Academic journal article Ahfad Journal

Teacher Student Interaction in Grade 10 and 11 English Classrooms in International Schools at Khartoum Locality: A Case Study Halah Mortada Abdelrahim Mohamed and Hwiada Mahmoud AbuBaker

Academic journal article Ahfad Journal

Teacher Student Interaction in Grade 10 and 11 English Classrooms in International Schools at Khartoum Locality: A Case Study Halah Mortada Abdelrahim Mohamed and Hwiada Mahmoud AbuBaker

Article excerpt

Introduction

It is estimated that there are between 880,000 and 1,338,000 Sudanese economic migrants, many of whom are returning with their families to Sudan, even though there are no clear statistics (International Organization for Migration 2011). The phenomenon is commonly seen within the Sudanese society, in addition to the working foreigners from neighboring and other countries such as China, India, Philippines and Turkey. Furthermore, the Sudanese community is a cultural diverse society that is made up of 957 Sudanese tribes of which 115 have their own dialects and are composed of Arab, African, Nubian, Beja and other descents.

Cultural diversity is an increasing trend worldwide due to many reasons. A study conducted in Canada described that culturally and linguistically diverse students may have customs, traditions, and values that set them apart from their peers and in some cases may interfere with their learning, this is where multicultural education emerges. Fundamentally multicultural education eliminates discrimination and provides quality education for all students through the curriculum, school environment, teacher competencies and school policies.

As multiculturalism increases in Sudan, insight into multicultural education should as well be carried out to document the experience and reflect on its cons and pros. A study carried out in Ahfad University for Women examining teachers' awareness and attitudes of Sudan's cultural and ethnic diversity and the role of multicultural education in Khartoum indicated "that there is a mixed level of awareness towards ethnic and cultural Diversity" and that teachers would like more skills that enable them to better deal with it (Guardian Professional 2012). Other researches covered academic achievements, adjustment, importance of representation and multicultural classroom management, but no studies have covered how teachers and students interact, particularly in English classrooms in high school.

Interaction in the classroom is a vital part of teaching, it has been defined as a process whereby two or more people engage in reciprocal actions, these actions may be verbal or nonverbal (Celce-Murcia 2001). Interaction in multicultural classrooms is supposed to be different, when looking at the increasing multiculturalism in Sudan thoughts start to arise as to how teachers are dealing with it and whether or not all students are provided with education that suits their background, thus the need for teachers to understand and react positively to the diverse backgrounds of their students in the classroom cannot be overstated.

Communication is a powerful tool that shapes how individuals engage in mental activity since mental activity is situated in sociocultural contexts which are inherently communicative. Beyond sounds and words the goal of communications is to understand others' perspective about ideas, feelings or attitudes to achieve shared understanding. Thus understanding others is fused with the voices of others which is mediated through participation in interactions (Kamil 2014), making what students learn in formal educational setting closely linked to how they learn it. There was a time where students solely depended on the teacher to gain knowledge; They were not given enough opportunities to put the information they gained into practice making interaction very little if not absent. Nowadays classrooms are becoming learner-centered, meaning classroom environment allow students to students have ample voice, engage frequently with each other and are given opportunities to make choices (Alber 2015), turning English language classrooms into interactive atmospheres where learning objectives are reached by exposing students to spoken and written interaction which reflects the reality to which they belong; Making learning practical, not just focused on grammatical structures which are non-communicative.

Classroom talk is frequently limited and is used to check comprehension rather than develop thinking. …

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