Opening Pandora's Box: A Culturally-oriented Look at the Covert Content of Passages 1
This study investigates the cultural content and covert syllabus of one well-known widely printed English Language Teaching (ELT) course book: Passages 1. In order to analyse the content, two coding systems the Five Dimensions of Culture and the Categories of Culture by Chao (2011) were used. The findings indicate that Passages 1 has encouraged various aspects of culture with an emphasis on the presentation of products, persons and viewpoints of the West. The partiality for the Target Culture (countries with English as the native language) is clear throughout the course book in terms of the selection of reading texts, listening tracks, and the images. Findings indicate that there is a minimal focus on the introduction of local and the Middle Eastern cultures. The theme of 'universality across cultures', as a specific classification in this study, is mostly placed in the speaking practices which revolves around sharing personal experiences rather than engaging in intercultural thinking and awareness. Based on the findings, some recommendations are given to ensure some aspects of the target culture are adequately addressed in the writing of ELT course books.
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