How well do materials evaluation schemes empower users to detect problematic social group portrayals within ELT materials?
A corpus analysis
Keywords:Textbook evaluation, Diversity, Hidden curriculum, Social justice, English as a Foreign Language (EFL), ESL
This research sought to determine how well schemes for evaluating English language teaching (ELT) materials provide guidance in detecting problematic social group portrayals. I collected 107 frameworks for ELT materials evaluation, assessing the guidance provided for detecting social group portrayals problematic in ELT materials. Specifically, I considered how well these frameworks instructed users in detecting ableism, ageism, lookism, racial bias, religious bias, cultural bias, undue UK/US focus, undue English native speaker focus, gender bias, heteronormativity, and urbanormativity. While results revealed some attention to these social group issues, this attention was limited and guidance to users was poor, especially when compared with more traditional areas of ELT materials evaluation such as that afforded to assessing presentations of grammar and vocabulary. This suggests a troubling blind spot in materials evaluation, one that could allow ELT pedagogy to promote social injustice given that problematic social group portrayals can form a potent hidden curriculum.
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