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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"I thought Canadians were white!" : an intersectional gendered visual analysis of race, nation, gender, and LGBT+ representation in ESL/ELL textbooks Nelson, Jhonelle


Despite the international status of the English language, there is a very particular image of who speaks ‘good’ English. Whatever the racial, gender, cultural, national or other identities of the English as Second Language/English Language Learning (ESL/ELL) instructors and their students, there are questions about the images and representations in the teaching materials that are used to guide students into the mysteries of English. Given the assumptions about the source of ‘good,’ acceptable English, how are ‘English speakers’ being represented to English learners, and what role did ESL materials play in students’ perceptions? What representations of race, gender, women, sexuality and nation do the available teaching materials convey to an increasingly diverse range of ESL instructors and their students? This paper examines the implications of intersectional gendered visual representations of people, classes, sexualities and nations in a range of popular teaching materials available in Canada. Visual data from 10 ESL/ELL textbooks was collected, organized and analyzed with the intention of reaching a conclusion about the state of diverse representation in modern teaching materials, and to fill in the gap of Canadian scholarship on intersectional visual depictions in English language education.

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