A case study of Omani English-language instructors’ attitudes towards English and towards native speakers of English in an Omani university

Doctorate other than PhD


Denman, Christopher. 2014. A case study of Omani English-language instructors’ attitudes towards English and towards native speakers of English in an Omani university. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Education. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

A case study of Omani English-language instructors’ attitudes towards English and towards native speakers of English in an Omani university

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
Authors
AuthorDenman, Christopher
SupervisorMidgley, Warren
Walker, Linda
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Education
Number of Pages233
Year2014
Abstract

Interaction with a second or foreign language is often assumed to necessitate exposure to the socio-cultural values associated with that language’s dominant social group/s. Such interaction may therefore be experienced as a means of expanding an individual’s worldview. However, it may also lead to a sense of tension or even
alienation for those who find the values transmitted by the new language incongruous with their own. Within the context of the six current member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a number of theorists maintain that learners of English within the region may experience negative responses and attitudes based on a supposed incongruity between the Western values associated with the language and Arab-Muslim identity. Research into the attitudes of Gulf citizens towards the English language and its native speakers, however, suggests a far more complicated picture. The current case study of Omani English-language instructors of English at a university in the Gulf nation of Oman, therefore, investigated participants’ attitudes towards the English language, their attitudes towards the place of English in Oman, and their attitudes towards native speakers of English. A mixed qualitative quantitative research design, incorporating documentary analysis of government produced texts regarding English in higher education in Oman, a 5-point Likert-scale questionnaire administered to 21 Omani tertiary-level English-language instructors and semi-structured interviews conducted with eight such participants, was employed. Findings suggested that participants held somewhat positive attitudes towards the English language and its place in Omani society, with emphasis often placed on the way access to the language can be a source of empowerment. Moreover, results indicated that participants largely believed English allowed them to express their own individual values and concerns, and thus their knowledge of English was not incompatible with their Arab and/or Muslim traditions and beliefs. However, attitudes towards native speakers of English were far more mixed, with neutral attitudes in this area characterising questionnaire responses and slightly more positive attitudes typically emerging from the semi-structured interviews.

KeywordsESL, foreign language, language, Omani, English, instructors, teachers, teaching, university,
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470307. English language
479999. Other language, communication and culture not elsewhere classified
470299. Cultural studies not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
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