Al-Gharibi, Zainab Mohammed Salim
Attitudes related to social studies with young adolescents in the Sultanate of Oman.
MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This study investigates the attitudes of Omani students towards social studies in the last three grades of the second cycle of Basic Education (approximately ages 14-16). Generally, school education in Oman has been a focus of government attention and many changes have been implemented in recent years. Social studies, like other subjects, have major changes in the curriculum, teaching methods, time allocations and assessment.
However, in Oman, social studies does not share the high profile of subjects like mathematics and the sciences. There is a mismatch in Oman in that the government sees social studies as a vehicle for developing citizenship but the curriculum and assessment are set very much in terms of content to be learned and recalled. There is also the tendency for the subject area to be seen by education planners in the context of careers while the development of attitudes relating to studies in the area are neglected.
This study reviews briefly the place of attitudes in education and how these can be assessed. A survey was implemented with 618 Omani students (300 girls, and 318 boys) drawn from grades 8, 9, and 10. The goal was to develop a picture of how these pupils perceive many aspects of their experiences in social studies. It was also possible to compare the responses by gender and by age.
Generally, there are positive attitudes of students toward their social studies lessons in Oman. They say they find them interesting, easy, enjoyable, and important lessons. However, they do not seem to want to study more social studies in higher education because it does not help them to move into a career.
Girls and boys have little dissimilarity of attitudes toward social studies. However, boys are less positive about social studies lessons while girls say they cope better but are less sure of practical work. Furthermore, girls have slightly more positive view in studying more social studies in high schools or university. In addition, boys tend to be more aware of social studies applications in life. This largely reflects the greater career opportunities for boys in Omani society.
With such a large sample, the survey has offered an overall picture of the situation in schools in the Sultanate of Oman. It has pinpointed some areas of concern and offers an agenda for future work as well as action in the education system in Oman.
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