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  • 21 Apr 2022 1:41 PM | Anonymous

    In the late evening of Wednesday April 20, Saudi TESOL introduced Professor Stephen Krashen to several hundred of its members who had gathered online for the opportunity to hear one of TESOL’s most accomplished and influential figures. In ELT as well as in the wider educational world, there are very few who are unfamiliar with the name Krashen, having learned of him through his frequent citations in articles, theses, and journals. Even his face is well-known to educators as it has appeared so many times on the back cover of resource books that he has authored. But this was not a staid academic who took his valuable time to meet with Saudi TESOL. The well-known intellectual greeted his audience warmly and showed himself to be a sincere, charismatic gentleman, who welcomed them into his home on a bright and beautiful early southern California afternoon. 

    From the start, the event promised to be special. Professor Krashen’s lecture centered on the strong correlation between the acquisition of language and self-selected reading of graded well-written fiction. In an academic presentation, all very underpinned by rigorous research, the speaker chose to illustrate his points through colorful storytelling, revealing fascinating and often humorous scenarios in his day-to-day life on the west coast of America. 

    The introduction by Dr Abdullah Al-Bargi, the President of Saudi TESOL, placed Professor Krashen’s body of work alongside those of Chomsky, Skinner, Descartes, and the Ancient Greeks in terms of informing contemporary approaches to language learning and teaching. Eventually, Dr Al-Bargi explained how much of an influence the Professor had been to him personally in his academic life, which undoubtedly expressed the feelings of many others in attendance.

    After a brilliant synopsis of four of the five hypotheses for which he is best-known, Professor Krashen explored how his fourth or fifth language, Spanish, has improved dramatically in the past two years. He recounted how he meets once a week while grocery shopping with a Spanish speaker who works at the local supermarket. It seems both parties enjoy the conversations, but they are very brief as his conversational partner is in his workplace. He went on to reveal a love of graded Colombian popular fiction which consumed him during lockdown and which he now listens to in his car. It is this activity, he explained, and not the two minutes of conversation per week, that has led to the improvement in his Spanish skills. 

    The professor continued in this vein, making points which were research-based before illustrating the idea with warm, colorful anecdotes. Did you know Krashen was a big Harry Potter fan or once spent the entire night reading his son’s Spiderman comic book collection after he found the first to be utterly compelling? His son now has a PhD in mathematics, prompting his father to refer to him as “the real Dr Krashen”.

    Dr Turki Alsolami, who supports Dr Al-Bargi as the Vice-Presient of Saudi TESOL, had lined up questions from members in attendance which were put to Krashen in a chockfull 30 minutes of Q & A. Despite the impressive number of questions put to Krashen, Dr Alsolami expressed regret for not having the time to ask all of the audience’s questions. Those which Krashen fielded were noted as good questions by the professor, which only added to the affinity which had been growing throughout the session between the special guest and his audience. 

    Wrapping up the two-hour session, Dr Al-Bargi warmly expressed his sincere thanks to the speaker for giving so much of his valuable time to the members of the still nascent Saudi TESOL. Krashen’s response included the word “Habibi” which fully won over both the Saudi TESOL Board members, charming both them and the large online audience. 

    Finally, Dr Al-Bargi promised another giant in the field for the second session of this lecture series, fully in line with Saudi TESOL’s remit, “Talks by the World’s Most Prominent Scholars in Language Education”.

    Follow Saudi TESOL on Twitter @SaudiTESOL2030 to stay informed on this and other forthcoming events.

  • 17 Apr 2022 1:22 PM | Anonymous

    Professor Stephen Krashen, one of the world’s most influential figures in modern language learning, is scheduled to talk about the role of fiction in language learning on April 20 as part of a professional development event organized by Saudi TESOL. 

    The event marks the debut of the organization’s new initiative, “Saudi TESOL Lecture Series: Talks by the World’s Most Prominent Scholars in Language Education.”  

    Prof. Krashen, who received his PhD from UCLA in 1972, has published over 100 books and is well-known for his somewhat controversial theories on the differences between language learning and acquisition. His writings have been instrumental in transforming language teaching and research over the past five decades. 

    His scheduled presentation, The Power of Self-Selected Fiction, will focus on his hypothesis that the path to high levels of competence in language is through self-selected pleasure reading, specifically fiction. This, he argues, is the path of pleasure, not the path of pain.  The research strongly suggests that those who read more fiction not only acquire more language skills (vocabulary, grammar, spelling, writing style), they also know more about history, literature, science, and even practical matters. Fiction readers also appear to develop a deeper understanding of their fellow human beings.

    We invite all TESOL professionals and teachers to take advantage of this unique and important opportunity to learn from a linguistics legend how to transform their students into fiction readers and thus develop a greater understanding of others through the acquisition of new language skills. 

    For registration, click here

  • 10 Sep 2021 4:07 PM | Anonymous

    The Board of Saudi TESOL, the organization established in December 2020 at the English Language Institute at King Abdulaziz University, has announced the election of Dr.Abdullah Al-Bargi as the first president of the only TESOL association organized in Saudi Arabia and approved by the Ministry of Education.

    The election announcement came during the first meeting of the Board of Directors on Thursday, September 9, 2021 following a secure and anonymous voting process.

    Joining Dr. Al-Bargi in the newly elected Saudi TESOL leadership are Dr. Turki Alsolami, the organization’s first Vice President, Dr. Wafa Alotaibi, Saudi TESOL Secretary, and Dr. Bandar Al-Sobhi, Saudi TESOL Treasurer.

    In reaction to his election as President, Dr. Al-Bargi, remarked, “It is an honor to be elected the very first President of this very important organization and to be given the chance to lead Saudi TESOL in achieving its goals of putting English language instruction in Saudi Arabia on par with that of other nations. We already have world-class instructors, administrators, and researchers in the Kingdom and Saudi TESOL will call on its administrators and members to make TESOL instruction here the best in the world.”

    The Board oversees the general operations and strategic action plans of the growing organization, which aspires to be a professional hub for the development of exemplary English-language teaching and to offer networking opportunities for TESOL professionals inside and outside of the Kingdom. Saudi TESOL currently includes more than 2,300 TESOL professionals.

    Saudi TESOL is dedicated to becoming a conduit for elevating the quality of English language instruction across all education levels in the Kingdom. It is committed to performing research and organizing conferences and symposia to this end, as well as forming relationships with international TESOL bodies for the exchange of information and effective pedagogical practices.

  • 1 Jun 2021 12:10 PM | Anonymous

    Nine members were elected to serve on the very first Saudi TESOL Board of Directors following an exciting and fair election. The association members gathered on April 21, 2021 to elect nine out of 38 candidates during the second General Assembly Meeting of the Saudi TESOL Association. 

    Members were emailed a link in advance to review the nominees’ CVs, manifestos and ambitions for the Association before casting their votes electronically.

    The election process was conducted in complete adherence to the Governance System of the Saudi Scientific Association whose representatives at the King Abdulaziz University, which hosts Saudi TESOL, closely monitored the voting process.  

    Dr Abdullah Al-Bargi, Dean of the English Language Institute at King Abdulaziz University (KAU) won the majority of votes with a count of 248, followed by his Vice-Dean for Graduate Studies, Dr Turki Alsolami with a total of 154. Dr Mansour Almalki, from Taif University, and Dr Ali Alhoori, from the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, came third and fourth scoring 147 and 108 respectively. Dr Sahar Alzahrani, from Umm Alqura University, and Dr Bandar Alsobhi, from Jeddah Education Department, collected 97 and 87 respectively. KAU faculty members Ms Lubna Omer recorded 82 votes, Dr Nashwa Saaty garnered 79 and Dr Wafa Alotaibi with 69 votes collected the important remaining three seats. 


    Saudi TESOL would like to thank all its members who cast their votes in the election and wish the new Board members all the best in their three-year terms to serve the association. 

    With the election results of the Board of Directors announced, the work of the Saudi TESOL Founding Committee comes to an end as the new Board takes over responsibilities. 

    Saudi TESOL would like to extend its thanks and appreciation to Dr Abdullah Al-Bargi, Prof. Ibrahim Alqarni, Dr Mansour Almalki, Dr Hessa Aba Alala, and Dr Turki Alsolami for their considerable effort and tireless enthusiasm while running the association during its establishment phase.

  • 7 Apr 2021 12:04 PM | Anonymous

    April 7th saw the 3rd live digital occasion, ELT: Making Tangible Progress from Intangible Domains, put on by Saudi TESOL Education since its auspicious inauguration on December 10th last year.

    On December 23rd, Saudi TESOL’s 2nd event had a sharp focus on contemporary, regional ELT concerns, the potential solutions to which were unpacked in some detail by 3 guest speakers led by keynote Jason Anderson.

    With organizers keen to explore formats which best serve Saudi TESOL's context, Tangible Progress pulled back on the sharp focus of the previous event providing speakers the scope to present on their areas of expertise or personal interest. In further contrast to the preceding event, there were 8 guest speakers delivering 30-minute sessions with concluding Q&A windows. A resulting sense of pace seemed to fully-engage the ELT audience hailing from near and far. Also notable were the finale of concurrent webinars from 2 keynote guests sustaining the fascination of attendees all the way to the ambitious 8-hour program's closing remarks at 4:30 pm.

    Commencing punctually at 8:50 am, Dr Abdullah Al-Bargi, in his final duty as Chairman of the Saudi TESOL Founding Committee, opened by inclusively welcoming guests from all ELT sectors and contexts. He went on to outline the election of the Association's board of directors, to be held at midday. The 500 or so in attendance were further reliably informed by their host, also the Dean of the English Language Institute at KAU, that Saudi TESOL is the sole national TESOL association approved by the Ministry of Education in the Kingdom.

    Mr Peter Lucantoni (Professional Learning and Development Manager for Cambridge University Press and the first of many popular ELT authors among the guests) suggested session shapes for those branching out into training roles akin to the lesson shapes often supporting recently qualified teachers.

    Ms Lubna Omer, representing the ELI, illustrated how apps and software can add dynamism and personality to engage far-better those studying in Virtual Learning Environments in a very well received presentation.

    Dr Maha Al-Shahrani, Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Public Education and General Director of the Centre for English Language, delivered an informative study on Digital Teaching Platforms which was of particular interest to the many attendees employed in the public sector.

    Mr Michael King, Director of Exams at the British Council, explored online assessment in a detailed and measured session whose title was inspired by Beckett's thoughts; "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail Again. Fail better"

    At midday, the launch of the election of the association's board of directors was hosted by Dr Ma'an Khayat. Saudi TESOL members studied the credentials of candidates before casting the first votes in the electoral process.

    Following lunch, Ms Nicky Hockley, author & Director of Pedagogy at The Consultants-E, shared her wealth of online experience stretching back to 1997, before Dr Peter Watkins, author and Subject Leader for MA TESOL and Applied Linguistics programs, University of Portsmouth, UK, revealed the challenges of online reading and how we might help learners overcome them.

    Concluding the day were Mr Mark Hancock, award-winning author, Pronunciation Games, English Pronunciation in Use, and Mr Damian Williams, author of Cutting Edge and Speak Out, who ran concurrent 90-minute webinars in which attendees worked closely with Mark and Damian developing approaches to online phonology and creating and adapting materials for online classes.

    Co-hosts Dr. Turki Alsolami, the ELI Vice Dean for Graduate Studies and Research, managed the technical and admin. team at the event and Mr Ian Dickie, from the ELI Professional Development Unit, introduced the day's guests and oversaw the concluding remarks. Speakers and the audience were sincerely thanked with further gratitude expressed to HE Prof Abdulrahman Al-Youbi, KAU President, as the 3rd innovative and exciting Saudi TESOL event wrapped up.

  • 30 Dec 2020 11:04 AM | Anonymous

    The premier pedagogical event of The Saudi Association for English Language Education (Saudi TESOL) drew in over 700 national and international guests at a 5-hour landmark occasion on the 23rd of December.

    Consecutive to the auspicious and formal inauguration on 10th December, when the Kingdom joined a network of more than 70 countries and regions worldwide with national TESOL associations, Wednesday's webinars were presented online by 3 accomplished ELT professionals bringing a wealth of experience to the several hundred national and international attendees, some joining from as far as Indonesia.

    The keynote, Mr Jason Anderson, a multi-award-winning author, and consultant to national ministries of education, delivered an exploratory workshop on Project-based learning in Saudi universities.

    In a second and related session, Mr Chris Taylor, a materials' writer for Macmillan and more recently of Cambridge Assessment, investigated Flipped Learning. These two theory-based webinars were in response to how the second-language teacher might help learners find the requisite intrinsic motivation for success in their language studies.

    Ms Marie Willoughby, a teaching fellow at King's College London and teacher trainer at International House London, provided a practical contrast to her co-speakers with insight on how the language teacher can best engage learners online. Ms Willoughby's ideas and take-away materials personalizing content for learners' enjoyment proved popular -- most of those in attendance currently teaching through digital platforms while the pandemic endures globally.

    Saudi TESOL resides at the English Language Institute at King Abdulaziz University. As such Dr. Turki Alsolami, the Vice Dean for Graduate Studies and Research at the Institute formally welcomed guests, warmly hosting on behalf of Dr Abdullah Al-Bargi, the Dean of the English Language Institute and Chairman of the Saudi TESOL Founding Committee. Assisting the guest speakers was Mr Ian Dickie, also of the ELI, head of professional development.

    Full videos are available below:

    Project-based learning in Saudi Universities - Jason Anderson

    Flipped learning in ELT - Chris Taylor

    Practical ideas for encouraging learner enjoyment online - Marie Willoughby

  • 10 Dec 2020 9:50 AM | Anonymous

    President of King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Prof. Abdulrahman Al-Youbi, inaugurated the Saudi Association for English Language Education (Saudi TESOL) on Dec. 10th, 2020.

    Over 750 people attended the event on Zoom to witness the launch of the Association, which is considered the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, approved by the Ministry of Education and based at KAU, the top-ranked university in the MENA region. 

    Dr. Maha Al-Shahrani, Adviser to the Deputy Minister for Public Education, spoke on the Deputy Minister’s behalf and a selected group of distinguished international speakers also took part in the special event, including Scott Thornbury, Harry Kutchah, and Christine Coombe. 

    The Inaugural Ceremony began with a Welcome Speech delivered by Dr. Abdullah Al-Bargi, Chairman of the Founding Committee and Dean of the English Language Institute at KAU, in which he highlighted Saudi TESOL’s vision, goals and global references to ensure that it has been established on the basis of the best practices adopted by English language associations around the world. 

    Dr. Al-Bargi said that Saudi TESOL’s goal is to enhance English language teaching at Saudi schools and universities and achieve the noble aims of Vision 2030. In his speech, the Chairman extended his heartfelt thanks to the KAU President, Prof. Abdulrahman Al-Youbi, for the tremendous support he has given both to the association and to the English Language Institute.

    Then, the KAU President introduced the association's logo and launched its website, announcing that a free-of-charge, one-year membership has been initiated; a kind initiative which encourages those who are interested in English Language Teaching, including university academics, school teachers and students to join and benefit from Saudi TESOL’s activities during its first year, 2021.

    After that, Dr. Maha Al-Shahrani, Adviser to the Deputy Minister for Public Education, delivered a speech on his behalf in which she emphasized the Ministry of Education’s focus on the Human Capability Development Program (HCDP) and expressed the Ministry’s hopes that Saudi TESOL would help the Ministry achieve its aspirations in providing quality professional development to teachers. She emphasized the Ministry’s desire to see Saudi TESOL offer professional development activities to teachers in all levels, including activities for both pre-service and in-service teachers. She said the Ministry would like to see professional development offered in relation to the latest teaching methods, ways to improve assessment systems and tools, e-learning and ways to more efficiently integrate technology, and teaching English to young learners, especially beginning in Grade 1.  She also expressed her hopes that Saudi TESOL would help create partnerships between Saudi education departments and internationally recognized education departments and that it would help in the development of future license programs.

    Then, Mr. Scott Thornbury, the internationally recognized academic and teacher trainer in the field of English Language Teaching, spoke about 5 functions of a language teaching association. He said that language teaching associations, such as Saudi TESOL, contribute to the professionalization of the field by setting professional and ethical standards both for members and for the organization. Language teaching associations also have an advocacy role, working closely with the government to integrate standards into laws and regulations. Thirdly, echoing Dr. Al-Shahrani’s speech, Mr. Thornbury emphasized the role language teaching associations can play in providing professional development through conferences, webinars, in service training opportunities, and the publication of journals. 

    However, Mr. Thornbury viewed the fourth role of “building community” as one of the most important functions of a language teaching association. He said that these associations help teachers feel part of a global, national, or local community of professionals and gives them a professional identity. They also provide opportunities for networking and meeting other fellow professionals, he added. Finally, as we all hope to soon enter a post-Covid era, Mr. Thornbury said that a final function of language teaching associations can be to provide healing from the grief, loss, and damage that has been caused by the pandemic.

    Dr. Harry Kuchah, President of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL), emphasized the value of local and regional language teaching associations joining as international associates of international organizations such as IATEFL. He explained how IATEFL has over 124 associates around the world and how IATEFL helps connect associates with each other and share best practices amongst each other. He also discussed how IATEFL’s special interest groups can help local associates in specific areas.  He highly recommended that Saudi TESOL consider joining the IATEFL family as an associate, noting that it is free to do so.

    At the conclusion of the Inaugural Ceremony, Dr. Christine Coombe, Past President of TESOL International and Past President of TESOL Arabia, talked about the impact a professional association can have on people, giving her own career as an example. She then suggested that Saudi TESOL focus on a number of areas including improving the lives and careers of its members, hybrid education as a likely path in the future, and on developing a variety of events including webinars, panels, academies on certain topics, training sessions, and certifications. She suggested taking advantage of this coronavirus time to create a wishlist of all the people Saudi TESOL would like to come in for training and suggested that many more speakers would agree to do a virtual training now than to come physically to events post-COVID since virtual events require much less time, travel, and logistics for the speakers.  She also recommended that Saudi TESOL create a journal with context-specific research that is specific to the Saudi context or to the Gulf in general. She further recommended that Saudi TESOL develop a mentoring system and give members opportunities for leadership development.  

    Finally, she emphasized the importance of giving voice to the members, collecting information from them, and doing a needs analysis to see what training people feel they need. In relation to this, she also recommended that in the early stages the association should let the members set the agenda and that elections be open to all members.

    Saudi TESOL, which is based at the English Language Institute at King Abdulaziz University, is concerned with promoting excellence in language teaching in both general and higher education through stimulating ELT professional development, offering academic consultations and conducting research and studies in a range of TESOL domains.

    Saudi TESOL seeks to achieve its mission through attention to quality services while adhering to professional standards with the following goals:

    1. Promoting scientific thought in the ELT domain and seeking to develop and enhance it.

    2. Introducing an academic, research and professional communication channel for English language teachers across Saudi Arabia to be in touch with their counterparts and with researchers outside the Kingdom.

    3. Offering academic consultations and training programs in the TESOL domain for public and private sector institutions.

    4. Building links between the association and its regional and international counterparts in the ELT field.

    Saudi TESOL’s activities include:

    1. Conducting research and studies in a wide range of ELT domains.

    2. Holding conferences and symposia and providing specialized courses on TESOL.

    3. Issuing a specialized ELT journal covering various ELT topics in Saudi Arabia and publishing periodicals in the same fields.

    4. Participating in local and international TESOL conferences and exhibitions.

    5. Inviting eminent scholars and thinkers in English language teaching, learning, and leadership to participate in the association’s activities.

    6. Organizing academic trips for the members and holding academic competitions in its field of specialization.


King Abdulaziz University

English Language Institute

Building 535

P.O. Box 80200

Jeddah 21589

Saudi Arabia

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