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Keywords

Iraq-Iran War, POWs, POW Camps, English, EFL in Captivity, self-actualization, logotherapy.

Abstract

During the Persian Gulf War of Iraq-Iran (1980-1988), thousands of Iranians were taken captive by Iraqi troops. These prisoners of war (POWs) had to find ways to enrich and fill their time in prison camps. Learning English was one such activity. This study was carried out to appraise the motivations of the Iranian POWs for learning English, and to understand more about their textbooks, their classroom environment, the teaching methods and techniques employed, the skills emphasized, the teaching aids improvised, the types of exercises mobilized, as well as the test-taking techniques adopted. A relevant corpus of 21 memoirs and 7 interviews with Iranian ex-POWs were analyzed. The research draws upon Maslow’s (1970) “self-actualization” and Frankl’s (1984) “logotherapy” to shed light on the existential aspect of learning. Findings revealed that for these EFL learners, learning English was an attempt to fulfill their potential and/or to make life more meaningful.

Author Bio

Abbas Emam is an assistant professor of Applied Linguistics at Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Iran, specializing in English language teaching and translation studies. He has published several articles in his fields of interest in national and refereed international journals. He teaches at Department of English Language and Literature at Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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