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The Educational Potential of Texts of Culture in Teaching English to Senior Secondary School Students

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Olga Aleksandrowska

This book addresses the issue of using texts of culture in the EFL classroom. It analyzes some of the common problems observed in the teaching of English to senior secondary schools students, particularly in the context of the school leaving examination. It offers a discussion of the role of English language education in the school curriculum and stresses the importance of using texts with cognitive appeal at lessons. It presents the impact of literature, films and songs on the student’s overall development and a set of criteria for text selection. It also investigates the English teacher’s role in exploiting the educational potential of culture texts and proposes a way of integrating them with a system of preparation for the school leaving examination in English.
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The present work has aimed to discuss several issues related to the use of texts of culture as a resource in EFL classrooms at senior secondary schools, with the main focus on the educational potential embedded in them.

Contemporary English language education faces serious problems, such as the examination-oriented style of teaching, excessive preoccupation with teaching for communication, the general paucity of valuable content in English language coursebooks and inefficient preparation of language teachers to perform the role of an educator and a cultural mediator. The above-mentioned vital issues and the prevailing strictly utilitarian approach to English lessons at many senior secondary schools have already led to some undesirable educational outcomes.

Senior secondary school learners who are regularly exposed to qualitatively inferior learning materials during their English lessons do not seem to expand their knowledge and thinking skills. They themselves notice that tasks and materials used at their English lessons are not sufficiently demanding or engaging. Admittedly, due to intensive language practice, their communicative abilities develop, but, at the same time, it can be observed that the written and oral output produced by many students is frequently devoid of expected intellectual and/or emotional depth. It is evident then that the great potential lying in foreign language education is not adequately exploited.

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