The study explores issues related to the place of the target culture in the context of teaching English as a foreign/second language in Egypt. There are two research questions in this study. The first one is concerned with identifying the speech acts taught in the Hello! textbook studied by Egyptian students in all governmental and private schools of the third year of General Secondary Education. The second research question investigated the perceptions of governmental and private school teachers on teaching aspects of the target culture in their English classes in Egyptian schools. The research is of a quantitative/qualitative nature. A critical analysis of the speech acts activities from the Hello! textbook has been provided and it was found that only six units out of 18 in the Hello! textbook contain information on speech acts. These six speech acts are: giving advice, making and responding to suggestions, expressing wishes and regrets, offer to help, giving and responding to warnings, and persuading. Using a teacher questionnaire, data from 50 participants teaching at governmental and private schools in Egypt has been collected. This data was supplemented by interviews with three teachers from each type of school for a total of six teachers. The results reported from the questionnaire are in the form of statistics while those reported from the interviews are in the form of descriptive analysis. The results of the study show that the teaching of the target culture and pragmatics in ESL classes in Egypt is neglected due to many reasons, which include the lack of facilities and resources available to teachers, the use of a standardized high school exit exam which does not include questions on cultural aspects, and the resultant washback effect on teachers' and students' attitude toward the inutility of teaching cultural aspects.


Applied Linguistics Department

Degree Name

MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2017

First Advisor

Plumlee, Marilyn

Committee Member 1

Bassiouney, Reem

Committee Member 2

Gebril, Atta


113 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


I am truly indebted to Dr. Marilyn Plumlee, my thesis advisor, who has always been a major source of support to me, not only throughout the thesis writing process, but also over the last two years of my MA TESOL program at the American University in Cairo. Dr. Plumlee, you have shown me the type of teacher I truly aspire to be. Your kindness, support, and encouragement will always be among the most beautiful memories I am taking out of my experience as an MA TESOL student at the AUC. You have believed in me and my capabilities even when at many points I myself was in big doubt, and you have given me the exact guidelines of what I should do with my students to help them develop. Coming to your office down and disappointed, but leaving happy with a pile of resourceful books to refer to was one of so many examples why I will never be able to thank you enough. I will never forget the countless hours you spent reading my thesis, providing the most useful feedback and comments, and that despite all your commitments and very heavy workload, I was always one of your top priorities. You did not only stand by my side academically but also psychologically when stress was taking over, making it a difficult challenge for me to keep moving forward. I will be grateful for my academic experience with you until the end of time. You did not just teach me so much about critical thinking, thesis writing and academia, but also a lot about life! Thank you so very much for everything, Dr. Plumlee! I also would like to extend my special thanks and gratitude to my second reader, Dr. Reem Bassiouney, whose comments and feedback on my thesis have been so valuable. Dr. Bassiouney, you have challenged me at many points of my thesis writing process to think from another perspective and you have been available to me whenever I wanted to meet with you and discuss things. Thank you so very much! In addition, I would like to thank my third reader, Dr. Atta Gebril, whose comments and feedback during my thesis defense have given me insights on some issues to be considered. Thanks very much, Dr. Gebril. This thesis would have not come to being without my parent’s consistent support. To my mother, Fatma Moussa, I can barely find the words to express my deep gratitude to the big love you have always shown and to all the prayers you have always said for me. I am always thankful for every thoughtful gesture you make to push me forward and help me attain my goals and dreams in life. I cannot forget that you were the one who helped me get the hard copy of the Hello! Textbook on which a big part of this thesis is built. I would have never been where I am today without having you always by my side. Thanks so much, mommy! I love you. And to my father, Abdelrahman Ezzat, you have always believed in me and my capabilities, and that with patience and perseverance I can achieve anything in life. You have always made me realize the importance of good education and that everyone should always strive to develop themselves academically and professionally. You have always believed in my potential and that my postgraduate studies should be an essential part of my educational and professional life as a teacher. I hope that today I am making you and mom proud. Thank you so very much for everything, dad! I cannot forget to thank my brothers Yousri Abdelrahman and Mohamed Abdelrahman. Yousri, to me you have always been a very true manifestation of dedication and hard work. Your life path has shown me that if we put our will into something, we can always achieve it no matter what obstacles we have on our way. I cannot thank you enough for all the support you have given me, especially during the period before my thesis defense when I was overwhelmed with stress. Thanks so very much for everything you have ever done to help me stay strong! Mohamed, you have always asked about my progress of writing and even though TESOL is not your area of specialization, I truly found your insights and advice useful at many points. The way you would let me vent out and voice my frustrations of the difficulties I have met through my journey of thesis writing have helped release my stress at points. Thank you very much, Mohamed. Eman El-Feky, you have been an excellent example of what a good friend looks like. I will never forget the countless times you have called to check in on me, the numerous times you have dealt with my attitude because of the stress I was under, all the beautiful different ways you have provided support and expected nothing in return, but the one thing I would be most grateful for to you is helping me recruit teachers from private schools to be my participants in this research. The teachers I have met through you were one big reason this study now exists and for that I would never find the proper words to thank you enough. You will start writing your thesis soon, and I hope I can give you back as much as you did. Thanks so very much, my dear friend and school mate! Last but not least, I would have never been able to reach the good number of governmental school teachers for this study without the amazing help of Mr. Ahmed El-Gendi, who totally went out of his way to help me reach the biggest number of teachers in and outside of Cairo. He has distributed the online questionnaire to as many social media groups as possible and has even called many teachers to urge them to participate. In addition, he has sent a soft copy of the questionnaire to one of his colleagues in a school outside of Cairo to print and distribute it among teachers. Mr. Ahmed, you have been a very good example of what kind of service and volunteering this world needs more of! Thank you so very much!