Al-adah, Laila Mohammad Salem (2008) The Experience Of Arab University Medical Students Whose Main Subjects Are Taught In English. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The study is about the experience of Arab University students whose main
subjects are taught in English. It investigates and discusses many English language
problems in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in teaching, learning and studying
medicine, pure science and technical English.

In general, Arab learners of the English language encounter problems in the
four skills of the English language, in speaking, writing, reading and listening. They
also show weaknesses in many aspects of the English language such as vocabulary,
grammar, pronunciation, spelling, morphology and syntax. The question is how these
language difficulties affect their studies in medicine. The initial hypothesis was that
all depended on the students’ facility in English, but this turned out not to be the case.

The research started with the analysis of students’ written replies to
questions. This was followed by the development of a questionnaire distributed to 736
medical students. This explored various factors in relation to their success in exams to
find out which factors might be significant.

There were few correlations between success in medical exams and previous
encounters with the English language. The one correlation between the test results and
the questionnaire findings was not the uses of and familiarity with English but the
parents’ background. The research therefore went on to explore, through interviews,
and analysis of written statements, the students’ attitudes towards the teaching of
medicine in relation to the use of the English language.

It was found that the hypothesis of the importance of English as a prerequisite
for success was not borne out. What was discovered was the students’ pragmatic
attitude towards their study and that what they thought they needed as medical
practitioners depended on a kind of secondary technical vocabulary.

The research discusses some of the effects of learning and teaching theories
and their relationship to the process of the education system. Whilst social
constructivism is held to be the ideal one to apply to the learning process, this
research demonstrated that behaviorism and rote learning still dominated the
experience of the students in their learning of medicine. Despite their continued
commitment to the ideals of learning English, the students took a pragmatic approach
to their studies, which consisted of a mixture of Arabic and English medical

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