A critical discourse analysis, through deconstruction and reconstruction of Grade 8 English language textbooks in light of the Hizmet humanistic philosophy for the purpose of character education.
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The English language textbook as a vehicle of linguistic and general knowledge can at times contain topics which may not be appropriate for the diverse learners in a South African Grade 8 classroom. The focus of this research is on the deconstruction before the subsequent reconstruction of texts from selected Grade 8 English language textbooks to uncover hidden ideologies1 as well as power relations and naturalized subject constructions and assumptions which could impact on learners. The samples are of multimodal texts on topics such as teenage love and dating. The concept of metadiscourse as the voice of the author is also explored in terms of its influence on learners. Through the presentation of these topics and the assumption of authors, learners are all positioned as promiscuous sensual beings ready for romance. The theoretical and methodological frameworks comprise critical discourse analysis and eclectic theories and methods such as systemic functional grammar, appraisal theory, multimodality, and Thompson’s modes of operation of ideology. These are also used as analytical deconstruction and reconstruction tools. Textual fragments are reconstructed in light of character education and humanism, and subjects are re- imagined and re-presented to allow access to learners from multiple habitus. The aim of the reconstruction is to orient learners humanistically through the Hizmet2 /service philosophy towards universal values and ethics, with the hope of bringing up social capital in terms of a future of Golden Generation of quality individuals who will serve humanity with good morals.