Unraveling high-school students’ learning experiences in English, Science, and Math: a mixed methods study

Muna Binothman, Maha Alhabbash, Najah Al Mohammedi, Ali Ibrahim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For over a decade, the United Arab Emirates has used English as the medium of instruction in government schools. Previous research has concluded that the lack of English proficiency can make learning Science and Math difficult for students; however, research on students’ experiences and the challenges they face in this area is limited. Therefore, this study explores students’ views and the challenges that they face regarding learning English and Science and Math in English. The study employed a mixed methods approach using a survey with 236 students from 2 large school districts in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and qualitative data collected through interviews with 9 high-school students. The study found that students valued learning English, were aware of English teaching limitations in the current system, believed that the adopted exam-based system impeded English, Science, and Math learning, and preferred multimodal resources for learning. Many students encountered various challenges while studying including difficulties pertaining to the type of teaching they received and their proficiency in English language. This study calls for educational policymakers to consider students’ experiences learning English, Science, and Math when designing curricula and assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2351243
JournalCogent Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Bilingualism / ESL
  • Curriculum Studies
  • English language
  • Science and Math teaching, bilingual students, high-school students, United Arab Emirates
  • Secondary Education
  • Serafina Pastore, Education, Psychology, Communication, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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