Perceptions and Experiences of Female Emirati Learners’ Engagement in English Language Learning: An Ethnographic Case Study


Over the last forty-eight years, the United Arab Emirates, has striven to include a western discourse curriculum with English as a core subject within its education system. Through the use of an ethnographic case study design, this research is motivated by the ideals of culturally responsive pedagogy which includes the need to give voice to the lived experiences of female Emirati learners’ engagement with an English language curriculum.

This study explores qualitative narratives of female Emirati secondary school learners (15-18 years), in a rapidly globalizing yet nationalistic school context in Abu Dhabi. A central premise in this moderate constructivist study is the concept of cultural capital (Bourdieu, 2002) within a multidimensional setting (Sleeter and Grant, 1987) coupled with the aim of understanding the link between classroom language experience, Emirati household values and acculturation.

This link is further supported by Gee (2014) who stresses the importance of both conversation and narrative analysis as a tool in understanding participants’ stories. Another aim of this study is that it might serve as a pool of illumination in terms of inclusive practice ideals for the western expatriate English language teacher striving to interpret a hybrid language discourse in an Emirati populated classroom.

The stories of participants have been analyzed against a backdrop of specific questions concerning participants’ perceived identity coupled with engagements and experiences of learning English as a second language.


Author Information
Thivashni Naidu, University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ACL2020
Stream: Language and Culture

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon