Living With Ambiguity: Toward Culture Exploration in Adult Second-Language Classrooms


  • Roumiana Ilieva



On the basis of personal experiences with immigration and current conceptualizations of culture in anthropological and culture teaching literature, this article outlines an approach to cultural instruction in adult second-language education, named "culture exploration," which calls for the recognition of ambiguity embedded in cross-cultural encounters. Culture exploration consists of employing techniques of ethnographic participant observation in and outside the classroom and holding reflective, interpretive, and critical classroom discussions on students' ethnographies. It is argued that through culture exploration students can develop an understanding of humans as cultural beings, of the relationship between language and culture, and of the necessity of living with the uncertainty inherent in cross-cultural interactions. Through this process of naming their experience of the target community culture and reflecting on it, it is hoped that students will be in a position to develop their own voice and will be empowered to act to fulfill their own goals in their new environment.




How to Cite

Ilieva, R. . . . . . . . . . . (2001). Living With Ambiguity: Toward Culture Exploration in Adult Second-Language Classrooms. TESL Canada Journal, 19(1), 01–16.