Supervising English Teachers: Saudi Principals and the English Language Barrier

Jwahir Alzamil


Principals’ supervision has been an important aspect of school leadership, which has aimed to improve the overall quality of teaching in schools by improving the work of individual teachers. This study has identified a need to fill an existing gap in the teaching supervision literature, as researchers have overlooked the possibility that principals’ mastery of the English language may affect the supervision of English language teachers. It therefore examines whether Saudi female principals who did not major in English language face difficulties supervising English language teaching in secondary schools. This study was carried out over a week. The data was collected from five female principals working in secondary schools by means of semi-structured interviews. The results showed that the main obstacle faced by principals supervising English language classes was understanding the English language itself. Data collected by the study show the need for Saudi Arabian principals to be aware of their limitations in understanding English when supervising English language teachers; having this information can be crucial for improving supervision and planning successful supervisory practices. Moreover, it can help principals evaluate themselves and review the way they supervise English language teachers.


Supervision, English teachers, Principals, Schools, Students

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