Abstract

In response to the dearth of research on culture awareness instruction prior to foreign language instruction, the objective of this study was to explore the effects of culture awareness lessons on learner attitudes and beliefs in second-semester university students of French. As a treatment, the experimental group received lessons on culture awareness prior to traditional French classroom instruction; the control group did not. Culture awareness lessons addressed terms such as perspective, culture, interpretation, and stereotypes. Lessons also included worksheets consisting of open-ended questions designed to capture students' responses to the aforementioned topics of discussion. Data collection methods consisted of pre- and post-surveys that included Likert-scale questions and reflections that incorporated open-ended questions designed to capture student attitudes and beliefs. Reflections included general questions on attitudes toward the French as well as cultural practice-specific questions. Qualitative analysis revealed that students from the experimental group showed greater appreciation for culture as an important component of foreign language instruction as well as higher response rates vis-à -vis intercultural understanding. Statistical analysis of the Likert-scale questions also showed significance among questions addressing greater understanding of cultural differences and increased perceived similarity between American and French cultures among the experimental group. However, the experimental group also showed a decrease in student predilection for studying and talking about culture. In general, the study reveals that the explicit teaching of culture awareness prior to traditional foreign language instruction, in conjunction with the opportunity students had to reflect and express their thoughts, has a positive effect on student attitudes.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Humanities; Center for Language Studies

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2016-06-01

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd8765

Keywords

culture awareness, foreign language teaching, culture teaching, student attitudes, teaching French

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