Before and After: English Language Acquisition in Saudi Arabia and the New Possibilities in Teaching and Learning That the COVID-19 Pandemic May Have Brought
Keywords:English language, Saudi Arabia, teaching, learning, COVID-19 pandemic, English education
This article examines how the teaching and learning of English as a Foreign Language in Saudi Arabia has evolved over time and the new possibilities the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to teaching and learning of English in Saudi Arabia. Various factors have influenced the pace and degree to which the English language has propagated in Saudi Arabia ever since it was first introduced. Learners of English also continue to be affected by several inherent and external factors when learning the English language. On top of having to grapple with first language and culture interferences, learners of English in Saudi Arabia have also to navigate unfavorable learning environments, lack of experiential exposure to English, and foreign language anxiety. Although the COVID-19 pandemic may have seemingly created issues (e.g., a reduction in time for interaction with peers and teachers) for learners of English due to emergency remote teaching, it has opened up new possibilities that can be the subject of additional research and development. The benefits of online learning, translingual practices, and collaborative teaching should be further explored to benefit from the new normal of mandatory online learning that has arisen due to the pandemic.
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