Psychocultural Implications of English Language Development

Michael Edwards
Thongsook College
Bangkok, Thailand

Abstract

Teaching approaches involving differentiated instruction account for many categories of learner differences. Educational psychology on the individual level is used to validate these approaches before they are carried out within second language learning environments. Moreover, much second language acquisition theory documents primary and secondary research in order to test methods, approaches and hypotheses for general purposes. The hypothesis posed within this research builds upon the generalized and individualized foundations of those documentations by considering the work of experts in the field of cultural psychology. It also analyzes learner differences on the geographic scale (with a specific focus on Asia, Europe and North America) as they relate to various cultural environments. Furthermore, the study suggests that eclectic curriculum designs be used to accommodate varying demands of different psychocultural learning environments. For more comprehensive studies, material covering the subjects of sociolinguistics and cultural psychology may be found online and in peer reviewed journals.

Psychocultural Implications of English Language Development

If people across global hemispheres think differently according to their cultural roots, then it is time to include these considerations in English language teaching and acquisition theory. Cultural awareness in English language teaching environments is a clear necessity, and most teachers readily acknowledge that. However, the subject is too often conflated with terms relating to the products of culture rather than seeking an understanding of its characteristics of thought. Studies in sociolinguistics may help relieve some of the confusion related to teaching English effectively in foreign countries. However, expertise in the field of cultural psychology is helpful in relieving ambiguities and vague information about the cultural implications of teaching in foreign language classrooms, as well as developing materials for English language learning. If research in this field shows that these considerations have stronger implications than decisions about teachers’ use of methods, then, not only should professional development reflect this research, but eclectic approaches to designing curriculums should also be used to accommodate cultural differences.

This isn’t to say that the fusion of language teaching and cultural studies is something entirely new. As early as 1957, Robert Lado popularized contrastive analysis between languages in a book called Linguistics Across Cultures. Of course, this was written during the time when behaviorist psychology dominated education. As a result, the study was used by linguists merely to understand how acquired behaviors that are reinforced by a first language might impede the learning of a target language. Only nine years later, Robert Kaplan wrote Cultural Thought Patterns in Intercultural Education, which describes differences in rhetorical features in the writing styles of English language learners who come from various cultural backgrounds (1966). Before these studies, the largest focus in language classrooms rested on listening and speaking skills. Linguists then began recognizing the importance of integrated skills in language learning as a result of Kaplan’s research. This could be what he had intended to accomplish with these studies, because he did not leave his readers with any specific prescriptive or normative details with regard to cultural studies: “The English class must not aim too high. Its function is to provide the student with a form within which he may operate, a form acceptable in this time and in this place (24).” This leaves linguists with an informative descriptive analysis, but cultural psychology could help to explain the “thought patterns” he mentioned in much more detail.

Educational Psychology and ELD

Along with research in applied linguistics, pedagogical theories are usually grounded in psychology on the level of individual learning. Insights into developmental psychology by figures such as Piaget, Montessori, and Dewey provide for an understanding of the individual’s cognitive processes that is unlike any before their time. Vygotsky’s theories are also relevant to this research and factor in social interaction and cultural-historical processes into how cognition is formed (as cited in Ohta, 2013). In current times, Howard Gardner’s work on multiple intelligences has revolutionized classrooms around the world with applications of his theories for purposes of differentiated instruction (as cited in Scrivener, 2012). The importance of these influential figures’ contributions cannot be stressed enough. Though, there is more that needs consideration in terms of English language development.

Gardner recommends that teachers should understand when they need to “individualize” or “pluralize” their planning (Strauss & Gardner 2013). This refers to how teachers employ techniques to suit both the learning of individuals, as well as that of whole, classroom environments. In addition to balancing the way material is taught in classrooms, it is stated that even psychology itself “has always aspired to be a universal science, to be achieved through the study of individuals, without reference to cultural contexts” (Yau-Fai & Madalina, 1997). Nonetheless, it is evident; there are cultural characteristics and influences that need as much consideration in terms of the development of English language.

Cutural Considerations and ELD

Some would argue that multilingualism and cultural diversity are at threat due to the spread of English as a lingua franca (UK Essays, 2013). This argument falls short of being completely nuanced for more than one reason. Not only does the use of an additional language (i.e. English) cause multilingual communication, it also shows no evidence of monolingualism being a resulting effect. With regard to culture itself, Juliane House details her own arguments in opposition to these assertions by stating that there is a distinction between “languages for communication” and “languages for identification” (2003). Most importantly, English is not merely a concrete, unchanging lexicon with a one dimensional prescription for communicative competence. Neither is any other language for that matter. There is plenty of evidence that shows English developing new, sociolinguistic features that are characteristic of cultures where English is used as an additional language. For example, it is well documented that the use of discourse and speech acts are distinct from the English used in native-speaking countries (Kachru, 1996). Kachru (1991) also brings the issue of multilingualism to his readers’ attention:

The real world situation is that, in the Outer Circle, the predominant functions of English involve interlocutors who use English as an additional language— Indians with Indians, Singaporeans with Singaporeans, Indians with Singaporeans, Filipinos with Chinese or Japanese, Nigereans with Kenyans, and so on (p. 187).

This is verified in a long list of primary research documentations (Schneider, 2011). With that in mind, the next step toward considering these sociocultural implications should be progressive in how we apply that knowledge to language acquisition theory, teaching methodology, as well as how English may be understood as a means of communication. How might the development of English language learning and consciousness of perceptions across cultures be understood as mutually identifiable concepts? How might materials used for learning English be presented in a more appropriate, culturally sensitive way?

Mary Ann Cristison states that “culture plays a role in the development of our preferences” (2003).  This can be taken one step further in light of documented studies about Eastern and Western thought. This includes cultural characteristics found in the historical roots and modern civilizations of both hemispheres, as well as how these factors influence the actions and perceptions of people around the world. This has broad implications in the teaching field, especially for the growing use and development of English language as an international lingua franca.

Cultural Psychology

Psychologist Richard Nisbett documents many of these cultural features in great detail within his book The Geography of Thought (2003). His book is a comprehensive account of studies carried out by social psychologists around the world. Some of the anthropological findings in this book include the likelihood that characteristics of thought across the Eastern world (most specifically, China, Korea and Japan) may be traced back to social and religious developments in ancient China, including Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism (p. 11). On the other hand, the prevailing thought in Western countries, namely on the European and North American continents, may be traced back to ancient Greece. Many famous Greek philosophers, such as Aristotle, emphasized the importance of formal logic and debate, and encouraged participation in these activities within their societies. The ability of individuals to engage themselves in independent thinking was the key to western civilization and development. Ancient Chinese society greatly stressed the importance of social harmony, which is evident in the writings of the Tao Te Ching. The individual’s duties to society, emphasized in Confucianism, were the primary means of attaining harmonious relationships with these social characteristics. The collectivism often associated with eastern culture is presumed to have its roots in these philosophical traditions, whereas, the individualism seen in the west may be traced back to the ancient Greek systems. Social hierarchies in working relationships, possibly derived from Confucian thought, could be compared and contrasted with the “protestant work ethic” that is rooted in the Greek ways of life.

More specific details include information regarding how people in modern-day western societies tend to use their acquired abilities to use formal logic, and how this contrasts with the contextual thinking that is prevalent throughout Asia. Westerners are taught to apply formal logic to observations and analyses of parts and content of whole objects and subjects. In eastern civilizations, a wise understanding of parts’ connections to whole objects, and relationships between concepts to their subjects, plays a larger role in the prevailing thought. This holism of the eastern world and methodical thinking of the western world are quite evident in today’s societies.

For example, in a typical American classroom, the Greek influence is not hard to recognize. Within the walls of American schools, it is not uncommon for a student to be found challenging her/his own teacher with an opposing viewpoint. This was much like ancient Greek society where “peasants” were often invited to engage in heated debates with various heads of state. This stands in stark contrast to classrooms in China or Korea, where the Confucian hierarchy influences classroom dynamics. Social harmony in Asian classrooms depends on learners knowing their roles and duties as students, and recognizing teachers’ roles as deliverers of knowledge. Nisbett goes on to describe similar dynamics in eastern and western households.

In the west, it is common for parents to thank their children for setting the family’s dinner table on their own (p. 48). These expressions are extremely rare in Asian countries where children are encouraged to carry out these tasks as fulfillments of their duties, and under the close guidance of parents. Thus, the importance of self-esteem in the learning process and its use in provoking independence in children is primarily a function of western parenting and education, whereas children in Asia grow up acquainted with criticism and close guidance by their elders for purposes of accuracy.

One widely cited, empirical finding in Nisbett’s book includes documentations of various statements given by Japanese and American participants. Taka Masuda, one of Nisbett’s past students, created a test that involved these participants in observing animated vignettes of underwater scenes that included “focal fish” and various other animals and natural objects inside the frames (p. 89). After observing the vignettes, the participants were asked to provide statements about what they saw within the frames (p. 90). Most of the American participants’ first sentences were about the fish, whereas the Japanese participants usually made initial references to the environment, such as “It looked like a pond” (p. 90). The Japanese participants also made significantly more references to background objects than did the American participants (p. 90).  From a language teacher’s point of view, the need to consider materials for purposes of delivering comprehensible input with culture in mind couldn’t be more evident in these responses. With regard to the implications of this study, applied linguists and methodologists should consider similar information in their theories about language acquisition, and language teachers should reconsider how they are planning their lessons and constructing curriculums.

In addition, the ways in which culture contributes to emotional responses is also documented by social psychologists. These factors are easily taken for granted when one is surrounded by a group of people from the same surroundings, and who hold similar values. However, there are both biological and cultural contributions to the ways that humans process emotions (Matsumoto, D. & Hwang, 2011). With this in mind, affective influences in classrooms are bound to be different throughout the world. If one set of conditions (such as a particular style of teaching) is not present in a particular environment, then that culture will not reflect those conditions in emotional terms. Students in Korea may feel thankful for their teachers’ criticism, while students in Europe might feel disappointed, and even distraught, when teachers correct their mistakes. Students in Vietnam might expect their teachers to be the link between themselves and the accuracy of information they are acquiring, while students in America expect their teachers to be facilitators who leave them to their own devices.

Perhaps a more directly relevant finding would compare and contrast the acquisition of linguistic features in first languages used in the east and west. For example, infants who learn Mandarin or Korean language are shown to acquire verbs at a faster rate than nouns, while western infants learn nouns at a faster rate (Tardif, 1999; Arunachalam, Leddon, Song, Lee & Waxman 2013). This might have a lot to do with how caretaker speech is used as language input in Asia and the west. Often, western parents intentionally decontextualize caretaker speech in order to draw their children’s attention to particular objects. The context of sharing in close relationships is more important in Asia, and the actions and dynamics involved in relationships might involve the use of more verbs in parental communication.

There are also contrasting sociolinguistic factors that may be better understood with the help of research in cultural psychology. Studies show that Asians are more attentive to implied meaning in conversation than westerners (Sanchez-Burks et al., 2003). Context-rich environments in Asia provide for an ease of pragmatic understanding in interpreting connotation and indirectness in communication (p. 364). Although the west is a generally low-context environment, implied meaning is sometimes used in different settings. The illocutionary act in an interrogative statement, such as “Is there any ketchup over there?” implies an indirect connotation meaning “Pass me the ketchup.” “Do you have a flash drive?” could mean “Do you have a flash drive that I could borrow?”

The latter example shows a slight pragmatic difference. It demonstrates less indirectness and more of an orientation toward a linear perception of time. Reducing the sentence might allow the inquirer to move on to what is intended to be accomplished with the flash drive. According to Lewis, Perceptions of time are vastly different across cultures in the east and west (2014). For example, America’s linear orientation cannot easily be compared to Mexico’s “multi-active” perception of time (as cited in Lubin, 2013). It is more important in China to be punctual than in Thailand, where similar cyclical perceptions of time are the norm, but have different circumstantial implications (Lewis, 2014, para. 16-18).

Culture and English Language Development

What does all of this say about how English language might be presented in foreign language classrooms, and even informal language learning environments where English as a lingua franca is still developing? The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis states that languages largely determine the way people perceive the world, and that there is “no neutral context” that hasn’t been shaped by uses of language (as cited in Mesthrie, 2011). While this might be true, it is also plausible that a language itself, such as English, is subject to similar perceptions, and thus, changes in the way it is utilized for various purposes. English might be presented more efficiently to learners of the language with this phenomenon of its development in mind. Going beyond “authentic materials” to authentic thinking could uncover the potential for major, positive changes in education, and other important intercultural relationships involving communication such as diplomacy and international trade.

At a recent conference in Korea, Dr. B. Kumaravadivelu stated that identity is a more important concept than culture with regard to English language development (2011). He also said that the concept of “modern identity,” which refers to the essentialist idea of individuals being “inextricably linked” to their own communities, is outdated. According to Kumaravadivelu, the “post-modern” concept of identity that acknowledges individual constructivism in forming identity, as well as his idea of a subsequent culture of “globalism” should trump the old idea of modern identity. In a world of “globalism”, everyone would bear the responsibility of ushering in this new, individualist culture.

Additionally, he stated that international borders are gradually dissolving and “foreign communities are no longer cultural islands.” This study is consistent with those points as far as definitions of culture extend only to their products. Customs and traditions, geographic location and even some of the contrasts between collectivism and individualism, field dependence and field independence have all contributed to the stereotyping of learners in foreign language classrooms. However, to the point that his claims would further individualize approaches to language teaching, it is inconsistent. It is a continuation of the influence of a general psychological study that begins with an analysis of individuals and ends with a mere observation of sociocultural norms. This type of psychology has its benefits, but it ignores the psychocultural implications of English language development, as well as the need to deliver English language materials that accommodate learners who come from larger communities.

Intercultural Communicative Competence is another relatively new concept in applied linguistics and language acquisition theory (Aleptkin, 2002). It challenges past theories based on native-speaker norms and suggests a model that promotes learner autonomy and “enculturation” into the English speaking world (p. 58). It is very similar to the approach recommended by Kumaravadivelu in that it promotes an individualist constructivism. As great as these theories begin, another mistaken assumption in these approaches involves getting too caught up in overly pedantic academia. They suggest strong, prescriptive frameworks for language professionals without recognizing how English is already “nativized” into specific cultures without teachers or linguists having any say in the matter.

To properly deliver teaching and educational materials in this way, it is not enough to ignore the diverse cultural backgrounds of English language learners in favor of diversity of individuals alone. English might be a part of the construction of a world culture that dissolves misunderstandings between people from different backgrounds, but no similar goal will happen without cultural literacy on the level of thought itself. No amount of English language television, pop music, or hour long English language classes is going to make that happen unless these products and symbols are presented in a way that show a more complete understanding of a diversity of thinking. A comprehensive, eclectic approach to intercultural communication would recognize the complexity of both theoretical and practical matters in English language development.

Gardner stated that there isn’t evidence for the effectiveness of differentiating classroom instruction in a way that suits individual “learning styles” (2013). Similarly, this study suggests that because learning is necessarily based in thinking, the common characteristics of thought in larger communities should be considered for purposes of differentiation on an authentic level. In his earlier work, Kumaravadivelu suggests a “post-method pedagogy” that views learners as “autonomous” (2001). In contrast, the evidence shows that many learners are not comfortable being viewed as autonomous, or alone in their learning. Therefore, any serious change in pedagogy that is beyond methodology should involve figuring out how learners commonly think and acquire language on the largest scale.

Curriculum Development and Differentiated Instruction in ELD

In the last decade, changes in English language teaching standards set by the governments of Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong have been implemented with the goal of developing curriculums with a communicative approach (Savignon, 2007). Communicative language teaching is the most widely accepted approach to English teaching among the academic community, but the term itself could be too broad and ambiguous to expect all educators, specifically language teachers, to be rigid in its application for implementing a particular pedagogy. Many English teachers who are not fluent in English might find it difficult to provide a large quantity of input in communicative classrooms. Those who are fluent, yet do not have knowledge of communicative approaches might only find themselves working in language classrooms due to the high demand for instruction. In either of these scenarios, English teachers might plan according to sequences of events as they come, and sometimes, realize effective methods through practical experience. Even when teachers are highly knowledgeable of language teaching methodology, much of the time, they are either faced with confusion or a need to differentiate when faced with a new cultural environment (Rao, 2001).

Differentiation of instruction is usually defined within the domain of individual learner differences and vice versa. It is said to involve teachers in making changes (with individual learners’ needs in mind) in the presentation of content, the process of how students engage in activities to understand the material, the students’ expected production in a given class, as well as the learning environment itself (Tomlinson, 2000). This study considers all of these with a specific focus on the learning environment, while redefining it to include learners from various cultural backgrounds who share similar patterns of thought.

Communicative language teaching is said to be sometimes realized through facilitating task based activities within the learning environment. Much of the time, these activities are collaborative, and to academics, the term collaborative often becomes synonymous with cooperative. With regard to teaching in different learning environments, this could be a mistake. In this context, collaborative entails students working on a task together, while cooperative means cooperation among students and usually equal application of their individual ideas. Collaborative learning could involve learners at different levels of expected production. In some classrooms, this might be best facilitated by assigning roles (and sometimes leading roles) in group work scenarios (Ghaith, 2002). These contrasts could prove to be highly beneficial to teachers in different cultural environments with regard to classroom management, as well as maximizing the acquisition of English language.

It is mentioned earlier in this study that societal roles are more defined in Asian countries with histories of Confucian influence. As can be seen in the collaborative group work described above, students could potentially be assigned to roles without the task becoming entirely cooperative. This might be consistent with the Confucian influence in Asia favoring social harmony and personal duties to society. Individual differentiation could also become easier if the task is facilitated as a tiered activity that suits a classroom of mixed ability (Tomlinson, 2000). Lower level students could work on simpler tasks and observe peer-input, while higher level students could work on the most difficult tasks. Assessment could then be done on an individual level through full class grading in the production segments where each individual receives scores for their efforts according to their particular duty within the group. Group communication also becomes easier for students when they are assigned particular tasks, and the focus on specific group goals makes interacting with peers less awkward. Students could still count on the teacher assigning these tasks and facilitating them without it diminishing the expectations and responsibilities of either of their roles.

On the other hand, cooperative tasks may be culturally appropriate in European classrooms, as well as other western classrooms. With the Greek influence in mind, it makes sense that cooperative tasks could encourage debate that leads groups to consensus through reasonable, critical thinking. In that respect, pair work could be a more successful option in western classrooms. The tier system could also work in mixed ability classes, but with assessments that are focused on individuals’ development of ideas within a specific context of which her/his group is working, rather than efforts in varied aspects of a collaborative project. The teacher’s role as an unbiased facilitator would promote the constructivist process of learning that is strongly encouraged in western education. The contrast between Asian and Western group work scenarios is consistent with documentations in cultural psychology showing that “in-groups” are closer to individuals in Asia, while “out-groups” tend to be closer to individuals in the West (Nisbett, 2003).

Knowing these details, it should come as no surprise that teacher-centered methods and techniques are widely used in Asian language classrooms. Although there is an academic consensus among applied linguists against the use of the grammar-translation method, it is still widely used in Asia. The reasons for its use are not entirely counterintuitive, and may be linked to a need for students in Asia to overcome ambiguity in the learning process (Rao, 2001). Translations may not always provide precise meaning, but they can be definitive enough for learners to avoid affective factors in the acquisition of language. Also, to teachers who aren’t fluent speakers of English, this method could be the best way of organizing successful classroom procedures in Asia. Sometimes, teachers who are fluent, and involved in the same school’s language program, are there to provide a whole language approach that backs up classes taught with the grammar-translation method. Either way, the cultural reasons for teacher-centered approaches in Asian language classrooms should be understood as a trend that makes a lot of sense given the circumstances.

In addition, it is stated that beginning, native-speaking English teachers can learn a lot from experienced, non-native-speaking teachers (Odhuu, 2014). A special type of “cultural and educational development” offered by the non-native teachers can help native-speaking teachers understand how to teach effectively in a foreign environment (p.10). For this to be successful, it requires both a willingness on the part of the non-native speaking teacher to make that commitment, and an open mind to learn about the reasons for cultural differences on the part of the native-speaking teacher. The reasons could be related to characteristics of thought, or the differences themselves that demand to be known may be directly related to thought.

English Language Teaching in Asia and the West

In a study contrasting primary ESL and EFL classrooms in The United States and Taiwan, Min-Ping Wu states that due to a focus on grammar in Taiwan’s classrooms, students have little opportunity for interaction (p. 4). In the same study, Total Physical Response (TPR) was used more frequently in Taiwanese classrooms (p. 17). TPR was emphasized for its role in understanding vocabulary and “short sentences” (p. 15). Modeling in the initial segments, as well as its mostly non-confrontational approach, makes this widely accepted method a very culturally appropriate one for the Taiwanese classroom. It is possible that TPR could be used further as a more appropriate bridge to interaction in Taiwan’s classrooms. For example, if students give the corresponding commands to their fellow learners under a teacher’s guidance, the mostly horizontal pattern of communicative language facilitation, realized through the production stages of TPR, could be transcended in a way that doesn’t serve to diminish the teacher’s role. This serves to broaden the sociocultural learning process in a way that could strengthen the pragmatic benefits of comprehending and internalizing speech acts in a variety of contexts.

In the same study, brainstorming and “pair talking” were slightly more popular among the American teachers (p. 17). Students in American classrooms are already interacting within an English speaking environment, so the student-centered classrooms that are common in the U.S. provide an extended opportunity to practice their communication skills using these techniques. Acquisition of English language is reinforced through content-based instruction in normal classes, as well as learners’ ongoing communication outside of schools. In many public schools, sheltered instruction is also used to scaffold material throughout entire curriculums (Center for Applied Linguistics, 2014). The purpose of sheltered instruction is to make general, academic content comprehensible to English learners through bilingual programs where some subjects are taught using simpler English, and others are taught in the students’ native language. A gradual progression of providing academic terms in sheltered instruction is intended to give students enough academic language without overloading them with material. Due to the extra immersion, this is a reason to believe that it is unfair to compare this setting to Taiwan’s classrooms in terms of interaction. As one of the largest countries in the world, the U.S. has a unique history of civilization based on immigration from the first colonies to the modern day. Cultural-historical factors call for this type of unique approach to constructing environments that are most conducive to the acquisition of English language.

As for the reading skill in particular, research shows that educational and social factors are larger predictors of competency than learners’ first languages and cultural backgrounds (Connor, 2011). This goes to show that although cultural factors are important in the learning process, they should not be understood from an essentialist perspective. One particular example of an essentialist, logical fallacy is to sum up learning abilities in Asian contexts by stating that critical thinking (in its totality) cannot be learned in Asian classrooms due to an unwillingness to state opinions and break from collectivist tendencies (Long, 2003; Vandermensbrugghe, 2004). Some of the most important aspects of critical thinking include listening, observing, and understanding multiple perspectives. Stating one’s opinion is secondary to these skills, and a holistic analysis is more likely to capture them than western style logic. Therefore, English teachers should not hold back when it comes to teaching any academic or communicative skill in eastern or western classrooms even if the way the material is presented is differentiated accordingly. A simple elicitation of cultural differences could give students a chance to develop their linguistic skills with critical thinking, while promoting intercultural communication at the same time (Mirts & Mark King, 2014).

More on Language Acquisition, Culture, and Materials Development

Earlier in this research, Masuda’s vignette experiment is described. The Japanese participants mentioned in the study showed a spatial orientation in their initial descriptions of the environments within the vignettes. The American participants first describe the fish, and made little reference to the underwater environment. A psycholinguistic analysis of this might explain what comprehensible input means for different people learning English language. For a westerner, this might mean understanding language that is presented in a way that promotes the context as defined by its objects. For those living in the East, it might mean language in-context with a connection to a larger frame of reference.

For sound theory in language acquisition, it would be beneficial to collect further data experimenting with the creation of materials for use in various learning environments. In these settings, the use of flashcards, digital photos and video could be tested with and without background images (as seen in clipart). For listening and speaking skills, images, video and realia with background elements could be used as variables with intermediary factors, such as teachers themselves using focal points (as seen in the speaking portion of Cambridge’s “Starters” assessment) (Cambridge English Language Assessment, 2013). The content of reading materials could be tested at all levels with a particular focus on holistic and deductive approaches in discourse. Lessons with a focus on language that uses more verbs, nouns or indirect language cues could be tested in teachers’ own case studies for localized applications, or through mass surveying for empirical documentation. All of these considerations for materials would find their way into eclectic curriculum designs that are sensitive to the most overlooked part of culture. These designs would reflect an organization of materials and lessons that provide comfort and cultural familiarity in the learning process.

So called “authentic materials” that are normally created around the products and symbols of culture both discredit the serious need for cultural awareness in language education, and usually fail to interest learners.  Of course, among eastern and western hemispheres, all classrooms, communities and individuals differ. There are many circumstances in the west that call for an approach that might at first seem more fitting in the east, and vice versa. There is no doubt; the world is moving in that direction. A fusion of cultural influence is happening between the eastern and western hemispheres, but there isn’t any evidence that the world is losing its diversity in thinking. When English teaching takes it lead from this aspect of diversity, it reflects a truly intercultural communicative model that engages learners in an efficient process of acquiring the language as their own, both culturally and individually.

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