Date of Award

5-2018

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.

Department

English

College

College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

James H. Robinson

Second Advisor

Michael W. Schwartz

Third Advisor

Eddah M. Mutua

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Culture, adaptations, ESL and Culture

Abstract

When it comes to teaching and interacting with students, having experience and knowledge about different cultures and cultural backgrounds can help teachers navigate through cultural hurdles in their classroom. To seek insight on how teachers’ knowledge of their students’ cultures impacts their teaching and classroom adaptation, this study used surveys, and one-on-one interviews similar to a previous study done by Lindquist (2016). This study had twelve participants, all of which are in or were in an M.A. TESL program and taught as a graduate assistant in the Intensive English Center (IEC), in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program or helped students with their writing as part of their graduate assistantship (GA). The participants had either previously taken the optional, for-credit ESL and Culture course, or were currently enrolled, or did not take the course. The participants have various cultural backgrounds, and previous teaching experience. An analysis of the surveys and interviews revealed common themes such as beliefs about culture and teaching ESL students, pedagogical challenges, and teachers’ beliefs on students adapting to U.S. culture. Similar to Lindquist’s (2016) study, the participants that had taken the ESL and Culture course used generalizations less, and were more confident in their teaching strategies. Those that did not take the course used more generalizations, and scored themselves lower on the self-assessment of cultural knowledge.

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