1. bookVolume 8 (2020): Issue 2 (November 2020)
Journal Details
First Published
06 Mar 2015
Publication timeframe
3 times per year
access type Open Access

Establishing a zone of prioritized curricularivity: exploring a critical approach to negotiating multimodal discourses in EFL textbooks

Published Online: 21 Jan 2021
Page range: 19 - 38
Journal Details
First Published
06 Mar 2015
Publication timeframe
3 times per year

University English as a foreign language (EFL) programs in expanding circle communities often pressure instructors and students to use globally published EFL textbooks for reasons more socio-political than pedagogical. While some critical studies underscore multimodal discourse to be an under-appreciated source of dominant social narratives in EFL textbooks, few have investigated their live negotiation in classrooms. To address the challenges negotiating potentially harmful social narratives in EFL textbooks, the present study proposes a two-step model for achieving a zone of prioritized curricularivity (ZPC). The model informs reflexive teaching practice in EFL instruction because it necessitates an understanding of a) the curricular commonplaces of a particular EFL program and b) the power and ideologies in the multimodal discourse of their textbooks, to mitigate perceived social injustices in the textbook lessons as they are negotiated “in situ.” Demonstrated in vignettes, featuring two EFL courses at Chung-Buk National University in Cheong Ju city, Korea, two instructors used the ZPC framework to inform their reconstruction of multimodal discourses in their EFL textbooks to inculcate student involvement and participation. A novel, multimodal interactional analysis of video recordings looked at proxemics, gaze, spoken language, head movement, auditory emphasis, and gesture and discovered that each instructor recontextualized, neutralized, or skipped much of the multimodal discourse in the lessons. The findings suggest that a ZPC is achieved when the efforts by instructors to recontextualize textbook lessons in situ is met with positive feedback from students in the classroom – noted as heightened attentiveness, happy or cheerful participation, and enthusiastic discussion. The implications suggest a ZPC can help instructors and students and in EFL programs in any expanding circle culture because it can simultaneously improve student learning/acquisition in the classroom, diminish dominant, culturally marginalizing textbook content, while raising the value of student investment in EFL learning.


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