The need to conceptualize text in social ways in terms of the context of production and reception is fairly widely accepted these days. However, as indicated before, in the practice of language teaching an uncomplicated view of text is still prevalent. Texts are frequently used as vehicles for grammar and vocabulary work, for translation, or for comprehension exercises on the content level only. Questions of text generally are aimed to ‘check’ whether the learner has passively understood the surface messages contained in the text. In language teaching, text is still frequently seen as a written product; a carefully constructed framework with a clearly demarcated beginning and end which constitutes an intelligible, cohesive piece of writing, and any language work relating to texts frequently separates the activities of reading and writing. Students also frequently hold similar assumptions about text. As I show in Chapters 5 and 6, students can struggle to recognize the complexity of texts as a result of these assumptions.
Yet on the other hand, students also engage with texts as social and cultural beings themselves; their responses to texts are based on their own experiences, ideas, and assumptions. This is what I turn to next.