GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Investigating FL Attrition among Omani Teachers of English: Implications for Educational Reform in GCC Counties
Paper Proposal Text :
Investigating FL Attrition among Omani Teachers of English: Implications for Educational Reform in GCC Counties

Dr. Rahma Al-Mahrooqi

Sultan Qaboos University

Department of English;

Language attrition among foreign language teachers can be seriously detrimental to the ability to impart knowledge to their students. It can hinder their students’ skills development and set back the educational reform of a country that might believe passionately in the importance of foreign language learning. Following an exploratory study of this problem among Omani teachers of English (Al-Mahrooqi & Sultana, 2012), this study, using an extensive questionnaire, aims to determine the key factors behind attrition, the areas most affected by it, and the strategies teachers use to overcome the linguistic deficiency it causes. In addition to offering an overview of relevant literature, the presentation explains the study in detail and its major findings. The sample comprised 128 teachers of English from across Oman and the findings indicate that the majority suffered attrition in the following areas (rank-ordered by mean value): reading and vocabulary, writing, speaking, listening, and grammar. The main reasons for language loss include lack of writing in English, infrequent speaking practice, the school environment and contextual restrictions, lack of time due to social and family commitments, and insufficient opportunities for professional development. The results also showed that, to maintain their English proficiency, teachers often employ modern media tools and technical resources. Also, they sometimes read and engage in social and professional English-related activities that are not part of their teaching assignment. Implications for the GCC countries will be discussed in the light of educational reforms that are in train across the modern socio-cultural, political, and economic landscape.

The presenter will involve participants in discussing ways to guard against foreign language attrition in GCC countries. Participants will emerge with an understanding of the modern Omani education system, the place of English in it, and with an appreciation of the challenges faced by English teachers in modern GCC educational and political contexts. Presentation slides will be provided for participants. It is hoped that discussion of the topic can continue after the symposium and thus help to expand research on this very important area.