Large Classes in the Context of Teaching English as a Foreign Language


  • Basmah Ali Abu-ghararah Taibah University



language skills, teaching techniques, large classes, English language teaching


The purpose of this study is to explore the techniques used by teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) in teaching the four language skills to students in large classes in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. This study also seeks to determine the most effective technique to teaching large classes by examining teachers’ experiences. Additionally, this study investigates the teachers’ use of language techniques for language classes with respect to gender, qualification, years of experience, and level of teaching. The subjects of the study were 307 EFL teachers from Saudi schools. This study used descriptive statistical methods to examine the teachers’ preferred techniques in teaching the four central English skills in a large class setting. The results show that EFL teachers use a variety of language techniques in teaching graphic skills rather than aural ones. Further, gender and level of teaching shape their preferences for using certain techniques when teaching language skills in large classes. The study raised some questions for further research.

Author Biography

Basmah Ali Abu-ghararah, Taibah University

College of Education


Buckingham, J. (2003). Class size and teacher quality. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 2(1), 71–86.

Carpenter, J. M. (2006). Effective teaching Methods for Large Classes. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences Education, 24(2), 13–23.

Devi, R. B. (2016). Problems Faced by the Teachers of a Large Class in Imparting Writing Skills at the Tertiary Level. Language in India, 16(4), 165–173.

Filges, T., Sonne‐Schmidt, C. S., & Nielsen, B. C. V. (2018). Small class sizes for improving student achievement in primary and secondary schools: a systematic review. In Campbell Systematic Reviews. Oslo: The Campbell Collaboration.

Garcia, C. N. (2016). Effect of Class Size on Teaching Middle School English Language Learners. Dominican University of California.

Hadi, M. J., & Arante, L. T. (2015). Barriers in Teaching English in Large Classes: Voice of an Indonesian English Language Teacher. Online Submission, 2012, 1–7.

Hattie, J. (2005). The paradox of reducing class size and improving learning outcomes. International Journal of Educational Research, 43(6), 387–425.

Hunt, D., Haidet, P., Coverdale, J., & Richards, B. (2003). The effect of using team learning in an evidence-based medicine course for medical students. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 15(2), 131-139.

Khazaei, Z. M., Zadeh, A. M., & Ketabi, S. (2012). Willingness to Communicate in Iranian EFL Learners: The Effect of Class Size. English Language Teaching, 5(11), 181–187.

Mahmoodi, M.-H., & Moazam, I. (2014). Willingness to communicate (WTC) and L2 achievement: The case of Arabic language learners. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 1069–1076.

Mulryan-Kyne, C. (2010). Teaching large classes at college and university level: challenges and opportunities. Teaching in Higher Education, 15(2), 175-185.

Ndethiu, S. M., Masingila, J. O., Miheso-O’Connor, M. K., Khatete, D. W., & Heath, K. L. (2017). Kenyan Secondary Teachers’ and Principals’ Perspectives and Strategies on Teaching and Learning with Large Classes. Africa Education Review, 14(1), 58–86. Retrieved August 21, 2019, from

Wiliam, D. (2010). Teacher quality: why it matters, and how to get more of it. Spectator ‘Schools Revolution' Conference (March). Retrieved January 13, 2020, from

Yang, N., Ghislandi, P., & Dellantonio, S. (2018). Online collaboration in a large university class supports quality teaching. Educational Technology Research and Development, 66(3), 671–691. Retrieved May 22, 2019, from

Zhang, J., Beckmann, N., & Beckmann, J. F. (2018). To talk or not to talk: A review of situational antecedents of willingness to communicate in the second language classroom. System, 72, 226–239.