Secondary School textbook publishers answer criticism / News / The Foreigner

The Foreigner Secondary School textbook publishers answer criticism. Two of Norway’s learning book firms who publish English curriculum books say they are listening to academics’ viewpoints. Their responses come following last week’s article on The Foreigner. In it, Jena Habegger-Conti, Associate professor of English literature at the University of Stavanger censures the publishers for shoring up prejudices regarding minorities and indigenous peoples at Lower Secondary School level. She highlights discovered disparities between the books and the national curriculum’s aims of teaching respect for other cultures. Oslo and Akershus University College Rector Curt Rice calls some of the terminology in them “deeply offensive”. 

education, schools, stereotypes, books, curriculum, paywall



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Secondary School textbook publishers answer criticism

Published on Monday, 23rd May, 2016 at 21:01 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 23rd May 2016 at 21:20.

Two of Norway’s learning book firms who publish English curriculum books say they are listening to academics’ viewpoints.



Their responses come following last week’s article on The Foreigner. In it, Jena Habegger-Conti, Associate professor of English literature at the University of Stavanger censures the publishers for shoring up prejudices regarding minorities and indigenous peoples at Lower Secondary School level.

She highlights discovered disparities between the books and the national curriculum’s aims of teaching respect for other cultures. Oslo and Akershus University College Rector Curt Rice calls some of the terminology in them “deeply offensive”. 

The Foreigner has received answers from Fagbokforlaget and Cappelen Damm. They publish ‘Crossroads 9A’ and ‘New Flight’, respectively.

What are your selection criteria for the books regarding images?

“We spend a lot of time and money on the illustrations. We have in-house picture editors, and use Scanpix and many other picture agencies. We often try to pick those that have a connection with the text unless we want to point out something else. There are many considerations that we make when choosing the pictures,” Fagbokforlaget publishing director Trond Petter Hinrichsen (T.P.H.) tells The Foreigner.

“The current curriculum is always the leading selection criteria. Our selection criteria starts with the texts, and possibly visual works of art, that we choose to include in each chapter/topic. The photos, and other visual elements, are chosen based on the texts. In our English textbooks, we always aim to include as many authentic English language texts as possible, such as e.g. poems, legends, short stories and excerpts from novels, biographies and other books. In the books in questions and within the topics mentioned in the study, there are mostly authentic texts from well-known English language authors,” says Espen Skovdahl (E.S.), acting head of Cappelen Damm Academic Publishing about the books.

Who writes the books?

T.P.H.: “Some of the authors teach in secondary schools, universities, and colleges. Of course, we devote a lot of time to choosing them. This is something that our editors stress the importance of. Many of our teams have people on them whose first language is English. The authors are highly-educated people with a lot of experience.”

E.S.: “We usually have a team of two to four authors working on a subject, such as English for Lower Secondary School, together with the editor in charge of the specific “project”. The authors are most often trained teachers with experience from the classroom. The voice of the teachers and through them, the voices of the students, are important to us when we make our textbooks. We also usually have academic professionals and researchers from universities as part of the group or as consultants.”

What do you have to say about the criticism raised?

T.P.H.: “We take it very seriously, and are happy when people bring things that can be corrected to our attention. This particular series of books is 10 years old, of course, having been published in 2006 when the curriculum was updated last. I guess the situation will be different regarding the new books when they come out.”

E.S.: “We take note of the criticism and appreciate all studies that evaluate our textbooks. We will take any critical examination of our books into consideration when we revise or make new English textbooks.”

When are revisions of the current books in question going to be made, if applicable?

T.P.H.: “When the new books are published depends on current curriculum development work being undertaken by the government. Officials are considering making the curriculum more focused. There’s a lot of different content that needs to be in our current books. Of course, we’ll be more aware of the terminology that is used in our future ones.”

E.S.: “There will not be a revision of New Flight, as we are currently in the process of making completely new textbooks, Connect, and other learning materials for the age group 13-16. In our new material, we will of course take note of the criticism in the study.”

Fagbokforlaget’s Trond Petter Hinrichsen adds that “schools can either pick these new publications, or keep to the old ones” when they come out. “Developing a book can take years, what with writing, editing, amending, etc. ‘Crossroads’ is our only book produced for Secondary School level.”



Published on Monday, 23rd May, 2016 at 21:01 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 23rd May 2016 at 21:20.

This post has the following tags: education, schools, stereotypes, books, curriculum, paywall.





  
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