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Exploring the factors that influence students’ participation in English classrooms at Ibri College of Applied Sciences in Oman

Al-Ghafri, Mohammed Sloum Rashid (2018) Exploring the factors that influence students’ participation in English classrooms at Ibri College of Applied Sciences in Oman. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This study is concerned with the process of how teachers and students manage classroom participation in the English Foreign Language (EFL) classroom. Student participation is often associated with their verbal and non-verbal interaction in class, and how they respond to teachers’ questions. The main aim of the study, then, is to explore the factors that influence students’ participation in the English classroom at Ibri College of Applied Sciences in Oman. The sample of the study includes two gender-mixed classes (Level A and Level C) from the Foundation Year program, as well as six foreign teachers who taught these classes, and were voluntarily chosen. Since many previous studies focus on analysing the verbal and non-verbal participation of students in the classroom, this study tries to explore deeper to discover the implicit and unseen causes of participation in an attempt to shed some light on the factors that may contribute to what happens in the class, rather than the actions themselves. This requires an understanding of the relationships between teachers and students and how they create the classroom context, as well as understanding the classroom as a unique social context. Three research methods (classroom observation, interviews and students' diaries) were used to provide the study with comprehensive qualitative data where each of these methods complemented the other. This study adapts some principles of ethnographic approach and grounded theory in dealing with data collection and analysis. The findings of the study emphasize the roles of teachers and students in shaping classroom participation, and confirm that classroom context is a unique social place where many interrelated factors contribute to how and why things happen in class. Furthermore, the findings point out several socio-cultural factors, such as shyness, religion, gender and culture, that influence much of what happens in the class. An interesting finding of this study is expressed by the learners’ positive perception of ‘shyness’, because it is seen as a positive natural feeling that shows a mutual respect of all this study’s participants, both male and female. It indicates that shyness is related to different causes, such as the unfamiliarity of the class context, and the expected social and Islamic practices. Finally, the study concludes that the classroom is a small complex world which has its unique culture and context. Therefore, EF teachers need to understand the complexity of the classroom and involve their learners in understanding and constructing this mini-society context for a better learning environment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: classroom participation, classroom context, culture
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Education (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.741196
Depositing User: Mr. Mohammed S R Al Ghafri
Date Deposited: 14 May 2018 15:02
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:57
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20300

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