Supporting Low-achieving EFL Learners: Expectations, Procedure and Significance of Remedial Sessions at a Saudi University

Fatimah M A Alghamdi, Ozma Siddiqui

Abstract


This study reports on and investigates an institutionalized remedial approach held by an English language institute (ELI) at a Saudi University in order to support foundation year struggling students who often achieve low grades or fail to pass a certain level of the English language program. The study utilizes semi-structured interviews to address three issues: (1) Screening for low-achieving learners; (2) Remedial sessions’ procedure and significance; (3) Learners’ attitudes and conduct during remedial sessions. Thematic analysis of interviews with teachers shows that time limitation and lack of logistical structure lower the effectiveness of remedial sessions in terms of numbers of supported learners and the remedial procedure itself. It was also found that class teachers’ role is often lacking in this case-study. Low-achieving learners are rarely referred by their teachers, but instead come on their own to seek support. However, this optional nature of the process resulted in remedial sessions receiving learners who are self-motivated, have positive attitude, and exhibit different classroom conduct than students in the mainstream classes. Furthermore, the analysis yields other findings related to the usefulness and significance of remedial intervention. Learners were found to seek remedial support for two main reasons: supportive environment and simplified instruction. Much of this can be addressed in regular classrooms. The study concludes with other implications for remedial sessions’ logistics and practices, as well as for the teaching/learning process of low-achievers.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v4i12.2028

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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