A Sociocultural Analysis of Cambodian Teachers’ Cognitions about Cultural Contents in an ‘Internationally Imported’ Textbook in a Tertiary English Learning Context

  • Sovannarith LimEmail author
  • Chan Narith Keuk
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 9)


The ASEAN economic community shapes the status of English not only for Cambodia but also for the whole region, pragmatically making it a lingua franca, bringing to the attention of ELT practitioners the role of (multi)cultural knowledge and communication. Premised on this position, our study sought to explore how a group of Cambodian teachers of English in a tertiary context conceptualised the language and how their conceptualisations were intertwined with their approaches to teaching, giving rise to—or otherwise—promoting cultural knowledge through their uses of ‘internationally imported’ textbooks. Our analysis of the teachers’ interviews and documents framed within a sociocultural approach to learning (Vygotsky, LS, Mind in society. The development of higher psychological processes. In: Cole M, John-Steiner V, Scribner S, Souberman E (eds). Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1978; Wertsch JV, Voices of the mind. A sociocultural approach to mediated action. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1985) showed that the received status of English as a foreign language was upheld by the teachers who defined their teaching goals strictly related to enhancing the students’ test-taking performance and linguistic competence while the teachers consciously decided to ignore the cultural contents contained in the textbooks they used. The teachers’ decision to do so also stemmed from their reported limited knowledge about the ‘target language’ culture itself. To capture the complexity of the teachers’ cognitions about cultural aspects and their conceptions of (the status of) English in their practice, we interpret our findings within the sociocultural and socio-political situations of the present study’s context. For practical reasons, based on our findings, we contend that ELT materials should contain cultural values that are situated—but which require changing practitioners’ conceptualisation of the evolving status of English in their own context.


ASEAN Englishes Cultural education ELF Cambodian ELT ELT textbooks 



The authors would like to thank Rattanak Theam and Alan Klein for their assistance in proofreading an earlier version of this chapter. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and feedback on our manuscript. However, all flaws remain ours.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Regional Teacher Training CentrePhnom PenhCambodia
  2. 2.Royal University of Phnom PenhPhnom PenhCambodia

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