Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Proceedings of  2nd  MEC TESOL Conference   2020                   Pp.273- 283
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/MEC2.20

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 Education Resilience in the Time of COVID-19

Faisal Al Saidi
English Language Centre
University of Technology and Applied Sciences
Muscat, Oman

Issa Al Hinai
English Language Centre
University of Technology and Applied Sciences
Muscat, Oman

Basim Al Mushaifri
Centre for Foundation Studies
Middle East College , Muscat, Oman

 

 

Abstract:
Due to the world pandemic, COVID-19, higher education institutions (HEIs) have found themselves in an unprecedented situation. Like no other time before, this pandemic has posed a serious test of resilience of HEIs – hence, the current study sets off to seize this opportunity to study the resilience of Omani HEIs. HEIs in Oman have devised contingency plans in light of the directives and declarations received from the government Supreme Committee responsible for handling the impact of COVID-19. The study aimed at examining the directives received by Omani HEIs against the framework of the securitization theory in order to identify the substances of the basis on which HEIs built their teaching and learning plans. The study was also planned to closely investigate the individual experiences of various stakeholders directly involved in the implementation of the contingency of the teaching and learning plans. Data were collected using document analysis and analysis of reflective texts. Discourse content analysis was applied in order to understand the lived experiences of stakeholders and to identify what shaped their experiences. The discourse of the collected data was analysed using the approach of thematic analysis which helped to identify recurrent patterns concerning the teaching and learning plans of some Omani HEIs during COVID-19.  A number of challenges along with the challenges of other HEIs worldwide were identified, such as uncertainty and lack of resources and experience in online teaching and learning. The discussion of the findings in this study revealed dichotomies, as well as agreement, in the way stakeholders perceive aspects of the contingency plans of teaching, learning and assessment. On the basis of this finding, the study calls for a more nuanced approach to strengthen the resilience of higher education. Particularly, the study recommends incorporating processes of normalization of teaching and learning as well as of assessment in HEIs delivery modes as a way to consolidate HEIs’ resilience.
Keywords: educational resilience, face-to-face securitization theory, face-to-face education, online teaching and learning, normalization

Cite as: Al Saidi, F., Al Hinai, I., & Al Mushaifri, B. (2020). Education Resilience in the Time of COVID-19.  Arab World English Journal(AWEJ).
Proceedings of 2nd MEC TESOLConference 2020. 273- 283.
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/MEC2.20

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Faisal Al Saidi holds a PhD in Computer Assisted Language Learning from the University of
Bath. He is an English language lecturer at the University of Technology and Applied Sciences.
His research areas of interest include the Noticing Hypothesis, Complexity Theory and language
emergence.

Issa Al Hinai is a holder of a PhD in TESOL from the University of Exeter. He is currently
Head of Preparatory Studies of the Technical Sector at the University of Technology and
Applied Sciences. He is interested in researching methodology in social science research and in
proficiency levels of English as a foreign language.

Basim Al Mushaifri is a language lecturer holding an MA in TESOL. He has been in the field
of teaching English as a foreign language for over 20 years. He is keen on studying various areas
related to the language-learning environment and the day-to-day language classroom practices.
He is also interested in exploring contemporary issues in the field of education management.