Intercultural Communicative Competence in High School English Textbooks of Iran and India: A Comparative Analysis

Document Type : Original Article


Associate Prof. Department of English Language & Literature , Farhangian University, Tehran, Iran


It seems that the current English textbook developers are not only interested in developing their audience's communicative competence but also willing to improve the learners' intercultural competence. This shift in instructional goals is in line with the emerging shift in the learners' need to use English as an international language rather than a second or a foreign language. It is noteworthy that there has been considerable research on the cultural content of high school textbooks in Iran; however, little attempt was done to adopt a comparative intercultural perspective to them. Having noticed the weighty contributions of the locally developed textbooks in Iran and India with regard to their expansive distribution and use among English learners, the researcher investigated Iranian high school textbooks (Prospect and Vision) and the official high school textbooks in India (Standard English) from a comparative perspective based on intercultural communicative competence emphasizing critical awareness, and discovery and interaction skills as its defining criteria. Through content analysis, the whole contents of the Iranian and Indian high school English textbooks, 12 volumes in all, were analyzed and the instances the intercultural communicative competence were quantatively recorded, classified and discussed. The results revealed that, Standard English, the textbook developed in outer circle in India, to little extent, included intercultural communicative competence, especially, critical cultural awareness. By contrast, the Iranian high school English textbooks totally were deprived of intercultural communicative competence components since there was not a plausible example of interculturally communicative tasks in Prospect and Vision.


Article Title [Persian]

مطالعه‌ی تطبیقی توانش ارتباطی بینا فرهنگی در کتب زبان انگلیسی دبیرستان‌های ایران و هندوستان

Author [Persian]

  • مجتبی مقصودی
استادیار، گروه زبان وادبیات انگلیسی ، دانشگاه فرهنگیان، تهران، ایران
Abstract [Persian]

به نظر می‌رسد که نویسندگان کتب درسی آموزش زبان انگلیسی نه تنها به پرورش توانش ارتباطی بلکه به تقویت توانش ارتباطی بینا‌فرهنگی نیز علاقه‌مند شده‌اند. این تغییر در اهداف آموزشی، در راستای تغییر در نیاز زبان‌آموزان به یادگیری زبان انگلیسی به عنوان زبان بین‌المللی بوده و بدین معنی است که آنان زبان انگلیسی را به عنوان زبان دوم یا زبانی بیگانه نمی‌نگرند. اگرچه، مطالعات متعددی برای ارزیابی محتوای فرهنگی کتب زبان انگلیسی دوره متوسطه در ایران انجام شده است اما تلاش چندانی برای بررسی توانش بینا‌فرهنگی از منظرتطبیقی به‌عمل نیامده‌است. با در نظر گرفتن اهمیت کتاب‌های درسی بومی در ایران و هند به لحاظ توزیع و استفاده گسترده از آن‌ توسط دانش‌‌آموزان ، محقق حاضر کوشید تا از دیدگاه تطبیقی و براساس توانش ارتباطی بینا فرهنگی - که بر آگاهی انتقادی و مهارت‌های اکتشافی و تعاملی تاکید می‌ورزد - ، کتب درسی زبان انگلیسی دبیرستان‌های هند (استاندارد انگلیش) و ایران (پراسپکت و ویژن) را مورد بررسی و تحلیل قرار دهد. برای تحلیل داده ها از روش تحلیل محتوا استفاده و محتوای 12 کتاب درسی منتخب مورد بررسی قرارگرفت . سپس نمونه‌های مرتبط با مولفه‌های توانش ارتباطی بینا فرهنگی شناسایی، طبقه‌بندی و مورد بحث و بررسی قرار گرفتند. یافته های تحقیق نشان داد مولفان کتب استاندارد انگلیش به‌طور محدود به آموزش توانش ارتباطی بینا فرهنگی – بویژه به آگاهی انتقادی فرهنگی - ، توجه کرده اند  در حالی که در کتب پراسپکت و ویژن به این موضوع  چندان بها داده نشده است

Keywords [Persian]

  • تحلیل تطبیقی
  • توانش ارتباطی بین فرهنگی
  • ایران
  • هند
Ahamdpour, S., & Kuhi, D. (2019). Attitudes towards the Efficiency of English Culture Treatment at Schools: A Case of Iranian Kurdish EFL Learners. Theory and Practice in Language Studies9(5), 562-570.
Alimorad, Z. (2014). Examining identity options in native and nonnative produced textbooks taught in Iran: A critical textbook evaluation. Research in Applied Linguistics5(2), 95-112.
Asadi, M., Kiany, G. R., Akbari, R., & Samar, R. G. (2016). Program evaluation of the New English Textbook (prospect 1) in the Iranian Ministry of Education. Theory and Practice in Language Studies6(2), 291-301.
Baghermousvai, M. S., & Nabifar, N. (2016). Cultural manifestation in Iranian Second Grade Junior High school Textbook Prospect 2: A Semiotic Analysis Study. Enjoy Teaching Journal4(2), 1-11.
Baker, W. (2015). Research into practice: Cultural and intercultural awareness. Language Teaching48(1), 130-141.
Byram, M. (1997a). Cultural studies and foreign language teaching. In B. Susan (Ed.), Studying British cultures (2nd ed., pp. 53-64). London: Routledge.
Byram, M. (1997b). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Byram, M. (2003). Cultural studies and foreign language teaching. In B. Susan (Ed.), Studying British cultures: an introduction (pp. 57-69). London: Routledge.
Byram, M. (2011). Intercultural citizenship from an internationalist perspective. Journal of the NUS Teaching Academy, 1(1), 10-20.
Byram, M., Gribkova, B., & Starkey, H. (2002). Developing the intercultural dimension in language teaching: A practical introduction for teachers. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.
Canagarajah, S. (1993). American textbooks and Tamil students: Discerning ideological tensions in the ESL classrooms. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 6(2), 143-156.
Canale, M., & Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1(1), 1-47
Carey, J. W. (1989). Communication as culture: Essays on media and society. New York and London: Routledge.
Celce-Murcia, M. (2008). Rethinking the role of communicative competence in language teaching. In Celce-Murcia, M. (Ed.). Intercultural language use and language learning (pp. 41-57). Springer, Dordrecht.
Cheng, C. M. (2012). The Influence of College EFL Teachers' Understandings of Intercultural Competence on Their Self-Reported Pedagogical Practices in Taiwan. English Teaching: Practice and Critique11(1), 164-182.
Deardorff, D. K. (2006a). Assessing intercultural competence in study abroad students. In M. Bryam & A. Feng (Eds.), Living and studying abroad: Research and practice (pp. 232-256). Clevedon: Multilingual Matter.
Deardorff, D. K. (2006b). Identification and assessment of intercultural competence as a student outcome of internationalization. Journal of studies in international education, 10 (3), 241-266.
Edwards, C., & Willis, J. R. (Eds.). (2005). Teachers exploring tasks in English language teaching. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Ghiyasiyan, M., Seraj, F., & Bahreini, M. (2017). A content analysis of the ninth grade English textbook according to Iranian-Islamic culture and identity. Journal of Curriculum Studies (JCS)11(43), 125-144.
Gholami Pasand, P., & Ghasemi, A. A. (2018). An intercultural analysis of English language textbooks in Iran: The case of English Prospect Series. Apples: Journal of Applied Language Studies12(1), 17-31.
Gu, X. (2016). Assessment of intercultural communicative competence in FL education: A survey on EFL teachers’ perception and practice in China. Language and Intercultural Communication16(2), 254-273.
Gudykunst, W. B., & Kim, Y. Y. (1984). Communicating with strangers: An approach to intercultural communication. Reading, MA: Addison- Wesley.
Hill, I. (2006). Student types, school types and their combined influence on the development of intercultural understanding. Journal of Research in International Education, 5(1), 5-33.
Ho, S. T. K. (2009). Addressing culture in EFL classrooms: The challenge of shifting from a traditional to an intercultural stance. Electronic journal of foreign language teaching6(1), 63-76.
Hymes, D. (1972). Models of the interaction of language and social life. In J. Gumperz & D. Hymes (Eds.), Directions in sociolinguistics: The ethnography of communication (pp. 35-71). New York: Holt, Rhinehart & Winston.
Ishii, E. (2009). The effects of task-based intercultural instruction on the intercultural competence of Japanese secondary EFL learners. Asian Journal of English Language Teaching19(3), 159-181.
Kachru, B. B. (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: The English language in the outer circle. In Quirk R. & Widdowson, HG “English in the world – Teaching and learning the language and literature  (96-117). Oxford: OUP.
Khodabandeh, F., & Mombini, R. (2018). Iranian EFL Teachers' and Students' Perceptions towards the First Grade High School English Textbook (Vision1). Journal of English Language Pedagogy and Practice11(22), 141-167.
Kumaravadivelu, B. (2008). Cultural globalization and language education. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Liddicoat, A. J. (2002). Static and dynamic views of culture and intercultural language acquisition. Babel, 36(3), 4-11.
Liddicoat, A. J., & Scarino, A. (2013). Intercultural Language Teaching and Learning. London: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
McGrath, I. (2002). Materials evaluation and design for language teaching. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Moradi, A., Karbalaei, A., & Afraz, S. (2013). A Textbook Evaluation of Speech Acts and Language Functions in High School English Textbooks (I, II AndIII) and Interchange Series, Books I, II, And III. European Online Journal of Natural and Social Sciences: Proceedings2(2), 3-23.
Nguyen, M. T. T. (2011). Learning to communicate in a globalized world: To what extent do school textbooks facilitate the development of intercultural pragmatic competence? RELC Journal, 42(1), 17-30.
Norton, B. (2000). Identity and Language Learning: Gender, Ethnicity, and Educational Change. London: Longman.
Sacks, H. (1975). Everyone has to lie. Sociocultural Dimensions of Language Use, 3(5), 57-80.
Salehi, H., & Amini, M. (2016). Critical analysis of a new English textbook used in Iranian junior high schools. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research3(3), 42-54.
Shardakova, M., & Pavlenko, A. (2004). Identity options in Russian textbooks. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 3(1), 25-46.
Shirvani, K. (2014). A Comparative Evaluation of the English Textbooks Used in High Schools and Private Language Institutes in Iran.  Training & Learning Researches 2(3), 243-256.
Shohamy, E. (2006). Language Policy: Hidden Agendas and New Approaches. London and New York: Routledge.
Siegel, J. (2006). Language ideologies and the education of speakers of marginalized language varieties: Adopting a critical awareness approach. Linguistics and Education, 17(2), 157-174
Soleimani, H., & Ghaderi, E. (2013). What do language teachers think about Interchange and American English File? Teacher’s evaluation of two ESL textbooks in Iran. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature2(5), 42-50.
Tian, J. (2013). Beliefs and practices regarding intercultural competence among Chinese teachers of English at a Chinese university. George Mason University.
Tomalin, B., & Stempleski, S. (2013). Cultural awareness: Resource books for teachers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Tomlinson, B. (Ed.). (2003). Developing materials for language teaching. London: A&C Black.
Xiaohui, H., & Li, S. (2011). Teacher Cognition of Intercultural Communicative Competence in the Chinese ELT Context. Intercultural Communication Studies20(1),87-93.
Yuen, K. (2011). The representation of foreign cultures in English textbooks. ELT Journal, 65(4), 458-466.
Zhang, X., & Zhou, M. (2019). Interventions to promote learners’ intercultural competence: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Intercultural Relations7(1), 31-47.
Zohrabi, M., Sabouri, H., & Behroozian, R. (2012). An Evaluation of Merits and Demerits of Iranian First Year High School English Textbook. English Language Teaching5(8), 14-22.