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Title: Perceptions of globalization among English language students at Kuwait University : voices of ownership
Author: Kamal, A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 2406
Awarding Body: Canterbury Christ Church University
Current Institution: Canterbury Christ Church University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis explores the role of English in the lives of students at Kuwait University. The study unveils a complex interplay between students’ attitudes towards learning English and their interpretations of globalization, which is something that is not usually recognized in the classroom. The study was conducted using qualitative research methodology encompassing ethnographic observations, conversations, and semi-structured interviews. The majority of the data was collected from 17 to 24 year old Kuwaiti students enrolled in the Health Sciences program at Kuwait University. In addition, conversations with five English language teachers at the same university are included to highlight the tension that exists between teacher expectations and learner performance in the classroom. The main findings of the research reveal that the students had a very pragmatic view of the use of English. As a result, their attitudes inside the classroom did not accurately reflect the importance of English in the rest of their lives. Rather, this importance emerged in how they negotiated the use of English outside of the English language classroom. It was found that the use of English was directly related to how they positioned themselves both within their local social context and in the world. Therefore, although teacher perceptions highlighted students’ resistance towards learning English, what became evident through the data analysis was that student attitudes were strongly connected to their interpretations of the sociocultural context in which they were functioning. This also reinforces the importance of adopting a critical cosmopolitan perspective to understand the complexity behind social action rather than relying on simplified and generalized cultural explanations. In addition, the disconnect between student and teacher perceptions brings attention to the continuing prevalence of problems of essentialism in the field of English language teaching and highlights the necessity of being more aware of Othering discourses as well as the relevance of considering context when trying to understand student attitudes towards language learning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available