A quantitative method will be used to study the teachers’ attitudes toward Communicative Language Teaching principles and examine the effect of EFL teachers’ attitudes on their CLT practice by looking at the role of teachers’ gender and training attendance on this relationship. The research about teachers’ attitudes toward Communicative Language teaching in Saudi Arabia is very limited. It is expected that this current study will guide to a better understanding of teachers’ attitudes toward communicative language teaching in elementary school settings. The representatives of the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia, as well as other practitioners in the education field, will find this research interesting and helpful in improving their EFL teaching practices. This chapter includes a description of the methodology of the project, along with a statement of the problem and research questions. A qualitative research design will be discussed to prove the appropriateness of the chosen research instrument, a survey, participants, and the selection criteria. Special attention will be paid to the validity and reliability of the study. Data collection and analysis procedures will be described in this section. Finally, the evaluation of ethical concerns and limitations is given to summarize the benefits and shortage of the project.
Statement of the Problem
Nowadays, an increased interest in teaching the English language is observed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. However, despite the existing attempts to promote English understanding and effective usage, certain difficulties still exist, and unsatisfactory results are achieved. Therefore, the government focuses on the promotion of language proficiency among both students and teachers. The Ministry of Education introduces a variety of strategies like specific modifications of curriculums and updating of teaching resources to enhance listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills (Alsudais, 2017). Access to textbooks has to be analyzed to identify recent shortages and problems in the implementation of new practices. The communicative language teaching method is one of the best approaches to strengthen English language proficiency (Rahman, 2011). Yet, it is not the only alternative for EFL teaching, and the goal is to find out the most effective ways to promote positive attitudes towards CLT among teachers.
Another challenge in Saudi education is the impossibility to promote the development of participants and the intention to continue using outdated teaching practices in classrooms. Memorization and rote learning are the preferred activities that result in low communicative levels among students (Al-Awaid, 2018; Alharbi, 2015). Taking into consideration the already achieved results and the existing potential, the use of new communicative language teaching practices to instruct students can be a positive contribution to the formation of efficient student development and teachers’ attitudes. The success of CLT depends on different factors, including the impact of the Ministry of Education on local facilities, the explanation of the worth of meaningful communication, and the implementation of current beliefs and perceptions in terms of which teachers’ practices will be changed.
The research questions guiding this research include:
- Q1- What are Saudi EFL teachers’ attitudes toward communicative language teaching approach regarding group/pair work, quality and quantity of error correction, the role and contribution of learners in the learning process, the role of the teacher in the classroom, and place/importance of grammar?
- Q2- What is the effect of EFL teachers’ attitudes on their CLT practice, and the role of teachers’ gender and training in this relationship?
- H2: EFL teachers’ attitudes have a significant effect on their communicative Language teaching practice.
- H2: EFL teachers’ attitudes have no significant effect on their communicative Language teaching practice.
To give appropriate answers to the research questions mentioned above, a quantitative methodology approach will be used. There are three major stages of the research process: data collection, analysis, and interpretation. The offered method provides a researcher with an opportunity to test the offered hypotheses and check if all the results are valid and reliable. It is characterized by the application and evaluation of numbers, measuring their worth, and assessing effectiveness (Nardi, 2018). Another benefit of the approach is the possibility to make sure that the generalizability of the results to a larger population can be possible. Teachers’ attitudes toward CLT will be gathered, calculated, analyzed, and explained for their further implementation in various practices.
A survey is a common quantitative technique for data collection and statistical analysis. The survey gathered teachers’ demographic information such as gender and training attendance. It also included items to measure teachers’ attitudes toward Communicative Language Teaching in elementary schools in Saudi Arabia. Multiple regression analysis will be used in this study to predict the effect of the teacher’s attitude on teachers’ CLT practice with looking to gender and training attendance as an independent variables on the teachers’ CLT practice, which is the dependent variable. Due to the fact that more than two independent variables predict a dependent variable, a multiple linear regression has to be conducted.
Study Population and Sample Selection
In this study, participants will be elementary school teachers from Saudi Arabia. The choice of the population depends on the results of the sample review and the investigations of reliable authors. Survey participants are the teachers who work in Saudi elementary schools only, and the expected number will be about 1,325. Such a large sample size contributes to the reduction of error degree and the control of blank answers. Taking into account the investigation by Creswell (2012), the results of an online sample size calculator (SurveyMonkey, 2019), an error margin of 5%, and a confidence level of 95%, 298 participants with a 45% response rate have to be invited.
The Saudi Ministry of Education will approve sending e-mail messages with an online survey link to all the expected participants in Albaha elementary schools. Teachers will be able to use their mobile devices or personal computers to take the test during the next two weeks. In case the offered time limit is not enough, the completion of the task may be extended for one more week. A reminder with clear instructions and a new deadline will be sent to the participants who fail to send their replies within the first two weeks of the study.
I will run online questionnaires to collect data from 298 participants among EFL elementary teachers in Saudi Arabia. The survey will include questions about teachers’ attitudes toward Communicative Language Teaching; data will be collected using a web-based survey tool that calls Qualtrics. The study will be quantitative design employing a survey as the main tool in gathering the required data. The survey instrument was developed by Karavas-Doukas in 1996 and I obtained written permission to use and transform it into an online survey format (see Appendix A). The likert scale will be used to measure the teachers’ response to the survey. The Likert scale consists of five levels of responses, with possible answers including “strongly agree (5), agree (4), uncertain (3), strongly disagree (2), disagree (1)”.
The survey consists of three main parts. The first part will provide instruction and procedures to the participants so they will have a clear understanding of how to correctly complete the survey. The second section contains questions related to teachers’ gender, training attendance, and practice. The third section includes 24 items about EFL teachers’ attitudes toward CLT (Doukas,1996- survey).
The survey consists of 24 items, with attitude scales grouped according to five subscales: group/pair work, the quality and quantity of error correction, the role and contribution of learners to the learning process, the role of the teacher in the classroom, and the place/importance of grammar (Karavas-Doukas, 1966). Each group of questions has its goals and specific organizational limits. Questions from 1 to 4 focus on the recognition of teachers’ attitudes toward group work. Questions from 5 to 8 are created to evaluate error correction quality and quantity. Questions from 9 to 14 promote the analysis of teachers’ attitudes toward their roles in a learning process. Questions from 15 to 18 are used to recognize the role of teachers in classroom activities. Finally, questions from 19 to 24 indicate the worth of grammar practices in the education of Saudi students. According to Karavas-Doukas (1966), a scale attitude is used to measure reliability, and this study achieved a score of 0.85. Also, EFL teachers in Saudi Arabia have at least a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and they may have a Master’s or Doctor degree in the English Language, therefore the survey will be sent to them in the English Language.
Validity and Reliability
In the majority of research projects, the goal of a questionnaire or a survey is to obtain enough credible material that can be properly defined in terms of validity and reliability. According to Taherdoost (2016), the concepts of validity and reliability introduce a significant part of research methodology, focusing on the quality, correctness, and consistency of information. Reliability aims at measuring the extent to which data measurement can be developed to promote stable and consistent results (Taherdoost, 2016). If a reliability attitude scale is used in the study, Karavas-Doukas (1996) offered to use the split-half method and determine its reliability by dividing this scale into two halves and correlative scores accordingly. In this case, the reliability of the study is based on 24 questions being divided into two and 60 initial responses being correlated. In the end, the right split-half reliability coefficient equals rw = 0.81.
In this study, it was important to distribute the attitude scale between 40 English language teachers who worked at the chosen education facility of the Saudi region. The participation of teachers resulted in 37 questionnaires being returned and used for the split-half method. Regarding the already explained rw, 0.88, this reliability coefficient proved the presence of internal consistency in the study because the majority of Likert scales should achieve rw around 0.85 (Karavas-Doukas, 1996). This reliability analysis and the discussion of the attitudes toward statements among English languages teachers, the offered 24 survey questions were approved for a final version of the scale.
In addition to the reliability of the study, it is important to understand and define its validity. Taherdoost (2016) explained validity as a possibility to measure what has to be measured and introduced several types of validity, depending on its goals and the chosen instruments. In this research, content validity is the degree to which survey items represent the essence of information that has to be measured (Taherdoost, 2016). Judgments that are based on the results of content validity have to be introduced in a balanced way with a common thread being properly identified. Two directions were chosen to establish content validity: an extensive literature review, on the one hand, and an interview with ELT lecturers, on the other hand. The review helped to discover how different communicative approaches were incorporated in various settings. Interviews proved the features of a communicative language teaching approach in the Saudi context (Karavas-Doukas, 1996). Both methods were valid and effective in terms of discussing EFL teaching techniques and strategies.
Data Collection Procedures
The data collection procedure had to be organized in a clear and legally approved way. One of the initial steps of this research was to get permission for copyrights to utilize the instruments of other holders (Karavas-Doukas, 1996). Approvals from the University Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Ministry of Education were also obtained. Online surveys have many benefits, and one of their strong pros is the possibility for a researcher to offer similar questions to large populations, gather information, and get back responses within a short period (Rice, Winter, Doherty, & Milner, 2017; Wright, 2005). In addition to saving time and efficient results, this method of data collection is characterized by high-quality accessibility, flexibility, and convenience.
To establish trustful and effective relationships with participants, it is expected from a researcher to provide all the participants with confidentiality measures and increase their awareness of the study details. In the majority of cases, participants expect their answers remain anonymous. Therefore, researchers pay attention to the details of an informed consent process. This agreement contains several meaningful parts: firstly, the purpose of the research has to be identified, and then, the worth of a survey is explained, so participants understand their roles and obligations. It is necessary to make sure that all the decisions and actions are voluntary and optional. The Ministry of Education is responsible for checking if participants receive the necessary information via e-mail messages, social media networks, or special mobile devices. Eligible participants will be EFL teachers in elementary schools.
The process of data collection is simple, with clearly defined goals. During the first two weeks, teachers have to read survey questions and give their answers. Then, the researcher checks if the expected sample size is achieved. In case the number is not enough, the Ministry of Education provides another weak to complete the task and sends the second explanatory message to remind the conditions of their participation and the importance of the study. Within the established period, the survey has to be closed, so the researcher continues working with data. Qualtrics is the source from which data can be downloaded for further analysis, using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software. It is important to review all survey responses and conduct analysis with specific study results being presented and explained in terms of hypotheses evaluation. Despite the obtained answers and attitudes, information remains confidential and anonymous. Calculated results with marks or special terminology can be applied in future presentations and publications. The peculiar feature of this study is the establishment of the date – five years – when all the study documents have to be destroyed.
Data analysis is another important step in this research about teachers’ attitudes. An attitude scale survey was used to determine teachers’ opinions and knowledge. It is necessary to answer the two research questions and gather enough evidence. First, what are Saudi EFL teachers’ attitudes toward communicative language teaching approach regarding group/pair work, quality and quantity of error correction, the role and contribution of learners in the learning process, the role of the teacher in the classroom, and place/importance of grammar? To complete this stage of research, descriptive statistics and standard deviations were used.
The second research question is, what is the effect of EFL teachers’ attitudes on their CLT practice, and the role of teachers’ gender and training in this relationship? After analyzing the first question, multiple linear regression analysis occurred to explain the second question. This activity helped to identify related variables and describe the relation to the dependent variable. The variables are attitudes, gender, and training attendance are predictors variables and teachers’ CLT practice is the outcome variable for the multiple regression analysis. Qualities Survey Software is the source of data for analysis. Before multiple regression analysis, assumptions have to be checked in terms of four major criteria – distribution, homoscedasticity, outliers, and multicollinearity.
In this study, the goal of the researcher is to underline evident advantages and remove the disadvantages and risks that may influence the results. The quality and integrity of research are determined by the context of the research protocol that has to be signed by all the parties. Informed consent is another document that defines the major characteristics of the relationships between the researcher and participants. Written approval is a guarantee for participants to learn the basics of the project and stay anonymous during the study. The researcher should use informed consent as an opportunity to explain research goals, methods, and significance and underline the perspectives like risks, rights, confidentiality, and contributions. Finally, participants are provided with a free right to withdraw from the study any time they find it necessary without giving explanations.
In social sciences and humanities, reliability, authenticity, and trustworthiness are the major issues in responses. Due to their direct obligations to work with students and complete their regular tasks, teachers may be unable to give their responses in time. As a result, the researcher may be not able to gather all the necessary information within the time frameworks set. Therefore, unstable deadlines introduce one of the possible limitations of the study. The Qualtrics survey tool will be used as a part of quantitative research. Therefore, it is expected that many participants will be chosen for the study. However, the sample remains a limitation of quantitative studies in terms of confidentiality. Finally, the context of the survey reply limits the study in a certain way. Participants are not able to share their extended opinions about the survey, and only numeric data contribute to the discussion of hypotheses and research questions.
In total, Chapter Three contains a clear explanation of the problem to be addressed in the study, the significance of the research, and the methodology. Two research questions have to be answered within the chosen research method: What is Saudi EFL teachers’ attitudes toward communicative language teaching approach regarding group/pair work, quality and quantity of error correction, the role and contribution of learners in the learning process, the role of the teacher in the classroom, and place/importance of grammar? What is the effect of EFL teachers’ attitudes on their CLT practice, and the role of teachers’ gender and training in this relationship?.
The decision to use a survey as a part of quantitative research design was made to examine attitudes of Saudi elementary school teachers toward Communicative Language Teaching and study the effect of EFL teachers’ attitudes on their CLT practice with looking to the role of teachers’ gender and training attendance on this relationship. There are 298 EFL elementary teachers in the KSA to be the participants of the study who answer the questions of the online survey via Qualtrics software. At this moment, there are neither serious risks for the researcher and participants nor some financial or personal conflicts. Anonymity, confidentiality, and respect are the important ethic principles in the study. The discussion of reliability and validity proves the appropriateness of data collection and analysis procedures. Finally, the evaluation of ethical considerations and limitations complements the chosen quantitative study. Chapter Four will focus on the discussion of findings and results of research.
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