Sultanate of Oman Dhofar University College of Arts and Applied Sciences (CAAS) Education Department Curriculum Authenticity in Salalah Schools: EFL Teachers' Evaluation of Grade 12 EFL Curriculum Authenticity Thesis proposal submitted to the Department of Education in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master Degree Submitted by Zainab Ali Aidroos ID: 200900388 Supervised by Dr. Abdul Aziz Ayoub Fall Semester 2011 Contents Pages Chapter 1: Introduction 5 1.1 Statement of the Problem 5-6 1.2 Rationale of the Study 6 1.3 Significance of the Study 6 1.4 Purpose of the Study 7 1.5 Research Questions 7 1.6 Hypotheses of the Study 7 1.7 Limitations of the Study 7-8 1.8 Definitions of Key Terms 8-9 1.9 Study Organization 9 Conclusion 9 Chapter 2: Literature Review 10 2.1 Education in Oman 10-11 2.2 Communicative Approach in Teaching English 11 2.2.1 Communicative Competence 11-12 2.3 The Issue of Authenticity 12-13 2.3.1 What to Consider in Preparing Authentic Materials 14 2.3.2 Types of Authenticity 15 2.4 The Definition of Authentic Curriculum 15-16 2.4.1 Important Factors in Preparing Authentic Materials 16 2.4.2 How Authentic Materials can be Effective 16 2.5 Curriculum Materials 17 2.7 EFL Curriculum 17 2.7.1 Role of EFL Curriculum in Oman 18 2.7.2 The Content of the curriculum 18-19 2.8 The relationship between EFL Curriculum and Culture 19-20 2.9 The Functions of EFL Textbooks 20-21 2.10 Developing the Curriculum 21-22 2.10.1Charactristics of Curriculum Development 22 2.11 How the Curriculum is Designed in Oman 22-24 2.12 A Review of Related Studies 24-26 Conclusion 26 Chapter 3: Methodology 27 3.1 Population and Sample 27 3.2 Instruments Used 27-28 3.3 The Procedures Followed 28 References 29-33 Appendices 34-50 Statement of the Problem • The textbooks seem not to offer enough communicative activities so that students may face some problems in communication using English outside the classroom. • The researcher will focus on grade 12 curriculum in the analysis to determine to what extent the materials presented are authentic and related to students' real life. It seems important to investigate EFL teachers' perceptions about whether authenticity plays an important role in grade 12 English curriculum. Rationale of the Study • Since it is necessity for second language learners to have authentic learning experiences in order to be able to use the language communicatively or for communication (the main purpose of language), I have chosen 1-to analyze grade 12 EFL curriculum to find out to what extent the curriculum is authentic and 2-to investigate whether the curriculum itself can be considered a main cause of learners' inability to communicate using the second language outside the classroom. Significance of the Study • The present study may help: • 1- Describe teachers' evaluation of the curriculum and its relationship to authenticity. • 2- Improve the curriculum to fulfill students' needs. • 3- Give new implications to curriculum designers to relate the curriculum to students' real life. Purpose of the Study • This study aims at achieving two purposes: making the curriculums serve students' needs of using English in real life (outside the classroom) and • developing students' abilities of using English as a second language. Research Questions • The study attempts to answer the following questions:• 1- Does grade 12 EFL curriculum develop different aspects of the learner's personality? Does it develop the learner's ability to interact with his or her environment/ society? • 2- Does grade 12 EFL curriculum reflect the Islamic Omani Culture? • 3- Does it help the learner to gain necessary skills for life as communicating skills, self- learning and critical thinking skills in order to be able to face the problems and challenges of modern life and technology as well? Hypotheses of the Study • Based on the research questions, the following hypotheses will be addressed: • 1- Grade 12 EFL curriculum does not develop learners' personalities and abilities to interact within their societies in a sufficient way. • 2- Grade 12 EFL curriculum does not give a complete picture about the Islamic Omani culture. • 3- Grade 12 EFL curriculum does not help learners to gain real-life skills as communicating skills and critical thinking skills to a great extent. Limitations of the Study • - The results of this study cannot be generalized to all Omani schools since the participants are randomly chosen from Salalah schools only. Therefore, the results can be generalized to all Salalah schools, but not to all Omani schools. • - This study emphasizes the extent to which grade 12 EFL curriculum is authentic. The lack of authenticity in the curriculum can be considered as one reason for students' inability to communicate using the SL. However, there are other reasons that are not discussed in this study as teachers' styles in teaching English and students themselves who are not motivated to learn the SL. • - The difficulty of having access to boys' schools for interviewing male teachers. • - This study is only applied to grade 12 curriculum. Chapter Two: Literature Review • Chapter two is divided into two parts: Part one: Theoretical Framework and part two: A Review of Related Studies. • 2.1 Education in Oman • Within the development of education in Oman, a new system was introduced in1998, which is called basic education. • the changes of curriculum focus mainly on three aspects: reducing the quantity, relating materials to students' real life and developing cognitive skills of students. 2.2 Communicative Approach in Teaching English • Communicative method of teaching consists of linguistic competence as well as communicative competence. Language should never be interpreted in isolation; instead, it should be viewed in its social context. • Matching the language to the situation and the appropriate context is what learners need to be competent at when they are using the language. 2.3 The Issue of Authenticity • Authenticity is an important step to evaluate language teaching materials. It has been stated by some specialists that the language used in teaching English in the classroom should be the language that students will face outside the classroom (communicative situation in real contexts of native speakers.) • Authenticity is related to three participants: "the text and its content, the learner and learning, and the classroom as social context." • Authenticity focuses on the relationship between the receivers and the materials. • Mainly, there are four categories of using authentic materials: audio authentic materials (radio news and songs), visual authentic materials (printings, shows and plays), printed materials (newspapers and periodicals) and realia ("coins, currency and puppets") (Abanomey, 2002). 2.4 The Definition of Authentic Curriculum • It is stated by Anderson (1999) that "authentic texts are the texts which have been written for native speakers of the language and not for second language readers." • authentic curriculum should focus on communication in real life situations. It is "more student-structured" and it raises students' attention and motivation (Abanomey, 2002). 2.4.1 Important Factors in Preparing Authentic Materials • • • • • choosing the authentic materials -up-to-date materials -appropriate for students' level 220.127.116.11 How Authentic Materials can be Effective Authentic materials should provide a chance for students to practice English, assist students' confidence of the ability in English, inform students about the cultural differences, and teach students how to find relevant information quickly (Kelly et al., 2002). 2.5 Curriculum Materials • Curriculum materials are the items as papers, chalks and others which are used as a kind of supplement in courses. Items that encourge communication. 2.6 EFL Curriculum • The marks of a good curriculum can be summarized as relating the data to society and culture as well as stating clear comprehensible objectives (Saylor, Alexander, & Lewis, 1981). • 2.6.1 Role of EFL Curriculum • It is the curriculum that aims to create good citizens and develop communicative skills. This curriculum focuses on intellectual, social, emotional and physical factors of students so that they contribute positively in building their community. 2.6.2 The Content of the Curriculum in Oman • Determining the content of the curriculum is influenced by many factors: social needs, the current changes, disciplines, usefulness to learners, schools and the whole society, published materials, "political pressure", learner concern and interest, and cooperative spirit to build the society (Schubert, 1986). • In the content of curriculum, relevance to curriculum objectives, appropriateness, accuracy, comprehensibility and consistency of materials should be given special emphasis. Raising students' interests and challenging them are also important in the content of the curriculum. The Relationship between EFL Curriculum and Culture It has been found that studying language and culture will help in not only learning the language, but also acquiring it (IHM, 1996). Culture is seen as "an essential element of any foreign language curriculum," because it has a direct effect on the content of EFL curriculum 2.9 Developing the Curriculum • The process of developing the curriculum is done through three phases: planning the curriculum (designing phase), implementing the curriculum (action phase) and evaluating the curriculum (judgment phase) (Abdelgalil, 1987). 2.10 How the Curriculum is Designed in Oman • The Directorate General of Curriculum concerns about designing curriculum through three phases. • 2.10.1 The First Phase • The first phase is before designing the curriculum in which "subject specialists from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education, Sultan Qaboos University, some teachers and school supervisors" are the ones responsible for designing the curriculum. • 2.10.2 The Second Phase • The second phase is the design phase which is very important because it includes many steps such as choosing how to design the curriculum which will be done according to the aims of education and subjects as well as the skills to be attained. • This phase can be summarized as the following points: • 1- Choosing a style of curriculum design. • 2- Making design sample • 3- Arranging a time table for the process of designing the curriculum. • 4- The process of designing 2.10.3 The Third Phase • There are many steps that are included in this phase. First, the first draft of curriculum should be done. Second, language should be reviewed to provide accurate language. Third, preparing visual aids as pictures, charts and figures should be prepared to facilitate understanding for learners. Forth, designing "the format of the textbook" should be ready. Fifth, the last draft of the curriculum should be reviewed by review committees that consist of experts of curriculum, teachers, supervisors and some other specialists. Sixth, the final draft of the curriculum should be discussed by educational evaluation committee. The last step is that textbooks should be printed and distributed to students (Al-Mushaifri, 2006). 2.11 A Review of Related Studies • Chapter Three: Methodology • • • • This chapter is divided into three parts: the participants, the instruments used and the procedures followed to collect relevant data. • 3.1.1 The Population • The population of the study consists of all Grade 12 EFL teachers of Salalah Schools. • 3.1.2 The Sample • The sample will be around 30 male and female EFL teachers from Salalah schools and it will be chosen randomly from the population. • 3.2 Instruments Used • Multi-methods of data collection • The Questionnaire • The questionnaire consists of 25 multiple choice questions. • The first part of it includes personal information about the teachers, including the gender and the years of experience. • The questions of the questionnaire focus on three dimensions. • The first dimension is about the content of grade 12 English curriculum; • the second part considers English four skills in the curriculum and • the last dimension of the questionnaire focuses on real-life skills. • Semi- Structured Interviews • The semi-structured interviews will be held with two parties: Grade 12 EFL female teachers • and female specialists at Directorate General of Curriculum since the researcher does not have access to male schools for interviewing male teachers and ,at the same time, male specialists at Directorate General of Curriculum are not accessible to the researcher for interviews. • Observation • Observing classes of grade 12 is another instrument that I will use to conduct this research. • The purpose of using this technique is to investigate whether the English curriculum used inside classrooms prepares learners for actual life outside classrooms so that learners can use SL comfortably in daily life situations. The researcher will observe classes in female schools because the researcher will not have access to male schools as mentioned earlier. • The Procedures that will be followed in the Study: • -After finishing the review of literature, the proposal will be submitted in January 22, 2011 • - Questionnaire and interview questions will be prepared to start applying the techniques in schools. • -Data will be collocated. • - Data will be analyzed. • - Conclusions and recommendations will be made. References Abanomey, A. (2002, December). The effects of texts' authenticity on reading- comprehension: Test- taking strategies used by adults Saudi learners of English as a foreign language. ( Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI NO. 3069676) Abdelgalil, M. N. (1987). 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