Session 3A

Adrienne Harris – University of Adelaide

Global cultures and English language learning

How does culture influence the way that people learn? Are there cultural approaches to learning that provide strengths or weaknesses when the students are faced with acculturation to another culture? Often in the classroom it can easily be assumed that learners perceive and take in knowledge in a manner that is akin to the culture presenting the information. Undoubtedly, learners are able to adapt to the culture that they find themselves in, although it can be useful for teachers to have knowledge of student preferences for learning based on cultural learnt and teaching norms. This workshop explores a range of cultures, predominately Asian, and contrasts these with the western education learning norms. This workshop will discuss findings from research collected from students EAL students at The University of Adelaide in 2014. It will highlight the inherent learning strengths and strategies that students have identified from their culture, the adaptation process, and what they like/dislike about the western education system. These ideas will then be examined within the broader concept of Hofstede’s model of culture to allow teachers to have greater understanding cultural learning styles and preferences.

Bio data:

Adrienne Harris has been teaching ESL for eight years across a range of ESL institutions in Adelaide. At The University of Adelaide Adrienne currently works on the GEAP and PEP programs. In the last two years she has been tutoring in business communications and which has sparked an interest in cross cultural communication and cultural models particularly in regard to business and education sectors. Her qualifications include a Graduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics and a Diploma in Training and Assessment.