Environmental Literacy: Raising Awareness through Chinese Primary Education Textbooks

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This article examines environmental literacy topics in Chinese language textbooks used in elementary school education nationwide in China. Published by People’s Education Press, the textbooks serve as the core teaching material for literacy education of primary school children. Informed by language socialisation and literacy studies, this paper examines what texts and topics are included in textbooks that introduce child-readers to environmental literacy, how child readers are positioned as (ir)responsible environmental actors and what text-types and features are used to socialise children to become environmentally conscious individuals. To understand the ideological constructs of environmental literacy, intertextuality is employed to analyse how meaning is derived by revealing the interconnectedness of text production with the broader socio-political issues. Through content analysis, the article examines particularly how text features such as texttypes, lexical choices, grammatical elements and generic structures are used in the textbooks to reflect environmental issues and develop children’s awareness. The ideological orientations serve as a framework for socialising children into environmentally conscious individuals. The article enhances our understanding of the role textbooks play in literacy education, as they not only provide materials for literacy learning and teaching, but also entail a socialisation process that shapes individuals’ environmental perception of the world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalLanguage, Culture and Curriculum
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2020


  • environmental literacy
  • consumer behaviour
  • deforestation
  • environmental awareness
  • intertextuality
  • literacy education


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