Cultural Representations in English Textbooks

University essay from Lunds universitet/Utbildningsvetenskap; Lunds universitet/Engelska

Abstract: The aim of the present essay is to investigate English language textbooks suitable for English 5, 6 and 7 and the extent to which the content of them addresses cultural features of different contexts where English is used. The essay also aims to investigate what types of cultural representations are featured in the textbooks and if they differ in relation to what grade they are designed for. The background section of the essay includes descriptions of the concepts culture and cultural competence, two different models for identifying cultural components in texts, followed by a review of the literature where the previously mentioned models are used. Content analysis was used to examine cultural representations in the texts of Viewpoints 1, 2, and 3. Images and activities were excluded. The analysis is divided into two phases: one focusing on context, and one focusing on the content of the texts. The findings of the study suggest that the Viewpoints series’ representations of cultures are skewed towards target cultures such as British and American culture, and that only selected aspects of culture are featured in the texts. Small “c” cultural features are usually embedded within texts, indicating that in order to discover and fully understand them, thorough examination of the texts is needed.

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