School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Dr. Charles A. Schneider


Academic Reading Comprehension, Academic Vocabulary Instruction, Adult English Language Learner, Developmental ESL Programs, GCC University ESL Programs, Instructional Efficacy


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Other Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe 11 ESL instructors’ experiences and perceptions of why some adult learners in their college level ESL programs in the Gulf States of the Middle East have challenges to academic reading comprehension success. The theories that guided this study were epistemological and axiological ones whereby participants’ descriptions of perceptions regarding academic vocabulary instruction, instructional self-efficacy, and experiences were explored. Adult learning theory of Malcolm Knowles’ coupled with the social cognitive theory espoused by Albert Bandura are the frameworks that underscore the adult learner context and their social learning and instructional environments within this study. Data collection strategies for this phenomenological study were comprised of standardized open-ended interviews, observations, and document collection. This purposive sampling of criteria of participants was based on age, experience, profession, and setting. The data was analyzed using Moustakas’ seven step procedure and helped to describe the essence of why some adult learners in these programs may have difficulty with English academic text comprehension and academic success at the tertiary level.