Causes of Female Undergraduate Students’ Low Achievement in Arabic Grammar and Rhetoric from the Per...

Haifa Awwad Alhawamdeh, Afaf Abd Elmunim Hussein

American Journal of Educational Research

Causes of Female Undergraduate Students’ Low Achievement in Arabic Grammar and Rhetoric from the Perspective of Female Teachers and Female Students themselves at Najran University

Haifa Awwad Alhawamdeh1, Afaf Abd Elmunim Hussein2,

1Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, Najran University, K.S.A

2Department of Arabic Language, College of Arts and Sciences, Najran University, K.S.A

The research is funded by the Deanship of the Scientific Research at Najran University

(NU/SHED/14/068)

Abstract

The present study aims to investigate the causes of low achievement of undergraduate female students at the University of Najran in the Arabic language grammar and rhetoric from the perspective of the teachers and female students themselves. The descriptive analytical approach used in this study, which applied to all first-grade female students majoring in Arabic language in the College of Arts and Sciences for Girls at the University of Najran. The sample consisted of (250) female students who are studying in the secondary stage in the city of Najran and (50) female teachers. Four questionnaires about the causes of low achievement in Arabic grammar and rhetoric distributed to the female students and teachers. The study indicated that there are particular causes that led to the low achievement of the students in Arabic grammar and rhetoric from the perspective of the female teachers and students. The study made some recommendations.

Cite this article:

  • Haifa Awwad Alhawamdeh, Afaf Abd Elmunim Hussein. Causes of Female Undergraduate Students’ Low Achievement in Arabic Grammar and Rhetoric from the Perspective of Female Teachers and Female Students themselves at Najran University. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 4, No. 5, 2016, pp 383-391. http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/4/5/4
  • Alhawamdeh, Haifa Awwad, and Afaf Abd Elmunim Hussein. "Causes of Female Undergraduate Students’ Low Achievement in Arabic Grammar and Rhetoric from the Perspective of Female Teachers and Female Students themselves at Najran University." American Journal of Educational Research 4.5 (2016): 383-391.
  • Alhawamdeh, H. A. , & Hussein, A. A. E. (2016). Causes of Female Undergraduate Students’ Low Achievement in Arabic Grammar and Rhetoric from the Perspective of Female Teachers and Female Students themselves at Najran University. American Journal of Educational Research, 4(5), 383-391.
  • Alhawamdeh, Haifa Awwad, and Afaf Abd Elmunim Hussein. "Causes of Female Undergraduate Students’ Low Achievement in Arabic Grammar and Rhetoric from the Perspective of Female Teachers and Female Students themselves at Najran University." American Journal of Educational Research 4, no. 5 (2016): 383-391.

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1. Introduction

Arabic is the language of the nation's heritage and civilization, and Arabic grammar is an essential skill that students must acquire. Language is regarded a skill to be acquired through listening and speaking, reading and writing. Hence, the Arabic Language preserves the heritage of the nation and it is the mirror that reflects this heritage; and by which various curricula are formulated. The Arabic language is known for different sciences; the most important is Arabic grammar, then literature, rhetoric and criticism, and writing, and so on. The Arabic grammar is considered as a means of assessing the tongue and the validity of expression in reading, writing and speaking. So teaching of Arabic grammar has become indispensable, because it is responsible for the development of students' abilities in controlling the syntax and sentence structure when performing various language skills. In addition, Arabic grammar enables students to know the role of verbal and moral factors in the word, and this helps students understand well and fast, and develop the ability to identify the articulation that is not correct [2].

Many studies, such as Taqatq [12], Atawi [7], Jad, and the study of Al-Juhani [4], resulted that there are many difficulties facing the teaching of Arabic grammar with its different rules, these difficulties lies especially in the adopted teaching methods, poor presentation of delivering it, the low achievement of the students to realize its functions and objectives, the low achievement of the teachers in teaching its content, and the lack of the use of modern educational technology. All these factors have led students to decline to study this subject. As a result they have become low achievers in this subject.

There is a relationship between the various branches and skills of the Arabic language, and perhaps the rhetoric is the closest skill to grammar, which cannot be separated from it, thereby completing each other.

Arabic Rhetoric plays a key role in understanding the language and understanding its meaning, by which the meanings inherent in the human soul are structured in a beautiful way, it reveals the language depths, and develops the senses of taste and criticism, and enables students to choose between methods. Hence, the Arabic rhetoric is responsible for laying the foundations for the aesthetic taste of literature; it conveys the general laws that govern the linguistic communication [3].

Abdul-Muqiet [1] added other problems in the teaching of rhetoric, including education and preparation of the course design, random selection of topics, and deficiencies in and lack of the use of modern technology, and evaluation focusing on the literal answer.

1.1. Statement of the Problem

The problem of the study lies in the obvious low achievement of the students in two subjects: Arabic grammar and Rhetoric. Therefore this study aims at investigating and identifying the causes of low achievement and to suggest ways for treatment, through answering the following questions:

1. What are the causes of 1st-grade female students’ low achievement in Arabic grammar at the University of Najran from the perspective of female teachers?

2. What are the causes of 1st-grade female students’ low achievement in Arabic grammar at the University of Najran from the perspective of female students themselves?

3. What are the causes of 1st-grade female students’ low achievement in Rhetoric at the University of Najran from the perspective of female teachers?

4. What are the causes of 1st-grade female students’ low achievement in Rhetoric at the University of Najran from the perspective of female students themselves?

1.2. Significance of the Study

1. Arabic grammar and Rhetoric are two important subjects for female students in the first grade of the university.

2. Providing Arabic language teachers with adequate information to help them identify the causes of low achievement of students in Arabic grammar and Rhetoric.

3. To inform the supervisors and developer of Arabic language curricula with the causes that makes it difficult to teach those two subjects.

4. The current study is a starting point for further studies on the Arabic language grammar and Rhetoric.

1.3. Review of Literature

Many studies focused on the difficulties of teaching Arabic grammar and Rhetoric; for example, not limited to, Azzam Ahmed [8] aimed to identify the obstacles of teaching and learning Arabic grammar at the secondary stage in schools of Irbid from the perspective of teachers and students. The sample consisted of (173) teachers and (334) students. A questionnaire used by the researcher in this study, which resulted that the most important obstacles in the instruction of Arabic grammar are the belief among many students in the difficulty of Arabic grammar, lack of memorizing the grammatical rules and information, the prevalence of the vernacular, inability of teachers to address the low achievement, low motivation in teaching methods.

The study of Hadi [9] identified the problems of teaching Arabic grammar at primary stage from the perspective of teachers and supervisors. The sample consisted of (204) male and female teachers, and (4) educational supervisors. The author used the questionnaire as a tool for the study. The results showed that the most important problems are related to poor relation between the vocabularies of the different skills of the Arabic language, the small number of specialized teachers, the students’ dislike of Arabic grammar, lack of oral tests, and lack of training courses.

Zaubai [13] aimed to find out the low achievement of the Arabic language students in the Colleges of Education, University of Baghdad. The sample consisted of (126) male and female students, and (11) Arabic grammar faculty. The study concluded that most of the faculty members had not seen the goals of teaching the subject of Arabic grammar, and the low achievement of their ability to form an intellectual framework, lack of student participation in the classroom, exams do not measure the language potentiality of students, and the low facilities and equipment in colleges to apply modern teaching methods.

Mahmoud, M. and Jabeen, F. [11] investigated the nature of students and teachers’ response to the teaching methods of grammar, and learning difficulties in the English language. The sample consisted of (50) male and female teachers, chosen from some of the public schools in Faisalabad in Pakistan. The results showed the importance of training and qualifying teachers. There is a lack of effectiveness in the method of teaching English as a foreign language in general, and rules of grammar in particular. The results also showed that the teachers are inefficient in the presentation of information, and the students' weakness in the grammatical rules.

Casas [8] tries to analyze one of the fundamental concepts that underlie Kaplan's theory: his idea of “linearity”. Rather surprisingly, despite its importance, it is a construct that usually goes undefined in the literature. Different parameters of rhetorical organization will be considered in this paper in order to clarify the essence of linearity. We shall check then Kaplan’s contention that English is a “linear” language whereas Spanish, a member of the Romance family, is characterized by a broken or non-linear structure. We shall also verify if there exist differences between English and Spanish in the discursive organization of an expository text. Finally, we shall discuss which parameters appear to be more coincidental and more divergent within the rhetorical organization of each language. Thirty four subjects were used as informants, seventeen fourth-year Spanish students of English and seventeen English students who were spending the year at Murcia University. The Spanish group was randomly selected from the sixty eight who regularly attend classes to match the seventeen Erasmus students who comprised the British group. None of them knew the purpose of the writing assignments nor had they taken part in any prior activity directly related to the aim of the experiment. Finally, all papers had a maximum length of eight hundred words.

Al-Mashani [5] aimed to know the problems facing learning of rhetoric and the causes of these problems, the study sample consisted of (820) students from secondary scientific and humanities third grade, and (70) teachers of Arabic language teachers. The most important results of the study lie in the low achievement students and poor skills of literary rhetoric, lack of rhetorical examples, and the scarcity of the use of teaching aids, and the low application of extra-curricular activities, and the low achievement of students in applying of what they have learned from Rhetoric.

The study of Al-Qadi [6] aimed to identify learning difficulties of Rhetoric at the secondary stage. The sample consisted of (120) students and (104) teachers. The results showed low achievement of students in the subject of Rhetoric. The results also showed that three of the domains of measurement tool that was distributed to teachers, (the teacher, the objectives and assessment) came within a high level of difficulty, while the other three domains (content, student, and method) within the average level of difficulty.

2. Methodology

The descriptive and analytical approach used in this study based on the collection of data and then classifying, organizing and analyzing these data to identify the causes of poor students in grammar and rhetoric from the perspective of teachers and students themselves.

Limits of the study

The study restricted to secondary stage female teachers in secondary schools of Najran, female students who are learning in the first grade of Najran University, and a set of schools from Najran City, KSA, for the academic year 2015/2016.

Sample

The sample consisted of all female students of Arabic language (250) who are studying in the first year at the University of Najran, College of Arts and Sciences for Girls, as well as a sample of female teachers (50) who teach Arabic at high schools in the city of Njeran.

Tools

The authors prepared four questionnaires: the first one addresses female teachers to identify the causes of the low achievement in the Arabic grammar. The second one addresses the female students to identify the causes of the low achievement in the Arabic grammar. The third one addresses female teachers to identify the causes of the low achievement in Rhetoric, and the last questionnaire addresses female students to identify the causes of the low achievement in Rhetoric.

Validity

To verify the validity of the questionnaires, they are reviewed by a committee of experts in curriculum and teaching methods, and some supervisors and teachers. The evaluators made appropriate modifications.

Reliability

The way f test and retest adopted to verify reliability, the questionnaires have been distributed to prospective sample outside the study sample, where the number of female teachers is (10), the number of female students is (30) of the students who have finished high school, and haven’t yet joined the university. The retest conducted after two weeks. Pearson's correlation coefficient was (0.78) for female teachers and (0.82) for female students. This shows that the two reliability coefficients are appropriate for the purposes of the present study.

Five-likert scale was conducted and points were indicated as follows:

5 -1 ÷ 5 = 0.80

1. (5:4.21) Very high

2. (3.41:4.20) High

3. (2.61:3.40) Medium

4. (1.81:2.60) Low

5. (1:1.80) Very low

Variables

The study variables were limited to determine the causes of students’ low achievement in the Arabic language grammar and Rhetoric from the perspective of teachers and students’ perspectives.

Statistical analysis

The authors used Pearson correlation coefficient to verify the reliability of study tool. Means and standard deviations computed to show the results of the study.

3. Results

First, the results of the first question: What are the causes of 1st-grade female students’ low achievement in Arabic grammar at the University of Najran from the perspective of female teachers?

Table 1 shows that there are (10) paragraphs got (very high) that means there are (10) causes, which represent very great difficulty that led to the low achievement of the students in Arabic grammar from the perspective of the female teachers in all domains. There are (20) paragraphs got (high), and (9) paragraphs got (medium), and (10) paragraphs got (low), and one paragraph got (very low).

As for means, the paragraph: “Most female students are low achievers in Arabic grammar” in the domain of the student, got the highest mean (4.92) with standard deviation (0.93). The paragraph: “No consideration for individual differences.” from the domain of teaching methods, got the lowest mean (1.75), with a standard deviation (0.19).

Secondly, the results of the second question: What are the causes of 1st-grade female students’ low achievement in Arabic grammar at the University of Najran from the perspective of female students themselves?

Table 2 indicates that there are (9) causes that represent very great difficulty in grammatical rules from the perspective of the female students. (28) Paragraphs got (high), and (11) paragraphs got (medium), and two paragraphs got (low).

As for means, the paragraph: “Boring teaching methods adopted.” from the domain of teaching methods, got the highest mean (4.97), with a standard deviation (0.89), while the paragraph: “The teacher doesn’t realize the importance of Arabic grammar.” from the domain of teacher, got the lowest mean (2.02), and a standard deviation of (0.28).

Thirdly, the results of the third question: What are the causes of 1st-grade female students’ low achievement in Rhetoric at the University of Najran from the perspective of female teachers?

Table 3 reveals that there are (8) paragraphs got (very high) for all domains, and (22) paragraphs got (high), and (8) paragraphs got (medium), and (4) paragraphs got (low), and one paragraph got (very low)

As for the means, the paragraph: “Lack of literary memorizations such as holy Quran, poetry and proverbs” got the highest mean (4.81), and a standard deviation of (0.77), from the domain of the student. The lowest mean (1.75) is for the paragraph: “The teachers cancel part of the syllabus on the ground that it isn’t significant”, with a standard deviation of (0.49) from the domain of the Rhetoric book.

Fourthly, the results relating to the fourth question: What are the causes of 1st-grade female students’ low achievement in Rhetoric at the University of Najran from the perspective of female students themselves?

Table 4 indicates that there are (7) paragraphs got (very high), and there are (24) paragraphs got (high), and (7) paragraphs got (low).

As for the means, the paragraph: “Most of the evaluation methods focus on the memorization and understanding, but they do not measure the literary appreciation”, got the highest mean (4.79), and standard deviation (0.81), while the paragraph: “The teachers cancel part of the syllabus on the ground that it isn’t significant”, in the domain of the book, got the lowest mean (1.89), and standard deviation of (0.26).

Table 1. shows means and standard deviations for female teachers’ views about the causes of low achievement in Arabic grammar

Table 2. shows the means, standard deviations, and the degree of assessment of the views of female students about the causes of low achievement in the subject of Arabic grammar

Table 3. shows the means, standard deviations, and the level of assessment for female teachers’ views about the causes of low achievement in Rhetoric

Table 4. shows the means, standard deviations, and the level of assessment of the views of female students about their low achievement in Rhetoric on all domains

4. Discussion

1. Discussing the results of the first question: the results showed that there are (10) causes representing very great difficulties that make Arabic grammar very difficult for undergraduate students at the University of Najran. The first of these causes is that there is general low achievement among female students in Arabic grammar. The other difficulties in the views of female teachers for the causes of low achievement in the grammatical rules lie in the teachers’ unwilling to specialize in Arabic grammar, which reflected negatively on students. Teachers do not have the ability to link Arabic grammar with the other branches of the language for the low integration in the curriculum of the Arabic language, where the female teachers study the branches of the Arabic language as if independent fields from each other.

There are other reasons related to the educational means and technologies, which do not achieve the objectives of Arabic grammar and may be due either to the scarcity of the means or the ignorance of most of the teachers of the preparation and use of these means, or that Arabic grammar does not need much of these means. Consequently, it has become difficult to apply Arabic grammar in everyday life.

2. Discussing the results of the second question: The results of the second question have shown that there are (9) causes that made the Arabic grammar very difficult. These difficulties lie in that the teaching methods adopted by the teachers of the Arabic language are conventional and unattractive. This means that the students have found that the difficulty lies in the ways that do not attract their attention. Anther cause is that the Arabic grammatical rules have no link with other fields of the Arabic language.

One cause for the difficulty is that teaching aids do not cover all the dimensions of the grammatical rule – confirmed by the teachers as well. The students also confirmed that the grammatical rules in their current form do not develop their creative thinking skills. Most of the questions in Arabic grammar exams are difficult and incomprehensible. This suggests that the questions are still traditional.

3. Discussing the results of the third question: The results showed that there are multiple causes behind Rhetoric low achievement from the perspective of the female teachers. The teachers complain of their weakness in rhetoric because they did not study it well in universities.

One cause for the low achievement of rhetoric among female students from the viewpoint of the teachers is that the students felt that the illustrations in the book characterized by lack of information, and that means the necessity of selecting examples from Arabic poetry and literature that are full of examples of rhetorical images. The parents also do not encourage their daughters to pay attention to rhetoric.

The students have no ability to distinguish between the rhetorical concepts in its various arts. One of the causes behind the difficulty of Rhetoric is the scarcity of female students’ memorization in holy Quran, poetry, and proverbs.

 Another cause for the low achievement in Rhetoric is that most of the students are ignorant of the importance of rhetoric in the development of literary skills, where the rhetoric is closely linked to the literature of poetry, prose of art and stories, drama, articles and other literary branches.

4. Discussing the results of the fourth question: The results showed that there are a variety of causes that have made Rhetoric very difficult from the perspective of the students. Lack of teacher's ability to develop activities that encourage improving rhetorical skills. Most teachers do not deliver rhetoric examples in an interesting way, may be because the Arabic language teacher is no longer well-qualified, or they do not keep pace with the latest teaching methods and strategies.

There are other causes representing difficulty in rhetoric from the perspective of the students – the rhetoric taught in terms of rules, but not on the basis of rhetorical artistic images. This is due to the low analytical capacity of literary texts of the teachers.

5. Conclusion

The present study concluded that there was general low achievement among female students in Arabic grammar. The causes of low achievement in the grammatical rules lie in the teachers’ unwilling to specialize in Arabic grammar, which reflected negatively on students. Teachers do not have the ability to link Arabic grammar with the other branches of the language for the low integration in the curriculum of the Arabic language, where the female teachers study the branches of the Arabic language as if independent fields from each other. There are other reasons related to the educational means and technologies, which do not achieve the objectives of Arabic grammar and may be due either to the scarcity of the means or the ignorance of most of the teachers of the preparation and use of these means, or that Arabic grammar does not need much of these means. Consequently, it has become difficult to apply Arabic grammar in everyday life. The teaching methods adopted by the teachers of the Arabic language are conventional and unattractive. This means that the students have found that the difficulty lies in the ways that do not attract their attention. Anther cause is that the Arabic grammatical rules have no link with other fields of the Arabic language.

Recommendations

In light of the search results, the authors made the following recommendations:

1. Well selection of students willing to study Arabic language in colleges of education, which are responsible for qualifying these teachers.

2. Holding training courses for Arabic language teachers on how to prepare and use modern teaching aids.

3. Reconsidering the authoring of Arabic grammar books and rhetoric provided focusing on how to learn Arabic language with its various arts.

4. Increasing the marks allocated to Arabic grammar and Rhetoric exams to compel students pay attention to them.

5. Teaching of Rhetoric for the students specializing in Arabic language in universities for four years similar to the subject of Arabic grammar.

6. Increasing the awareness of the parents to urge their students to pay attention to the lessons of Arabic grammar and Rhetoric.

7. Studying the Arabic language should be integrated between its branches, especially the integration of literature and grammar, rhetoric and criticism.

8. The Arabic language teachers should access to the latest methods and strategies in the teaching of the Arabic language.

9. The students should be involved in grammar and rhetorical analysis.

10. Reconsidering the evaluation methods for the two subjects of Arabic grammar and Rhetoric, to be based on the function and application of the two subjects.

Fund

The research is funded by the Deanship of the Scientific Research at Najran University

References

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