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XII: RESEARCH FINDINGS
This analysis used the simplest forms of statistical procedure for the three instruments. For the two-dimensional model of cultural acquisition, the KATWII, this analysis considered the mean scores from the ARSMA. i.e., 51, as indicating a cultural proficiency in either dimension. This created the grid already shown in the previous section. Some descriptive statistics served to group students into particular categories of increasing amounts of cultural adherence, discussed below.
In addition, the study generated a list of students falling into each category by Kuwaiti residential status. However, since this study does not claim to measure "Kuwaitization," it makes no attempt to compare categories to KATWII biculturality scores since, indeed, a Palestinian may live his entire life in Kuwait with constant interaction, even intermarriage, with Kuwaitis and continue to register a 3, "unknown" Kuwaiti passport status.
For the AWSIT, the analysis consisted of arranging events into response categories, using the Arab and Western teachers to create modal cultural responses, and comparing these responses to those of the students. By multiplying the percentage registering a particular response by the relative "Arab-ness" of the score allowed comparing the "average" response of the students to that of the two adult groups.
Finally, for the AGS some sections used scoring methods similar to the AWSIT and others to the KATWII. Hence, for some items, the study simply uses the percentage of responses to create an "average" response. Without the comparison group, this analysis then attempted to draw conclusions by comparing this general response to the description of Arab Asil culture developed in chapter five. On other items, the analysis tried to group responses into the categories roughly similar to those defined by the KATWII.
As mentioned in the very first chapter of this dissertation, the instruments and results gleaned from these instruments must necessarily only claim to portray cultural identity, biculturality, cultural proficiency, etc. indirectly through external observation, such as behaviors, including choosing items on a test. The KATWII offers a particular advantage over the AGS and AWSIT in that it already allows grouping of individuals into preconceived categories as well as for comparing and contrasting levels of cultural affinity, as measured by ASOC and USOC, its two dimensions.
This analysis assumes that a USOC score of at least 51, "average" or "moderate," constitutes American (Western) cultural proficiency. Since the vast majority of students registering these numbers score higher in their ASOC scores, such a person will typically end up in the categories "Ma," "Low Bicultural," or "High Bicultural." The term "Ma," as indicated previously, designates a person with a dominant Arab cultural identity but an important secondary American cultural proficiency. In addition, though not the main emphasis here, a small number of students with Western parents should end up in the category of "Mu," the mirror image of "Ma."
First, however, the KATWII offers some information in terms of the citizenship status of the test population.
For the actual scores, below, the author, simply added the scores for all of the measures rather than creating averages. This created more user-friendly whole numbers. The number of 51 means simply a 3 for all questions and a 4 for one, the generally accepted standard for biculturality for similar tests, such as ARSMA-II.
These averages show several important factors. First, the averages show a slight differentiation in terms of grade. Since a slight decrease in ASOC score appears to correspond to a slight increase in USOC, this suggests that students become more Americanized over time and less Arab. However, when looking at this homeroom by homeroom, this patterns dissipates. For example, one of the grade 10 homerooms shows much higher USOC scores, and many more High Biculturals, than does any of the grade 12 homerooms, each of which includes an honorsí and AP English group, presumably those with the highest USOC scores.
Second, the ASOC scores consistently surpass the USOC scores. This suggests, as the school literature and chapter nine emphasize, that students certainly retain, if not augment, their Arab identity through their Al-Dharra Madressor experience. The school average (70) about equals that of the minimum level for the Arab archetype (70), and the ninth-grade average (72) actually surpasses it. This means that, if students took a test comparing the effect of some other culture, such as a Spanish-Arab cultural influence test, the average student would classify among the Arab archetype group. The KATWII results thus suggest that ADM students retain a strong primary Arab cultural identity.
Finally, the average USOC score (52), in contrast, occurs at the borderline for marginal biculturality, which one might term Western cultural proficiency. Indeed, an average of two points higher (55 instead of 53) would mean that the average ADM grade ten or twelve student merits inclusion into the High Bicultural group. Together, these factors initially support the idea that Al-Dharra Madressor enhances, if not instills, an important, secondary American influence.
The KATWII allows further consideration of individual students as well as the group:
Anomie = a person at home in neither culture Arab= an Arab with little Western influence Ard= an Arab dominant personality with some American cultural influence Ma= marginally bicultural, Arab culture dominant LBi= low bicultural orientation HiBi= high bicultural orientation Mu= marginally bicultural, US culture dominant USd= a Western dominant with some Arab cultural aspects American = a Westerner with little Arab influence
A more graphic way of looking at this entails putting a dot for each student to create the scatterplot shown below. Discussion of these three figures occurs after all three.
Figure 12.4 uses a scatterplot to show individual student placement. The original, Excel-generated scatterplot appears in Appendix II. Unfortunately, Excel could not reproduce the lines showing the various sub-categories, so Figure 12.4 underwent some alteration and scanning. Figure 12.4 suggests some problems inherent in assigning students into discrete categories as many students cluster near the dividing lines of three different categories Ard, Arab, and Ma, with the ASOC scores placing students in one category or another. Figure 12.4 once more shows students well grounded in their primary Arab identity with a secondary American cultural influence that ranges anywhere from moderate to strong.
Figure 12.5 shows the respective membership of these categories on an axis of increasing Westernization. The size of each square indicates the relative size of the population, so that the very small square for Mu indicates that only one student falls into this category in contrast to the much larger number of "Arabs." The further to the right the square, the greater the degree of Westernization. However, as the discussion below will emphasize, movement towards the right does not necessarily indicate greater school success; rather the closer to the square marked "High Bicultural," the greater the success. Thus for "Usd" individuals a left movement and for "Ard" individuals a right movement would constitute greater success on the part of the school.
Figure 12.6 assembles individuals according to AWSIT categories and then ranks these into categories showing decreasing amounts of success of ADM in terms of instilling a secondary cultural proficiency, either Western or Arab. One can consider the school a clear success in creating students fully bicultural, and this group of unquestioned success equals 26%. These students would not only display a secondary cultural proficiency, a USOC score of 55, but a similarly high ASOC level.
The next two categories constitute a more qualified success. In the case of both the Ma and Low Bicultural, individuals do possess a secondary American cultural proficiency. However, two reasons exist for disputing the successfulness of the school regarding these students. First, these students do not register as High Bicultural. Further, as a glance at the dimensions of the Ma in Figure 12.3 suggests, entering into this category may result from decreasing ASOC scores. The latter logic holds relevance also for the Low Biculturals who, after all, do not score above 54 in either ASOC or USOC scores, nowhere near the archetype score of 70. The one Mu student, presumably the product of a Western-Kuwaiti marriage, represents an arguable success for the opposite reason, the schoolís seeming inability to instill much more than a secondary Arab cultural proficiency. Adding in these two more debatable success categories accounts for about half the students taking the KATWII, at 46.3%.
This returns to the category of the "Arab dominant" student and the three "USd" students. By the standards created above, these constitute questionable successes on the part of the school. Presumably, these students would experience an ability to function in the West as Arab university students, as explored in the literature review in chapter ten. At an American university, for example, they would likely experience the same sorts of cultural difficulties that the literature attributes to Arab college students, albeit to a lesser degree due to their ADM experience and relatively high English skills. Similarly, teachers would likely advise those three "USd" students not to attend Kuwait University as they might not fit into that environment unless they restricted themselves to classes with English-instruction taught by Westerners.
Finally, one can turn to the individuals indicated as "American" or "Arabs." Presumably, those individuals hold still lesser degrees of adhesion to their second culture. In America the Ard would likely experience still more of the difficulties associated with those university situations than would their Ard classmates.
In this respect, note that the lowest ASOC scored equaled 32 (just under 2 per scoring item). Out of individuals in the entire Arab/Ard group 91% scored above 38, the highest ASOC score for the Western adult group, and every Arab/Ard scored above the average ASOC score for the Western adult group. Thus one can envision even the most archetypical "Arab" student as holding more familiarity with American (Western) culture than most Americans do with the Arab world.
A couple of individual cases, here, put a more human face on these results. Three individuals completed the AWSIT in the pre-test period, with one scoring as fully High Bicultural and the other two as archetype "Arabs." The first student, extremely competent in English, seamlessly shifts from one language and culture to another both at the school and in her trips and experiences in the United States. She plans to attend an American university. She predictably registered as High Bicultural.
The two other students consistently receive good grades in English but more commonly speak and interact with their fellow students in Arabic as do their close friends; in fact, both students won several awards for Arabic language-performance.
The younger studentís attendance at an English language school in Kuwait represents, as his family made clear at parent conferences, a necessary step on the road to success. Coming from a lower middle class, non-Asil, family, his future depends partly on his academic performance, and attending an American university holds practical value and constitutes an important family goal. However, his success and future life will more likely depend upon his abilities in Arabic and his interactions with Arab Kuwaiti culture. His own comments and attitudes, in fact, often show some suspicion and discomfort with Western attitudes and values but no real lack of understanding of them. He would likely have expressed surprise had he not ended up in the Arab archetype group.
The third studentís inclusion in the Arab archetype group came as something of a surprise. A highly successful student, like his friend above, but more at home in Arab language and cultural situations, he thrives in any environment. He now attends one of the most "American," least "international" universities and enjoys considerable success. His example suggests several things. First, as mentioned above, clustering students into categories may not necessarily indicate the amount of "Americanization" undergone. Second, a studentís ability to function in a culture may not indicate an emotional attachment or identity with that culture.
The KATWII results, then, serve to argue that the schoolís method constitutes a qualified success. Except in a very small number of cases, the Arab cultural side clearly dominates with varying amounts of American culture as an important secondary factor. So students emerge, on this measure, well able to function in Kuwait, one of the goalís primary goals (ADM 1, 1998).
More qualification comes in describing the secondary Western cultural influence. For some individuals this secondary cultural influence reaches the level that one can identify them as proficient or beyond. These individuals, the High Bilinguals, Ma, Mu, and Low Bilinguals, could generally function in an American setting. Such students could get by reasonably well, with differing, but likely lesser, amounts of the transitional difficulties found in the literature elsewhere to students in similar situations. The remainder, in contrast, the Ard/Arab types, would encounter more problems, perhaps about the same as those encountered by typical Arab university students or Arab immigrants but much fewer than an American might experience in dealing with Arab cultural situations.
Notably none of the students ended up classified as "anomie." Though this does not totally disprove the view that increasing cultural acquisition in one direction comes at the expense of another, it indicates that the effect of an ADM education does not leave any individuals "totally lost" as to their identity. However, the admission process and the occasional departure of students may qualify this conclusion since admission may serve to prohibit entry of "anomie" students and withdrawal may conceivably result from their cultural ambiguity.
Originally, this study intended to use a number of teachers in order to create a comparison group. Unfortunately, this proved harder to accomplish than measuring the students and, eventually, only six teachers completed the KATWII, four Westerners and two Arabs. The latter group included one teacher who spoke Arabic only and one of the trilingual, Lebanese teachers. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Arab teacher scored as an Arab, and the trilingual, who took the English version of the test, scored as marginally bicultural with an Arab bias, Ma, similar to the students. The Westerners all scored as Westerners, far from bicultural, in fact, more distant from the center than even the most "Arab" of the students. The two who registered as "less American," (USd) did this due to lower ASOC scores.
This small sample makes it difficult to draw conclusions. Still, note the Westerners showed much less "Arabization" than the reverse. This may stem from the Westernersí typically shorter duration in the school environment. Further, it may indicate the degree to which the world situation requires that an Arab understand some facts about American culture in distinct contrast to the reverse. It may also suggest that school design actually fosters a secondary Western cultural proficiency among Arabs, despite Karen Al-Jinnahís (2001) assertion that the post-War staff includes fewer bilinguals and a "more Arab" group.
The one Lebanese "Ma" teacher deserves a bit of secondary analysis. Though she spent several years in Kuwait, she spent the majority of her life growing up and teaching in Lebanon. This may suggest that growing up in the Lebanon, probably best described as "multi-cultural," forms a parallel experience to that offered to the students at ADM.
In order to quantify the results of the interviews, the AWSIT analysis used a three-step method including some statistics and considerable supposition. First, for each question the researcher characterized a "modal" response of each adult group, the Arab and the Western, to which he assigned a score on a scale of 1 and 5. This study designated the extreme, most forceful "Arab" choice a 5 and the most "American" choice a 1. This allowed categorizing the responses of the three groups.
Finally, to try to obtain a group average, the author multiplied the score associated with each response by the percentage choosing that response and divided by 100. Thus if 20% of the Arab teachers chose the extreme response, he multiplied 20 times 5, the high score. By adding all of these scores he obtained a total score for the group ranging between 1 and 5. This allowed for comparing the groups.
To use the results of these interviews to help determine the effect of the school instilling a secondary cultural proficiency, however, requires further analysis of these numerical results. It necessitates making a judgment as to whether the studentsí responses would allow them to function in either Arab or American cultural situations as implied by these modal teacher responses. Thus, this analysis will rely heavily on this author's own knowledge of American culture and Kuwaiti Asil culture, both of which remain open to challenge.
The interviews lend themselves to secondary analysis, but the length of this dissertation precluded their inclusion. Those interested in a complete set email <email@example.com>.
Having established this process, one can turn to the results, first, of the Kuwaiti questions.
1. Unlike your family, your cousin's family recently had some financial problems. Their daughter, Noor, still wants to go to the University. She comes visiting with her family and hints that she needs financial help. [K, Y, OS]
The modal Western response revolved around the phrase "it all depends." The "depends" seemed to rest on (a) the respondentís relationship with Noor and (b) Noorís prospects in college. Commented one, "I guess it would depend on what I believed was her need for money." Another added, "it would depend on what kind of cousin, how close she is." Their level of obligation seemed distinctly limited and uncertain. The one "2" response added, "I would certainly show some sympathy, and I would tell her how working would build character." A number did seem to indicate a willingness to lend Noor the money, again, depending on those two conditions.
In distinct contrast, the Arab staff considered the kindred relationship, cousins, as a necessary and sufficient condition for their helping Noor. As one concluded simply, "I will help with the money." As another explained, "I would help because theyíre my relatives." One said, "In our culture, those who have should help those who did not....I would definitely help." If anything limited their commitment, it came from practical considerations. Note, in this context, that most of the Arab teachers have children of their own to send to college. As one said, "If I can give her, why not?"
The students generally aligned with the teachers. None of them ever questioned, as did the Western teachers, the tightness of the relationship to Noor. A lot of them offered an almost unlimited commitment. As one said, "I would give her the money. I would work for her, and the money [from working] I would give to her." Another said, "Of course, I would help her." More than the teachers, however, some of them seemed to indicate that their commitment depended more on the purpose of Noor asking for money. In other words, something other than college would not get such an easy answer. Said one, "Iíd give her the money that she needs because college is very important." Another added, "She must go to the university." Among the students, also, one heard the word "probably" more than among the Arab adults. One stated, "I would tell my parents, and they would probably help her." Interestingly, the Palestinian students both expressed the highest level of commitment despite their presumably weaker financial resources. Said one, "But she needs to go to the University." The single uncountable response bears mention. The student concluded an immediate solution to the problem: stay in Kuwait, "Itís better to stay here in Kuwait." That comment, incidentally, seemed to express more of a liking for Kuwait than a denial of the legitimacy of Noorís collegiate ambitions.
3. Abdullah laughs when he hears someone say that Mohammad may fail a required class. "Are you kidding," he says, "with all of his wastah, he'll never fail." [K, T, S]
Interestingly, this elicited perhaps the most universal emotional response of any question on the AWSIT as the vast majority of participants rejected wastah as an idea. This researcher predicted that Arabs would express resignation with wastah or even grudging approval, but they rejected it as well. As one Arab teacher said simply, "Wastah is something wrong." As an American teacher remarked, "That sucks." As one Palestinian student put it poignantly, if repetitively, "This is disappointing....Wastah is ruining everything, and itís not a funny issue because wastah ruins everything."
However, the question did bring about an interesting division between Arab and Western teachers. In general, Arab teachers denied that wastah existed at the school whereas Western teachers universally thought it did exist. Thus, this allowed making a division on the basis of the belief in wastahís existence rather than the attitudes regarding it. One Arab teacher, a veteran of some years at the school, refused to comment, "I wonít comment because I donít know the situation here." Other Arab teachers, however, expressed near total disbelief in Abdullahís remark, "Itís silly. I wouldnít believe him." Another concluded simply, "Itís not true. Only those who deserve to pass will pass."
On the other hand, the Western staff certainly believed not only in wastahís existence but also that it could happen in the school. As one teacher observed, "I wouldnít be surprised if Abdullah is right." Another teacher commented on the global universality of the concept, but considered it a much more serious problem at this school, "This is just what happens....Itís almost a status symbol to openly boast about [wastah]."
In this respect, the students aligned to a greater degree with the Western staff than predicted in that they also perceived wastahís existence in the school environment. While two of them commented, "No, I wouldnít believe him," a much greater number believed that Abdullah might tell the truth. Their doubts seemed to revolve around the extent of the wastah, i.e., could it get Mohammad to pass or not. While some said, "It might not be true," others remarked, "Sometimes the remark is true." As one student figuratively added, "Wastah in Kuwait. Itís like water....It could definitely happen in a school."
6. Two cars collide, and the men inside get out. After threatening and almost screaming at each for ten minutes, while the other men hold them back, the two men get back in their cars and drive away. [K, T, OS]
Everyone recognized this as a typical Kuwait situation, but the student and teacher responses varied so that one cannot easily characterize them, and it does not make sense to put them into a numerical scheme.
The Arab adults universally condemned this situation. However, their condemnation seemed to stem from the menís failure to consult the proper authorities, i.e., the police, not from their wasted emotion. One said, "I havenít any comment. Itís disturbing." Another declared, "This is totally wrong; they shouldíve stopped and called the police." Another added, "They should seek the help of the police," and added, "Both of them must have some mental problems or this wouldnít happen." The final respondent seemed most annoyed that neither man readily admitted guilt, "He [the guilty one] should admit he made a mistake."
In distinct contrast, the Westerners commented mainly upon the waste of emotion and the shouting used in lieu of any action. Said one, "It was kind of wasted emotion." Another said, "Canít they even sue or something...how silly." Said another, "Theyíre trying to display themselves." The fact that no action occurred to the Westerners seemed a conclusion since both sides decided not to take action; in distinct contrast the Arab teachers seemed to expect something more to happen, possibly something verbal. Said one Western teacher, "Looks like they solved it." Another commented more cynically, "Now I know Iím in Kuwait."
The student responses defy easy categorization. Strangely, the actual shouting, not the inaction, seemed to have the biggest effect on them. Said one, "They should react in a more polite way." Another added, "They should be civil and try to talk about this." Others agreed that definitely the police should have an involvement, "No. They have to go to the police station." Agreeing with the Americans as to the frequency of this occurring, one added, "Thatís a kind of normal situation." One commented ironically, "They never do anything....If they did anything, like fighting, it would be exciting." In general, then, students shared an attitude closer to the Arab teachers. The situation needs resolution, but the resolution should probably take a verbal character: talk out the situation or, at worst, go to the police who will do the same. This indicates an alignment of sorts with the Arab teachers. Interestingly, this situation drew probably the most varied responses, which may suggest some reasons for its persistence in Kuwait: no one knows what to do when it happens.
9a. (student version). After agreeing to let you go on a much-anticipated student trip, your father suddenly forbids you to go.
9b. (adult version). After hearing your child talk for months about the upcoming school trip, suddenly you hear some information which gives you some serious concerns about the trip. [K, Y, S]
An extremely difficult question to write, this one situation tried to get at the heart of the division between hierarchicalism and democracy within the family. Basically the question came down to this: to what extent would the parent allow the child to make the decision regarding the trip. Purposely, this scenario left the details about the trip vague, and the questioner resisted all attempts to supply more information to the informants so that parents and children could imagine what would concern them the most and concentrate the question of paternal authority.
Translation of the ambiguity of the question into Arabic proved difficult. The answers of the respondents suggest that the translator essentially translated it as "physical danger." This probably led to a greater willingness of Arab teachers to let their children take the trip. Hence, each of the last three, the translated interviews, the scoring considered as a "3" instead of a "2." The Arab teachers, in general, while desiring to talk to their children, showed a greater willingness to send their children on the trip. Thus one said, "I would tell my son ĎI heard so and so and itís dangerous to go, and if you still want to go, then itís your decision.í" Another, through translation, said, "I would tell him ĎGo and take care.í" The most independent-advocating teacher commented, "I would listen to what he says...[and] hold him responsible for his decision."
In contrast, the American teachers probably displayed a greater mistrust, as teachers, of the school than an average Western parent. As one parent said, "If I could, I would leave my job and accompany my child." Another added, "I would confront my son or daughter with ĎThis is what I heardí and rely on the trusting relationship." The most appropriate word to describe their responses seems "balanced reappraisal," a sitting down with all of the information.
Student responses ran the gamut, but they came out as considerably more conservative, "more Arab," than either of the two teacher groups. Again, consider that the translation possibly underestimated the social conservatism of the Arab teachersí response. Basically, the scoring here considered this authorís estimation of the studentsí chances of going on the trip. About a quarter seemed extremely unlikely to go. For example, one said simply, "I donít go," Another added, "I know how this feels," having encountered exactly that same kind of situation before. One commented, "If itís a good reason...[Iíd accept his decision]" and added "he knows whatís right and wrong for me." Others seemed to express some faith in their ability to convince their father as the one who predicted, "I will argue with him, but if he didnít change his mind, Iíd say no problem." Some of them, in contrast, seemed quite sure of going. Said one, "If he gave me nothing, [no reason], Iíd go. I would sign [the permission slip] for permission to go." Another added, "Iíd make things up because I want to go. Iíd talk him into it." One confidently remarked, "I would stay after him, and I think I would get him to let me go."
The "American" oriented questions gave students and teachers a chance to explore some situations presumably more American than the previous ones.
2a. (student version). After finishing school in the UK, a professor tells you that a company in the UK wants to hire you and offer you a two-year-contract.
2b. (adult version). A departing teacher will soon become director at a school in another country. He invites you to come along with him for a two-year-contract. [Am, Y, OS]
This situation holds a particular relevance because, in fact, it describes the situation of all of the Western teachers and, indeed, many of the Arab teachers in coming to Kuwait. It took considerable ingenuity to come up with a way to score this since it required measuring the relative importance of the reasons for not going. This scoring assumes that factors of the job itself probably do not equal that of culture or family and scores these factors as the extreme (Arab) response. The scoring scheme, above, remains open to challenge.
The willingness on the part of the Arab teachers heavily depended upon the job itself although some of them worried about the family situation. For example, one said, "It depends. If Iím happy here, I wonít go." Others cited more serious concerns about the situation, "If Iím doing fine in my recent school, I will not go." For others, the concerns stemmed from family, one commenting, "Maybe not, according to my family situation." For others, their departure depended upon the culture of the accepting country with one concluding, "I would check if the country is safe, and if the offer was better."
In contrast, the concerns of the Western staff almost entirely depended upon the situation of the job itself with little consideration of the country and about their families. Rather, they worried about breaking their contracts and the reputation of the future administrator. One offered, "It would depend on if I thought they [he or she] would be a good administrator or not." As another commented, "Unless I had an offer that paid me a ridiculous amount of money, I would not take it." Another added, "There is a lot of unknowns here...Iíd consider it as long as Iím not in violation of my own contract."
Again, the student reactions varied considerably. However, they generally ranged towards a more conservative reaction than either the Arab or American teachers. A few, like the American teachers, chose to leave immediately, such as the one who said, "Yeah, Iíd go." Another said, "I would take the job. I would come to Kuwait in two years."
In contrast, other students made comments such as, "I will not work for them. I want to work in my country." One remarked, "I donít agree [to leaving]." Some more specifically expressed the importance of family in their considerations, one explaining, "I donít think I would agree because I want to work in Kuwait close to my family." Family and the pull of Kuwait, as a location, overcame that of the lure of adventure. In the end, then, Kuwaitis more than the Arab teachers, perhaps understandably, showed less desire to leave their country and culture.
For girls, this situation seemed to present a somewhat tougher choice to make than for boys. While Westerners might lament the restrictions Kuwaiti culture put upon women, the Kuwaiti girls showed little inclination to flee. As one girl said, "Iíd have to ask my parents first....He [my father] might have to worry because Iím a girl, and heís worried about my safety." Notably, the Lebanese female, in contrast, expressed no hesitation in going, and the Palestinian female, while worried about the "community," still seemed quite willing to go. Again, this paints the picture of a Kuwait sometimes more conservative than some of the other Arab groups living within it.
5. Mr. A says, "When I reached eighteen, I told my father 'Hey, it's my life, and I will do what I want.í" [Am, T, OS]
This question tested not only the attitude portrayed, but the relationship between the parent in the story and the child. It implied equality as well as independence. The Western teachers generally approved of the remark if not necessarily the attitude. As one said, "íGood for you. Why are you talking to me?"í About the most disapproval for this action came from one comment that, "Thatís a little hard on Dad," but the most said that this happens (in the West) all of the time. Said one, "We tend to accept it. I donít know how I would react if it were my own son, but I know that this happens." They said that such an attitude, however, could entail certain consequences. As one cautioned, "Yeah, thatís okay, provided that when the consequences come back, you donít ask for help and forgiveness."
In this case, some of the Arab teachers showed tolerance with independence. As one teacher, Mr. ArD quoting the Prophet Mohammad said, "íTeach him, advise him, guide him, and set him free.í" This quote, in fact, often seemed to guide the others, both students and adults, particularly those who opted to give the young person more freedom instead of less. Age 18, in particular, seemed a point of reference since it fell into Mohammadís age range for "guide him." While one teacher said, "Let him make his own decisions," the dividing point between his conception of guidance and freedom seemed a bit hazy. Thus another teacher said flatly, "I donít agree with what he said." Another added, "Here in our culture that is different. Heís still connected to the family." Another said directly, "We are Arabs, this is not acceptable. I personally think this is unacceptable." Thus, even if the Arab teachers granted the son some amount of freedom, none advocated letting him "go off and do his own thing." "Guidance" seemed to include more than just giving the occasional word of advice.
The students varied, with a few choosing the path of extreme independence as one offered, "Heís eighteen; he can do whatever." Others seemed to tend towards Mr. ArDís attitude somewhat, one saying, "Itís true that he can do whatever he wants, but itís good to take other peopleís opinions," and another said such independence should take place "under the supervision and guidance of his parents," which rather echoes what the Arab teacher said about "guidance."
In general, though, a lot of students, like the other teachers, saw the attitude displayed here as simply wrong. "I think itís wrong," one stated, and another cautioned, "I think he said something wrong." Said one, "I donít agree because doing the thing without asking his father or his parents is doing something wrong." Another said, "Heís supposed to do what his father does and says. He [the son] is kind of selfish." Perhaps the most interesting comment came from one student who initially said "this is wrong," but then added that sometimes, "Your parents may think about something else [and not understand the situation] because theyíre old." In general, though, as the numbers indicate, the students, like the Arab teachers, expected at least some general "guidance" from their father.
7. Noor and Abdullah are not related to one another, but Noor holds hands with Abdullah and says, "He's my boyfriend." She explains the date she spent with him the previous week. [Am, T, S]
This situation portrayed another prototypical American situation, and the Western teachers did not show any real reaction to this. The most serious objection to this cautioned, "I wouldnít want to say if this is right or this is not right." More typically another explained, "Well in my culture thatís okay." Indeed, the most serious comment against this came from one teacher who did not want this behavior made public. Another laughingly commented, referring to the tendency toward cousins in-marrying between Kuwaitis, "I would be very happy they were not already related."
Interestingly, the Arab male teachers universally condemned Noor, but the female teachers expressed fewer reservations with her than the men. One commented, "Yes, it happens. Itís okay." The other female commented, "Itís okay for girls to hold hands with boys. Itís not important, but there are limits for their relationships." The men, on the other hand, universally rejected this. As one summarized, "According to our traditions and culture, this is totally rejected."
The students again more closely aligned with the Arab adults. As one stated, "Sheís doing something wrong." Another said simply, "I think thatís wrong, and thatís really bad." Said another person, "Well, in our religion thatís not really allowed." A third said, "Thatís completely wrong with me."
Some voices of dissent lay behind this fairly universal student condemnation. One, nonchalantly concluded, "What should I do....I think Ďso. [what]í" Another concluded, "Noorís in love. So? I donít care. Itís her life." One girl, notably a foreigner, stated, "I think differently than the other kids in school. I believe in Ďlove,í so whatever they want to do just keep it control." In fact, secrecy came up in the comments of other girls, "If sheís telling the truth, she shouldnít be saying anything." One of the boys commented, "I really donít know because people need to date to know each other." One can detect a greater acceptance of this relationship from the girls and from the foreigners than the male Kuwaitis.
Interestingly, the seniors boys, presumably the oldest and closest to the adults, more closely aligned with the Arab male teachers, some even surpassing their conservatism. As one said, "Iíd try to talk to the boy and tell him thatís not right." Another added, "I would go to speak to her parents or older sisters." One student, commenting on similar situations at Al-Dharra, said:
Also [Iím surprised] when I see girls in our school holding boysí hands who donít relate to them. Itís like a shame [on the girls]. When she sees a guy who relates to her, she moves away [and stops holding hands]. She doesnít do it in front of him [her relative]. This is a problem with whatís happening.
10a. (student version). Your class started at 7:20. It's now 8:00, and you're coming to the door.
10b. (adult version). Your new boss wanted you in the office at 7:20. It's now 8:00, and you're coming to the door. [Am, Y, S]
This question did not produce a simple breakdown. Both teacher groups proclaimed the extreme unlikelihood of this ever happening to them, nor does this authorís experience with them refute their claims. One said, "I wouldnít do it. I wonít put myself in this situation." Another said simply, "This is impossible. I never come late." Another flatly declared, "This would never happen." In this respect their answers parallel that of the question concerning whether Abdullah possessed wastah in the school. Given that their answers here certainly reflect the truth about their lateness, this suggests that their earlier responses also convey the truth. Perhaps with them, anyway, no wastah exists.
In distinct contrast, the Western group admitted the possibility of lateness. Instead, they dealt with the aftermath of this situation. Said one, "Immediate apologies." Another added, "I would immediately begin babbling and apologize." One concluded, "Iíd have a tremendous feeling of guilt about this....Iíd put myself [in a position] to lose his respect."
Many of the students, like the Arab teachers, would not admit to ever coming late. Significantly about 25% of the students came late to the interview, though admittedly not an entirely equivalent situation. Perhaps more interestingly, the studentsí comments dealt almost exclusively with the consequences of coming late, not the lateness itself.
Eight of the students admitted that they would lie to cover for themselves. Said one, "Iíd make something up." Another admitted that she could go to a local clinic, play sick, and get a paper to admit her to school late excused. The most popular excuse proved to be the car crash. One student even bragged of his story-making prowess, "Iíll tell him an excuse, one he can believe." Thus, one can characterize the students as both less punctual than the adults and more likely to tell stories. However, this doesnít necessarily help in identifying if these characteristics come from Kuwaiti culture or simply from youth. As one paradoxically commented, "Iíd make up an excuse, but then Iíd regret it because I was lying."
4a. (student version). Sheika, a friend, has written all of the answers down to the test on a piece of paper which she wants to give to you. "Mr. A will check me. Give it back when we get inside."
4b. (adult version). Your neighbor teacher, Ms. A, claims she must leave this afternoon to attend a conference at her daughter's school. "If anyone asks for me, tell him I'm at the library." Ten minutes later, the principal arrives asking for A. [Ei, Y, S]
This supposedly "either way" question came up with a stronger condemnation on the part of the Arab staff than the American. For that reason, this analysis arbitrarily assigned a score of "5" to the strongest condemnation. The Western staff, as in some previous questions, came closer to saying "it depends."
Among the Arab staff, again, one can detect a division between men and women. One of the women said, "I don't want to get her in trouble. I'd tell him, 'I don't know.'" The other woman also said she would say, "'I don't know.'" On the other hand, all three men strongly indicated that they would not help the teacher. One said, "I will not lie for her." Another added, "I would refuse to do this." Thus, to a certain extent, perhaps one can detect a pattern of particular hardness on women by the men as well as a differentiation of responses and possibly a greater reliance on males to uphold the rules.
On the Western side, the teachers tended to view this situation as a conflict between an abstract principle, i.e., "I won't lie," and their possibly close relationship with the teacher. For that reason, one said, "'I mean, Iím not going to rat her out" but classified the matter as one of those '''don't ask-don't tell situations.'" Another said she would say, like the Arab females, "'I don't know.'" One admitted that he would probably refuse to cover for the teacher but said that he would plead the justice of her cause and possibly lie for that reason, "I'll cover [for] her because that is a legitimate excuse." Another said flatly, "A lot would depend upon our relationship." Thus, the Westerners rated the principles of loyalty to a friend about equally with that of telling the truth. Their decision, then, tended to show a weighing of these two values.
The student responses, while the average suggests a greater closeness to the Western teachers, again ran through a range of possible reactions. Unlike the adults, one student admitted, "I will give it to her," and another added, "I will take the paper because she's my friend. Everybody helps out." Another somewhat strangely explained, "I'd do it, but I wouldn't approve." Another said, "If the test is hard, and I hate the subject, I'd help her." Some who did help the girl cheat felt the need to give justifications, like the American teachers did for lying. One offered, "Around the world maybe 70-80% of the students cheat." Another lamely added, "It's her paper. I don't know, after all, if she's going to use it on the test or not."
On the other hand, some students responded to entirely different concerns, especially those of the girl's learning, not a factor in the adult problem, and of "fairness," which the adult situation can only imply. One student said, "You want to learn. I'd tell her to keep her paper with her and do my own thing." Said another one who refused to take the paper, "School is all about learning and stuff like that, and she's not doing anything."
Still other students, like the Arab teachers, simply refused to cheat. Opined one student, "I would never take it from another person." Another went so far as to say, "No, I would take it and throw it away. I wouldn't want my friend to be cheating or anyone in the class to be cheating."
8a. (student version). After a long conversation with your brother, you realize that at the University he is spending all of his time hanging around with Kuwaitis.
8b. (adult version). After a long conversation with your son, you realize that at the University he is spending all of his time hanging around with people of the same race [Western]/nationality [Arab]. [Ei, Y, OS]
This question purposely left the details vague. Thus students could imagine going to school where they wished, in Kuwait or the West.
The answers to this question ended up falling into the categories of either acceptance or rejection. Overwhelmingly, all groups rejected this attitude. However, it makes some sense to recount the different reasoning behind this rejection and the percentage of rejection in each.
While one Arab teacher favored his spending his time exclusively with Palestinians, "Whatís wrong with that," the remainder found his behavior a problem. One said, "The world is not only Lebanese," and another concluded, "This is wrong." Another teacher commented he himself had two children in universities in similar conditions with friends from all over the world, "even Jews." Thus 80% of the Arab teachers rejected this situation.
As predicted, the Westerners saw this question as a matter of considerable importance. In fact, one can characterize their rejection of this attitude as almost dogmatic, "First, I didnít raise him that way," one started, while anotherís preliminary comment began, "A good friend is a good friend, regardless of their skin tone." Another said, "I think thatís wrong" while a third said he would tell his son, "íSon, all people have value.í" 100% of the Westerners rejected, out of hand, this idea of exclusion on the basis of race.
In distinct contrast, some students did not seem to have any problem with differentiating on the basis of nationality. Said one, "I think itís okay." Another added, "I would do that." Indeed the prime worry of the Kuwaitis consisted in the academic damage that the other Kuwaitis might inflict on the student. One ventured, "I think itís okay if theyíre not any bad influence on him." Said another, "If the only problem is him spending time with Kuwaitis [not academic issues], there is no problem." Students tended to imagine the situation of the Kuwaitis all hanging around together, wasting time, and not doing their school work, not that Kuwaitis together might apply themselves and aid one another in class, an interesting contrast to some of the conclusions made in chapter fourteen.
Among the students who rejected the behavior of the brother about an equal mix seemed to think about instrumental considerations, learning better English, balanced by others more concerned with the siblings' missing chances to know other people. For example, one explained, "He should go out and try to have conversations with other people, so he can learn about different cultures." Another recounted how his fatherís college experiences in getting to know Americans made him a lifelong friend. A third said, "Iíd tell him heís pathetic....Heís stuck with the same people again, so it doesnít make any sense." More philosophically one added, echoing one of the Western teachers, "I donít care who he hangs around with because whoever you make friends with is still your friend no matter what."
Some answers seemed particularly hard to categorize because they took a particularly American "freedom above all" approach which then did not allow the respondent to comment on the situation. One offered, "Thatís okay for him to hang around with anyone he wants to." Said another, "Itís his choice, but I would give him advice to meet with people from other countries." Said a third, "Itís none of my business, but what heís doing is ruining his future."
Having considered all of the questions, this analysis turns to looking at them as a totality.
Figures 12.8 and 12.9 summarize the previous questions and attempt to make an overall assessment. The difference number, in particular, shows something important. If indeed, Al-Dharra Madressorís education allows students to maintain their primary Arab cultural identity, one would expect that in the Kuwaiti situations students would generally align with the Arab staff. In contrast, an ADM education should also find students more closely aligned with the American staff in the American situations. At the least, one would expect a closer alignment with the Western teachers in the American situations and the Arab teachers in the first. In fact, in both situations, the students aligned more closely with the Arab teachers.
The Kuwait situations, as the numbers indicate, do indicate that students do not exactly align with their Arab teachers. However, the "wastah" question, for which the scoring relates to the existence of wastah more than to its acceptance, accounts for a lot of the numerical difference. One can even argue, given the conclusions offered in chapters two and five, that the studentsí acknowledgment of wastah shows a better adjustment to the Kuwait situation than the Arab teachersí denial so that the students should score higher, more "Arab," than the Arab teachers.
In general, though, in terms of the Kuwait situation, one can largely explain the differences between the two scores as derived as much from differences between individuals and cultural differences between Arab groups as to "Americanization." On the loan question, for example, the students showed nearly as much inclination to loan the money as the Arab teachers, and their slightly lesser willingness to lend may more relate to the greater financial resources of Kuwait and Asil nuclear families, such as Noorís, than to "Americanization." On the third question, the family trip, due to translation difficulties, the results probably underestimate the conservatism of the Arab teacher families. Both groups gave basically similar responses to the car crash.
Assuming that all students speak Kuwaiti Arabic reasonably well, then, one can conclude that, with some variation, few would feel particularly alienated in the world of Asil Kuwait. Like other Kuwaitis, they would understand the importance of family and accept the centrality of the strong father figure. The citations above do indicate considerable variation exists among individuals so that some students, influenced by both modernism and possibly their ADM experience, seem to question the "old" values and beliefs that underlie them. However, the same statement probably describes their parents and community, which accepts some Americanization. One can argue, of course, that this very questioning of older values itself represents "Americanization."
The responses to the American questions seem to quantify the studentsí acceptance of American values and actions. On these questions, ADM students clearly align with the Arab teachers. In particular, they reject Western notions of free romance and childhood independence. They show, as well, more conservatism about the subject of leaving home and Kuwait. Ironically, then, on the questions that allowed them the greatest opportunity to act American, they acted more Arab, and on the questions that allowed them the most opportunity to act Arab, they acted a bit more American. Generally, then, the AWSIT clearly shows an Arab bias towards their cultural adherence and agrees with the KATWII results in which the ASOC scores typically outstrip the USOC scores.
As indicated in the previous chapter, older students, in particular, seemed to readily categorize situations as Kuwaiti and American, as did Arab and American teachers. This did not noticeably affect their results. Younger students, in contrast, occasionally displayed ambivalence, even shock, at some of the American situations and statements offered though this did not seem to affect their responses either. One can conjecture that their ADM experience may have instilled this ability to recognize these differing sets of cultural expectations, thereby allowing for a greater understanding of these situations even if it did not influence their choices in such situations. Thus one might describe them as Arabs with an American cultural awareness, if not a "proficiency."
Then, in general, this analysis must make several conclusions as to the students. First, student responses and answers obviously identified them as Arabs, not Americans, if Arabs of a somewhat more liberal background than groups such as the Bedouin or Saudi Arabs.
One can, further, characterize their responses as "Arab dominant," possibly "Ma," to use the types created by the KATWII. The Arab dominant portion of this particular description relates to their choices of behavior and the attitudes expressed.
The American-influenced portion of their identity, which differentiates them from the Arab archetype, stems from several related factors. First, in the American situations, older students in particular, while condemning some of the attitudes and behaviors of Americans in these American situations, did seem to understand the cultural origins of those beliefs and could explain their own reactions and means of dealing with them. Second, since America tolerates a wide variety of subcultural behaviors, one cannot characterize their choices as "culturally unacceptable." Thus, on average, they range close to the definition of culturally proficient:
Culturally proficient: able to behave within accepted cultural norms, capable of completing business and educational transactions with members of this culture, and expressing a degree of comfort and familiarity with the norms and thought patterns of this culture. (highlights added)
One can think of them, as a group, as somewhat likely to have experiences similar to the college parent above who made a lifelong friend during his college years. One can imagine them as individuals sufficiently Americanized to complete college with some problems but not too likely to come home for cultural reasons. Further, their responses, as portrayed in the remarks above, while clearly "Arab," show that their individual experiences in America would likely vary from those who merely tolerate the environment to those who so readily adapt that an external observer might (temporarily) confuse them with Americans, particularly Arab-Americans.
The third research tool, the AGS (Al-Dharra General Survey) serves several purposes. First, it helps expand upon the general picture of the student population in early sections, and the information provided from these early questions appears in the previous chapter. The remainder of the survey includes multiple choice items, that, in fact, constitute disguised Likert scales.
Originally, this study proposed comparing, as in the AWSIT, the students to Arab and Western teachers. Unfortunately, once the school year began, it became increasingly difficult to find bilingual teachers with sufficient time to translate the survey. It took nearly a week to translate the KATWII into Arabic, and translating the AGS proved beyond the manpower resources of the school. As a result, only a small number of English-speaking teachers ended up taking the AGS. Thus the AGS can, at best, reinforce some of the results measured on the other AWSIT since it lacks a comparison group. For these questions, the analysis will compare the results not only to this model of Kuwait Asil culture but try to compare that model, in turn, with American society.
The last two questions on the survey ask students to rate themselves and the school in terms of Americanization. By using some mathematics, this allowed placing into categories similar to that used on the KATWII above.
The first five questions all basically involve questions of adult authority and democracy in the household.
These five questions, together, paint a picture of Asil Kuwaiti family life and attitudes. One can dispute the manner in which this analysis scores the first question. Relatively few students thought they would simply obey their parents. Most, however, thought that they could convince their parents one way or another.
For the second question, regarding arguments between the parents, the results seem to suggest that the students come from a very gender equalitarian background. Of the students who responded, only a slightly larger percentage favored the power of the father in the household over the mother, and almost two thirds of those responding considered the household governance about equal. However, the large number of students who did not complete that item suggests that, in fact, few such arguments occur. Given some of the questions on the AWSIT, this implies that the father and mother do not argue since the father simply makes the decision. Possibly, also, this may result from household situations lacking one parent or another.
The following two items suggest a somewhat higher than average parental authority. Regarding choosing a partner for marriage, the average response comes close to "I will, but they must advise." Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the authority of the parents actually increased when it came to choosing a marital partner. While few parents simply chose a spouse, a full 40% of student choices of spouse required parental approval.
A number of students seemed to think that they equaled their parents after high school graduation. Otherwise the distribution ran to a large number of ages. As predicted, a considerable number of students, 23%, asserted that they would never become the equal of their parents.
In general, the picture drawn by these items reinforces the conclusions of the AWSIT on the question of family hierarchy and organization. While one doesnít find the stereotypical male-dominated patriarchy, certainly students have a stronger adherence to traditional values than do most Western students. Parents have a large, if not dominant, say in choice of spouse, college major, and high-school decisions. Married women possibly have a larger say than expected in family decisions, but this would require additional information beyond a single survey item.
From this, not surprisingly, one comes to the conclusion that, as asserted in the initial chapters and Al-Thakeb (1982, 1985) maintains, Kuwaitis remain quite traditional in terms of their orientation towards the family. Thus they generally align with the Arab staff, despite their "Westernization." This reinforces the conclusions of certain questions asked on the AWSIT.
This, then, returns to the question as to whether these answers display an American cultural proficiency. Again, the mere variety of American subcultural experience suggests that while one can readily differentiate the above beliefs and practices from the average American family pattern, this does not mean that all Americans act in the same manner. Some American subcultures would answer these questions in largely the same fashion. In fact, in administering a practice version of this survey to a student group at Boston University, a subgroup of students came up with largely similar answers and not the predicted "American pattern."
Despite appearances, questions 12-14 form a block about cheating and feelings of group association. Questions 12-13 concern cheating. However, the context and motivation for cheating changes. In the first example, cheating only benefits one student. Using a 4-point scale for the second situation somewhat confuses the comparison with the second question.
Still, note that on the earlier test item, 40% would not cheat; in contrast, only 10% chose the same choice in the second, more group-oriented cheating question. In fact, as the situation became one of cheating for the group, the percentage cheating, if one classifies "cheat if thereís no other way," clearly seems to climb from 59 to 68%.
According to the last question, most of the students feel part of the family. The high school principal questioned the clarity of this particular question. As predicted, though, few students showed any difficulty in ascertaining its meaning, and over 50% indicated their feelings of group solidarity. Again, notice that the percentage claiming the school "is not a family" hovers at around 15%, presumably the same 15% previously identified as foreigners and children of staff members.
The results above do tend to relate to the model of Asil Kuwaiti culture developed in fifth chapter. Unfortunately, the lack of a comparison group makes it difficult to compare the responses to determine the extent to which student responses resemble the teachers of both cultural groups. Instead, this group concept and its effect on behavior receives more, and less formal, consideration in chapter fourteen.
These two questions address the general description or stereotype of the Palestinian, Arab classroom. The former tests student and teacher perceptions as to the student-centeredness of the classroom. The first question does not seem to support the conclusion that English classrooms more center on the student. However, the wording probably confused students somewhat. The second question supports the general assumption that Western classes favor originality more and may, partially, reflect the view, advanced in chapter six, that the Palestinian classrooms adhere more to the traditional model of teaching.
If the second result does differentiate the classroom environments of the two situations, this suggests that students can switch between cultures in other contexts. In fact, the pattern that often emerges at Al-Dharra Madressor involves some students who excel in both classroom situations. Seldom, unless directly attributable to language problems, does a student perform much worse in one classroom situation than another. However, the highest achievers in Arabic classes seldom achieve at the same level of success in English and the reverse, though both may still get "As." This suggests, again, that ADM students show a reasonable ability to learn in both environments and differing classroom, if not cultural, situations.
This question attempts to reinforce the conclusion of the AWSIT regarding lateness and its toleration in Arab Asil society. The theory behind this finds further elaboration in chapter fourteen.
Here note how many of the teachers and students identify the Kuwaiti owner as the one who comes late. Adding in the Kuwaiti engineer, this accounts for the vast majority of lateness at the meeting (68.5%).
This researcher often posed the cultural aspects of this question to students in a more forceful manner, in statements such as this: "The first time you schedule a meeting with your college professor and show up late, heíll be gone!" Student responses seem to suggest that it may take several such incidents for them to adjust to another pattern. However, the question itself poses a particular Kuwaiti situation, a Kuwaiti company with Egyptian manager, Filipino workers, etc.. This does not necessarily imply that students would answer the same if this question featured an American situation.
This question, once more, measures the amount of freedom of young women in society. In the prototype version of this survey, the question read "without your parents knowing." This made for a confused response as the question became one about lying as well as womenís freedom. Incidentally, they do have malls in Kuwait, so this situation could occur in either the West or in Kuwait itself. In fact, it refers back to the stereotyped school vision of students who attend other international schools in Kuwait, referred to in chapter seven, who might engage in the type of scenario depicted above.
Over 3/4 (79%) chose either to tell the girlís parents or to give her a warning speech. As the AWSIT suggests, students found something wrong with her behavior. Notably some students actually chose both "give her a warning" and "call her parents." One even chose "other: beat her up" while another penciled in "punch the boys." Clearly ADM students continue to have a traditional attitude towards certain behaviors of young women, and that must include the girls, 47% of those taking this survey. Even assuming the extreme case that girls put all 16 of the most sympathetic responses, "itís her life," or "congratulate her," that would leave 21 out of 37, 56% of the girls choosing to either to warn her or tell her parents.
Again, this pattern does not necessarily single out these students as "un-American." While most Americans tolerate or think nothing of the behavior above, as the AWSIT adult interviews indicate, few would single out a girl for not dating. Again, some subcultures in the USA already follow practices similar to that of the Kuwaitis.
In distinct contrast, an Americanized Kuwaiti, someone unaware of these much tighter social restrictions in Kuwait could easily fall into trouble. This sort of behavior among Kuwaitis would easily lend to a girl getting the sort of reputation that would not only make for a difficult marriage, but give a bad name to the family. The Kuwaitis at schools such as KBS or KAS, as indicated in chapter eight, might not learn this as their environment contains many individuals not constrained by these rules.
Thus, the ADM experience, and studentsí obvious familiarity with Kuwaiti social norms, suggest that graduates obtain, at least, a proficiency in Arab Asil culture and its particular set of female restrictions. Possibly, again, this suggests that an Americanized Kuwaiti family might find a certain benefit in enrolling their daughter in this sort of environment, if not choosing a "safer" government school, to learn these social norms.
This question tried to draw a division between action and speaking similar to the one asserted in the earlier portion of this dissertation. By making the question unclear as to location, it effectively put each group into its own situation, Kuwait or Western. Without the comparison group, however, one cannot draw many conclusions from this.
These two questions, again, return to the concept of wastah. For the first question, "taking you last" effectively functions as a distracter. It implies a person so concerned about fairness that he actually goes beyond "fair" and hence the assignment of a "-1" instead of the usual "0." A majority of students (62%) believed that they should get wastah. Ironically, the later question seemed not to incite their interest in wastah as only 17% percent seemed to favor Noor getting wastah. Thus one can perhaps conclude that they agree with wastah only when it benefits themselves. This may help to explain the fact that, while many Kuwaitis condemn wastah in the abstract, they tend to accept it in real life situations.
In this case, one can make a case that the studentsí lack of Americanization might lead to problems. Those in Kuwait tend to rely on relationships for advancement. However, as the AWSIT indicates, a lot of controversy among the students and faculty relates not only to the existence of wastah but also to its effects. Thus, one might contend that the ADM experience exposes students to adults with a lower tolerance of wastah, Westerners, while teaching them the general practice in Kuwait.
The first question does not measure very well: the question itself may have thrown off students since all technically qualify as "visitors." Still, it conveys the same general sense as the questions above. Students feel less at home in America than they feel in Kuwait. On the second question, while clearly 73% of the students favor their Arab over the American cultural orientation, note that fully half (50.5%) acknowledge that they at least occasionally act American.
The previous two questions above differ from the KATWII in their format as they call for self-identification. The KATWII, in contrast, simply asks questions that lead to an external identification. Still, they allow using to a similar method to categorizing students.
The first three categories plausibly entail some success. In each case, they show at least the possibility of students obtaining secondary cultural proficiency. More students identified themselves as more Arab than American. One can argue the merits of considering any of these categories as a clear success since, even for those indicating "half and half," a greater identification in one direction may come at the expense of cultural adhesion in the other.
Putting these categories together yields a success rate of 70%. That would, again, indicate an Arab school with an important secondary American cultural influence.
The last two questions asked students to identify themselves and the school in terms of cultural orientation. In distinct contrast to previous questions, this refers to feelings, not behaviors, except circling the "correct" answer.
Figure 12.11 assembles individuals into categories. According to the level of Arab identity versus American it assigns labels similar to those used on the KATWII. Figure 12.12 shows the relative size and cultural orientation of the groups depicted in Figure 12.11. As in the similar figure for the KATWII, the ideal location for an individual lies in the middle, the low-to-high bicultural square, not on either end.
Assembling these two figures makes an important assumption. It assumes that as an individual becomes more culturally oriented in one direction towards one end of the scale or another, this does not result in a diminution of cultural adhesion in the other. Thus it generally considers a "5" as an indication of high biculturality.
This would seem a more questionable assumption except that Figure 12.12 so closely resembles Figure 12.5, suggesting that the two largely measure the same phenomenon. In fact, one can largely account for the variation by slightly differing standards set for High Bicultural versus Ma and Low Bicultural. In other words, moving the standard a point or two on the KATWII or AGS would yield almost identical drawings. Recall that the KATWII tested two homerooms per grade level and the AGS one homeroom. Thus the two tested totally different, but representative, bodies of students and arrived at very similar breakdowns.
Figure 12.13 somewhat more strongly argues the case that the school instills secondary Western proficiency than does the KATWII, provided one does not make the assumption of subtractive culture acquisition. According to the AGS item, more than half of the school rates as, at least, a debatable success. Further, adding in those in the "dominant category" brings the success rate above 60%.
Still, these results do allow for some pause. First, 23% of the students consider themselves as either unaffected or very little affected by the schoolís purported attempts at making them more able participants in Western culture. Second, more individuals than on the KATWII perceive themselves as possibly erring in the direction of over-Westernization; those in the Usd, Mu, and "American" groups together constitute 10 individuals, and 12% of the sample. Finally, the average on this item proves closer to Ma/Ard than on the KATWII.
The table below allows explicitly comparing and contrasting the KATWII and the AGS.
The same numbers recur: about 30% classify as bicultural, low or high. Thus students seem to have a remarkably good conception of their biculturality whether measured indirectly, through the students' own perceptions, through KATWII items, or asked in a very straightforward manner, on the AGS. Perhaps the most interesting variation occurs in the higher percentage of marginal students identifying more with American culture, which one could reasonably explain by the differences in group composition.
Given this information, logically, one would expect that students probably have a fair perception as to the schoolís cultural adherence, shown below.
It seems the students find the school more bicultural than themselves (5.87 versus 6.54), a reasonable conclusion if one considers that the "school" consists of the American "archetype" staff, the Arab "Ma" staff, and Ma/Ard students. That means the school would register as marginally bicultural with the emphasis on the Arab side of its identity. Logically one would consider the school as leaning to the Arab side of its identity, but perhaps not as far as the students themselves. The students own perceptions seem to align with this.
29. The greatest thing about this school is_____________________________.
30. The worst thing about this school is ______________________________.
These last two, purposely open-ended questions allowed students to discuss essentially anything. The assortment of answers does not necessarily lead to the main theme of this analysis. However, some students did choose answers such as "the number of relatives present."
The next chapter will attempt to put together the data from all three research tools, the KATWII, AWSIT, and AGS, and to make conclusions regarding the subject of this study.