Published June 2022Charles Allen Brown
Ageism in mass media is of great concern with older individuals often being stereotyped or simply rendered invisible. Yet research is largely silent on ageism in English language teaching (ELT) materials. Given the power of English education, the impact of visual media, and the tendency for English teaching materials to include visual depictions of people, such research is warranted. In response, a content analysis of 7350 visuals of people from Japanese ELT resources was conducted in the study described here. The goal was to understand four issues. First, how visible were the elderly overall? Second, given intergenerational friction as one outgrowth of ageism, did these materials normalize intergenerational interactions including the elderly? Third, to what extent did these materials exhibit ageism of women since ‘gendered ageism’ is an especially important issue? Fourth, to what extent did these materials either reproduce or subvert stereotypes of the elderly? Findings indicated that the amount of representation was biased against the elderly, that intergenerational interactions involving the elderly were scant, and that older women were especially underrepresented. While some of the elderly depictions were stereotypical, others did portray elderly people positively, as socially-involved and vigorous. These findings demonstrate the need for greater sensitivity to an ageist hidden curriculum in ELT.
critical media studies
Brown, C. A. (2022). Images from Japanese English Teaching Materials as an Ageist Hidden Curriculum. Asia Pacific Journal on Curriculum Studies, 5(1), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.53420/apjcs.2022.1