Evaluating English Textbooks: A Cultural Matter

Main Article Content

Ximena Bonilla Medina

Abstract

Globalization has brought about many changes in the concept of culture. One of those changes has been directly reflected in the way language is seen in the contexts of foreign language teaching. This article explores how culture has been represented in an English textbook and the way this conception may build students’ perceptions about English speaking countries. The argumentation of this study is supported by the analysis of some excerpts taken from a recognized English textbook currently used in several institutions in Bogotá, a survey that shows some teachers’ opinions about textbooks and the book under discussion, and the way they evidence culture in them. This reflection searches for a general understanding of the ways teachers can critically evaluate culture in textbooks, therefore, discovering stereotyped visions of culture.

Article Details

How to Cite
Bonilla MedinaX. (2008). Evaluating English Textbooks: A Cultural Matter. HOW Journal, 15(1), 167-191. Retrieved from https://www.howjournalcolombia.org/index.php/how/article/view/93
Section
Research Reports
Author Biography

Ximena Bonilla Medina, Universidad de La Salle

Ximena Bonilla Medina, holds a Master in Applied Linguistics to TEFL from Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas. She is a full time professor in the School of Languages at Universidad de La Salle and works part time at Universidad Distrital, in Bogotá. Her research interests are culture and teaching and critical pedagogy in foreign language teaching.

References

Adaskou, K., Britten, D., & Fahsi, B. (1990). Design decisions on the cultural content of a secondary English course for Morocco. ELT Journal, 44(1), 3-10.

Alvarez, J. (2008, October). Educational commercialism: Is it overtaking EFL in Colombia? ASOCOPI Newsletter, p. 7.

Cortazzi, M., & Jin, L. (1999). Cultural mirrors: Materials and methods in the EFL classroom. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Culture in second language teaching and learning (pp. 196-220). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Dohrer, T. (1998). A textbook for everyone: Balancing canons and culture in English textbooks. In J. Kincheloe & S. Steinberg (Eds.), Unauthorized methods: Strategies for critical teaching. New York, USA: Routledge.

Galloway, V. (1985). A design for the improvement of the teaching of culture in foreign language classrooms (ACTFL project proposal). New York, USA: American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

Gonzales, O. (1990). Teaching language and culture with authentic materials. Unpublished master’s thesis, West Virginia University, USA.

Goode, T., Sockalingam, S., Brown, M., & Jones, W. (2000). Linguistic competence in primary health care delivery systems: Implications for policy makers. Washington, DC: National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development.

Halliday, M. (1978). Language as social semiotic: The social interpretation of language and meaning. Baltimore, USA: University Park Press.

Hinkel, E. (Ed.). (1999). Culture in second language teaching and learning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Hyland, K., & Hyland, F. (Eds.). (2006). Feedback in second language writing: Context and issues. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Kramsch, C. (1991). Culture in language learning: A view from the United States. In K. de Bot, R. Ginsberg & C. Kramsch (Eds), Foreign language research in a cross-cultural perspective (pp. 217-240). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Kramsch, C. (1998). Language and culture. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Loughran, J., Hamilton, M., LaBoskey, V., & Russell, T. (Eds.). (2004). International handbook of self-study and teacher education practices. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Moran, P. (2001). Teaching culture: Perspectives in practice. Boston, USA: Heinle & Heinle.

Merrill, J. (Ed.). (1986). Culture bound. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Mitchell, H., & Scott, J. (2004). American channel. London, UK: MM Publications.

Nieto, S. (2002). Language, culture, and teaching: Critical perspectives for a new century. New Jersey, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Nostrand, H. (Ed.). (1967). Background data for the teaching of French. Seattle, USA: University of Washington.

Peterson, E., & Coltrane, B. (2003). Culture in second language teaching. CAL Digest. Retrieved December 20, 2007, from http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/0309peterson.html

Pfister, G., & Borzilleri, P. (1977). Surface cultural concepts: A design for the evaluation of cultural materials in textbooks. Unterrichtspraxis, 10(2), 102-108.

Sandín, M. (2003). Investigación cualitativa en educación: Fundamentos y tradiciones. Madrid, Spain: McGraw Hill.

Scollon, R., & Scollon, S. (1995). Conversational inference: Interpretation in spoken discourse. In R. Scollon & S. Scollon (Eds.), Intercultural communication: A discourse approach (pp. 60-85). Massachusetts, USA: Blackwell Publishers Inc.

Seelye, H. (1984). Teaching culture: Strategies for intercultural communication. Lincolnwood, IL, USA: National Textbook Company.

Soler, S. (2006). Racismo discursivo de élite en los textos escolares de ciencias sociales en Colombia. Revista de Investigación, 6(2), 255-260.

Stern. H. (1992). The cultural syllabus. In H. Stern, Issues and options in language teaching (pp. 205-242). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Storey, J. (1996). Cultural studies and the study of popular culture: Theories and methods. Georgia, USA: The University of Georgia Press.

Strinati, D. (1995). Introduction to theories of popular culture. London, UK: Routledge.

Tomalin, B., & Stempleski, S. (1993). Cultural awareness. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.