Role of culture in learning English as a foreign language among undergraduate students
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Paba Medina, Ilse María
This qualitative study sought to find the role of culture in learning English as a foreign language, among a group of undergraduate students, of a low intermediate level course. A questionnaire applied to the seventeen students of the class, classroom observations, interviews to the classroom teachers and five case studies were used to find data to answer the research questions. The relationship between culture and language is indissoluble. Culture is shown as a super-macro skill that sustains the four traditional linguistic skills, sharing with Kramsch the five macro skills paradigm (Kramsch, Context and Culture in Language Teaching, 1993), (Kramsch, Language and Culture, 1998). Culture could be the source of potential conflict with impact on classroom interaction: Students struggled with their own different cultures, the target culture while they were learning English. Teaching English should allow students to learn about themselves and others, as members of different cultures (Delors, et al., 1996). Students also need cultural competence to live in harmony. It was also found that cultured topics favored students´ communicative competence and their levels of learning. There were found samples of experiential knowledge (Moss, et al., 2000). Culture should be explicitly taught and learned. It was that zone of proximal development that moved learning upward. This study could be a point of departure for further research on Vygotsky socio-cultural theory (Vygotsky, Thought and Language, 1986).