Teacher Cognition on the Place of Culture in English Education in Tunisia

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

Institut Supérieur des Langues de Tunis, Tunisia

Abstract

This study investigated the cognition of 70 Tunisian teachers on the place of culture in English education. It showed that Tunisian teachers believe that English textbooks and curricular documents are not specific about the cultural dimension of EFL. It also revealed that L2 teachers, whose mother culture is distant from that associated with L2, hold ambivalent attitudes towards culture. They acknowledge the importance of culture to communicative competence and intercultural competence, but either approach culture with suspicion or prefer to keep it to a minimum in the curriculum. The reasons for the marginalization of culture in English curriculum, according to the participants of the study, are ‘vastness of the concept of culture’, ‘lack of resources’, and ‘problems of procedure’. These reasons are accepted by L2 teachers, worldwide, who seem to share a ‘co-culture’ that determines their cognition on the different aspects of language teaching. As regards the cultural dimension of L2 teaching, the ‘co-culture’ seems to drive teacher cognition more than ‘cultural distance’. 

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