The Effect of Large Classes on English Teaching and Learning in Saudi Secondary Schools

  •  Dalal A. Bahanshal    


The effect of class size on teaching and learning English as a foreign language (EFL) has been through a contentious debate among researchers for a long time. Before the 1950's the concern about the effect of class size and the learning outcomes of students in such classes waned for some time. Yet, researchers have reconsidered the case once again and up to now it is a field of investigation. Therefore, through reviewing the existing literature on this area and examples culled from the teachers' experience, the aim of the present study are twofold: (1) to ascertain the impact of large classes on the teaching and learning outcomes, and (2) to suggest appropriate strategies Saudi secondary teachers can utilize in their large classes to facilitate English teaching and learning. To reach the aim of this study, six Saudi English teachers from two public schools were interviewed to express their perceptions about teaching in large classes. Research results present that all participants find it daunting to teach large classes. Teachers also comment that despite their efforts to elevate the level of language learning in such context, the outcome of their students is considered to be unsatisfactory. They believe that this can be contributed to the fact that there are big numbers of students in one class and wish for the number to be reduced. The study findings shed the light on some useful and effective methods to be applied in large classes which may facilitate the language teaching and learning.

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