General and Specific Culture Learning in EFL Textbooks Aimed at Adult Learners in Spain

Open access


Since language teaching in modern-day society is closely linked to cultural instruction, this study employs the model of a cultural learning analysis based on the earlier work of Paige and Lee. Using this model, the authors analysed the cultural content of six B1 and B2-level textbooks for teaching English to adults in Spain, and carried out a comparative study of the results, contrasting the two levels. Findings show that the subjective aspects of culture receive less coverage in textbooks, despite being fundamental to an understanding of the values of a society. Regarding the comparison between B1 and B2 levels, the data indicate that the number of big “C” Culture occurrences is similar for both levels, although there are differences in other cultural aspects. So, for example, culture in general is dealt with more at the B1 level, whereas small “c” culture is dealt with more at the B2 level.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Kerr Philip & Ceri Jones. 2012. Straightforward intermediate. Oxford: Macmillan Publishers.

  • Kerr Philip & Ceri Jones. 2012. Straightforward upper intermediate. Oxford: Macmillan Publishers.

  • Latham-Koenig Christina & Clive Oxenden. 2013. English file intermediate. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Oxenden Clive & Christian Latham-Koenig. 2008. New English file upper-intermediate. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Rea David & Theresa Clementson. 2011. English unlimited intermediate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Tilbury Alex & Leslie A. Hendra. 2011. English unlimited upper intermediate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Areizaga Elisabet. 2002. El componente cultural en la enseñanza de lenguas: Elementos para el análisis y la evaluación del material didáctico. Cultura y Educación 14 (2). 161-175. doi: 10.1174/113564002760041550

  • Brown H. Douglas. 2000. Principles of language learning and teaching (4th edn.). New York NY: Longman.

  • Byram Michael. 1989. Cultural studies in foreign language education (Multilingual Matters 46). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

  • Byram Michael. 1997. Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence (Multilingual Matters). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

  • Byram Michael Bella Gribkova & Hugh Starkey. 2002. Developing the intercultural dimension in language teaching: A practical introduction for teachers. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

  • CEFR = Council of Europe. 2001. Common European framework of reference for languages: Learning teaching assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Cerezal Fernando. 1999. La transmisión de valores genéricos discriminatorios en libros de texto de inglés (Instrumentos didácticos 11). Alcalá de Henares: Servicio de Publicaciones Universidad de Alcalá.

  • Cheng Ching-Mei. 2012. The influence of college EFL teachers’ understandings of intercultural competence on their self-reported pedagogical practices in Taiwan. English Teaching: Practice and Critique 11 (1). 164-182.

  • Göbel Kerstin & Andreas Helmke. 2010. Intercultural learning in English as foreign language instruction: The importance of teachers’ intercultural experience and the usefulness of precise instructional directives. Teaching and Teacher Education 26(8). 1571-1582. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2010.05.008

  • Hinkel Eli. 2001. Building awareness and practical skills to facilitate cross-cultural communication. In Marianne Celce-Murcia (ed.) Teaching English as a second or foreign language (3rd edn.) 443-458. Boston MA: Heinle & Heinle. Howatt Anthony P. R. & Henry G. Widdowson. 2004. A history of English language teaching (2nd edn.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Kramsch Claire. 1988. The cultural discourse of foreign language textbooks. In Alan J. Singerman (ed.) Toward a new integration of language and culture 63-88. Middlebury VT: Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

  • Kramsch Claire. 1993. Context and culture in language teaching (Oxford Applied Linguistics). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Kramsch Claire. 1998. Language and culture (Oxford Introductions to Language Study). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Lai Hsuan-Yau Tony. 2014. Learning English as an international language: EFL learners’ perceptions of cultural knowledge acquisition in the English classroom. Asian Social Science 10(1). 1-11. doi: 10.5539/ass.v10n1p1

  • Lárzen-Östermark Eva. 2008. The intercultural dimension in EFL-teaching: A study of conceptions among Finland-Swedish comprehensive school teachers. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 52(5). 527-547. doi: 10.1080/00313830802346405

  • Lárzen-Östermark Eva. 2009. Language teacher education in Finland and the cultural dimension of foreign language teaching - a student teacher perspective. European Journal of Teacher Education 32(4). 401-421. doi: 10.1080/02619760903012688

  • Lee Kang-Young. 2009. Treating culture: What 11 high school EFL conversation textbooks in South Korea do. English Teaching: Practice and Critique 8(1). 76-96.

  • Lee Kang-Young. 2012. Teaching intercultural English learning/teaching in world : Some classroom activities in South Korea. English Teaching: Practice and Critique 11(4): 190-205.

  • Liddicoat Anthony J. Leo Papademetre Angela Scarino & Michelle Kohler. 2003. Report on intercultural language learning. Canberra ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.

  • McConachy Troy & Kaori Hata. 2013. Addressing textbook representations of pragmatics and culture. ELT Journal 67(3): 294-301. doi: 10.1093/elt/cct017

  • Mitchell Rosamond & Florence Myles. 2004. Second language learning theories (2nd edn.). London: Hodder Arnold.

  • Paige R. Michael Helen Jorstad Laura Paulson Francine Klein & Jeanette Colby. 1999. Culture learning in language education: A review of the literature. In R. Michael Paige Dale L. Lange & Yelena A. Yershova (eds.) Culture as the core: Integrating culture into the language curriculum (CARLA Working Paper Series 15) 47-114. Minneapolis MN: The Center for Advanced Researchon Language Acquisition University of Minnesota.

  • Paricio Silvina. 2005. La dimensión cultural en los libros de texto de lenguas extranjeras: Pautas para su análisis. Glosas Didácticas 15. 133-144.

  • Puig Gentil. 1996. Analyse du contenu ethnoculturel des manuels de langues étrangères. In Fermín Sierra Martínez Mercè Pujol Berché & Harm den Boer (eds.) Las lenguas en la Europa comunitaria II: La ensenanza de segundas lenguas y/o de lenguas extranjeras (Diálogos Hispánicos 18) 327-346. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

  • Risager Karen. 1991. Cultural references in European textbooks: An evaluation of recent tendencies. In Dieter Buttjes & Michael Byram (eds.) Mediating languages and cultures: Towards an intercultural theory of foreign language education (Multilingual Matters 60) 181-192. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

  • Risager Karen. 1998. Language teaching and the process of European integration. In Michael Byram & Michael Fleming (eds.) Language learning in intercultural perspective: Approaches through drama and ethnography (Cambridge Language Teaching Library) 242-254. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Sercu Lies. 2000. Textbooks. In Michael Byram (ed.) Routledge encyclopedia of language teaching and learning 626-628. London & New York NY: Routledge.

  • Sercu Lies. 2005. Teaching foreign languages in an intercultural world. In Lies Sercu et al. (eds.) Foreign language teachers and intercultural competence: An international investigation (Language for Intercultural Communication and Education 10) 1-18. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

  • Shin Jeeyoung Zohreh R. Eslami & Wen-Chun Chen. 2011. Presentation of local and international culture in current international English-language teaching textbooks. Language Culture and Curriculum 24(3). 253-268. doi: 10.1080/07908318.2011.614694

  • Tomlinson Brian. 2012. Materials development for language learning and teaching. Language Teaching 45(2). 143-179. doi: 10.1017/S0261444811000528

  • Varón Martha E. 2009. Componente cultural libros de texto y enseñanza del inglés como lengua extranjera. Forma y Función 22(1). 95-124.

  • Ware Paige D. & Claire Kramsch. 2005. Toward an intercultural stance: Teaching German and English through telecollaboration. The Modern Language Journal 89(2).190-205. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4781.2005.00274.x Watson Jeffrey R. Peter Siska & Richard L. Wolfel. 2013. Assessing gains in language proficiency cross-cultural competence and regional awareness during study abroad: A preliminary study. Foreign Language Annals 46 (1). 62-79. doi: 10.1111/flan.12016

  • Weninger Csilla & Tamas Kiss. 2013. Culture in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) textbooks: A semiotic approach. TESOL Quarterly 47(4). 694-716. doi: 10.1002/tesq.87

  • Whorf Benjamin L. 1956. Science and linguistics. In John B. Carroll (ed.) Language thought and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf 212-214. Cambridge MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.

  • Zarei Gholam R. & Mahmood Khalessi. 2011. Cultural load in English language textbooks: An analysis of interchange series. Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences 15. 294-301. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.03.089

Journal information
Impact Factor

Cite Score 2018: 0.08

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.1
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.095

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 894 530 27
PDF Downloads 430 240 12