Opening Pandora's Box: A Culturally-oriented Look at the Covert Content of Passages 1

Yazdan Choubsaz, Mohsen Jannejad, Saleh Arizavi

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This study investigates the cultural content and covert syllabus of one
well-known widely printed English Language Teaching (ELT) course book:
Passages 1. In order to analyse the content, two coding systems the Five
Dimensions of Culture and the Categories of Culture by Chao (2011) were used.
The findings indicate that Passages 1 has encouraged various aspects of culture
with an emphasis on the presentation of products, persons and viewpoints of the
West. The partiality for the Target Culture (countries with English as the native
language) is clear throughout the course book in terms of the selection of reading texts, listening tracks, and the images. Findings indicate that there is a minimal focus on the introduction of local and the Middle Eastern cultures. The theme of 'universality across cultures', as a specific classification in this study, is mostly placed in the speaking practices which revolves around sharing personal
experiences rather than engaging in intercultural thinking and awareness. Based
on the findings, some recommendations are given to ensure some aspects of the
target culture are adequately addressed in the writing of ELT course books.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)22-36
Number of pages15
JournalAJELP: The Asian Journal of English Language and Pedagogy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Covert syllabus
  • content analysis
  • intercultural aspects
  • cultural content
  • universality of cultures

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