problems faced by English teachers in Kuwait

Kuwait is a small country that was established in the 18th century. The country had resources that allowed its residents to fish and even find pearls that made it the hub of pearl export to countries that were near like Iraq and as far away as Africa (Almubayei, 2010). Due to the trade, the country grew to a trading center for western countries and thus, many cultures developed. Due to the need to communicate during trade, there was a need for the local Arabian residents to learn more than one language for the sake of commerce with Swahili and Indian peoples.
The same context is applicable in contemporary society where Kuwait is forced to learn English so that there can be communication and connection to other developed countries in the western. According to Almubayei (2010), the rapid growth that the country has is associated with the oil deposits that were discovered. However, there has been the need to replace the oil trade with other sustainable means to ensure that the country is productive without relying on the few resources that it has. Thus the money that the country got from the trade had to be reinvested into education and in improving the infrastructure of the country (Al-Rubaie, 2010). For instance, the lack of taxes for residents and free health and education services has propelled the country to great heights due to the policies it has. The result of the country’s dealings with other countries is the exposure it got with other countries, including Anglophone countries.

Kuwait’s exposure due to the wealth

The exposure that Kuwait got due to the wealth that it had it blend with other Western countries and as result, new ideologies and ethics. There was a need to change form the usual Islamic education systems to more formal education that merchants had encountered as they traded. By 1911, this had been achieved in Kuwait (Al-Rubaie, 2010). The first encounter of Kuwait with English was through the British East India Company that dealt with the oil trade and thus the beginning of English vocabulary used in the oil trade. English was thus the main foreign language that would tell the world what the country required.
The English language had suddenly gained importance in Kuwait. In recent times, globalization has made it necessary for the country to include the learning of the English language in the curriculum of the learners. Though there are many positive effects of the use of the English language in Kuwait, the learning process has been affected by a number of challenges that the Kuwait pedagogy tries to identify for elimination. English teachers in Kuwait, especially at the intermediate level where there is the introduction of English have had more than a few challenges, in the introduction of a new language. Since it is known that learning a new language is easier for learners who are young, then the intermediate level is the best level to introduce a new language.

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The requirement of English speakers

According to Kachru (1990), the need for English in Kuwait has come out of the need to compete with other countries economically and which requires that the participants be English speakers. The new world order also places the pressure on the government to allow the English language to be taught in schools from early ages and at the intermediate level. The Iraqi invasion of 1990 made English a necessity as people had to use the language to survive in the international market (Karmani, 2006). There was sudden light that was shed on Arab speaking countries. Kuwait felt that it had to learn English as a way to communicate with the rest of the world to express the feelings of the attacks and listen to others opinions on the same. The shift is what allowed a change in the education systems of the Kuwait state. The 9/11 attack led to Islam radicalization thus the Muslim countries united against it. Some people were opposed to learning the “western language” due to the radicalization while others felt that to understand the western influence it was prudent to learn English. This attitude has created a gap in the joining of the cultures and the integration of Anglophone countries and Islamic cultures in the world as most Muslim speaking countries saw the English language as going against their culture.

Understanding the teaching of the English language

The teaching of the English language can only be understood by considering global English as the language is gaining ground in Anglophone countries. Both the UK and the USA that use the language as their backbone and mother tongue are the hubs of many nationalities. The global role of English is thus evidenced in new media, policy-making and language education. One of the issues in the teaching of English is the quality of training education that the English language teachers get. Since the training does not address the cultural implication s of English on the Kuwait teachers, it seems inadequate (Kachru, 1990).
1.1 The intermediate stage
According to Nunan and Carter, (2001) the intermediate stage on which this paper is based requires that learners should be communicative in the use of the English language. Thus the approach in teaching the English language is mostly communicative and audio-lingual. Though it, maybe impossible to achieve near-native proficiency in the language it is expected that learners in this level should confidently speak in English. They are independent at this level thus the mastery of the language is expected by the curriculum. The textbooks that are mostly used, the Target English series, ensure that the curriculum is the one designed by the ministry of education (Nunan and Carter, 2001). Naturally, confidence in a language ensures that students can express their opinions in the language thus the competent methods used are oral tasks and dialogue. According to Van der Walt (2013), the intermediate level creates a sort of self-motivation in the English language but does not link to their subjects. The result is that learners are left confused about the local use in learning of English.
1:2 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to investigate the problems faced by English teachers in Kuwait intermediate schools.

1:3 Research Objectives
1. To critically assess the perceptions of the English teachers about the problems they are facing in the teaching of English to intermediate children?
2. To assess the challenges faced by English teachers in Kuwait intermediate schools.
3. To establish the relationship between globalization and learning of the English language in Kuwait.

1:4 Research Question
1. What are the perceptions of the English teachers about the problems they are facing in the teaching of English to intermediate children?
2. What are the challenges faced by English teachers in Kuwait intermediate schools?
3. What is the relationship between globalization and learning of the English language in Kuwait?
1:5 Justification for the Study
In Kuwait, there has been the introduction of languages in intermediate schools, especially English. The teaching of English in such schools is due to government efforts to keep up with globalization needs and the need to communicate with western countries that do well in the world. Since English speaking countries are among the world’s wealthiest and the most affluent, Kuwait identified a need to introduce English to its curriculum so that learners can communicate and interact with the western culture. Johnstone (2009) says that there are several reasons why Kuwait preferred English over other foreign languages at an early level. The first one is the assumption that it is advantageous to being learning new languages early. On the other hand, economic liberalization has led to the widespread usage of English and many states believe that it is important to have an English speaking workforce in order to compete. Besides, parents want their children to learn English so that they can benefit from the new world orders hence continue to put pressure on the government to introduce English to younger children. A study into this topic will be significant in helping unearth and evaluate some of the challenges faced by teachers of English in Kuwait with the view of seeking possible solutions to enhance better learning and teaching of English in the country. The study will identify the problems and thus form a strong basis for decision making in future geared at improving English learning and teaching in Kuwait.

2.0 Chapter 2 : Literature Review
According to Pennycook (2017), the current training that teachers of English are getting does not address the impact of the spread of English. The ELT curriculum especially does not equip the graduate teachers with enough learning opportunities that can sustain them in a globalization age. For instance, the methods used by the Kuwait trainers are long outdated and cannot be compared to the current methods that English speaking countries use. The use of lectures and teacher-oriented teaching methods cannot be relied on to properly equip the teacher in an environment that is rapidly changing. Today, training of language teachers is highly dependent on the abilities of the teacher and their talents (Pennycook (2017). The result of outdated methods in training of English teachers will thus, in turn, affect the quality of language that is passed on to the children at the primary level. For instance, socio-linguistics is largely used in globalization, therefore, there is need to sensitize learners on the current trends (Kachru & Nelson, 2001). The current training curriculum does not address the links that exist between the local, global and Anglophone contexts.
Karmani (2005) argues that the outdated and conservative training methods, lack of support from the government and the outdated learning environments are the biggest problem for the Kuwait teachers at the primary level. He adds that for there to be quality education in the teaching of the English language there is need to train bilingual Arabic-English speaking educators who can be involved in policymaking as they are better placed to know the challenges that they have (Karmani, 2005).
According to Abi-Mershed (2009), the inequalities between the quality of education in western countries and the local consumers can threaten to take over Kuwait’s intellectual traditions. There thus needs to have an output form Arab scholars on the challenges that the teaching of English has. Due to the challenges, marrying the Arab and English cultures can only be achieved through competent language teachers. Clarke, Ramanathan and Morgan, 2007 comment that the delivery of content is not important to the curriculum as much as awareness of how the trainees think and evolve in their disciplines. It is thus important to engage the language trainees in critical thinking which allows a rich experience for the teachers and they thus become productive. As earlier noted by Almodaires (2009), Kuwait’s curriculum is linked to poor teacher training. According to Canagarajah (2006), language should be taught as social practice and thus be effect oriented. Through continuous practice, the trainee teacher is able to maintain professionalism in learning and thus in their teaching. Troudi (2005), insists that having a conscious action-oriented ideology when training the teachers is what leads to change.
The Kuwait case is different from other Arabic speaking countries ore so because many people are of mixed nationalities, therefore many people speak as many as three languages or more. This means that such people can switch through several cultural contexts that lead to several realities. The case is the same for all Kuwaitis that with globalization, there is no escaping from western influence. Diversity is therefore important without having to lose ones culture (Holliday, 2006). In order for there to be harmony between Arabic and English language, there is a need to view people as complex beings who are individually different therefore with different needs and not stereotypical beings. In light of this the challenge of training teachers should consider cultural diversity if the method of training is to be considered contemporary and up to date (Holliday, 2006).
The other problem that ails the Kuwait teachers at the intermediate level is the few types of research there are on the challenges that are present in the country. Some of the research that is missing is the connection between globalization and the teacher training of English teachers. Another valid topic would be on whether the current workforce can rely on the teaching resources that the country currently has(Burney et al., 2013). The resources may not be enough to train teachers that would be expected to train young learners and allow Kuwait to integrate with other English speaking countries.
The intermediate level of education in Kuwait had four levels of study and was meant to develop the student’s developmental and psychological needs. The traditional levels thus changed to five in primary and four in intermediate level (Burney et al., 2013). At the time the students did not have the ability to use English academically thus the introduction of English at the first year of primary school. Then it was later expanded to other levels by 2009 (Burney et al., 2013). In comparison to public-funded schools, privately funded schools, on the other hand, had a lot of resources that was spent on land and free textbooks for all learners. The learners in these institutions did not suffer the acute shortage of resources that public schools had. They, however, both had Arab teachers that taught English as a foreign language. There were also high academic standards, professional teachers and extensive learning of the English language that ensures job placement in Kuwait(Al Sharekh, 2017)).
Today the large numbers of students enrolled in private schools have risen due to the challenges encountered in the public schools, even though there are high school fees. Even further, some parents take their children to school abroad where it is less expensive and the institutions operate in English. The structure of the curriculum in these schools is independent from the government and thus include co-curriculum activities, co-educational policies, can use their preferred language and have their preferred curriculum(Al Sharekh, 2017). However, both public and private schools are required to have Islamic studies and Arabic language to the Kuwait residents who attend the school. Other commonalities are the hours of learning and common exams for Arabic students.
According to Nunan and David (1988 ), the problem of few teacher training institutions provides a major setback for the learning of the English language. For instance, the KU College of Education was the only institution that trained teachers in the English language. Thus it led to the shortage of teachers and lowering the quality of English learning as it led to the recruitment of teachers that had basic education in English and not experts in teaching the English language. The situation only improved from 2003 when other training institutions cropped up.
The attitude of the trainee teachers is also wanting as most believe that to master the English language they must have had an encounter with it in countries that speak in English, or if their parents have lived in such countries (Mohammad, 2008). The Kuwait student, in general, lacks the confidence to speak in English since they have had to work hard at grasping the concept. It does not come naturally to them mostly due to lack of exposure to native speakers of the language. The fact that most English teachers are Kuwait nationals teaching English makes the student being taught to suffer the L1 interference and thus lack the confidence to speak it. The answer lies in having at least some native speakers during the training of the teachers in the teaching of the Kuwait student so that there is exposure of the language used in a natural setting and not just classroom environment (Mohammad, 2008). The result of lack of exposure is that students have a warped view about accents and pronunciation of English words. Their teachers are not also well versed on the same as they lack exposure.
It is important for the government to only borrow aspects of native speakers but adopting the policies of the western countries may prove to be a problem (Holliday, 2009). For instance, the teacher training system that Kuwait has was borrowed from other western countries as they were deemed to be superior to Kuwait policymakers. The policies were not downsized to suit the local concepts of the Kuwait language needs thus the many shortcomings that the system has. First, the system was too simple to suit the complexities of the Kuwait culture of bilingualism (Bashshur, 2010). It also evaluated students according to other standards of the western countries yet Kuwait citizens were unique due to their multiculturalism. The fact that some texts are also borrowed from the Anglophone countries yet the methods used to teach do not encourage active roles in learning like in the western countries. Due to that, the student in Kuwait is expected to learn purely from the teacher and not from curiosity to find out things and experience, play with a language (Bashshur, 2010).

Kuwait has given globalization a chance by agreeing to participate in various international la competitions. There has also been the establishment of foreign companies in Kuwait showing the need that Kuwait has towards embracing the English language(Al-Rubaie, 2010). The fact that the Kuwait youth has in recent times been using some English words shows the hybridization of the youth, thus it is proof of multiple cultures present in Kuwait. With this in mind, there is a promise of necessary research in English language learning that is yet to be exploited by the scholars and which can offer necessary solutions for the challenges in English language learning.

3.0 References

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