English Faculty Publications

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Book Chapter

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Teaching and Learning English in the Arabic-Speaking World


Like many other countries around the world, the foreign language teaching profession in Lebanon has been flourishing, with English being the forerunner. The new curriculum established by the Lebanese government in the 1990s mandates that in addition to their native language, Arabic, Lebanese children must learn two foreign languages at school, the first language in grade one, and the second in grade seven. Some private schools, however, begin teaching the second foreign language as early as grade four or five, and parents of young learners have to choose one of the foreign languages as a medium of instruction for their children. This policy has led to an increase in schools that teach both English and French as foreign languages, and to an increase in the number of students enrolled in schools that use English as a medium of instruction.

With this demand on the teaching and learning of foreign languages, a number of issues have arisen. Using a foreign language as a medium of instruction entails a certain level of proficiency on the part of the teacher as well as the learner. If such a proficiency level has not been reached, then how can we expect learners to be successful in the different school subjects taught in the foreign language, and how can we fairly assess them? The issue of proficiency level leads to another related area of concern, which is teachers’ qualifications or professional preparation to teach a foreign language and to use it as a medium of instruction. This study explores the issues highlighted above, along with the ensuing challenges that some public and private school teachers face in their classrooms.

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Document available for download is the author's accepted manuscript, provided in compliance with the publisher's policy on self-archiving. Permission documentation is on file.

Book in which this chapter appears: Bailey, Kathleen M., and Ryan M. Damerow. 2014. Teaching and Learning English in the Arabic-Speaking World. Global Research on Teaching and Learning English. New York, NY : Routledge.



Place of Publication

New York, NY