Exploring the History and Challenge of Government-authorized English Textbooks in Japan and Mainland China

Linfeng Wang

Abstract


This paper examines the history of English textbooks and the challenges they are facing in the current EFL contexts of Japan and mainland China. In these countries, English textbooks, and textbooks for all other subjects, can only be used in classrooms following governmental evaluation and approval. The main set of criteria for textbook evaluation is provided by the national curriculum, which also serves as a guideline for compiling textbooks; it illustrates the purpose and objectives of each subject, contains descriptions of achievement levels for each grade, as well as suggestions for teaching, assessing and compiling textbooks. In effect, textbooks are the direct materialization of the national curriculum implemented in real classrooms, particularly in textbook dominated English classes. This paper starts by discussing the significance of textbook research before presenting a historical review of English textbooks in Japan and mainland China. The focus of the review is to delineate the current challenge of underestimating the use of the first language in EFL textbooks. The final section draws trajectory maps of the two countries and explores a new approach to overcoming the challenge of creating engaging activities that incorporate both student’s first language and target language in EFL classrooms.


Keywords


textbook research; EFL; L1; language awareness; metalinguistic

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14516/ete.400

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