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Teaching ESL through Culture - Essay Example

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Teaching ESL through Culture: A Review of Literature Date Abstract The essay aims to proffer pertinent issues relative to teaching ESL through culture as seen from six different literatures on the subject. The discourse thereby would focus on crucial highlights of the literatures that help understand the topic and the pieces that might contribute to the improvement of students’ participation in ESL classrooms…
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Teaching ESL through Culture
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Download file to see previous pages The complexity was actually compounded when the aspect of culture comes into play. With the growth of technology that contributed to breaking barriers of time and distance, people from various cultures felt the most eminent need to learn ESL, considering English as the universal language. In this regard, the objective of the essay is to review six pertinent literatures that delve into the subject of teaching ESL with culture seen as playing a crucial role in learning and reinforcing literacy and proficiency. Defining Culture From evaluating the contents of the six articles, one observed that in discussing the role that culture plays in teaching ESL, several authors acknowledged that defining the term ‘culture’ proffered challenges due to its broad perspectives. Lafayette acknowledged that “because culture can be defined so broadly, it is often difficult for teachers to select those aspects that should be included in the curriculum at various levels of instruction” (6). ...
omprises a set of symbolic systems, including knowledge, norms, values, beliefs, language, art, customs, as well as habits and skills learned by members of a given society” (Young, Sachdev, & Seedhouse, 2009, p. 149). From among the definitions noted, Young, et al. included language as part of the definition acknowledging the important role it plays in the communication process. Problems in Incorporating Culture in Teaching ESL Aside from the dilemma in defining the term, most authors have revealed that there were apparent apprehensions for incorporating teaching culture in the ESL curriculum (Lafayette, 1978, p. 6). Sauve have enumerated seven problems with teaching culture in the Canadian ESL classroom, to wit: (1) naming “a Canadian culture” (Sauve, 1996, p. 17); (2) unprepared academic programs for teaching cultural aspects; (3) a conceptual dilemma of defining ESL; (4) perceived decline in valuing the ESL professional; (5) the role of immigrant educators as ESL staffs; (6) biased society in favor of white, Anglo-Saxon, Christian and of middle class tradition and values (Sauve, 1996, p. 22); and (7) time context and priorities. The article written by Young, et al. highlighted concerns that included ambiguity in determining “whose culture should be a focus for study on English language program” (Young, Sachdev, & Seedhouse, 2009, p. 151) and how effective an identified approach would be after taking into account the increasing predominance of nonnative speaking (NNS) teachers of a language and their acknowledged difficulty in teaching culture with the ESL realm. Finally, Byram and Kramsch (2008) disclosed the problem of cultural translation by citing Geertz’s words as: “Translation is not a simple recasting of others' ways of putting things in terms of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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