Printer Friendly

Subliminal culture, sexism, and hidden curriculum in the internationally distributed interchange textbooks.

Introduction

Language is not only a means of communicating information. Rather, it can also function as an important means of establishing and maintaining social relationship with other members of speech community. It can also function as a powerful conveyor of bias. Power is quite an abstract concept, but an infinitely important influence on our lives. Power is often demonstrated through language and language reflects the truth of the more dominant group, and largely hides the truth of the less dominant group [24]. English has established itself as the most important language in the world. The number of people who study English and the number of functions that English serves attest to its significance. Over the past decades the spread of English throughout the world, it has become one of the central facts of education. English has spread as an international language through the development of a particular expert community, which guarantees specialist communication within global expert communities [28].

The spread of English has its own critics who see global English as a means of linguistic imperialism [17], which involves transferring aspects of language, culture and power-military or economic-to others.

Bearing this point in mind that critical discourse analysis is concerned with the situated use of language in certain socio-cultural contexts and assuming that such use of language is the crystallization of a particular ideology and lifestyle, it would be of interest to find out if those involved in materials development for language learners consistently follow any particular ideology, or if ideology has ever been of concern to materials developers. Critical linguistics is widely influential and successful in documenting the connection of linguistic and social practices. It has the potential to provide a detailed theoretical account of the operation of ideology in all aspects of texts [7,8]. One such aspect is sexist uses of language in texts. Of course, language usage is essentially a neutral vehicle of communication which can be used to convey a range of attitudes and values.

Course content often conveys a "hidden curriculum": underlying messages that go beyond factual information e.g. sexism, ageism, social orientation and values. These may have to do with religious or political beliefs, or with attitudes towards certain kinds of people, nationalities, or cultures [27].

There may be some differences between explicit and implicit curriculums. Some of the concepts that students learn are implicit and unwritten. Teachers may not be aware that they are transmitting implicit or hidden ideas but learners may sense it faster because some of these ideas force them to behave in a particular way. They learn quickly that they have to conform to the rules of the school if they want to receive approval [1].

In line with the advent of language centers and their population of students from diverse cultures, curriculum problem emerged. Teachers were concerned about the inappropriateness of national curricula for providing a truly global dimension and international experience in the academic program. The informal relationships between culturally diverse learners in an international setting should be enhanced by formal recognition in the academic subjects, methodological approaches and international comparisons which can enable learners to see their own cultural identity in relation to the rest of the world.

In general, Jackson [13] is known as the originator of the term hidden curriculum in his book Life in Classrooms., He identified features of classroom life that were inherent in the social relations of schooling through observations of public grade school classrooms. He observed that there were dispositions, values, and social and behavioral expectations that brought rewards in school for students and that learning what was expected along these lines was a feature of the hidden curriculum. He argued that the hidden curriculum emphasized specific skills: exercising restraint, learning to wait quietly, trying, completing work, cooperating, keeping busy, showing allegiance to both teachers and peers, being neat and punctual, and conducting oneself courteously [13]. Jackson enhances the meaning of the term "hidden curriculum".

Anyon published an article entitled "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work". In that article, she reports the findings of a study in five schools in which she investigated how children of different economic classes receive very different types of educations. For that reason, Anyon compared two working-class schools, one middle class school, an upper middle class school, and an elite school. She found a connection between the social class of the students, the type of education they receive in school, and the type of work. She observed that children in poor schools were prepared to become obedient laborers, while children in elite schools were prepared to become original thinkers and leaders. She notes that her article attempts a theoretical contribution as well and assesses student work in the light of a theoretical approach to social-class analysis.

Apple [3] defines the hidden curriculum in a way that pointed to the concept of hegemony. He argues that the concept of hegemony shapes the school in many respects and defines schools as not just distributors but also producers of culture that are vital for the socialization of students. In other words, students encounter various norms and cultures through rules and activities during their school and classroom life that form the social life in the school.

Giroux [11] identifies schools as political institutions, inextricably linked to the issues of power and control in the dominant society. Citing Giroux, Giroux and Penna [10], he noted that the schools mediate and legitimate the social and cultural reproduction of class, racial and gender relations in dominant society. Giroux considers that it is possible for students to resist powers in schools. To state this in a different manner, school environment can enhance individuals' understanding of power in society; accordingly, provide new possibilities for social organization.

The relationship between sex and language and how it is represented is an important issue in sociolinguistic studies. The study of language and gender began in 1975 by the publication of three books which have continued to significantly influence sociolinguistic works: Male/Female Language (M. R. Key), Language and Women's Place (R. Lakoff), and Difference and Dominance (Thorne & Henley). Since then, sociolinguists have fundamentally shown too much interest in sex/language relationship mostly with respect to the appearance in a few languages of linguistic forms that are used only by speakers of just a particular sex.

Sexist practices demean or ignore women (or men) or stereotype either sex. Stereotyping is considered as one of the most important types of bias, which attributes rigid characteristics to a particular sex, race, etc and portrays a set of people exhibiting a particular set of values, roles and behaviors. In some cases, sex differences depend not only on the sex of the addresser, but also on the sex of the addressee. In a nutshell, sex-linked linguistic variation involves "the differential use of certain status-marking forms by sex" [9].

As put forward earlier, it is assumed that students subconsciously learn things from the stereotypical images presented in the selected educational materials. These learning experiences influence the students' acculturation process. It is sanctioned that males are good with elaborate tools and technology, they are good at devising and fixing things and that females, for another thing, are only good for light work like cooking, cleaning and tending babies. Stereotypes can also influence learners' worldviews. Some of the most relevant studies of sexism and their manifestations in ELT textbooks are mentioned below:

Graham [12], describing the development of a school children's nonsexist dictionary, discusses nouns used to describe women and men. Before compiling their dictionary, the lexicographers analyze five million words from American children's textbooks. They found that although there are actually more women than men in the real world, these textbooks contained over seven times as many men as women and more than twice as many boys as girls. Yet, the word mother occurred more frequently than father. There were also three times as many wives as husbands, indicating that all in all the main character or speaker in the text was male.

Porreca [18] investigated how sexism is manifested in ESL textbooks and with what consequences. In a content analysis of 15 widely-used ESL textbooks, she focused on the categories of firstness, omission in texts and illustrations, occupations, the frequency of male nouns to female nouns, female-exclusive masculine generic constructions, and the types and frequency of adjectives for men and women. In every category of her study, she found that "there is evidence that sexism continues to flourish in ESL textbooks" (p. 718). She reported that "although females comprise slightly over half the population of the United States, they are represented only half as often as males in both texts and illustrations."

What about the invisible or stereotyped sex in society? To put it differently, where are the women/men in any social context? Why are they absent? If they are present, what activities are they doing? How do they experience the situation? What do they contribute to it? What are their roles? What does the situation mean to them? The present study also aims to answer these questions and extend previous work in the field of sexism.

Statement of the problem:

Recently there has been more English language teaching all over the world. Language teaching centers have also been mushrooming around the world. The most important difference between the private institutes and the public schools is the teaching materials: in public schools, "home-made" English books must be used as materials, which represent a "sanctioned view" of the language, but in private institutes, "imported" English books are widely taught. Needless to say, this can do some irreparable damage to the accepted standards and values by the students. This is what should not be overlooked especially in Islamic countries where values and standards are of high importance.

In light of the assumption that English language education materials may provide students with biased ELT materials, this study aims to determine whether, after many years now, we are still using biased EFL materials which conveys power and superiority of a society. It seeks to prove stereotyping a sex, imparting the values, culture, and ideology of a particular society directly or through hidden curriculum that can be regarded as violation of ethical standards of particular societies. In this study, some illuminating light will be shed on the areas of concern.

1.2. Research questions:

This study, especially, tends to answer the following questions:

1. Are the Interchange books biased in terms of culture and sexism?

2. Are features and lifestyle of particular societies idolized through hidden curriculum?

3. Do these EFL materials violate the ethical standards of Islamic countries like Iran?

1.3. Significance of the study:

This study is to review Interchange ELT textbooks to investigate possible negative aspects of them like values and ideology of the book producers' that may be imported. The results of this study may raise awareness of teachers in teaching and introducing EFL materials. It offers EFL teachers more options to customize their uses and provide more culturally inclusive instruction of their students. Moreover, it outlines effective strategies for confronting possible existing biases and countering the development of new misconceptions so that prevents power and superiority of a particular society from being established. Finally, it also helps book producers to produce more neutral materials free of biases, misconceptions, and taboos.

And what are some of the ways in which social values and attitudes are conveyed through language in ELT materials or textbooks? A review of the literature may shed some illuminating light on the areas of concern.

2. Methodology:

2.1. Corpus of the study:

The ELT Materials selected for analysis are the internationally distributed Interchange textbooks (Interchange Intro, 1, 2, and 3). What follows are the main reasons why Interchange series of EFL textbooks were selected. Firstly, these books are widely used in academic and non-academic language institutions in Islamic countries. Meanwhile, there has always been controversy over the suitability of these textbooks for students in Islamic countries. Secondly, they are written by well-known applied linguists including Richards [19] and they are in their fourth edition. Thirdly, they have been published by a leading and internationally popular publisher (Cambridge University Press). They are also four-skill communicative textbooks that are readily available on the market.

2.2. Data analysis:

The framework used for the analysis is an adaptation of Fairclough's [7] model of critical discourse analysis, which is itself a practical application of Halliday's systemic-functional grammar (SFG) to the analysis of texts. As expounded by Halliday, SFG incorporates the ideational, interpersonal, and textual functions of language into the interpretation of texts and sentence constituents. Based on this theory, this model of analysis, when applied to the selected texts, examines contents, social relations, and subject positions, as defined below, in ELT textbooks to reveal the ideology and power relationships which are perpetuated by them.

"Content", as one dimension of meaning, means the text producers' knowledge and beliefs or, as put by Fairclough [7], one's experience of the social or natural world. Within the context of this research, the topics of discussions such as making a date or finding a job were enumerated as instances of contents. "Relation" refers to the social relationships enacted via the text, such as mother-son or girlfriend-boyfriend. And "subject position" refers to the social identity of interactants such as an employer or a waitress.

These dimensions of meaning and the values they denote are represented below. Table one shows how linguistic features relate to dimensions of meaning and structural effects. As shown below, the conventional use of linguistic features imposes and reflects constraints on the three categories of structural effects.

2.3. Procedures:

In this study, a broad statistical survey of all the conversations, reading passages and pictures was carried out to classify different dimensions of topics into a comprehensible set of data. To put it differently, the number of occurrences of each relation or topic was counted through the books and the data thus obtained were tabulated to obtain a clear picture of the dominant pattern of occurrences of these dimensions. The rationale for examining these dimensions is to see which aspects of meaning are emphasized or de-emphasized since these choices reflect an ideological stance on the part of the textbook producers. Interlocutors were specified in terms of gender, kind of relation, etc.

To classify social relations, each textbook was reviewed page by page and a relation was counted any time two characters in the conversations were in verbal communication. Relations were denoted in three ways. Girlfriend-boyfriend, family members, Otherwise, relations were denoted by one word in the plural form, like friends, colleagues, neighbors, clients, classmates, places, general issues, not specified, etc.

To avoid presenting a bulky set of data in categorizing certain relations, wider categories were usually adopted. Therefore, although social relations such as hotel guest-hotel receptionist could be separated from passenger-airline clerk, the wider category of friends, colleagues, neighbors, clients, classmates, places, general issues, not specified, etc. was adopted.

In classification of subject positions, an occurrence of a subject was counted every time it appeared in each part. Where one or more persons were portrayed in the subject position, it was counted as only one occurrence. In tabling the data, the subject positions were finally grouped into three categories: occupational, commercial, and societal. In cases where an interactant appears to be functioning in more than one subject position like a train passenger travelling on business, the one that seems most salient in the context was selected.

Despite some repetitions in tabulating the data, the differentiation between relations and subject positions is necessary. Fairclough [7] remarks, "all three [relations, subjects, and contents] overlap and co-occur in practice, but it is helpful to be able to distinguish them" (p. 46). The distinction is helpful to see how constraints operate in these areas. Furthermore, subject positions are portrayed by the mention and description of people in texts and illustrations as well as by the conversations themselves.

Contents were the most troublesome aspect of the data to classify because they sometimes defy easy classification and biasing may happen. The topic of each conversation was established according to the general picture obtained from the whole data; for the purposes of this research, the contents were classified into two broad categories: (a) idolized Particular lifestyle, culture, entertainment, entertainers, politicians, economy and military power (b) neutral

In order to investigate sexism, two types of analysis were performed. First, a systematic quantitative content analysis was carried out with reference to sex visibility in conversations, reading passages and illustrations. Secondly, a qualitative inquiry was made into sex-linked job possibilities, sex-based activity types, stereotyped sex roles and masculine generic conception to detect orientation or stereotyping.

Different manifestations of sexism were examined in the analyses. First, the number of occurrences of females and males in conversations, reading passages and illustrations was counted and tallied. Second, instances of female/male topic presentation- the number of times that male-related or female-related were presented in conversations and reading passages were tallied and summed. Next, the type of jobs for females and for males was identified. Furthermore, the type of portrayed activities in which females and males often participate was recorded. Then, all traditional female-inclusive stereotyped sex-roles were paired with its male-inclusive counterparts. Finally, in an attempt to document whether masculine generic constructions are truly intended to be generic (including both sexes) or they are merely male referenced, the association between all pronouns and their referents were determined.

Since scoring was not simple, in order to avoid biasing and make sure that the classification of the data and the resulting categories are reliable, a second rater categorized the data. Then, Cronbach's alpha was calculated for each category as a measure of inter-rater reliability. The results were reported together with other statistical data in the related tables. In no case an alpha of less than 0.70 ([alpha] <0.70) was found.

3. Results:

3.1. Results of relations, contents, and subject positions:

The results of analysis on Interchange revealed what follows:

3.1. 1. Relations in the textbooks:

In the Interchange textbooks the category friends, colleagues, neighbors, clients, classmates, places, general issues, not specified, etc. appeared to be significant. Table 2 shows the pattern of relations in all the four textbooks. It can be seen that friends, colleagues, neighbors, clients, classmates, places, general issues, not specified, etc. is by far the most common relation portrayed with 98(54%) occurrences noted. This can be indicative of the emphasis that conversation analysis puts on conversations between social equals, which appear to "describe discourse as it might be in a better world rather than discourse as it is" [7]. This conception has often been transferred to ELT materials which are normally produced by the same people as those involved in applied linguistics research.

The second most common relation is girlfriend-boyfriend with 76(42%) occurrences and the least common one is family members with 8(4%) occurrences, which highlights the dominance of a particular lifestyle. The proportion of girlfriend-boy friend is meaningful since it is larger than the number for family members about 9 times and it is the second most common relation. From what has been observed the results portray inequality in these relations.

The reason why in this case reading passages weren't analyzed to investigate subject position is that in reading passages we don't usually have interlocutors and relations. However, the inequality is rarely addressed in these interactions, and this reiterates the point regarding the tendency to conceal inequality in discourse. Fairclough's [7] studies of actual micro-discourses between doctors and interns, police and citizens, and so on reveal how powerful participants exercise power through the conventions of discourse. Once relations, subjects and contents are established, there are observable constraints on such things as turn taking, who can ask questions, who can interrupt, and forms of address, among many other possibilities.

3.1. 2. Subject positions:

The subject positions for all the interactants in all the conversations in each textbook were listed and tallied and then placed in three general categories: occupational, societal, and commercial. In each of these categories the subjects are listed in groups according to their frequency of occurrence with the percentage for each category in the textbooks, thus providing a general picture of the subject positions as used in all the textbooks (see Table 3).

As shown in Table 3, societal subject position accounts for 63% of all subject positions portrayed which indicates that there is a heavy emphasis on the role the language learner might play in cultural institutions such as clubs, festivals, or schools which is an advantage of these textbooks. Commercial subject position accounts for 25% of all subject positions portrayed which indicates the crystallization of consumer society. Occupational subject position accounts for 11% of all subject positions which is not the way we expected because it's a general subject position and everyone would be in such a position.

The reason why in this case only the conversations were analyzed to investigate subject position is that each unit usually begins with a conversation and they are, in fact, the central part of each unit and we always have interlocutors and illustrations usually correspond to the conversations. In reading passages we don't usually have interlocutors.

3.1. 3. Tabulation of Contents:

The topics treated in each textbook were first identified and then to get a clear idea about the general pattern of contents in textbooks these topics were classified into two general categories. The percentage of each category for all the textbooks and for each individual textbook is presented in Table 4 below.

As it can be seen in Table 4, although 85% of the conversations, reading passages and illustrations are neutral, 15% of them idolize or advertize a particular lifestyle, culture, entertainment, politicians, economy and military power, etc. This can be considered as hidden curriculum which can affect the students in particular societies.

The contents raise other questions about the nationality of the entertainers, politicians, etc. Most of them are from or reside in western countries, while there are many entertainers, politicians, etc. which are internationally popular.

3.2. Results of quantitative and qualitative sexism analysis:

As for sexism concept, the corpus of study was examined both quantitatively and qualitatively as presented below.

3.2. 1. Results of quantitative analysis on sexism:

The analysis of the data revealed that, based on the frequency of occurrence, men suffered from low visibility. The percentage of female-only visibility in texts was, in fact, 14% while the percentage of male-only visibility in texts was 12%. Table 5 below presents the frequencies of female/male visibility rates in conversations, reading passages and illustrations of the textbooks.

3.3.2. Results of qualitative analysis on sexism:

An examination of conversations, reading passages and illustrations of the textbooks demonstrated that from the total 312 topics, 0(0%) topics were male-dominated or female-dominated. Table 6 offers a detailed display of topic presentation in the textbooks. A close qualitative look into sex-linked job possibilities, addressing way, and superiority of a particular sex indicated that the occupational capacities in which both sexes were portrayed didn't appear to be restricted to particular occupations or stereotypes although, few examples of firstness were observed. That is to say, given two nouns paired for sex, such as brother and sister, boys and girls, the masculine word usually came first. There wasn't confusion over masculine generic conception in texts and illustrations. 'Generic' items are basically intended to include both sexes. However, they did not seem to work the way they are supposed to, e.g. parts of the human body or objects that are often not restricted to one single sex such as shape of body were presented in association with the pictures of men's body shape.

To round up, results indicated that the internationally distributed interchange textbooks can be considered sexist and unfair in terms of invisibility of men while they comprise almost half the population of the world. It is suggested that this sexism seems to reflect the institutionalized unjust sex discrimination to the disadvantage of men in western societies. But the books can't be considered sexist in terms of orientation and stereotyping a particular sex.

4. Discussion, conclusion and implications:

The main research questions were about the existence of cultural biases and sexism (stereotyping and visibility) in the internationally distributed interchange textbooks and we were intended to see whether features, lifestyle of the textbook producers' society are idolized or not. We were also going to investigate violation of ethical standards of Islamic countries in these textbooks.

Generally speaking, in the internationally distributed Interchange textbooks, by looking at the data on social relations, an emphasis on the interaction between social equals is observed. By examining the data on subject positions, one can easily see the emphasis placed on commercial and occupational positions. When the data on contents are examined, an emphasis on non-controversial topics, entertainment, and individual preferences and choice can be seen. Overall, the pattern is that conversations are interactions between social equals performing commercial and occupational roles while talking about issues concerning individual preferences and choice.

The analysis of the text content also revealed that in the portrayal of occupations an emphasis on skilled workers such as computer technicians and doctors, or on summer jobs of students, such as an intern. This aims to entertain the learner with a portrayal of this segment of society, partly because it is more enticing than others, but also because, like the media which sell through advertising, the textbook content is designed to enthuse the more affluent sectors of the market in order to maximize sales.

In spite of the fact that in much of the literature on ELT there is talk of the need to compromise and to adopt a sanctioned view of language appropriate for international use, and even though actual place names, historical figures, and settings are avoided, the discourse of these ELT textbooks seems to mirror the discourses of the developed free-market western economies. Such an outcome may be expected since the ideological nature of the text implies that teaching English does not simply mean the neutral transfer of skills, knowledge, and competencies. Certain assumptions, values, and implicit or explicit beliefs are inextricably packaged in with the language [5].

The study also implies that the textbooks claims of promoting learner independence and empowerment should not be taken at face value since such claims may be just an attempt to hide the fact that certain ideology is implanted in learners. This is especially an issue in a teacher-centered approach in which values are taught explicitly.

Interpreting the results of the study, there are some points which are noteworthy. First, conversations are contextualized that is why the social relations and the subject positions of the participants could be determined easily. Making the language in these books social is a major feature of the books (societal subject category). Second, instances of cultural contrast, was observed. This is to corroborate contextualization in these books. Put differently, an attempt to present a 'cultureless' language is not made. Finally, there is a heavy emphasis on consumer-oriented topics i.e. commercial subject category. This observation verifies the fact that the instrumental use of language informs the choice of language and content in the textbooks.

Overall, the findings show a demand for more cognizance of the impact of the market on language teaching. Those involved in material development should be concerned with what compromises are involved and what ideological implications are at stake when preparing international ELT materials. Since, as observed by Toolan [26], what underlies the globalization is a new kind of regimentation in which all companies and markets and countries are brought into line with certain standards set by corporate America and corporate Europe to give those corporate powers free access to the world's seven billion consumers.

From what has been said in the result section, it can be concluded that Interchange series are culture-biased. However, to be on the safe side, it should be noted that these biases are relative and more salient in Islamic countries. And we may draw this conclusion that life style and features of a particular society are advertised. For example, most entertainers, politicians, are from the United States or western countries. Particularly speaking, another question may arise: "Why Carter not Gandhi?" Carter, the former president of the U.S., is notorious in some countries like Iran but Gandhi is internationally praised. Some students may subconsciously come to accept the superiority of life style and may praise them.

What about the role of family? The results of relation reveal that family as key component of every society, especially Islamic societies, is de-emphasized in the internationally distributed interchange textbooks while it is in contrast with ethical standards of some society. Censorship of some illustrations (that can be considered to have a sexy look at women), conversations (about going to a dance, karaoke bar, etc.), reading passages (that idolize singers, actresses, etc.), and unsafe topics (such as making dates, etc.) can be considered as signs of violation of ethical standards in some societies. Definitely this doesn't mean that book producers should not insert their own standards, but a balance is needed for international curricula to be on the safe side. It's true that girlfriend-boyfriend relationship may not be that bad in the west and it has cultural and ideological background, but it is not acceptable in Islamic countries and it imparts lifestyle and particular values that may bring about transmutation and brainwashing among teenagers and adults in Islamic countries where this is in contrast with their values and ethical standards.

Seemingly little attempt has been made to make learners aware of issues such as dialogue management strategies like turn taking or to even equip them with the verbal self-defense skills needed to deal with different types of infringement of their wishes. What seems to be lacking is an explicit teaching of such skills rather than simply exposing them to certain forms of language. In addition, relations are portrayed in conversations that are often contextualized and short.

Instructional materials can greatly affects learners' attitudes and dispositions towards people and society. This is particularly true with ESL/EFL students whose success is conditioned not only by their mastery of the new language, but also, and especially, by their ability to negotiate the new culture. Building on the argument that learning a second/Foreign language inseparable from the acquisition of the culture that it embodies, this study argues that the design and adaptation of textbooks and other instructional materials should mirror multiple perspectives inherent to a pluralistic society to engage learners in a process of uncovering and confronting cultural biases and facilitate intercultural learning. This study also posits that instructional materials that do not integrate learners' diverse life experiences in the teaching and learning process fail to empower them to identify the missing, misconstrued and misrepresented voices.

In general, women are traditionally regarded as second-class citizens in ELT textbooks. But, interestingly, women are not less visible than men in the internationally distributed interchange textbooks. Although the invisibility of man is no way acceptable, in one sense the visibility of women can be a step forward in material preparation. Furthermore, to some people in Islamic societies, the visibility of women can have a negative implication which is the instrumental look at women to add attraction to the textbooks and make them more popular. Examination of the treatment of women in Interchange textbooks revealed that in every category of this study, women didn't appeared less visible than men. Evidence was also found that English was basically taught through the presentation of female-orientated topics. In addition, a much closer look at the data demonstrated that male firstness was not prevalent, females were not placed in traditional stereotypical roles. In light of these findings, one may claim that since the first study of sexism in these textbook materials, much has changed in a comparison with previous works. It is remarkable that ESL/EFL teachers still, in the modern age, use materials which are loaded with a lot of female/male-as-norm elements and are fraught with the unfair and inexcusable language of a female/male-dominated society.

International education imparts an ethic for the future of humanity. It shouldn't impose but allow students to discover and reflect for themselves. It should provide students with material on global issues, responses from some of the world's most creative thinkers and the opportunity to discuss. However, agreement on such universal values does not necessarily mean that different nations or ethnic groups will act in the same way. But to what extent the internationally distributed Interchange textbooks are faithful in shouldering this burden? All that can be offered is an often-neglected perspective, asking what is the content that we teach unintentionally, and how by adopting this perspective we may seek to reinforce valuable process messages and diminish the others. To conclude this heading, the internationally distributed Interchange textbooks don't look to be careful about this fact. While, an international education must go well beyond the provision of information and is involved in the development of attitudes and values which transcend barriers of race, class, religion, gender or politics.

According to Campbell [6], schools and teachers have an important role in preparing learners for cultural pluralism. They do so by presenting a curriculum that mirrors multiple perspectives on issues as well as diverse life experiences, both desirable and undesirable, and by empowering students to identify the missing, misconstrued and misrepresented voices. Learners must learn that the viewpoints presented in instructional materials can be challenged and questioned, and that there is not one truth, but multiple truths. Above all, they must learn that uncovering stereotypes and biases and discussing them openly is a constructive way to confront the development of new misconceptions and to augment mutual understanding.

To put it in a nutshell, the hidden curriculum as a socialization of schooling can be identified by the social interactions within an environment. Therefore, it is in process all the time, and serves to transmit indirect messages to learners about attitudes, values and principles.

Teachers should make their learners aware of the fact that language is not merely grammar, but that it is also a system of communication for sharing ideas and a way of controlling people and influencing actions and thoughts. Language use involves making choices about grammar, lexis, discourse structure, register, and so forth which are made for certain reasons.

In this section, some strategies for teaching sex-biased concepts have been summarized. Ask students to leaf and review textbooks and identify different forms of bias. Then ask them to suggest ways to confront and remove the bias and create make equitable textbooks. While curriculum bias clearly impacts one sex, the other sex can also be victim as well. Use the different forms of bias as a framework, find instances that negatively impact a particular sex, and suggest ways to confront the bias. Ask students to identify how different forms of bias appear in interpersonal interactions.

In addition, some helpful strategies for teachers to confront deconstruct textbook cultural biases will be discussed.

Raise awareness:

Creating critical language cognizance in learners is what language teachers can do with the present materials available on the market. Almost all students in Iran and Middle East, where these books are widely used, are Muslim and think highly of their own culture and religion. Therefore, teachers need to increase their awareness of the various types of destructive effects on students' perceptions and learning experiences.

Examine educational materials critically:

Check the illustrations and the content in the reading passages, scrutinize the relationships between people, look at the lifestyles, note the heroes, consider the possible effects on learners' self image, consider the background of the author and the depicters, watch out the author's perspective, and be careful about word selection. As developing the objectives of each section, ask questions like: What are the short-term/long-term positive/negative outcomes of the lesson? What are the implicit messages contained in the materials? How do the materials strengthen the learners to become accountable citizens? How do the materials strengthen the learners to critically examine their experiences and their relationships with others in society? Do the materials enthuse the learners to be responsible for their lives and actively participate in the transformation of their society into one that is inclusive, equitable and fair?

Listen to learners as much as possible:

Learners bring their experiences with them. They are an instructional resource of incredible potential. Listening to what they say about their culture and ideas empowers them and enriches their teachers and classmates. This will help discard some biases and misconceptions about their own lives.

Provide students with supplementary materials:

An effective way to confront the development of stereotypes and other forms of bias is to use different resources that present multiple perspectives about people and issues. Newspaper articles, biographies, television shows, music and guest speakers from the community are only a few examples of resources that teachers can use to provide the students with more diversified and inclusive instruction.

Uncover the existing biases:

Learners must negotiate between right and wrong, truth and deceit, love and hatred, acceptance and intolerance, victory and defeat, knowledge and ignorance, etc. Teachers must expose these issues, uncover biases and get the students involved in reflective and critical discussions of alternative perspectives and answers to confusing questions.

Last but not least, an indispensable part of any curriculum is its syllabi. Acquisition of another language enables one to compare the cultural values of two societies. It certainly causes a change in the learners' relation to the society. But it shouldn't necessarily result in a decrease of identification with the native framework. If this happens, it is because of improper understanding of both cultures, the result of improper EFL teaching. If enough and proper attention is paid to explaining the cultural differences when teaching a foreign language, the students will come to realize that cultures are different and not superior or inferior.

References

[1.] Anderson, T., 2001. The hidden curriculum in distance education. November 8, 2004, from http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi

[2.] Ansary, H., E. Babaii, 2010. Subliminal Sexism in Current ESL/EFL Textbooks. Article presented at Shiraz University, Iran.

[3.] Apple, M.W., 1982. Education and Power. Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

[4.] Apple, M.W., 2004. Ideology and Curriculum, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

[5.] Auerbach, E., 1995. The politics of ESL classrooms. In J. Tollefson (Ed.) Power and inequality in language education (pp. 95-113). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[6.] Campbell, D.E., 2000. Choosing Democracy: A Practical Guide to Multicultural Education (2nd edn). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

[7.] Fairclough, N., 1989. Language and power. Harlow, Essex: Longman.

[8.] Fairclough, N. (Ed.), 1992. Critical language awareness. New York: Longman.

[9.] Fasold, R., 1990. The sociolinguistics of language. Cambridge, MA.: Basil Blackwell.

[10.] Giroux, H., 1997. Pedagogy and politics of hope: Theory, culture, and schooling. Oxford: Westview Press.

[11.] Giroux, H.A., 2001. Theory and Resistance in Education. London: Bergin & Garvey.

[12.] Graham, A., 1975. The making of non-sexist dictionary. In B. Thorne, &, N. Henely (Eds.), Language and sex: Difference and dominance, (pp. 57-63). Rowley, MA.: Newbury House Publishers.

[13.] Jackson, P.W., 1968. Life in Classrooms. New York: Holt, Reinhart & Winston.

[14.] Key, M.R., 1975. Male/female language. Metuchen, NJ.: The Scarecrow Press.

[15.] Kress, G., 1995. Writing the future. Sheffield: National Association for Teaching English.

[16.] Lakoff, R., 1975. Language and women's place. New York: Harper and Row. Lewy, A. (1991). The International Encyclopedia of Curriculum. New York: Pergamon Press, 41-42.

[17.] Phillipson, R., 1992. Linguistic imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[18.] Porreca, K.L., 1984. Sexism in current ESL textbooks. TESOL Quarterly, 18(4): 704-724.

[19.] Richards, J., 2005. Interchange 1(3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[20.] Richards, J., 2005. Interchange 2(3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[21.] Richards, J., 2005. Interchange 3(3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[22.] Richards, J., 2005. Interchange Intro (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[23.] Taki, S., 2008. International and local curricula: The question of ideology. Language Teaching Research, 12(1): 127-142.

[24.] Thomas, Wareing, 1999. Language, Society and Power. London: Routledge.

[25.] Thorne, B., N. Henely, 1975. Language and sex: Difference and dominance. Rowley, MA.: Newbury House.

[26.] Toolan, M., 1999. Nation languages, local literatures, and international readers: A new indiginization in native English writers? Available at http://artsweb.bham. ac.uk./Mtoolan/nationlanguage.htm.

[27.] Ur, P., 1996. A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[28.] Widdowson, H.G., 1997. EIL, ESL, EFL: Global issues and local interests. World Englishes, 16: 135-146.

(1) Seyyed Ali Kazemi, (2) Nader Asadi Aidinlou, (3) Seyyed Yousef Savaedi, (4) Maryam Alaviniya

(1) Islamic Azad University, Ahar Branch, Iran

(2) Islamic Azad University, Ahar Branch, Iran

(3) Farhangian University, Ahvaz, Iran

(4) Shahid Chamran University, Ahvaz, Iran

Corresponding Author

Seyyed Ali Kazemi, Islamic Azad University, Ahar Branch, Iran

E-mail: Kazemi.TEFL@yahoo.com
Table 1: Formal features: experiential, relational,
and expressive values [7].

Dimensions of meaning      Values       Structural effects

Contents                Experiential   Knowledge and beliefs
Relations                Relational      Social relations
Subjects                 Expressive      Social identities

Table 2: Relations in individual textbooks and in all
textbooks as a whole.

textbook                       Interchange Interchange
                               Intro          1

                                C     I     C     I

Relations   Girlfriend-        11    12    16    15
              boyfriend
            Family members      1     1     0     0
              (Wife-husband,
              uncle-niece,
              etc.)
            Friends,           20    19    13    14
              colleagues,
              neighbors,
              clients,
              classmates,
              places,
              general
              issues, not
              specified,
              etc.

textbook                       Interchange Interchange
                                  2           3

                                C     I     C     I

Relations   Girlfriend-         4     4     7     7
              boyfriend
            Family members      2     2     1     1
              (Wife-husband,
              uncle-niece,
              etc.)
            Friends,            9     9     7     7
              colleagues,
              neighbors,
              clients,
              classmates,
              places,
              general
              issues, not
              specified,
              etc.

textbook                        total      Inter-
                                            rater
                                         reliability

Relations   Girlfriend-        76(42%)      0.81
              boyfriend
            Family members      8(4%)       0.70
              (Wife-husband,
              uncle-niece,
              etc.)
            Friends,           98(54%)      0.79
              colleagues,        182
              neighbors,
              clients,
              classmates,
              places,
              general
              issues, not
              specified,
              etc.

Note 1. C = Conversations, I = Illustrations

Note 2. All percentages are rounded to the nearest whole
number.

Table 3: Subject positions in individual textbooks and in all textbooks
as a whole.

textbook                     Interchange   Interchange   Interchange
                                Intro           1             2

                                  C             C             C

Subject       Societal           20            27             9
  Positions   Commercial          8            11             6
              Occupational        4             4             1

textbook                     Interchange    total    Inter-rater
                                  3                  reliability

                                  C

Subject       Societal           11        67(63%)      0.74
  Positions   Commercial          2        27(25%)      0.71
              Occupational        3        12(11%)      0.79
                                             106

Note 1. C = Conversation

Note 2. All percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number. Due
to rounding, they may not add up to 100%.

Table 4: Contents in individual textbooks and in all textbooks
as a whole.

textbook                              Interchange   Interchange
                                       Intro            1

                                     C    R   I    C    R    I

Contents         Particular/book     2    3   5    3    5    9
  (Idolized or     producers'
  advertised)      lifestyle,
                   culture,
                   entertainment,
                   entertainers,
                   politicians,
                   economy and
                   military power,
                   etc
                 Neutral             30   9   38   28   11   38

textbook                              Interchange    Interchange
                                          2              3

                                     C    R    I    C    R    I

Contents         Particular/book     1    4    5    3    1    3
  (Idolized or     producers'
  advertised)      lifestyle,
                   culture,
                   entertainment,
                   entertainers,
                   politicians,
                   economy and
                   military power,
                   etc
                 Neutral             15   12   27   13   15   13

textbook                              total     Inter-rater
                                                reliability

Contents         Particular/book     44(15 %)      0.72
  (Idolized or     producers'
  advertised)      lifestyle,
                   culture,
                   entertainment,
                   entertainers,
                   politicians,
                   economy and
                   military power,
                   etc
                 Neutral             249(85%)      0.81
                                       293

Note 1. C = Conversations, R = Readings I = Illustrations

Note 2. All percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Table 5: Sex visibility in individual textbooks and in all
textbooks as a whole.

                            Interchange   Interchange
textbook                     Intro            1

                           C    R   I    C    R    I

Sex            Male        1    1   4    3    0    5
  Visibility     only
               Female      7    2   8    2    1    3
                 only
               Male/       24   6   30   27   3    29
                 Female
               Sex-        0    3   2    0    12   11
                 neutral

                            Interchange  Interchange
textbook                       2             3

                           C   R   I    C    R   I

Sex            Male        3   2   9    1    2   7
  Visibility     only
               Female      4   2   10   0    1   3
                 only
               Male/       9   3   13   15   4   17
                 Female
               Sex-        0   9   0    0    9   5
                 neutral

                            total     Inter-rater
textbook                              reliability

Sex            Male        38(12 %)      0.81
  Visibility     only
               Female      43(14%)       0.74
                 only
               Male/       180(58%)      0.74
                 Female
               Sex-        51(16%)       0.87
                 neutral
                             312

Note 1. C = Conversations, R = Readings, I = Illustrations

Note 2. All percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Table 6: Stereotyping in individual textbooks and in all textbooks
as a whole.

textbook                      Interchange    Interchange
                               Intro             1

                             C    R    I    C    R    I

Sex              Male        0    0    0    0    0    0
  Stereotyping     only
                 Female      0    0    0    0    0    0
                   only
                 Male/       0    0    0    0    0    0
                   Female
                 Sex-        32   12   44   32   16   48
                   neutral

textbook          Interchange    Interchange
                      2              3

                 C    R    I    C    R    I

Sex              0    0    0    0    0    0
  Stereotyping
                 0    0    0    0    0    0

                 0    0    0    0    0    0

                 16   16   32   16   16   32

textbook           total     Inter-rater
                             reliability

Sex                0(0%)        0.81
  Stereotyping
                   0(0%)        0.87

                   0(0%)        0.83

                 312(100%)      0.87

                    312

Note. C = Conversations, R = Readings, I = Illustrations
COPYRIGHT 2013 American-Eurasian Network for Scientific Information
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Original Article
Author:Kazemi, Seyyed Ali; Aidinlou, Nader Asadi; Savaedi, Seyyed Yousef; Alaviniya, Maryam
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jul 1, 2013
Words:7508
Previous Article:Measuring performance of network structure by DEA-R model.
Next Article:Comparative analysis of competitive state anxiety among elite and non-elite Karate athletes in Iran.
Topics:

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters