Wings 7 blue and cultural understanding
Abstract: The aim of this dissertation is to investigate how culture is represented in the Wings 7 blue textbook and workbook and what implications this may have on learners’ cultural understanding. The research questions are: How is culture represented in the textbook and workbook Wings 7 blue?, and What cultural understanding is promoted through the task design of the learning material Wings 7 blue? The analysis of the learning material draws on the theoretical framework of the Swedish researcher Ulrika Tornberg. The result of our analysis, and first research question, displays that the main focus of the cultural content in the Wings 7 blue textbook is on the mainstream national culture of Britain, typical British behavior, and linguistic readiness. Cultural understanding may be seen as either general cultural understanding, based on Tornberg’s two first perspectives, or as intercultural understanding which can be found in Tornberg’s third and final perspective. The result of the analysis of the tasks shows that both types of cultural understanding are promoted in the workbook, but the possibility for learners to develop their own intercultural understanding is limited, which is the answer to our second research question. This leads to the conclusion that the learning material, by itself, does not cover the complete aim for cultural understanding in the National Syllabus. One might argue that the material should only be seen as a complement to the other tools of the teacher, who can compensate for any missing information in his or her communication with the class. However, according to the large National survey for English, teachers of English mostly use published learning materials and tend to trust that these correspond to the aims of the steering documents.
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