Teaching English in Saudi Arabia: To Whom, When and How Should English Be Taught / Eid A.S. Al-Shammary
The growing economic interdependence of many countries and the huge development in the means of communication and transportation compel almost all countries to teach at least one foreign language. The need for teaching a foreign language produced sizeable research on many aspects of this field such as learners' characteristics, timing of instruction, curriculum contents, the effects of foreign language learning on the mother language and culture, and other related issues.
The teaching of English was and still is the topic of debate among concerned Saudi educators. This debate has produced two distinct trends. The proponents of the first trend suggest to extend the English instruction to the elementary stage. They justify their proposition by the realistic growing need for English in many sectors of Saudi society. They also have some educational justifications for their suggestions. The proponents of the second trend suggest to eliminate the English instruction. As an alternative they propose establishing a national agency for translation and arabization from all languages into Arabic. They also call for the arabization of university education. They justify their prOposition by the weakness of Saudi stu- dents in English despite the long time and high expenses allocated for English instruction. They also justify their proposition by some linguistic, cultural and religious considerations.