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Culture in English Language Classrooms: Emirati Students' and UAE Teachers' Perceptions

Tijani, Kafayat Oluwafunmilayo
A Master of Arts thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Kafayat Oluwafunmilayo Tijani entitled, "Culture in English Language Classrooms: Emirati Students' and UAE Teachers' Perceptions," submitted in May 2011. Available are both hard and soft copies of the thesis.
Many studies have shown that teaching and learning about culture is beneficial for learning a second language. It helps in building up the four language skill, such as reading, writing, speaking, listening, and cultural awareness, and in developing positive attitudes and motivation to learn the language. However, there has been no consensus on the issues of what, whose, when, and how culture should be taught in EFL classrooms. As a result, there remain many unanswered questions regarding teaching of culture, in particular American/British culture, in this part of the world. This thesis is an attempt to shed light on what government secondary school students and teachers in the UAE think about learning and teaching of culture, in terms of its benefits to second language learners, and also the difficulties teachers encounter when trying to teach culture in their classrooms. To investigate such perceptions and attitudes, surveys and interviews were used to gather data. The main participants of the study included 11(8 female and 3 male) English teachers and 108 (87 female and 21 male) students from four government secondary schools in the UAE. The findings of this study indicate that, most of the teachers surveyed and interviewed were in favor of teaching culture in their classrooms, and were aware of its enormous benefits. Results also showed that the majority of the secondary-level students surveyed and interviewed found pleasure in the learning of culture, and thought learning about culture was motivating and useful.
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