University of Sussex
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Identifying attitudes leading to a feeling of global citizenship: a mixed methods study of Saudi students studying English in higher education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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posted on 2023-06-09, 02:56 authored by Dennis Henry Love
This study is a mixed methods approach, consisting of a questionnaire and narrative interviews that opened the opportunity to investigate motivation in KSA by employing a post-positivist stance. This study is specifically aimed at investigating the attitudes and perceptions underpinning the motivation of Saudi students studying English in higher education. This study was limited to male students studying English in a preparatory programme at a private university in the Eastern Provence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The scope of this study was to identify social, cultural, personal and emotional factors that underpinned the attitudes and perceptions of Saudi students studying English in higher education and thereby this study established a foundation for motivational studies in Saudi Arabia. In addition, this study established a first time approach to employ the Dialogical Self Theory to triangulate data between multiple methods so that the interpretation and analysis of data could lead to expanding the previous definitions of integrative and instrumental orientations of motivated behaviour in motivation and SLA studies. Furthermore, this study established DST’s debut in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The advantage of employing DST in this study was to ensure as much as possible that the voices of the research participants were genuinely reflected in the analysis and interpretation of data. In accordance with the literature search during this research, this study marks the first attempt to describe the constructs of a motivational profile of Saudi students studying English in higher education. The data suggested that Saudis demonstrated strong adherences to cultural and social supportive positions associated with or intertwined with high religious values toward constructing their self-identities. However, there are at least two succinct strategies that the students employ to lessen their internal social power struggles between their local selves and their reaching out to the global community that communicates in English with their global selves. The group that was less likely to reach outwards to the global community and feel being a part of it generated strategies around various degrees of strict cultural compliance to achieve feelings of safety within the self’s society of the mind. The participants who were more likely to feel global through employing English constructed strategies and plans around hybrid-models within their self-identity to balance their desire to be part of the world community and to be true to their desire of compliance to cultural values. Students who were less likely to feel a belonging to the global community were more influenced by internal factors such as: a fear of assimilation and a fear losing Arab identity, which led to constructing strategies aimed at a greater adherence to cultural compliance. In addition, this study utilized Sullivan’s (2010) theory that Vygotsky’s (1978) dialectic understanding of juxtaposed positions and Bakhtin’s (1984) dialogical understanding of vertically regulated values are not mutually exclusive, rather mutually inclusive. The result was that motivation can be imagined as a dynamic 3-D construction occurring within a certain context with other. This research employed a 29 item motivational questionnaire with a 5-point Likert scale constructed by using formerly employed themes that were shown to have had a greater impact on motivation and language acquisition. This study is unique as it triangulated quantitative data with narrative interviews by allowing common themes formerly associated with motivation and SLA to be expanded by the participants voices, which not only expanded some definitions formerly associated with motivation and SLA, but also subjected them to the refutability. This study concluded that effort and self-confidence were the attributes that most likely underpinned the construction of a hybrid model of the self, which opened opportunities of English acquisition both within the classroom setting and outside of it. Those who were less likely to feel a belonging to the global community that communicates in English were more likely to construct strategies around local Arab traditions and were shown to have to a greater fear of integrating themselves into international scenarios related to English use. Through triangulating multiple data sources, it was possible to assess the values students attached between their internal and external positions at four distinct levels: cultural, social, personal and emotional.


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