal, K. (2013). Between fears and hopes for a different future for the nation-states: Scholarship programs in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates from a public policy standpoint. International Journal of Higher Education, 2(2), doi: /ijhe.v2n2p195 King Abdullah scholarship program. (2010, August 4). Retrieved from Korany, B., & Hillal Dessouki, A. E. (2009). The foreign policies of Arab states: The challenge of globalization . Cairo: The American University of Cairo Press. Retrieved from Krieger, Z. (2007, September 14). Saudi Arabia puts its billions behind western-style education. Retrieved from Kurtz, S. (2012, August 31). Thanks to scholarship, Saudi students return to U.S. in droves . Retrieved from Looney, R. (2012, June 1). The window is closing for Riyadh. Retrieved from Onsman, A. (2011, January 21). It is better to light a candle than to ban the darkness: Government led academic development in Saudi Arabian universities. Retrieved from Redden, E. (2013). International educators discuss challenges facing Saudi students and strategies for success. Inside Higher Ed, Retrieved from Saudi Arabia open doors fact sheet: Saudi Arabia. (2013). Retrieved from Sedgwick, R. (2001). Education in Saudi Arabia. World education news and reviews, 14(6), retrieved from The World Factbook (2012). Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, Retrieved from

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