Cultural Representation in ESL Textbooks in Pakistan?A Case Study of “Step Ahead 1”

Muhammad Asim Mahmood, Zobina Muhammad Asghar, Zahida Hussain


The issue of culture inculcation in EFL/ESL learning and teaching has gained attention in ‘World Englishes’ scenario along with the voices of ‘Glocalization’ (Tiplady, 2003), acculturation and international culture, advocating the concepts of the amalgamation of global and local aspects of a phenomena, the mixing up of learner’s native and target culture and overall world culture as a whole respectively. There are two views regarding the cultural representation in ESL/EFL learning and teaching; the source culture i.e. learners’ native culture should be presented or only the exposure to target culture i.e. the culture of the countries where English is spoken as first language should be given. The present study is an attempt to highlight the cultural representation in ESL textbook using the model presented by Byram et al. (1994). The results reveal that the major focus of the textbook Step Ahead 1 is non-native culture, inadequate insufficient inter-cultural harmony is found in it and the least consideration has been given to the source culture, which is likely to alienate the learners from their own culture. The researchers argue that there should be ‘glocalized’ approach in such a sensitive issue and conclude with some suggestions that the books used as ESL textbooks should contain some aspects of both the target and source culture and there should be the intercultural harmony as well.

Keywords: culture, source culture, target culture, ESL textbooks

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