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What's in a book? Foreign language textual contents (and discontents)

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Title:What's in a book? Foreign language textual contents (and discontents)
Authors:Fabbian, Chiara
Valfredini, Alessia
Carney, Emanuela Zanotti
Date Issued:01 Jan 2019
Publisher:Cengage
Citation:Fabbian, C., Valfredini, A., Carney, E.Z. (2019). What's in a book? Foreign language textual contents (and discontents). The American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators and Directors of Foreign Languages Programs (AAUSC), 9-31. http://hdl.handle.net/102015/69790
Abstract:Traditionally viewed as value-free commercial commodities, language coursebooks
are cultural constructs shaped by dominant discourses, commercial interests,
pedagogical trends, ethical concerns, and larger political issues (Canale, 2016;
Gray, 2002, 2013) and play a critical role in institutionalizing certain views of
the world as representational samples of objective truths (Meyer & Rosenblatt,
1987). The present study examines a sample of learning units in popular firstyear
textbooks of Italian produced in the United States and designed for use in
a first-year language classroom at the college level, in which images and text
were scrutinized for their representation of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender,
socioeconomic class, age, and disability, in an effort to verify whether cultural
content promoted “intercultural awareness and reflective thinking” (Weninger &
Kiss, 2015, p. 51). While the textbook may largely determine instructional content,
faculty can engage students in a critical reflection about inclusion/exclusion
and modes of representation of different groups in instructional materials.
Problematizing curricular materials helps students to deconstruct traditional
assumptions about race, gender, socioeconomic status, and sexuality, and raises
students’ awareness of persisting biases in instructional resources and society at
large. The authors include examples of best practices and material designed to
foster students’ critical appreciation of cultural complexities, to reflect on the
ideological and concrete realities of their own world, and to empower them to
become agents of social change in their own communities. The authors suggest
ways to change the dominant paradigm on L2 instruction through a social justice
perspective and within the framework of a cohesive curriculum (Nieto, 2010;
Osborn, 2006). The ultimate goal of this chapter is to encourage L2 teachers to
reflect on the ontology of the profession and devise creative ways to position the
teaching of L2 at the core of the mission of academic institutions.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/69790
Volume:2019
Appears in Collections: 2019 PATHWAYS TO PARADIGM CHANGE: CRITICAL EXAMINATIONS OF PREVAILING DISCOURSES AND IDEOLOGIES IN SECOND LANGUAGE EDUCATION


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