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Arab Students' Attitudes Toward Western Culture and Motivation to Learn English

Sadek, Gihane Ibrahim
A Master of Arts Thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Submitted to the College of Arts and Sciences by Gihane Ibrahim Sadek Entitled, "Arab Students' Attitudes Toward Western Culture and Motivation to Learn English," January 2007. Available are both Soft and Hard Copies of the Thesis.
Motivation is a central component for students learning a second language. Attitude towards the target language, its culture, and its people have been proved to have a significant bearing on the motivational orientation to learn the language. Positive attitudes towards speakers of another language and their culture increase the learners' motivation. On another front, teaching another language encompasses teaching another culture since language cannot be taught in a vacuum, and must be learned in a social and cultural context. This study examines the relationship between Arab students' motivation to learn English and attitudes towards the English language, speakers of English and Western culture. It also investigates their belief as to the extent to which Western culture should be included in ELT. Through questionnaires and interviews, the results of this research show that there is a positive relation between attitude towards the target language, its culture and its people and the motivation to learn the language. It also suggests that Arab students who participated in this study had mainly instrumental motivation, wished to learn English for economic and prestigious reasons, and felt un-easiness towards the dominance of English in the world. In addition, it supports the hypothesis that Arab students do not want to be fully assimilated into the target language culture and that over-acculturation de-motivates them to learn English.
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