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Volume 20 Number 3, Autumn 2023, Pages 507-753   


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A Review of Materials Development in Multi-Cultural Developing World L2 contexts

    Jayakaran Mukundan


The journey of the English language textbook in Malaysia across the past seven decades has experienced numerous changes, partly due to the nation's status as newly independent nation. Malaysia has a multi-racial, multi-religious population and inherited the English language from its colonized past. The urban-rural divide and the multitude of school types which range from Malay-medium to vernacular (Mandarin and Tamil) on one hand and the private international schools where English is the medium of instruction (and the IGCSE curriculum is in use) on the other, makes materials-based investigation fascinating. The purpose of this chapter is to determine how the sociological concepts of representation, social re-engineering, and agendas of the state influence selection of content in textbooks; and how these intrusions affect the textbook as artifact in terms of situational and linguistic realism and in other aspects such as appropriateness in terms of the principles of language acquisition. What implications these intrusions have on learning-teaching will also be discussed. Experts wonder if decisions made with regards content selection only took into consideration social reengineering agendas. Many believed pedagogical considerations were side-stepped in the evolution of the state-sponsored textbook. This article will show how hybridization processes turned the Malaysian textbook into a unique localized artifact and how these motives were later abruptly abandoned to make way for the global textbook, mainly due to the sudden emergence and importance placed on the CEFR. Teachers could benefit from this awareness of how this extra agenda added to language textbooks can either have adverse effects on language learning and acquisition because of a lack of fit to young adult interests, or perhaps inadvertently, help make them more accessible to learners in terms of aspects of cultural familiarity.

Keywords: State-sponsored textbook global coursebook 3-decade review social re-engineering Agendas of State