The Influence of the Cultural and Linguistic Orientations of Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) Students on Their Responses to Literatures on the Internet

The Influence of the Cultural and Linguistic Orientations of Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) Students on Their Responses to Literatures on the Internet

Rahma Al-Mahrooqi (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman) and Victoria Tuzlukova (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-773-2.ch044
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Abstract

Responding to the call for research to investigate the technological, linguistic and socio-cultural aspects pertaining to the use of the internet in the EFL classroom, this chapter seeks to report on the research that shows how Omani students studying at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) view their interaction with the internet while responding to it as a means of communication and as a source of authentic materials and literatures written in English. The chapter provides insights into the socio-cultural views of these students towards the web: its relevance to their lives, personal and academic needs, cultural values, attributes and traditions. It also provides a review of literature that elucidates the challenges facing those who intend to use the internet in instruction and education and focuses on three main divides: the digital, the linguistic and the content.
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The Use Of The Internet In The Language Classroom

In the field of English language instruction, the scope of positive effects of the internet is very wide. Krauss (2000) claims, that the internet has made language learning practices more effective as it contains a wealth of literatures of different genres (articles, stories, etc.) on an enormously broad array of topics. The availability of such valuable resources has permitted increased meaningful practices in and outside the language classroom (Krauss, 2000). Internet features has provided English language learners with innovative mediating tools that empowered and motivated them to overcoming psychological and socio-cultural barriers. The internet has also provided them with a venue to integrate language skills and to interact in them (Demchenko, 1997).

Due to its massive potential to provide endless and meaningful opportunities for the enhancement of integrated language learning, many EFL and ESL teachers enthusiastically embraced the internet. They started to use it as a source of materials and information (March, 1995) that could help their students to enhance their linguistic and communicative skills (Ter-Minasova, 2000). Teachers also expected to exploit the internet with its “variety of human connection” (March, 1995) to provide their students with unique opportunities to learn outside the familiar context and to get a deeper understanding of other cultures and social groups (Tuzlukova, Eltayeb, 2008).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Linguistic divide: refers to the gap between different languages with regard to their functional viability and representation on the internet.

ESL classroom: refers to the educational situation of teaching/learning English as a second language.

Literacy: refers to a set of skills determined by social, economic, cultural, political and technological factors.

Content divide: refers to the gap between different types of texts on the internet with regard to their socio-cultural appropriateness, linguistic and contextual clarity that concerns differences in the profiles of individuals and groups that use the texts provided by the new information technologies and the internet.

EFL classroom: refers to the educational situation of teaching/learning English as a foreign language.

Digital Divide: refers to the gap between individuals, groups and geographic areas at different socio-cultural and socio-economic levels with regard to their opportunities to access and use information and communication infrastructures, technologies and services for a wide array of activities.

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