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Experts gather in Jeddah to discuss key role of English language teaching

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Experts gather in Jeddah to discuss key role of English language teaching

JEDDAH: More than 900 educators attended a two-day conference dedicated to the latest ideas and developments in the teaching of English.

King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) President Abdulrahman Al-Youbi opened the English Language Institute (ELI) symposium, titled “New Perspectives in English Language Teaching” (ELT), at the King Faisal Convention Center in Jeddah.

Al-Youbi emphasized that the developmental theme of the symposium places ELI’s teaching and methodological procedures on the threshold of the latest theories of teaching in general and ELT in particular, which will help contribute to the achievement of the goals of the institute and the university, and in turn to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. AN Jeddah

Al-Youbi then received from ELI Dean Abdullah Al-Bargi a certificate granted to the institute this year by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) for 10-year full accreditation. The CEA had in 2013 granted ELI five-year academic accreditation.

Al-Bargi pointed out that the symposium aimed to help develop English-language learning through the exchange of international and local expertise, skills and knowledge to cope with fast-paced global changes, to achieve ambitions, and to bridge any gaps in research and knowledge.

“These major changes necessarily require continuous and sustainable development for the foundations and practices of ELT and learning,” Al-Bargi added.

The symposium featured 32 sessions, eight of which were main events led by invited speakers. In addition, there were 16 concurrent sessions and eight workshops.

The event concluded with a panel discussion moderated by Al-Bargi, who said it was incumbent on everyone present to play their part in supporting the aims and achievement of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which he described as being “very ambitious, yet achievable.”

The panel agreed that English-language proficiency in the workforce will be pivotal in achieving the aim of a thriving economy, and that many Saudi ELT programs were indifferent to local labor-market needs and should be aligned with their requirements to provide upward economic momentum.

They agreed that research and teaching practices need to be localized and rely more heavily on “blended learning” and the use of technology to increase the positive effects. More training for teachers and increased opportunities for continuing professional development were also considered important.

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