Volume 7, Issue 6, November 2019, Page: 302-314
Identity Construction and Ideological Reproduction of the Secondary English Language Textbooks in Bangladesh
Jia Li, School of Foreign Languages, Yunnan University, Kunming, China
Wei Duan, School of Foreign Languages, Yunnan University, Kunming, China
Juan Dong, School of Foreign Languages, Yunnan University, Kunming, China
Sagred al Miskat Sharif, School of International Education, Yunnan University, Kunming, China
Received: Oct. 17, 2019;       Accepted: Nov. 5, 2019;       Published: Nov. 8, 2019
DOI: 10.11648/j.ijll.20190706.18      View  54      Downloads  25
Foreign language textbooks play an important role in shaping learners’ awareness of cultural diversity and ideological orientation. This study evaluates four English textbooks English for Today for Bangladeshi students of Junior Secondary level from Class Six to Class Ten. Data were collected from images, reading passages and dialogues of the textbooks. Following the theory of language ideology, the study examines the identity options and ideological representations in the English textbooks. Findings indicate that there are two different communities constructed by Bangladeshi characters and foreign characters in terms of gender, occupation, ethnicity and nationality; findings reveal that the identity option of Bangladeshi characters is diverse ranging from upper/middle class to low class whereas foreign characters are exclusively constructed as white/Anglophone holding decent jobs and having middle class background. Findings also show that the cultural representation of Bangladesh is dominated by the linguistic nationalism of speaking Bangla and following Bangladeshi practices as cultural norm while othering and even stigmatizing minority cultures. When representing foreign cultural practices, British-centered knowledge is produced as norm and Anglophones as ideal English speakers, and English is constructed as panacea for getting good jobs and communicating with people worldwide. Based on the findings, we argue that the white/Anglophone-centered ideology and homogenous representation of Bangladeshi culture are the reproduction of hierarchical differences structured in the postcolonial regiment. We also argue that highlighting Bangladeshi women’s social achievement and minimizing the representation of Muslim practices are mediated in the wider process of socioeconomic transformation of turning Bangladesh into a world factory with sufficient human resources and little religious disturbance. This study has implications for designing foreign language textbooks and it suggests that more diversified practices from source and foreign cultures should be included in the textbooks to cultivate learners’ cultural awareness and appreciation of cultural differences on an equal basis.
English Textbooks, Bangladesh, English, Culture, Ideology
To cite this article
Jia Li, Wei Duan, Juan Dong, Sagred al Miskat Sharif, Identity Construction and Ideological Reproduction of the Secondary English Language Textbooks in Bangladesh, International Journal of Language and Linguistics. Vol. 7, No. 6, 2019, pp. 302-314. doi: 10.11648/j.ijll.20190706.18
Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Absar, S. (2001). Problems Surrounding Wages: The Ready-made Garment Sector in Bangladesh. Labour and Management in Development Journal, 2 (7), 20-35.
Alshammri, A. (2017). Evaluating the Representations of Identity Options and Cultural Elements in English Language Textbooks used in Saudi Arabia (master thesis). Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.
Ali, T. (2008). WTO Rules and the Ready-made Garment Industry of Bangladesh. Seminar Paper organised by East West University. Dhaka: BGMEA.
Alimorad, Z. (2014). Examining Identity Options in Native and Nonnative Produced Textbooks Taught in Iran: A Critical Textbook Evaluation. RALs, 5 (2), 97-107.
Ali, M. (2014). An Evaluation of English for Today: For Classes 11-12 as a Textbook for Bangladesh Higher Secondary Education (HSE). The English Teacher, 63 (1), 5-8.
Apple, M. W. (1990). Ideology and curriculum (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.
Basu, K. (2018). This is what you need to know about Bangladesh's remarkable economic rise. World Economic Forum. Retrieved from http://weforum.org/why-Bangladesh-booming.
Bradley, N. (2018) Essentialism in the Concept of Culture: Gauging Belief. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 21, 1-21.
Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77-101.
Clarke, V. & Braun, V. (2013) Teaching thematic analysis: Overcoming challenges and developing strategies for effective learning. The Psychologist, 26 (2), 120-123.
Canagarajah, S. (1993). American textbooks and Tamil students: Discerning ideological tensions in the ESL classrooms. Language, Culture, and Curriculum, 6, 143–156.
Chakma, N. & Maitrot, M. (2016). How ethnic minorities became poor and stay poor in Bangladesh. Working Paper. Retrieved from http://www.shiree.org/wp-content/uploads.
Fairclough, N. (1995). Critical discourse analysis: The critical study of language. London: Longman.
Frankenberg, F. (1993). White women, race matters: the social construction of whiteness. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Government of Bangladesh. (1972). The constitution of Bangladesh. Dhaka: Author.
Gu, M., & Patkin, J. (2013). Heritage and identity: Ethnic minority students from South Asia in Hong Kong. Linguistics and Education, 24 (2), 131-141.
Hamid, M. (2016). English-in-Education Policy and Planning in Bangladesh: A Critical Examination. Research Gate, 10 (2), 27-30.
Hani, U., & Siddika, M. (2018). The Application of English Textbook in HSC level: A Case Study in Bangladesh. American Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 6 (1), 4-10.
Hall, S. (1996). The question of cultural identity. Modernity: An introduction to modern societies. Cambridge: MA: Blackwell.
Holsti, O. R. (1969). Content analysis for the social sciences and humanities. MA: Addison-Wesley.
Jin, L., & Cortazzi, M. (2002). English language teaching in China: A bridge to the future. Asia-Pacific Journal of Education, 22 (2), 53-64.
Kaur, P. (2014). Accent attitudes: Reactions to English as a lingua franca. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 134, 3-12.
Kroskrity, P. V. 2004. Language ideologies. A companion to linguistic anthropology, ed. A. Duranti, 496-517. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Li, J. (2017). Social Reproduction and migrant education: a critical sociolinguistic ethnography of Myanmar students' learning experiences at a border high school in China. (PhD), Macquarie University, Sydney.
Liu J. (2010). Bangladesh. Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press.
Lippi-Green, R. (2012). English with an accent: Language, ideology, and discrimination in the United States (2nd ed.). London, UK: Routledge.
Ministry of Education. (2010). National education policy 2010 (Final). Dhaka: Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Mohamed, M. A. S. (2014). The representation of the Orient in English language textbooks used in Libyan secondary schools (Doctoral dissertation, University of Sheffield). Retrieved from http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk.
Ma, Q. P. (2011) Cultural Representations in Primary English Language Textbooks in China (Master thesis). Nangyang Technological University, Nangyang, China.
Maguire, M. & Delahunt, B. (2017). Doing a Thematic Analysis: A Practical, Step-by-Step Guide for Learning and Teaching Scholars. AISHE-J, 8, 3352-3360.
Majanen, S. (2008). English as a Lingua Franca: Teachers’ Discourses on Accent and Identity (MA thesis), University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Mckay, S. L., & Bokhorst-Heng, W. D. (2008). International English for its sociolinguistic contexts. New York/London: Routledge.
Mottaleb, K. (2011). An Inquiry into the Rapid Growth of Garment Industry in Bangladesh. GRIPS Discussion Paper.
Otlowski, M. (2003). Ethnic diversity and gender bias in EFL textbooks. Asian EFL Journal, 5 (2). Retrieved from the World Wide Web: http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/june_2003_mo.php.
Piller, I. (2015). The International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Piller, I. (2016). Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Porreca, K. L. (1984). Sexism in current ESL textbooks. TESOL Quarterly, 18 (4), 705–724.
Poulou, S. (1997). Sexism in the discourse roles of textbook dialogues. Language Learning Journal, 15, 68-73.
Pedwell, C. (2010). Feminism, culture and embodied practice: The rhetorics of comparison. Abingdon: Routledge.
Phillips, A. (2010). What’s wrong with essentialism? Distinktion: Scandina Journal of Social Theory, 11 (1), 47-60.
Rahman, T. (2010). A multilingual language-in-education policy for indigenous minorities in Bangladesh: challenges and possibilities. Current Issues in Language Planning, 11 (4), 341.
Rhodes, M., & Tworek, M. (2012). Cultural transmission of social essentialism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Sahragard, R., & Davatgarzadeh, G. (2010). The representation of Social Actors in Interchange Third Edition series: A critical discourse analysis. The Journal of Teaching Language Skills, 2 (1), 67-89.
Shohamy, E. (2006). Language Policy: Hidden agendas and new approaches. London and New York: Routledge.
Shardakova, M., & Pavlenko, A. (2004). Identity options in Russian textbooks. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 3 (1), 25-46.
Shahiduzzaman, E. (2010). Repression against Women on Rise in Bangladesh. New Age Newspaper. 25 November.
Siddiqi, A. (2004). The Ready-made Garment Industry of Bangladesh. Dhaka: Dhaka University Press.
Siegal, M., & Okamoto, S. (1996). Imagined worlds: Language, gender, and socio-cultural “norms” in Japanese language textbooks. Gender and belief systems. Proceedings of the Fourth Berkeley Women and Language Conference, April 19–21, 1996 (pp. 667–678). Berkeley: University of California, BWLG.
Silverstein, M. 1979. Language structure and linguistic ideology. In The elements: A parasession on linguistic units and levels, ed. P. Clyne, R. W. F. Hanks, and C. Hofbauer, 193-247. Chicago: University of Chicago.
Söylemez, A. S. (2010). A study on how social gender identity is constructed in EFL course books. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 9, 747-752.
Tador, C. T. & Polzer, J. T. (2013). Not just for stereotyping anymore: racial essentialism reduces domain-general creativity. Psychological Science, 24 (1), 99-105.
Yunus, M. & Yamagata, T. (2012). The Garment Industry of Bangladesh. Experience of Asia and Africa (Intertrim Report), 2-10.
Browse journals by subject