Critiquing Culture in Reading Materials Used by ESL Private Middle Schools in the Philippines: A Critical Literacy Perspective

  • Marianne Rachel PerfectoEmail author
  • Michelle G. Paterno
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 9)


This chapter shows to which extent two textbooks published by one of the leading publishers in the Philippines realize their goal of promoting a more critical approach to reading. Guided by the principles of critical literacy, content analysis reveals that despite the wide range of universally acknowledged values covered in the textbook, not all of them are necessarily relevant to the target audience. Also, it was found that the processing questions and activities remain limited to low order comprehension questions and language exercises, with few opportunities for users of the textbook to engage more fully with the values of the text or challenge ways of thinking embedded in the material despite the seemingly critical perspective preface that frames the series.


Comprehension Critical literacy Critical reading Critical stance Ideology Textbooks 


  1. Bautista, M., Bernardo, A., & Ocampo, D. (2008/2009). When reforms don’t transform: reflections on institutional reforms in the department of education, (HDH Discussion Paper Series No. 2). Retrieved from Human Development Network website:
  2. Behrman, E. (2006). Teaching about language, power, and text: A review of classroom practices that support critical literacy. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 49, 490–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Case, R., Ndura, E., & Righettini, M. (2005). Balancing linguistic and social needs: Evaluating texts using a critical language awareness approach. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 48, 374–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Freire, P. (1988). Editor’s introduction. In H. Giroux (Ed.), Teachers as intellectuals: Toward a critical pedagogy of learning (pp. xxvii–xxxviii). New York: Bergin & Garvey.Google Scholar
  5. Hammond, J., & Macken-Horarik, M. (1999). Critical literacy: Challenges and questions for ESL classrooms. TESOL Quarterly, 33, 528–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Huang, S. Y. (2009). EFL reading through a critical literacy perspective. English Teaching & Learning, 33(3), 51–93.Google Scholar
  7. Huang, S. Y. (2011a). Critical literacy helps wipe away the dirt on our glasses: Towards an understanding of reading as ideological practice. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 10(1), 140–164.Google Scholar
  8. Huang, S. Y. (2011b). Reading ‘further and beyond the text’: Student perspectives of critical literacy in EFL reading and writing. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 55, 145–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Janks, H. (2012). The importance of critical literacy. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 11(1), 150–163.Google Scholar
  10. Janks, H., Dixon, K., Ferreira, A., Granville, S., & Newfield, D. (2014). Doing critical literacy: Texts and activities for students and teachers. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Kuo, J. (2007). Taiwanese freshmen’s responses to critical-literacy English instruction. The International Journal of the Humanities, 5(4), 1–11.Google Scholar
  12. Leland, C., Ociepka, A., & Kuonen, K. (2012). Reading from different interpretive stances: In search of a critical perspective. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55, 428–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Locke, T., & Cleary, A. (2011). Critical literacy as an approach to literary study in the multicultural, high-school classroom. English Classroom: Practice and Critique, 10(1), 119–139.Google Scholar
  14. Luke, A., & Freebody, P. (1999). A map of possible practices: Further notes on the four resources model. Practically Primary, 4(2), 5–8.Google Scholar
  15. Luke, A., O’Brien, J., & Comber, B. (2001). Making community texts objects of study. In H. Fehring & P. Green (Eds.), Critical literacy: A collection of articles from the Australian literacy Educators’ Association (pp. 112–123). Newark: International Reading Association.Google Scholar
  16. Martin, I. (2002). Pedagogy: Practices of American colonial educators in the Philippines. Kritika Kultura, 1, 90–100.Google Scholar
  17. McLaughlin, M., & De Voogd, G. (2004). Critical literacy as comprehension: Expanding reader response. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 48(1), 52–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  19. Nunan, D., & Bailey, C. (Eds.). (2009). Exploring second language classroom research. Boston: Heinle.Google Scholar
  20. Olajide, S. (2010). A critical assessment of the cultural content of two primary English textbooks used in Nigeria. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 1, 656–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Opuko-Amankawa, K., Brew-Hammond, A., & Kofigah, F. E. (2011). What is in a textbook? Investigating the language and literacy learning principles of the ‘gateway to English’ textbook series. Pedagogy, Culture, & Society, 19, 291–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Paterno, M. E., & Hermosa, N. (2006a). Our world of reading grade 5. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing.Google Scholar
  23. Paterno, M. E., & Hermosa, N. (2006b). Our world of reading grade 7. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing.Google Scholar
  24. Pennycook, A. (2001). Critical applied linguistics. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  25. Shin, J., Eslami, Z. R., & Chen, W. C. (2011). Presentation of local and international culture in current international English-language teaching textbooks. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 24, 253–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wallace, C. (1992). Reading. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Wallace, C. (1999). Critical language awareness: Key principles for a course in reading. Language Awareness, 8, 98–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Widdowson, H. G. (2003). Defining issues in English language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Xiong, T., & Qian, Y. (2012). Ideologies of English in a Chinese high school EFL textbook: A critical discourse analysis. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 32(1), 75–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Xiong, T. (2012). Essence or practice? Conflicting cultural values in Chinese EFL textbooks: A discourse approach. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 33, 499–516.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marianne Rachel Perfecto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michelle G. Paterno
    • 1
  1. 1.Ateneo de Manila UniversityQuezon CityPhilippines

Personalised recommendations