Representations of culture in Chinese language textbooks for K-16 Chinese language learners in the United States: Examining cultural literacy in Chinese language education
The importance and inseparability of language learning and cultural study has been widely discussed and agreed upon in the field of Chinese as a Foreign Language Teaching. However, the concept of culture that is embedded in Chinese language teaching needs to be further defined, especially as Chinese learning and teaching has expanded rapidly in various cultures. By conducting discourse analysis and content analysis of the most popular Chinese foreign language textbooks, the current study identified the representations of culture learned by heritage, non-heritage, and multilingual Chinese learners in K-16 education in the United States. There are at present 768 programs that provide Chinese teaching for American students. After calculating the frequency of the books used for these programs, 16 Chinese textbooks or book series were selected for data analysis. Cultural capital is recognized as a complex set of practices for the learners with diverse identities. The cultural representations are categorized as four types: material culture, institutional culture, behavior culture, and social ideology. This study provides a foundation to inform policymaking, curriculum and material development, and testing for Chinese language teaching.