Thesis (DAppLing)--Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Dept. of Linguistics, 2011.
Bibliography: p. 223-235.
Intercultural communication and cultural awareness -- Teachers roles and perspectives in raising cultural awareness -- A critical analysis of cultural content in EFL materials -- Cultural awareness raising through learner ethnographies -- Synthesis.
The complex, cause and effect relationship between language and culture has been an important area of inquiry in Applied and Socio Linguistics, ever since it was originally proposed within the theory of Linguistic Relativity (1929) and the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (1940), These theories stated that the basic components of any language are indivisible from the perspectives of the users and therefore affect the way a certain language group views the world. Present research investigating this relationship is more concerned with how cultural differences influence the language learning process. Considering recent trends focusing on English as a Global Language and the diversity of learners and contexts, attention has shifted to developing cultural awareness and competence as an essential component of second language acquisition. With the steady increase of international travel, global economy, communication technology and the prospect that most people will have frequent and sustained contact and experience with other cultures in the future, it is no longer adequate that language learners merely have a command or a level of competence in a language. What is required, for full participation in an increasingly integrated world, is a deeper understanding and a comprehensive arsenal of meta-skills which will assist learners with acquisition and navigation of the finer nuances and sub levels of communication and interaction. Apart from language, what other skills do learners require? What are common problems that all people have when engaging with a new culture or in a new environment? How can these be taught or acquired out of context? What is the role of the teacher in facilitating cultural awareness? In seeking answers to these questions, this dissertation will critically review relevant research, analyze various contexts and methodologies and attempt to determine what type of approach is best suited to the needs and environments of today's EFL learners in Japan. In conclusion, some ideas will be proposed which may provide insight into the nature, and feasibility of a cross culturally appropriate pedagogy.