English as a Second Language Education for the Deaf: To What Extent is Educational Provision Effective in Government Schools in Oman?
Keywords:Curriculum, English, deaf children, teachers, challenges
Since introducing an inclusive education programme in 2005, the government of Oman has put great efforts into integrating children with disabilities, including deaf children, in the Omani mainstream schools. English is one of the important needs of the impaired children, especially the deaf. Yet, adopting the mainstream curriculum for teaching English to the deaf children has raised numerous problems and challenges for the teachers and the deaf children. This study aimed to examine the challenges faced by the teachers and students in schools adopting the mainstream curriculum in teaching English as a second language to deaf children in Oman. In particular, it sought to understand Omani English teachers’ perceptions and responses to the challenges faced by students who are deaf or hard of hearing, how deaf students feel about their English language learning experiences, and what additional training and support is needed to further improve deaf students' English language learning. It made use of questionnaire and interview data, gathered from students and teachers in the Dhofar region of Oman, as well as analysis of teachers’ diaries. The quantitative data obtained were analyzed using SmartPLS (version 3), and the interview and diaries data were thematically analyzed. Findings from the qualitative data revealed that while teachers lack training and professional development and are provided with teaching materials and teaching devices that are inadequate, nevertheless the inclusive curriculum is largely relevant, though this varies with class level, and the pedagogy used in teaching English to deaf children is acceptable. The study concludes that deaf children need to be motivated towards learning, while a special curriculum for the deaf children is required, topics in the syllabus needs review, teachers need training, and teaching devices for the deaf children should be improved.
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