Textbooks, a vivid mirror of culture : a comparative study of animal materials in American elementary reading textbooks and Chinese elementary language textbooks

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Ma, Chunhui
Merten, Don E.
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Anthropology
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Comparative research on the treatment of animal materials in Chinese elementary language textbooks and American elementary reading textbooks provides an interesting perspective on both Chinese and American cultures. The study uses both quantitative and qualitative methods. From the study, we notice that animals in Chinese textbooks are presented as animals, i.e., creatures closer to nature without human fantasy and illusion attached to them. Animals are used to communicate to children for moral education, wisdom development and so on. By comparison, animals in American textbooks are presented as much closer to humans. Animals dress and act like humans and are found in human setting. Animals can be more human than humans. Idealistic images and dreams are frequently linked to animals rather than humans. Textbooks are cultural mirrors. The different orientations of animal materials indicateenculturation of children. The cultural reasons beneath these surface differences are examined. Predictions are different cultural values and different goals for the provided on the animal enculturation in future China.