Conceptualizing Language Learning Metaphors in the Saudi EFL Context: Practicality, Applicability & Appropriacy

Mansoor S. Almalki


This paper tries to investigate the trends about the use of metaphors in the Saudi EFL classrooms. The proper implementation of metaphors (i.e. instruction, acquisition, and socialization metaphors) by teachers can be a reason for boosting source in the interactional and instructional patterns of the Saudi EFL classrooms, and the significance of these metaphors at aforementioned settings was investigated in the present study. Focusing upon the perceptive design of the study, a survey was conducted to know the significance of the three metaphors in the interactional settings of the Saudi EFL classrooms. This study targeted Saudi EFL teachers’ attitudes towards the three delimited metaphors.. The respondents consisted of 200 Saudi EFL teachers drawn from the English Language Centers of the Saudi Universities. A 22-item Likert-scale questionnaire was designed to know the opinions of Saudi EFL teachers about the dynamic use of metaphors in the context of the  Saudi EFL classroom. The findings of the study reflected that the Saudi EFL teachers represented by the cohort of this study presented a mixed attitudes towards the utilization of the three delimited metaphors. The findings show that a limited exposure of instructional metaphor may be one of the reasons of the poor performance of the Saudi EFL teachers. A limited exposure of  acquisition metaphor may also be damaging the dynamics of teacher student interactional and instructional patterns inside the Saudi EFL classrooms. The findings further  show that the teachers’ imbalanced use of class time and hardly any reliance on the coordinated interaction might be due to the limited exposure to the latest techniques embedded in the socialization metaphor. Although policy makers do not acknowledge the fundamental role of metaphors into classroom pedagogies, the participant-teachers recommended professional use of all the metaphors to achieve prerequisite dynamics of the EFL classrooms by fully acknowledging the applicability, appropriateness, and practicality of all the variables of acquisition metaphor.


metaphor awareness; Saudi EFL teachers; instruction metaphor; acquisition metaphor; socialization metaphor; metaphoric processing

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