Date of Award

8-1-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

English

First Advisor

McClure, Lisa

Abstract

Many research studies have been conducted in Arab countries to examine the difficulties that Arab students encounter in learning English writing. Unfortunately, not much of that scholarship deals with the challenges that these second language learners face when they pursue degrees abroad. Furthermore, the earlier studies failed to include the students' views about their difficulties, the causes, and possible solutions. In an effort to fill the gap in our understanding of the problems Arab students face in learning to write in English, this study explores the experiences and perceptions of a sampling of forty Arab students who chose to study in the United States. The students who participated provide firsthand information about their experiences in distinctly different learning and cultural environments; they provide information about their difficulties in improving their English writing skills and offer suggestions for all who teach writing to second language learners. The difficulties identified and described by these students provide a sketch of experiences and perceptions of Arab students who learn English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in their home countries and English as a Second Language (ESL) in the United States. The information provided as a result of this study will guide future research on second language learners, help develop pedagogies that will better serve the students, and expand our understanding of language acquisition as it pertains to an increasingly multilingual world.

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