A Systematized Review of Anti-Racist Pedagogical Strategies

A Systematized Review of Anti-Racist Pedagogical Strategies

Copyright: © 2024 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-9029-7.ch014
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Racism permeates postsecondary language classrooms around the world which affects the experiences and learning outcomes of language students, namely those who study English as an additional language and English as a foreign language, referred to as additional language learners (ALLs), English as a second language (ESL), or English language learners (ELLs). Through an interrogation of the connection between race and language instruction, this chapter discusses anti-racist practices that interfere with language teaching in higher education. It presents a systematized review that aims to critically examine existing literature on the interrogation of racism within higher education with a focus on anti-racist pedagogical strategies. Critical Race Theory (CRT) guides the analysis and highlights the underlying power structures and systemic racism that shape language education. This review finds evidence of epistemological racism, linguistic biases, White supremacy, and English language dominance in the higher education language classroom. Recommendations for teacher practice are made.
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Regarding English language education, research demonstrates that Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) practices focus on assimilating immigrants into the dominant English language and culture, rather than disrupting hierarchies of power (Pavlenko, 2002; Philipson, 1992). Historically, the English language has been perceived as fixed and unchanging, with teachers assuming the role of possessors of English knowledge that students were expected to attain. Teachers commonly made references to “Standard English” (or variations like “good English” or “correct English”), which reflects the influence of standard language ideology that prioritizes certain linguistic practices as more authoritative or valid, compared to other languages (Swift, 2021). Research also indicates that there is a connection between race and language instruction, but more pointedly, racist and colonial underpinnings thrive in the language classroom (Kubota & Lin, 2006). Issues of epistemological racism, White supremacy, and social hierarchical power structures are part of this dynamic. According to Suraweera (2020), teaching approaches, inherent in TESOL, reproduce and affirm unequal power structures that are underpinned by settler-colonial attitudes that marginalize non-White and non-native English speakers.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Anti-Racist Pedagogy: Anti-racist pedagogy refers to an approach to teaching and education that actively works against and challenges racism. It aims to create inclusive and equitable learning environments that empower students to recognize, confront, and dismantle systemic racial injustices.

Higher Education: Higher education typically refers to post-secondary education beyond the high school level, including universities and colleges. It involves advanced academic and professional learning and often includes undergraduate and graduate programs.

English Language Learner (ELL): ELL refers to students who are learning English as an additional language, often in a setting where English is the primary language of instruction.

People of Color (POC): An inclusive term that collectively refers to individuals who do not identify as White, encompassing a diverse array of ethnic and racial backgrounds such as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and others from non-European ethnic or racial groups.

Critical Race Theory (CRT): Critical Race Theory is an academic framework that emerged in legal studies and later expanded to other disciplines. It critically examines how race and racism intersect with social structures, institutions, and everyday practices, emphasizing the role of power and historical context in shaping racial inequalities.

White Supremacy: White supremacy is a belief system or ideology that asserts the superiority of white people over people of other racial backgrounds. It can manifest in discriminatory practices, policies, and structures that uphold and perpetuate racial hierarchies.

English as a Second Language (ESL): ESL stands for English as a Second Language and refers to programs or courses designed for individuals who are learning English in a country where English is the dominant language.

White Privilege: White privilege refers to the unearned advantages and societal benefits that individuals perceived as white may experience due to their racial identity. These advantages are often systemic and may include better access to opportunities and less exposure to negative stereotypes.

Epistemological Racism: Epistemological racism refers to how racial biases and prejudices influence knowledge production, dissemination, and validation. It explores how dominant cultural perspectives can marginalize and undermine the knowledge systems of certain racial or ethnic groups.

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