Teacher-trainee Perceptions of Coeducation in a Microteaching Context in the Sultanate of Oman
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Since 1970, the Sultanate of Oman has undergone rapid development, modernisation and educational reform within which a policy of coeducation has been introduced in grades 1 to 4, cycle 1, Basic Education schools and in most state-run and private higher education institutions. Situated within a coeducational tertiary college, a critical interpretive case study was conducted on 25 male and 85 female third-year English teacher trainees. Informed by a social-constructionist framework this study seeks to understand their perceptions of coeducation in the microteaching component of their initial teacher education programme. This study also provides a platform for the voices of these teacher trainees to be heard. Due to the accepted and practiced large-culture norms discouraging male and female interaction between non-family members in the Arabian Gulf, it was found that the coeducational microteaching classes are sites of struggle through which, drawing on the work of Barkhuizen (1998), six perceptions emerged: sustainments, emotions, predictions, reflections, evaluations and transformations, represented by the acronym, SEPRET. While there is only a slight difference in their perceptions of coeducational microteaching, the male and female trainees are both fostering stereotypical gender roles through which small cultures of ‘romance’ and ‘laddishness’ are being perpetuated. As a result of coeducation, they are experiencing a negative ‘mirror’-effect where they are masking, inhibiting, and repositioning aspects of their performance, participation and identities. The large- and small-culture constructs of Holliday (1999) are evidenced inside and outside the coeducational microteaching classroom walls and a new model of learner actions on their perceptions of coeducation is presented. The study ends with the voices of the teacher trainees calling upon the powers that be to understand their behaviour and recommends single-gender rather than coeducational microteaching spaces in this particular Omani initial teacher education context.
EdD in the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)