Language textbooks: windows to the world

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelpeer review

Abstract

What images of the world do we find in language textbooks? What countries and continents are favoured, what key problems of the world are mentioned and taken up, what segments of the world’s populations are represented and how, what role is given to the understanding of world history, colonialism and imperialism, what role is given to the understanding of transnational processes? Are there blind spots in the representation of the world? This article challenges the tradition of focusing on the representation of ‘countries’ in language teaching – target language countries and the country of the learners. It takes an explicit global perspective, drawing on a range of critical approaches to the study of culture, society and the world: National studies, citizenship education studies, Cultural studies, postcolonial studies and transnational studies. The article argues that the approaches imply different sets of analytical questions regarding the cultural content of language textbooks. Examples of questions and analyses are taken from textbooks for a number of languages taught in Denmark: English, German and French in lower secondary school and Spanish in upper secondary school.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftLanguage, Culture and Curriculum
Vol/bindOnline first
ISSN0790-8318
DOI
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

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