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Cultures of Learning in Indonesia: enacting the HE language curriculum

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posted on 23.07.2020, 19:32 by Priscilla M. Assis Hornay
Learners have different preferences and approaches when it comes to language learning. It is believed that these views have cultural origins. This study aims to identify these origins by determining the students’ ‘cultures of learning’ (Cortazzi and Jin, 1996). Although several studies have been carried out on Chinese students’ cultures of learning, this study focuses on Indonesian students’ cultures of learning and their teachers’ perceptions of their cultures of learning and investigates the effect on students’ agency and teachers’ development of methods of language teaching. This study sets out to answer the following research questions: (1) What are students’ cultures of learning? (2) What are teachers’ perceptions of students’ cultures of learning? (3) How do cultures of learning affect students’ learning practices? and (4) How do teachers’ perceptions of students’ cultures of learning affect the enactment of the curriculum? The study used a qualitative method to capture the voices of participants, students and teachers involved in English foreign language classes at five Indonesian universities. To create trustworthy outcomes for the study, a triangulation of methods was employed for the collection of the data, including likert scale questionnaires involving 127 students, 26 unstructured classroom observations (1hr-3hr), and 21 teachers’ and 30 students’ semi-structured interviews (approximately 20-40min). The main findings of this study are presented in four parts. The first part discusses how students’ approaches to learning are shaped by an educational-transmitted culture. The second part shows what beliefs teachers have about students’ cultures of learning. Teachers’ role in affiliating with the students in the classroom influenced their choices of features that influenced their practices, and how they involved students in the decision-making process. Part three of the findings outlines students' preferred cultures of learning. It was found that they mostly prefer to be ‘followers’, although they showed general attitudes towards certain teaching and learning methods in the classroom where a range of different approaches to learning were found likely to be more or less effective. Part four discusses teachers' current practices where there is room for students to be involved; however, the teachers may not understand that they can use students’ characters and wants; they are currently not aware that this is a part of students’ cultures of learning. What emerges from this current study is the importance of TESOL professionals recognising the importance of involving students’ voices from their cultures of learning when planning and delivering their courses and lessons.



Hugh Busher

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School of Education

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University of Leicester

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