Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, PhD


School of Educational Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Susan J. Paik

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

DeLacy Ganley

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Thomas Luschei

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© 2020 Tammy Johnson


cultural teaching model, developing country, English as a Foreign Language (EFL), English as a Second Language (ESL), international education, practices, products, and perspectives, teacher beliefs

Subject Categories



Learning English is a global phenomenon, if not a necessity, for economic and political reasons in the world today. However, effective instruction of English as a foreign language (EFL) has differing views on how culture and language should be taught. Developed by the author, the study uses the Cultural Teaching Model, which emphasizes that effective cultural instruction should incorporate practices, products, and perspectives. Based on 35 interviews with secondary English foreign language teachers from 19 different developing countries, the study explored the importance of culture, teachers’ beliefs, and effective instructional practices in teaching English in diverse classrooms. This study’s findings suggest the participants strongly believed that language and culture were intertwined; however, the participants minimally defined culture. At the same time, the participants reported that the target culture that they aimed to teach included the Anglosphere and a global perspective. There were instances that suggest that the target culture was not strategically selected, but rather determined based on the prescribed curriculum or the participants’ prior experiences. In addition, this study revealed that the integrated teaching of cultural practices, products, and perspectives was found in only a few occasions, which may have been largely due to the sample being derived from developing countries. In the current sample, the participants tended to either teach cultural practices, products, and perspectives in isolation or emphasize linguistic knowledge and forgo cultural instruction. Finally, there were limited instances where the interviewees’ cultural beliefs may have influenced instruction. The teachers who narrowly defined culture had the tendency to incorporate less cultural instruction into their lessons. Participants who provided complex definitions of culture were more disposed to incorporating culture into their own instruction. Outside of these two examples, there was no clear explanation of how the participants’ beliefs influenced their teaching. Various external factors that influenced their beliefs and instruction included educational policy, assessment, curriculum, cultural conflicts, teacher knowledge, and instructional expectations. Also, based on one’s prior experiences, learning a language influences how a teacher defines and incorporates culture into his instruction (Paige et al., 2000). In this case, the study found that the participants from developing countries did indeed have limited experiences with native speakers, which had great bearing in how they interpreted culture and how they applied or did not apply it in their instruction. This study discusses their unique and limited experiences with cultural instruction. The present study proposes the following implications for policymakers, schools, and future research. Given the challenges within schools in developing countries, this study encourages schools to develop relationships with international agencies and non-profit organizations for professional development. Developing relationships with these organizations can provide opportunities to interact with English speakers. In addition, these organizations may also be able to provide resources and training outside of the school’s capabilities. The results from this study highlight that more research is needed to improve EFL instruction in developing countries. Comparative work could enhance this study’s findings and provide a broader understanding of the teaching of culture within EFL classrooms. While this study focused on secondary EFL teachers, more attention is needed at different educational levels.



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