Intercultural awareness and its misrepresentation in textbooks

La conciencia intercultural y su tergiversación en los libros de texto

Keywords: English teaching, intercultural awareness, culture, language policies, intercultural communicative competence (en_US)
Keywords: enseñanza del inglés, conciencia intercultural, cultura, políticas lingüísticas, competencia comunicativa intercultural (es_ES)

Abstract (en_US)

The role of culture and intercultural awareness in the language classroom is not a new area of research in ESL/EFL, and its relative importance has shifted in different approaches and methods of foreign language teaching. Today, the goal of some English textbooks has transcended a pure linguistic and language training orientation as text developers have moved towards also teaching intercultural awareness. The development of intercultural awareness was presented as a key component in ensuring the success of the latest Colombian National Bilingual Programme 2015-2025 (NBP), and the textbook series English, Please! was promoted as a breakthrough in this context. This article presents the research analysis and findings of an exploratory study based on the ambitious task set forth in the NBP policy on English textbooks. We examine the theoretical constructs adopted by the National Ministry of Education and by using, both quantitative and qualitative, analysis we explore the intercultural awareness activities presented in the series. At the end, we suggest that although the series is an important addition to existing materials in the area, it presents an overly reductionist and instrumentalist use of the concept of intercultural awareness.

Abstract (es_ES)

El papel de la cultura y la conciencia intercultural en el aula de idiomas no es un área nueva de investigación en ISL/ILE, y su importancia relativa ha cambiado en diferentes enfoques y métodos de enseñanza de lenguas extranjeras. Hoy en día, el objetivo de algunos libros de texto de inglés ha trascendido una orientación puramente lingüística y de formación lingüística, ya que los desarrolladores de textos han avanzado hacia la enseñanza de la conciencia intercultural. El desarrollo de la conciencia intercultural se presentó como un componente clave para asegurar el éxito del reciente Programa Nacional Bilingüe de Colombia (PNB) 2015-2025, y la serie de libros de texto English, Please! fue promovida como un gran avance en este contexto. Este artículo presenta el análisis y los resultados de un estudio exploratorio basado en la ambiciosa tarea establecida en la política de PNB sobre los libros de texto en inglés. Se examinan los constructos teóricos adoptados por el Ministerio de Educación Nacional, y, mediante un análisis tanto cuantitativo como cualitativo, se exploran las actividades de sensibilización intercultural presentadas en la serie. Al final, sugerimos que, aunque la serie es una adición importante a los materiales existentes en el área, presenta un uso excesivamente reduccionista e instrumentalista del concepto de conciencia intercultural.

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Author Biographies

Edwin Henao, Secretaría de Educación de Antioquia
Edwin Alejandro Heano Mejía holds an M.A. in Education from Universidad de San Buenaventura and an M.A. in Learning and Teaching Processes in Second Languages from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. He is currently undertaking doctoral studies in Education at Universidad Arturo Prat del Estado de Chile and tutoring in the P.T.A. 2.0 Program from the Colombian Ministry of National Education.
José Gómez, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana

José Orlando Gómez holds a Ph.D in Modern Languages from Wayne State Unversity in Detroit, Michigan. He also has a master degree in ESL from University of Northern Arizona - NAU. He is currently working as a fulltime professor at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, doing research and developing material for the teaching of languages.

Jorge Murcia, Secretaría de Educación de Antioquia - SEEDUCA
Jorge Heriberto Murcia Yalí holds an M.A. in Learning and Teaching Processes in Second Languages from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. He is currently undertaking doctoral studies in Education. He is also a primary school teacher in a rural area in the public sector.

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How to Cite
Henao, E., Gómez, J., & Murcia, J. (2019). Intercultural awareness and its misrepresentation in textbooks. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 21(2). https://doi.org/10.14483/22487085.14177
Published: 2019-11-07
Section
Research Articles