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Developing critical thinking in EFL learners within the perspectives of CHAT: the case of Oman

Samarasinghe, Thushara Manouri (2017) Developing critical thinking in EFL learners within the perspectives of CHAT: the case of Oman. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The Sultanate of Oman is situated on the Arabian Gulf in the Middle East. It has invested enormously in the education and training of its people. However, recent reports on Oman’s development, as well as educational articles by Omani scholars, highlight that many Omani graduates lack critical thinking skills (Ministry of Education & The World Bank Report, 2016; Thakur & Al-Mahrooqi, 2015; Mehta & Al-Mahrouqi, 2014). Situated within the context of Oman’s only national university, a qualitative case study was conducted on 11 English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers and 10 EFL learners. Informed by socio constructivist perspectives that Cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) provides, this study aims to identify effective teaching and learning practices that contribute to the development of critical thinking skills that can then be integrated into EFL teaching. This thesis contends that the development of critical thinking in Omani learners through EFL education at university level is important because EFL teaching can provide the necessary affordances by incorporating the perspectives of CHAT. Results indicate that the creation of constructivist learning environments (CLEs) that enable diverse scaffolding techniques, promoting social interaction, development of meta-cognitive skills (Richardson, 2003), use of open-ended questioning (Paul, 1990), teacher-modelling of strategies (Bailin et al., 1999b), and purposeful practising of tasks for development/transfer of skills (Halpern, 1990) are effective strategies that can foster critical thinking. Focusing on the development of these key strategies can be an effective approach for EFL teachers to adopt to help improve the critical thinking skills of their learners. It is hoped that the findings of this study can be theoretically advanced to situations other than the chosen sample. The study hopes that Omani EFL learners will achieve their educational goals and will be prepared to face the challenges of 21st century jobs through their enhanced critical thinking.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Keywords: EFL; ESL; CHAT; SQU; Critical thinking; teaching strategies; constructivism;
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Mrs Thushara Manouri Samarasinghe
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2018 09:27
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2019 01:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19477

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