Making Culture Happen in the English Language Classroom

  •  Yakup Doganay    
  •  Madina Ashirimbetova    
  •  Brent Davis    


The issue of introducing the target culture into language classroom practice has long been an object of debates as well as the opinions of the learners towards it. Eventually, modern practitioners found a way of having the language learners acquainted with the target culture and introducing culture through culture-based textbook activities. However, the issue of additional culturally-oriented activities in improving students learning habits is questionable today. The purpose of this paper is to examine their effect and to investigate the attitudes of students towards language teaching and learning through culture-based activities (games, role plays, dialogues, video clips, discussions and comparisons of local and target cultures). The paper presents the results of the study conducted in one of the top universities of Kazakhstan throughout the spring semester of the 2012 academic year. Eighty students of different cultural backgrounds took part in the study. The activities for the experimental groups were modified according the tasks in each unit of one of the contemporary textbooks used in General English lessons. These activities varied from warm-ups to homework tasks in the units accordingly. The results suggest that practice of the various culture-based tasks and exercises helped the students to improve their communicative and linguistic competences in English. The results obtained from this study also offer insights into how culture-based activities can be used to develop and enhance not only students’ language skills but also their awareness of various culture-sensitive issues.

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