Promoting Communicative Skills and Cultural Understanding among Saudi EFL Students Joining Summer English Programs at US Universities: A Web-Based Project

Sami Ali Nasr Al-wossabi

Abstract


As English is one of the most spoken languages in the globally  interconnected  world of today, many Saudi universities are enrolling their EFL students in summer intensive English programs at US universities. The main purpose is to enhance their EFL students' oral competencies. This new policy is, in fact, the result of the failure of CLT practices in local universities (Liao, 2004; Nunan, 2003), large EFL classes and students' low proficiency (Yu, 2001; Li, 1998) and EFL teachers' preference for using traditional methods rather than communicative ones (Chowdhry, 2010; Littlewood, 2007). However, Saudi students, upon arrival to the US, encounter challenging communicative situations. The present study, therefore, advocates the implementation of four-week language software program in Jazan university prior to the later four-week language program in US universities. The aim is to prepare EFL Saudi students for the communicative and academic situations and cultural norm they would be encountering and experiencing in the USA. The project includes two modalities; online learning and in class learning. The online learning entails a language software content-based program with emphasis on listening, vocabulary, writing, grammar and reading skills.  The in-class learning includes only speaking activities that are paralleled and compatible to the online thematic content. Thus, the main focus of the present paper will primarily be directed to providing a detailed description of the online language software and the different elements involved in constituting it.

Keywords: language software components, integrated skills, communicative competencies, intensive language programs, cultural and sociolinguistic norms


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