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Towards an intercultural perspective in manuals for Spanish as a foreign language

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Abstract

All Foreign Language manuals attempt to integrate the cultural element for the language classrooms but it is critical to analyze how effectively this cultural element is incorporated in the books. In many instances the objectives related to linguistic and cultural diversity are poorly presented and contextualized. This paper analyzes texts and images extracted from a particular manual due to the discussion and controversy that some of its images and cultural content provoked in the classroom with Jamaican students. The manual is intended to be global and intercultural in order to avoid culture clashes but our teaching practice in a different cultural context demonstrates just the opposite result. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the quality of social and cultural images and how they are transmitted when analyzing issues such as the teaching of a particular culture, the representation of a specific society, and the depiction of minority groups. The present analysis will demonstrate how many of the materials provide a biased, topical, and superficial vision of cultural aspects of the foreign language learned, rendering stereotypical images to students of foreign languages. The presentation of cultural content and images that better represent the diversity of the Hispanic world, will definitely increase the interest and curiosity of Jamaican students who will be greatly motivated to better learn the target language.

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