Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Applied Research in Education
Cultural Dimensions in English Language Learning
Geert Hofstede, a Dutch social psychologist, is well-known in the business world for creating a framework to help understand cultural differences between countries by identifying national characteristics that can be defined, measured, organized, and compared. In doing so, he established a means by which to understand cultural differences, interpret these differences correctly, and act in a way that fosters effective communication and problem solving. He termed these national characteristics “cultural dimensions.” For English language teachers, understanding the cultural dimensions of power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, masculinity, and long-term orientation can provide insight into the behavior, attitudes, and needs of their students. Instructors can then incorporate this knowledge into the way they relate and teach, thus making the classroom a more effective learning environment. Additionally, sharing knowledge of these dimensions and their implications with students provides students the opportunity to become more culturally aware and more effective in their written and spoken communication, not only academically but socially as well. Therefore, for English language instructors, awareness of these cultural dimensions can positively impact both classroom dynamics and the ability for students to communicate more effectively.
keywords: cultural dimensions, English language teaching, multi-cultural