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Higher Education ELT Curricula at a Crossroads: Confusions and Tensions in the Omani Context

Al Sheyadi, Sheikha (2017) Higher Education ELT Curricula at a Crossroads: Confusions and Tensions in the Omani Context. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the purpose and practice of Omani higher education from the perspective of education providers in the field. Specifically, this research examines the tensions and confusion among academics, administrators and policy makers and how they view the provision of the English language curriculum at undergraduate level. The literature seems to indicate that, despite the significant advancement evidenced in the recent reforms, there remain unresolved tensions concerning the provision of higher education. To the best knowledge of the researcher, there is little or no empirical evidence of how these tensions might be played out 'on the ground' among people who are currently involved in higher education in Oman. Employing an interpretive paradigm as a methodological approach, this thesis engages with Clark’s (1987) philosophical framework. This framework highlights three curriculum philosophies, namely: classical humanism, reconstructionism and progressivism, which potentially conflict with each other. Through the content analysis of interviews and documents, the thesis shows stakeholders’ thinking about the ELT curriculum in terms of school mission, curriculum aim, knowledge, learning, the role of teacher, the role of student and assessment. It also explores the process of curriculum planning and the role of policy documents. The research shows how the provision of higher education has been interpreted and implemented at the institutional level. It shows how higher education reforms are viewed and how these reforms are affecting the provision in higher education. The study has found that there are tensions and muddles on the ground, as various interpretations of curriculum are brought to bear by different stakeholders. The study shows that there are contradictions in the stakeholders’ way of thinking about the purpose and practice of the English language curriculum. More interestingly and importantly, these tensions are evident not only among the groups of stakeholders but also within individuals, based on their educational beliefs and backgrounds. The study aims to contribute to the existing theoretical knowledge on the purpose and practice of higher education in general and English language curricula in particular in respect to the undergraduate level. It also intends to inform policy makers, curriculum specialists and teachers of the existing practices and issues in the Omani higher education.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Depositing User: Miss Sheikha Al Sheyadi
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2019 13:19
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2019 13:19
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23807

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