Intercultural Issues in Teaching English Discussion to Taiwanese Students

Guy Matthews


This paper examines the difficulties facing the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher of English Language majors in Taiwanese universities. As EFL skills classes are often taught independently (i.e. listening, speaking etc.), rather than as integrated skills class teachers of high intermediate and advanced speaking classes are faced with the challenge of providing classroom practices and activities that will allow students to meaningfully engage and fulfill their educational goals.
Social practices, including education, are variable between cultures. Hence, cultural differences mean that some methodologies and activities advocated by EFL researchers and practitioners fail to resonate with Taiwanese students. Differences between pedagogic methodologies and practices in East Asia and those in Western countries mean that there are potential barriers to incorporating discussion and debate activities into the EFL classroom in Asia. The paper will then outline a program of student empowerment used in class.


Education; EFL speaking; Discussion; Cultural awareness; Learning strategies

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