How Much Space Do EFL Learners Have to Express Their Identiti ...

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Abstract

This study explores self-expression opportunities offered in eight titles of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) textbooks, namely, Bridge, English in Mind, Messages, Motivate!, Move It!, New World, Time Zone, and Your Space. The analysis of this study targets three aspects of self-expression opportunities: (1) the frequency of activities allowing learners to express themselves, (2) the modes of communication of self-expression activities, and (3) the topics of self-expression activities. The findings obtained from the analysis revealed that the numbers of self-expression activities varied widely from textbook to textbook, ranging from sixty-three counts to merely eighteen counts. Speaking tasks were slightly more preferred than writing tasks, and the balance between the two modes can only be seen in Your Space 1 where the two modes had roughly the same amount of exercises dedicated to self-expression practice. Nineteen topics were identified, which altogether tended to cover everyday interactions. However, some topics that promote expression of learner identities were underemphasized. Also discussed were considerations for policymakers, material developers and, classroom teachers; for example, it is recommended that teachers consider supplying their students with self-expression activities in the topics that are absent or underrepresented in the textbooks.