A Master of Arts thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Omnia Tharwat El-Sakran entitled, "ELT Teachers' Perspectives on the Discussion of Culturally Sensitive Topics in the United Arab Emirates," submitted May 2017. Thesis advisor is Dr. Rana Raddawi. Soft and hard copy available.
This study examines secondary school teachers' perceptions towards the discussion of culturally sensitive topics in three private schools that are located in the Emirate of Ajman, the Emirate of Dubai and the Emirate of Sharjah, all located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It looks at teachers' perceptions on the relationship between culture and language and whether English can be taught without covering its cultural aspects. It also investigates the implications of discussing such topics on the teachers' career path. Besides, it questions whether there are consequences on the students' cognitive skills when teachers cover taboo topics in classrooms. Data were gathered through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with the three private school teachers, analysis of some of the teachers' open ended answers, and interviews with a senior Ministry of Education (MoE) teacher trainer and a female English teacher who works at one of the schools. Findings indicated general positive teachers' attitudes towards the strong connection between language and culture. Results also show the reasons behind teachers' decisions of covering or ignoring sensitive topics. They also revealed that some teachers might avoid covering culturally sensitive topics to be on the safe side; that is in order not to jeopardize their career paths. Results also revealed that teaching the culture of the language and covering its sensitive topics have positive impacts on the student's cognitive skills. This study concludes with some pedagogical recommendations and suggestions for further research.