Often, in second language classrooms, little or no attention is given by the teacher or curriculum (including the Educational system) to the identity of the student. A student enters the classroom with his own identity and culture. When acquiring a second language, it is necessary for the student to absorb the culture of the second language, too (Spackman, 2009, p.2). This is where the issue of culture and identity influencing second language acquisition occurs. In general, students represent the identity and culture of their first language and where they come from. The purpose of this study is to examine the influences of culture and identity on second language acquisition in a selected sample of seventh grade students of an American private school in Egypt. Based on different studies supporting this fact, this study will seek responses to the following questions: 1. What instructional and administrative steps should the school take to enhance the English learner as well as enhancing Egyptian cultural identity? 2. What are the existing evidence that the process of learning a second language affects the studentsâ identity and sense of belonging to a community? 3. What instructional strategies are more effective on the encouragement of second language learners? 4. What are the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that motivate Egyptian students to learn a second language? The research context describes Egyptian students who are educated in English, who adapt their identities trying to accommodate the differences between these cultures and who show an increase on their insecurities towards culture and identity. The research topic resonates throughout the field of education, in Egypt, on several levels. The data collected during the research presents issues that need to be resolved. Pursuing these concerns would have a positive impact on the school industry in Egypt. This would require revolutionary institutional changes that would involve all members of the educational field.


International & Comparative Education Department

Degree Name

MA in International & Comparative Education

Graduation Date

Fall 1-23-2013

Submission Date

May 2012

First Advisor

Purinton, Ted

Second Advisor


Third Advisor


Committee Member 1

Norman, Peggy

Committee Member 2

Skaggs, Jennifer

Committee Member 3



50 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


I owe my deepest gratitude to Dr. Samiha Patterson (Dean of the Graduate school), Dr. Ted Purinton (thesis advisor), Dr. Malak Zaalouk, Dr. Amal Sedky Winter, Dr. Ana Gil-Garcia for their patience and for believing in me. And to my thesis committee, Dr. Peggy Norman and Dr. Jenny Skaggs for insightful and stimulating comments.This thesis would not have been accomplished without all of their help and guidance. It has been a long journey and an unforgettable experience for me. I am fortunate to have been taught by such talented and dedicated professors at the Graduate School of Education at The American University in Cairo (AUC). I also wish to sincerely thank my family, who have encouraged me to pursue my Master's Degree. They were a great source of enthusiastic and endless support. And to God , who made all things possible.