Twenty Years of Culture Learning and Teaching Research : A Survey with Highlights and Directions

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While the role of culture in second and/or foreign language (L2/FL) learning and teaching has often been unquestioned, empirical research on culture learning and teaching in L2/FL education has been less common than opinion-oriented writings in relevant journals. This article offers a summary and synthesis of 52 empirical studies on L2/FL culture learning and teaching published during the 20-year period 1996-2015. In doing so, it first provides some background, then discusses the methods used for choosing, summarizing, and briefly analyzing these studies, and finally outlines a range of quantitative and qualitative findings. Culture learning and teaching research in L2/FL education during this period involved five main languages (English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish) in 19 different countries; adopted mainly qualitative research approaches; and addressed a diverse range of age and educational levels, although postsecondary research studies were most common. The survey here highlights a shift from a focus on 'culture' to the 'intercultural,' and reveals that culture learning and teaching research has moved beyond reporting teachers' and students' attitudes to a range of topics impacting L2/FL learning and teaching, including instructional approaches, teaching materials, assessment, and technology. It also points to connections between the studies outlined and offers possibilities and directions for future research in this important area.


English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers

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