Date of Graduation

12-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Baderaddin M. Yassin

Committee Member

Dr. Mounir Farah

Second Committee Member

Dr. Michael Daugherty

Third Committee Member

Dr. Wen-Juo Lo

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Erin Casey

Abstract

This study investigated the learning styles of ESL students (students who learn English as a second language). The focus in this study was on the ESL Arab Gulf (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates) students who study English as a second language in Intensive English Language Centers (IELCs) in the United States. The study explored the ESL Arab Gulf students' learning style preference and how they are affected by different variables such as cultural background, gender, and language level in IELCs. ESL Arab Gulf students were administered the VARK Learning Styles questionnaire. It measures several sensory types of learning styles such as visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile. The participants in this study were from Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait. The finding of this quantitative research study showed that ESL Arab Gulf students' learning styles were affected by their cultural backgrounds and their gender as well. The results of this study showed that matching teaching styles to ESL Arab Gulf students' learning styles impacted the ESL Arab Gulf students' academic success positively. It helped students to achieved higher TOEFL scores more than the students who had different learning styles from their teachers'.

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