Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) has been a challenging endeavor for the educators in terms of determining the most appropriate and effective language teaching approach. The complexity was actually compounded when the aspect of culture comes into play. With the growth of technology that contributed to breaking barriers of time and distance, people from various cultures felt the most eminent need to learn ESL, considering English as the universal language. In this regard, the objective of the essay is to review six pertinent literatures that delve into the subject of teaching ESL with culture seen as playing a crucial role in learning and reinforcing literacy and proficiency.
From evaluating the contents of the six articles, one observed that in discussing the role that culture plays in teaching ESL, several authors acknowledged that defining the term ‘culture’ proffered challenges due to its broad perspectives. Lafayette acknowledged that “because culture can be defined so broadly, it is often difficult for teachers to select those aspects that should be included in the curriculum at various levels of instruction” (6). Gholson and Stumpf (2005) averred that defining the term was actually a “problematic” endeavor (p.77) but arrived at the following meaning: “culture…is the act of physical, spiritual, emotional, social, or artistic living in a large or general community setting” (p. 78). Likewise, Young, Sachdev and Seedhouse (2009) cited Shiraev and Levy’s definition that culture “comprises a set of symbolic systems, including knowledge, norms, values, beliefs, language, art, customs, as well as habits and skills learned by members of a given society” (Young, Sachdev, & Seedhouse, 2009, p. 149). From among the definitions noted, Young, et al. included language as part of the definition acknowledging the important role it plays in the communication process.
Aside from the dilemma in defining the term, most authors have ...Show more