Analyzing a language-driven content-based language teaching textbook using sociocultural theory

  • Fung Cho Makin Ma
Keywords: EFL, sociocultural theory, content-based language teaching, textbook evaluation


The Asian EFL (English as a foreign language) classroom is famous for its reliance on textbooks to prepare students for high-stakes examinations. It is therefore of importance to ensure the quality of EFL textbooks for quality learning and teaching. While much previous research has been done about pre-use, in-use, and post-use textbook evaluation, there has not been any study about how sociocultural theory may be used as an analytical tool to evaluate EFL textbooks at these different stages of evaluation. The teaching philosophies of different teachers can be rooted in different learning theories, such as constructivism and sociocultural theory. Teachers, thus, need to be sensitive to their own beliefs in terms of learning theories to choose textbooks in a theoretically principled way. This study aims at demonstrating how a Hong Kong high school language-driven content-based language teaching (CBLT) textbook can be analysed in terms of sociocultural theory. The study is guided by the following research question: What are the principles from sociocultural theory which echo the overall design of a Hong Kong CBLT textbook? CBLT is increasingly popular worldwide, especially in Southeast Asia; yet, there are few CBLT textbooks for the English subject in the Asian market. A required textbook of a Hong Kong high school was closely analyzed, with thematic analysis used for analysis. The results of this study show that this textbook exhibits many features of sociocultural theory, such as use of cognitive tools to help promote high-order thinking and use of collaborative talk and then private talk to promote internalization.


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