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

Investigating cultural contents in English language teaching materials through textbook evaluation

Published Online: 21 Jan 2021
Page range: 127 - 145
Journal Details
First Published
06 Mar 2015
Publication timeframe
3 times per year

The shift in the status of English as a lingua franca has challenged native-speaker culture in English language teaching and learning. That is why it is not enough to expose language learners through monoculture language teaching. Rather being communicatively competent, learners may require inter-cultural understanding. Therefore, the aim of this research is to investigate the representation of cultures through different senses in Oxford Progressive English (OPE), Level-10 (Rachel Redford, 2016). As OPE caters the needs of Pakistani language learners, it is hypothesized that learners’ source culture prevails more than other two cultures (i.e. international, and target). To confirm this hypothesis, a detailed content analysis of cultural senses (prevailed in OPE) is carried out through Adaskou, Britten and Fahsi (1990). The results show that the frequency of reading texts in OPE is highly imbued with learners’ target culture that is followed by the international culture, and least by learners’ source culture. Moreover, culturally neutral texts lack in inter-cultural understanding, and appear to be disseminated to marginalize L2 learners from target and international cultures.


Abdullah, N., & Kumari, S. (2009). Cultural elements in a Malaysian English language textbook. Retrieved from http://ddms.usim.edu.my/handle/123456789/713.Search in Google Scholar

Adaskou, K., Britten, D., & Fahsi, B. (1990). Design decisions on the cultural content of a secondary English course for Mororcco. ELT Journal, 44(1), 3–10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/44.1.3.Search in Google Scholar

Ahmad, H., & Shah, S. R. (2014). EFL textbooks: Exploring the suitability of textbook contents from EFL teachers’ perspective. VFAST Transactions on Education and Social Sciences, 2(1), 87–95.Search in Google Scholar

Ahmed, M., & Shah, S. K. (2013). The relationship between culture and ELT: The representation of aesthetic sense culture in “Oxford Progressive English”. Journal of Education and Practice, 5(4), 150–158.Search in Google Scholar

Aliakbari, M. (2004, August). The place of culture in the Iranian ELT textbooks in high school level. In 9th Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics Conference, Namseoul University, Korea.Search in Google Scholar

Aliakbari, M., & Jamalvandi, B. (2012). Realization of culture in English textbooks in Chinese high school level. Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics, 16(2), 89–10.Search in Google Scholar

Alpay, I. E. (2009). The effect of using cultural content for the development of language skills (Unpublished Master Thesis). Trakya University, Edirne, Turkey.Search in Google Scholar

Alptekin, C. (1993). Target-language culture in EFL materials. ELT Journal, 47(2), 136–143. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/47.2.136.Search in Google Scholar

Arshad, A., & Mahmood, M. A. (2019). Investigating content and language integration in an EFL textbook: A corpus-based study. Linguistic Forum, 1(1), 9–21.Search in Google Scholar

Arslan, S. (2016). An analysis of two Turkish EFL books in terms of cultural aspects. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 232, 217–225.Search in Google Scholar

Baleghizadeh, S., & Jamali Motahed, M. (2012). An analysis of the ideological content of internationally-developed British and American ELT textbooks. Journal of Teaching Language Skills, 29(2), 1–27.Search in Google Scholar

Banks, J. A. (2001). Multicultural education: Characteristics and goals. In J. A. Banks & C. A. M. Banks (Eds.), Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives (pp. 3–30). New York: John Wiley & Sons.Search in Google Scholar

Bardovi-Harlig, K. (2001). Evaluating the empirical evidence: Grounds for instruction in pragmatics? In K. R. Rose & G. Kasper (Eds.), Pragmatics in Language Teaching (pp. 13–32). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Bateman, B., & Mattos, M. (2006). An analysis of the cultural content of six Portuguese textbooks. Portuguese Language Journal, 1(1), 49–71.Search in Google Scholar

Benahnia, A. (2012). The role of cultural components in shaping the L2 learner’s identity and intercultural competence. Retrieved from http://ksaalttesol.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Dr-Abdellah-Benahnia-Cultural-Components-2012.pdf.Search in Google Scholar

Brooks, N. (1964). Language and language learning theory and practice. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World Inc.Search in Google Scholar

Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. UK: Multilingual Matters.Search in Google Scholar

Canale, M., & Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1(1), 1–47. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/I.1.1.Search in Google Scholar

Chapelle, C. A. (2009). A hidden curriculum in language textbooks: Are beginning learners of French at US universities taught about Canada? The Modern Language Journal, 93(2), 139–152. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2009.00852.x.Search in Google Scholar

Cortazzi, M., & Jin, L. (1999). Cultural mirrors: Materials and methods in the EFL classroom. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Culture in Second Language Teaching (pp. 196–219). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Coyle, D. (2005). Content and language integrated learning. Motivating learners and teachers. Nottingham: University of Nottingham.Search in Google Scholar

Crandall, E., & Basturkmen, H. (2004). Evaluating pragmatics-focused materials. ELT Journal, 58(1), 38–49. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/58.1.38.Search in Google Scholar

Cunningsworth, A. (1995). Choosing your coursebook. Oxford: Macmillan Heinemann.Search in Google Scholar

Evans, S. (2009). The impact of cultural folklore on national values: A preliminary study with a focus on Bhutan. Storytelling, Self, Society, 6(1), 8–18.Search in Google Scholar

Faris, I. N. I. (2014). Cultural content analysis of an English textbook for senior high school grade three in Cianjur, West Java. Journal of English and Education, 2(2), 14–25.Search in Google Scholar

Fauza, N. (2018). Cultural content analysis of English textbooks for senior high school entitled “Bahasa Inggris 2017 revised (doctoral dissertation). State Islamic University, Ciputat, Banten, Indonesia.Search in Google Scholar

García, M. D. C. M. (2005). International and intercultural issues in English teaching textbooks: The case of Spain. Intercultural Education, 16(1), 57–68. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14636310500061831.Search in Google Scholar

Gardner, R., & Lambert, W. (1972). Attitudes and motivation in second language learning. Rowely: Newbury House.Search in Google Scholar

Ghasemi, A. A., & Pasand, P. G. (2018). Pragmatic dimensions of Prospect Series: A textbook evaluation. Global Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 8(3), 76–86. doi: https://doi.org/10.18844/gjflt.v8i3.3354.Search in Google Scholar

Giroux, H. (1988). Teachers as intellectuals: Toward a critical pedagogy of learning. Granby: Bergin and Garvey Publishers Inc.Search in Google Scholar

Gray, J. (2010). The construction of English: Culture, consumerism and promotion in the ELT global coursebook. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Search in Google Scholar

Gu, Q. (2005). Intercultural experience and teacher professional development. RELC Journal, 36(1), 5–22. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0033688205053479.Search in Google Scholar

Hamiloğlu, K., & Mendi, B. (2010). A content analysis related to the cross-cultural/intercultural elements used in EFL coursebooks. Sino-US English Teaching, 7(1), 16–23.Search in Google Scholar

Hermawan, B., & Lia, N. (2012). Traces of cultures in English textbooks for primary education. Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(2), 49–61. doi: https://doi.org/10.17509/ijal.v1i2.84.Search in Google Scholar

Howatt, A. P. R., & Widdowson, H. G. (2004). A history of English language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Kang-Young, L. (2009). Treating culture: What 11 high school EFL conversation textbooks in South Korea do. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 8(1), 76–96.Search in Google Scholar

Kiss, T., & Weninger, C. (2013). A semiotic exploration ofcultural potential in EFL textbook. Malaysian Journal of ELT Research, 9, 34–46.Search in Google Scholar

Kraidy, M. M. (2002). Hybridity in cultural globalization. Communication Theory, 12(3), 316–339. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2002.tb00272.x.Search in Google Scholar

Kramsch, C. (1993). Context and culture in language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Kramsch, C. (2002). In search of the Intercultural. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 6(1), 275–285.Search in Google Scholar

Kramsch, C. (2013). Culture in foreign language teaching. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 1(1), 57-78.Search in Google Scholar

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2008). Cultural globalization and language education. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Lessard-Clouston, M. (1997). Towards an understanding of culture in L2/FL education. The Internet TESL Journal, 3(5), 1–12.Search in Google Scholar

Littlejohn, A., & Windeatt, S. (1989). Beyond language learning: Perspective on materials design. In R. K. Johnson (Ed.), The Second Language Curriculum (pp. 155–175). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Magogwe, J. M. (2009). The influence of cultural bias on motivation to learn English: The case of Khoe primary school students in eastern Botswana. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 22(1), 1–13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/07908310802538315.Search in Google Scholar

Mahmood, M. A., Asghar, Z. M., & Hussain, Z. (2012). Cultural representation in ESL textbooks in Pakistan: A case study of “Step Ahead 1”. Journal of Education and Practice, 3(9), 35–42.Search in Google Scholar

McKay, S. L. (2002). Teaching English as an international language: Rethinking goals and perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

McKay, S. L. (2003). Teaching English as an international language: The Chilean context. ELT Journal, 57(2), 139–148. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/57.2.139.Search in Google Scholar

McKay, S. L. (2006). EIL curriculum development. In R. Rubdy, & M. Saraceni (Eds.), English in the World: Global Rules, Global Roles (pp. 114–129). London: Continuum.Search in Google Scholar

Meihami, H., & Khanlarzadeh, M. (2015). Pragmatic content in global and local ELT textbooks: A micro analysis study. Sage Open, 5(4), 1–10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015615168.Search in Google Scholar

Moran, P. R., & Lu, Z. (2001). Teaching culture: Perspectives in practice. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.Search in Google Scholar

Ndura, E. (2004). ESL and cultural bias: An analysis of elementary through high school textbooks in the Western United States of America. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 17(2), 143–153. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/07908310408666689.Search in Google Scholar

Nguyen, M. T. T. (2011). Learning to communicate in a globalized world: To what extent do school textbooks facilitate the development of intercultural pragmatic competence? RELC Journal, 42(1), 17–30. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0033688210390265.Search in Google Scholar

Olajide, S. B. (2010). A critical assessment of the cultural content of two primary English textbooks used in Nigeria. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 1(5), 656–661. doi: https://doi.org/10.4304/jltr.1.5.656-661.Search in Google Scholar

Pennycook, A. (2007). Global Englishes and transcultural flows. London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Premier, J. A., & Miller, J. (2010). Preparing pre-service teachers for multicultural classrooms. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 35(2), 35–48. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.14221/ajte.2010v35n2.3.Search in Google Scholar

Rajabi, S., & Ketabi, S. (2012). Aspects of cultural elements in prominent English textbooks for EFL setting. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 2(4), 705–712. doi: https://doi.org/10.4304/tpls.2.4.705-712.Search in Google Scholar

Rashidi, N., & Ghaedsharafi, S. (2015). An investigation into the culture and social actors representation in summit series ELT textbooks within van Leeuwen’s 1996 framework. Sage Open, 5(1), 1–10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015576054.Search in Google Scholar

Redford, R. (2016). Oxford Progressive English 10. Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Richards, J. C. (2001). The role of textbooks in a language program. RELC Guidelines, 23(2), 12–16.Search in Google Scholar

Rodríguez, A. R. R., & Espinar, Á. M. L. (2015). General and specific culture learning in EFL textbooks aimed at adult learners in Spain. Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, 50(1), 5–25. doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/stap-2015-0014.Search in Google Scholar

Sadeghi, K., & Sepahi, Z. (2018). Cultural content of three EFL textbooks: teachers’ and learners’ cultural preferences and cultural themes of textbooks. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 13(3), 222–245. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/1554480X.2017.1417128.Search in Google Scholar

Santosa, I. (2015). Cultural representation in English textbook for junior highschool. Eduscience, 1(1), 25–32.Search in Google Scholar

Shah, S. K., Afsar, A., Haq, F., & Khan, Z. A. (2012). Course contents of English language textbooks and their relevance to learners’ culture in an Islamic context. Journal of Education and Practice, 3(12), 165–180.Search in Google Scholar

Shah, S. K., Ahmed, M., & Mahmood, R. (2014). Representation of target culture in the ELT textbooks in Pakistan: Evaluation of “Oxford Progressive English” for cultural relevance. Journal of Education and Practice, 5(13), 89–101.Search in Google Scholar

Sheldon, L. E. (1988). Evaluating ELT textbooks and materials. ELT Journal, 42(4), 237–246. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/42.4.237.Search in Google Scholar

Shin, J., Eslami, Z. R., & Chen, W. C. (2011). Presentation of local and international culture in current international English-language teaching textbooks. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 24(3), 253–268. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/07908318.2011.614694.Search in Google Scholar

Susanto, R. R., & Harjanto, I. (2014). Inner circle English cultural senses found in interlanguage XII. Magister Scientiae, (35), 47–60.Search in Google Scholar

Tajeddin, Z., & Teimournezhad, S. (2015). Exploring the hidden agenda in the representation of culture in international and localised ELT textbooks. The Language Learning Journal, 43(2), 180–193. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2013.869942.Search in Google Scholar

Taki, S. (2008). International and local curricula: The question of ideology. Language Teaching Research, 12(1), 127–142. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168807084503.Search in Google Scholar

Wallen, N. E., & Fraenkel, J. R. (2001). Educational research: A guide to the process. Psychology Press.Search in Google Scholar

Wandel, R. (2003). Teaching India in the EFL-classroom: A cultural or an intercultural approach? In M. Byram & P. Grundy (Eds.), Context and Culture in Language Teaching and Learning (pp. 72–80). UK: Multilingual Matters.Search in Google Scholar

Weninger, C., & Kiss, T. (2013). Culture in English as a foreign language (EFL) textbooks: A semiotic approach. TESOL Quarterly, 47(4), 694–716. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.87.Search in Google Scholar

Yamanaka, N. (2006). An evaluation of English textbooks in Japan from the viewpoint of nations in the inner, outer, and expanding circles. JALT Journal, 28(1), 57–76.Search in Google Scholar

Yuen, K. M. (2011). The representation of foreign cultures in English textbooks. ELT Journal, 65(4), 458-466. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccq089.Search in Google Scholar

Zakaria, M. H. B., & Hashim, N. H. B. M. (2009). Local cultural aspects in the KBSM English language materials. Retrieved from http://eprints.utm.my/id/eprint/10730/1/LOCAL_CULTURAL_ASPECTS_IN_THE_KBSM_ENGLISH.pdf.Search in Google Scholar

Zu, L., & Kong, Z. (2009). A study on the approaches to culture introduction in English textbooks. English Language Teaching, 2(1), 112–118.Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo