Posted On 2/10/2019 5:54:00 PM, 2Comments


I examined a coursebook which is called “Teenwise” for the 9th graders published by the Ministry of Education. I chose this book because I used this book in my practicum the last term, and I observed the students attitudes towards the activities in the book. Firstly, this book consists of ten different units, and each unit has two different sections. When we look through these units, some of them may be a part of social justice education.

I would like to start with the first unit “Studying Abroad”, the unit starts with the different greetings expressions from different countries. In addition to this, we also see pictures of the different countries’ flags. This part of the unit may draw the students’ interest in other cultures, discovering different cultures may help students to understand and respect the other points of views of the people all around the world. Thus, students can notice the importance of world peace.  If this unit is developed in terms of its content and activities, it would be definitely a good example of world peace.

Another unit is called “Human in Nature” when we look through its contents and activities, we mostly see the explanations of nature and natural disasters terms, and there are no other activities such as how we can prevent such disasters or what we should do for our environment. Humans are not thought to be responsible for natural disasters, however, Cannon (1994) states that humans are also responsible for the disasters. For instance, people have experienced a hurricane in Antalya, Turkey.  In Turkey, such natural disasters have not happened until now, the reason why it has happened now is the global warming, and we, people, cause global warming with using plastics, cutting trees(deforestation)etc. However, in the book, these issues are not included. Thus, the contents of this unit are insufficient in terms of environmental issues.

Emergency and Health Problems is another unit can be related to social justice issues. The unit teaches students how to express their health problems in the target language, but there is no sign of the other people who cannot get help for their health problems in the world. This is one of the important issues in the world most of the people cannot be treated, these issues could be included in the unit.

Last not but least “ Bridging Cultures”, this unit can be a good example of social justice education. In this unit, the students learn about other cultures and customs. This unit is also a great example of world peace.

In a nutshell, every subject can be a part of social justice education because it is life itself, but unfortunately, in general, the purpose of this book is just to teach the language, not to raise the students’ awareness of social justice issues, but why? The reason behind is that the importance of social justice issues is not aware of by so many people. We need to teach our students how to save our planet, or how we can prevent poverty or why we can respect the differences of the people for the better and livable world. If they do not know these issues, there may be no future because the balance of the earth is disrupting day by day, people are dying because of hunger, people are upset because they are not respected because of their beliefs or differences. If we want to better and livable world, we need to tell students these issues importance or raise their awareness.


Cannon, T. (1994). Vulnerability analysis and the explanation of ‘natural’disasters. Disasters, development, and environment1, 13-30.


















Comments (2) -

Adnan Yilmaz
2/22/2019 6:00:36 AM #

Thank you for this nice blog post, Nurten!

As you mentioned,  the units “Studying Abroad” and “Bridging Cultures” focus on teaching culture to improve students’ intercultural competence. By teaching intercultural competence, students can cultivate awareness and knowledge of other cultures. This awareness and knowledge is likely to enhance their respect and tolerance toward other cultures. In this sense, you are right that the textbook certainly serves to build peace and thus social justice in the world.

Likewise, the unit “Human in Nature” does certainly have connection with environmental issues and hence social justice. However, I do agree that merely familiarizing students with some terms is “insufficient” (in your words) to encourage students to do something concrete about these issues. The example that you provided about the hurricane in Antalya is very strong to show how global warming can affect our lives. And yes global warming is certainly a result of our actions. Therefore, students should be motivated to take action via various language learning activities, task, and projects in order to bring solutions to these problems or at least look at these issues from a critical perspective.

However, depending on your blog post, it is clear that the issues related to social justice are not covered effectively in this textbook. So, what could be done to make this textbook pedagogically responsive to social justice issues? What sort of activities and tasks can you suggest? Or, how can a teacher compensate for these missing points in the textbook?  

Bill Snyder
2/25/2019 7:36:50 PM #

Hi Nurten,

I think you've done a very nice job of examining your textbook for how it might support a social justice curriculum. The units that you've picked out for specific mention do clearly provide a basis for exploring social justice issues with students. But you are also right that any unit could have social justice material included in its teaching because social justice is a part of life. I'd be interested to know how you would approach including social justice education in one of the units that is not so clearly related to it.

Like Adnan hoca, I think the key question for you (and for any teacher) is how to work beyond the limited framework provided by materials to achieve broader educational goals, like raising students' awareness of social justice issues. I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts about this.

I'm looking forwward to comoing to Turkey in the spring and meeting you and the other participants in this project and talking more about these issues.

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Nurten Civelek

4th year student in English Language Teaching at Sakarya University