ERIC Number: ED391387
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
The Changing Social Content of ESL Textbooks in the USA.
Adams, Thomas W.
An analysis of English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) textbooks published in the United States from the 1950s through the 1980s focuses on incidental but pervasive social messages contained in their content, including restriction to middle class populations and values, stereotyped sex roles, lack of visibility of minorities, negative messages about minority groups, and treatment of some socially sensitive topics such as divorce. Substantial changes, most of them positive, are found in the content of ESL textbooks over this period. Social and political factors influencing this change are examined, and additional goals held by some for these materials are discussed. It is concluded that, judged by today's standards, ESL textbooks of the 1950s can be faulted on grounds of both accuracy and fairness. However, some tension exists between accuracy and fairness in portrayal of members of society; when accuracy and fairness come into conflict, the tendency is often for accuracy to yield to fairness. Current textbooks portray U.S. society more accurately than in the past by including much greater social diversity. Contains 30 references. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A