Cultures of Learning in Academia: A Lebanese Case Study

  • Nahla N. Bacha
  • Rima Bahous


Lebanon is a mosaic of cultures and thus a mosaic of different ways of living intertwined with political, ethnic, religious diversity and social subcultures which affect the learning and teaching situation. Most Lebanese students are first language (L1) speakers of Arabic, but a large proportion have been educated in the country’s French-medium or English-medium secondary schools and thus have considerable bilingual or multilingual experience. Additionally, many students are from Lebanese families which have lived abroad for extended periods, giving them wider knowledge of other languages and cultures. Arguably, Lebanon is thus distinctive in the region for its multicultural, or internationalized, population. An additional subculture of vital importance, recently studied in many parts of the world, is the academic culture of learning in higher education, which has been found to influence students’ learning and subsequent achievement levels. As English increasingly becomes the language of choice for students as a medium in which to pursue higher education, many learners from different cultures of learning find it difficult to adapt to institutions that follow the North American model. This study concerns students in an American university in Lebanon. It analyses data from over 150 university students plus comments given by 20 students in focus groups. The research surveys L1 Arabic university students’ cultures of learning, specifically regarding their learning of writing conventions for academic purposes, of test-taking behaviour, and interpersonal relationships.


High School International Student Foreign Language Educational Culture Intercultural Sensitivity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Nahla N. Bacha and Rima Bahous 2013

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  • Nahla N. Bacha
  • Rima Bahous

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