Breaking Taboos Ben Goldstein
Shifting taboos 19th century religious swearing mid-20th century sexual swearing/abuse 21st century racial abuse
Look at these two pairs of images. Which, in each pair, is a ‘coursebook’ image? Why?
How taboo on a scale of 1 – 5? A. AIDS or other diseases (cancer...) B. Politics - voting intentions C. Abortion D. Gay identities (jobs, families, etc.) E. Immigration and racism F. Experiences with drugs G. Depression H. Chatting up I. Casual sex I. Money and social class J. Death K. Religion L. Pornography M. Prostitution N. Swear Words (e.g in pop songs)
(when students enter the language classroom) ... They leave their three-dimensional humanity outside and enter the plastic world of efl textbooks; textbooks where life is safe and innocent, and does not say or do anything... Most textbooks project an Anglo-centric, male-dominated, middle-class utopia of one kind or another(Prodromou, L. ‘English as Cultural Action’, ELT Journal, 42/2: 73-83. 1988)
My ‘nightmare’ job interview! Climbing up the ladder A self-made man Drop-outs The under-paid Women in the workplace TEFL WORLDVS.REAL WORLDJOBS
Love at first sight ‘My best friend’ Nuclear family role models Gay marriages Dysfunctional families Rise of divorce TEFL WORLDVS.REAL WORLDRELATIONSHIPS
Conclusions • Taboos and other examples of controversial content are culturally constructed and in a state of flux. 2. To engage our learners, we need to accept these as aspects of real life, and introduce them into the class - in terms of the language, images and topics we present. .
Conclusions 3. Authenticity should not employed ‘for the sake of it’ but as a motivating tool. 4. In this way, teaching materials can start to keep apace with the real world, and not just present its safe ELT version.