by Ismail, Hala

Abstract (Summary)
The main objective of the current study was to investigate how the Arab ESL readers read and respond to American literature. It attempted to determine the role of the Arab readers attitudes in responding to ESL literature. It also aimed to acknowledge the special place that the aesthetic aspect should hold in current ESL classes. This study also sought to analyze the readers misinterpretations in order to determine its sources. To achieve these objectives the study used a mixed methods research design. The study first examined the attitudes of Arab readers towards the American culture and towards reading the American literature. It also examined the responses of those readers towards four literary texts. The study investigated the relation between each of the participants attitudes and the way they responded to the selected readings. Finally, the study investigated the misinterpretations of the participants of the literary texts. Results indicated that participants had in general a positive attitude towards reading American literature and towards the American culture. The responses of the participants were analyzed on the aesthetic vs. efferent continuum. The responses of the participants to the four texts varied in range between aesthetic and efferent. Besides the response types used for analyzing, the researcher has identified four themes in the participants responses. Results also indicated that the participants drew heavily from their own culture when they responded and that they engaged their personal attitudes and perceptions about the culture of the literary texts. It also appeared that the participants who had positive attitudes towards reading the American literature and towards the American culture responded aesthetically to the four reading texts. Whereas, the participants who had negative attitudes towards the American culture and towards reading the American literature responded efferently to the four reading texts. Results also showed that the participants misinterpretations were attributed to the inability of the readers to activate the appropriate schemata that gives the text coherence. In general, the misinterpretations were in the two modes of processing: bottom-up and top-down processing. The findings of the study highlight the importance of attitudes when learning a second language.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr. Douglas K. Hartman; Dr. Isabel L. Beck; Dr. Rita Bean; Dr. Paul J. Kameen; Dr. Ogle B.Duff

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:instruction and learning


Date of Publication:09/27/2007

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