Teacher Cognition: The Knowledge, Beliefs, and Attitudes of Teachers Toward Teaching English Prosody in Saudi Arabia

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Summer 2018


I examined the cognitions that Saudi Arabian teachers hold with regard to teaching English pronunciation and suprasegmentals or prosody (tone, stress, and intonation). This subject (prosody instruction) was selected because this aspect of language is very important in determining speaker comprehensibility and intelligibility. I designed the study to elucidate the factors shaping these cognitions and to formulate recommendations on how to encourage Saudi Arabian teachers to allocate more time and attention to teaching English pronunciation and prosody. I recruited the research participants from Saudi Arabian universities and English language centers in Saudi Arabia (SA). A survey pool was composed of 86 teachers of English. I further invited participants to complete a follow-up Skype interview, and a subset of five participants was selected. I analyzed the survey data with the use of cross-tabulation, which allowed the analysis of relationships between different impact factors (contextual factors, curriculum, student factor, authorities, significant others, and experience as a learner) and teacher cognitions about pronunciation and prosody. I thematically analyzed the interview data, which determined the most meaningful themes and patterns. The research findings showed that teachers’ cognitions about pronunciation and prosody are generally positive; they recognize the important role these aspects play in determining speakers’ intelligibility and comprehensibility. Teachers reported negative cognitions are mainly associated with the difficulties that these language aspects pose to a teacher from a methodological perspective. The factors that have the strongest impact on what teachers think about pronunciation and prosody are experience as a learner and students’ attitude. Finally, teachers are willing to receive more opportunities for professional development, particularly for development in terms of their proficiency in pronunciation and prosody teaching.


Lucy Pickering

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature