English 343Week 8: Cultural representations: Culture and teaching materials S
AgendaS Discussion of Cultural Representation in Media (Holliday et. al.)S Cultural representations in EFL/ESL textbooks (Taylor- Mendes)S Analysis of ESL/EFL TextbooksS Analyzing interview questions, how to conduct successful interviews.
The goal of this sessionS Discuss the various sources of cultural representations (e.g. media, textbooks)S Examine cultural representations that exist in media and understand the desire to essentialize.S Raise your awareness on the construction of race as a “discursive practice”
Lyundmilla’s experiences with EFL textbooks in RussiaS The way I viewed my society was strongly influenced by the images and text brought by media and textbooks. In terms of race, I hardly remember African-American people in our textbooks. This picture is still in my mind: some Mr. Smith, white, sitting comfortably in his living room and reading a newspaper with a pipe in his hand. Or some Ms. Lucy, also white, a student or a teacher, wearing business clothes and with some papers in her hands. As for media, Russian television is strongly influenced by Western movies to the extent that some of my friends would say criticize Russian movies as lacking the same effects that make a movie seem real. So, I remember my university groupmates and I discussing Beverly Hills which was a popular series among the youth back in 1997. Thus, I can confirm that media and text bring a strong message to societies who rules the world. As a result, I strongly believe that constant text and media should and must be used as instruments for social development, not social prejudice.
Joe comments on Mendes articleS The introductory comments of a student named Fatima on page 64 represents much of the sentiment expressed in this article. Fatima describes the differences in how black people and white people are represented in textbooks. She wonders why black people are usually depicted as poor and desperate while white people are portrayed as powerful and happy. Based on depictions in textbooks, some students may wonder if black people are capable of succeeding and if white people can fail. Unfortunately, textbooks and other classroom resources, and even teachers, can convey these false stereotypes to even elementary school students (65). For example, a white elementary student may consistently see white people portrayed as rich and powerful and black people shown as poor and helpless. This white student may begin to think that all white people are rich and all black people are helpless. These false beliefs often turn into racist attitudes and even discriminatory actions.
Annie saysS A quote that was really influential in my reading was in Tayler- Mendes’ piece when he mentioned the necessity to raise awareness “about power inequality hidden behind taken for granted knowledge and transforming society so that the powerless become agents of changing their own world”. I think this sentence was formed so beautifully because it really slaps you in the face and tells you that there is something that everyone can be doing to change the way stereotypes litter this earth. Not only is it the “powerless” or minority groups that need to be reacting, its everyone that needs to start caring more about the images we portray.
Annie’s comments on the show “That 70’s”S When I think about hit television shows that have a main character that is defined through their being an English language learner, the only show that I could think of is “That 70’s Show”. The character “Fez” is not only portrayed as dumb and perverted, but also he is the least liked character among the friends in the group. In reality, this image being displayed doesn’t really surprise me yet it does make me feel guilty about the subliminal messages I have been receiving strictly from watching television since during a really critical time in my development.
Aurlie comments on Mendes articleS In one of the textbook, an image (the only image) that could potentially represent South America or Latin America is from a Hollywood film, which about just killed me. Because I know these movies are not all true. Many of you watch the Discovery Chanel which explores different types of cultures. (Just speaking about what is shown about Africa) the TV makes it seem appeared like Africa is uncivilized, where everyone lives in huts and hunt for meat. What does this do or bring to the viewers? Absolutely nothing, it just reinforces what they already know. This ties perfectly with what the book mentions on page 41, this makes is easier for other cultures not to know that “Arabs do not wear the Kufiyah, … many people do not live in traditional souks, or war- torn streets with livestock,… that there are cars and computers much like “we do”. Many people do this both young and old, they ask these types of questions and I began to wonder; do I have the right to be mad at people who ask me such questions? Is it their fault? Shouldn’t it be their job to use deductive reasoning before formulating questions such as “do you have cars in Africa”?
Sarah Johnson’s comments onthe use of vocabulary in mediaS The most interesting part of this article was the discussion of the ever-so- subtle ways in which the news media can sort of put minorities in their place while not really appearing to do so. For example, most news stories that involve minorities feature them in negative situations, and news staff will make purposeful lexical choices depending on the race/ethnicity of the subject (e.g. “riot” vs. “urban unrest” or “terrorist” vs. “freedom fighter”). This author also provided the clever use of syntax choices: minorities are often in the passive role in sentences (i.e. the direct or indirect object) unless they are the agents of negative actions, in which case they are the subject of the sentence. This was fascinating data that I had never considered before but immediately realized as true. This type of subliminal messaging has the potential to be eerily effective to even the most open- minded of observers. I wonder how much of these linguistic strategies are done with intent, and how much of it happens more as an unconscious reflex. I was a journalism major in college for three years, and we were (of course) never told to use these strategies, so where do they come from? Do they just grow out of the inherent racism of the writer?
Holliday A 3.1: Cultural RepresentationS Vignette A.3.1.1: Martha and Reza’s storyWho is Martha? Who is Reza? What are some of thecultural representations Martha developed? What is wrongwith such cultural representations?
Martha and Reza: Cultural Misunderstanding due to otherizationS Martha is working with Reza, a refugee in her language class. Martha represents Reza as other by presuming that the way he behaved in the hospital was a misogynistic. She thought Reza seemed to resent having a female teacher, or having a female nurse when he needed a treatment.
In reality… Martha’s projection on Reza’s lived experience Reza in Kabul, AfghanistanS No decent medical health care system S In fact, excellent hospitals in in Kabul. Kabul where they won’t treat Reza as a refugee.S Mistreating woman. (due to his reactions after his visit to a hospital) S His discomfort derives from his difficult social circumstances.S Cultural stereotypes of Afghanistan: all male population being entirely in support of limiting women’s right. S He speaks with pride: His sister is a university professor in theShe relies on selected-images of still- U.S., and his daughterbearded men in streets. She may not specializing to be gynecologist inhave any direct evidence to support Moscow. His teenage daugherReza’s misogyny. does well in school.
Where does Martha’s prejudging come from?S Media Images: Radio, press, newspapers, television—explicit forms documenting current affairs.S Material about Afghanistan has largely been about “war on terrorism” : Little evidence of urban facilities.Bracketing popular representations: Most hegemonic beliefs derive from a setof images which produce a foreign “Other”Something happens which makes us bracket the easy answer and look atalternative explanations (remember Parisa’s and The smith examples)Look at the the figure A 3.2.1: Forces of representation. How do you think thisfigure can raise greater cross-cultural sensitivity in our classes?
How to move beyond such representations?S Raise your awareness of the media and political influences which lead you to see people from other cultural backgrounds in a certain way (mostly, in negative ways).S Move beyond the images and fictions when you encounter people from other cultural backgrounds.S Consider alternative representations. Look for counter-evidence.Think of a similar situation.What do you need to do as future educators to better understand yourstudents like Reza?
B 3.3.1 The New racism (P. 196)S Not as explicit as old racism: Different from the old racism which included systematic discrimination, segregation, apartheid, of white superior feelings.S New Racism: Minorities are not biologically inferior, but different. They have a different language and culture, although in many respects they are deficiencies (e.g. lacking achievement, portraying non-native accents as deficiencies, ESL language “issues” that need to be “ corrected”)
The role of discourseS New racism is discursive. They are expressed, enacted and confirmed by talk and text, such as everyday conversations. Board meetings, job interviews, policies, textbook etc.S They are not mere talk—they are as bad as the old racism which marginalize ad exclude minorities. They may be even more dangerous as they are “normalized”. Those who engage in such discourses are seen as “neutral” and “normal”
Discourse analytic approachesS Systematically describe the various structures and strategies of text or talk, and relate these to the social or political contexts.S Semantic analysis, syntactic form of sentences. Rhetorical devices such as metaphors.
The role of mediaS The power of media is DISCURSIVE and SYMBOLIC.S The power of media image is the primary source of people’s knowledge, attitudes and ideologies. It lacks alternative sources., and through showing one-sided images, ir establishes discursive and cognitive hegemony. READ PAGE: 197
Major topics covered in mediaS Illegal immigrantsS Social problems (welfare, housing, employment etc.)S Focus on thread: violence, crime and drugs.S Negative characterization: How are they deviant from the “norm”?These topics, although crucial, are portrayed as “threats” or“deviance”
Let’s analyze Arizona’s SB immigration lawS The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (introduced as Arizona Senate Bill 1070 and thus often referred to simply as Arizona SB 1070) is a legislative Act in the U.S. state of Arizona that at the time of passage was the broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in recent U.S. history. It has received national and international attention and has spurred considerable controversy.U.S. federal law requires all aliens over the age of 14 who remain in the United States for longer than 30 days to register with the U.S. government, and to have registration documents in their possession at all times. The Arizona Act additionally makes it a state misdemeanor crime for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying the required documents, requires that state law enforcement officers attempt to determine an individuals immigration status during a "lawful stop, detention or arrest" when there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is an illegal immigrant, bars state or local officials or agencies from restricting enforcement of federal immigration laws, and cracks down on those sheltering, hiring and transporting illegal aliens. The paragraph on intent in the legislation says it embodies an "attrition through enforcement" doctrine.Source: Wikipedia
What negative words and phrasesare used in the media to describe the actions of immigrants?
Reel Bad Arabs (A documentary)S http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4157QYY3o4
So, what are some of the images we see in EFL/ESL textbooks thatcontribute to our construction of racial stereotypes? Cosette Taylor-Mendes S
The US is portrayed as the land of the White eliteFatima:“I think it’s better than Brazil, for example the pictures showthe streets are clean..beautiful things, beautifulbuildings…When the books want to show violence, theyshow Afganistan, show the war for example”
Blacks are consistently represented as poor or powerless.Vinicius says:“ I think they should have more pictures of the things that happenin Brazil. They don’t have any. Even the characters are not similarto Brazil. Everybody is white and you know…in a beautiful suit”Kaka says:The majority of pictures are of whites. The blacks or Japanese inmy English class do not find themselves represented in thesebooks”
S What does an American look like continually in and through the images in EFL textbooks.S The images reinforce past and present racial biases. The books are filled with stereotypes, and do not challenge students’ p[perceptions of American, themselves, or other races.
Write down three important implications of this study.
Implications for praxisS Teachers should consider the images in ESL/EFL textbooks.S Preservice teachers should be asking important questions about white privilege. (See Peggy Mcintosh’s article)S To develop greater sensitivity to race and power, teachers need to draw students attention to such images and need to initiate discussions about issues of cultural representation.
Group Work (Textbook analysis)S What images attract you? Which images do you like? Which pictures do you think represent American or British culture?S What is it about the picture that makes it British or American?S What are you seeing in these pictures about lifestyles?S Who has power in these pictures? Who has status?S What does the clothing communicate to you?S Whose interests are being served by the things images are portrayed?
Sharing your Interview questionsS Exchange your interview questions with your neighbor. Read your neighbors interview questions to your neighbor and ask feedback:What are the strengths of the questions? What are the limitations?Do you think these questions can prompt long answers? Whatother types of questions can s/he add to this list? Are thequestions focused? Are they intriguing? Are the question revealenough information about the interviewee’s language and cultureexperiences? Do the questions focus on a specific context andspecific area of research?
What is Data Analysis? Steps of Data AnalysisS Get to know your dataGood analysis starts with getting to know your data very well.Write down your impressions about your data. What can you find so far?Identify your main questions again AND look for answers in your dataS Identify themes and patterns (look at the language being used, phrases, words, photos etc…)S Organize them into coherent cathegories
Emerging categories Rather than bringing your own assumptions or preconceived categories and themes, you need to reread your data and find themes that recur in your data. So, categories are defined AFTER you worked on your data.Example # 1: What is the benefit of youth mentoring program?Responses to this question were sorted out: Benefits to youth, benefits to family, benefits to community.Example # 2: What makes a quality education program?Responses to this question were sorted out: Staff, relevance, participation, time , content
Some key language you can use…S The interview results…the survey results…my analysis of media…my analysis on women’s photos….suggest that….reveals…shows…demonstrates…Indicates….S Some of the common themes emerging in the data includes:….S One of the most intriguing responses that X gave is…
Question categoriesS Opening questionsCould you please describe…?Can you tell me about…?Please discuss…I am interested in….What can you tell me about this subject?S Follow-up QuestionsReally? How so? Can you elaborate on X point?S Probing QuestionsCan you tell me more about…? Could you please give me an example…?
Tips!S Avoid loaded questions: Do you think it is wrong to kill unborn babies? A REVISION: Do you support or oppose providing women the option to abort a pregnancy during the first twenty weeks?S Avoid Vague Questions: Do you support or oppose the strict laws on illegal immigration? The policies on illegal immigration changed drastically in the last decade in the U.S. Today, we see that…. Still, many companies continue to employ illegal immigrants. Do you support or oppose this policy?S Avoid asking only close-ended questions: Is it morally wrong to bully?
AssignmentS Cross-cultural Analysis DUE date: March 20thS Proposal Due date is also pushed forward. New DUE date: March 27HAVE A GREAT SPRING BREAK! DO NOT HESITATE TOEMAIL ME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT YOURASSIGNMENTS.