Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Proceedings of  2nd MEC TESOL Conference   2020                     Pp.36-48

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Skill-based ESP Classroom: Teaching for Preserving and Enhancing Oman’s Comparative
Advantages in an Era of Economic and Digital Transformation

Peter Heckadon(correspondent author)
English for Humanities Department, Centre for Preparatory Studies
Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman

Victoria Tuzlukova
English for Humanities Department, Centre for Preparatory Studies
Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman



English for Specific Purposes oriented inquiry spans different territories and domains (Basturkmen, 2013). Firmly established in the English for Specific Purposes teaching and learning practice developed in Oman’s tertiary education, this paper explores a skill-based teaching approach ascribable to its far-reaching partnership with Oman 2040 vision initiative, and 21st-century educational thinking and planning for the future. In particular, while debating current issues related to economic and digital transformation, it aims at examining student skill development in the context of an English for Specific Purposes classroom using Omani tertiary education students’ self-perceived responses. Students responded to a survey that investigated perceptions of transferable skill importance, self-efficacy, and opportunities for improvement. The results reveal that adaptability/flexibility, time management, oral communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving are the most essential student perceived transferrable skills concerning their future employability and professional success; however, the perceived opportunities to use and improve these skills as well as satisfaction with the ability to use them in the course vary, and, therefore, should be addressed when considering further development of the English for Business course curriculum and its delivery. As an outcome of this study, English for Specific Purposes program providers and educators will have a better understanding of the students’ skill-sets and provide their students with the tools and strategies they need to learn and thrive in English for Specific Purposes courses effectively. 

Keywords: Digital transformation, English for Specific Purposes classroom, Oman, tertiary
education students, 21st-century educational thinking and planning

Cite as: Heckadon, P., & Tuzlukova, V. (2020). Skill-based ESP Classroom: Teaching for Preserving and Enhancing Oman’s Comparative Advantages in an Era of Economic and Digital Transformation.  Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Proceedings of  2nd MEC TESOL Conference 2020. 36-48.


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Peter Heckadon currently teaches English at the Centre for Preparatory Studies of Sultan
Qaboos University in Oman. He previously taught in Japan, China and Qatar. His research
interests include collaborative and blended learning, intercultural communicative competence,
and the creation and sharing of digital content.

Dr. Victoria Tuzlukova is currently on the faculty at the Centre for Preparatory Studies of
Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, which she joined in 2006. During her time at the Centre she
has been involved in a number of research projects and initiatives. Her research interests focus
on sociolinguistics, intercultural communication and the role of culture in foreign language
teaching and learning.