Such a process as globalization contributes to the development of various forms of education and the areas teachers like to enhance in their students. Bilingual education is not unique today, so millions of people want to know several languages, and English is one of the most frequent expectations. For example, many countries pay their close attention to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). In Saudi Arabia, the use of English is inevitable since the integration and cooperation between the west and the east (Alsulami, 2017). The growth of international business relationships cannot be neglected, and the knowledge of English is a requirement for many employees. In addition, Saudi Vision 2030 focuses on a better understanding of young Saudis’ expectations and promoting citizens’ strengths and capabilities as a new phase of social development (Thompson, 2017). Therefore, it is recommended to start improving TESOL at the elementary-prep stage and apply for various immersion programs. In this research project, the analysis of the effectiveness of incorporating programs for TESOL among elementary students in Saudi Arabia will be introduced in regard to the worth of bilingual education, 2030 vision, and local culture.
The importance of the project includes the progress in bilingual education worldwide and the necessity for Saudi Arabia teachers to improve their pedagogic approaches used in elementary schools. At this moment, Saudi education undergoes considerable changes to strengthen teacher professional collaboration, enhance positive shifts in teachers’ beliefs and practices, and predict ongoing tensions between participants (Ahmad et al., 2018). The implementation of new programs is a part of the system of education in the country, and many studies are developed to demonstrate what can be done using available resources. As a rule, researchers pay close attention to the role of school leaders and policymakers in meeting current challenges and limited practices in instructional leadership (Alnasser, 2019). Another aspect of education touches upon the low level of proficiency in English at secondary schools (Al-Hazmi et al., 2017). At the same time, the benefits of dual-language immersion programs for kindergarten students are frequently discussed in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia (Steele et al., 2017; Tindall-Ford et al., 2018). Parental involvement and the influence of teachers’ professionalism turn out to be the main aspects of analysis.
In this project, it is suggested to investigate the relationship between education and some cultural aspects promoted among the students of Saudi Arabian schools. Along with the works about the impact of English inclusion on the early stages of education, bilingualism was proved as an effective contribution to students’ development and progress (Aldosari & Alsultan, 2017). However, the lack of information about the effectiveness of immersion programs in Saudi education causes the emergence of new questions and concerns about the possibilities of modern teachers to cover the needs and expectations of families and young students. Therefore, this study explains the essence and benefits of immersion programs and underlines the significance of the Saudi context. Alsulami (2017) demonstrates the progress of immersion bilingual education in Saudi Arabia, but due to the fact that bilinguals were exposed to these programs for the first time, the proportion was partial. Although teaching English did not contribute to student knowledge development, partial immersion bilingual programs helped to cope with difficulties in learning English (Alsulami, 2017). Immersion programs can be developed in a variety of ways, and this project should detect the most effective ones.
In previous studies, the authors examined the development of TESOL educational policies on the basis of the already made achievements. For example, Picard (2019) discovered the connection between personal, technological, and cultural issues in Saudi education. This author created a solid basis for future studies, like this one, and proved the importance of engaging international partners to understand local culture and existing religious and social goals (Picard, 2019). This proposal should add to the current literature by discovering the role of the cultural background among students of elementary-prep schools. Alghamdi (2018) concluded that English-language learning could be effective if local culture is valued, and if students understand their potential contributions to the promotion of the globalized environment. Consequently, the influence of cultural knowledge on students’ skills in studying English as a second language might have a variety of characteristics, and this project helps to recognize the strongest positions.
In addition to the discussion of cultural aspects and the peculiarities of TESOL in Saudi Arabia, the originality of this proposal lies in the choice of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 vision and its integration to the system of education. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (n.d.). shares the vision of Crown Prince about the intention to promote the development of an exemplary and leading nation, touching upon the progress in all aspects. The educational sector is one of the areas where certain improvements are expected to be observed in terms of its domestic educational system and the gap between different educational platforms (Al-Ghamdi, 2019). The economic vision 2030 is a unique opportunity to achieve positive results in training teachers and discovering innovative ways for teaching students (Allmnakrah & Evers, 2019). It was reported that about SR193 billion was taken from the Kingdom’s budget in 2019 to support the educational sector (Al-Ghamdi, 2019). Taking into consideration the desire of the Saudi government to foster some changes, the idea to implement an immersion program as a part of a Vision 2030 plan has a number of reasonable grounds.
The importance of this project can be explained through the prism of the evaluation of several aspects that have an impact on students’ education. On the one hand, teachers must recognize the needs of students for TESOL and immersion programs, with their academic and educational benefits like the development of cognitive skills and support of language proficiency. Regarding the already established economic goals for the Kingdom, building a strong education system is required to promote new opportunities and cooperation (Vision 2030, n.d.). The chosen Vision 2030 context is beneficial for the current study because it also focuses on developing positive moral beliefs among students and teachers. Schools have to work with families and underline the worth of such issues as compassion, collaboration, persistence, and leadership (Vision 2030, n.d.). Parents should be involved in an education process through open discussion forums and understand what is expected from their children within a new TESOL immersion program. Early investments in learning will show positive results for young people’s jobs in the future. These aspects of Vision 2030 distinguish the study from other attempts to investigate TESOL programs in Saudi elementary-prep schools.
On the other hand, intercultural competency is a significant element of national development and employment. Some researchers believe that teaching Arab children other languages is a serious threat to Saudi traditions and cultures (Al-Ahari & Al-Naser, as cited in Aljohani, 2016). Still, one should remember that language is a cultural tool, and the promotion of shared understandings is a priority for modern educators. Aljohani (2016) underlines that the tendency of introducing second languages like English is new for Saudi primary schools, and the first governmental attempts to implement TESOL were made in 2005. Although certain benefits of learning a second language are observed, some parents stay cautious about immersion programs because they affect the proficiency in children’s first language and unpredictable effects on cultural background (Aljohani, 2016). Therefore, this study identifies Saudi cultural background as a critical factor in understanding the worth of immersion at the elementary level. The identification of culture plays an important role for Saudi families, and the effectiveness of TESOL depends on how well students, parents, and teachers can integrate new language and traditions with their native beliefs.
Taking into consideration the evaluation of current Saudi standards and norms and understanding the main aspects of Saudi Vision 2030, this study includes the relation between education, culture, and even economic benefits in the region. It is not enough to prove the necessity of new elementary programs for students and the education system. This project specifies the role of parents and their cooperation with students and teachers. Thus, the incorporation of immersion programs in TESOL at elementary-prep schools with respect to Saudi Vision 2030 and local cultures may be a challenging but feasible task.
The major problem is the lack of immersion programs in Saudi Arabian schools and the inability to understand its effectiveness for teachers, students, and country, in general. Today, Saudi Arabia demonstrates good results in the establishment of its economy, the progress of its political decisions, and the promotion of international relationships. The opportunities of the nation to start an oil price war impress and frighten its neighbors and partners (Obaid, 2020). Krane (2020) calls this war as a blunt tool to reestablish the conditions among other oil producers globally. However, it is high time for Saudi Arabia to stop comparing its leading positions in the oil industry only. The challenge is to find the transition between the already made achievements and the expected changes. The Saudi government takes multiple steps to represent the country as an oil leader, neglecting the basic needs of its people for progress in education. It is not necessary to neglect the possibility of developing new educational programs even if regular achievements are observed in other spheres. There is an obligation to facilitate life by providing additional sources of information and methods of teaching.
In modern Saudi Arabia, there is an ambiguous attitude toward education. On the one hand, monarchy requires the population to have an education, so children between 6 and 14 years should attend schools (Ponomareva, 2020). On the other hand, a college-level education is not an obligatory requirement, but the majority of Saudi society values its presence (Ponomareva, 2020). Due to the lack of information about immersion programs within the Saudi context, the achievements of other countries (the USA, the UK, or Australia) have to be taken into consideration. The problem is that many other countries have already implemented the offered programs and improve the quality of TESOL in elementary schools. The researchers from Saudi Arabia have to study the effects of bilingualism on students and teachers and use the ideas of foreign minds (as a part of Vision 2030) to discover the best aspects of TESOL in elementary schools.
Aims and Objectives
The goal of this research project is to investigate the area of bilingual education through the prism of Saudi Arabian culture and traditions and prove the effectiveness of immersion programs in TESOL at elementary-prep schools. To understand the basic elements of this work, it is important to differentiate between its expected aims and possible objectives. In addition to the already developed major goal, the aim of this study is to understand the distinctive characteristics of immersion programs and bilingual education in the Saudi context and focus on immersion precisely. The students of the elementary-prep schools are the children between 5 and 7 years. Their parents want to believe that elementary-prep teachers use the best techniques to develop the cognitive abilities of students in accordance with cultural and social norms. Therefore, immersion programs have to be assessed in terms of teachers’ knowledge, students’ skills, and parental involvement. In addition, the objectives of a future research project will include:
- the evaluation of current TESOL programs in Saudi Arabia to identify what elementary-prep schools have at the moment of the study;
- the analysis of Vision 2030 educational aspect to understand what expectations the Saudi government has in regards to the local education system and the role of all participants, including teachers, students, and parents;
- the identification of the connection between immersion programs and the development of student cognitive skills to clarify how students perceive current changes in their education and how parents treat the introduction of new languages;
- the assessment of bilingual education in Saudi Arabia through the prism of resources available to teachers, benefits experienced by students, and threats defined by parents or society;
- the evaluation of the cultural impact of the Saudi education system, including students’ proficiency in the first language, understanding native traditions, and following local communication standards.
In general, this work will help to contribute to the improvement of the quality of education in Saudi elementary-prep schools. Immersion programs cannot be ignored in today’s society because the development of international relationships turns out to be a significant part. People want to find common interests, languages, and possibilities to strengthen their business affairs. However, they cannot even grasp the fact that basic skills are established at such an early age as the time of their education at elementary schools. This project aims at preparing Saudi society for a new technique of education that includes bilingualism through immersion programs.
Properly developed research questions contribute to a better understanding and evaluation of the chosen topic. In this project, there will be one major research question based on the offered topic and several supplementary questions to create a plan for future work. The core idea for this work can be observed in the following question: “What are the effects of the incorporation of immersion programs in TESOL at Saudi elementary-prep schools?”. To answer this question, the researcher should properly identify the main concepts, distinguishing a number of supplementary questions. An approximate list of questions to be answered within this PhD project is as follows:
- What techniques can Saudi teachers use to implement immersion programs in elementary-prep schools?
- How do newly developed immersion programs distinguish from previous approaches to bilingual education?
- What is the process of implementation of immersion programs in elementary schools?
- How does Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030 contribute to its system of education?
- What do teachers, parents, and students know about TESOL programs in Saudi Arabia?
- What attitudes to immerse programs at elementary schools in Saudi Arabia do teachers, parents, and students develop?
- Do Saudi Arabian teachers use the examples of other countries to incorporate immersion programs in TESOL?
Background with Preliminary Literature Review
The application of immersion programs in Saudi Arabian schools is poorly researched in terms of its cultural significance and recent social changes. It is expected to focus on such themes as bilingual education in Saudi Arabia, elementary-prep school work, Saudi Arabian culture and traditions along with its 2030 vision, and the main characteristics of immersion programs. At this point, a number of peer-reviewed articles represent the results of the studies about immersion and bilingual education in different countries, including Saudi Arabia. However, the authors find it necessary to focus on the needs of students (or, due to the young age of students, their parents) and the resources available to teachers of elementary schools. Identifying English as a foreign language in Saudi Arabia, Alsulami (2017) explains immersion programs as a method to teach bilinguals that differs in terms of student age and the amount of time spent on immersion. To clarify the impact of immersion programs on TESOL, several aspects have to be identified, including bilingual education, immersion program implementation, elementary school demands, and the worth of vision 2030 in Saudi Arabia.
Defining Bilingual Education
Understanding the concept of bilingual education and the peculiarities that characterize its implementation is detrimental to the current research proposal. Bilingual education is defined as a language policy in education under which two languages are used as instruction mediums (Hurajová, 2016). With the help of bilingual education, students are expected to develop skills in comprehension in a second language regarding speaking, reading, writing, as well as listening and speaking. Moreover, it is also essential to combine new skills with first-language fluency. In the ideal scenario, students will be able to use the second language embedded into instruction to interact with others effectively, succeed academically, and improve their opportunities to study, live, and work in various locations globally (Hurajová, 2016). Therefore, bilingual education not only aids students in mastering and using two languages in their everyday life but also enhancing their knowledge and understanding of every culture (Aldosari & Alsultan, 2017). To facilitate effective bilingual education, researchers have recommended including effective intercultural communication in which the second language plays the role of both the means and the medium of learning and teaching. This way, bilingual education becomes an immersive experience that considers multiple dimensions of learning and interactions within the educational process, with the second language getting a more significant role than the subject of the study.
In this research, the focus is placed on the environment of elementary prep schools in the Saudi context, which means that the programs implemented will present a basis for students’ future learning in secondary schools as well as colleges and universities. There is a possibility to foster an environment in which second language learning will not only be celebrated but also used as a tool to facilitate the adjustment of Saudi schools to immersive learning programs. This way, students can be taught different subjects in both first and second languages, which will extend their competency beyond language instruction and facilitate multi-dimensional preparation.
Application in Arab Classrooms
The development of bilingual education in Saudi Arabia differs from the examples of other Gulf countries. Elyas and Picard (2019) explain this situation in the Middle East as an outcome of limited control of Europe in that region. For example, there was a low impact of colonization and missionary practices, and the rise of Islam provoked the lack of international experiences. Turkish was introduced by the Ottoman Empire in the 1500s, but the language of the Quran helped to identify all foreign languages as alien ideologies with no necessity to study them (Elyas & Picard, 2019). In the 20th century, the penetration of Wahhabism encouraged many citizens of Saudi Arabia to teach English, thus promoting the concept of bilingualism in the education system.
Within the next century, the importance of bilingual education continued growing, and modern students consider the presence of English as one of the evident outcomes of their progress. Children are educated in their native (Arab) language and a foreign (English) language to achieve a positive cognitive effect (Elbedour et al., 2019). The study developed by Bialystok (2018) shows that there are no measurable obstacles of bilingual education to children’s achievements, and, at the same time, there are no evident advantages. Therefore, the author defines it as a net benefit for both gifted children and students with disabilities (Bialystok, 2018). The promotion of international relationships and the possibility to enhance students’ knowledge of the language at an early stage strengthen the positions of bilingual education in Saudi Arabia.
Immersion learning is defined as the educational approach that teachers used by placing students directly into specific environments that are facilitative of learning. There have been multiple studies illustrating the benefits of immersion learning under the condition that students also get explicit instruction of the target information (Darling-Hammond et al., 2020). Immersion learning has been widely applied in the context of teaching and learning foreign languages. Within bilingual learning, immersion programs refer to techniques used in education within which two languages are used to facilitate instruction on different topics ranging from mathematics to literature.
While immersion learning is widely used for teaching foreign languages, it does not mean that students must be put in the environment of a foreign country to achieve success. It has become common in countries for foreign language immersion programs to be designed as traditional language classes being taught entirely in the target language (Al-Hazmi, 2017). For instance, UAE students learning English can experience immersion learning if the target language is the only one that is being used in the classroom for everything, ranging from peer conversations to topic discussions with the teacher.
Thus, immersion learning is among the fundamental methods emphasizing language use for the purposes of meaningful communication, namely, communicative language teaching. It is an effective way of learning a second language because students get immersed in using it throughout the day of teachings. A central characteristic of the method represents the teaching of a second language and in culture together without resorting to the use of the first language. As programs progress, students are also being taught materials not related to language, such as politics or history associated with the culture of the second language. This allows students to use their second language to learn the subject matter context in various forms of immersion learning programs without the target language being the focus of explicit instruction.
Application in Arab Classrooms
Immersion programs have been applied in Arab classrooms during the last several decades. The goal of immersion classes is to develop culturally competent students from 5 to 25 years of age (Suri, 2016). The knowledge of two or more languages is one of the expected skills of students in the 21st century. Immersions aim at preparing students to work in a bilingual environment and establish good employment opportunities in the future. In addition to using several languages in their communication, students gain a number of benefits in building new skills, becoming good team players, and staying goal-driven under any circumstances (Al-Hazmi, 2017). The creation of such programs in a classroom is characterized by the assessment of oral and written skills through listening and training (Alghamdi, 2018). Teachers must be ready to work hard with students, focusing on their personal knowledge and professional goals.
There are many beneficial aspects of immersion programs to be implemented in Arab classrooms. For example, Suri (2016) discovers that many incidental learning activities occur when teachers choose immersions for their programs. Students do not find it necessary to differentiate between learning processes and language acquisition when they are involved in such programs, and teachers develop activities that do not stand alone but become immersed (Aljohani, 2016). Speaking about the challenges of immersions, one should admit that any classroom and teacher who are involved in this process should find enough resources, choose an appropriate theory for assessment, and implement technologies (Suri, 2016). It is also recommended for parents to be involved in vital decisions of their children’s educational processes, but not all the families are eager to cooperate. Therefore, additional time, efforts, and knowledge have to be developed by teachers.
Immersion Programs vs. Bilingual Education
Regarding a significant growth of academic opportunities and social expectations, school systems continue their improvement in a variety of ways, including immersion, maintenance, and dual language (Alsulami, 2017). In Saudi Arabia, immersion and bilingual education are considered the main methods that cause interest among teachers and provoke a few concerns in society. Despite the fact these approaches are characterized by the same goal, learning English language through bilingual and immersion programs have a number of distinctive features.
Immersion implies learning a target language in an English-only classroom environment. Compared to bilingual education where teachers use both languages (the native one and the target one), immersion teachers avoid using a native language at all. The examples of French immersion programs showed little exposure to French but made fully bilingual students in a short period (Bialystok, 2016). In Canada, parents also supported immersion as a good opportunity for children to become bilinguals and obtain a number of necessary skills for the job market (Alsulami, 2017). Bilingual education may be of transitional (children study English and receive help in their native language and then use English language only) and maintenance types (children always use the native language and achieve fluency). Due to the impossibility to explain all the necessary material for young students using a foreign language only, partial (dual) immersion is highly promoted when English learners and speakers cooperate. Total immersion means 100% immersion of the foreign language (English), and partial immersion includes only 50% immersion of English (Alsulami, 2017). The main difference between immersion and bilingualism is a final version of communication in classrooms.
In the Saudi Arabian context, partial immersion is a preferred method of education for elementary school students. Alsulami (2017) admits that immersion bilingual education has already spread in Canada and some European countries like Spain and France. The author mentions the studies by Lambert and Tucker in 1972, Artigal in 1993, and Swain and Johnson in 1997 where the outcomes of immersion were discussed and proved as successful (as cited in Alsulami, 2017). Then, the skills of Saudi bilinguals were identified as limited in terms of English language. Students show high competence in Arabic because this language is common for multiple services, including health care, the Internet, and restaurants (Alsulami, 2017). Families expect their children not to pay much attention to English but respect their domestic traditions, culture, and religious beliefs. However, with time, parents realize the need of general development, including the knowledge of foreign languages. Saudi Arabia, as well as other countries of the Gulf region, supports the idea of integration to international relations and global trends (Aljohani, 2016). As a result, partial immersion of English in classroom becomes a necessary approach to the current system of education.
TESOL in Elementary Schools
The TESOL profession undergoes considerable changes at macro and micro levels in Saudi Arabia education regularly. During the last several years, the privileges of Western qualities become evident among Arab students, and teachers have to underline the worth of their cultural background in the classroom (Picard, 2019). Studies in TESOL are frequently developed among Saudi postgraduate students, neglecting the challenges that could occur in elementary-prep classrooms (Al-Hazmi, 2017). As a result, TESOL professionals have to improve their contextual knowledge and cultural preferences that can be embedded in the existing conservative norms of the Saudi style of learning (Ahmad et al., 2018). Students of elementary schools are exposed to multiple areas of influence, and the task of a teacher is to immerse them in the English language without neglecting their origins and local traditions.
The main idea of TESOL in Saudi Arabia is to provide students with certification in English and create appropriate conditions for teachers to educate children. However, according to Picard (2019), this direction in education is characterized by certain challenges. On the one hand, TESOL means recognition of English or American cultures that cannot be ignored in understanding the language. On the other hand, TESOL should never prevent learning Arabic values, including Saudi religious beliefs and social identities (Picard, 2019). Therefore, many Saudi schools face another task that is the choice of teachers for their TESOL programs. The study by Picard (2019) reveals that local Saudi teachers may be more effective for this position due to their background knowledge and understanding of new experiences. Cultural negotiation is a primary aspect of TESOL in Saudi Arabia because it helps avoid conflicts and move beyond familiarizing with new languages and traditions.
TESOL also promotes professional development and increase the qualification of local educators. For example, Ahmad et al. (2018) say that teachers are able to reshape their professional identity and improve their pedagogical content knowledge. Along with students, educators view themselves in new environments and define the required qualities through interaction and communication. TESOL is beneficial for students and teachers, which also influences parents and makes them re-evaluate their attitudes toward the introduction of new cultures. Within the frames of adequate TESOL programs, Saudi students get access to the necessary knowledge and experience new emotions together with their parents and teachers. Respect for diversity, human development, and respect for traditions are the elements of TESOL education that prove the importance of immersion programs in Saudi schools.
Vision 2030 and Its Relation to Saudi Arabia Education
In the majority of cases, the establishment of national visions is a task for governments. The country’s leader estimates the current situation and investigates available opportunities after the analysis developed by expert teams is studied. In Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman announced Vision 2030 in 2016 and underlined the importance of improving the education sector (Al-Ghamdi, 2019). The idea is to promote the transition of the Saudi economy away from oil revenues and focus on foreign investments (Patalong, 2016). Modern curriculums include some new standards in students’ literacy and character development in private sectors and in future job markets (Patalong, 2016). The progress of Saudi Arabia is closely related to international relationships that the country develops with other nations, and the knowledge of the foreign language (English, in particular) is a good chance to prepare students for their contributions and achievements.
At this moment, the primary research method for this project includes the review of the literature and conceptual modeling. In the previous section, a preliminary literature review was introduced to demonstrate what has already been studies in the area of bilingual education and the application of immersion programs. Some studies contain information about the changes in Saudi Arabia and its education system. Still, the lack of evidence within the chosen context cannot be ignored. Other countries, like Canada, the UK, the USA, and Australia, have higher ratings if immersive bilingual education compared to the schools in the Gulf region. Therefore, the review will help to identify the Saudi background and readiness for the implementation of new immersion programs, with special attention to Saudi Vision 2030. As soon as the conceptual framework is developed, and the background knowledge is identified, the effectiveness of TESOL at Saudi Arabian schools with immersion problems can be evaluated on the basis of personal answers and opinions.
To determine the level of effectiveness of immersion learning in TESOL in Saudi Arabian schools, a survey will be administered to teachers and students’ parents. Because of the primary education context, it becomes complex to involve students as survey respondents due to consent issues as well as the limitations associated with their younger age. Surveying students is also not the best decision because the process can confused by it and get nervous, not giving reliable answers. The questionnaire will include a set of specific questions following a set scheme to collect data about the topic of immersion learning effectiveness. To facilitate better response rates in the survey, it will be administered in a standardized way, which means that all respondents will have the same way to respondents. This specific data collection method was chosen because of its uniformity, as all respondents will be exposed to the same questions. The technique is less costly to carry out as compared to interviews and allows to include a larger sample size. It is also free of bias o the part of the researcher because respondents are the ones providing feedback on the issue in question. Informed consent is required to explain the conditions of the survey, responsibilities, and deadlines.
To facilitate a high degree of research findings’ representativeness, simple random sampling will be used. Within the approach to participant selection, every member of the target population has an equal chance of being included in the study. Convenience sampling can be used as a last-resort method if the random sampling technique does not provide the needed number of participants or some of them refuse to participate. Initially, the researcher will assign random numbers to Saudi Arabian schools that implement immersion learning programs and use randomization software to identify the institutions to serve as backgrounds for research. Second, immersion and bilingual learning teachers will be randomly selected using the same method. Third, the parents of students participating in immersion and bilingual learning programs will be chosen randomly. If random sampling does not give the desired number of participants, convenience sampling will be used. It entails including participants who are readily available to the researcher and who are willing to engage in the survey.
The survey will be carried out online, with questions sent to each participant via e-mail or other appropriate social media services. Regarding the access to several academic facilities, it is expected to invite at least ten teachers and at least 40 students’ parents and at least 20 parents. These numbers should be enough for the researcher to implement cross-tabulation analysis. Teachers will share their readiness for implementation of a new immersion program and reflect on their students’ progress in studying the second language, while parents will define their expectations and concerns about adding a new language on such definite terms. Specific statistical software (SPSS) will be used for data analysis.
The surveys will include a set of standardized questions that participants will answer with yes/no or assign a scale of agreement with the statement based on the Likert-scale questionnaire format. When it comes to questions intended for teachers, it is necessary to gain an understanding of their perspective of t immersion learning in a TESOL program and determine how they view the attitudes and behaviors of their students within the educational process. Because teachers are the ones interacting with students regularly within the immersion learning program, they can answer questions from both perspectives. Examples of questionnaire questions administered to teachers are the following:
- Do you think students are ready to study English as a part of a TESOL program?
- Does your facility have enough resources to promote extensive English education?
- Do you think foreign teachers should be invited to participate in a new immersion program?
- Is it necessary for local teachers to improve their English proficiency to be more successful in facilitating students’ second language learning?
- Do you believe that immersion programs improve student job opportunities in the future?
- Are there significant barriers to the successful implementation of a TESOL program at your educational institution? If yes, name two barriers.
- How do you agree with the statement that the current curriculums are inadequately prepared to facilitate comprehensive immersion learning instruction? (Strongly Disagree/Disagree/Agree/Strongly Agree).
- How do you agree with the statement that higher immersion levels can lead to higher levels of language proficiency in English? (Strongly Disagree/Disagree/Agree/Strongly Agree)
- Do you observe an overall positive attitude among students when they are learning in the immersive context?
- Is there a significant gap in performance between the highest- and the lowest-performing students studying in the immersive environment?
Surveying parents is expected to offer a comprehensive view of immersive learning programs in TESOL because their perspectives can shed light on students’ preparation outside the educational setting. Because surveying primary school students presents a challenge in terms of consent and research reliability, parents represent a connecting link between students’ individual perspectives and their attitudes toward learning in the immersion learning context. The following are the questions to be addressed to parents:
- How do you agree with the statement that English language learning is essential for personal and educational development of your child/children? (Strongly Disagree/Disagree/Agree/Strongly Agree)
- Are you concerned about the possible impact of English-related cultures on Saudi students?
- Do you think that learning English may change the beliefs and attitudes of Saudi students toward their native language or culture?
- Have you observed a negative attitude of your child/children toward studying English in the immersive context?
- Have you observed a positive attitude of your child/children toward studying English in the immersive context?
- How do you agree with the statement that the school is responsible for preparing your child for personal and professional development in multiple disciplines, with language being at the forefront? (Strongly Disagree/Disagree/Agree/Strongly Agree)
- Have you observed an improvement in your child/children’s English language acquisition after the implementation of an immersive learning program in the classroom?
- Are there any barriers in your education or knowledge that do not allow you to support your child/children throughout their English language learning in immersive contexts?
These questions are necessary to understand if Saudi society is ready for immersive instruction to improve the teaching and learning of English as the second language. The survey questions administered to teachers and students’ parents are expected to show whether immersive learning can be accepted in the Saudi educational context. The data acquired from teachers’ and parents’ surveys will be analyzed with the help of cross-tabulation. This data analysis method is the most widely used for quantitative data analysis and uses a basic tabular form for making inferences between various datasets in a study. It also includes data that is mutually exclusive or interconnected. Besides, the Chi-square statistic will be used for testing the statistical significance of the cross-tabulation table. It is necessary for determining the dependency of variables; if the variables have no relationships, the results of the statistical test will be considered non-significant.
The investigation of the effectiveness of immersion program implementation in TESOL at elementary-prep schools in Saudi Arabia turns out to be a significant contribution to national growth. Vision 2030 proves the desire of the government to improve the existing system of education and take a step from oil-related benefits to positive changes in the education sector. Therefore, the current proposal acts as a step forward in the direction of improved preparation of Saudi students toward their educational and professional development in the future. Besides, it is necessary to close the gap in research regarding the implementation of immersion learning in TESOL at Saudi Arabian educational institutions. While there is abundant research on the topic of immersion learning in the US or Canada, and even though the need for better ELL was identified in the Saudi context, there is limited evidence to illustrate how the program impacts students in Saudi Arabia.
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