How Culture Can Affect EFL Writing
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Writing is a skill not everyone is good at. In the classroom, EFL or other, teaching writing is necessary to ensure our students are prepared for the world outside the school environment, which is usually academic. Many of our EFL students find writing in English difficult, but many teachers don’t realise that this is not only a grammar and vocabulary issue. In fact, culture can affect a student’s ability to write in English. This is especially true when it comes to academic writing, but it applies to all forms of writing.
Writing and culture
Writing is more than stringing words together into a sentence. Writing, especially academic writing, is a reflection of the way we think, which is moulded by our culture. English writing is logical and rational. The writer is expected to clarify their ideas and make their argument clear to the reader. The general impression of good English writing is that it’s easy to follow and understand. This is why it’s important for our learners to write clearly and follow the expected argument structure of a thesis statement, logical points with explanations and examples, and a conclusion.
Other cultures view writing differently. In Eastern cultures, for example, writing is not as straightforward. Arguments may follow a more circular pattern, be vague or lack supporting evidence and it is up to the reader to make sense of the argument.
How culture can affect writing in the EFL classroom
There are two main consequences of these cultural differences. Firstly, students from a non-Western and non-English background may have difficulty reading and understanding academic texts written from an English-speaking point of view. It will take them longer to fully understand a text. Then, when it comes to their writing their arguments may be interpreted as confusing, unclear and illogical. As a consequence, readers may view their writing in a negative light.
To counter these effects it is important to address culture when dealing with writing tasks and texts. Draw your students’ attention to the differences in culture when it comes to arguments. Help them analyse appropriate texts in order to identify the characteristics that make them successful. Then show them how to achieve the same level of success in their own writing.
Make sure you spend time not only on the vocabulary and grammar necessary for writing, but also on the structure of an argument. Guide your students through the planning process of writing so that they see the steps that need to be taken from ideas to written product.
Collaborative writing between students of different linguistic backgrounds is a good idea to illustrate how your linguistic background can affect your writing style. Working with people from other cultures will help your students understand how culture affects more than language, it affects thought too.
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- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.