How Omani teachers perceive the process of integrating 21st century competencies and skills into the EFL curriculum: A step forward
Al Khatri, A
Date: 4 November 2019
University of Exeter
Doctor of Philosophy in Education
The international demands towards incorporating 21st century competencies and skills in any educational system are growing rapidly and the Omani educational system is no exception. This is due to the challenges imposed by the explosion in knowledge and technology and the rapid changes in the economy and the labour market. Therefore, ...
The international demands towards incorporating 21st century competencies and skills in any educational system are growing rapidly and the Omani educational system is no exception. This is due to the challenges imposed by the explosion in knowledge and technology and the rapid changes in the economy and the labour market. Therefore, the Ministry of Education in the Sultanate of Oman is undertaking a number of reforms towards the inclusion of 21st century competencies and skills in the educational system, both implicitly and explicitly. These competencies and skills include creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, and information, media and technology skills. As a result, significant reforms to education were introduced in order to cope with the future economic vision of the country (Ministry of Education, 2012). Therefore, innovations in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) curriculum, course content, teaching methods and assessment in Oman were geared towards the integration of 21st century competencies and skills. As teachers are considered “Agents of Change” (Fullan, 1999, Drew, Priestley & Michael, 2016), the current study examines Omani EFL teachers’ experiences of the integration process. The investigation was informed by the interpretive paradigm. It deployed an explanatory sequential mixed-method design. An EFL teachers' questionnaire, semi-structured interviews and classroom observations were used for gathering quantitative and qualitative data. The findings revealed that some teachers perceive positively the integration of the skills into the EFL curriculum; however, they are dissatisfied with their exclusion from the process as a whole. Furthermore, teachers emphasised the mismatch between curriculum and assessment, and this is considered one of the challenges they faced during implementation. Other challenges teachers face, that impede a successful implementation of the relevant skills, were highlighted; such as time, the textbooks and the students' levels of competence in English. Consequently, the respondents provided some suggestions to reinforce practice and policy of the appropriate inclusion and implementation of the competencies. Finally, some implications and recommendations were outlined towards the end of the study.
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