PAOLA VETTOREL EIL / ELF and Representation of Culture in Textbooks: Only Food, Fairs, Folklore and Facts? 153
PAOLA VETTOREL EIL / ELF and Representation of Culture in Textbooks: Only Food, Fairs, Folklore and Facts? Kostaki’s reading geography in the English lesson is a healthy sign. It is a sign that he is asserting himself over all that is trivial and dull. If Kostaki is not invited to speak as Kostaki but as one-dimensional Eng- lish schoolboy in a one-dimensional world, then he takes action: he channels his inventiveness into designing an aerodynamic paper aero- plane or does his geography homework. (Prodromou 1988: 80) Sitting in a class is like being in the car with your parents on a long road trip without your CD-player. (13-year-old learner, cited by Puchta, Helbling Seminar, Verona, 2nd February 2007) 1. Culture, language teaching and images of the English-speaking world Culture has played an important role in the language classroom, par- ticularly since the 70s when sociolinguistic competence has been iden- tified as one of the key aspects of successful communication. How- ever, teaching culture in the language classroom has often meant introducing an adjunctive point, a ‘fifth skill’ (Kramsch 1993) not directly connected to language itself and to the close connection of language and culture (Cf. also Kramsch 1991; Pulverness 2003). Aspects related to facts have often been limited to “food, fairs, folk- lore and statistical facts” (Kramsch 1991: 218), transforming and re- ducing culture to “mere information, conveyed by the language, not as a feature of language itself” (Kramsch 1993: 8). Culture has been 154 seen either with a ‘big...
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