This article aims to understand the importance for Saudi students of learning about English/American culture in developing learners’ communicative competence. To this end it intends to explore the attitudes of students and parents of students to incorporating English/American culture into the EFL classroom. A quantitative approach was used for the data collection, consisting of a structured-questionnaire presented to 200 student and parent participants. The results of this study show that most students who were surveyed have a strong motivation to learn the English language in order to gain access to the culture of English-speaking countries such as the UK and the USA. Hence, they want to focus on communicative competence rather than linguistic competence in learning English. The majority of student participants who want to learn about the target culture prefer learning this at intermediate school. Also, the results show that some parents treat learning the target culture with suspicion, because of the fear of losing Saudi identity by studying authentic materials. But despite this most parent respondents have positive attitudes to learning English/American culture in the EFL classroom. The originality of this article is including parents in the belief that their participations cannot be ignored because of their influence on their children’s views. This study concludes with some useful references to ways of learning English/American culture in the EFL classroom.
A Comparison of Teaching Materials (School Textbooks Vs Authentic Materials) From the Perspective of English Teachers and Educational Supervisors in Saudi Arabia (Published)
This article is an original contribution to knowledge in that it explores English teachers’ and educational supervisors’ attitudes to using school textbooks and authentic materials in Saudi boys’ schools. Specifically, it aims to determine the preferred teaching materials (either textbooks or authentic materials which are not usually recommended in the current textbooks (or which are additional to the contents of the current textbooks) from the participants’ points of view. A mixed-research approach — quantitative and qualitative — was used to investigate the favoured teaching materials, while the contrastive research approach allowed both types to be evaluated. The results showed that the participants had positive attitudes to using authentic materials and that most teachers preferred them to school textbooks. The study contributes to the debate over how best to teach English as a Foreign Language, and concludes with the recommendation that school textbooks should include authentic materials in order to improve learners’ communicative competence.