«A Comparative Case Study of North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) and Ireland by Melanie Liese B.A. School of Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies ...»
The textbook is greatly influenced by a country‟s curriculum, “weil es in [...] den allgemein gehaltenen Lehrplan implementiert” [as it implements the curriculum that is generally upheld] (Detjen 2007, p.423). Curricula on the other hand, as Detjen (2007, p.423) points out, “sind politische Setzungen” [are political norms] directed by respective governments. Therefore a textbook‟s content reflects a country‟s curriculum. This reflection is twofold in the sense that it includes “planned” and “unplanned” content (Detjen 2007, p.10). The „planned‟ content refers to facts and knowledge deliberately given in textbooks, while the „unplanned‟ content refers to “learnings that [are] not planned and these have become subsequently known as „hidden curriculum‟” (ibid). Accordingly Seddon, 1983 (in Print 1993, p.10) argues that the hidden curriculum refers to the outcomes of education and/ or the process leading to those outcomes, which are not explicitly intended because they are not stated by teachers in their oral or written lists of objectives, nor are they included in educational statements of intent such as syllabuses, school policy documents or curriculum projects.
As Seddon explains that the „hidden‟ curriculum is “not explicitly intended” because it is not stated officially, he implies that certain information could be communicated to learners in an unseen way, i.e., in a hidden way.
Coming back to this study, although the „hidden curriculum‟ is not explicitly stated in any official documents, statements in the curricula of both North RhineWestphalia and Ireland imply a certain relationship between government policies, the curriculum and subsequently the textbook which is influenced by the curriculum in each context. For example, the primary school curriculum in North RhineWestphalia states: “Die Schule ist für Schülerinnen und Schüler immer auch Lebensund Erfahrungsraum, der ihr Denken und Handeln beeinflusst.” [School is always a living space and a place of experience for students which influences their thinking and actions] (Ministerium für Schule, Jugend und Kinder des Landes NordrheinWestfalen 2003, p.22). Thus, this statement implies that the school as well as what students experience there, influences their actions and their thinking. The textbook is part of that experience and therefore according to the statement in the curriculum, part of that influence. Similarly the primary school curriculum in Ireland states that it “reflects the educational, cultural, social and economic aspirations and concerns of Irish society” (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment 1999a, p.6), without explicitly stating what these might be.
In summary it can be said that textbooks “in addition to transmitting knowledge, [...] also seek to anchor the political and social norms of a society. [They] convey a global understanding of history and the rules of society as well as norms of living with other people” (Schissler 1989-90, in Pingel 2009, p.7). Because textbooks transfer “rules” and “norms” of a society, one of the main objectives of Textbook Research is to examine their normative function. Textbook Research also aims to “promote international understanding”, particularly when textbooks contain “one sided images” and prejudice (Pingel 2009, p.8). As well as focussing on text analysis, Textbook Research also focuses on the “comparison and revision” of textbooks (ibid). However, this study concentrates on the analysis and comparison of textbooks in North Rhine-Westphalia and Ireland.
1.4 Structure of this Study
Having demonstrated the social reality in terms of ethnic and cultural diversity, which includes linguistic and religious differences, in each case in the first chapter and having outlined the role of textbooks in reflecting that reality, a brief overview of Textbook Research, particularly in relation to migrants and diversity, will be given in the next chapter. Because textbook content is developed in accordance with the particular curriculum of a country, the third chapter will explore how the curriculum in each case responds to the ethnic and cultural diversity in North RhineWestphalia and Ireland respectively. The fourth chapter will describe the methodologies applied in this study and will describe how the corpus has been selected. The representation of the ethnic and cultural „other‟ in a number of textbooks of North Rhine-Westphalia will be analyzed in the fifth chapter, while an analysis of the Irish textbooks will be presented in the sixth chapter. A comparison of results from the analyses of the textbooks examined in each context will be given in Chapter Seven. Lastly, a number of conclusions and recommendations will be presented in Chapter Eight.
2.1 Introduction Having looked at the context of this study in terms of ethnic and cultural diversity as a social reality in North Rhine-Westphalia and Ireland respectively as well as the normative function of textbooks in relation to society, this chapter explores Textbook Research in general and reviews some relevant studies.
2.2 Textbook Research
Research on textbooks began after the First World War, in an effort to eliminate xenophobia as “politicians as well as teachers criticized the fact that textbooks used by many of the former opponents tended to foster, rather than combat, national prejudices and portrayed misleading stereotypes of adversaries” (Pingel 2009, p.9).
Thus, in 1925 The League of Nations responded with a suggestion for a “comparative analysis of textbooks in order to revise texts that were biased and flawed” (ibid). This resulted in the comparison and revision of history textbooks in particular “between neighbouring countries” (ibid). In 1937, twenty-six countries signed up to the Declaration Regarding The Teaching of History, which included three main principles. These are outlined in the UNESCO Guidebook on Textbook Research and Textbook Revision. One of the principles states, that the teaching of history should be included in textbooks as much as possible. Another principle concerns governments, which, according to the guidebook, “should endeavour to ascertain by what means, more especially in connection with the choice of schoolbooks, school-children may be put on their guard against all such allegations and interpretations as might arouse unjust prejudices against other nations” (ibid, p.10).
Lastly, regarding the teaching of history, a committee of teachers should be appointed in each country.
“The Second World War put an end to all that had been achieved in the twenties and thirties” (ibid, p.11). However, in 1949, UNESCO published the Handbook for the Improvement of Textbooks and Teaching Materials as Aids to International Understanding. “With the aim of enhancing international understanding” (ibid, p.11), this handbook served as a practical guide to international textbook analysis and textbook writing.
After “the importance of comparative textbook studies” had been affirmed by UNESCO in 1974, a global approach to Textbook Research has been taken towards the end of the 1980s up until today (ibid, p.13). With globalisation, it was now important to analyse, compare and revise textbooks with a view on issues concerning people worldwide (ibid). “The representation of world problems in textbooks, represents a new phase in international textbook research, which, until recently, has concentrated on the presentation of national images and information on particular countries in textbooks” (ibid). Today, most Textbook Research is carried out by nongovernmental organisations and other independent agencies which “can only exert a limited influence on the government; the material or recommendations they produce rarely find their way into the standard textbooks and curriculum” (ibid, p.23).
The Georg-Eckert-Institute for International Textbook Research, set up by the German university lecturer Georg Eckert in 1951, is one of the main centres of international Textbook Research. It anticipates the formation and preservation of peaceful relations between countries through the analysis and revision of textbooks.
[It] contributes to the deconstruction of prejudices and concepts of the enemy and develops recommendations for the objectification and advancement of instructional media. Particularly in (post-) conflict and transformation societies, it also acts as a mediator in textbook conflicts. The GEI increases awareness for the diversity of the identity concepts that are formed in schools (or should be formed in schools) and develops models for the handling of textbook-oriented conflicts (Georg-Eckert-Institute for International Textbook Research 2009).
In this regard, the institute has published numerous research studies mainly focusing on the international analysis of history, geography and civil education/ social studies textbooks. Its aim is “historisch, politisch und geographisch bedeutsame Darstellungen in den Schulbüchern der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und anderen Staaten miteinander zu vergleichen und Empfehlungen zu ihrer Versachlichung zu unterbreiten” [to compare historically, politically and geographically significant images in the schoolbooks of Germany and other countries and to give suggestions with regard to the objectivity of schoolbooks] (Georg-Eckert-Institute for International Textbook Research 1975). Over the years, the institute‟s research fields
have broadened and its priorities today lie in:
the debate of integration by means of education in conflict and transformation societies [...], the discussion about collective identity in Europe [...], the mutual perception of European and Muslim-majority societies, and the question of how to deal with plurality and „difference‟ (Georg-Eckert- Institute for International Textbook Research 2009a, p.6).
It operates on an international as well as on a local level. For example, a research project conducted by the Georg-Eckert-Institute between 2006 and 2009 “widmete sich [...] der Untersuchung von Schulbuchrevisionen und Reformen im Bildungswesen in Ländern des Nahen Ostens und Nordafrika” [was dedicated to the examination of schoolbook revisions and reforms in the education system in countries of the Middle East and North Africa] with the aim of creating “einen konstruktiven Dialog [...] zwischen europäischen und überwiegend muslimisch bevölkerten Staaten” [a constructive dialogue between European and the mostly Muslim-populated countries] (Georg-Eckert-Institute for International Textbook Research 2010). For this purpose, history and social studies textbooks from Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Oman were analysed. As a result, researchers found that through the subject of social studies “wird oft versucht, loyale Bürgerinnen und Bürger auszubilden und interne Konflikte und Differenzen in der Gesellschaft zu verdecken oder einzuebnen, um für eine einheitliche nationale Identität zu sorgen“ [an attempt is often made to train loyal citizens and to conceal and balance out internal conflicts and differences in order to maintain a uniform identity] (GeorgEckert-Institute for International Textbook Research 2010a). Furthermore, it was found that “europäische und westliche Staaten kommen in der heutigen Generation der Schulbücher eher positiv vor, werden als Initiatoren und Träger der Moderne und des technologischen Fortschritt dargestellt“ [European and western countries tend to emerge more positively in the textbooks of today‟s generation; as they are portrayed as initiators and bearers of modernity and of technological progress] (ibid).
However, the study points to some gaps in the textbooks examined because “klassische Themen wie die Kreuzzüge und Kolonialismus nur flüchtig gestreift [und] die Konflikte zwischen Israel und Palästina und arabischen Staaten eher zurückhaltend thematisiert [werden]” [classic themes like the crusades and colonialism are only touched upon and the conflicts between Israel and Palestine and Arabic countries are referred to rather cautiously] (ibid).
2.3 Review of Some Relevant Studies