An investigation of the impact of flipped instruction on EFL students’ engagement in academic writing classes: A case study of foundation students in Oman

Afef Gasmi

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Developing adequate English as a Foreign Language (EFL) academic writing skills is of paramount importance for students’ success in higher education in Oman. The traditional teaching approaches adopted in writing courses often lead to students’ disengagement, however. Although several studies have examined students and teachers’ perceptions of flipped instruction in various EFL courses, no study has examined the impact of flipping on students’ engagement
in writing courses.
This practice-based research project, where the instructor was the researcher, explored the impact of flipped teaching on 57 General Foundation Program (GFP) EFL learners’ behavioural, cognitive, emotional and agentic engagement in academic writing in a higher education institution in Oman, and the variations that exist in students’ engagement according to gender, age, English language proficiency and technology skills. The study adopted a mixed-methods design and used a student engagement questionnaire, focus group interviews and participant observations to collect data. Descriptive and inferential statistics and deductive and inductive analytical procedures were used to analyse the quantitative and qualitative data respectively.
The study presents new practicable knowledge about the implementation and implications of flipped instruction for Omani EFL students’ engagement in academic writing at the GFP level. It proposes flipping as an instructional approach which helps to address GFP students’ lack of behavioural, cognitive, emotional and agentic engagement in writing courses in the Omani
context. Behaviourally, students in the flipped classroom experience increased effort, improved concentration levels, persistence, communication and collaboration, and amelioration in theirattitude to class attendance. It is reasonable to conclude that learners undergo cognitive growth and develop self-regulatory strategies and meta-cognitive awareness. At the level of emotional engagement, learners initially experience negative emotions such as anger and frustration, and then more positive emotions such as contentment and increased interest in the subject as they adapt to the flipped teaching-learning model. Flipping also seems to influence students’ autonomy and ability to ask questions and express opinions. It appears, however, that this approach does not influence students’ capacity to contribute to their own learning resources and activities.
This study makes a valuable contribution to knowledge about students’ engagement in EFL writing courses. It revealed that a strong positive correlation exists between students’ behavioural, cognitive and emotional engagement, and that a positive correlation exists between students’ technology skills and linguistic proficiency and several aspects of their engagement.
The study demonstrated, however, that no correlation exists between gender and age and students’ engagement in the flipped classroom.
Furthermore, this practice-based research indicated that although flipped instruction helps to address the problem of students’ disengagement in writing courses in our context, factors such as students’ linguistic proficiency and technology skills should be taken into consideration before implementing this instructional approach in the current setting.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Liverpool
  • Thomas, Michael, Supervisor, External person
Award dateNov 1 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


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