Edited by Richard Smith and Tim Giesler
[AILA Applied Linguistics Series 20] 2023
► pp. 137–161
At the end of the 1970s, the conservative Italian scenario of foreign language teaching witnessed various innovations. The process of change was prompted by a reform of the national school syllabus for lower secondary school that advocated a new and comprehensive approach to language education. After an overview of the main tenets underlying this approach, the chapter focuses on “reflection on language”, one of the cornerstones of the reform. It then reports on an investigation of how reflection on language was implemented in a corpus of communication-oriented ELT school textbooks published in Italy in the 1980s and 1990s. In an attempt to understand the perspectives of those involved, leading figures and textbook authors of the period were also interviewed. In spite of the authors’ claims about introducing new features of language reflection, textbook analysis shows how their implementation in fact swung between innovative and traditional options.