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B.A., Albion College, 1982
M.A., Indiana University, 1984
M.S., Troy State University, 1991
A.S., Central Texas College, 1994
B.S., University of Maryland, 1994
M.P.A., Oklahoma University, 1996




Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education 2003 at the Boston University, School of Education

Copyright by Daniel Richard Fruit

The author at the final dissertation hearing.

Approved by

First Reader: Michael Aeschliman, Ph.D.
Professor of Education, Boston University

Second Reader: Charles Glenn, Ed.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Education, Boston University

Third Reader: Elizabeth Bayerl, Ph.D., Ed.D.
Teacher,Marathon High School




I dedicate this work to the various people who helped and encouraged me to finish: Carol Al Awadi, Jihad Saddedin, Latifa Ben Essa, Al-Zain Al-Humaidhi, Dr. Lance Curlin, students of my school, my family, and Michael Aeschliman.


Some of those mentioned in the dedication.




This study measures to what extent students of Al-Dharra Madressor (ADM), a private school in Kuwait, achieve American, Western "cultural proficiency," defined as the ability to understand and function in another culture.

ADM operates as its own self-contained bilingual school system with a kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school. Native speakers of English and Arabic conduct subject and language classes in both languages, and cultural proficiency forms an implicit, if not explicit, part of school design. ADM graduates attend American, British, and Arab universities, and many eventually run Kuwaiti businesses that have a multi-cultural work environment, so American cultural proficiency holds instrumental value.

The study’s first half, building on the cultural and organizational theories of Hofstede, Ali, and Patai, develops a model of Arab culture in general and that of Kuwait. A historical and social survey of Kuwait focuses on the role and position of the Asil, a cohesive, affluent, long-established, merchant group. The study depicts the Asil as politically and economically liberal but socially conservative. ADM functions as a representative Asil institution.

The study’s second half uses qualitative research and a mixed methodology to measure Arab and American (Western) cultural proficiency. The study triangulates the results of three instruments: the KATWII, adapted from the ARSMA II (Arnold, Cuellar, and Maldonado, 1995), an accepted measure of biculturality; the AWSIT, interviews of ADM students, Arab teachers, and Western teachers to access their reaction to American and Kuwaiti cultural situations; and the AGS, a general cultural survey. A series of student observations provides supplementary means of analysis.

The study concludes that, though ADM students remain fundamentally Arab, most obtain an important, secondary American, Western cultural proficiency with some arguably "bicultural." While students show an awareness of some Western social norms and beliefs, when forced to choose, they typically choose Arab norms over Western. All design methods reach similar conclusions. This supports the findings of other studies of Arab groups in similar situations of cultural contrast.

The author in traditional Kuwaiti dress.


0i Abstract (above)
00 List of Figures (below)
01 Introduction
02 Historical and Sociological Literature Review
03 Arab Culture in General: Some Comparisons and Contrasts with the West
04 Kuwaiti Culture: Continuity and Change
05 The Asil: The Beleaguered Upper Class
06 The Palestinian Dilemma
07 Schooling in Kuwait
08 The World of Al-Dharra Madressor
09 Introduction to the Formal Research Study
10 Review of Relevant Research Literature
11 Formal Research Methodology
12 Research Findings
13 Discussion
14 Additional Sources of Data
15 General Conclusion
Appendix I: School Related Documents and Interview
Appendix II: The KATWII
Appendix III: The AWSIT
Appendix IV: the AGS
Curriculum Vitae


Chapter One
Figure 1.1: Typical ADM University Placement

Chapter Two

Chapter Three
Figure 3.1: Honor Killings
Figure 3.2: Honor Killings Modified
Figure 3.3: Hofstede’s Uncertainty Avoidance and Individualism
Figure 3.4: Hofstede's Individualism and Power Distance
Figure 3.5: A Collectivist Scale
Figure 3.6: Adapted From Patai, An Arab World Map
Figure 3.7: Me, My Brother, and My Cousin Against the Iraqis
Figure 3.8: The Contrast Between Bureaucracy and Sheikocracy

Chapter Four
Figure 4.1: Kuwaitis As a Percentage of Total Kuwait Population
Figure 4.2: Immigrant Populations
Figure 4.3: The Post-War Labor

Chapter Five
Figure 5.1: Civil Society in Kuwait
Figure 5.2: Kuwait’s Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships
Figure 5.3: Male-Female Ratio for Kuwait
Figure 5.4: Foreign Housemaids: Distribution By Country of Birth
Figure 5.5: Marriages of Foreign Women by Kuwaiti Men

Chapter Six
Figure 6.1: Palestinian Dependency Ratios
Figure 6.2: Foreign and Kuwaiti Participation in Labor by Vocation

Chapter Seven
Figure 7.1: Kuwaitis as a Percentage of Non-Arabic Private School Students
Figure 7.2: Average Cost of a Private School Tuition in Kuwait
Figure 7.3: English Curriculum Schools by Order of Appearance
Figure 7.4: All Private Schools by Order of Appearance
Figure 7.5: Schools in Kuwait by Category
Figure 7.6: All Private Non-Arab Schools by Category
Figure 7.7: All Private Schools by Percent
Figure 7.8: Schools and Nationalities Present in Selected Private Schools
Figure 7.9: Costs to Attend Selected Private Schools in Kuwait

Chapter Eight
Figure 8.1: Families Serving in Parliament Circa 1979
Figure 8.2: Families Holding Membership on Three or More Boards of Major Corporations Circa 1979
Figure 8.3: Important Families in Kuwait Circa 1989
Figure 8.4: Cabinet Percentages of the Asil
Figure 8.5: The Class of 2002
Figure 8.6: The Class of 2002, Counting Al-Kunaies as Al-Sharqs
Figure 8.7: Contrasting Social Worlds of KBS, ADM, and KAS
Figure 8.8: Kuwaiti Participation at KBS
Figure 8.9: Kuwaiti Participation at KAS
Figure 8.10: A Map of the Al-Dharra Social World
Figure 8.11: Arabic Students Present at Al-Dharra in Sizable Numbers
Figure 8.12: Staff Discontinuity at ADM
Figure 8.13: Ceremonies at ADM
Figure 8.14: Graduating Witnessing at Four Schools

Chapter Nine
Figure 9.1: Al-Dharra Graduates and Their School
Figure 9.2: Secondary Cultural Acquisition Viewed as Negative
Figure 9.3: Secondary Cultural Acquisition Viewed as Potentially Positive
Figure 9.4: Purported Gains of an ADM Education: Two-Axes Model
Figure 9.5: Purported Gains of an ADM Education: One-Axis Model
Figure 9.6: Attributes of American Society Versus Asil (Kuwaiti)
Figure 9.7: Threats to Validity

Chapter Ten
Figure 10.1: Categorizing the Literature Pertinent to This Study
Figure 10.2: From Yosef and Simpkins Study of Arab-American Parents in the Detroit Area
Figure 10.3: A Summary of Research on Similar Situations

Chapter Eleven
Figure 11.1: Al-Dharra as A Method of Cultural Acquisition
Figure 11.2: Research Methods and Tools
Figure 11.3: School Descriptors: Gender, Grade, Nationality
Figure 11.4: Student Origins
Figure 11.5: Religious Diversity of Students and Teachers
Figure 11.6: Three Measures of School Relatedness
Figure 11.7: Graphical Depiction of School Relatedness
Figure 11.8: Some Indication of Parent Commitment to the School’s Concept
Figure 11.9: Graphical Depiction of KATWII Scoring Guide
Figure 11.10: Orientation Grid for the AWSIT Questions

Chapter Twelve
Figure 12.1: Status in Kuwait
Figure 12.2: Average Scores on the KATWII
Figure 12.3: KATWII Categorization of Students
Figure 12.4: Graphical Depiction of Results of the KATWII
Figure 12.5: Students Grouped According to Westernization
Figure 12.6: Students Grouped into Success Categories Implied by the KATWII
Figure 12.7: The Kuwait Questions on the AWSIT Overall
Figure 12.8: The American Questions on the AWSIT Overall
Figure 12.9: A Graphical Depiction of the AWSIT Questions 1-10
Figure 12.10: Student Self-Identification as Arab Versus Western
Figure 12.11: Student Ratings of Themselves and the School
Figure 12.12: Increasing Amounts of Westernization as Implied by the AGS
Figure 12.13: AGS Results in Terms of KATWII Success Categories
Figure 12.14: Comparing KATWII and AGS Results
Figure 12.15: Student Ratings of the School

Chapter Thirteen
Figure 13.1: Biculturality on the KATWII
Figure 13.2: Biculturality on the AGS and AWSIT: Synthesized Results

Chapter Fourteen
Figure 14.1: The Typical Al-Dharra High School Student
Figure 14.2: Students Considered in Sample Situations
Figure 14.3: Withdrawal and Graduation Rates, Class of 2000 and 2001
Figure 14.4: Tribal Behaviors that Enable Success
Figure 14.5: Grades in Class X
Figure 14.6: Social Position in Class X
Figure 14.7: Tardiness in Class W
Figure 14.8: MUN as a Representative Group at ADM, by Passport
Figure 14.9: MUN Population Adjusted for "Half-Kuwaiti" Students
Figure 14.10: More Realistic Figures for Shia Participation in MUN
Figure 14.11: Traveling with SHS Versus ADM

Appendix II
Figure A2.1: the KATWII
Figure A2.2: KATWII Scoring Tree
Figure A2.3 Original Excel Scatterplot of the KATWII

Appendix III
Figure A3.1: The AWSIT
Figure A3.2: Attributes of Students Chosen for Interview
Figure A3.3: Arab Teachers Selected for Interview
Figure A3.4: Western Teachers Selected for Interview
Figure A3.5: Students Selected for Interview
Figure A3.6: Spreadsheet for AWSIT Results

Appendix IV
Figure A4.1: The AGS
Figure A4.2: Spreadsheet for the AGS Results

The author after final approval with the Rumor of War in the background (February 12, 2003).

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