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02/15/2012

Exploring the factors that influence classroom interaction in English classes in college of applied sciences in Oman"


Exploring the factors that influence classroom interaction in English classes in college of applied sciences in Oman"
This is a case study research by which the research tries to understand the actual classroom interaction and the factors that maximize and minimize students' participation and involvement in the English classrooms. Solomon (2004) has pointed that, case study in general is a preferred strategy when �how� or �why� questions are posed and when the investigator or researcher has minimum control over events. Therefore, I selected this approach or strategy to get more information about classroom interaction as it happens in its natural setting, the classroom. Although, some might argue that some researchers have already explored some factors related to classroom interaction such as gender (ref), class size, (ref), graded participation (ref), few studies have been carried out in Oman, Sami(ref). Each classroom environment is a unique case and might have different causes for effects on classroom interaction.
Research methods:
The focus of this study is to investigate the nature of the students� classroom interaction in EFL English classes in Oman. To put this in to effect, qualitative method will be chosen. The reason for choosing qualitative method is, it takes place in the natural setting and helps to collect very detailed data about the phenomena (Camic et.al. 2003:181). The study takes place in two main stages following a qualitative approach. In stage 1, the researcher uses semi structured classroom observation with the aim of recording what is happening in the classroom. The focus of the observation will be on classroom interaction and students' class participation. The researcher tries also to explore the teacher' role and his or her effect on students' interaction in the class. 4 classes from foundation year students will be chosen randomly. Those class will have around 25 male and female students in each class. They are categorized as Level C and B based on the placement test they had when they first joined the college. Placement test will be defined and explained as it is being used in the college, particularly for placing new students at the appropriate level according to their knowledge of English competencies.
In stage 2, a qualitative approach will be employed using semi-structured interviews mainly for the purpose of in-depth investigation of issues arising from stage 1. The interview will include four teachers who are teaching the four classes and some volunteer students from the 4 classes observed. However, as a teacher, I have observed that some students are shy to talk when they are interviewed individually. Therefore, another qualitative method, focused group discussion interviews will be used. This will be helpful for the students to express their ideas more when they feel that they are not mainly responsible for what is being said. Another reason is that this might help generating ideas from the less able student to express his or her idea and their ideas could be expanded by other students who are more capable.
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