Cultural representation in primary English language textbooks: A comparison of textbooks used in Mainland China and Hong Kong

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Language textbooks are written to help students develop language proficiency as well as have a better understanding of the culture of the target group. English instructional materials are usually arranged in the form of linguistic structures and communicative functions, with culture being presented through how native people eat, play, work, dress and live. According to Pfister and Borzilleri (1977), five major cultural themes can be distinguished in foreign language textbooks: the social sphere, family unit and the personal sphere, religion and the arts, political systems and institutions, and the environment sphere. On the other hand, Cortazzi and Jin (1999) suggested another three categories to evaluate English language textbooks: the source culture (the learner’s native culture), the target culture (British or American culture), and the international target culture (other English and non-English speaking cultures). In the present study, a series of popular English language textbooks for primary students, recommended by the Education Bureau in Hong Kong, was compared with the authorized English language textbooks used in mainland China. The aim was to examine how culture is presented in the two regions so as to heighten students’ awareness of being Chinese citizens in a global community and foster international understanding. The research findings could also raise the consciousness of textbook writers and publishers on the need to remove biases in textbooks, and to promote a multicultural environment in the classroom. Copyright © 2018 ACLL.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Citation

Li, X., & Lee, J. F. K. (2018, April). Cultural representation in primary English language textbooks: A comparison of textbooks used in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Paper presented at The Asian Conference on Language Learning (ACLL 2018): Surviving and Thriving: Education in Times of Change, Art Center Kobe, Kobe, Japan.

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