Language, Culture, and Identity in the Saudi English Language Classroom

United Kingdom, ID LLCE2014-174

This paper examines the perceptions of Saudi female students with regards to culture and identity in their English language classroom in higher education. Specific research questions focus on their views of language learning materials, and the value they give to their language learning. The Saudi context is explored with specific reference to its culture; particularly issues of gender equality, mobility, and work. The research is situated in a period of keen interest in Saudi educational reform, when many universities are focusing on the teaching of English, which sets the context for the participants who are all studying English at university as a compulsory subject. A qualitative research approach was chosen in order to generate rich data pertaining to issues that Saudi female students report on in their English language classroom. The methodology allowed an exploration of the three main concepts of language, culture, and identity to take place. Results showed that whilst there was consensus about the necessity of learning English for different purposes, issues of power and exposure were the centre of students understanding of the language learning process, especially in relation to English.  

Keywords: Culture, Identity, EFL, Saudi Arabia, Cultural Awareness, English Language Teaching

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