Thesis

An examination of the effects of a cultural exchange program on Asian American English language learners

The purpose of this study is to educate teachers and administrators about how to make learning environments more harmonious, productive, and safe. The study will examine a cultural exchange program and focus on its effectiveness for Asians in an English learning population. Specifically, this study will focus on social interactions between students of different cultures/races and if or how they can contribute to cross-cultural learning and/or the acquisition of the second language. The hypothesis researched was based on the belief that the more ethnically diverse students were able to socially interact and develop cross-cultural literacy skills, the more they would feel safe from racism, appreciated, and connected to the mainstream population of the schooL Participants of the cultural exchange program were invited to participate in the study by completing a survey. Further data were collected via interviews from a smaller population of participants who volunteered to complete the survey. The surveys revealed that prior to the program's completion, Asian English language learners did not feel as safe or respected as the mainstream students. The interviews revealed that cultural exchange was effective when it provided participants with a comfortable learning environment that reduced anxiety while encouraging respectful cross-cultural interactions. Recommendations for a more effective cultural exchange program and suggestions for how the school can better accommodate the English learners are included.

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