Philosophical Papers and Review

  • Abbreviation: Philos. Papers Rev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-663X
  • DOI: 10.5897/PPR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 39

Full Length Research Paper

The influence of curriculum diversification and ethnic culture on student cognitive functioning

Saad Shawer
Curriculum & Instruction Department Chair, College of Education, Ittihad University, RAK, P. O. Box 2286, UAE.
Email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 04 November 2009
  •  Published: 30 November 2009



This study examined the influence of curriculum diversification on student use of learning strategies;
EFL Arab students’ patterns of strategy use; and how they differ from other ethnic groups in their
strategy use. The study made use of positivism at the levels of ontology (one form of reality),
epistemology (detachment from the subjects) and methodology (‘nomothetic’/ standardized research
strategy ((survey) and instrument (questionnaires)). Data analysis involved percentages, means, oneway
MANOVA (Lambda), and one-way ANOVA (Scheffe). Working with college students, the study
concluded that course diversification influenced student use of compensation (but not memory,
cognitive, meta-cognitive, affective, and social) strategies in favour of the scientific track of study. It
also concluded that Arab learners were frequent users of meta-cognitive and social strategies but
moderate users of memory, cognitive, compensation, and affective strategies. In addition, disagreement
about ethnic cultures’ patterns of strategy use still continued. The study recommended that clear
identification of effective cognitive strategies and styles could guide classroom-level and school-level
curriculum developments and innovations and facilitate curriculum implementation (instruction).
Moreover, it recommended that research should focus more on influential cognitive functioning factors
(e.g., cognitive strategies and styles) than ethnic cultures.
Key words: Cognitive strategies, learning styles, diversification, curriculum differentiation; foreign language