The Use of Visual Representation in English Foreign Language Textbooks Produced in Norway
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- Student papers (HF-IKS) 
This thesis is an investigation into the use of images in a selection of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) textbooks used in upper secondary school in Norway. The aim of the study was to explore the role and function of images in the individual textbooks and examine to what extent their use may differ between textbooks aimed at vocational study programmes and those aimed at general studies programmes. The basic assumption here is that images may have pedagogical functions besides simply illustrating the written words. The material for the study consists of a selection of seven available textbooks which were made for the current National Curriculum for Knowledge Promotion in Primary and Secondary Education and Training, also known as LK06. All the images in the seven textbooks were studied using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. A quantitative approach was used to produce overall descriptive statistics of the kinds of images and their placement and use. Each image was classified into several categories, including size, placement in the book and/or page, the presence of caption, type of image, main element depicted, distance between the viewer and the viewed, and the occurrence of eye contact. Collectively, these categories enabled an analysis of the potential level of difficulty in the decoding process, the information value in the image, and to what extent the image connects and communicates with the viewer. Some of the findings were followed up with a qualitative approach. Specific patterns and characteristics of image use in the different textbooks were investigated more closely by looking at specific examples. As the study is concerned with both learning and the use of images, its theoretical basis combines learning and reading theories. In addition to theories of learning and reading, Kress & van Leeuwen’s theory of ‘visual grammar’ and descriptive framework was applied when conducting a visual analysis. The curriculum in English for both vocational and general studies is identical, with only a small section allowing for adaptations for the particular study program (general or vocational). However, one could argue that the pupils enrolled in the different study programmes have different needs, both with regard to the learning process and its future applications. It was therefore of particular interest to find out whether there is a significant difference in the use of images between EFL textbooks aimed at vocational and general studies. The findings did not give straightforward answers; some differences were discovered in the use of images between the two study programmes, but much variation was found between the individual textbooks.
Master's thesis in Literacy studies