Date

2009

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Teacher Education

Abstract

This study investigated the role of social context in learning a foreign language. My research question was: Does studying a foreign language within a social context enhance students' learning of the language, and does that vary by gender? To address this question, I first reviewed literature about gender differences in learning a foreign language, and the role that culture might play in it. I then used qualitative methodology to collect data. I found that both women and men study Arabic for similar reasons, but women favored the cultural aspects more heavily. There was no clear evidence for gender superiority in language acquisition, although females appeared to be better in speaking and writing while men were better in reading. There were other differences related to perceptions of Arabic culture. My Action Plan is directed at enhancing cross-cultural communication, focusing on the roles of teachers, students, curriculum, and the school.

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Thesis (M.A.) Teacher Education Department

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