Language learning under the shadow of conflict: Teachers' beliefs about teaching the language of the "other"

Tum D. O., Kunt N.

TEACHING AND TEACHER EDUCATION, vol.107, 2021 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 107
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.tate.2021.103485
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ASSIA, IBZ Online, Periodicals Index Online, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index
  • Keywords: Attitudes, Motivation, Teachers, STUDENT MOTIVATION, ATTITUDES, INVOLVEMENT
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


Attitudes and motivation play an important role in successful foreign language learning. However, in a limited number of unique contexts across the world language learning takes place despite a history of conflict between learners' native and target language-speaking communities. Cyprus is one of these contexts with a long history of conflict between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots continuing to today. Previous research has indicated learning the language of the 'other' community can have several positive outcomes. However, little is known about the experiences of the teachers working in such conflictual contexts. To that end, semi-constructed interviews were conducted with five of the nine active Turkish Cypriot Greek-language teachers teaching in state schools. Findings indicate Turkish Cypriot Greek language teachers believe Turkish Cypriots learning Greek could contribute to establishing peaceful and harmonious relations between the two communities in Cyprus as well as provide numerous pragmatic benefits for the Turkish Cypriot community. Furthermore, according to the participants, learning the language of the 'other' community also, over time, improved Turkish Cypriots' attitudes towards the Greek language, its culture, and speakers as well as increased their motivation to continue studying the language in the future. Finally, school commemoration ceremonies and a lack of instructional materials and institutional support both stemming from the conflict on the island were noted as the major challenges faced by Turkish Cypriot teachers teaching Greek in Cyprus. (c) 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.