• Tiada Hasil Ditemukan



Academic year: 2022


Tunjuk Lagi ( halaman)








A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor Philosophy of


Institute of Education

International Islamic University Malaysia





In Malaysia, studies have shown that most Malay learners learning Arabic exhibit weak Arabic speaking skill despite spending years of learning the language. However, given the same learning environment and experience, some of them could be considered as good Arabic speakers as revealed by the results of Arabic Placement Test conducted by the Center of Languages and pre-Academic Development (CELPAD) of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). These learners have successfully scored band 7 and above out of 10 in Arabic speaking skill test. The researchers believe that being aware of certain learning strategies in enhancing their speaking skills would help these learners to become good Arabic speakers. This assumption is based on several theories in language learning strategies which postulate that learners’ success in language learning or lack of it is attributable to the various strategies which different learners bring to the tasks and not solely relying on the environment per say. Therefore this study attempts to understand the assumption by investigating the learning strategies for Arabic speaking skills of selected Malay good Arabic speakers and Malay poor Arabic speakers at the (IIUM) within and outside the parameters of the educational settings. The researcher has conducted a case study on 14 Malay good and poor Arabic speakers at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) employing individual and focus group interviews as the methods to collect the data. The researcher used interview content analysis as the tool for data analysis. The participants are selected purposively using the results of Arabic speaking skill test (APT) conducted by (CELPAD). The results of this study confirm the above mentioned theories. However the effectiveness of the strategies is highly influenced by the learners’ perceptions on the nature of Arabic as a language and the perceptions of the pre-requisites to become good Arabic speakers. Perception on these aspects is also proven to affect the problems faced by them to develop Arabic speaking skill and their approach to overcome the problems. Simultaneously most participants of both groups of speakers are more active and creative seeking out opportunities to activate their language outside the classroom than in the classroom especially the Malay good Arabic speakers. They have shown more types, quality and quantity of strategies than do the Malay poor Arabic speakers.



ﺚﺤﺒﻟﺍ ﺺﺨﻠﻣ

ﺔﻴﺑﺮﻌﻟﺎﺑ ﻡﻼﻜﻟﺍ ﺓﺭﺎﻬﻣ ﻥﻭﺪﻴﳚ ﻻ ﺎﻳﺰﻴﻟﺎﻣ ﰲ ﺔﻴﺑﺮﻌﻟﺍ ﺔﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﻲﺳﺭﺍﺩ ﻢﻈﻌﻣ ﻥﺃ ﺕﺎﺳﺍﺭﺪﻟﺍ ﺖﺘﺒﺛﺃ ﺔﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﻩﺬﻫ ﻲﺳﺭﺍﺩ ﺾﻌﺑ ﻙﺎﻨﻫ ﻥﺃ ﺪﻴﺑ ،ﺔﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﻩﺬﻫ ﻥﻮﺳﺭﺪﻳ ﺔﻠﻴﻠﻗ ﲑﻏ ﺕﺍﻮﻨﺳ ﻢﻬﺋﺎﻀﻗ ﻢﻏﺭ ﺔﻴﺑﺮﻌﻟﺎﺑ ﻡﻼﻜﻟﺍ ﰲ ﺓﺩﺎﺟﻹﺍ ﻦﻣ ﻯﻮﺘﺴﻣ ﻥﻮﻐﻠﺒﻳ ﺔﻳﻮﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﺓﱪﳋﺍﻭ ﺔﺌﻴﺒﻟﺍ ﺲﻔﻧ ﻦﻣ .

ﻰﻠﻋ ﻝﺪﻳﻭ

ﺔﻴﻤﻨﺘﻟﺍﻭ ﺕﺎﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﺰﻛﺮﲟ ﻦﻳﺪﺠﺘﺴﳌﺍ ﺏﻼﻄﻠﻟ ﺔﻴﺑﺮﻌﻟﺍ ﺔﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﻯﻮﺘﺴﻣ ﺪﻳﺪﲢ ﻥﺎﺤﺘﻣﺍ ﺔﺠﻴﺘﻧ ،ﻚﻟﺫ ﻢﻬﻀﻌﺑ ﺢﳒ ﺚﻴﺣ ،ﺎﻳﺰﻴﻟﺎﲟ ﺔﻴﳌﺎﻌﻟﺍ ﺔﻴﻣﻼﺳﻹﺍ ﺔﻌﻣﺎﳉﺎﺑ ﺔﻌﻣﺎﳉﺍ ﻞﺒﻗ ﺎﻣ ﺔﻠﺣﺮﲟ ﺔﻴﳝﺩﺎﻛﻷﺍ ﻝﺪﻌﲟ ﻦﻣ 7

ﻥﺎﺤﺘﻣﻻﺍ ﺍﺬﻫ ﰲ ﻕﻮﻓ ﺎﻣﻭ 10 .

ﺕﺎﻴﺠﻴﺗﺍﺮﺘﺳﻹﺍ ﱃﺇ ﺩﻮﻌﻳ ﺡﺎﺠﻨﻟﺍ ﺍﺬﻫ ﻞﻌﻟﻭ

ﺔﻨﻴﻌﳌﺍ ﺎﺩﺎﺟﺇﻭ ﺓﺭﺎﻬﳌﺍ ﻚﻠﺗ ﺏﺎﺴﺘﻛﺍ ﻰﻠﻋ ﻢﻫﺪﻋﺎﺴﻳ ﺎﳑ ﺏﻼﻄﻟﺍ ﺀﻻﺆﻫ ﺎﻬﻌﺒﺗﺍ ﱵﻟﺍ .


ﺽﺍﺮﺘﻓﻻﺍ ﺐﻟﺎﻄﻟﺍ ﺡﺎﳒ ﻥﺇ ﺚﻴﺣ ﺔﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﻢﻠﻌﺗ ﺕﺎﻴﺠﻴﺗﺍﺮﺘﺳﺇ ﰲ ﺕﺎﻳﺮﻈﻨﻟﺍ ﺾﻌﺑ ﻰﻠﻋ ﲏﺒﻨﻳ

ﺩﺎﻤﺘﻋﻻﺍ ﺓﺭﻭﺮﻀﻟﺎﺑ ﺲﻴﻟﻭ ﺔﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﻢﻠﻌﺗ ﰲ ﺎﻬﻌﺒﺗﺍ ﱵﻟﺍ ﻕﺮﻄﻟﺍ ﱃﺇ ﻥﺍﺩﻮﻌﻳ ﺔﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﻢﻠﻌﺗ ﰲ ﻪﻠﺸﻓﻭ ﺎﻫﺪﺣﻭ ﺔﺌﻴﺒﻟﺍ ﻰﻠﻋ .

ﻖﻳﺮﻃ ﻦﻋ ﺽﺍﺮﺘﻓﻻﺍ ﻚﻟﺫ ﻢﻬﻓ ﱃﺇ ﺚﺤﺒﻟﺍ ﺍﺬﻫ ﻑﺪﻬﻳ ،ﻚﻟﺬﻟﻭ

ﻡﻼﻜﻟﺍ ﺓﺭﺎﻬﻣ ﺏﺎﺴﺘﻛﺍ ﰲ ﹸﺔﺒﻠﻄﻟﺍ ﺎﻬﻌﺒﺗﺍ ﱵﻟﺍ ﺕﺎﻴﺠﻴﺗﺍﺮﺘﺳﻹﺍ ﻚﻠﺗ ﻑﺎﺸﺘﻛﺍ .

،ﺍﺬﻫ ﻞﺟﺃ ﻦﻣﻭ

ﻢﻬﻨﻣﻭ ﻥﻭﺪﻴﺍ ﻢﻬﻨﻣ ﺔﻴﺑﺮﻌﻟﺍ ﺔﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﻲﻘﻃﺎﻧ ﻦﻣ ﺎﻳﻮﻳﻼﻣ ﺎﺒﻟﺎﻃ ﺮﺸﻋ ﺔﻌﺑﺭﺃ ﺔﻠﺑﺎﻘﲟ ﺔﺜﺣﺎﺒﻟﺍ ﺖﻣﺎﻗ ﲢ ﱵﻟﺍ ﺕﺎﻣﻮﻠﻌﳌﺍ ﻊﻤﳉ ﻦﻳﺪﻴﺍ ﲑﻏ ﺞﺋﺎﺘﻨﺑ ﺔﻨﻴﻌﺘﺴﻣ ،ﺽﺍﺮﺘﻓﻻﺍ ﺔﺤﺻ ﻖﻴﻘﺤﺘﻟ ﺎﻬﻴﻟﺇ ﺝﺎﺘ

ﺔﻴﻣﻼﺳﻹﺍ ﺔﻌﻣﺎﳉﺎﺑ ﺕﺎﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﺰﻛﺮﲟ ﻦﻳﺪﺠﺘﺴﳌﺍ ﺏﻼﻄﻠﻟ ﺔﻴﺑﺮﻌﻟﺍ ﺔﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﻯﻮﺘﺴﻣ ﺪﻳﺪﲢ ﻥﺎﺤﺘﻣﺍ ﺎﻳﺰﻴﻟﺎﲟ ﺔﻴﳌﺎﻌﻟﺍ .

ﺕﺎﻧﺎﻴﺒﻟﺍ ﻞﻴﻠﺤﺘﻟ ﺓﺍﺩﺃ ﺔﻠﺑﺎﻘﳌﺍ ﻥﻮﻤﻀﻣ ﻞﻴﻠﲢ ﺔﻴﺠﻬﻨﻣ ﺔﺜﺣﺎﺒﻟﺍ ﺖﻣﺪﺨﺘﺳﺍ ﺪﻗﻭ

ﺚﺤﺒﻟﺍ ﺍﺬﻫ ﰲ .

ﺔﺤﺻ ﺚﺤﺒﻟﺍ ﺔﺠﻴﺘﻧ ﺕﺪﻛﺃ ﺪﻗﻭ ﺔﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﻢﻠﻌﺗ ﰲ ﺔﻳﺮﻈﻨﻟﺍ

. ﺔﻴﻟﺎﻌﻓ ﻥﺃ ﲔﺒﺗﻭ

ﻦﻣ ﺔﻐﻟ ﺎﻬﻔﺻﻮﺑ ﺔﻴﺑﺮﻌﻟﺍ ﺔﻌﻴﺒﻃ ﻢﻬﻓ ﻰﻠﻋ ﲔﺳﺭﺍﺪﻟﺍ ﺓﺭﺪﻗ ﱃﺇ ﺩﻮﻌﺗ ﺕﺎﻴﺠﻴﺗﺍﺮﺘﺳﻹﺍ ﻚﻠﺗ ﺕﻼﻜﺸﳌﺍ ﻰﻠﻋ ﺐﻠﻐﺘﻟﺍﻭ ﺔﻐﻠﻟﺍ ﻩﺬ ﻡﻼﻜﻟﺍ ﰲ ﻦﻜﻤﺘﻠﻟ ﺕﺎﺒﻠﻄﺘﳌﺍﻭ ﻁﻭﺮﺸﻟﺍ ﻢﻬﻴﻋﻮﻟﻭ ﺕﺎﻐﻠﻟﺍ

ﺍ ﻥﺃ ﺪﳒ ﻪﺴﻔﻧ ﺖﻗﻮﻟﺍ ﰲﻭ ،ﻢﻬﻓﺍﺪﻫﺃ ﻖﻴﻘﲢ ﰲ ﺎﻮﻬﺟﺍﻮﻳ ﱵﻟﺍ ﹶﺚﺤﺒﻟﺍ ﺍﻮﻟﻭﺎﺣ ﻢﻬﻨﻣ ﻦﻳﺪﻴ

ﻕﺮﻄﻟﺍ ﻉﻮﻨﺘﺑ ﺍﻭﺰﻴﲤ ﺎﻤﻛ ،ﺔﻴﺳﺍﺭﺪﻟﺍ ﻝﻮﺼﻔﻟﺍ ﺝﺭﺎﺧ ﺔﻴﻣﻼﻜﻟﺍ ﻢﺭﺎﻬﻣ ﻂﻴﺸﻨﺘﻟ ﺹﺮﻔﻟﺍ ﻦﻋ ﺎﻫﻮﻌﺒﺗﺍ ﱵﻟﺍ ﺓﺮﺛﺆﳌﺍﻭ ﺔﻟﺎﻌﻔﻟﺍ ﺕﺎﻴﺠﻴﺗﺍﺮﺘﺳﻹﺍﻭ .




The dissertation of Sueraya Che Haron has been approved by the following:


Ismail Sheikh Ahmad Supervisor


Arifin Mamat Supervisor


Ismaiel Hassanien Ahmed Mohamed Supervisor


Arifin Mamat Internal Examiner


Tengku Ghani Tengku Jusoh External Examiner


Imran Ho Abdullah External Examiner


Nasr Eldin Ibrahim Ahmad Chairman




I hereby declare that this dissertation is the result of my own investigations, except where otherwise stated. I also declare that it has not been previously or concurrently submitted as a whole for any other degrees at IIUM or other institutions.

Sueraya Che Haron

Signature………. Date………...………






Copyright © 2011 by Sueraya Che Haron. All rights reserved.



No part of this unpublished research may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any forms or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior written permission of the copyright holder except as provided below.

1. Any material contained in or derived from this unpublished research may only be used by others in their writing with due acknowledgment.

2. IIUM or its library will have the right to make and transmit copies (print or electronic) for institutional and academic purposes.

3. The IIUM library will have the right to make, store in a retrieval system and supply copies of this unpublished research if requested by other universities and research libraries.

Affirmed by Sueraya Che Haron

………... ………

Signature Date



To my beloved husband,

my children, my grandmothers and my parents

with love.




First and foremost, all praise and thankfulness are due to the Almighty Allah, for enabling me to complete this work. This research would not have been possible without the support and assistance of several dedicated people. I wish to thank them, and I ask Allah to reward them on my behalf. I would like to present my sincere gratitude to my supervisor, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ismail Sheikh Ahmad for his willingness to supervise my research and his interest and enthusiasm for the topic under investigation. This study would never have been accomplished without his persistent guidance and never-ending helps. The many discussions with him, his valuable advices and insightful criticisms of the whole work throughout the entire dissertation process have been of the utmost significance in steering this study in the right direction. I am also grateful for his careful and meticulous supervision of this work.

My gratitude and appreciation go out to my committee members; Dr. Arifin Mamat and Dr. Ismaiel Hassanien for their insightful feedbacks, comments, assistances and suggestions. Most importantly I would like to express my deepest and everlasting gratitude to a very special person, who deserves great acknowledgement and thanks, as well as my eternal love and appreciation, my husband, Mohd. Nizam Razali. I would never have attempted to obtain a doctoral degree if it weren't for the constant supports, belief, understanding, patience, sacrifices, never ending encouragement and precious advices since the beginning of my study. To my children Ajwad, Ayesha and Ameera thank you very much for your understanding and sacrifices. No words can express my gratitude towards the person to whom I will be indebted for the rest of my life, my grandmother, Sharifah Badriah Syed Hussein al-Mahdzar who has given her all to bring me up as what I am now. I would never be where I am now if it wasn’t for her unconditional supports, sacrifices and continuous prayers for my success in whatever I do. My special thanks and appreciation are extended as well to my parents Azizah Mohd. Noor and Haron Wee Ah Boo and to my grandmother Zabedah for their constant prayers, sincere helps, never ending encouragement and supports throughout my endeavour.I am also most indebted to Madam Wan Norhana Wan Ab.

Rahman, the coordinator of Testing and Measurement Unit (TEMU) for Quranic Language Division, IIUM for approving this research to be carried out at the Center for Languages and pre-University Academic Development (CELPAD) and for her priceless cooperations. An equal amount of appreciation is dedicated to Madam Azzelena Abdullah, for her sincere helps and unconditional cooperation throughout this course of study and to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siti Salwani Razali for her encouragements and inspiring advices. I will always be indebted and thankful to all participants and peers involved in this research for their willingness to be part of the research. Their time, effort and cooperation in responding to this research are deeply appreciated. Last but not least, my heartfelt thanks to my Ph.D. colleagues, for their advices and constructive comments on my work.




Abstract……… ii

Abstract in Arabic……….... iii

Approval Page………..… iv

Declaration Page………... v

Copyright Page………... vi

Dedication Page………... vii

Acknowledgements………..… viii

List of Figures………... xii


Background of Study………..……. 1

The Nature of Foreign Language Learning……… 5

The Role of Learning Strategies in the Second and Foreign Language…… 8

The Level of Awareness of the Arabic Language Learning Strategies……. 10

Speaking Skill in Language Learning……… 11

Issues on Arabic Speaking Skills in Malaysia……… 13

Statement of Problem………... 14

Assumptions of the Research……… 15

Research Questions………... 16

Purpose of the Study……… 17

Objectives of the Study……… 17

Significance of the Study………. 18

Benefits for the Students……….. 18

Benefits for the Educators……… 19

Benefits for the Researchers………. 19

Definitions of Terms………. 20

Limitations of Study………. 23

Delimitations of Study………. 24


Introduction………. 25

Studies on Arabic Speaking Skills in Malaysia……… 26

The Level of Mastery of the Arabic Speaking Skill………..… 26

The Factors Contributing to the Arabic Speaking Skill Problem………….. 28

The Approach of Teaching the Arabic Language in Schools..………. 31

Studies on the Arabic Speaking Skill Learning Strategy………. 32

Studies on Speaking Skill in other L2/FL……… 34

Beliefs about Language Learning………. 45

Speaking Skill Development Inside the Classroom………. 48

Participation in Communicative Tasks in the Classroom……….. 49

Paired and Small Group Activities……… 49

Presentation……… 50



Classroom-based Studies on Learner Participation………... 51

The Quantity of Learner Participation………... 51

The Quality of Learner Participation………. 52

Small Group Work and Interaction………... 53

Speaking Skill Development Outside the Classroom……… 54

Watching Foreign Movies and Listening to Foreign Songs………….. 54

Speaking with the Native Speakers………... 55

Other Activities that Help Developing the Speaking Skill……… 57

The Use of ICT……… 58

Theoretical Framework……… 59

Conclusion……… 62


Introduction……….. 67

The Researcher’s Orientation to Research……… 67

Methodology……… 69

Research Design……… 71

The Type of Case Study………... 73

Data Collection………. 75

Interview Questions………. 77

Sample Selection Strategies………. 79

The Procedures of Arabic Placement Test (APT) at the (IIUM)………….. 82

Sample Size………... 85

Data Analysis……… 86

Issues of Reliability and Validity in Case Study………. 86

Internal Validity……… 87

Reliability……….. 89

External Validity………... 91

Pilot Study……… 93

Procedures of Collecting, Analyzing and Interpreting the Data……….. 96

Stage 1: Recruiting the Participants……….. 96

Stage 2: Interviewing the Participants……….. 98

Stage 3: Transcribing the Data……….. 99

Stage 4: Analytic Strategy 1 (Coding Protocol of Interview)………... 100

Stage 4: Analytic Strategy 2 (Raters Checking for Reliability………. 103

The Procedure of Member Checking Activity……….. 103

The Procedure of Peer Examination……….. 105

Stage 5: Findings and Discussions……… 107


Introduction……….. 109

Descriptions of the Participants……… 109

The Malay Good Arabic Speakers……… 110

The Malay Poor Arabic Speakers……….. 112

Findings from Interview Questions……….. 114

Major Findings to Research Questions………. 124

Discussion………...……….. 170



The Relationship Among Perceptions, Strategies and Performances……… 170

The Solutions to the Obstacles………... 179

Strategies Inside the Classroom………... 181

Strategies Outside the Classroom……….. 182

Summary of Research………...……… 183


Introduction………... 187

Conclusion………... 187

Pedagogical Implications of the Research……… 189

Arabic Speaking Skill Course……… 189

The Curriculum of the Course……….. 189

Assessment……… 190

Incorporating the Arabic Speaking Skill in all Courses……… 191

Constant Research………. 191

Co-curricular Activities………. 192

Media………. 193

Partners……….. 194

Implications for Future Research………... 195












Figure No. Page No.

2.1 The Language Learning Strategy Framework by Ellis (1994). 60 3.1 Example of the Coding Template Used in the First Round 101 3.2 Example of the Coding Template Used in the Second Round 103 3.3 Stages of Data Collection and Data Analysis 108 4.1 The Relationship Among Perceptions, Strategies and Performance 177 4.2 The Relationship Among Perceptions, Strategies and Performance 178





The Arabic language was introduced in Malaysia in the 14th century with the coming of Islam. Being the language of the Holy Book; Quran makes it necessary for the Muslims to learn the Arabic language, “to be able to read the Quran, and Hadith themselves or to listen to or read the works of the culama’ (learned Muslim) who would explain the religion in their own language” (Rosnani, 2004:22).

In the Quranic school; the earliest form of Islamic education found in the Peninsular Malaysia, the Arabic language was not taught primarily as an independent subject because the emphasis was placed on recitation and memorization of the Quran.

According to Rosnani (2004) only Arabic alphabets were taught in the Quranic schools and results showed that the students were reported to have difficulties in understand what they were reading because they were not taught any Arabic. More exposures to the Arabic language took place in the pondok education; the next phase of learning in traditional Malay society where Arabic texts were used to teach Islamic revealed knowledge to the students. To ensure good comprehensions of the Arabic texts, lectures, memorization, reading, constant recalling of a lesson and copying texts were the most common teaching methods employed in pondok education (Rosnani, 2004). These traditional teaching methods especially memorization continued to be practiced during madrasah level of education. Such practices have caused some of the fundamental language skills to be neglected. Receptive skills like reading and comprehension were prioritized, while productive skills like writing and speaking



received lesser attention. The following excerpt by Versteegh (2006:5) lends evidence to the above:

In many parts of the world, from Southeast Asia to West Africa, Arabic was introduced [sic] the language of Islam by missionaries who sometimes were not even native speakers of Arabic but had been trained in the Islamic sciences in Arabic. In the system of education they introduced, which is still current throughout the Islamic world, young children learn Arabic along with the principles of reading and writing by going to a traditional teacher and learning to recite religious texts, chiefly the Quran. Later they go to the majlis of a teacher where they start studying texts. Most of the teachers have been educated in the same system and become experts in a language they can read and write, but do not speak.

Such practices and problems pervade the present time as proven by some studies like Tarmizi (1997), Ismail (1999), Anida (2003), Amilrudin (2003), Khalid (2004), Mohd. Zaidi (2005), Zawawi, Mohd. Sukki, Alif Redzuan and Sanimah (2005), Siti Ikbal, (2006) and Mat Taib (2006). These studies have portrayed that most Malay learners of different level of study exhibit weak Arabic speaking skills despite spending years of learning the language. The studies also revealed that methodologies like reading, translation, and memorization remain popular in the teaching and learning of the Arabic language in schools and higher institutions.

However, given the same learning environment and experience, some Malay learners could be considered as good Arabic speakers as revealed by the results of Arabic Placement Test (APT) by the Center for Language and Professional Development (CELPAD) of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).

Some of these learners have successfully scored band 7 and above out of 10 in Arabic speaking skills test. According to the coordinator of Testing and Measurement Unit (TEMU) for Quranic Language Division; Wan Norhana Wan Ab. Rahman, the students who scored band 7 and above could be considered as good Arabic speakers.

They are described as having the ability in demonstrating high proficiency and fluency



while speaking, able to express their thoughts very clearly and orderly, commit no or at least little mistakes in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. As for the moderate Arabic speakers, they normally scored band 5 to 6.5. Students scoring this band were described as unable to convey their thoughts clearly, commit many mistakes repeatedly and the interaction does not run smoothly. In sum they were not competent enough to be labeled as good speakers. Poor Arabic speakers are those scoring band 4.5 and below. They are described as unable to express or convey their thoughts clearly, commit many mistakes in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. In general, the interaction is very difficult. Some of them may be totally clueless and unable to communicate in the Arabic language at all.

The researcher believes that being aware of certain speaking skills learning strategies in enhancing their speaking skills would help these learners to become good Arabic speakers. This assumption is based on several theories in language learning strategies which postulate that different success in language learning is attributable to the various strategies which different learners bring to tasks and not solely relying on the environment per se.

Studies on Arabic speaking skills in Malaysia for example Tarmizi (1997), Ismail (1999), Khalid (2004), Mohd. Zaidi (2005), Zawawi et al (2005), Siti Ikbal (2006) and Mat Taib (2006) were more targeted on studying the level of mastery of Arabic speaking skills among students as well as the problems and the contributing factors to such problems and the teaching methodology of Arabic Language in schools and higher institutions. The methodologies applied in the quest of collecting the data were survey and observation. The exception was to Nafi (1995) who attempted to study the strategies used by the intermediate Arabic language learners at the Matriculation Centre of the (IIUM) to acquire Arabic speaking skills. However the



study was partly quantitative. Therefore more information is required to explain in detail for example how a particular strategy is used especially by a successful non native Arabic speaker.

In a different light, there were also studies pertaining to the Arabic language learning strategies for example Anida (2003), Nurazan (2004) and Nong (2007).

However, these studies referred to the language learning strategies in general without specifying on the Arabic speaking skills in particular. In contrast, studies on speaking skills in other L2/FL, for example Chou (2004), Cohen, Weaver and Li (1996), Bueno (2006) and Huang (2006) and so forth showed greater attempts in understanding the issues at hand thoroughly. Researchers extended their interest to study the effect of learner awareness campaign on speaking skill development, strategies based instruction and so forth. In the usual practice, they applied several methodologies involving elaborate procedures for the research.

However, it is disappointing to say that the primary issue of speaking skill learning strategies, as the present researcher does, has not been thoroughly addressed.

As the result, the effective speaking skill learning strategies especially those of good Arabic speakers remain hidden to the Arabic Language learners. Tarmizi (1997) and Khalid (2004) state that most students do not put much effort to improve Arabic speaking skill. According to Nafi (1995) and Amilrudin (2003) most students admitted that they never or rarely used additional Arabic materials besides the textbook, be it printed or electronic like magazines, papers, radio, television, internet in the quest to improve the Arabic speaking skill. Similarly Nurazan (2004) found that the most popular language learning strategies commonly employed by her samples are the simple ones which do not require much creativity, efforts, and thinking process, like memorizing the meaning of Arabic vocabularies in the Malay language and using



Arabic dictionaries and Arabic grammar books in their mastery of the Arabic language. She further reported that the learners are less attracted to more communicative strategies that promote communicative competence.

With that in mind, this research attempts to contribute to the knowledge by investigating the Arabic speaking skill learning strategies of selected good Malay Arabic speakers and poor Malay Arabic speakers at the (IIUM) inside the classroom as well as the ones beyond the educational settings. Simultaneously the research attempts to examine the students’ perceptions on the Arabic speaking skills, the obstacles that they face in developing their Arabic speaking skills and the solutions they applied to overcome the problems.

In order to set the underlying scene of the research, this chapter elaborates some important issues pertaining to the foreign language learning, learning strategies and speaking skills before moving to present the statement of problem, assumptions of the study, research questions, purpose of study, significance of study, definition of terms, limitations of the study, and delimitations of the study.

The Nature of Foreign Language Learning

According to (National Capital Language Resource Center of the United States [NCLRC], 2009) the idea of foreign language teaching and learning in the United States, including the Arabic language, is to accomplish communication goals. In other words, the “desired outcome of the language learning process is the ability to communicate competently, not the ability to use the language exactly as a native speaker does” (NCLRC, 2009). In fact this goal should be accomplished by all learners of the Arabic language.



Language learners should be able to distinguish between learning a language and learning about the language. Language learning is defined as “becoming able to use it to comprehend, communicate, and think - as they do in their first language”

(NCLRC, 2009). It further states that “when learners think of the language like any other school subject, they may learn a great deal about its vocabulary, grammar, and sentence and discourse structure, but the language will not become a true medium of communication for them and will not engage them very deeply” (NCLRC, 2009). In addition, the learners also need to recognize that “interpretive skills (listening, reading) develop much more quickly than expressive skills (speaking, writing), and the ability that students covet most; the ability to speak the second language fluently requires the longest period of growth” (NCLRC, 2009). It is found that adult learners normally take longer time to acquire the target language because they prefer sophisticated topics to talk about (Lewis, 1999). This is different from children, they reached the point where they are able to converse freely with anyone on the topic that interests children very quickly. Thus, for mature learners, the ability to think of the process is a big advantage for them as “they know what they are doing and can modify their behavior accordingly” (Lewis, 1999:45). In other words, they can make a conscious effort to improve in their learning processes as well as in their languages and observe the performance from time to time.

The learning of a foreign language requires the learners to go the extra miles supplementing their class lessons especially when the language is learnt in the absence of its original environment, for example learning the Arabic language in Malaysia. In this case, the Arabic language is learnt formally in educational setting instead of being acquired naturally. The type of environment in which the learning of the foreign language takes place affects the learner’s language competence. Brown (1994) stated



that there are two distinctive environments in language learning, namely the native and the non native environments. Native environment is rich with cultures of the natives, thus enable the learners to acquire almost a complete package of foreign language. They would be better speakers as a result of extensive involvements with the natives. As for the non native environment, more efforts are required to extend the language learning outside the classes. Zawawi et al. (2005) suggested that foreign language environment should be created in all aspects, such as in teaching and learning sessions, in campus and social environment, societies and clubs. The objective is to enable the learners to use it as a tool for communication.

According to Ellis, (1994: 228) “in most cases classroom learners often fail to develop much functional language ability.” Lightbown and Spada (2002:91) explained that in natural context “learner is exposed to the language at work” or “in social interaction or where the instruction is directed toward native speakers rather than toward learners of the language.” Therefore, the emphasis is more on the social significance rather than mastery of the subject matters. In contrast, “formal learning takes place through conscious attention to rules and principles and greater emphasis is placed on mastery of the subject matter that was treated as a decontextualized body of knowledge” (Ellis, 1994:214). The idea is also supported by Lightbown and Spada (2002:92) who said that the “teacher’s goal is to see to it that students learn the vocabulary and grammatical rules of the target language” and “the goal of learners in such courses is often to pass an examination rather than to use the language for daily communicative interaction.” Zawawi et.al, (2005) have termed the process as being more ‘mechanical’ rather than natural. The distinction between these two types of learning underlies Krashen’s five hypotheses for the second language acquisition. One of the hypotheses says that language learning occurs consciously in the academic



setting as a result of attention to language in an effort to understand and memorize the rules. In contrast, language acquisition occurs subconsciously and naturally when learners are using language for communication (Ellis, 1994). The role of the classrooms however, should not be denied as Littlewood (1992) stresses that classroom provides unique social environment.

Relying on the natural setting for language acquisition leaves little room for conscious learning strategy to play a role in the process of language development.

Several theories in the language learning strategies state that different success rate in language learning is attributable to the various strategies which different learners bring to tasks and not solely relying on the environment. (NCLRC, 2009) admits that learners’ difference in ability, motivation or effort cause different success rate in language learning. However, the major concern deals on “a major difference lies in their knowledge about and skill in using "how to learn" techniques that is, learning strategies” (NCLRC, 2009).

The Role of Learning Strategies in the Second and Foreign Language Learning

Over time a number of definitions have been proposed to define language learning strategy. Oxford (1990:8) refers learning strategy as “specific actions taken by the learner to make learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, more self directed, more effective and more transferable to new situations.” Sometimes people refer strategy to tactics which share some basic implied characteristics: planning, competition, conscious manipulation and movement toward a goal (Oxford, 1990:7). Despite the different definitions; learner strategies, language strategies or language learning strategies, these terms share a number of basic characteristics. Language learning strategies are learner generated which means they are steps taken by the language



learners themselves. These strategies are the components to “enhance language learning and help develop language competence, as reflected in the learner's skills in listening, speaking, reading, or writing the L2 or FL” (NCLRC, 2009). In addition to that, they may be “visible (behaviours, steps, techniques, etc.) or unseen (thoughts, mental processes)” (NCLRC, 2009). Lastly, they “involve information and memory (vocabulary knowledge, grammar rules, etc.)” (NCLRC, 2009).

The importance of language learning strategies is without doubt indisputable.

According to (NCLRC, 2009) language learners have two kinds of knowledge working for them namely the knowledge of their first language and their awareness of the learning strategies. Unfortunately according to Nyikos (1987, as cited in Scarcella

& Oxford, 1992:64) “students are not always aware of the power of consciously using language learning strategies for making learning quicker, easier, more effective, and even more fun.” Sharing the opinion, Ehrman & Oxford (1989, as cited in Scarcella &

Oxford, 1992:63) state that “when left to their own devices and if not overly pressured by their environment to use a certain set of strategies, students typically use learning strategies that reflect their basic learning style.” The issue is also observed by Oxford (1990:10) as she states that “many language learners are passive and accustomed to be spoon fed. They like to be told what to do, and they do only what is clearly essential to get good grade-even if they fail to develop useful skills in the process”. She further comments that “attitudes and behaviors like this should be changed because it makes the language learning difficult” (pg: 10). Teaching strategies to students is a useless effort unless the students themselves are willing to be responsible for their own learning.

Being aware of various language learning strategies would give the learners choices to adopt the best strategy to perform a specific language learning tasks.



Results would include them being more confident, highly motivated, expecting to succeed and able to fulfill their expectations. Based on the pre and post tests, Anida (2003) has successfully proven that strategies improved students’ performances, self confidence, interests, and attitudes towards the Arabic language. Rubin (1987) states that knowing the learning strategies enable the learners to become independent and autonomous. Results show that the learners are able to take control of their own learning and more capable to work outside the classroom by themselves, once the teacher is not around to direct them or provide them with input. In addition, (NCLRC, 2009) asserts that learner’s success in the language learning or lack of it “is due to the way they go about learning rather than to forces beyond their control. Most students can learn how to use strategies more effectively; when they do so, they become more self reliant and better able to learn independently.” They begin to take more responsibility for their own learning, and their motivation increases because they have managed to elevate the confidence in their learning ability and specific techniques for successful language learning. According to (Oxford, 1990:10) “self direction is particularly important for language learners, because they will not always have teachers around to guide as they use the language outside the classroom.”

The Level of Awareness of the Arabic Language Learning Strategies among the Malay Learners

Nurazan (2004) and Nong (2007) have shown that the level of strategy use among the Arabic language learners is lacking. Nurazan (2004) claimed that most learners in her sample were unfamiliar and unaware of the language learning strategies. She further elaborates that the most popular strategies commonly employed are simple ones which do not require much creativity, efforts, and thinking process, like memorizing the meaning of Arabic vocabularies in Malay Language and using Arabic dictionaries and



Arabic grammar books in their learning of Arabic Language. Students are less attracted to more communicative strategies that promote communicative competence.

In contrast, Nong (2007) found that learners specializing in Arabic Language in IIUM are aware of the importance of language learning strategies. However, they do not know how to translate them into practice. In conclusion, most students are still ignorant of the variety of language learning strategies and are not sufficiently exposed to their use and importance in language learning.

Speaking Skill in Language Learning

“Gaining a new language necessarily involves developing four modalities in varying degrees and combinations: listening, reading, speaking and writing” (Oxford, 1990:5).

These modalities are known as the four language skills. Among all, listening and speaking skills are critical for functioning in a language context, both by teachers and learners. Rivers (1981) notes that “outside the classroom, listening is used twice as often as speaking, which in turn is used twice as much as reading and writing.”

Supporting the statement, Brown (1994) highlights that “speaking and listening are the most often used skills in the classroom.”

According to the (New Curriculum for Secondary School [KBSM], 2003, as cited in Zamri, 2007), speaking skill refers to the students’ ability to communicate orally in order to create a relationship with people, transferring information, expressing thoughts, feelings, creative and critical ideas using correct pronunciation and intonation as well as observing correct grammar. Parallel to this, Kamarudin (1999) defines speaking as an interaction skill involving sound production and language use which occurs at the productive level. The above definitions share a number of characteristics. In summary, speaking skill could be understood as a skill to



express or exchange information ranging from thoughts, feelings and ideas using language as a medium. According to Lewis (1999) the process of learning to speak any foreign language involves attention to some aspects of language; learning the form of the language, knowing the social rules of speaking, making links between ideas and overcoming communication problems.

Speaking skill should receive the primary attention by both teachers and learners for it is the basis for other language skills like reading and writing (Mazlan Rais, 2000, as cited in Zamri, 2007). According to Kamarudin (1990) children who are taught reading and writing before they can speak properly will learn slower than usual. Simultaneously Adler (1983:8) criticizes those who assume that “if a person has learned to read and write well, he will of course know how to speak and listen well”

by arguing that listening and speaking skills are different from reading and writing skills. He further elaborates that reading and writing skills allow revision and improvement until the reader and the writer achieved their desired satisfaction. On the contrary, listening and speaking skills cannot be amended once they have been performed. In a particular occasion, one has to be good in listening and speaking right then and there.

Speaking skill is important for the whole learning process and helps both fluency and accuracy (Lewis, 1999). Lewis further elaborates that as learners converse, they become more skillful at employing the communication strategies to fix the communication breakdowns and they become less focus on the way they are talking than on what they want to say because the other person is waiting for the response. In other words, it helps the learners to be more fluent language users.

Learners could also notice a gap between what they want to say and what they can say, or what they do not know or what they partially know. As a result, the learners



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