Teaching the cultural aspect of foreign language education is a complex and sometimes
difficult task, especially since English has become an international language used in different
settings and contexts throughout the world. Building on the idea that the spread of
the English language and its international status in the world has made English an important
school subject to develop students’ cross-cultural and intercultural awareness, this
paper has studied what research reveals about the influence this has had on cultural representations
in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) textbooks. Findings from a systematic
literature review that analyzed four different international studies on the topic are presented.
The study showed that EFL textbooks often present stereotypical and overgeneralized
representations of culture and that the cultural aspect of EFL education is not adequately
addressed since focus tends to lean towards language proficiency. Results also
indicated that though steps are made to include cultural representations from different
international contexts, the target culture of countries where English is the first language
remains dominant in EFL textbooks. The findings are discussed in correlation with the
Swedish national curriculum and syllabus.
EFL education, culture, cultural representations, textbooks, intercultural awareness