An Exploratory Study of Women Learners’ Identity and Investment in Learning English in the United Arab Emirates

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The United Arab Emirates' economic growth ensures that education to tertiary level is free to all Emirati nationals. The influx of expatriate workers with Dubai's emergence as a tourist destination and centre for global trade has contributed to the positioning of English as a lingua franca and marginalisation of Arabic. This study examines the influences and attitudes towards English in female Emirati students studying on a Bachelor of Education. Data was collected through student journals, which was then analysed into thematically. Comments were drawn from each theme to construct questions which were then presented to focus groups. Results point to complex factors influencing participants' identities and reasons for investment in English. Factors that appear to be contradictory can be reconciled by viewing them as being founded on participants' Islamic faith, leading to investment in English on participants' own terms, and students' appropriation of English for their own purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnglish Language and General Studies Education in the United Arab Emirates : Theoretical, Empirical and Practical Perspectives
EditorsChristine COOMBE, Lana HIASAT, Georgia DALEURE
PublisherSpringer Singapore
ISBN (Electronic)9789811688881
ISBN (Print)9789811688874
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2022

Publication series

NameEnglish Language Teaching: Theory, Research and Pedagogy
ISSN (Print)2662-432x
ISSN (Electronic)2662-4338


  • English language
  • Teacher education
  • Teacher identities
  • Language policies
  • Language learner motivations


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