Visual representations in portuguese produced english language teaching coursebooks


  • Nicolas Robert Hurst


This paper examines the role of illustrations in the context of
English Language Teaching (ELT) coursebooks produced in Portugal.
Taking illustrations to be one pilar in the construction of meaning through
the representation of culture, the discussion shifts between their use
over the last 35 years and their potential as a source of innovation and
improvement in this area of ELT materials development. The central
issue relates to the need for illustrations to perform something more than
a decorative function in ELT coursebooks. Further discussion deals with
the general issue of cultural content in language teaching materials, its
importance in relation to situating language learning as both meaningful
and purposeful. There are clear links themes related to foreign language
teaching methodology (the learner-centred approach) and to curriculum
development (citizenship education).It is argued that local coursebook
publishers and writers should pay closer attention to the importance of
cultural representation in language teaching materials, in this case to
the use of illustrations, as a way of optimising the long-held influence of
coursebooks as significant educational instruments.