Emirati students encounter Western teachers: tensions and identity resistance

Ibrahima Diallo


This paper discusses tensions and identity resistance in a cross-cultural educational context in the United Arab Emirates. It focuses on how Emirati students, living and socialised in a conservative Arabic-Islamic society and shaped by Islamic values and epistemologies, construct their cultural identities while learning English with their Western-trained teachers, who are influenced by liberal ideologies and secular epistemologies. To understand the complex engagement between Emirati students and their Western-trained teachers this article uses both phenomenography and reflection on critical incidents to explore, investigate and interpret Emirati students’ intercultural experience with their Western-trained teachers and to highlight the tensions and identity resistance that arise from this educational encounter.


culture; identity resistance; intercultural experience; Emirati students; Western teachers

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18538/lthe.v11.n2.158