Syed Babar Ali Fellow
Given the fact that proficiency in English is seen as a key to success in Pakistan, it has recently been initiated as the compulsory subject in Grades 1 to 5 all over the country. English language textbooks, along with the textbooks of other subjects, have been prepared and distributed free to students in the government schools to learn the language. This talk presents a study that draws upon the Kress and van Leeuwen’s (1996) ideas about pictures and problematizes that Pakistani English textbooks teach only English. The study aimed to explore the identities an adult female was shown in the images in English textbooks for Grades 1 to 5 used for teaching English in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. The researcher categorized all the images of an adult female found in the five textbooks and conducted a qualitative thematic analysis. Findings revealed that an adult female was shown in mainly three identities: a housewife/mother, a nurse or a doctor, and a teacher. The study contends that showing an adult female in only a few identities in the pictures of the books is not only promoting and prescribing certain female ideologies but also homogenizing the female identities. The study seeks pictorial justice and discusses pertinent implications for relevant stakeholders from a social justice perspective.
Liaquat Channa is an educational linguist and interested in areas such as language and education, hidden curriculum and language textbooks,and, English as a/the medium of instruction explored through qualitative and mixed methods approaches in postcolonial contexts in general and Pakistan in particular.