Examination of The 1st Ph.D. Thesis Via Zoom Program

07 - Sep - 2020

On the 2nd of Sep, 2020, the first defense panel was entirely conducted via Zoom application to examine the Ph.D. thesis of the researcher Dr. Alaa Aladini from the Faculty of Education. The title of the thesis is "A suggested program on CLIL and Drama and its Effect on Improving 9th Graders' English Speaking Skills and Their Self Efficacy."

Speaking is challenging to teach and to learn. The Palestinian curriculum confirms the integration of the four skills to be learnt. Yet, each skill is emphasized more in every period. Speaking has been ignored by some English language teachers due to the way it is tackled in the given exams. The current study aimed at investigating the effectiveness of a suggested programme based on CLIL and drama on developing 9th graders' English speaking skills and their self-efficacy. The researcher developed the program based on the European (Playing the CLIL) project 2019-2021 where students are to be exposed to English Language use in real life contexts. He was inspired by this project and the challenges that students face when learning speaking skills. The program is based on the main components of CLIL.

 The sample of the study was (68) female ninth graders from an UNRWA School in Gaza where the researcher works as a supervisor in East Gaza Education Area. For the purpose of the study, the researcher used, a checklist for teachers to identify the most important speaking skills for ninth graders: a pre-post speaking skills' test, and a students' self-efficacy scale. The findings revealed that the suggested program based on CLIL and drama was effective in improving 9th graders' speaking skills and their self-efficacy. Additionally, the results showed that the students, after they were exposed to the suggested programme, have the ability to speak more fluently and confidently in English. It became clear that dramatizing the CLIL facilitates understanding the content as it is greatly connected to the learners' life that helps them interact effectively with different situations. This may be attributed to different reasons; students were motivated to participate during the implementation of the program.

This thesis was co-supervised by Prof. Awad Qishta and Prof. Mosheer Amer, the Head of the English Department. The External Examiner in the defense panel was Prof. Stephan Breidback, the Head of the English Department at Humboldt University, Berlin, and the Director of the University's Professional School of English Language Education through the CLIL methodology. The co-internal examiners were Prof. Ibrahim Al Astal, the Dean of the Faculty of Education at IUG; and prof. Akram Habib, professor of literature at IUG English Department.

Prof. Stephan Breidbach, who is one of the founders of CLIL 1997 and the developers in 2019 (Playing the CLIL) in Europe, affirmed that this study is a great contribution in the field of Education especially in ELT in Palestine. He added that CLIL and drama could be an effective method for students to express themselves and talk about their own life situations in addition to composing a story for their own.

Prof. Magdi Aqel, who is the Head of the Department of Curriculum and Teaching Methods at the Faculty of Education, said that examining this thesis comes in line with the continuation of the educational process online as the sector is still living under the outbreak of the Corona epidemic.

Prof. Amer expressed, "It is my privilege to participate in examining the first PhD thesis at the Islamic University online where I was honored to supervise with Dr. Keshta. Loads of appreciation for Deanship of Scientific Research on their efforts to make this first-of-its-kind event successful."

Prof. Akram Habib ceased this opportunity to congratulate Dr. Alaa for his spectacular performance and scholarly and researching skills. "Dr. Alaa was very responsive and adroit in his answers", he added.

It is worth noting that Dr. Aladini is an English Language supervisor in UNRWA, Gaza Strip. He was a Former Research Assistant (RA) at Humboldt-Universität, Berlin. He held his Master thesis from the IUG faculty of Education where he worked as a teaching assistant.