Sociocultural education initiated by Leo Vygotsky strongly believes that language of instruction affects thinking. With regards to the present situation in Egypt, the present research explores the current literature on the value that Arabic has in the Arabic speaking world. Over against a wide-spread opinion that English should be used as the only medium of instruction in early years of literacy, literature shows that some forms of immersion have negative impact on the mastery of mother tongue, and on the very development of cognitive skills. The linguistic and educational scenario is further complicated by the fact that Arabic is a diglossic language, in which high and low variants are far apart. After carrying out a historical overview of the value associated to the learning of different languages in the region and discussing the psycho-social implications of diglossia, the research presents some recommendations for school-level language education.


International & Comparative Education Department

First Advisor

Hozayin, Russanne

Committee Member 1

El-Deghaidy, Heba


87 p.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


I wish to acknowledge the support, the encouragement and the fine guidance of my advisor Dr. Russanne Hozayin and the reader Dr. Heba El-Deghaidy. Also, a special word of thanks goes to the friends who have given me their invaluable time and feedback in proofreading the drafts: Brooke Comer, Jason Dorio and Valentina Cattane.


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy. The author has granted the American University in Cairo or its agents a non-exclusive license to archive this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study, and to make it accessible, in whole or in part, in all forms of media, now or hereafter known.

Publication Date

Spring 5-27-2015

Included in

Education Commons