The first school that I visited during my session was an all-female national school in Saudi Arabia. The Al Shams School educational system consists of its K-5 classes. Since the capital city of Riyadh is melting pot for diverse nationalities, the students’ population consists of Saudi and other Arab learners such as Jordanian, Yemeni, as well as Syrian, Armenian, Indian, Pakistani, Nigerian, Thai and Western learners. There are usually 900 students enrolled per year with approximately 120 teaching staff. The classrooms are split into two groups; A and B classes. According to my observations of the school environment, the A classes are only for Arab learners while the B is for native speakers of English as well as other languages. The student- teacher ratio according to the headmistress is about 30 students to 2 teachers; one being the homeroom educator while the other is an assistant teacher.
The second school that will be discussed is the Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University and School. The university has a private school as well as nursery for the children of English language teachers whose first language is not English and would like their children to learn English from different native speakers. Student enrollment depends on the amounts of English educators the school hires. The grades levels are from 5-12 and the student population is approximately 2000-2500 students per year. So the maximum number of students they might have is thirty-five to forty students in one classroom. The director of the school also informed me that there are 400 teachers in total for subjects such as English, science, history, religion, physical and health education, Arabic and math. The lessons are for two hour sessions that last for an hour and forty-five minutes with a 20 minute break in between. So the morning sessions will start at 8 and then end at 9:45 while the midmorning sessions will be from 10:30 to 12:15. The educators’ teaching hours consist of teaching 20 to 30 hours a week. The teaching staff consists of two co-teachers sharing two different classes. So one educator would teach half the contents and then switch the groups of students at the end of her lessons while the other would complete the remaining subjects
What are the most important issues you currently face in ensuring all students achieve their potential?
During the interview, the teacher made some interesting comments about the large majority of learners who have maids as well as helpers as part of their household. In the Gulf, almost all household have a maid and so part of the educational culture in Saudi is to have the workers complete the students’ assignments. There are even students who bring their nannies to the school and have them carry their bags for them around the school. So the biggest issue the educators face is a lack of an intrinsic factor for students to achieve their potential individually. Another factor that educators face in the school environment is students’ usage of cell phones and electronic devices in the classrooms while they are required to complete group work as well as pair work. The most prominent issue in the schools is the fact that local students have a streak of behavioral management issues as stated by both educators. For example, in Al Shams School and PNUS, Mrs. Shamma as well as Ms. Frank have both observed a rise in Saudi students’ aggressive behavior towards other non-Saudi students as well as teachers. An article by Press TV (2010) affirms that the amount of brutality of students within Saudi schools is becoming a sprouting problem. Ms. Frank also speculated on the reasons for this increase in violence. Last year as she stated, drug use among the students has been on the up raise. According to Mohammed Al-Shibani Al-Bilad (2013) writer for the Saudi Gazette, a female se