Designing Culture-oriented Materials for Iranian EAP University Students: The Relative Impacts on Receptive and Productive Tasks Performance

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

Department of ELT and English Translation, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran

Abstract

Although culture-oriented contents can be regarded as determining factors in the performance of EAP university students' receptive and productive tasks, a paucity of investigation on the impacts of culture-oriented materials on their receptive and productive tasks performance is strongly felt. To partly fill this gap, a culture-oriented English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP) course book was developed based on Tomlinson's (2001) materials development framework. A total of 180 participants were selected according to their language proficiency results, and were stratified into four receptive and productive EGAP task groups encompassing Lecture Presentation, Note-taking, Academic Writing, and Figure Drawing. Then, the developed course book was taught and practiced in each of the EGAP classes, and the treatments pertaining to each EGAP task were implemented separately in each group. Having passed twenty treatment sessions, the participants were administered a posttest including the main four skills. Then, through a modified version of Mukundan, Hajimohammadi, and Nimehchisalem's (2011) course book evaluation checklist, the students were shown to have positive attitudes towards the culture-oriented content. Furthermore, a one-way ANOVA test was used for analyzing task performance and indicated that culture-oriented content had a significant impact on the Iranian EAP university students' task performance. Similarly, a paired samples t-test revealed that culture-oriented content affected the EAP students' Lecture Presentation, Note-taking, Academic Writing, and Figure Drawing separately. It was further observed that Lecture Presentation as a productive task for enhancing the speaking skill was highly influenced by culture-oriented content in the EGAP classrooms. The findings suggest that the significance of the first culture as the determining yardstick for incorporating materials attributed to the second culture in EAP language teaching arenas should be taken into consideration. This can materialize by conducting receptive and productive EGAP tasks in general, and lecture presentation in particular.

Keywords


Article Title [فارسی]

طراحی مواد آموزشی فرهنگ محور برای دانشجویان ایرانی که انگلیسی را با اهداف آکادمیک فرا می گیرند: تاثیر نسبی بر نحوه اجرای فعالیتهای دریافتی و تولیدی

Abstract [فارسی]

اگر چه محتوای فرهنگ محور می تواند به عنوان عاملی تعیین کننده در اجرای فعالیتهای دریافتی و تولیدی دانشجویان زبان انگلیسی با اهداف آکادمیک در نظر گرفته شود، اما کمبود بررسی ها در خصوص تاثیر مواد آموزشی فرهنگ محور بر نحوه اجرای فعالیتهای دریافتی و تولیدی این دانشجویان به شدت احساس می گردد. به منظور برطرف نمودن این نقیصه، ابتدا یک کتاب درسی انگلیسی فرهنگ محور با اهداف عمومی آکادمیک بر مبنای چارچوب بهبود مواد آموزشی تاملینسون (2001) تالیف گردید. در همین راستا، 180 دانشجو بر اساس دانش زبانیشان انتخاب شدند و به چهار گروه فعالیت شامل ارایه سخنرانی، یادداشت برداری، نگارش آکادمیک، و تصویر نگاری تقسیم گردیدند. پس از بیست جلسه تمرین، دانشجویان به پاسخگویی پس آزمون پرداختند. نتایج حاصله نشان داد که محتوای فرهنگ محور تاثیر به سزایی در اجرای هریک از فعالیتهای فوق دارد. همچنین، یافته ها به طور ضمنی بیانگر اهمیت فرهنگ بومی به عنوان زیربنای تولید مواد آموزشی انگلیسی با اهداف آکادمیک می باشد. این  بومی سازی با ایجاد فعالیتهای دریافتی و تولیدی انگلیسی با اهداف عمومی آکادمیک به طور کلی، و ارایه سخنرانی به طور ویژه محقق خواهد گردید.

Keywords [فارسی]

  • محتوای فرهنگ محور
  • انگلیسی با اهداف عمومی آکادمیک
  • فعالیتهای مربوط به انگلیسی با اهداف عمومی آکادمیک
  • فرهنگ مربوط به زبان اول
  • ارائه سخنرانی

Designing Culture-oriented Materials for Iranian EAP University Students: The Relative Impacts on Receptive and Productive Tasks Performance

[1]Esmaeil Hassannejad

[2]Farid Ghaemi*

  IJEAP- 2003-1516

[3]Natasha Pourdana

Received: 2020-03-25                          Accepted: 2020-06-20                      Published: 2020-06-31

Abstract

Although culture-oriented contents can be regarded as determining factors in the performance of EAP university students' receptive and productive tasks, a paucity of investigation on the impacts of culture-oriented materials on their receptive and productive tasks performance is strongly felt. To partly fill this gap, a culture-oriented English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP) course book was developed based on Tomlinson's (2001) materials development framework. A total of 180 participants were selected according to their language proficiency results, and were stratified into four receptive and productive EGAP task groups encompassing Lecture Presentation, Note-taking, Academic Writing, and Figure Drawing. Then, the developed course book was taught and practiced in each of the EGAP classes, and the treatments pertaining to each EGAP task were implemented separately in each group. Having passed twenty treatment sessions, the participants were administered a posttest including the main four skills. Then, through a modified version of Mukundan, Hajimohammadi, and Nimehchisalem's (2011) course book evaluation checklist, the students were shown to have positive attitudes towards the culture-oriented content. Furthermore, a one-way ANOVA test was used for analyzing task performance and indicated that culture-oriented content had a significant impact on the Iranian EAP university students' task performance. Similarly, a paired samples t-test revealed that culture-oriented content affected the EAP students' Lecture Presentation, Note-taking, Academic Writing, and Figure Drawing separately. It was further observed that Lecture Presentation as a productive task for enhancing the speaking skill was highly influenced by culture-oriented content in the EGAP classrooms. The findings suggest that the significance of the first culture as the determining yardstick for incorporating materials attributed to the second culture in EAP language teaching arenas should be taken into consideration. This can materialize by conducting receptive and productive EGAP tasks in general, and lecture presentation in particular.

Keywords: Culture-oriented Content, EGAP, EGAP Tasks, First Culture, Lecture Presentation

1. Introduction

Scrutinizing sociolinguistic challenges  in today’s current language education atmosphere seems to be one of the most critical issues for language policy makers and the social activists advocating human language rights. Various factors are thought to influence the survival of human languages, principal among them are the geographical distribution of speakers and their socio-economic status (Van der Jeught, 2015). These in turn are significantly shaped by the institutionalization of a macro policy. It is on such a basis that some stress on the vital importance of language policies in either facilitating or exacerbating the two aspects as mentioned above. More often than not, official designation and political sanctioning of a particular language use is materialized via efforts in cultivating certain language skills. This makes it possible for the speakers in question to enjoy accessing national privileges or to consider the rights of individuals to utilize languages (Arzoz, 2007). Depending on socio-cultural circumstances in communities in question, a wide spectrum of language policies can be observed thanks to contingent historical reasons. However, what is important in the analysis is that language and culture are intertwined and constitute as two sides of the same analytical coin. Any attempt to delve in depth and breadth with one is most likely to vitiate the significance of the other.

 Language being a medium of knowledge assimilation and enhancement, arguably influences the value systems of its beneficiaries. It is for such dynamic interrelationships that language in general, is seen to play a vital role in developing communication skills that in turn, culminate in evolutionary cultural development. Brown (2007) expands on that by stressing the importance of second language as an influencing element in cultural invasion of the community concerned. With such a conceptual framework in mind, there might be concern among some learners about the effects of second language on their local culture (Rezaeifard & Chalak, 2017). These learners might not necessarily go so far to perceive second language as the instrument of cultural imperialism. The phenomenon that from Taylor's (2007) viewpoint, results in some social disapprovals seemingly violates the socio-cultural and religious norms of communities concerned. Given such a dynamic interactive trend, the language learning that enhances learners' skills, is more often than not, have what is referred in this paper as cultural zero-sum implication. To put it differently, the more language dissemination, the greater cultural influence. This is claimed to impede learners' cultural identity (Damen, 1987).

Growing preoccupation of language policy makers in general and those in Iran in particular, with what they perceive as imminent cultural invasion, is thought to arise from a widespread adoption of English language not only by adults but also children. This development is seemingly a cause for political concern that merit systematic analysis. By acknowledging the significance of this state of affairs, a deductive approach to emergence of such topical issues can lead to sharpening the focus by implementing Spichtinger's (2000) conception of appropriation that uses English for local purposes. It can also entail Damen's (1987) conception of enculturation. Development of the latter in turn, implies acquisition of first culture that establishes socio-cultural identity, overindulgence in ethnocentric value systems generally, and trust in the native's power particularly. However, a paucity of investigation on the impacts of such culture-oriented contents on the Iranian EAP university students' receptive and productive tasks performance is strongly felt. That is, scrutinizing the effects of culture-oriented materials on the Iranian EAP university students' performance of receptive tasks (note-taking and figure drawing) and productive tasks (lecture presentation and academic writing) has not been taken into consideration in any of the previously performed studies.  Bearing these theoretical concepts in mind, the paper moreover, aims to develop a conceptual framework for the Iranian language policy makers to make sense of and actualize the aforementioned approaches. That is expected to pave the way for developing a universally coherent and pragmatic cultural and religious CBLT program. These can be materialized by implementing English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP) at university level that focuses on common language skills in all types and contents.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Linguistic Imperialism and Materials Development

There is a universal understanding about the significance of language as an effective medium of communication. This is particularly crucial in modern era. Regardless of the demographic or socio-economic status of speakers, language is instrumental in developing and establishing the social fabric of communities in modern era. One major attribute of language is its dynamicity in affecting social settings and equality being affected by then. For this reason, language is seen as undisputed cultural change agent. By pinpointing the instrumentalist feature of language in changing culture, Knowels (2010) goes further to develop a strong link between language and changes it brings about in recipient culture, a conception he calls cultural invasion. From such a perspective, institutionalization of foreign language use in recipient culture is likely to shift the balance in favor of the super-ordinate culture. The cultural change as a legacy of language use is what Knowles coined as linguistic imperialism that is in line with the socio-cultural hegemony stipulated by Gramsci (1992). In other words, the establishment and maintenance of power in capitalist societies can be taken into consideration through reputation of cultural foundations. By taking the argument further, some still view universal application of English language a specific case of dominion. The proponents see the latter emerging from the prevailing cultural injustice between English as a dominant communication mode owing its universal application to political hegemony of a global super power and other languages. Because of such factors, English language has secured its ascendancy to global recognition (Phillipson, 1992). Since language is regarded as an inadvertent aspect in nurturing cultural dynamism (Goode, Sockalingam, Bronheim, Brown & Jones, 2000), language currency is expected to enhance cultural dominion that advocates Philipson's (1992) idea of language monarchy. The latter in turn, involves the sovereignty of one culture over another (Baker, 2001). A very process argues Baker that takes a series of steps encompassing the supremacy of one nation or the worldwide supremacy of consumer capitalism.

   Such institutional concerns over language policy has been crucial in various states throughout history (Spolsky, 2004). For example, the literary masterpiece of Ferdowsi Tousi (935-1020), the pioneering Iranian poet, depicted language as a powerful communication tool for preserving national identity and cultural heritage.  Ferdowsi's outstanding intellectual contribution was a milestone for protecting the Persian language from the potential intrusion of the encroaching languages.  The unique richness of the Persian language, as contended by Ahmadi (2012), was conceived as a vital cementing agent for social cohesion. This was manifested in the emergence and sustenance of state institution, Iranian political history, methodology, and territorial integrity (Najmabadi, 2005). The outstanding synergetic outcome of the dominant Persian language of the time on global spread of Islamic faith should not be underestimated. Moreover, the juxtaposition of such language currency and literary dominance with the emerging Shiite faith has notably been seen as the most significant unifying symbols of social cohesion in the otherwise diverse ethnolinguistic sphere in Iran of that era (Marszałek-Kowalewska, 2011). Such product of intellectual achievement has markedly been instrumental in countering the potential threats of social disintegration posed by volatile and fragmented Iran of the Ferdowsi's era.

On the basis of such concerns, article 15 of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (1979) stipulates that all official renderings in general, and academic texts in particular, are to be strictly presented in Persian script. One approach to mitigate the effects of perceived cultural intrusion is to utilize the principles of Content Based Language Teaching (Prodromou, 1988; Rinvolucri, 1999). It is on such development, argue these authors, that the potential impact of Western (emerging) cultural intrusion on recipient or resisting culture can be mitigated through incorporating the local culture which guarantees a more meaningful language experience both for the teachers and the students alike (Labiste Jr., 2019). From the perspective of the aforementioned researchers, the emerging culture aims at facilitating learners' language acquisition with simultaneous utilization of a whole spectrum of issues. This seems in line with the objectives of English for Academic Purposes (EAP), as advocated by Brinton (2003) which help to increase students’ attention and their motivation in language classrooms (Mede & Yalçın, 2019). As Hyland (2006) points out, EAP can be practiced by either English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP) or English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP). The latter can conceivably provide material developers and teachers with practically applicable receptive and productive tasks in the forms of note taking, academic writing, lecture presentation, and figure drawing on the basis of socio-cultural content (Subroto, Jazadi, & Mahyuni, 2019). All of these are thought to be instrumental in isolating skills and study activities common to all disciplines.

  2.2. Experimental Studies

Few experimental studies highlighted the potential connection between culture-oriented content and receptive and productive tasks performance. In an attempt to investigate the impact of culture-oriented materials on Iranian EFL learners' receptive and productive skills, Namaziandost, Sabzevari, and Hashemifardnia (2018) examined the impact of culture-bound materials on Iranian upper-intermediate EFL learners' listening comprehension. To satisfy this objective, 96 male and female Iranian EFL learners were selected through administering an Oxford Placement Test and were randomly assigned into four equal groups; group A (Target Culture = TC), group B (International Target Culture = ITC), group C (Source Culture = SC) and group D (Culture-Free = CF). Before treatment, the participants were given the same pre-test. Then, the treatment was implemented on the experimental groups. Each group received listening comprehension materials pertaining to a particular culture. The finding of the post-test indicated that culture-oriented materials escalated the Iranian EFL learners’ listening comprehension. Particularly, the male learners reflected more satisfactory performance than the female participants.       

Karimi and Nafissi's (2017) study was carried out to investigate the effects of culture-oriented materials on Iranian intermediate EFL learners' reading comprehension. Two classes of intermediate male and female EFL students majoring in TEFL were given the same pretest. Then, they participated in one academic year treatment sessions encompassing two project-based reading courses. The results of the posttest indicated that culture-oriented materials enhanced the Iranian EFL learners' reading comprehension. Furthermore, the EFL learners in the experimental group were proved to have less degrees of anxiety.

In comparison to the abovementioned studies which delved into one single receptive skill in each study, all four receptive and productive skills were taken into consideration in the current study embracing larger number of participants. Moreover, none of the previously mentioned experimental studies examined the effects of culture-oriented materials on the Iranian EAP university students' performance of receptive tasks (note-taking and figure drawing) and productive tasks (lecture presentation and academic writing). The purpose of the current research was to investigate the relative impacts of culture-oriented content on the Iranian EAP university students' receptive and productive tasks performance, and reviewing the previously mentioned literature, a gap in the literature was felt, which could be filled by the present study through answering the following research questions:  

Research Question One: How does culture-oriented content have any impact on the Iranian EAP university students' attitudes?

Research Question Two: Does Culture-oriented content have any impact on Iranian EAP university students' lecture presentation?

Research Question Three: Does Culture-oriented content have any impact on Iranian EAP university students' note-taking?

Research Question Four: Does Culture-oriented content have any impact on Iranian EAP university students' academic writing?

Research Question Five: Does culture-oriented content have any impact on Iranian EAP university students' figure drawing?

3. Methodology

3.1. Design

The present study enjoyed a mixed-methods research design (Dörnyei, 2007), and due to the convenient non-random sampling of four experimental groups, this study had the characteristics of a quasi-experimental design (Hatch & Lazaraton, 1991). Primarily, as this study aimed to investigate the impacts of culture-oriented content on the EAP students' receptive and productive tasks performance through designing a culture-oriented course book, a checklist was developed for selecting the topics utilized in the EGAP course book, followed by piloting and validating procedures. Further, a course book evaluation checklist was utilized, followed by piloting and validating procedures, to evaluate the degree to which the content was appropriate for the given course and to check the EAP university students' attitudes toward this EGAP course book. In addition, it encompassed an experimental research design so as to collect numerical data to answer the abovementioned research questions within an analytical framework. Likewise, this study took an exploratory approach since attempts were made to uncover the dormant factors that existed in the data.

3.2. The Corpus

The EGAP course book material for this study, English through Culture, was developed in Iran for Iranian EAP university students to provide them with a culture-bound CBLT course content. Regarding the design and model of the course book, attempts were made to reflect the local concepts of teaching and learning of a foreign language. This course book was structured in 10 units, 8 pages each, totaling 80 pages. The topic of each unit was selected from a developed 30-item checklist which was derived from an ethnographically-oriented research. The topics consisted of Greetings, Nowrouz, Souvenirs, Tourist Attractions, Dishes, Traditional Clothes, Wedding, Religion, Lifestyle, and Ancient Iran respectively.

Each unit started with a Topic Preview comprising five prompts, a Vocabulary Preview, and a reading comprehension text pertaining to the topic of each unit. Since repetitive practice with vocabulary incorporates any task pertaining to receptive and productive skills (Criado & Sanchez, 2012), the following sections were operationalized as repetitive practice tasks which followed every reading comprehension text in each unit respectively:  a) Reading Check including True/False and Multiple-choice drill, b) Vocabulary Check comprising Gap-filling drills which referred to reviewing and retelling the utilized vocabulary items in the story, c) Role-play which enhanced the students' ability of social interactions based on the ideas in the reading comprehension text, d) Writing task which focused on systematic writing by applying the new words and expressions in each text, e) Discussion which exposed the students to some real life and culture-bound open-ended questions based on the new culture-bound words in the preceding text, f) Listening Comprehension through which the students were  told to take notes as long as they were listening to the audio track based on the issues in the pertinent text, g) Figure Drawing via which the students were expected to draw figures based on what they comprehended from the text, and h) Lecture Presentation through which the students were asked to present lectures about what they comprehended from the given text. The sections in this course book encompassed the four main skills in each unit based on the Integrated-skills approach due to the students’ progress in communicative competence in English (Jing, 2006).

It is to be noted that the above-mentioned course book benefitted from Tomlinson's (2001) materials development framework entailing a) Text Collection which necessitates collecting the texts which enhance interaction between the text and the reader's emotions, b) Text Selection pertaining to the texts which encourage the students to respond in personal and multidimensional ways, c) Text Experience which reflects the students' experience, d) Reading Activities such as Discussion section which helps the students to think about their related personal experiences, e) Experiential Activities encompassing Reading Check and Vocabulary Check which facilitates personal engagement,  f) Intake Response Activities including Lecture Presentation and Discussion sections through which the students share with others what the text means to them, g) Development Activities involving Writing, Role- play, and Discussion tasks which emphasize language production in real life situations, and h) Input Response Activities including all aforementioned repetitive practice tasks which take the learners back to the text. Afterward, five ELT faculty members at Islamic Azad University, Dezful Branch checked the content validity of this course book and verified the conformity between Tomlinson's (2001) materials development criteria and the pertaining course book sections.

To scrutinize the systematicity of vocabulary size in the texts constructions included in the aforementioned EGAP course book, the number of types and tokens and the Standard Type/Token Ratio (STTR) which reflects the lexical diversity of a text in the entire corpus were analyzed through the Web-VP BNC-20 tool. The number of tokens (total running words) was 10302 and the number of types (total of different or not repeated words) was 4407. Accordingly, STTR was 42.77% which seemed to indicate average opportunities for the repetition of words. Further, the tool manifested the word Range which counts and classifies vocabulary in three frequency groups matching the tokens in English through Culture corpus with K1 indicating the 1,000 most frequently utilized words, K2 the second 1,000 most frequent words and K3 the third most frequently used words (K1–K3)  in English (Nation, 2006). In this respect, K1 (Range1) was 4533 (46.34%) which indicated the running words at the elementary level (A2, according to the CEFR,2001). K2 (Range 2) comprised 4217 tokens (43.09%) corresponding to the intermediate level (B1, on the basis of CEFR, 2001), and K3 (Range 3) included 444 running words (4.54 %) pertaining to the advanced level. Other running words pertained to off-ranges which are beyond 3000 most frequently occurring words in English.

To determine the text difficulty, grade level, reader's age, and user level of the aforementioned course book, seven readability formulae (Flesch Reading Ease score, Linsear Write Formula, Coleman-Liau Index, Automated Readability Index, Gunning Fog, SMOG Index, and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level) were taken into account. Correspondingly, the reading level was almost average, the grade level was college, and the reader's age was 18. Hence, this course book seemed to match the EAP university students at the intermediate level.

Table 1: A Corpus-based Analysis of English through Culture (ETC) Course Book

 

Tokens

Types

STTR

K1

K2

K3

Reading Level

Grade Level

Reader's Age

User Level

Text Number

ETC  

10302

4407 

42.77%    

4533

4217

444

Almost Average

College

18

Intermediate

10

 

 3.3. Participants

Given the fact that a remarkable number of Iranian EFL learners was believed to take English courses in different language institutes, and that the sampling randomization seemed troublesome thanks to the required number of participants, convenient non-random sampling was utilized in this study. The participants in this study were 180 Iranian EAP university students at an intermediate level whose proficiency scores fell between 31 and 40 based on Oxford Placement Test (OPT) (2001).  Furthermore, 30 homogeneous intermediate EAP university students other than those who participated in the study were selected to partake in piloting the pretest, posttest, and checklists. These 210  students were recruited from a pool of 300 eighteen to thirty-two year-old male and female students who selected the General English course in four General English classrooms, and majored in different fields of study at the Islamic Azad University, Dezful branch, located in the southwest of Iran. All learners practiced English through their General English course books inside their General English classrooms, and through the related tasks and assignments outside the classrooms. Due to scrutinizing the impacts of culture-oriented content on the tasks performance pertaining to four receptive and productive skills, the sample included four groups. The first group, Lecture Presentation, consisted of 50 male and female Iranian EAP university students between the ages of 18 and 32 years (M= 25.26). The second group, Note-taking, was comprised of 40 male and female Iranian EAP university students between the ages 18 and 32 (M= 25.15). The third group, Academic Writing, incorporated 50 male and female 18 to 32 year-old EAP university students (M= 25.62), and the fourth group, Figure Drawing, embraced 40 male and female Iranian EAP university students between the ages of 18 and 32 (M= 25.40). All of these group members were native speakers of Persian and experienced at least 12 years of education, and all were at the intermediate level of proficiency. Since this study enjoyed quasi experimental research design with intervention and it compared four groups, the control group was not included in the design of the research. 

The selected participants were regarded equal with regard to their age, sex, and educational background. Before applying the treatment, the researcher discovered that all participants had not ever traveled overseas nor they had attended any English courses in English language institutes nor they had passed their pertinent ESP courses at the university. Rather, like the majority of the Iranian EFL learners, they learned the English language in EFL context at school. On the basis of these assumptions, the participants were considered homogeneous in familiarity with the target language and culture. It is to be noted that all participants volunteered to partake in the study, and written consent was obtained from them. Furthermore, the researcher who was regarded as the instructor acted as a coordinator inside and outside the classroom, and helped the learners tackle and solve their problems. Additionally, the study included two experienced applied linguists who rated the participants' performance as required by the study.

Table 2: Biographical Data of the Participants

Group

Gender        

N

Age

Age Mean

OPT Mean

OPT Std. Deviation

Lecture Presentation

Male         

23

18-32

25.26

34.24

2.37

Female    

27

 Note-taking

Male        

21

18-32

25.15

33.85

2.49

Female    

         19

Academic Writing

Male        

21

18-32

25.62

34.50

2.78

Female     

         29

Figure Drawing

Male        

22

18-32

25.40

33.30

2.34

Female     

         18

 

3.4. Instrumentation

3.4.1. Oxford Placement Test

An Oxford Placement Test (OPT) (2001) consisting of sixty items was given to the participants to be answered as the proficiency test. The reliability of OPT stood at  0.79 that was tested by piloting with 30 EAP university students other than those who partook in the proficiency test, utilizing Cronbach’s alpha for internal consistency of the scores.

3.4.2. Pretest

The participants were given a modified version of IELTS USA Practice Test (2018) as the pretest encompassing all four main skills. Due to the fact that the current study aimed to investigate the impacts of culture-oriented content on the EAP university students' receptive and productive tasks performance and the treatment encompassed all receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) skills, this test embracing the receptive and productive skills was considered appropriate as the pretest. The modification to the test corresponded to the simplification of the instructions.  The reliability of the pretest came out to be 0.82 through Kuder-Richardson Formula 21 (KR-21). Likewise, a panel of five ELT faculty members at Islamic Azad University, Dezful Branch reviewed the modified pretest to attest the content validity of the instrument. For this study, the pretest was first piloted on a similar group of EAP university students (n= 30) other than those who took part in the study, and the reliability index was 0.79 which exceeded 0.7. Based on the pertinent item analysis, the vague items were modified, the malfunctioning ones were removed, and the functional items were replaced for the final version.

3.4.3. Posttest

A modification of IELTS Mentor (2016) was given to the EAP university students as the posttest comprising the four main skills. Since the impacts of culture-oriented content on the EAP university students' receptive and productive tasks performance were taken into consideration and all receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) skills were included and practiced in the treatment, this test encompassing the receptive and productive skills was considered appropriate as the posttest. The modification pertained to the simplification of the instructions. The reliability of the posttest was estimated to be 0.85, using Kuder-Richardson Formula 21 (KR-21). Besides, five ELT faculty members at Islamic Azad University, Dezful Branch reviewed the modified posttest to accredit the content validity of the instrument.In a tentative study, the posttest was first piloted on a similar group of EAP university students (n= 30) other than the participants of the study, and the scale’s KR-21 value (0.83) exceeded 0.7 that was an appropriate reliability index. Accordingly, the inefficient items were revised, the malfunctioning items were removed, and the functional ones were added for the final version based on the item analysis. It is of note that both pretest and posttest in this study equally focused on assessing the receptive and productive skills. Yet, in order to minimize the occurrence of the EAP students' conditioned responses in posttest, the researcher selected another version of IELTS test as the posttest.

3.4.4. Checklist for Selecting the Course Book Topics

A 30-item 5-point Likert scale checklist was developed for selecting the topics utilized in the EGAP course book. The checklist comprised ten topics, and each topic embraced three items.  The topics and the pertinent items were selected on the basis of the most frequent points of interest stated by 60 EAP university students in an ethnographically - oriented research. The selected topics consisted of Greetings, Nowrouz, Souvenirs, Tourist Attractions, Dishes, Traditional Clothes, Wedding, Religion, Lifestyle, and Ancient Iran. Then, the students responded to a 5-point Likert-scale by their agreement level (5 = strongly agree, 4 = agree, 3 = neither agree nor disagree, 2 = disagree, 1 = strongly disagree). To ascertain the reliability of this checklist and to measure internal consistency, Cronbach's Alpha was utilized, and the estimated alpha stood at 0. 78 that was an appropriate index of reliability. Further, a panel of five ELT faculty members at Islamic Azad University, Dezful Branch reviewed the checklist to secure the content validity of the instrument.  For this study, the checklist was first piloted on a similar group of EAP university students (n= 30) other than those who participated in the study, and the Cronbach’s alpha was 0.79, which indicated highly acceptable reliability. In this respect, the ambiguous items were modified, the malfunctioning ones were eradicated, and the operational items were replaced based on the item analysis.

3.4.5. Checklist for Course Book Evaluation

A modified version of course book evaluation checklist by Mukundan et al (2011) was used to evaluate the degree to which the content was appropriate for the given course and to check the EAP university students' attitudes towards this EGAP course book. This checklist encompassed two sections.  The first section which focused on the general attributes of the course book included five subcategories and 11 5-point Likert-type items. The second section which delved into the learning-teaching content comprised nine subcategories and 27 5-point Likert-type items. Accordingly, the participants were expected to rate the statements by their agreement level ranging from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’. For this research, the items were first pilot tested by administering to a similar group of EAP university students (n= 30) other than those who participated in the study, and the piloting of the test demonstrated a reliability of 0.76. Attempts were made to modify and revise the ambiguous items, remove the malfunctioning ones and adding the functional items in the final version in terms of internal consistency. The scale’s Cronbach value (0.74) exceeded 0.7 that was an appropriate index of reliability, and a panel of five ELT faculty members at Islamic Azad University, Dezful Branch reviewed the checklist to ascertain its content validity.

3.5. Data Collection Procedure

Having developed a General English culture-oriented course book which aimed at providing the EAP university students with a cultural and religious CBLT program, 300 EAP university students were informed about a general call for participation in a proficiency test and the performing of a proficiency test at the Islamic Azad University, Dezful Branch, Dezful, Iran, based on Oxford Placement Test (OPT) (2001) which was first piloted on  30 EAP university students other than those who partook in the proficiency test. Then, among the pool of 300 EAP university students, 180 intermediate test-takers whose proficiency scores fell between 31 and 40 (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 2012) and whose proficiency level matched the level of the developed course book were selected as the participants in this study. Similarly, 30 homogeneous intermediate test-takers other than those who participated in the experimental groups of this study were also selected to partake in piloting the aforementioned pretest, posttest, and checklists.

It is of note that this study was considered to be Quasi Experimental since there was no randomization, and the obtained results were not generalizable to other EAP societies. The convenient non-random sampling was also utilized in this study. Therefore, the number of participants in each class varied, and based on the four receptive and productive EGAP tasks, the students were non-randomly divided into four General  English class groups including two 50-student class groups (lecture presentation and academic writing) and two 40-student class groups (note-taking and figure drawing), and all of them were equally given a pretest encompassing the four main skills (IELTS USA Practice Test, 2018) which indicated their language ability according to IELTS standards (British Council, 2016). This test was first piloted on a similar group of EAP university students (n= 30) other than those who participated in the study.  Afterward, each EGAP class participants were asked to get involved only in one EGAP task which was specifically taught and practiced after teaching the developed course book in each treatment session.

With regard to lecture presentation, a productive EGAP task which according to Bennett (2019) boosts the students' speaking skill, each unit was divided up into culture-bound topics and the students in the 50-student lecture presentation class were asked to teach their classmates by presenting their expert analysis. Further, they were expected to present information on each culture-oriented topic as a short presentation. Regarding note-taking, a receptive EGAP task which enhances the listening skill (Ferris & Tagg, 1996), Cornell note-taking strategy, as the most comprehensive, systematic and widely used format for condensing and organizing notes for university students (Hayati & Jalilifar, 2009), was selected for the present study. To perform Cornell note-taking strategy (Pauk, 2001) in the 40-student note-taking class, the researcher asked each student to divide the paper into two columns: the note-taking column on the right and the questions/key word column on the left, and to write the main ideas of what they listened from the culture-oriented audio and video tracks extracted from National Geographic website in the note-taking column. These tracks included Beneath Iran's Dusty Desert Lie Ancient Water Tunnels Still in Use (National Geographic, 2017), Iran's Protected Island: Home to Mudskippers, Mangroves, and More (National Geographic, 2016), See 1000 Year-old Windmills Still in Use Today (National Geographic, 2017), Confusion over Iran (National Geographic, 2009), Iran: Where Two Worlds Are One (National Geographic, 2017),and Paradise Found: Uncovering the Layers of Iran's Most Elusive City (National Geographic, 2017). In order to have more acceptable future reviews (Wong, 2014), they were told to write relevant questions or key words in the key word column. Then, they were expected to recite the information by covering the note-taking column, to look at the questions or cue-words column, and to respond to the questions, ideas, or facts in their own words.

For the 50-student academic writing class, the students were taught two academic writing tasks.  According to the first task, the students were given graphs, flowcharts, and maps based on some culture-bound topics akin to the ones in each unit including Persian Main and Side Dishes, Variety of Iranian Appetizers and Desserts, National and Religious Occasions in Iran, Persian Dialects, Funerals in Iran, Dominance in Iranian Families, and they were asked to write the main concept, to compare data, to elucidate contrasts, to pinpoint noteworthy trends, and to elaborate on a process. They were expected to write between150 to 200 words in 20 minutes (Pauk, 2001). It should be stated that before going through the first academic writing task, they were taught how to write a systematic paragraph comprising of a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a conclusion, in addition to how to apply thought provoking techniques like brainstorming, and outlining in the pre-writing phase. Moreover, they were taught how to develop coherence and cohesion in writing during the first four sessions of the academic writing treatment phase. In addition, the English through Culture EGAP course book included some hints about writing skills which facilitated the treatment sessions. From the tenth academic writing treatment session onwards, the academic writing students were taught the elements of a systematic 5-paragraph essay comprising of an introduction and its components (motivator, thesis statement, and blueprint), 3 central paragraphs (topic sentence and support sentences), and conclusion  (reworded thesis statement and clincher) presented with a culture-oriented topic. Then, the second academic writing task which provides the students with an essay on culture-oriented topics topic was given, and the student essays were scored based on their ability to respond to the topic. The students were to write at least 250 words in 40 minutes.

Regarding figure drawing, a receptive EGAP task which motivates and engages students in the reading process and strengthens their reading skill (Elliott, 2007), in each treatment session the participants in the 40-student figure drawing class were asked to read a culture-oriented text elicited from a book entitled Iran: the Culture (Richter, 2005) pertinent to the topic of the reading comprehension text in each unit of the developed course book and to draw pictures summarizing the main ideas of what they read. Some students drew a sequence of events and some depicted one scene from the text. It is to be noted the amount of details in each drawing varied.

Having passed twenty treatment sessions, the students of the four receptive and productive EGAP tasks groups were given Mukundan et al's (2011) course book evaluation checklist so that the EAP university students' attitudes toward this EGAP course book were checked. In this respect, a 5-point Liker-scale was utilized, where 5 meant strongly agree and 1 stood for strongly disagree. This checklist was first piloted on a homogeneous group of EAP university students (n= 30) other than those who took part in the study.

Moreover, the EAP university students were given a modified version of IELTS Mentor (2016)  as the posttest consisting of tests related to the listening skill including filling the gaps, multiple choices, matching, three tasks selected for speaking consisted of skill interview (warm-up), speech (cue card), and discussion which were rated through IELTS speaking Band Descriptors (British Council, 2016) based on the participants' recorded voices; three passages followed by true/false, multiple choices, matching, figure drawing, and filling the gaps exercises were selected for the reading skill, and the writing skill was comprised of  two general parts including an essay of 150 and 250 words respectively. The former was expected to be performed within 20 minutes, and the latter was to be carried out within 40 minutes were rated on the basis of IELTS Task 1 and Task 2 Writing Band Descriptors (British Council, 2016).It is of note that time allotment in the above skills tests accorded to IELTS standards. This test was first piloted on a similar group of EAP university students (n= 30) other than those who took part in the study. In order to check agreement among raters, the researcher asked the two applied linguists to rate the same exam as inter-raters, and the obtained inter-rater reliability was 80%, using Intraclass Correlation.

It is of note that the nature of the content (culture-oriented) was considered the independent variable, and the Iranian EAP university students' receptive and productive EGAP tasks performance including lecture presentation, note-taking, academic writing, and instructed figure drawing after reading instructions were regarded as the dependent variables of this study. Likewise, the change in the EAP students' performance was proved to be resulted from the abovementioned treatment due to the fact that their available knowledge was initially assessed on the basis of the pretest which was held before the intervention period and the posttest; then, the differences between the pretest and posttest mean scores would indicate this treatment-based metamorphosis. Furthermore, in order to merely utilize the materials pertaining to the research plan and to follow the instructions, the participants were carefully observed and supervised by the researcher during the treatment sessions.

3.6. Data Analysis

In order to analyze the data collected from the present study, the SPSS software version 19 was used, and the following results were acquired: Descriptive statistics encompassing means and standard deviations was provided.Inferential statistics including a one-sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, Correlated t test, one-way ANOVA, Tukey, and Duncan analysis were utilized.

4. Results

In accordance with the qualitative research question which sought to know the Iranian university students' attitudes toward culture-oriented content, it was responded via filling out the Mukundan et al's (2011) checklist pertaining to the developed EGAP course book after passing twenty treatment sessions. Accordingly, in order to judge the degree to which an item was measuring what it was designed to assess , the researcher went through the item content congruence and applicability (Brown, 2008, pp.78-79). In this respect, the Likert scale ranging from 1 to 5 was utilized, where 5 meant strongly agree and 1 stood for strongly disagree.

 

 

Table 3: Descriptive Statistics for Learners’ Attitudes

 

N

Mean

SD

SEM

Attitudes

180

126.11

12.99

0.96

 

According to Table 3, the mean score pertaining to all participants was 126.11 which was larger than the test value=114 (the ordinary mean) and the standard deviation was shown to be 12.99. The p value under the Sig. (2-tailed) column in Table 4 indicates whether the positive attitudes towards the culture-oriented content were of statistical significance or not.

Table 4: One-Sample t Test Results for the Learners’ Attitudes towards Culture-oriented Content

 

Test Value = 114

 

 

 

T

 

Df

 

Sig. (2-tailed)

 

Mean Difference

95% Confidence Interval of the Difference

 

    Lower

    Upper

Attitudes

         12.50

   

         179   

 

       0.00     

       12.11

 

    10.20 

 

    14.02

  

         

Since p was lower than 0.05 and the mean score was 126.11 which was higher than the test value=114, the EAP university students were shown to have positive attitudes towards the mentioned EGAP culture-oriented content. Further, the descriptive results of the posttest obtained scores in the current study consisting of the mean, and the standard deviation for the total number of the participants are shown in Table 5.

Table 5: Descriptive Statistics Pertaining to the Pretest and the Posttest Scores

 

 

 

Pre- test

 

Post- test

 

Group

 

N

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

Lecture Presentation

 

50

8.90

1.69

18.98

0.78

Note taking

        

40

9.22

1.63

17.28

0.40

 

Academic writing

50

9.10

1.59

16.63

0.48

Figure Drawing      

  

40

9.32

1.51

16.02

0.40

 

Total                            

180

9.12

1.60           

17.29

1.25

 

Based on the data in Table 5, the participants' pretest scores were homogeneous, but in their posttest, the mean scores were significantly different due to the treatment pertaining to each group. This means that the scores of both groups in the pre and post-test were normally distributed.

In this respect, on the basis of One-Sample Kolmogrov-Smirnov test, the scores pertaining to lecture presentation group on pretest (z pretest=0.19, α=0.20) and posttest (z posttest=0.21, α=0.20) were normal; similarly, the scores of note-taking  group on pretest (z pretest=0.20, α=0.14)  and posttests (z posttest=0.32, α=0.17) were normal. Moreover, the scores pertaining to academic writing group on pretest (z pretest=0.21, α=0.20) and posttests (z posttest=0.25, α=0.20) were normal. Further, the pertinent scores to figure drawing group on pretest (z pretest=0.21, α=0.12) and posttests (z posttest=0.32, α=0.09) were normal.

 

 

 

 

Table 6: The Results of the Paired Samples t-test on the Mean Scores of the Four Groups

Group

Pair

N

Mean

SD

MD

df

T

Sig.

 

 Lecture

Presentation

Pretest

50

8.98

0.78

 

 

 

 

Posttest

50

8.90

1.69

10.08

49     

0.51

0.00

 

Note-taking

Pretest

40

17.28

0.40

 

 

 

 

Posttest    

40

9.22

1.63

8.06

  39

26.85

0.00

Academic Writing

Pretest

50

16.63

0.48

 

 

 

 

Posttest

50

9.10

 

1.59

7.53

49

30.72

0.00

 

Figure Drawing

Pretest

40

6.02

0.40

 

 

 

 

Posttest

40

9.32

1.51   

6.70

 

39

25.83

0.00

 

The data presented in Table 6 indicate the results of paired samples t-test on the mean scores differences of the Lecture Presentation, Note-taking, Academic Writing, and figure-drawing groups in the pre-and post-tests which were statistically significant at P<0.05; thus, it can be inferred that culture-oriented content affected significantly EGAP students' Lecture presentation, Note-taking, Academic Writing, and instructed figure drawing separately. In fact, these mean score differences reveal that the change in the EAP students' performance was due to the aforementioned treatment.

Table 7: One-way ANOVA Pertaining to Posttest Scores

 

 

Sig.

   F      

Mean Square

    Df

Type III Sum of    Squares

 

 

 

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 0.00

246.95

76.19

     3

228.59

Between Groups

 

 

 

 

0.30

   176

54.30

Error

 

 

 

 

 

   179

282.89

Total

                 

 

 

Table 7 indicates that the mean difference of the scores pertaining to the four groups in the EGAP classrooms was significant (F=246.95and p = 0.00). This implies that culture-oriented content strongly affected the Iranian EFL learners' EGAP tasks performance. Although randomization is one of the presuppositions for utilizing ANOVA, it was ignored due to profiting by other presuppositions comprising the interval scale and homogeneity of variances. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 8: Tukey HSD Test Pertaining to Posttest Scores

 

95% Confidence Interval

Sig.

Std. Error

Mean Difference (I-J)

 

 

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.38

1.99

0.00

0.11

1.69*

Note-taking

Lecture Presentation

 

 

2.06

2.63

0.00

0.11

2.35*

Ac. Writing

 

2.64

3.26

0.00

0.11

2.95*

Fig. Drawing

 

 

-1.99

-1.38

0.00

0.11

-1.69*

Lec. Presentation

 

Note-taking

 

0.35

0.96

0.00

0.11

0.65*

Ac. Writing

 

0.94

1.58

0.00

0.12

1.26*

Fig. Drawing

 

 

-2.63

-2.06

0.00

0.11

-2.35*

Lec.Presentation

Academic Writing

 

-0.96

-0.35

0.00

0.11

-0.65*

Note-taking

 

0.29

0.91

0.00

0.11

0.60*

Fig. Drawing

 

 

-3.26

-2.64

0.00

0.11

-2.95*

Lec.Presentation

Figure Drawing

 

-1.58

-0.94

0.00

0.12

-1.26*

Note-taking

 

-0.91

-0.29

0.00

0.11

-0.60*

Ac. Writing

                       

 

 

With regard to Table 8, since the comparison between Lecture Presentation and Note-taking EGAP groups was significant at p< 0.05, the mean difference of their scores (1.69) was acceptable, and this difference was to the benefit of the Lecture Presentation group. This implies the priority of Lecture Presentation to Note-taking. Likewise, since the significance level of the comparison between Lecture Presentation and Academic Writing was significant at p<0.05, the mean difference of their scores (2.35) was acceptable, and this difference was to the benefit of Lecture Presentation. Hence, Lecture Presentation seemed superior to Academic Writing. Further, since the significance level of the comparison between Lecture Presentation and Figure Drawing EGAP groups was significant at p<0.05, the mean difference of their scores (2.95) was acceptable, and this difference was to the benefit of Lecture Presentation that revealed  the priority of Lecture Presentation to Figure Drawing.

Table 9: Results of Duncan Test

Group

N

Subset

 

 

1

2

3

4

Figure Drawing

40

16.02

 

 

 

Academic Writing        

50

 

16.63

 

 

Note-taking

40

 

 

17.28

 

Lecture Presentation    

50

 

 

 

18.98

 

            

Table 9 portrays the mean of the four groups which were ranked as follows: Lecture Presentation was considered the first priority, Note-taking was shown to be the second, Academic Writing was the third, and Figure Drawing was regarded as the last priority.

5. Discussion

Positive attitudes of the  EAP university students towards culture-oriented content that reflected Mukundan et al's (2011) checklist, echoed Kavaliauskiene and Uzpaliene's (2003) idea of applying needs analysis as a previous analytical tool to anticipate learners' future demands into consideration. Culture-oriented contents, likewise, proved effective on subjects of research EGAP tasks performance. This achievement seems in line with Butjjes and Byram's (1991) viewpoint that considers the application of native culture as the cornerstone for introducing foreign culture in language education sessions. It further confirms conceptual views of Rinvolucri's (1999) and Prodromou's (1988) perspective that EFL or ESL materials developers are recommended to take the native culture into consideration to mitigate the effects of cultural intrusion. This can help the Iranian EAP university course books developers to neutralize the immanent threats of cultural intrusion by utilizing Persian culture-oriented contents for designing reader-friendly EGAP course books.

Of note are the obtained results in Table 7 which strongly supported the impact of culture-oriented content on the Iranian EAP university students' receptive and productive EGAP tasks performance which closely parallel the results obtained by Zabawa (2001) and Ur (1996) which stress the impact of socio-cultural setting on determining language skills, sub-skills and their functions in the textbook. Similarly, the findings of Kirschner and Wexler's (2002) which emphasize the influence of culture-bound contents on the course design support the impact of Persian culture-oriented content on the Iranian EAP university students' receptive and productive tasks performance. In this respect, the Iranian EAP university students can be exposed to the Persian culture-oriented materials to enhance their main language skills and sub-skills. By the same token, it provides a variety of content units opportunity to practice tasks required in academic settings. A wide spectrum of culture- oriented issues was taken into consideration for developing the aforementioned EGAP textbook and selecting supplementary EGAP materials to accomplish tasks at hand.

The necessity of utilizing cultural appropriateness is another crucial factor in developing the EGAP materials for the Iranian EFL learners. Cultural appropriateness, as contended by Gray (2013), is considered the extent to which materials replicate and accredit particular perspective of English speaking worlds with respect to race, age, and social background among other issues. This is a conception referred to by Tomlinson (2013) as the hidden curriculum. In other words, course books are exemplified as covert teaching culture and language. Developing and teaching the EGAP course book material, respectively, that was incorporated in this study was based on cultural appropriateness or its hidden curriculum.  Furthermore, the obtained results in Table 6 which indicate the impact of culture-oriented content on the Iranian EAP university students' Lecture Presentation seem to confirm Bennett's (2019) viewpoint that Lecture Presentation, as a productive EGAP task for expanding the speaking skill, manifests content to the class as a whole. The second obtained result in this table which illustrates the effect of culture-oriented content on the Iranian EAP university students' Note-taking seems to match Ferris and Tagg's (1996) and Hayati and Jalilifar's (2009) perspective that Note-taking, as a receptive EGAP task for strengthening the listening skill, revives the content for the EAP university students. Specifically speaking, since Cornell Note-taking was involved in this study, further characteristics like the ability to condense and organize notes for university students and to improve their achievement (Hayati & Jalilifar, 2009) seem to highlight the exigency of Note-taking as the second priority. Unlike other previously mentioned experimental studies which delved into true experimental research design encompassing random sampling and both experimental and control groups in their treatments, the current study enjoyed quasi experimental design due to non-random sampling and the presence of four experimental groups practicing the four receptive and productive EGAP tasks performance.

With respect to the obtained results in Table 9, the superiority of Lecture Presentation, as an operative productive EGAP task for enhancing the speaking skill, was proved to be more convenient for reflecting culture-oriented content, over the three frequently used receptive and productive EGAP tasks. This seems to stem from the unique features of Lecture Presentation including the lecturer's multi-dimensional characteristics, the capability of drawing an interlocutor's attention, the duration of presentation, subject and the extent of shared knowledge which can boost the students' speaking skill (Kelly, 2018).

6. Conclusion and Implications

This study delved into developing a prototype culture-oriented material in English for Iranian EAP university students. More specifically, attempts were made to investigate the impact of culture-oriented contents on performing the receptive and productive EGAP tasks including lecture presentation, note-taking, academic writing and figure drawing by the Iranian EFL learners in EGAP classrooms. Accordingly, the obtained results in table 5 revealed the impact of culture-oriented content on the Iranian EAP university students' EGAP tasks performance, and results in table 4 indicate the impact of such a content on each of the receptive and productive EGAP tasks performances separately.

What's more, learners' implicit satisfaction was manifested by their feedback to Mukundan et al's (2011) evaluation checklist. On the basis of the above-mentioned analytical framework, EGAP teachers are encouraged to pursue a wide spectrum of receptive and productive EGAP tasks in their teaching arenas. Lecture presentation, likewise, should constitute as their most applicable productive EGAP task, principally incorporating Persian culture-bound content. As a consequence, potential Iranian EAP university students are in turn, expected to play their own linguistic transferring parts in a new plane and to acquire authentic interactive skills (Kavaliauskiene & Uzpaliene, 2003, p. 35). This is thought to materialize by conducting receptive and productive EGAP tasks in general, and lecture presentation in particular. This is considered the most convenient EGAP task in such a CBLT program. On the basis of the aforementioned analysis, however, EGAP material designers and developers in Iran are perceptively expected, moreover, to heed the significance of the first culture as the determining criterion for defining the maneuvering extent by which to incorporate materials attributed to the second culture in EAP language teaching arenas (Butjjes & Byram, 1991). Underestimating or ignoring cultural awareness, the argument goes, may result in the advocacy of a heavy handed Western cultural content materials presentation (Rinvolucri, 1999; Prodromou, 1988). It is on the basis of such a conspiracy theory that proponents view content synthesis of such nature to be influenced markedly by what they refer to as cultural imperialism. From this perspective, language content manipulation as such, inadvertently lay a sound foundation for ultimate supremacy of the Western institutional norms and value systems (Philipson, 1992, p.59). To agree with the aforementioned argument, adoption of English language in common usages, can be regarded as ‘Lingua Tyrannosaura’ (Phillipson, 2002; Ammon, 2001; Swales, 1997) for its zero sum implications. In other words, the greater a particular material content weighing, the correspondingly more marginalization of the Persian language and culture.

As a ‘damage-mitigation’ strategy, the Iranian EGAP material designers and developers have a little choice but to incorporate the Persian socio-cultural setting in their academic texts. That approach, as (Zabawa, 2001) and (Ur, 1996) stresses, are expected to determine the manners in which language skills, sub-skills, and their functions in textbooks and other academic material contents are ultimately determined and adopted. The findings of this study like any other are not bereft of limitations. First, the sampling method used in this study was based on the availability of 180 EAP university students at Islamic Azad University, Dezful Branch. Similar studies embracing a more representative sample can reveal more generalizable results. Second, EAP university students, aged 18 to 32, participated in this study and answered the tests and checklists. As age is a significant factor in L2 learning, replicating the same study with different age groups may lead to different results. Moreover, the intermediate level EAP university students were selected for this study based on the level of the developed EGAP course book. Future studies can scrutinize the impact of this treatment across different proficiency levels on the basis of the pertinent levels of other EGAP course books. Finally, the control group was not included in the design of the research because this study enjoyed quasi experimental research design with intervention and the four receptive and productive EGAP tasks groups were required to be compared based on the general objective of the study which investigated the effects of culture-oriented content on the four receptive and productive EGAP tasks performance. Furthermore, due to problem of the EAP students' availability, the control group was not included in the present study. In other words, the presence of the control group, as the fifth one, would lead to fewer participants in each of the four aforementioned experimental groups. Thus, having more available participants may result in incorporating the control group in future studies.

 

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Hayati, A. M., & Jalilifar, A. (2009). The impact of note-taking strategies on listening comprehension of EFL learners. English Language Teaching, 2(1),101-111.

Hyland, K. (2006). English for academic purposes: An advanced resource book. London: Routledge.

IELTS Mentor. (2016). IELTS Sample Questions. Retrieved from www.ielts-mentor.com

IELTS USA Practice Test. (2018). Sample Test Questions. Retrieved from https:// www. ielts. org/ en-us/about-the-test/sample-test-questions.

Jing, W. U. (2006). Integrating skills for teaching EFL-activity design for the communicative classroom. Sino-US English Teaching, 3(12), 66-79.

Karimi, F., & Nafissi, Z. (2017). Effects of different culturally-based materials on EFL learners’ reading anxiety, reading self-efficacy, and reading proficiency in project-based classes. Issues in Language Teaching, 6(1), 115-183.

Kavaliauskiene, G., & Uzpaliene, D. (2003). Ongoing needs analysis as a factor to successful language learning. J. Language Learning. 1:1. Lombardo L (1988). Language Learners’ needs, interest and motivation. A survey of EFL students in an Italian Economics Faculty (No. ED304006).

Kelly, M. (2018). Lectures in Schools: Pros and cons. Retrieved from https:// www.thoughtco.com/lecture-pros-and-cons-8037?

Kirschner, M., & Wexler, C. (2002). Caravaggio: A design for an interdisciplinary content-based EAP/ESP unit. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 1(2), 163–83.

Knowles, G. (2010). English language imperialism. Retrieved from https: //www. britannica. com /topic/language-imperialism-1016976.

Labiste Jr. J.L., (2019). Contextualization in English language education: Navigating the place of maritime culture in Philippine English language teaching. Asian EFL Journal Research Articles, 23(6.2), 83-108.

Marszałek-Kowalewska, K. (2011). Iranian language policy: a case of linguistic purism. Investigationes Linguiticae, 22, 89-103.

Mede, E. & Yalçın, S. (2019). Utilizing textbook adaptation strategies: Experiences and challenges of novice and experienced EFL instructors. TESOL International Journal, 14(1), 91-104

Mukundan, J., Hajimohammadi, R., & Nimehchisalem, V. (2011).  Developing an English language textbook evaluation checklist. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 4(6), 21-28.

Najmabadi, A. (2005). Women with mustaches and men without beards. California: California University Press.

Namaziandost, E., Sabzevari, A., & Hashemifardnia, A. (2018). The effect of cultural materials on listening comprehension among Iranian upper-intermediate EFL learners: In reference to gender, Cogent Education, 5(1), 1-27.

Nation, I. S. P. (2006). How large a vocabulary is needed for reading and listening? The Canadian Modern Language Review/La Revue canadienne des languges vivantes, 63(1), 59-82.

National Geographic. (2009). Confusion over Iran. Retrieved from https: //www .national geographic.com.

National Geographic. (2016). Iran's Protected Island: Home to Mudskippers, Mangroves, and More. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com.

National Geographic. (2017). Beneath Iran's Dusty Desert Lie Ancient Water Tunnels Still in Use. Retrieved from https://www. nationalgeographic.com.

National Geographic. (2017). See 1000 Year-old Windmills Still in Use Today. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic. Com. 

National Geographic. (2017). Iran: Where Two Worlds Are One. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com.

National Geographic. (2017). Paradise Found: Uncovering the Layers of Iran's Most Elusive City. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com.

Oxford Placement Test. (2001). English quick placement test, version 1. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate.

Pauk, W. (2001). How to study in college. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Phillipson, R. (2002). Review of Ammon (Ed.). (2001). The dominance of English as a language of science: Effects on other languages and language communities. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 1(2), 163-169.

Prodromou, L. (1988). English as cultural action. ELT Journal, 42(2), 73-88.

Rezaeifard, F. & Chalak, A. (2017). The impact of linguistic and cultural imperialism on Iranian ELT context: Attitudes of teachers and students. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 4 (6), 124-135.

Richter, J. (2005). Iran: The Culture. NY: Crabtree Publishing Company. 

Rinvolucri, M. (1999). 12 the humanistic Exercise. Affect in Language Learning.  Ed. Jane Arnold. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Spichtinger, D. (2000). The spread of English and its appropriation (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation). University of Vienna, Austria.

Spolsky, B. (2004). Language Policy. NY: Cambridge University Press.

Subroto,A.R., Jazadi,I., & Mahyuni ,M. (2019). Socio-economic representations in English language textbooks used in regional Indonesia. Asian EFL Journal Research Articles, 21 (2.5), 121-142.

Swales, J. (1997). English as tyrannosaurus rex. World Englishes, 16, 373–82.

Taylor, B. (2007). Exploring religion, nature and culture. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 1(1), 5-24.

Tomlinson, B. (2013). Developing Materials for Language Teaching. London: Bloomsbury.

Tomlinson, B. (2001). Materials development. In Carter, R. & Nunan, D. (eds.), The Cambridge guide to TESOL (pp. 66–71). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P. (1996). A course in language teaching: Practice and theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Van der Jeught, S. (2015). EU Language Law. Groningen: Europa Law Publishing.

Wong, L. (2014). Essential Study Skills. MA: Cengage Learning Inc.

Zabawa, J. (2001). Criteria for FCE textbook evaluation: an attempt at questionnaire formulation. Retrieved from: http://www.univ.rzeszow.pl/fil_ang/wsar2/sar_v2_17.pdf

 

Appendix A: Checklist for Selecting Culture-oriented Topics

Culture-oriented Topics Based on Ethnographically-oriented Research

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A. Greetings

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

1.

Iranians pay a lot of attention to greetings in their communications.

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 2.   The most widespread type of greeting in Iran is having a handshake.

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3.

Having warm greetings reflects our politeness in Iran.

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B.

Nowrouz

 

 

  

  

 

 

 4.  Nowrouz is rooted in the Persian culture.

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5.

Nearly all Iranian people enjoy celebrating Nowrouz.

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6.

Nowrouz seems the best time to visit relatives and friends.

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C.

Souvenirs

 

 

  

  

 

 

 7. Each city in Iran is famous for at least a special souvenir.

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8.

Iranians are expected to buy souvenirs after a journey.

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9.

Iranian souvenirs are known all over the world.

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D.

Tourist Attractions

 

 

  

  

 

 

10.

Visiting tourist attractions in Iran seems enjoyable.

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 11. Many tourist attractions in Iran are rooted in history.

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12.

Tourists realize the Persian civilization by visiting Iranian tourist attractions

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 E. Dishes

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

13. You can find a myriad of delicious ethnic foods in each province.

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14.

 Ethnic foods and drinks in Iran reflect a strong socio-cultural identity

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15.

Iranian Kebob, Dizi, and Qorme Sabzi stew are served in other countries.

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F.

Traditional Clothes

 

  

 

  

 

 

16.

Iranian young generation is fond of knowing about traditional clothes

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17.

Different types of traditional clothes exist in each province.

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18.

The old generation still prefers to appear in public by traditional clothes

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G. Wedding

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

19.

Iranian wedding customs are eye-grabbing to  a great extent.

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20.

Wedding customs in Iran are intertwined with the Persian culture.

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21.

Regional wedding ceremonies add to the beauties of national wedding customs in Iran.

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H. Religion

 

  

  

  

 

 

 

22.

Iranian culture is interwoven with religion, especially Islam.

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23.

Iranian people adore the Infallible Shiite Imams and respect them.

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 24. The love of the Infallible can be manifested through holding special ceremonies  like Ashura, and Imam Ali's (P.B.U.H) martyrdom anniversary.

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  1.  

Lifestyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

25.

Visitors enjoy knowing more about the Iranian lifestyle.

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 26. To know Iran better, one is recommended to study the Iranian lifestyle.

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27.

Complementation (Ta'arof) has a significant role in the Iranian lifestyle.

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J. Ancient Iran

 

  

 

  

 

 

28. Each era in the history of the Persian culture represents the Persian  civilization.

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29.

Nationalism (Love of Country) is intertwined with the Persian culture

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30.

Iranian people are proud of their past.

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[1] PhD Candidate, esmaeil.hassannejad@yahoo.com;  Department of ELT and Translation, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad  University, Karaj, Iran.

2Assistant Professor, (Corresponding Author); farid.ghaemi@gmail.com; Department of ELT and Translation, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad  University, Karaj, Iran.

[3] Assistant Professor, natasha.pourdana@kiau.ac.ir; Department of ELT and Translation, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran.

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Gray, C. D. (2013). Cultural Competency Training Compromise Likely to Become Law. The Lund Report. HCAHPS, Retrieved from http:// www. hcahpsonline. org/ surveyinstrument.aspx.
Hatch, E. M., & Lazaraton, A. (1991). The research manual: Design and statistics for applied linguistics. New York, NY:Newbury House Publishers.
Hayati, A. M., & Jalilifar, A. (2009). The impact of note-taking strategies on listening comprehension of EFL learners. English Language Teaching, 2(1),101-111.
Hyland, K. (2006). English for academic purposes: An advanced resource book. London: Routledge.
IELTS Mentor. (2016). IELTS Sample Questions. Retrieved from www.ielts-mentor.com

IELTS USA Practice Test. (2018). Sample Test Questions. Retrieved from https:// www. ielts. org/ en-us/about-the-test/sample-test-questions.

Jing, W. U. (2006). Integrating skills for teaching EFL-activity design for the communicative classroom. Sino-US English Teaching, 3(12), 66-79.

Karimi, F., & Nafissi, Z. (2017). Effects of different culturally-based materials on EFL learners’ reading anxiety, reading self-efficacy, and reading proficiency in project-based classes. Issues in Language Teaching, 6(1), 115-183.

Kavaliauskiene, G., & Uzpaliene, D. (2003). Ongoing needs analysis as a factor to successful language learning. J. Language Learning. 1:1. Lombardo L (1988). Language Learners’ needs, interest and motivation. A survey of EFL students in an Italian Economics Faculty (No. ED304006).

Kelly, M. (2018). Lectures in Schools: Pros and cons. Retrieved from https:// www.thoughtco.com/lecture-pros-and-cons-8037?

Kirschner, M., & Wexler, C. (2002). Caravaggio: A design for an interdisciplinary content-based EAP/ESP unit. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 1(2), 163–83.
Knowles, G. (2010). English language imperialism. Retrieved from https: //www. britannica. com /topic/language-imperialism-1016976.
Labiste Jr. J.L., (2019). Contextualization in English language education: Navigating the place of maritime culture in Philippine English language teaching. Asian EFL Journal Research Articles, 23(6.2), 83-108.
Marszałek-Kowalewska, K. (2011). Iranian language policy: a case of linguistic purism. Investigationes Linguiticae, 22, 89-103.
Mede, E. & Yalçın, S. (2019). Utilizing textbook adaptation strategies: Experiences and challenges of novice and experienced EFL instructors. TESOL International Journal, 14(1), 91-104
Mukundan, J., Hajimohammadi, R., & Nimehchisalem, V. (2011).  Developing an English language textbook evaluation checklist. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 4(6), 21-28.
Najmabadi, A. (2005). Women with mustaches and men without beards. California: California University Press.
Namaziandost, E., Sabzevari, A., & Hashemifardnia, A. (2018). The effect of cultural materials on listening comprehension among Iranian upper-intermediate EFL learners: In reference to gender, Cogent Education, 5(1), 1-27.
Nation, I. S. P. (2006). How large a vocabulary is needed for reading and listening? The Canadian Modern Language Review/La Revue canadienne des languges vivantes, 63(1), 59-82.
National Geographic. (2009). Confusion over Iran. Retrieved from https: //www .national geographic.com.
National Geographic. (2016). Iran's Protected Island: Home to Mudskippers, Mangroves, and More. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com.
National Geographic. (2017). Beneath Iran's Dusty Desert Lie Ancient Water Tunnels Still in Use. Retrieved from https://www. nationalgeographic.com.
National Geographic. (2017). See 1000 Year-old Windmills Still in Use Today. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic. Com. 
National Geographic. (2017). Iran: Where Two Worlds Are One. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com.
National Geographic. (2017). Paradise Found: Uncovering the Layers of Iran's Most Elusive City. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com.
Oxford Placement Test. (2001). English quick placement test, version 1. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate.
Pauk, W. (2001). How to study in college. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Phillipson, R. (2002). Review of Ammon (Ed.). (2001). The dominance of English as a language of science: Effects on other languages and language communities. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 1(2), 163-169.

Prodromou, L. (1988). English as cultural action. ELT Journal, 42(2), 73-88.
Rezaeifard, F. & Chalak, A. (2017). The impact of linguistic and cultural imperialism on Iranian ELT context: Attitudes of teachers and students. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 4 (6), 124-135.
Richter, J. (2005). Iran: The Culture. NY: Crabtree Publishing Company. 
Rinvolucri, M. (1999). 12 the humanistic Exercise. Affect in Language Learning.  Ed. Jane Arnold. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Spichtinger, D. (2000). The spread of English and its appropriation (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation). University of Vienna, Austria.

Spolsky, B. (2004). Language Policy. NY: Cambridge University Press.

Subroto,A.R., Jazadi,I., & Mahyuni ,M. (2019). Socio-economic representations in English language textbooks used in regional Indonesia. Asian EFL Journal Research Articles, 21 (2.5), 121-142.
Swales, J. (1997). English as tyrannosaurus rex. World Englishes, 16, 373–82.
Taylor, B. (2007). Exploring religion, nature and culture. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 1(1), 5-24.
Tomlinson, B. (2013). Developing Materials for Language Teaching. London: Bloomsbury.
Tomlinson, B. (2001). Materials development. In Carter, R. & Nunan, D. (eds.), The Cambridge guide to TESOL (pp. 66–71). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ur, P. (1996). A course in language teaching: Practice and theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Van der Jeught, S. (2015). EU Language Law. Groningen: Europa Law Publishing.
Wong, L. (2014). Essential Study Skills. MA: Cengage Learning Inc.
Zabawa, J. (2001). Criteria for FCE textbook evaluation: an attempt at questionnaire formulation. Retrieved from: http://www.univ.rzeszow.pl/fil_ang/wsar2/sar_v2_17.pdf