A Descriptive Analysis of Cultural Content of “English for Iraq” Textbooks Used in the Intermediate Schools in Iraq

Ali Abdulridha Obaid, Lilliati Ismail, Abu Bakar Mohamed Razali, Nor Shahila Mansor, Moomala Othman, Dalia Aralas


Despite the abundance of the literature addressing culture incorporation in English language teaching and learning, the study of the implicit, as well as the explicit, cultural representations in EFL textbooks’ linguistic content formulates an essential part with a consensus on its significant importance. Since 2012, a new EFL textbooks series written by foreign authors has been adopted in Iraq; this series does not seem to have gained a lot of quality research about the hidden curriculum, particularly related to its cultural content. This study investigates culture integration in the content of “English for Iraq” textbook series currently used in the intermediate schools in Iraq, aiming at detecting both any potential acculturation, and the kind of culture, (surface or deep) emphasized in the written texts and the visuals of the textbooks’ content. A qualitative research method is employed based on a descriptive content analysis. Findings show that the textbooks encompass sharp difference in the frequency occurrences of the cultural representations, resulting to the dominance of both the source (Iraqi local cultural) culture, and the two cultural dimensions, products and persons. This imbalanced representation drives the textbooks to be source-culture-based textbooks with least probability of acculturation, and be prevailed with surface culture materials focusing on items like Folks, Fairs, Festivals, and Food, which turn the textbooks to look like tourist’s guide books. The textbooks then follow a traditional approach for integrating culture in their content. A pedagogical implication of the study can be the necessity of re-considering culture corporation in these textb


Cultural Content, Hidden Curriculum, English Textbooks, Content Analysis, Cultural Bias

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