Reading the World Through Words: Cultural Themes in Heritage Chinese Language Textbooks

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This paper explores the social and cultural knowledge embedded in the textbooks for language and literacy education in a Chinese heritage language school, the Zhonguo School, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It examines how Chinese language arts textbooks introduce the child reader to cultural knowledge considered legitimate and valued in China as well as in Chinese diasporan communities. Furthermore, it looks at the construction of cultural knowledge in Chinese language textbooks in relation to the mainstream ideology to which immigrant children are exposed in and out of mainstream school classrooms. It looks at how the power relationship between legitimate cultural knowledge in majority and minority contexts is established and to what extent it affects language minority students’ literacy practices in mainstream school and heritage language school contexts. Data sources are the Chinese textbooks used from kindergarten to Grade 5 in a Chinese heritage language school.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-113
Number of pages19
JournalLanguage and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


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