Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation (Access Restricted)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Applied Linguistics

Committee Chair

Emilly Thrush

Committee Member

Teresa Dalle

Committee Member

Sage Graham

Committee Member

Angela Thevenot


The present study aimed to understand the relationship and possible correlation between the self-esteem and English oral proficiency of Saudi ESL students. The research was conducted on 82 male Saudi students pursuing their bachelor’s degrees in the United States. All had experience studying English as a foreign language in Saudi Arabia and as a second language in the US. First, the students’ global (general) self-esteem was measured using Rosenberg’s (1965) self-esteem scale. Second, their task self-esteem (or language efficacy) was measured using an adapted version of Heyde’s (1979) task self-esteem scale. The scores of both scales were correlated with the difference between the two standardized oral tests the students had to take during their foundational English language programs. Initially, the study assumed that the higher self-esteem the student had, the higher the difference between his standardized oral test scores. However, the results showed no correlation between global self-esteem and students’ standardized oral test scores, although there was a strong correlation between such test scores and their task self-esteem. The students also reflected on their experiences as English learners in Saudi Arabia and the US in light of the teaching practices influencing their self-esteem. The results of the surveys and interviews showed that the teaching practices to bolster students’ self-esteem in the US outperformed those in Saudi Arabia. The study recommends that stakeholders in Saudi Arabia end all forms of corporal punishment in schools and implement teaching techniques that boost students’ healthy self-esteem.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.