Baird, Robert, Baker, Will, Moran Panero, Sonia and Yu, Melissa
Correspondence: a response to Sybing
ELT Journal (doi:10.1093/elt/ccr087).
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Sybing’s account of ‘culture in the EFL classroom’ overlooks a number of key aspects of the cultural dimension to ELT and this results in misleading inaccuracies and problematic solutions in his article. Firstly, Sybing claims that there has been resistance to culture in the language classroom whereas in theory and empirical research quite the opposite has been true. Secondly, Sybing’s understanding of culture and language seems to follow the largely discredited strong interpretation of linguistic relativity in which a language is viewed as containing and constraining a culture and world view, in this case English, with national conceptions of UK/US culture. Furthermore, the article contains a number of sweeping generalisations concerning the preferences of English language learners. Alternative perspectives are needed which move beyond simply reinforcing the status quo and falling back on old stereotypes but instead view all cultures, however they might be defined, as equally important and useful
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