AWEJ Volume.4 Number.3, 2013                                                                                                  Pp.77-88

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Perspective Speaking Difficulties Faced by Omani Students: Empirical Data on Self-Perception

Said Al-Saadi
Faculty of Education, University of Malaya
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Phuangphet Tonawanik
Bangkok University
Bangkok, Thailand

Said Al Harthy
Faculty of Education, University of Malaya
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

Abstract

This research aims at identifying the main learning difficulties in speaking English  faced by a selected cross-section of Omani EFL students. It seeks to establish student self-perception of their own difficulties based on a questionnaire survey. Three research questions were investigated: (1) what are the students’ attitudes towards speaking in English? (2) what are the most common speaking English difficulties encountered by Omani students as they perceive this?  (3) are there any significant differences in such difficulties according to gender and education system? The study sample consisted of 200 students, divided into 100 male and 100 female from grades 10 and 11, Basic Education and General Education schools. A 30-item questionnaire was developed and administered. The study identified the main learning difficulties in English speaking as perceived by the students. It was found that there were no significant differences between students in their attitudes toward speaking according to their gender and education type. The data also suggested that students in general find it especially difficult to speak English. Based on this, a systematic analysis was carried out which resulted in 17 speaking sub-skills that needed to be addressed while improving this skill. Student perceptions of the most difficult sub-skills were also analysed according to gender and education type. Some key limitations of the study are broached.

Keywords: TEFL, speaking difficulties, self-perception

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Dr. Said Hamed Al-Saadi is a head of a division in the Directorate General of Education in
Alshrgyeh South, Ministry of Education, in the Sultanate of Oman. He got his PhD in applied
linguistic from the Faculty of Education in the University of Malaya, in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia.
Dr. Phuangphet Tonawanik is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, School of
Humanities, Bangkok University, Thailand. She obtained her PhD from University of the
Philippines on the Anglo-American Literature.