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EFL for all! The impact of cultural capital on students EFL learning: Case study of a Saudi university

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Abstract:

The notion of cultural capital was developed by Bourdieu (Bourdieu and Passeron 19791) as a way of analysing the achievement of students from different social classes. He sought to relate students’ academic success to “the specific profit which children from the different classes and class fractions can obtain in the academic market” focusing on the differentiated and unequal distribution of cultural capital between social classes (Bourdieu 2002:282). Investment in culture capital is perceived as being influential to the students’ academic development (De Civita et al. 2004, Lee and Brown 2006).
Different researchers have used the concept of cultural capital in different ways in education research. Some have conceptualised the concept in relation to gains from participation in the dominant culture as well as high culture (De Graaf et al. 2000, De Graaf 1986). Stevenson (1995:46) in contrast conceptualises cultural capital as a form of “competence, e.g. knowledge, skill, education and educational credentials; which advantages any person to achieve a higher status in society, including high expectations”. Lee and Brown (2006) conceptualise cultural capital in terms of parents’ educational attainment and their involvement in their children’s education.
Informed by this different definitions, this study define cultural capital as a concept that encompasses the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are acquired from family background and which are transformed as an asset that advantages students in studying in English as a Foreign Language (the EFL).
Based on this notion of cultural capital, this paper discusses ways in which possession and dispossession of such capital among students’ family members influence their learning experiences in an EFL programme. Using empirical qualitative data collected mainly through interviews and observations, this paper illustrate the ways in which cultural capital influence students’ motivation, ambition, learning skills and their participation in lecture rooms. It argues that family influences result in:
• allowing the student to have useful knowledge and experience of pursuing a university degree as well as skills of learning English language;
• helping the students to develop English language skills such listening, speaking reading;
• supporting the students to be confidant and active learners who are able to take charge of their own learning in the EFL programme without so much reliance on the others;
• providing different kind of reassurance to the students through their academic journey;
• boosting motivation to encourage students to study hard and improve their skills (English language skills and study skills) in order to achieve the educational standard set in the family.
• marginalizing students who do not have sufficient cultural capital

The findings of this study are significant for the field of international education because it contributes to the discussion about the progressive teaching pedagogies (e.g. Communicative Language Teaching) that are wildly advocated when teaching EFL. In addition, the findings draw attention to downside of these critical pedagogies and worn practitioners of potential marginalization that could occur as a result of adopting such pedagogies.
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Association:
Name: Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p709295_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Alhawsawi, Sajjadllah. "EFL for all! The impact of cultural capital on students EFL learning: Case study of a Saudi university" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Mar 10, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p709295_index.html>

APA Citation:

Alhawsawi, S. Y. , 2014-03-10 "EFL for all! The impact of cultural capital on students EFL learning: Case study of a Saudi university" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p709295_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The notion of cultural capital was developed by Bourdieu (Bourdieu and Passeron 19791) as a way of analysing the achievement of students from different social classes. He sought to relate students’ academic success to “the specific profit which children from the different classes and class fractions can obtain in the academic market” focusing on the differentiated and unequal distribution of cultural capital between social classes (Bourdieu 2002:282). Investment in culture capital is perceived as being influential to the students’ academic development (De Civita et al. 2004, Lee and Brown 2006).
Different researchers have used the concept of cultural capital in different ways in education research. Some have conceptualised the concept in relation to gains from participation in the dominant culture as well as high culture (De Graaf et al. 2000, De Graaf 1986). Stevenson (1995:46) in contrast conceptualises cultural capital as a form of “competence, e.g. knowledge, skill, education and educational credentials; which advantages any person to achieve a higher status in society, including high expectations”. Lee and Brown (2006) conceptualise cultural capital in terms of parents’ educational attainment and their involvement in their children’s education.
Informed by this different definitions, this study define cultural capital as a concept that encompasses the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are acquired from family background and which are transformed as an asset that advantages students in studying in English as a Foreign Language (the EFL).
Based on this notion of cultural capital, this paper discusses ways in which possession and dispossession of such capital among students’ family members influence their learning experiences in an EFL programme. Using empirical qualitative data collected mainly through interviews and observations, this paper illustrate the ways in which cultural capital influence students’ motivation, ambition, learning skills and their participation in lecture rooms. It argues that family influences result in:
• allowing the student to have useful knowledge and experience of pursuing a university degree as well as skills of learning English language;
• helping the students to develop English language skills such listening, speaking reading;
• supporting the students to be confidant and active learners who are able to take charge of their own learning in the EFL programme without so much reliance on the others;
• providing different kind of reassurance to the students through their academic journey;
• boosting motivation to encourage students to study hard and improve their skills (English language skills and study skills) in order to achieve the educational standard set in the family.
• marginalizing students who do not have sufficient cultural capital

The findings of this study are significant for the field of international education because it contributes to the discussion about the progressive teaching pedagogies (e.g. Communicative Language Teaching) that are wildly advocated when teaching EFL. In addition, the findings draw attention to downside of these critical pedagogies and worn practitioners of potential marginalization that could occur as a result of adopting such pedagogies.


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