A qualitative study on problems in speaking English as L3 : The case of Arab immigrants in Sweden

University essay from Mälardalens högskola/Akademin för utbildning, kultur och kommunikation

Abstract: This study aims to identify the problems faced by Arab immigrant students when learning English as a third language (L3) in Sweden. The paper explores the views of non-native English-speaking students and teachers in adult education, about the speaking issues of Arab immigrant students in particular, by identifying the factors that result in the emergence and development of these problems. To achieve these objectives, I utilized a qualitative approach, using semi-structured interviews. While five of the interviews were face-to-face, one teacher answered the questions by email. The results indicate that the speaking difficulties are encountered due to similarities between Swedish and English words, weak linguistic skills (in phonetics, phonology, morphology and/or syntax) and weak speaking and writing skills due to inadequate practice. The findings from the analyses also indicate that the types of teaching methods and the differences between the cultures of the countries (i.e., Swedish and Arabic speaking countries) are the most prominent factors that affect the learning of English as L3 for Arab immigrants in Sweden. To improve students’ speaking skills in English, the participants proposed a number of suggestions, including providing more lessons and activities in English. Furthermore, they suggested that English teachers should communicate only in English with their students and should have proper training. Based on the findings of the study, recommendations for policy changes will be provided.  

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