My journey started when I chose to study English Language at King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I graduated in June 2007 and in September 2007 I started working as an English teacher in a private school where I was teaching grade two students.
I was then appointed to work as an English teacher at the English Language Institute (ELI) at King Abdul Aziz University in 2008. After that, I was able to attend the University of Leeds for my postgraduate studies (MA in TESOL Studies). In November 2010, I was accepted to start my new academic role as a PhD student here at the School of Education.
My motivation to pursue a PhD
My MA experience in the School of Education was overwhelming. This experience contributed greatly to my academic, professional and social development. Pursuing my PhD at the University of Leeds is a great opportunity to develop myself, both academically and socially.
Gaining a PhD is not an aim of itself. I am pursuing my PhD to gain the needed knowledge and skills to be able to participate in developing Foreign Language Education in my country. I am dreaming of going back to share the knowledge and the skills, that I gained throughout my years of study at Leeds, with my students and with all those who need it.
My passion for education
Teaching is not only a career to me, teaching is a passion. After working as an English teacher for two years, I was sure that I wanted to continue my life as a language teacher; a language teacher that opens windows of knowledge about different cultures and new people.
The title of my research is ‘English language teacher beliefs and practices regarding the teaching of speaking’.
‘Teacher beliefs’ is an important construct in teacher education and teaching in general. It is widely accepted now that in order to understand what teachers do in their classrooms, we need to gain insights into their educational beliefs.
Simply, I am having a great time at the University of Leeds. The staff members are very helpful and supportive. I have met some of my best friends here. I attend some of the LUU (Leeds University Union) events, I follow its news and I participate in the elections. The Students' Union makes me feel that my voice will be always heard.
I think the facilities in our school are great; research students have their own workstation that they can use at any time. Research students’ workstations are based in the E.C. Stoner building which is located in the heart of the university.
The university library has unlimited number of books about Education and they provide great services. In 2009, I needed a new book which was published in the same year, all that I had to do was to fill a form and send it to our school librarian; and the book was in the library a while after that.
For a beginner researcher like me, it was challenging to start with, however with the support I received from my supervisors and my colleagues, I was able to go on until I passed my upgrade successfully.
There are different courses and workshop, which are provided to help the research students to develop their knowledge and overcome their academic obstacles. Also, there are many events for socialising with school staff and students such as the school coffee mornings.
Outside of study
I was the PGR representative at the school of Education from January 2010 until November 2011. I have participated in some of the LUU activities. I went to one of the ‘IAIDO’ (a modern Japanese martial art) ‘Give it a Go’ sessions and it was great.
Also, I went to one of the school residential weekends in the ‘Peak District’, which was a great opportunity to get more involved with other students and staff members in the school.
I also like writing, photography, (I love taking photos of Leeds), reading, volunteering, shopping, playing sports (swimming, basketball and badminton) and travelling.
Honestly, Leeds is a great multicultural city. I found many Arabic food places and restaurants in the city.
The people of Leeds are very nice. I like walking around the city centre with my friends, visiting the museums, shops, cafes or restaurants. Leeds has worship places for different religions and they are close to the University, which makes them easily reachable.
There are many beautiful small towns around Leeds such as: Otley, Ilkley and Harrogate which I like visiting over the weekend.
The School of Education is considered as one of the best of its kind in the UK. It is great to be here and to meet research staff and students from different backgrounds and with different research interests. Above all that, the research environment is very supportive. I highly recommend Leeds.
Once I have finished my degree, I will go back to work as a University tutor and researcher at King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah. I have plans for cooperative research projects with some of my colleagues who showed interest in co-researching with me.