ALMaamari, Saif N.A.
Citizenship education in initial teacher education in the Sultanate of Oman:
an exploratory study of the perceptions of student teachers of social studies and their tutors.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This study can be regarded as the first study that has focused on exploring citizenship and citizenship education in initial teacher education not only in the Omani context but also in Arabic contexts. Specifically, the main purpose of the present study was to identify the perceptions and practices relating to citizenship education within the initial teacher education programmes for social studies in the seven Colleges of Education. In particular, the research considers the following three issues: (a) the policy context of citizenship education in the educational system in general and in teacher education in particular; (b) the perceptions of stakeholders: the policy-makers, the tutors and the student teachers about citizenship and citizenship education. The perceptions about citizenship education were explored in terms of the rationale, goals, content and approaches of introduction in the curriculum and pedagogy; and (c) the practices of citizenship education by the tutors and the student teachers in order to identify to what extent the perceptions of citizenship education are applied in reality.
This broad purpose was achieved by adopting a methodology that was based on an interpretive paradigm, which assumes that educational phenomena can be understood from different viewpoints. Therefore, policy documents were first analysed in order to locate citizenship education in Omani educational policy. Then, thirteen policy-makers from both the Ministry of Education and Teacher Education Institutions were interviewed to explore their perceptions regarding citizenship and citizenship education. In addition, the perceptions of student teachers of social studies in their fourth year and their tutors from seven Colleges of Education were surveyed and then a small sample of them was interviewed to deepen their responses in the questionnaires. Finally, the findings were used to build a framework to develop citizenship education in teacher education in Oman.
The study came up with a range of interesting findings about the meanings of citizenship and the current provision of citizenship education in school education in general and teacher education in particular. The data showed that citizenship in the Omani context is, as is the case in other contexts, a multifaceted concept with emphasis being attached to citizens’ duties. The participants were convinced that citizenship is not a static idea; rather, it has always been influenced by the world’s development. Therefore, the stakeholders, except the student teachers, clearly acknowledged that citizenship in the era of globalisation has two dimensions: national citizenship and international citizenship. According to this view, they believed that the duties of Omani citizens stretch beyond their country’s borders.
With regard to citizenship education, the study revealed that the participants viewed citizenship education as a means to build national pride and unity which are necessary to maintain stability in the country. Both the tutors and the student teachers experienced the limited and traditional implementations of citizenship education in the preparation programme of social studies. This result related to the dissatisfaction of the policy-makers, especially from the Ministry of Education, about the inadequate preparation of teachers to develop citizenship.
Overall, the present study revealed a gap in the intentions of educational policy the requirements of teaching citizenship education in the schools and the actual practices of teacher education preparation programmes. Therefore, the study provided a framework to develop citizenship education in initial teacher education.
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