Establishing a zone of prioritized curricularivity: a critically reflexive praxis for the multimodal discourse in EFL textbooks in Korean universities

Dr Christopher A. Smith, University of Western Ontario, Canada;       Abstract: In Korean university EFL programs, globally published textbooks often serve as the curriculum and primary source for classroom activity, despite evidence of social injustices in their multimodal discourses. While a robust pool of research features reflexivity in language learning pedagogy, few studies highlight multimodal discourse negotiated in situ. This study proposes  a Zone of Prioritized Curricularivity (ZPC) can raise the value of EFL learning investment by a) establishing what curricular commonplaces are consequential to the EFL program, then b) strategizing critical and feasible changes to the multimodal discourse in the textbook. To challenge the framework, this study asks: 1) Using a ZPC, how do instructors and students negotiate the multimodal discourse of textbook lessons in situ? 2) What pedagogical affordances, if any, does ZPC lend to EFL instruction? A vignette features two EFL courses at Chung-Buk National at University in Korea, where the ZPC was applied mid-semester. As a classroom guest, the researcher observed lessons in situ and corroborated those with video recordings of the classes. The findings suggest that for instructors and students, recontextualized content is far preferable to un-changed lessons. The implications of using the ZPC appears to diminish socially marginalizing textbook content while raising the value of student investment in EFL learning. 

Keywords: EFL textbooks, EFL learning, reflexive praxis, intercultural communication, multimodal discourse analysis

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