Beyond The Surface of Language Learning. An Analysis of EFL Textbooks and Their Representation of Inner, Outer, and Expanding Circle Cultures
The aim of this study was to analyze EFL textbooks used in Swedish upper secondary schools to investigate the representation of Kachru’s three Circles of English – the Inner, Outer, and Expanding Circle – as well as their cultures. The study contained both a quantitative and a qualitative approach, collecting data from three EFL textbooks. The quantitative part collected data showing to what extent each of the three circles were represented and whether it differed, while the qualitative part – conducted through a Critical Discourse Analysis – studied prevalent themes in the books to investigate how the representations differed and what the implications of that difference might be. The quantitative findings showed that Inner Circle countries and cultures were represented to a far greater extent than Outer and Expanding Circle countries and cultures were, in all three textbooks. Two prevalent themes were found, The British Empire and Colonialism and Classic English Literature, which provided the basis for the critical discourse analysis. The findings of this analysis suggested that Outer Circle countries and cultures were marginalized and stereotyped, while Inner Circle countries and cultures, and to some extent the Expanding Circle as well, were represented as dominant powerholders with hegemonic control. A critical approach towards EFL textbooks was called for as a pedagogical implication, and a need for further research within the field of EFL textbooks – particularly in a European context – was emphasized.