An Analysis of Environmental Content Found in English-Langua ...

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UNESCO defines Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as a means of addressing present and future worldwide challenges by creating sustainable and resilient societies. ESD content and approaches have been applied throughout the tertiary curriculum, but one area that lags is English as a Foreign Language (EFL), even though environmental themes and topics—such as global warming—are commonly used. Although these topics are useful for raising student awareness of critical issues, lessons dedicated to these topics often fail to engage students beyond the purposes of English-language teaching. This represents a missed opportunity in countries like Japan, where students in higher education have limited exposure to environmental topics. This research examines the role that environmental topics play in EFL textbooks through an analysis of a corpus of more than 55,000 words garnered from EFL textbooks commonly used in Japanese higher education. The research aims to discover themes and patterns found in the corpus by the novel application of text analysis, data mining techniques, and corpus analysis tools. The author proposes a framework to support and improve EFL lessons that integrate environmental content with the ultimate aim of strengthening ESD mainstreaming.