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The Place of Culture in English Language Teaching: An Exploration of Non-native ESOL Teachers’ Attitudes towards Intercultural Competence

Sasani, Simin (2018) The Place of Culture in English Language Teaching: An Exploration of Non-native ESOL Teachers’ Attitudes towards Intercultural Competence. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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In this study, I have tried to explore how a group of non-native English teachers, first of all, define culture in relation to their English language teaching practices. In addition, I have tried to understand how they perceive ‘intercultural competence’ to find out if they are aware of the concept and how important it is for them. I have also explored to what extent they are concerned about the challenges that learners might face in intercultural communications and, finally, to what extent they can help learners overcome these barriers and increase students’ insights into cultural differences. More specifically, the research has considered the how and why of incorporating intercultural competence into English language lessons and how, in particular, non-native teachers think they can improve their learners’ knowledge, attitude and skills in this domain. The participants of this study were nine non-native ESOL teachers from different language centres in the UK. The main methods of data collection were semi-structured interviews and classroom observations. A qualitative interpretivist approach was adopted and the data was analysed using theme-based content analysis. The findings of the study suggest that the teachers’ attitude towards the concept of culture could be divided into four main categorisations of culture: as transferable facts, as modes of thought, as skills and as two-way beliefs. The participants also identified some challenges that their students might encounter in their intercultural communication. Their attitudes in this regard were explored under two broad concepts of the effects of globalisation and the effects of glocalisation on intercultural communication. This study illustrates that although the teachers welcome the approach of intercultural competence and they generally have positive attitudes towards it, they are not certain how to integrate it in a systematic and explicit manner. They also identified some restrictions regarding the integration of this approach. Time constraints, level of students, lack of theoretical and practical contents of teacher training programmes regarding intercultural competence were some of the restrictions they asserted.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.749503
Depositing User: Mrs Simin Sasani
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2018 15:31
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:55
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20958

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