Investigating the Cultural Elements in the English Textbooks Used in the International Schools in Turkey

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Ayat Khalaf Maftool


The sociocultural theory, which portrays learning as a social activity, and the idea that culture and language are inextricably linked have contributed to the recent increase in prominence and focus on integrating culture in ELT, notably in EFL textbooks. In the twenty-first century of globalization, English has become more significant as a worldwide language and lingua franca. As a result, new directions in ELT have emerged, like enhancing intercultural competency. Since 2012, Iraq has adopted the "English for Iraq" (EFI) series of textbooks which seem to lack orientation towards intercultural competence. This paper aims to determine how the intercultural materials of EFI textbooks are presented and whether they develop Iraqi learners' intercultural competence. A descriptive content analysis is used to assess the texts and images in the three textbooks used in intermediate schools, based on an adaptation of Byram's (1997) paradigm. This study will also investigate whether there is sufficient information about Turkey and Turkish culture regarding the location of these international schools. Suppose it is understood that there is no information available. In that case, suggestions will be made to review the English Iraqi textbook series used in private international schools in Turkey in this matter. Results demonstrate that intercultural elements in textbooks exhibit sharp disparities in the frequency of their occurrences, presenting an unbalanced intercultural presentation with a knowledge-oriented majority of primarily fact-stating items. The study also reveals that While these texts do not enhance the intercultural competency of Iraqi EFL students, the research has pedagogical ramifications concerning reviewing the inclusion of culture in Iraqi EFL textbooks to keep up with current trends and ELT objectives to foster students' tolerance, empathy, and respect for difference.

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