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An Investigation of Teachers’ Perceptions of Culture Teaching in Secondary Schools in Xinjiang, China



English Language education in China has gone through several stages of development in the past 30 years. The early method of language learning was centred on grammar acquisition but this has since moved to the current approach of communicative competence development. Although the Official Document in 2001 laid down ‘cultural awareness’ as one of the language teaching objectives, there seems to be a gap between the new curriculum and what goes on in classrooms. The aim of this study is to investigate teachers’ perspectives on cultural teaching in terms of the teaching objectives of language and culture; teachers’ understanding of ‘culture’; the cultural topics they favour to teach in the classroom; the techniques they use to teach culture; time allocation to culture teaching and finally their attitudes towards intercultural communicative competence so as to design courses at the teacher training college to meet the needs of the teachers. The method of my research involves a survey: questionnaires were sent to the schools as well as trainers in the teaching college after a pilot run and group discussion in refining the questions. The returned survey is then categorized and analyzed based on Byram’s intercultural communicative competence model. The analyzed results show encouraging signs of teachers’ and college trainers’ willingness to engage in cultural teaching, but the results also reflect teething problems to fully engage cultural communicative competence in the classrooms. The highly examination-oriented environment, the practical approach of teachers and students and the academic qualification/experience of teachers are some of the current problems in teaching culture in the classroom. The teachers’ college plays an important role in changing the perception of cultural teaching of teachers and the results show a need for courses to build the understanding and confidence of teachers in the classrooms. \ud \u

Topics: survey, teachers’ perceptions, cultural/intercultural teaching, foreign language education, intercultural communicative competence, curriculum, cultural awareness and teacher training courses.
Year: 2010
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Provided by: Durham e-Theses

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