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Textbooks for immigrants, for instance, often portray an ideal or success-oriented narrative about the new country, socializing learners into roles of good citizens and workers yet downplaying the hardship and conflict that typify the immigrant experience Gulliver, Most textbook studies touch on culture, whether explicitly or implicitly, since analyses of meaning necessarily entail an examination of the broader value systems within which these meanings are embedded.
There is a strand of research however that has made culture the explicit focus of textbook analysis. Such analyses are prompted by the recognition that culture is inseparably linked to language and thus should be made an integral aspect of language learning Kramsch, Moreover, the Please cite as: Weninger, C. For instance, English is used as a lingua franca today; intercultural communication in English is likely to take place between speakers who learned English as a second or foreign language, rather than between native and non-native speakers of English.
In general, textbooks have been found to have a narrow conceptualization of culture as static knowledge rather than as a set of meanings and interpretive repertoires imbued with values and always contested in the fight for recognition among social groups.
Most recently, scholars have also scrutinized language textbooks as instruments of cultural and economic globalization, no doubt in response to the general interest in the impact of globalization within academic and also applied linguistic research. Much of this research has taken a poststructuralist approach influenced by cultural studies and has investigated how textbooks, through the topics, language use, characters, visuals and activities they include, invite and entice their readers to take up particular subject positions that resonate with identities of global capitalism.
Further, studies have highlighted how global ELT textbooks exude a positive, aspirational tenor by offering up casts of characters who are dominantly young, professional and successful Gray, a. Whether through vicariously experiencing success through the stories of these characters, or imagining it through role play, learners are invited to take up these identities and lifestyles as part of and perhaps as the goal of learning a language.
As such, they argue that global commercial language textbooks become another vehicle in the commodification of language and education. Methods of analysis As may be discernible by the review so far, textbooks analysis is a broad field that builds on multiple theories in order to investigate the cultural politics of meaning-making in language learning materials.
Like the theoretical bases of language textbook analysis, the methodological approaches taken by textbook analysts are also characterized by diversity. Nevertheless, Weninger and Kiss have discerned three broad frameworks or orientations that researchers generally employ: content analysis, critical discourse analysis and multimodal analysis. As a further common thread, the overwhelming majority of textbook analyses conceptualizes text and meaning as representation, that is, as linguistic Please cite as: Weninger, C.
Content analysis, critical discourse analysis and multimodal analysis offer different but complementary methodologies for analyzing linguistic and visual representations in textbooks. Content analysis has been developed to study diverse forms of human communication, and as such has been commonly utilized in analyses of textbooks.
As a research technique, content analysis typically involves identifying units for analysis in a well-defined textual sample, coding those units based on a priori criteria established by the researcher, then reducing the data by quantifying the results and finally making inferences about the significance of the results Krippendorff, , p. The exact application of content analysis has varied based on the topic or focus of textbook research.
For instance, when examining the portrayal of gender roles in the textual and visual content of textbooks, a researcher may begin the analysis by coding all instances where male or female characters or people are mentioned or depicted. This initial coding may already yield interesting preliminary results in terms of the proportion of representation each gender receives. As a second step, the researcher may look more closely at the coded instances and catalogue the social roles domestic vs. In presenting and interpreting the findings, researchers may compare the numeric representations and link these to the social context within which textbooks are produced and consumed.
This general procedure can be altered so that instead of a priori and closed codes such as male vs. While content analysis is defined according to a very rigorous methodology in order to achieve reliability and validity, the same rigor is not always observable in analyses of language textbooks that claim to utilize a content analytic approach.
Critical discourse studies or critical discourse analysis, CDA has influenced textbook analysis not only through its theorization of discourse, text and meaning but also through its general methodological procedures. Due to its problem-oriented approach that examines the semiotic dimensions of power, inequality and social change, CDA itself is conducted using an eclectic empirical methodology informed by multiple disciplines.
However, close analysis of the visual and linguistic features of texts has been a mainstay of CDA research and thus has also frequently been adopted by researchers analyzing language textbooks. The features analyzed as well as the level of textual detail may vary across studies based on the research questions, the level of linguistic training of the analyst as well as the types of texts they analyze within textbooks.
It is also quite common for studies to combine a more quantitatively- oriented content analysis with subsequent qualitative, close examination of texts and visuals using CDA methods. While corpus linguistic techniques have gained popularity within CDA due to their increased Please cite as: Weninger, C.
The third methodological strand within textbook analysis is distinct in its examination of textbooks as multimodal assemblies of meaning.
Given the pervasively visual nature of language teaching materials, textbook researchers using content analysis or critical discourse analysis have long incorporated images as an analytic focus, without explicitly theorizing multimodality. In terms of visuals, analysts do not simply code and quantify images, although that may be part of their methodology.
Rather, they analyze visuals for how they represent people and places and how they invite viewers to engage with these represented meanings in specific ways e. A relatively small subset of studies has investigated the intermodal or intersemiotic links between the textual and visual content of language textbooks, for instance by identifying the types of connections that link images to the surrounding text and tasks e.
Such investigations are important for two reasons. First, they give empirical- methodological attention to the theoretical tenet of social semiotics that meaning emerges out of the interaction of multiple modes of representation Kress, Implications for practice Although the primary aim of textbook analyses is not limited to evaluating the suitability of teaching materials for specific groups of learners, many studies do attempt to connect their findings to educational practice in some ways.
Others, similarly orienting to scholarly and professional literatures, make explicit recommendations for materials developers in light of their findings Chapelle, ; Gray, a. Yet others position their research with reference to specific curriculum contexts and based on their findings suggest ways in which textbooks could be better aligned with curricular goals Chen, Findings of textbook analysis research also have significant implications for teacher education.
Language teacher education curricula should incorporate critical discussions of textbooks so teachers understand they are not neutral vehicles for teaching language but ideologically shaped curriculum artefacts.
Teachers also need to be equipped with pedagogical tools that help them to engage critically e with textbooks in the classroom through questioning and discussing their messages and supplementing them if needed.
Analysis of especially commercially produced textbooks must take this into consideration and supplement visual-textual scrutiny of texts with additional data relating to its production, such as an analysis of publishing guidelines or interviews with authors and publishers e.
Conclusion Textbook analysis has become a distinct area of inquiry in applied linguistic research on teaching materials. Perhaps due to the fact that a large portion of studies are couched in interdisciplinary theories and research, the area is not unified. Interestingly, many studies are published in journals that are only marginally related to applied linguistics.
Moving forward, one important question that should be addressed by textbook researchers relates to normativity.
Most analyses take issue with the limited or biased representations found in textbooks, but the criteria based on which a more balanced or desirable representation could be achieved are often unstated. Clearly, this is a provocative question with no easy answer, but one that textbook analysis research would do well tackling in the coming years. Intercultural Education, 24 5 , — Apple, M. Ideology and curriculum. The politics of the textbook.
Christian- Smith Eds. London: Routledge. Barton, A. The representation of gender in English textbooks in Uganda. Byram, M. Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. Chapelle, C. Teaching culture in introductory foreign language textbooks.
London: Palgrave Macmillan. Chen, Y. Linguistics and Education, 21 1 , 60— Curdt-Christiansen, X. Multilingual socialization through language textbooks. May Eds.
Encyclopedia of language and education series. Cham: Springer. Fairclough, N. Language and power. Harlow: Pearson Education.
Feng, A. Authenticity in college English textbooks: An intercultural perspective. RELC Journal, 33 2 , 58— Gray, J. Palgrave Macmillan. The branding of English and the culture of the new capitalism: Representations of the world of work in English language textbooks. Applied Linguistics 31 5 , — Gray Ed.
Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Immigrant success stories in ESL textbooks. Hellinger, M. Enter here no download necessary. Join Now Login. Sort by: Showing results: D Science Textbooks Rating: PDF, ePub, Kindle.
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