As a high-stakes international language proficiency benchmark, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) requires different and special Language Learning Strategies (LLS), which pose numerous challenges to its takers. Some Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) majoring in English Language Teaching (ELT), have therefore, failed to achieve an overall score of Band 6 on the IELTS as a language proficiency requirement and a condition mandated by the Ministry of Education for selecting English language teachers among. This qualitatively driven hermeneutic phenomenology study, hence, discusses this issue from an ideological perspective. The study triangulates data from semi-structured interviews made with six fourth-year ELT Student Teachers (STs) at SQU and the pertinent literature. The critical discussion revealed various ideologies about the powerful impact of the IELTS on the STs’ English language development. The findings have important implications for the practices of the teachers in the Omani ELT school system and elsewhere.


IELTS, Language Learning Strategies, English Language Teaching, Student Teachers, Hermeneutic Phenomenology, Ideologies

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Ali Al-Issa has a Ph.D. in Education from University of Queensland, Australia, and a Master of Arts in Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from University of London, U.K. He is currently an Associate Professor of TESOL, Sultan Qaboos University. Dr. Al-Issa is a recipient of several local and international research, teaching, and service recognitions. He has presented and published widely about ELT in Oman. His research areas of interest include second language education policy and practice and second language teacher education. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Ali Al-Issa (Ph.D.), Associate Professor of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman; Home: P.O. Box 3058, Ruwi 112, Sultanate of Oman; Mobile: (+968) 99320225; Email: ali2465@squ.edu.om / dralialissa@yahoo.com.

Dr. Ali Al-Bulushi has a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Lancaster University, UK. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, College of Education, Sultan Qaboos University where he teaches several courses in the B.Ed. and M.Ed. programs. His research areas of interest include English language teacher professional development, language teacher education, task-based language teaching, computer-mediated communication, and reflective practice.

Dr. Rima Al-Zadjali has a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Lancaster University, UK. She is the Deputy Director for Academic Programs in the Quality Assurance Office, Sultan Qaboos University. Her research areas of interest include language testing, integrated assessment of reading and writing, and academic program quality assurance.


The authors would like to acknowledge the valuable role of SQU in funding this project.

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