Cognitive and Social Factors Affecting Arab Students Learning English as a Third Language in Israel

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    This study investigated the relationship between attitudes, interest, and culture, on the one hand, and reading comprehension in English as a third language on the other. Participants were 70 native Arab students aged 15-16 who were sampled from three high schools in the Haifa area. They were administered an attitude questionnaire, culturally familiar and culturally unfamiliar stories, multiple-choice comprehension questions and an interest questionnaire. The results revealed that the Arab students' attitudes towards English were more instrumental than integrative; and their attitude towards the English learning situation was positive. Further, they were more interested in the familiar cultural story than in the unfamiliar one, and they performed accordingly. In other words, type of text (culturally familiar/unfamiliar) was the only significant predictor of reading comprehension in English. However, when reading scores were regressed on the independent variables controlling for text type, interest was the only significant predictor. Thus, in the Israeli-Arab situation, learner interest and type of text are powerful predictors of comprehension of English as a third language.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)347-360
    Number of pages14
    JournalEducational Psychology
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Sep 2003

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
    • Education
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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