Evaluating the Cultural Appropriacy of Commercial English Language Teaching Textbooks in the Iranian Context

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 Department of English Language and Literature, Shahid Chamran University, Ahwaz, Iran

2 Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

3 Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran

Abstract

The global spread of English and its role as a lingua franca has created a great demand for learning English worldwide. Up to the present time, this demand has been mostly met by major international publishers of English-speaking countries such as the United States and Britain. However, the promotion of Anglo-American cultural content and ideology through international coursebooks has long been criticized in the EFL settings in which they are used. The current study investigated the cultural appropriacy of these coursebooks for the Iranian context. The main instruments were four researcher-made questionnaires. The questionnaires were first piloted and then administered among 197 teachers and 186 students who were selected based on availability and willingness to cooperate. Next, a one-sample t-test was run on the data and the results showed that the coursebooks spread the hegemony of English. Also, it was found that the coursebooks promote a concept of gender equality which is in contrast with the Iranian concept that assumes equal rights for both sexes in primary rights and not in secondary rights. The findings also suggest that the international teaching materials do not promote nonIslamic western values. Suggestions for developing localized language teaching materials have been put forward.  

Keywords


Abdollahzadeh, E., & Baniasad, S. (2010). Ideologies in imported English textbooks: EFL learners and teachers' awareness and attitude. Journal of English Language Teaching and Learning, 2(217), 1-17.
Ahour, T., & Zaferani, P. (2016). A critical visual analysis of gender representation of ELT materials from a multimodal perspective. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 9(18), 78-98.
Alidou, H. (2004). Medium of instruction in post-colonial Africa. In J. W. Tollefson & A. B. Tsui (Eds.), Medium of instruction policies: Which agenda? Whose agenda? (pp. 195-215). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlabum.
Asgari, A. (2011). Compatibility of cultural value in Iranian EFL textbooks. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2(4), 887-894.
Asif, M. (2012). The role of culture in the English language learning and teaching in the Pakistani textbooks of the English language [Master’s thesis, The University of Lahore]. Slideshare. https://www.slideshare.net/asimano/the-role-of-the-culture-in-the-english-language-learning-and-teaching-in-the-pakistani-text-books-of-the-english-language
Bahreini, N. (2014). Tahlile arzeshayhe farhangi dar ketabhayeh zabane englisi [Analysis of cultural values in English language teaching textbooks]. Rahborde farhang, 22, 163-182.
Bergen, R. (2019). Language imperialism in post-colonial Ghana: Linguistic recovery and change. SASAH 4th Year Capstone and Other Projects: Publications. 6. Retrieved from https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/sasahyr4pub/6
Birjandi, P. & Meshkat, M. (2003). The cultural impact of EFL books on Iranian language learners. Foreign Language Teaching Journal, 17(68), 47-54.
Bisong, J. (1995). Language choice and cultural imperialism: A Nigerian perspective. English Teaching Journal, 49(2), 122-132.
British Council (2015). The English effect. https://britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/english-effect-report-v2.pdf
Byram, M., & Zarate, G. (1994). Definitions, objectives and assessment of sociocultural objectives. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.
Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Canagarajah, S. (1999). Resisting linguistic imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Çelik, S. (2005). Get you face out of mine: Culture-oriented distance in EFL context. A helpful TÖMER language Journal guide for Turkish EFL teachers. 128, 37-50.
Cook, G. (1997). Schemas. ELT Journal, 51(1), 86.
Davies, A. (1996). Ironising the myth of linguicism. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 17(6), 485-496.
Eisania, R. (2018). Naghshe sarmayeh ejtemeaei dar payedarei nazame siyasei jomhouriyeh eslamei [The role of social capital in the political stability of the Islamic Republic]. Faslnameyeh elmi-pazhouheshiyeh eslam va motaleate ejtemaei, 5(4), 35-63.
Fakour, F., & Pourghasab Amiri, A. (2012). Tabiene mafhoume edalate jensiyatei dar Islam va gharb [The concept of gender equality in Islam and the West]. Dofaslnamehe Banouvane Shie, 29, 7-36.
Ghosn, I. K. (2013). Developing motivating materials for refugee children: From theory to practice. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.), Developing materials for language teaching (pp. 137-149). London: Bloomsbury.
Goodarzi, A., & Weisi, H. (2020). Deconstruction of cultural, racial, and gender dominance in Iranian senior high school textbooks. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and research, 8(32), 11-20.
Gray, J. (2010). The construction of English: Culture, consumerism, and promotion in the ELT coursebook. Basingstoke: Palgarve Macmillan. 
Hassannejad, E., Ghaemi, F., & Pourdana N. (2020). Designing culture-oriented materials for Iranian EAP students: The relative impacts of receptive and productive task performance. Iranian Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 9(2), 72-90.
Holborow, M. (1993). Review of linguistic imperialism. Modern Language Journal, 77, 399-400.
Jannejad, M., & Gohobadi, S. (2017, February). Rebranding in global English language course books: The case of Mosaic [Paper presentation]. 1st International Conference on Current Issues of Languages, Dialects, and Linguistics & the 3rd National Conference on English Studies and Linguistics, Ahwaz, Iran.
Jenkins, J. (2007). English as a lingua franca: Attitude and identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kachru, B. (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: The English language in the outer circle. In R. Quirk & H. G. Widdowson (Ed.), English in the world: Teaching the language and the literatures (pp. 11-30). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press/B
Volume 14, Issue 2
September 2020
Pages 111-144
  • Receive Date: 30 November 1999
  • Accept Date: 30 November 1999
  • First Publish Date: 30 November 1999