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Language learning does not occur in a political, social, cultural, or historical vacuum. To learn a foreign language is to learn another way to see the world and to gain a glimpse into another’s perspectives, history, and culture. Since their inception within the United States, far too many world language programs have not strayed from teaching vocabulary, grammar, and stagnant interpretations of culture due to a perceived lack of space in the curriculum or low linguistic abilities of their students. In the last two decades, multiple world language educators and scholars (e.g., Johnson & Randolph, 2017; Glynn, Wesley & Wassell, 2014; Osborn, 2006) have pointed to the importance of recognizing the political nature of language study and using a critical approach to curriculum development by teaching world languages through the lens of Social Justice. In this project Professor Roberts and I use this existing claim as a foundation to highlight the importance of teaching Social Justice in the introductory world language classroom. We argue that as students are being introduced to Spanish, Social Justice pedagogy creates a space where language is acquired alongside intercultural competency and an understanding of past and present injustices seen within and directed towards the diverse Spanish-speaking world and its communities. In addition to researching and studying the existing theoretical frameworks and literature relating to the topic, I am also creating a curriculum that accompanies the Spanish 1001/1002/1003 introductory courses to demonstrate how Social Justice pedagogy can - and should - be used to guide and enrich the early stages of language acquisition.

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Language and languages--Study and teaching, Social justice and education


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Language and Literacy Education


Faculty Advisor: Dr. Windy González Roberts

Primo Type

Conference Proceeding

Teaching World Languages with and for Social Justice