The Use of Pedagogic Questions in Understanding Culture in ESL/EFL Classrooms
Inayat Shah, Lecturer, Oman
Abstract: The present review paper aims to discuss the use and efficacy of pedagogic questions in understanding culture in English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as Foreign Language (EFL) classrooms. The ESL and EFL classrooms for adults are often culturally diverse and multifarious where students bring their individual cultural identities to the classroom. Offering a comprehensive definition of culture that encompasses various linguistic attitudes to these students can be a challenging task for any teacher. Even more challenging is the idea of raising awareness of cultural intersections in the students’ minds. In this context, drawing mainly upon Ilieva, R. (2000), this article presents a set of questions for developing learners’ intercultural understanding in the ESL and EFL contexts. An analytical set of questions relating to ESL instruction may help in dealing with culture in the context of ESL programs for adults. This article offers communicative activities formed to develop the cross-cultural understanding of students whose language levels range from beginner to intermediate. In a multi-cultural environment cross-cultural awareness of foreign language students who have never lived in another culture or even visited one, can be achieved through the set of questions posed in communicative activities that take place in a classroom. Through culture understanding the abstract knowledge of a target culture is jointly constructed in the classroom and becomes a tool not only in finding one's voice, but also in using that knowledge to act on the world. The set of questions presented in this article may be of interest to instructors, curriculum writers, students, and researchers who want to consider the ways culture is addressed in ESL/ EFL programs.