Cultural Content in the Widely Used ELT Method Stepping Stones: An Analysis of VMBO Textbooks
Hoeff, A.M.C. van der
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In ELT, sociocultural knowledge and pragmatic skills have recently gained more attention, as students need to be prepared for real-life intercultural communication in the target language and should be made aware of the intercultural context and consequences of intercultural communication. Although culture has been included in curricula such as described in the CEFR, as suggested by the Dutch National Institute for Curriculum Development (SLO), and in various frameworks for conceptualizing 21st century skills (Voogt & Pareja Roblin, 2010), previous studies point out that the cultural content in contemporary ELT materials still frequently reflects a simplified picture of the English language in the world, the various interlocutors of English, and the cultural context involved (see, e.g., Baker 2012; Bieswanger 2008). This contrast between ELT materials and the ELT curricular developments is a major reason for a more accurate and critical analysis of ELT textbooks. In this study, the present researcher aims to demonstrate the way in which Stepping Stones currently conveys culture in its textbooks for VMBO, to examine whether this reflects recent developments in ELT, and develops competences adjusted to the 21st century.