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Algeria, as a North African country, is a multilingual nation with one official language, namely Modern Standard Arabic (henceforth MSA) and more than two foreign languages French, English, Spanish, etc. It is a country whose teaching-learning contributions and interests are now in how to improve foreign languages for specific purposes particularly English so as to prove its position or status as a powerful and important country across the globe.
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 and enhance English teaching and learning as it is in developed countries. Therefore, the questions to be raised, here, concerns basically how to deal with the qualities EFL has with non-native speakers, what significant scientific contribution EFL gives to the country (Algeria), and what the suggested approaches and methods the Algerian educational authorities make to enhance and work on English Language Teaching are.
ELT (English Language Teaching) in Algeria was denied and insignificant before the independence in comparison with French. Because the French language was taught in schools as a first language(L1) 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 L1 in the following quotation "the French, in Algeria, between 1830 and 1962, tried actively to suppress Arabic". The French influence resulted at many different levels, mainly the linguistic level.
The linguistic level 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.
Answering the questions given before, the Algerian educational leaders started to enhance and hold tightly EFL, and shifting from traditional methods to modern to say to the world that we are able, as a multilingual developing country, to learn EFL as a second Language as major and significant as French in our schools and university and then be present everywhere across the globe.
These challenges remind us about some debate on teaching EFL in developing countries as an insignificant contribution, by African designers, to knowledge and production. According to many writers, the emphasis on foreign languages like English (Graddol, 2006; Batibo, 2007) has been regarded as an insignificant contribution by African education policy makers to knowledge and production, but Phillipson (1996) observes, after independence, that those who were first responsible for making English official and developed are African leaders.
For instance, in Algeria, prior to independence and after the 1990s, a new revolution came to the surface. The government or the Algerian authorities started new relations with the USA and they attached little importance to English that was taught in the middle and high schools. Before, our EFL students had been studying English from the eight grade in the middle school to the third grade of the secondary school up to 2005. English language teaching and learning too, at that time, was catastrophic because of the lack of interest and many other factors such as economic, political, religious, educational, and so on.
According to some older generation teachers, the majority of pupils were not interested in learning English and even French because they focus their studies on mathematics, physics, life sciences and nature and other fields but not languages, i.e., their world was closed or limited to their social life. Moreover, the majority of teachers were not at all interested in the syllabus presented to them and they found it meaningless and boring. About the reasons behind the failure of these teachers, Bouhadiba (2002) states that under the old time-based teaching program, the learner were supposed to learn at the pace "imposed" by the teacher, the text-book, or the course itself. Bouhadiba also argues that the failure of a time-based teaching program, no matter where it is implemented (developing or more advanced societies), lies in the way the teacher that he or she moves on to the next lesson or the next unit to be within the limits of the scheduled teaching program unlike the competency-based approach.
Hence, the 1990s brought about many changes: "English was introduced as an optional second language as of 1992 and, in 1999, an increased awareness of the importance of education led to 6% of the country's expenditure being devoted to education" (see http://ezinearticles.com/?Teach-English-in-Algeria&id=3280135). It can be argued that the process of teaching and learning English as a foreign language has taken many steps to improve the way of acquiring and mastering this means for communication to become closer to joining the worldwide community. The question to be answered was how to make it efficient.
Because English has become the most dominant language, 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, and useful language among many European languages, many governments have adopted various policies that promote ELT and Algeria is no exception.
At present, English is considered as a foreign language that is offered as a required subject at all levels of university education. In order to understand and recognize that the efficiency of English language development in the Algerian educational system paves the way for learners to take part in the globalization, our government has made a huge effort to change the ELT policy and some changes were made in the 1990s.
Due to these facts of the current status 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 the 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 (Licence Master Doctorate) 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)
The quotation above makes us think many times of the processes of enhancing ELT to respond to the needs of those who are interested in English lingua franca ) currently. Thus the questions come in mind are as follows:
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 looking at EFL 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, grammar, vocabulary, and spelling all contribute to successful effective English communication.
The much attention we give to each skill is due to the teachers' input and learners' competence as well as their needs. In addition, teachers should know themselves who they are and how can be adjusted in the light of the current status of English in the world. Palmer focuses here on the consciousness towards his students and how strongly he wants to be close to the students. Parker Palmer (1998, p 2) emphasizes on the teacher's intention to see well his students; he must know himself before and when teaching his students. We can understand his illustration through the following quotation:
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. When I do not know myself, I cannot know my subject-not at the deepest levels of embodied, personal meaning. I will know it only abstractly, from a distance, a congeries of concepts as far removed from the world as I am from personal truth.
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 a 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 understanding 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.
Therefore , 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 7) and make English teaching and learning successful under the new system LMD. On the one hand, to achieve good results, EFL university teachers must be ready to change from traditional teacher to modern one 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 other hand, the changes made and brought to universities contribute to achieve success in teaching and learning languages. For instance, Sheena Gardner (2008), in his paper, believes in changes he states that "English language teachers have changed, or are changing, from a traditional approach to teaching formal grammar rules to a more communicative approach to teaching how to use grammar meaningfully in context."
We as EFL teacher agree on the principal of the changes at all kinds of levels particularly in higher education so as to have part in globalization. Interestingly, in Algeria there are changes towards teaching English more explicitly, and with more of a focus on form. Furthermore, to explore these changes the educators' 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.). For that reason, English language becomes, for EFL students, a dominant subject, an international language English' (Brutt-Griffler 2002) 'English as 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 improvement contribute 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 identifies 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 encounter 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 plays a major role in understanding the changes brought to the teaching and learning of English language.
Through our reading in some books concerning the use of technology in the classroom Robert J. Marzano (2007:3), in his book Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works, states that "Research indicates that technology's use in the classroom can have an additional positive influence on student learning when the learning goals are clearly articulated prior to the technology's use" (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007; Ringstaff & Kelley, 2002; Schacter, 1999)
Moreover, it is said that the impact of the technology's use 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.
It is good and interesting to say we admit technology's use to enhance learning and teaching in the classroom. We, as EFL teachers familiar with the use of technology in the classroom, agree on such point of view, but does it match with our LMD students : First , second and third year LMD student as well as Master 1 and 2 students (our case study) ; this is what we are going to approve during this investigation. From that fact, we make some questions to respond to those who are interested in the use of the ICTs. (See appendices)
To make this theory coincide with EFL classes let us see the use and the integration of ICT's use impact in the LMD system. Does ICT 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? Some of teachers 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 enhance the teaching and learning of English perfectly, but some teacher disagree on this point saying to as that student become so boring when using them in the classroom. (For more details see chapter 3)
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 must become important to reinforce and ensure the effectiveness of systems implementation such as LMD in higher education. The latter 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 5 years of teaching English under the new system LMD in the Algerian university particularly the University of Mostaganem as well as Didi Bel Abbes University, we have noticed changes in the attitudes of our students and teachers towards LMD system and the integration of ICT in the classroom. 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.
Our aim behind this study is to study whether there is a coherent coordination between both institutions: university and secondary. In addition, we try to respond to some questions were given by many about CBA and LMD such as: the relationship between LMD and CBA, LMD contribution to the CBA approach, ICT's use.
On the basis of what have been preceded, we are going to formulate the following hypotheses:
1. In relation to CBA, we would like to see whether the LMD system responds to the student's and teacher's needs in mastering English or no.
2. Curriculum development regarding the new implementation system such as LMD and CBA does fit the world demand in education.
3. The importance of the ICTs' use in LMD system to respond to the teachers' needs as well as to enhance foreign languages/ English.
The Chapters Outline
Our doctoral research revolves around four chapters.
The first chapter introduces our research methodology and how was our investigation undergone. The research methodology chapter will present to the reader a detailed overview of various methods and techniques we used in dealing with our corpus and collecting data.
The second chapter is to be devoted to the presentation of a broad review of the relevant literature relating to the fundamental basic and key concepts related to teaching and learning theories, and we will end up with some clarifications about what is curriculum as well as including the various systems that have been implemented in teaching languages such as LMD system and the CBA approach.
In chapter three, we will introduce our readers to both CBA (Competency Based Approach) and LMD (Licence-Master-Doctorate) as two new international educational systems applied and implemented in many developed and developing countries. The aim of this chapter is to help students and teachers alike understand what is CBA as an approach introduced to primary middle and secondary schools, what is LMD as an educational system and how are CBA and LMD interconnected as well as to highlight the effectiveness of ICT in higher education
Chapter Four is devoted to discussing the feedback of the participants and the results attained. By interpreting the answers of teachers and students and their responses, we were able to come to a set of conclusions that we present in the last section of this chapter that we entitle 'conclusions and recommendations'.
Through the general conclusion, we will have come to validate or invalidate our hypotheses that base primarily on LMD, its relation with CBA and the effectiveness of ICTs use for LMD teachers and learners. Thus our purpose, all through this study, is to establish a strong connection between LMD, CBA and the importance of the integration of new technologies, notably the ICTs, in our classes and lectures.