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Learning and Teaching in English: A Case Study of Higher Education in Libya

Khalid, KAA (2017) Learning and Teaching in English: A Case Study of Higher Education in Libya. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

Abstract This thesis focuses on the learning and use of English as a tool of instruction inside Libyan universities. The study begins with an investigation of the challenges that students and lecturers face in the learning and teaching of the language of English in higher education. In-depth qualitative research was carried out at Sebha University in the South of Libya, including individual and group interviews with staff and students. The thesis, in this respect, makes a particular contribution as it sets out the multiple and contradictory challenges that all parties experience. It seeks not to lay blame but, rather, to understand how the parties concerned understand the issues from their unique point of view. This element of the thesis shows up the major challenges in the teaching and learning of English in higher education in Libya. The second element of empirical work concerns how English is then employed as the language of transmission in a professional field – medicine. This second ‘layer’ of work, then, illustrates what happens when a language which is not the language of either the lecturers or the students is used to try to communicate and develop complex information and understandings. This second element of the work shows then how the challenges evident in the teaching and learning of English are carried into a professional field. The concept of ‘deep rote’ learning in extrapolated from the data. The reliance on rote learning in the teaching of English ‘translates’ into a deeper level of rote in the teaching and learning of Medicine, as lecturers and students alike struggle both with the language and the content of the material they are working with. This ‘deep rote’ is consolidated through social and cultural issues and the challenges associated with funding, resourcing and training of staff in Libyan Higher Education. Connections are made between the area of study and the personal experience of the researcher carrying out the study with a methodological reflection on the challenges faced by a student of this same system. To this end, 45 semi-structured interviews were conducted with staff and students from medicine and education departments at Sebha University, divided as follows: 21 semi-structured interviews with students and 24 semi-structured interviews with staff members. These interviews were followed by three focus groups with a particular focus on shedding light on the issues that the students raised in one-to-one interviews, including the main challenges they face when the lecturers use English as the medium of study instead of Arabic, their experiences of learning English, and the different methods that lecturers use in order to support students’ learning in different areas of study. Each group had five participants with two groups being made up entirely of young women. Grounded Theory was used as the theoretical approach to investigate the collected data. The author tried to put to one side any a priori assumptions about what he would find and used a systematic process of organising the data under themes and categories which were then related to each other. The main motivation for the use of this theory was that the findings gained can be valid and reliable in respect of representing real-world settings. In addition, the stories that are told through this approach are context-specific, detailed, and robustly connected to the data.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Learning, Teaching, English
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)
Divisions: School of Education
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2017 08:07
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2017 08:07
Supervisors: Frankham, J and Peiser, G
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6757

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