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Tertiary English language foundation programme quality management: case study of learning outcome standards’ impact on English language teachers’ classroom instructional practices

Tertiary English language foundation programme quality management: case study of learning outcome standards’ impact on English language teachers’ classroom instructional practices
Tertiary English language foundation programme quality management: case study of learning outcome standards’ impact on English language teachers’ classroom instructional practices
Seeking quality in education is a recent trend that has emerged originally from the field of industry in the mid of the twentieth century in order to define, manage and later enhance quality of products and services. The success of quality management in industry and later in the services sector has been viewed as a fostering factor for the gradual adoption of its theorizations and approaches in general education and recently in second/foreign language education. The use of learning- outcome standards, as specifiers of the outputs of the educational process is an approach of quality management that has been increasingly utilized in different contexts in the globe as in Europe with the CEFR standards, in the USA with ACTFL standards and in some Arabian gulf states. In the context of Oman where this case study took place, the use of such learning-outcome standards for English language programme at tertiary level has been recently used as a tool for quality management by Oman Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA) for quality assurance purposes.

The pedagogical impact of such standard-based language programmes on what teachers need to do in classrooms in order to achieve such learning outcome standards is an area that is found to be under- researched, not only locally in the Omani context but also globally. Little research based on classroom empirical data has been conducted to illuminate the intersection between standards as specifiers of learning outcomes and teachers’ real classroom instructional practices at the enacted version of an outcome-based curriculum. Therefore, this case study, adopting an interpretivist paradigmatic positioning, aims to further investigate the impact relation of OAAA’s learning outcome standards on teachers’ classroom instruction and the factors that foster or hinder such an impact in order to extend our understanding of this new phenomenon of quality management in language education.

To do so, this study was conducted in three phases. The identification of the instructional assumptions implicitly embedded in the learning outcome standards developed by the OAAA was conducted first through the investigation of their external relations with the wider discourse of English language teaching (ELT) in phase one of this study. In phase two, classroom observations with four teachers (four cases) from an Omani tertiary English language institution were conducted to identify how the observed teachers’ real classroom instructional practices intersected with two instructional assumptions of OAAA’s EFP standards. That was conducted through the analysis of selected classroom discourse episodes transcribed from the classroom observations. Later in phase three, the factors that have fostered and hindered such intersection were traced through the use of the thematic analysis of the interviews conducted with the observed teachers and their two course coordinators. Those interviews aimed to give the participants the opportunity to justify the observed classroom instructional practices in order to identify such factors.

Finally, three main findings can be reported out of the three phases of this study. First, the apparent reliance on principles derived from Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) and Strategy- based Instruction (SBI) has been found to be directing the standards development in phase 1. Second, the complexity and variability of the observed teachers’ instructional practices have presented a form of hybrid intersection between the teachers’ classroom instructional practices and the standards’ implicit instructional assumptions. In phase three, teachers- related and institution- related factors have apparently contributed to shape this hybrid intersection.
University of Southampton
Al-Naabi, Khalil Ibrahim
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Al-Naabi, Khalil Ibrahim
ac346b85-f9b0-4932-a366-00e8d6031a81
Kiely, Richard
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Hicks, Glyn
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Al-Naabi, Khalil Ibrahim (2018) Tertiary English language foundation programme quality management: case study of learning outcome standards’ impact on English language teachers’ classroom instructional practices. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 226pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Seeking quality in education is a recent trend that has emerged originally from the field of industry in the mid of the twentieth century in order to define, manage and later enhance quality of products and services. The success of quality management in industry and later in the services sector has been viewed as a fostering factor for the gradual adoption of its theorizations and approaches in general education and recently in second/foreign language education. The use of learning- outcome standards, as specifiers of the outputs of the educational process is an approach of quality management that has been increasingly utilized in different contexts in the globe as in Europe with the CEFR standards, in the USA with ACTFL standards and in some Arabian gulf states. In the context of Oman where this case study took place, the use of such learning-outcome standards for English language programme at tertiary level has been recently used as a tool for quality management by Oman Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA) for quality assurance purposes.

The pedagogical impact of such standard-based language programmes on what teachers need to do in classrooms in order to achieve such learning outcome standards is an area that is found to be under- researched, not only locally in the Omani context but also globally. Little research based on classroom empirical data has been conducted to illuminate the intersection between standards as specifiers of learning outcomes and teachers’ real classroom instructional practices at the enacted version of an outcome-based curriculum. Therefore, this case study, adopting an interpretivist paradigmatic positioning, aims to further investigate the impact relation of OAAA’s learning outcome standards on teachers’ classroom instruction and the factors that foster or hinder such an impact in order to extend our understanding of this new phenomenon of quality management in language education.

To do so, this study was conducted in three phases. The identification of the instructional assumptions implicitly embedded in the learning outcome standards developed by the OAAA was conducted first through the investigation of their external relations with the wider discourse of English language teaching (ELT) in phase one of this study. In phase two, classroom observations with four teachers (four cases) from an Omani tertiary English language institution were conducted to identify how the observed teachers’ real classroom instructional practices intersected with two instructional assumptions of OAAA’s EFP standards. That was conducted through the analysis of selected classroom discourse episodes transcribed from the classroom observations. Later in phase three, the factors that have fostered and hindered such intersection were traced through the use of the thematic analysis of the interviews conducted with the observed teachers and their two course coordinators. Those interviews aimed to give the participants the opportunity to justify the observed classroom instructional practices in order to identify such factors.

Finally, three main findings can be reported out of the three phases of this study. First, the apparent reliance on principles derived from Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) and Strategy- based Instruction (SBI) has been found to be directing the standards development in phase 1. Second, the complexity and variability of the observed teachers’ instructional practices have presented a form of hybrid intersection between the teachers’ classroom instructional practices and the standards’ implicit instructional assumptions. In phase three, teachers- related and institution- related factors have apparently contributed to shape this hybrid intersection.

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More information

Published date: September 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 432573
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/432573
PURE UUID: 395bbbc7-a2b4-4bb1-993f-41c460f74dfa
ORCID for Glyn Hicks: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4126-8655

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 Jul 2019 16:33
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 00:51

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Contributors

Author: Khalil Ibrahim Al-Naabi
Thesis advisor: Richard Kiely
Thesis advisor: Glyn Hicks ORCID iD

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