The Place of Western Cultures in the Learning and Teaching of EFL in Libyan Secondary School Education
Mobility has become a part of all students’ life in today’s modern-day world (Gonen & Saglam, 2012). The majority of Libyan English foreign language (EFL) students now have the opportunity to travel abroad, particularly to English speaking countries, for educational purposes (Omar, 2014). Thus, language is important for them as a means of communication, although it cannot be studied without content, culture or the wisdom of its community. Accordingly, language, culture and communication cannot be separated and are strongly related to one another (Syahri & Susanti, 2016). Gonen & Saglam (2012) contend that EFL students require a certain level of intercultural knowledge and competence in order to become globalised citizens, as well as to be able to survive in Western cultures and educational contexts. This suggests that culture should be integrated in such a way so as to assist students in raising their cultural awareness, developing language skills, and modifying attitudes towards Western societies (Genc & Bada, 2005). However, language teaching and learning in different parts of the world still continues to neglect to consider the integration of target culture as a part of language study. The current study mainly aims to investigate Libyan EFL teachers’ and students’ attitudes and perceptions in regards to teaching and learning Western cultures in EFL classrooms. This is of fundamental importance to the success of any language teaching as, if it is the case that language and culture are intertwined, the perceptions and approaches of EFL Libyan textbooks and classrooms to culture are key to teaching the language effectively. This research has used both quantitative and qualitative research methods for data collection and analysis. The data were collected from Libyan EFL teachers and students who live in a highly conservative Islamic and traditional society that is completely different to the values of Western cultures. More specifically, the data were gathered from 489 teachers and 510 students through the application of two questionnaires. SPSS software was adopted to analyse the questionnaires. A total of 20 Libyan students and 20 Libyan EFL teachers in Libyan secondary schools were interviewed, with thematic analysis employed to analyse the interviews. Metaphor analysis (Cortazzi & Jin, 1999; Jin et al., 2014; Jitpranee, 2017) was employed to gain additional insights. This research was carried out during and after the period of the political revolution in the country, 2011, a period which is thought to have impacted participants’ definitions of culture and their attitudes towards teaching and learning about Western cultures. The implications of this impact are argued to be significant both in terms of how culture is perceived and also in how it is researched and presented. This study contributes to the field of research since it is the first to consider intercultural learning in English classrooms in Libyan secondary education. It also has a number of implications for Libyan EFL teachers, inspectors and curriculum designers in order to maintain the quality of teaching and learning in Libyan secondary schools (see chapter 5: section 5.2). The findings of questionnaires and semi-interview results provide a variety of ideas, perceptions, attitudes and experiences for Libyan EFL teachers and students. The findings reveal that teachers and students are generally aware of the necessities and importance of teaching and learning about Western cultures in the EFL classroom. Although there were differences between teachers’ and students’ views, they generally stated that language and culture are interwoven and should be taught together (Yeganeh & Raeesi, 2015). Based on the results, this study provides valuable information for Libyan EFL inspectors and educational policymakers on the importance of providing updated EFL materials and resources and offering training programmes, which promote an integrative view of teaching English and its culture.
- PhD