This study investigates the relationship of attitudes and of cultural background of 126 eighth-grade Arab students both in Israel and in Canada to their reading comprehension of majority and minority group cultural stories (i.e., Jewish and Arab cultural stories in Israel; Western and Arab cultural stories in Canada). Results showed that in the Israeli-Arab social context when students were given stories that reflected their cultural background, they scored higher on tasks of reading comprehension than when stories were culturally unfamiliar, regardless of the language of the text. However, in the Canadian context, the Arab students scored higher whenever they read stories in English, regardless of the cultural content of these stories. Furthermore, the results of the attitudes questionnaires showed that in Israel the motivation of Arab students in learning Hebrew was primarily instrumental rather than integrative. In the Canadian social context, Arab male students also showed only an instrumental motivation in learning English; however, it is noteworthy that in the Canadian context, Arab female students indicated a strong integrative motivation in learning English. The findings of this study indicate that the intersection between education and society cannot be ignored. In terms of language education, it is essential to develop appropriate pedagogies that respond to the diversity of the social contexts in which the learners are situated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Linguistics and Language