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I- The place of English in Morocco

Morocco is linguistically diverse. According to Sadiqi (1991), the languages

used in Morocco fall into three types : national, colonial, and foreign. . Considering

Sediqis diffrentiation ; standard Arabic , which is adopted as the official language in

the country after the independence , Berber and Moroccan Arabic or Darija are the

national languages . Spanish and French as colonial languages , however the latter

still has a conspicuous impression that cannot be denied especially in high education,

moreover , it is a prestigious language .

Enlish remains a foreign language , Ennaji and Sadiqi (1994), stated

English does not have a local social function ; in high schools and universities, it is

taught in what may be termed an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) context .

While English is still behind French, it is gradually spreading and expanding the last

decades in Morocco. Hitherto, the number of students, both who chose to learn

Engish during the last three years of high school education, and those who registrate

in English departments every year, has remarkably grown. Ouakrime (1986), gave

some statistics : The number of departments of English in H.E has gone up from

two in the early 1970s (Rabat and Fez) to six in 1984, and the soaring numbers of

students in these departments ( less than 500 in 1973 and over 6000 in 1984) are also

indicators of the importance of ELT at university . Furthermore, English is the most

important foreign language studied in educational institutions in Morocco and was

preferred by an overwhelming majority (as cited in Guebels, 1976).


The proliferation of ELT in the kingdom inevitably has affected many

domains. Sadiqi (1991) highlighted that public education, private education, mass

media, and Arabization are the most influenced domains by the spread of English.

The emergence of centers like the British Council and the American Language

Centers has enhanced the tendency of learning this language. Moreover, the

tremendous impact and influence of mass media is apparently plentiful. The spread

of English written materials, English channels, and more importantly the easy access

to the internet and the population of English songs and movies internationally have

facilitated the spread of the language especially among youths, many of whom use

the lyrics to improve their vocabulary.

On the other hand, many factors has increased the

popularity of English language in Morocco. Ouakrime (1986),

attributed the improvement of the language and the wider place is

taking in the country to the appointment of the prominent

members of staff to the administrative posts which has contributed

in fostering the improvement in the ELT program in the H.E.

Similarly, Ennaji and Sediqi (1992), stated that the development

involving teacher training, implementation of new programs aiming

at improving the teaching and learning of English by setting and

adopting new aims and methodologies, resulted in a spectacular

increase in the number of Moroccan teachers, inspectors, textbook

writers and so on. .


The social function of English in Morocco is gradually

increasing by the time goes by. English with its international status

as a Lingua Franca, and the Moroccans positive changing of

perspectives and attitudes towards this language ; it is taking its

steps steadily to compete with French. Sadiqi (1991), argued

English has certainly started to compete with French in Morocco. If we take the

faculty of letters in Fes as an example, we will notice that the number of students

registering every year in the English department equals and sometimes overruns that

of the French department .

II- English as a foreign language: challenges facing learners


A- Perspectives on difficulties in learning English
1- Culture and language learning

There has been a big matter concerning the role of culture in language

learning. Is the understanding of the cultural aspects of the foreign language can

facilitate the process of learning this language?.

2- Translation and the use of own-language

The use of Translation in language learning has been neglected in language

learning classrooms because it is considered as an inappropriate method of teaching a

second or a foreign language. Kerr (2014), sees that learning is based on

a previous learning, that is to say learners cant handle the task of

the learning process of a language but by relating the new

knowledge to existing knowledge. Still many students see it as a

useful tool to cope with learning problems especially understanding


meaning of words. Atkinson (1987), claims that The use of some

translation techniques is one of the preferred learning strategies of

most learners in most places (as cited in Kerr 2014). Laghmam

(2016),

We live in a multilingual society, which makes translation

all around us as we use it in our daily conversations with family,

friends, even in hospitals, courts and so on. Typically, many

students go back to their own language to overcome the problems

they face in EFL. Laghmam (2016), conducted a study seeking to

examine to what extent Moroccan teachers use Arabic in EFL

classrooms. He found that the majority of Moroccan teachers of

English use Arabic in their classes but in rare situations.

Furthermore, there are many reasons behind the use of own-

language such as: time saving, checking students understanding,

helping shy students, facilitating communication between teacher

and student and so on and so forth. But the main reason remains

fairly the same which is translating abstract words in order to

improve the vocabulary.

Through the results, it is prominent that translation is likely

to be an efficient way of developing ones awareness about a

language. Neuroscience confirms that the initial acquisition of


new words in a foreign language depends on the association of

these items with corresponding own-language items in the learners

memory. (Sousa, 2011) ( as cited in Kerr, 2014).

III- Learning styles and strategies


A- Learning styles

Every learner of a foreign language has its own and

different way of learning. It differs from one to another according to

their background, personalities, tendencies and so on. These

preferred ways refer to The Learning Styles. According to Cournett

(1983), learning styles can be defined as a consistent pattern of

behavior but with a certain range of individual variability while

Brown (2000), quoted Keefes definition (1979, p. 4), of learning

styles cognitive, affective and physiological traits that are

relatively stable indicators of how learners percieve, interact with,

and respond to the learning environment .

Learning styles can categorized into two broad types :

1- Sensory learning : also referred to as perceptual learning

styles. It is concerned with the sensual organs, such as eyes and

ears, the learner uses in the learning process as well as in noticing,

comprehending and producing new ideas and informations. It can

be divided into four main areas : visual (learning by seeing),


auditory (learning by hearing), tactile (learning by touching) and

kinesthetic (learning by practicing).


Visual learners prefer to learn and acquire informations through

sight. They prefer to look at what is written in the blackboard than

to listen to the teacher. Leaver (1998), defines two kinds of visual

learners : imagists and verbalists. ( as cited in Leaver et al, 2005).

When imagists hear or read a word in a foreign language, they see

a picture of what they have heard or read ; whereas verbalists see

words how they are written.


Auditory learners, on the other hand, prefer to learn by

listening. They effectively reinforce the information through

sounds, furthermore, they are comfortable with interactions with

others by talking and listening. Leaver (1998), differentiated

between two kinds of auditory learners : aural and oral learners.

(as cited in Leaver et al, 2005). Aural learners learn by listening to

others, whereas oral learners learn by listening to themselves.

That is to say, the first group pay more attention to what others

say while the other group tend to talk and express what they want

in words.
The two remain areas are rather the same. Tactile learners

learn more effectively by touching something with their hands.

Whilst kinesthetic learners like movement.


2- Cognitive learning : Cognitive styles are specifically prefered

forms of activity associated with information acquisition and

processing (Leaver et al, 2005). In other words, they refer to the

way an individual prefer to use in processing information. It is

related to thought process. There are a number of cognitive styles

that have been identified, but the most important ones are field

dependence (FD) and field independence (FI). FI learners, also

known as analytic learners, can be identified by their tendency to

separate details from the surrounding context, they pay more

attention and concentrate on every detail concerning with the

foreign language they are learning. Moreover, they have the

capability to observe a relevant item in a field of distracting items.

(Brown, 2005). In contrast, FD learners, also known as global

learners, they have the ability to observe the general structure

and ideas.
Overall, the distinction between FD and FI learners can more

clarified by the quotation : The more rapidly you can distinguish

the object you are seeking from the field around it, the more field

independent you are (Leaver et al, 2005).


Generally, Wallace (1989a), referred to Hudson(1968) and

Parlett (1970) division. There are two types of students ; syllabus-

bound students who like to be guided and directed in their studies,


in contrast there are students who dislike to be restricted and

prefer to organise their studies in the way it fits them, those are

called syllabus-free students.


B- Learning strategies

IV- Applied linguistics and language teaching / learning


A-Language learning problems
B- Language teaching problems