Cultural Representations as a Medium of Instruction in an ESL Classroom

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-49
Journal / PublicationKorean Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


Culture in language teaching has long been understood to offer various benefits such as stimulating students’ motivation and fostering positive attitudes towards the language and language users. In this regard, language teachers have often adopted diverse ways to incorporate culture into teaching via the use of images, textbooks, and technology (e.g., Levy, 2009). Much research has also attempted to conduct survey studies, analyse the cultural texts, and interpret perceptions of teachers and students (Duff, 2002; Vinall, 2012). In an effort to deepen the understandings of the ways cultural contents are delivered, negotiated, and represented in the English learning environment, the present study examines the classroom interactions in a university-level ESL writing course. This micro-ethnographic study explores how the teacher’s use of cultural knowledge delivers certain messages about culture, language, and its users. The findings argue how cultural in language learning is not limited to its immediate connection with the target community or people, but extends beyond to the broader social, cultural, and political contexts. The study suggests that language classrooms carry the potential to function as a locus where all participants could explore hidden messages around cultural representation and participate in the process of re-presenting and re-producing multiple cultural perspectives.

Research Area(s)

  • cultural representation, cultural awareness, ESL learners, intercultural communicative competence