Effects of Text Materials on Cultural Learning Among Taiwanese Students in South-East England

Clawson, David Ernest (2013). Effects of Text Materials on Cultural Learning Among Taiwanese Students in South-East England. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f11b

Abstract

This research investigates Taiwanese students' reactions to textbooks in EFL classes in South-East England; specifically in Brighton and Hove, and how the use of such textbooks influences students' adaptation to the host culture. To investigate this area of study I have formulated three research questions based on my experience of research at Masters Level, an initial study and a review of the relevant literature.

Research Questions:
1. What influence do textbooks used in EFL classes in the South-East of England have on Taiwanese students' experience and understanding of the culture in Britain?

This question is further broken down into the following headings:
1.1 In what ways do the textbooks relate to the contemporary culture in Britain as experienced by the students in South-East England? How important is this for students' learning?
1.2 Are the cultural practices represented in the textbook aligned with what the students require?

2. Which factors, other than the core textbook, may also be important in determining the degree to which and the rate at which the Taiwanese students come to terms with the culture in Britain? Specifically, the influence of the following:
2.1 multinational classroom environment.
2.2 students' experiences outside the classroom.

3. Are there any significant barriers, specifically related to cultural factors, in Britain that are particularly troublesome for Taiwanese students? Does the information available to the students in the textbooks raise or lower these barriers?

I chose to conduct a qualitative study using grounded theory within a case study approach. The methods of data collection chosen were: questionnaires, classroom observations, small-group interviews and students' diaries. The main findings suggest that Taiwanese students are influenced by the visual images and the language in their textbooks, and that the importance many students attach to the textbook is largely based on their Confucian background. The findings from this research may be of value to language schools in Taiwan and the South-East of England, and may also contribute to the field of English language teaching and learning and cultural preparation for study abroad, and specifically to teachers, teacher educators, study abroad administration and textbook writers and publishers.

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