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Cross-Cultural Communications in the Turkish ELT Classroom: A survey on Native-English Speaking Teachers and Turkish Students in.
PLACE , 2012
methods and contents which the native teachers under scrutiny adopt. it aims to explore the teaching styles. and contents are perceived by Turkish students and vice versa. Undoubtedly. methods. . 1. it hopes to point out some disparities between the observed teaching modes and learning outcomes upon which it will then offer some suggestions aimed at enhancing cross-cultural communication and thus enabling an effective teaching and learning experience in Turkish ELT classrooms. analyzed solely on the basis of each party’s expectations.1. and how their teaching styles. Introduction It is not an uncommon phenomenon that Turkish students complain that they learn little from native-English speaking teachers’ classes. it aims to analyze and better understand how the cultural backgrounds of these native teachers influence their classroom teaching. 1986. Secondly. 97). According to the principles of educational psychology. First of all. p. if we want to make effective use of the expertise of native speaking teachers. Finally. we need to know specifically to what extent and at what points does the disparity exist between native-speaking teachers and Turkish students.2 Aims of the study This research work aims to achieve three main objectives. The reason for such responses probably comes from “a large disparity of expectations between teachers and students in terms of teaching style” (Brumfit. there were some indications that teachers and students having similar styles formed the most successful combinations.
The findings from this research work will go a long way to better understand the native speakerlocal (Turkish) student dynamics in the classroom as well as provide pointers to ways of better enhancing these. this research work will try to find answers to the following research questions. What communication barriers exist between native speaker teachers and their Turkish students? 2. How do native speaker teachers regulate their teaching to suit the peculiarities and needs of their Turkish students? 4. Is the choice of topics to be taught in class. 1.3 Importance of the Study This research work is very important because it would help further knowledge and understanding in the field of cross-cultural dynamics in English language teaching especially in the Turkish context as similar work has been done using other countries as context. dependent on the level of communication which exists between the native speaker teacher and his local (Turkish) students? 3. 1. What strategies do native speaker teachers use to overcome cross cultural barriers in the Turkish ELT classroom? .4 Research Questions In order to better understand the subject matter.1.
beliefs. p. and other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” -(WANG Fu-xiang & WU Han-ying. 1994. It guides the behavior of people in a community and helps them to know how far they can go as individuals. law. There is really very little agreement on what people mean by the idea of culture since culture has different shades of meanings in different scientific disciplines and context. “Culture is a way of life. the English anthropologist E. The linguist Sapir suggests that culture may be defined as what a society does and thinks.1 Culture Culture exists everywhere in human society. Due to this inherent nature. Background of the Study 2.1. see culture in nearly all human activities as an “integrated system of learned behavior patterns which are characteristic of the members of a society and which are not the result of biological inheritance” .B.2. arts. in his opinion. morals.1 Culture & Cross-cultural dynamics 2. his thought and behavior are influenced by culture subconsciously. 79). it is hard to reach an agreement on a single definition of culture. Here are several main viewpoints. customs. Even when a baby is born.” Also. Adamson Hoebel and Everett Frost. E. Tylor first set his definition in his Primitive culture in 1871: “Culture…is that complex whole which includes knowledge.
123). and the culturally transmitted skills and techniques used to make the artifacts (Quoted from Larry A. works of art). and artifacts that the members of a society. (1980. customs. (3) they satisfy basic human needs. houses. including religion and ideologies). Samovar & Richard E. p. 1995. 47). p. artifacts (tools.” This definition includes not only patterns of behavior but also patterns of thought (shared meanings that the members of a society attach to various phenomena.1. Porter. who said that these cultural “thoughts and behavior patterns have universal characteristics: (1) they originate in the human mind. (6) .-(Larry A. (2) they facilitate human and environmental interactions. An evidence of this common characteristics lies in the work of Brown. 1995. to cope with their world and with one another. machines. values. No society exists without a culture which influences the way people think and behave. Daniel Bates and Fred Plog advance another definition with detailed descriptions: “Culture is a system of shared beliefs.2 Characteristics of culture It is evident from the above definitions that although they may be different there are certain characteristics which they all have in common. Porter. pottery. Douglas. natural and intellectual. Samover & Richard E. 47). and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning. H. (5) they tend to form a consistent structure. p. (4) they are cumulative and adjust to changes in external and internal conditions. behaviors. 2.
1. feeling and reacting. peaceful relations with its neighbors and generally the desire for a peaceful and just world. beliefs.3 A Brief survey on Turkish culture and Western culture The traditional Turkish world view one which emphasizes peaceful coexistence among its people. 2. Under the guidance and influence of this idea. acquired and transmitted mainly by symbols constituting the distinctive achievements of human groups. Cultures in different countries and areas differ from each other. historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values”. including values. customs. .” Having all of these definitions in mind. norms and material aspects. attitudes. the essential core of culture consists of traditional (i. and (7) they are transmitted to new generations. but also ideas and beliefs.they are learned and shared by all the members of a society.e. including their embodiments in artifacts. total set of beliefs. behaviors and social habits” (Clyne Michael. Turks tend to achieve wholeness. He also holds that culture is the “whole way of life of a distinct people. namely cultural values. Cultures are extremely complex and consist of numerous interrelated cultural orientations. This definition indicates that culture includes not only customs and habits. this thesis work prefers to adopt Clyne Michael’s definition which implies that culture is a “patterned ways of thinking. 1996).
As a result. Turks respect the old and care for the young. either socially or geographically. Turkish families are cohesive units in which all members work together and live together. Some aspects of each respective culture seem incredible to people belonging to the other culture. People depend on themselves rather than others.4 The differences between Turkish and western culture . industry and thrift in managing a house and obedience to superiors. Everyone is equal to seek for wealth and liberty. behave themselves and are modest and prudent. Thus there is little mobility. Thus forms the collective nature of Turkish values. Turkey’s education advocates discipline and obeying the law. 2. there is a large difference between these two cultures.1. Under the traditional education system. This agrarian nature distributes to the traits and values that characterize the society both in the past and today.generality. synthesis a belief in intuition but most importantly a belief in God. Turkey has been an agricultural country for many thousand years. norms and customs were melted together. and also such thought patterns. They develop habits of survival based on individualism. Most of the countries were once greatly immigrant. Many westerners even regard Turkish culture as a mysterious oriental culture. People there respect religious freedom and have a great faith that everyone is born to be equal. different values. are kind to neighbors. Western culture is relatively young. beliefs. Turkish culture belongs to the oriental culture while the western culture is the occidental. values and attitudes.
To be specific. Culture difference in convention is the difference in daily life and social intercourse result from the difference of custom and habit. Culture difference in psychology results from the mentality of a nation and consciousness of a society. Turks have the characteristic of thinking from top to bottom while the westerners the reverse.The differences between Turkish and western culture are numerous and complicated. express one’s thanks. culture difference in convention. And without language. implicit and roundabout ways to express one’s feeling. facial expressions and clothing) can also represent it.5 Culture differences on the layer of language Culture influences the way language is used and understood. Culture can be represented through language. Language difference is mainly the semantic difference of words. and phone.1. As to the concern of this paper. Two aspects should be .1. culture difference due to the difference of cultural development in history and accumulation of cultural legacy. As an instance. such as the rules of using words to address. Culture difference in thought results from the way of thinking. 2. Fourthly. other signs of culture (such as gesture. culture difference in psychology. culture difference in thought. apologize. etc. culture difference in posture. there are mainly the following aspects. humble words all these fall in this line. ethics. greet. Thirdly.6 Difference in language A natural language is produced by the members of the same culture and develops along with its culture. culture differences between Turks and the west on the layer of language is to be talked about. To sum up. First of all. the culture differences in language are mainly the following three aspects: 2. fingering. Fifthly. Expression of the concept of value. Secondly.
and I love my motherland and its people”. he does his duty and devotes himself to the parents and family.discussed here: the literal meaning of a word and its cultural connotation. or violate the local customs. When a sentence that is grammatically correct is used in improper occasion.e. In Turkish and western language. western families are mostly nuclear family. vocabulary. If we translate this sentence directly into: “I am Turkish. Another example is a typical example of traditional Turkish way of expressing his love to motherland. sound. Then. he or she becomes self-reliant and regenerative through his own efforts. the members of the family become independent both in economic and in sentiment. grammar and so on). Thus there is not such connotation in western culture as there is in Turkish. westerners are unable to understand the deep implication of the sentence mentioned above. factors that determine if the use of language is appropriate).e.7 Difference in pragmatics There are two sets of principles: the principles of structure (i. vacant or conflicting. This is because those who engaged in talk are not familiar with each other’s customs . or unsuitable to the speaker’s status.1. will lead to communicative failure. Once a child is grown up. it is difficult for the westerners to understand the deep connotation. Turkish families are extended families. On the contrary. using words with the same connotation in both languages would not meet any trouble. In cross-cultural communication. the connotation for words with the same literal meaning can be the same. In traditional culture. 2. and principles of usage (i. while words with vacant or conflicting connotation will result in misunderstanding or even failure in communication. son is loyal and sentimentally attached to the parents and the family.
“How old are you?”. but in the westerner’s opinion. the foreigners feel as if they were in a police station. there has been practically no previous research focusing on the cross-cultural barriers which exist in the Turkish ELT classroom between native speaker teachers and their Turkish students. For example. .and culture background. and will be address in more details in the main work. Proposed Methodology The research will be qualitative in nature and will involve the interview and observation of the native speakers under review and the interview of their students from both universities. “How much is your salary?” When talking with them in English speaking sessions. 3. they infringe their privacy. students in the a certain language school always like to ask foreigners questions such as “What is your name?”. This thesis work thus seeks to fill that void in literature. These questions are grammatically correct. Descriptive statistics using the SPSS statistical package will be used to analyze and interpret the results of the study. However. Other differences exist between the Turkish culture and Western culture. “Are you married?”.
& Porter. Byram. 2007. L. Samovar. Language Learning in Intercultural Perspective.). 324-332. Fleming.. 3. Brown. 1998. N. H. and M. Language and culture. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press. Humanistic Approaches: an Empirical View. A. London: The British Council. Inc.J. Principles of language teaching and learning. Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. WANG Wei-hua.References 1. E. 4. Douglas. 2. WU Han-ying.). 1994. R. In: WANG Fu-xiang. Englewood Cliffs. 5. (eds. 1986. Intercultural communication: A reader (10th ed). Brumfit. C. . 1980. M. ‘Some doubts about Humanistic Language Teaching’ in P. Prentice-Hall. Early. (Eds. Social & cultural factors and foreign language teaching.
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