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Influence Of Cultural Identity On Learning English English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 3966 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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1-Background of the study: The disadvantages faced by migrant Muslim women in Australia in trying to acquire proficiency in English may result from their diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds as well as the ethnic, religious and cultural barriers based on gender discrimination. Due to their religious and cultural beliefs the needs of the Muslim women are different from other NESB (non English speaking background) communities in Australia. Not being able to access their English language entitlements isolates these women and limits them from participating in the general Australian community.

Muslims from Asia first migrated to Australia from the 1860s as divers from Malay and as Afghan cameleers to work for the European settlers.

Describe English language as a global language and why interested for people for example: (Non-native speakers of English study the English language for different reasons. For migrant non native speakers of English, bilingualism may be matter of importance to them as their the mother tongue is usually reserved for the domestic and social domains while English speaking skills are acquired for use in the public domain. For Muslims, the issue of bilingualism is much more complex as language for them is not only tied to culture and tradition but also has strong links with religion and religious practices. These religious practices impact both the domestic as also the public realm. For Muslims who do not speak Arabic as mother tongue, the language of religion is different from that of the private space where the mother tongue may be retained. This is further complicated by the impact Islam with its strict doctrines on the roles of men and women in domestic and social life has on the public and private domains.

The three main languages spoken by Australian Muslims are Arabic, Turkish and English.

Add in text from Lambert

Gardner and Lambert (1959, as cited in Jahan and Roger, p.3) have summed the orientation of English learners into two: integrative and interpretative. The term integrative entails institutionalizing the English language and this is more common in countries where English native speakers occupied as colonizers (Gardner and Lambert, 1959, as cited in Jahan and Roger, p.3). Meanwhile the term interpretative entails a more personal level of learning wherein the objective is use the language for business purposes and other functional and utilitarian purposes; this may also be characterized as having a higher degree of learner?s interest (Crookes and Schmidt, 1991, as cited in Jahan and Roger, p.3).

1-1-Teaching English as a global language:

English has long become the lingua franca for most countries. As English grows in importance as a global language, so does the dependence of people on it from across the world. This is perhaps because the language of science is English and most of the scientific development has been recorded using English as the medium of interactive communication. The inter-dependence of nations in the world is growing as businesses and multi-national corporations across the globe develop and grow. That is the reason why English will perhaps remain the most active and dynamic language for global communication.

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This ubiquitous presence of English in almost all streams of life and human activities may be attributed to the colonization of most parts of the world, by the Europeans. England had covered vast areas in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia during colonization and it only reflects as the language most in use in these areas. Implicitly, this distinction may be a clue to how English is viewed in a particular country- for instance, either as a foreign language (true for interpretative orientation) or as a second language (true for integrative orientation). On a very practical level, globalization reinforced the status of English as the world?s lingua franca. Historically, the spread of English results from colonialism (Le Ha, 2008, p.73) and imperialism. Now, at present context, as Tollefson & Tsui (2007, p.1) affirm, there are two tools of globalization- technology and English. Indeed, the study of English by individuals with a non-English speaking background (NESB) is now recognized to be of an utmost importance for practical and useful purposes- English is used for the promotion of global economy, trade and even in humanitarian functions (see Garcia & Otheguy, 1989, p.3, as cited in Le Ha, 2008, p.72).

The trend of acknowledging and promoting this importance is easy to see. For instance, there is the ever-increasing statistics of NESB individuals studying English anywhere in the world (Jahan & Roger, 2006, p.1). For instance, in East Asia, Japan and Korea (Tsui & Toleffson, 2007, p.4) considered the study and use of English as political and economic strategy to assert presence in the global village (Albrow, 1990, 1996; Giddens, 1990, 2000, as cited in Tollefson & Tsui, 2007, p.1). Then try to connect this paragraph to the next paragraph. For example according to important of english to people in the world in general, english is very important for migrants in Australia especially for muslim in particular, in the next subtitle I will explain why english matters for immigrants in Australia. Always make connect with the next subtitle.

Status of Muslims in Australia

1-2-Why learning English language matters to Muslim immigrants in Australia :-I want you first to explain the status of immigrants ( in general) in Australia , for example why they leave their home countries and came to Australia( you have to focus on forced immigrants, for example you have to say that they leave their home country because they looking for safe and because the bad security situation in their home countries and the reasons in details then talk about forced Muslim immigrants ,why they leave their home countries and come to Australia, and mention that they leave some members of their families behind them, explain in details(you have to focus on forced immigrants because they will help you in the literature review in next chapter when you talk about longing, belonging and Diaspora because they are forced immigrants and leave part of their family members like fathers or mother or sisters) then talk about Iraqi Muslim immigrants( for example; in the case of Iraqi Muslim immigrants women ,many Iraqi Muslim families leave the Iraq, they left Iraq because their husbands were working as interpreters with the coalition forces(Australian army) , the terrorists in Iraq consider or identify any body working with the coalition forces as a spy, therefore they left Iraq. According to the Islamic/Arabic culture, the husbands consider as a guardian for their wives. Therefore their wives left Iraq with their husbands and left their parents and Islamic community and lived in Australia so the Iraqi Muslim women were forced to leave Iraq and came to Australia. Explain in details by using your own writing.( use citations in the paragraph to support you writing), it is important to make connect with the next subtitle.

Why immigrants need to learn English- Then you have to mention why the immigrants must learn English in Australia, for example to integrate with the Australia society, for successful settlement, and to get a job?explain in details,

Problems of language learning for adults

– Then you have to mention that some immigrants facing difficulties in learning English for many problems. In the case of Iraqi Muslim women, they facing many challenges related to their Islamic/Arabic/Iraqi cultural identity. That what want to investigate in this research, the influence of their cultural identity on their learning English as ESL at language centre in Australia.

1-3- Example from my real life as a migrant and ESL learner in Australia:( rewrite this example by your own words , it is very important)

Problem of Muslim identity in Australia

I and my wife were came to Australia as forced Immigrants, as I mentioned above, I was one of the interpreters who were worked with the Australian Army in Iraq. Therefore, I left Iraq with my family looking for safe in Australia. When arrived in Australia, my wife started learning English at AMES language centre. After three weeks study English at AMES, my wife was much complain and uncomfortable in learning English at AMES language centre. She explained to me that these challenges related to her identity as a Muslim. For example she said that (her Veil/Hijjab represent her identity, so it is important for me to respect the values and traditions in my cultural identity when I learning English language at AMES in Australia. She said that some students in my classroom were aware when I wearing my Veil/Hijjab.in addition to the English teaching materials in Australia reflect the real life in Australia. These values are opposite to my values as a Muslim. Also she explained to me that she is not interest in interact with the Australian Society, because there are many factors in Australia prevent me related to my cultural identity. So learning English is not important for me because one day I will return back to my home country, Iraq). Because the system in the AMES Language centre allow to students to study at Home by sending Tutor to them to their home, My wife selected this choice and started study English at Home. From my wife experience learning English at AMES, I was confused because I thought these factors are not real challenges affect my wife’s learning English. And I thought that my wife will back to AMES one day. But later on I realized these challenges that faced my wife when I got a job in Australia. In the first day of my job, my Boss, he was Russian, was angry because he saw me at lunch time praying, he told me it is not good to pray here, I explain to him that I am Muslim and I have 30 minute lunch time and it is the time of pray. The boss told me, you are not in Iraq, you are in Australia. Therefore, I left this job. At this time, I got directly to my wife’s challenge in learning English, She tried to maintain her identity by wear her veil and avoiding different and strange values when she learning English. And I tried to maintain my identity as a Muslim by praying.

1-4-The rationale for the study:

-To be able to communicate with the Australian community, most immigrants learn English as a second language at AMES language centre in Melbourne, Australia. As I, my wife and many Iraqi Muslim families immigrated to Australia in 2008, most of them of started learning English language at AMES language centre at the same year. My wife explained to me that there are many issues related to her identity as Muslim women has affected her English learning at AMES language centre. At that time I was interest to investigate the same issues with the other Muslim women from Iraq who immigrated to Australia.

1-5-The aims of the study:

-Because Iraqi Muslim women are a part of other NESB women, this research focuses on the problems Iraqi women face when pursuing their studies at an English language centre in Australia. In particular, Does maintaining the Islamic cultural identity when learning English in western society is the main challenge facing women with Islamic cultural background? Therefore I will conduct qualitative in which Muslim women’s experiences and perceptions are tapped by using in-depth interviews.

1-6-Research Questions:

1- What perspectives of Iraqi cultural identity do Iraqi Muslim women bring to English learning at AMES language centre in Australia?

2-To what extent does Iraqi Muslim identity impact on Iraqi women’s learning in western society (Australia)?

3-Why do Iraqi women in Australia prefer learning English at home instead of AMES language centre?

4-To maintain their cultural values, do Iraqi women prefer learning English away from English culture?

5- What are some implications for Adult ESL providers?

1-7-Organization of the thesis:

This study consist of five chapters, following this introductory chapter, chapter two is the argument on identity, according to some western scholars identity is always changing according to the place and time because also they thinks religion is a part of culture while the Islamic identity in the Islamic concept is divided in to essentials qualities and non- essential qualities, the essential factors in the Islamic identity will never change. Therefore Muslim women must maintain these essential factors in her identity. So when Muslim women maintain these factors as her identity, there will be many factors in western society (Australia) will affect their learning English in Australia. Also, I will discuss the implications of acculturation in Second language learning to investigate the challenges of Iraqi Muslim women in learning English when they maintain their essential factors in their identity.

Chapter two: Literature review: (5000 words)


2-1-1-Definition of identity:

2-1-2- Concept of identity in Western view (it is very important to use many citations in each subtitle with mention Author name,year,page number)

Here you have to talk about identity, because Western Scholars affirm that identity is always changeable and not stable according to time and place. How the identity construct. Also they affirm that religion is a part of culture. Depend on Hall, Norton and others. Also some of them asserted that there are multiple identities. Use many citations. (Be careful that you will discuss the concept of identity from Islamic view later on in other subtitle, so prepare for that subtitle here)

2-1-3- language:

Use many citations when you talk about language learning.

2-1-4- The relationship between identity and Language learning:

(use many citations) use in-text referencing with author name, page number ,year

2-1-5- The Application of Acculturation Theoriesand models in Second Language Acquisition:

(use many citations) use in-text referencing with author name, page number ,year.

When explain here take in your consideration the immigrants, explain in details about acculturation strategies for immigrants in second language learning and how immigrants deal with strategies? be aware that you will based on because later on in the findinigs chapter 4 ,i wiil investigate why iraqi women separated, because they want to maintain their identity tnen that influenced their learning english

2-1-6- Consideration of identity in Acculturation:

Explain the role of identity in acculturation and how it affects. (use many citations) use in-text referencing with author name, page number ,year

2-3-Concept of identity in Islamic view:

Explain that identity according to Islamic scholar is not always changeable because there some essential factors in identity will never change such as pillars of Islam and articles of faith. Also they consider culture is a part of religion. How the identity construct. Explain in details and then talk about viel/Hijjab as a part of articles of faith to prepare for the next subtitle. (Use many citations) use in-text referencing with author name, page number ,year

2-3-1- Veil or Hijjab as a Muslim women identity:

Explain what veil means in Islam for example as identity of Muslim women. Why the veil is important, what veil means for other Muslims, why veil important in Islam, which values that veil refer to??. (use many citations) use in-text referencing with author name, page number ,year

2-3-2- The role of Iraqi culture in English teaching materials:( use citations to support these writing and rewrite this paragraph according to your own writing)

In the case of Iraq, it has a closed-culture society where tradition and the impact of culture and religion are strong even in education. The obstacles that may impede hitting the teaching and learning target goals include: (1) the teachers? attitude and (2) the learners? attitude (Doukas, 1996. pp.187-188). Iraq is a country with 28, 506, 000 population). It is a country in the Middle East that is rich with its Islamic and Arabic traditions. These traditions are the strongest factor that exerts a very solid influence on the conduct of everyday life of its citizens, as well as, quite reflected by country?s social structures. These traditions also established a shared set of ideologies among its people. Iraqi culture is a non-western way of life that forms the key foundation in the locals? education. For Iraqis who stayed mainly in Iraq most of their lives, influence is strongest. Iraqis have very strong beliefs in their own system of beliefs, tradition and culture and they readily reject anything which they recognize as foreign, especially if they are confined in Iraq. This strong affinity with what they own locally is readily apparent in their well-preserved ways of life. As an Iraqi myself, I say that Iraqis tend to respect cultural differences but when it comes to cultural conflict, they reject anything considered as foreign. To utilize the communicative language teaching (CLT) approach to teach English in Iraq using western resources can then be a very challenging position.

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Iraqi educational culture is essentially teacher-centered. It is readily observed anywhere in Iraq that the mentor posses the concentration of power and authority. The mentor takes the role of knowledge communicator. It is expected that teachers are the ones to give ideas and information. In other words, student- teacher interactions are less frequent and restricted. These interactions always base from respect and so, it is rarely that students would challenge the point of view of their teachers. Indeed, while this may be viewed as characterizing ?a limited, narrow-minded people, whose inert intellects lay fallow in incurious resignation? (Porter, 1994, p.155; cited in Penycook, 1998; as cited in Le Ha, 2004, p.51), it is more of attitude of respect for teachers dictated by the local culture. On the surface, it may seem that Iraqi students would simply take in whatever is fed to them but there is more to it than simply accepting and eventually echoing the information received. In my view, it is never possible to echo what is just received because in the end, students will always process information and take the meaning from the whole, and not in fragments.

Additionally, interactions among students are also less frequent and discouraged. In Iraqi culture, interactions like this are considered more as noise or unnecessary disturbance and are thus, prohibited. Lastly, educational resources used are essentially based on the local culture. This comes rather obvious considering how mono-cultural the society is, and where exposure to non-Iraqi local practices is quite less

2-4- Factors that affect Muslim women’s English learning at AMES Language centre:

2-4-1-Negative stereotype held by the host society against Islam and women’s veil: explain how negative stereotype against Islam and veil affect Muslim learning Englishin general do not mention iraqi women talk about muslim in general in Australia. Please make connection between negative stereotype and its affect on learning English. How the events after 11 September?.. how media affect on in image of Islam?.then talk in details about veil. (Use many citations) use in-text referencing with author name, page number ,year

2-4-2-longing and belonging: explain longing and belonging affect women learning English. They forced immigrants?..(use many citations) use in-text referencing with author name, page number ,year

2-4-3-Diapora: explain how Diaspora affects women learning English, (use many citations) use in-text referencing with author name, page number ,year

2-4-4- A clash of learning culture: explain how when people learning new culture especially muslim affect their learning???.(use many citations) use in-text referencing with author name, page number , year

The Application of Acculturation Theories in Second Language Acquisition

Second language acquisition (SLA) is the process by which individuals learn a language other than their native language (mother-tongue) leading to bilingualism (Norton, 198, 4). The easiness, ability and success with which the second language- in linguistic terms referred to as the target language (TL) is acquired depends on various socio-cultural and psychological factors, which can either encourage or hinder the learner’s motivation. Various theories of SLA have been formulated to explain how learners acquire a second language, and the factors that influence the outcome.

The acculturation theory explains that social and psychological factors determine the extent to which a second language can be learnt. It is the gradual process by which immigrants or second language learners (2LL) get immersed into the culture of the target language, and as a result learns about that language, “through social and psychological integration” (Schumann, 1986, 379). Intercultural differences, however, sometimes make it difficult for immigrants to earn a second language in a new culture. This is especially the case for adolescents and emerging adults (Schwartz, et al, 2006, 2), who are still in the process of identity development. Among Muslim immigrants in the US, for instance, factors such as culture shock and dominance may hinder SLA. Culture shock occurs when immigrants are introduced to a new culture, with a lifestyle different from their ethnic background, such as dressing and socialization patterns. In terms of psychological factors, the immigrants’ attitudes about the TL and level of motivation to learn determine the success rate. It affects the level of contact between people of different cultures, and the degree of language learning that takes place as a result (Berry, 2001, 16). For instance, a negative attitude towards the Western culture and way of life will discourage social interaction and hence learning.

Nonetheless, second language learners employ a number of acculturation strategies in response to the challenges encountered in the new culture (Bhatia & Ram, 2001, 4). They can range from racism to ethnocentrism, both of which can significantly discourage acculturation and in effect, the rate of second language acquisition (Norton, 1986, 13). By assimilation, the 2LL loses their home culture and instead acquires the host culture, such as language and lifestyle. Integration takes place when the 2LL are able to retain their home culture in a culturally plural society (Berry, 1998, 12), while learning and accepting the culture of the TL. On the other hand, separation occurs when the individual refuses to get assimilated or integrated into the new culture. Finally, marginalization takes place if the immigrant suffers rejection, depression and anxiety, and as a consequent gets distanced from both their home and host cultures.

In conclusion, second language acquisition is a product of interacting socio-cultural and psychological factors. The acculturation theories identify these factors as responsible for the rate at which immigrants acquire a new language when they are exposed to a different culture.

Professor Abdullah Saeed (2004). Muslim Australians. Melbourne: National Capital Printing. [Accessed 30 August 2010]. Available from: http://www.abdullahsaeed.org/book/muslim-australians-their-beliefs-practices-and-institutions.


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