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Algeria is an African multilingual country with one official language called Modern Standard Arabic and more than two foreign languages French, English, Spanish, etc. It is a country whose contributions and all interests are now in how to improve foreign languages for specific purposes particularly English so as to prove its position as a powerful and important country across the world.
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Today, the role of English as a foreign language (henceforth EFL) in the world is influenced by many factors such as business, cultural, political and educational factors. The latter is the main factor which plays, now, strongly a major role to pull a lot of attention in the decision of the Algerian educational authorities to know how to deal with the positive qualities EFL has in undertaking methods and approaches as parts of reforms in order to improve English teaching and learning as it is in developed countries. Hence, the questions to be raised, here, are how to deal with the qualities EFL has with non-native speakers and what significant scientific contribution EFL gives to non-mother country (Algeria)? And what are the suggested approaches and methods the Algerian educational authorities make to improve and work with this language?
Answering to the questions above, the Algerian educational leaders started to improve and hold tightly EFL by shifting from traditional methods to modern to say to the world that we are able, as a multilingual developing country, to make EFL as a second Language major and significant in our schools and university and then be present everywhere across the globe.
This challenge remind us about some debate on teaching EFL in developing countries as an insignificant contribution, by African designers, to knowledge and production(Graddol 2006, Batibo 2007) and Phillipson (1996) who had observed, after the independence of some developing countries , that those who were first responsible for making English official, major, developed and significant are African leaders; For example, the case of English Language Teaching (ELT) in Algerian schools after independence.
ELT in Algeria was denied and insignificant before the independence in comparison with French. Because the French language was taught in schools as SL (second language) due to the consequences of the French occupation in Algeria that was the longest period of colonization which took a long time from 1830 till 1962. Thus French became as an official language in the Algerian institutions. Andrew Freeman (1961:1) confirms what we are saying about French as SL in the following quotation « The French, in Algeria, between 1830 and 1962; tried actively to suppress Arabic”. The French influence resulted in many different levels and mainly the linguistic level. The latter reflected the impact of the French language on Algerians who were being forced to speak French and then obliged to learn it in schools, but prior to independence and after 1990s a new revolution came to the surface and the Algerian authoritarians started new relations with USA to give some importance to English as an essential medium to be integrated in the Algerian schools.
In the beginning, English was taught in middle and secondary schools to students from the eight classes in the middle school to the third classes of the secondary school up to 2005. English at that time had not been being perfectly taught in Algeria in comparison with some developing countries. By the time, because English has become a lingua franca (henceforth ELF), which is defined functionally by its use in intercultural communication, ‘English as a global language’ (e.g. Crystal 2003; Gnutvzmann 1999), ‘English as a world language’ (e.g. Mair 2003) and ‘World English’ (Brutt-Griffler 2002) ‘English as an international language’ (EIL) becomes influencing force everywhere across the world.
Due to these facts of the current situation of English, Algerian Government decides to go through changes in various fields to hold and improve this global language in higher studies. Among these changes are implementation of policies made in education related to new approaches and system were brought to Algerian institutions such as LMD System and competency based approach (henceforth CBA) in primary and secondary schools.
CBA approach has been brought to the Algerian schools in 2002 as a new approach and a part of reform in the primary, middle and secondary school. It has been imposed as a primary part of reform and complimentary to LMD reform on EFL teacher. To make CBA approach successful, the education minister mobilized all responsible for schools (primary, middle and secondary) to follow the CBA implementation.
Moreover, Algerian ministry contribute, morally and financially, to give all opportunities and provide all those who are responsible for helping teachers and students with materials needed and equipments to be familiar with CBA success in the classroom. Thus, inspectors spent much time and money for making seminars in all over the country to instruct and correct the teachers’ ways in the teaching of English language and following the planning of English curriculum.
In addition to the CBA, the LMD reform is also brought to the Algerian university in 2003 to continue the correctness of the teaching of English. In this work, we shall focus on some changes of approaches and systems such as LMD to see whether it is towards a more communicative use of English as a second language and a more focus on English language teaching. ELT is not easy responsibility for EFL teachers to teaching all of the students assigned to a classroom in university. The latter becomes, now, the world question in holding English as an international language which becomes increasingly important and required in Algeria in the last decade.
Nowadays, there are much debate on what is teaching and how it becomes in the twentieth century, some people say that teaching is a creative way to become joined with and support others to help all learners learn. Others say that without teaching learning is not a way to make teachers and students more efficient. McKay (2002) says,
The teaching and learning of an international language must be based on an entirely different set of assumptions than the teaching and learning of any other second and foreign language. McKay (2002:1)
This quotation makes us ask the following questions:
1-How should English be taught under LMD system as a challenging language in Algeria? (Our focus in this work).
2- What purpose of learning English should we achieve? (That is what we are looking for)
3- Can we be best English teachers? (This is our hypotheses to be proved)
According to the questions above, we begin to analyze these issues regarding the role of English in our own lives and in our society. We first start by looking at EF L teachers’ role, i.e. how do they play a central role in the teaching of English language perfectly? How do they apply the instructions given to teach English and how to be responsible for motivating their students to learn? It is essential that teachers themselves are aware of the way they are following to go through the four skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing including pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and spelling all contribute to effective English communication.
The much attention we give to each skill area is due to the teachers’ and learners’ competence and their needs. In addition, teachers should be adjusted in the light of the current status of English in the world. As Parker Palmer (1998: 308) points out,
When I do not know myself, I cannot know who my students are. I will see them through a glass darkly, in the shadows of my unexamined life – and when I cannot see them clearly, I cannot teach them well.
Parker Palmer (1998: 308)
It is clear to know how able we, as teachers, are to make our students understand and know ourselves in society as well as we can understand from P. Palmer the relative position and attention given to English has been considered and examined from ideological and cultural or political standpoints rather than pedagogical concerns. The latter is very important point to discuss in accordance with our situation as Algerian EFL teachers.
Unfortunately, with the classical system we, cannot be adjusted in the light of the current status of English in Algeria because, up to 2005, there are many obstacles and factors make our EFL teachers incapable to make all students understand such as:
1-The number of students is overmuch in a class (40 – 50)
2- Insufficient communicative activities’ use for teaching English language skills such as reading, listening, writing, grammar, etc.
3- Inadequately equipped classrooms and the lack of ICTs’ use.
4- The impact of a social factor on EFL teachers as well as learners
5- Being authoritarian traditional teachers
6- Being passive traditional learners.
7- Being too shy to speak English in the classroom.
8-The impact of mother tongue (L1) on students’ and some teachers’ pronunciation too
Due to some deficiencies mentioned above, the Algerian government started rebuilding the skeleton of university which is the image of the country abroad.
So since 2OO1, the ministry of higher education has decided to diagnose the situation in order to provide immediate and sustainable solutions for university and here a new Algerian university system has imposed itself. Following the recommendations of the National Committee of the education reform, a reform plan was adopted by the Cabinet in April 30, 2002 and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has adopted a ten-year strategy to develop the sector for the period 2004-2013, one of whose main themes is “The development and implementation of an overall and deep reform of higher education, the first step is the establishment of a new architectural educations, including an updating and upgrading of various educational programs, and a reorganization of the educational management. Thus, the choice goes towards the new “BMD: Bachelor-Master-Doctorate ” system, or LMD ( Licence, Master and Doctorate) as it is known, to meet the expectations of society and also to be in concordance with the new guidelines and global trends in higher education.
This system examines, evaluates and improves the way the teachers and learners are following now to better and develop their English. It also defines the ways and means to teach study and evaluate differently in higher education. It aims to motivating and enabling students across the world by allowing diplomas to be compared and become equivalent to European diplomas, developing the professionalization of higher education whilst preserving the general interest nature of the teaching, to strengthening the learning of transverse skills such as fluency in foreign modern languages and computer skills encouraging the student’s mobility and encouraging the student’s access to the world of work in Europe – allowing the student to build up a personalized education plan gradually.
Because English is too challenging for us and becoming the most dominant and useful language among many European languages, our governments has adopted many systems (policies) that promote ELT in Algeria. At present, English is considered as a foreign language that is offered as a required subject at all levels of higher education in university.
In order to understand and recognize that the introduction of English language into the Algerian educational system lead us to have part in the globalization, our government made huge effort to change the policies that have been being followed in 1900’s. For instance, at the level of university, the LMD system is about a new approach based on the Communicative Approach that has been implemented in the Algerian university almost in all subjects and specialties, as we have already said above.
LMD system has been introduced into our universities by August 2003 to make changes in syllabuses and curriculum development in order to reduce and overcome the difficulties and the obstacles cited (see page 5) and make English teaching and learning successful under the new system LMD. As well, to achieve good results, EFL university teachers must be ready to change from traditional teacher to modern changing the traditional approaches into more communicative innovative activities to teaching to what extent we pay much attention to the four skills perfectly.
On the one hand, the changes made and brought to universities contribute to achieve success in teaching and learning languages. On the other hand, there are many different reasons for changes, so too are there many different kinds, or levels, of change that can take place in globalization. Interestingly, in Algeria there are changes towards teaching English more explicitly, and with more of a focus on form.
Furthermore, nowadays, the emphasis is on to what extent do systems and approaches impact, positively, on ELT to improve EFL students’ levels in order to get much knowledge and then achieve perfect English to securing their jobs through acknowledged degrees and high levels of employment because the spread of joblessness across the world particularly in Algeria have upset authorities.
From the various opinions of learners, even longer studies are not an end in themselves everyone now understands that schools and universities are the first starting point for everyone desires to realize any project. Aiming to get higher studies is simply a means to access better jobs likely to lead to higher social status (profession, security, wage, etc.).
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For that reason, English language becomes, for EFL students, a dominant subject, an international language and a means for getting job easily. It is now required, across the globe, and important for the Algerian learners and/or job seekers. The question then is what concrete roles does English development give to the EFL LMD students in the Algerian university?
Coleman (2010) addresses a similar question by reviewing the functions of English as a foreign language in development. He refers to four areas where English has often been given a role to play:
2-for international mobility
3-for unlocking development opportunities and accessing information
4- as an impartial language.
These four points must find an answer in the implementation of LMD systems results. Thus, the present work study is devoted to overcome the difficulties and problems Algerian teachers and learners are encountering in acquiring English language for specific purpose. The latter has been conducted by many researches to discuss the various problems that Arab universities encounter and mainly Algerian university. These kinds of problems refer to their ability as teachers or their competence in transmitting skills.
Mukattash (1983) divides the problem that learners of English encounter into problems of pronunciation, spelling, morphology and syntax at the level of university as well students or learners unable to express themselves that what makes difficulties spread. For Mukattash the students’ major difficulties arise from the fact that they cannot use English correctly and appropriately in and out the classroom when required; he says: “Comfortably and efficiently either when dealing with academic topics or common everyday topics” (1983:169).
What we can understand by the difficulty of English efficiency is related to the students’ deficiencies in communicative competence and self -confidence. Consequently, to face these kinds of problems of communicative competence, Ministry and educational experts run to find solutions to these problems by changing the strategies and encourage the training abroad that gives the learners a good knowledge and culture as well as make them confident.
The queries to be raised here are how universities could be developed into places where advanced knowledge was disseminated and what are the strategies and the reforms are going to be followed. It is only recently that universities have become the almost systematic pragmatics, looking for motivation and aptitude for higher and perfect studies.
As a main part of this work, we have also shed light on another part of reform which is called ICT (information, communication and technology). It also impacts on our understanding in the teaching and learning of English language through changes. According to many linguists, the use and integration of ICT might indeed provide students with much information in learning E L (henceforth English language) competency as well as make better and more attractive the quality of EFL teachers’ and students’ learning under LMD and CBA experience.
They approve that the use of ICT becomes an effective medium to better and develop the English language. As well, ICT helps in the use of interactive lessons through the four skills to speed up the teaching and learning of English perfectly.
Moreover, the impact of the use of ICT on teaching and learning is a promising scope of interest for researchers in various disciplines such as mathematics, informatics, education and sports, literature, English studies or teaching foreign languages and so forth. The latter becomes one area where ICTs influence is widely investigated.
In a special report, (International Certificate Conference, 2002), devoted to the impact of Information and Communication Technologies on teaching foreign languages and on the role of foreign language teachers in Europe, the term ICT includes technologies in which the computer or laptop plays a central role, for example, Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL), the Internet, and a variety of generic computer applications.
To reinforce what has been said in (2002), in (2003) Carmen et al say that integrating ICT tools in teaching can lead to increased students’ learning competencies and increased opportunities for communication and it is a rapid development in the learning and teaching of foreign languages more particularly English.
Nowadays, the rapid developments and the frequent use of ICTS in Algerian society is not only impact on a quick computing discourse has generated linguistic convergence it is also the focus on the use of ICT in schools and universities. The latter now require much availability of computers provided with the net/ internet because they become a support for learning and teaching any discipline and mainly languages. Thus, the use of ICT in both education and higher education becomes an important element in the Algerian government’s strategy to reinforce and ensure the effectiveness of systems implementation such as LMD in higher education.
Higher education goes with the ICT’s use which becoming more important to contribute to the growth and development of learning and teaching in the 21st century.
In this part, we highlight the effectiveness of ICT in higher education and we seek to explore how it will impact on the way courses will be given to learners and delivered in the universities. Having spoken on the whole study work, generally, leads us to think of the following:
Statement of the problem
Through our experience of more than 5 years of teaching English under the new system LMD at the University of Mostaganem, we have noticed changes in the attitudes of our students and teachers towards LMD system. Students come to university with no idea about LMD; the only idea they have had in mind is the CBA approach which is implemented in 2002 in the secondary school. They have already been familiar with the competency based approach in undertaking all kind of new tasks, techniques and methods given to be applied. The questions to be raised here are as follows:
Is there any relation between LMD and CBA reforms?
To what extent can the LMD system contribute positively or negatively to teaching and learning foreign languages mainly the English language?
Does ICT contribute to enhance ELT? If yes how?
Are all teachers familiar with ICT? If yes or no why?
Are all teachers familiar with ICT? If yes or no why?
Pragmatically speaking how is the relationship between CBA, LMD and ICT in use?
On the basis of what have been preceded, we are going to formulate the following hypotheses:
1. In relation to CBA, would LMD system respond to the student’s and teacher’s needs in mastering English?
2. Would curriculum development in the new implementation system such as LMD and CBA fit the world demand in education?
3. Must all teachers and leaders use ICT to enhance foreign languages/ English?
The organization of the research
Our doctoral research revolves around five chapters. The first chapter is devoted to talk about a broad review of the relevant literature relating to the fundamental concepts of teaching and learning theories, ending up with some clarifications about what is curriculum including the various systems that have been implemented in teaching languages such as LMD system and the CBA approach .
In chapter two, research methodology, we are going to present first an introduction to what is qualitative research and then describe the steps of the techniques used, starting with the review of some definitions given about the qualitative research methodology, we have read and summarized, ending with our illustration of the experience we have undertaken during our investigation. .i.e. the discussion of the importance and objectives of qualitative research methods we have undergone.
Chapter Three is devoted to the main changes, LMD system and CBA approach, which took place in the educational system in the Algerian university.
Chapter Four is devoted to talk about the impact of the ICTS on these changes or reforms, LMD system and CBA approach.
Chapter five presents the analysis of data collected from questionnaires and then discusses the results.
Finally in the general conclusion, we try to summarize all what have been preceded and said before to suggest some solutions or hypothesis to avoid failure in education and give much importance and attention to LMD, ICT, CBA and curriculum development to make higher studies successful and effective in the teaching of the English language..
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