Since the murder of George Floyd, discussion about racism and how to address it has been brought much more to the attention of many white people and the media. Hopefully this time it will be the #metoo moment that makes the difference, and we won’t still be having these same discussions in fifty years with no change in sight.
Here is a collection of resources which I will add to to help us all learn more about racism in ELT and what we can do about it. Please comment if you know of other resources I’ve missed.
The TEFLology podcast has a list of resources on racism in ELT, including research and journal articles.
IATEFL has an Inclusive Practices and Special Educational Needs Special Interest Group (IP&SEN SIG). They have a website, facebook page, and Twitter account. One section of their site is dedicated to racial inclusion including a huge range of other links not shared on my list here.
IATEFL’s Global Issues SIG (GISIG) also have resources on a wide range of subjects, including discrimination.
In June 2020, English UK announced that it will create an action group to “focus on how values of anti-racism, diversity and inclusion are embedded in the sector.”
The BC TEAL journal contains a free-to-access article by JPB Gerald called Worth the Risk: Towards Decentring Whiteness in English Language Teaching. (Thanks to Laura Patsko for telling me about this.) JPB Gerald was also on the DIESOL podcast discussing whiteness and racism in ELT (thanks to Pete Clements).
The field of English language teaching (ELT) has long centred whiteness without acknowledging as much. Practitioners accept the field’s racial disparities under the guise of the search for profit, yet hegemonic whiteness controls our institutions, our curricula, and our pedagogy unless we, as members of this field, consciously seek to counteract its influence. White ELT professionals are incentivized to maintain the racial status quo and many exhibit fierce resistance when efforts are made to discuss white supremacy in English teaching. In this article, I demonstrate how ELT frames whiteness as both a prize and a goal, explain the deleterious impact whiteness has on racialized students and teachers, argue for the necessity of decentring whiteness, and provide suggestions for ways we can push our field towards a future where whiteness no longer reigns supreme.
These are my bookmarks connected to racism.
Experiences and stories
Jasmine Cochran, a black American woman teaching English language and literature in China told the BBC about how George Floyd’s death changed her Chinese students. She also described her wider experience of being a black teacher in China and shares examples of activities she has done to help her students broaden their world view.
Noreen Caplen-Spence tells her story in an interview with the ELGazette called Black teachers matter.
Chia Suan Chong asks What does inclusion mean to me? and provides tips on how to create a more inclusive classroom.
Racism in English Language Teaching? Autobiographical Narratives of Black English Language Teachers in Brazil is a research article from the Revista Brasileira de Linguística Aplicada (Brazilian Journal of Applied Linguistics).
A hundred thirty years after the abolition of slavery and post-slave trade in Brazil, Black people remain the minority amongst teachers in English courses of private and public schools. This situation is tagged in their professional situation insofar as an aftermath of racism and coloniality are concerned, as I shall argue here. In this study, I seek to examine the ways race can be negatively or positively expanded in the performance of the identities of Black English language teachers, framing themselves as either resistant identities in/through language (using the language as a strategy to resist) or resistant identities to language (negating themselves as capable speakers or teachers).
You don’t look like a ‘native speaker’: Racism in ELT on the TEFL Equity Advocates blog talks about how hiring practices and advertising can be damaging.
The TEFL Training Institute podcast did an episode on racism and ethics in teacher recruitment.
Ahmar Mahboob wrote a chapter called Racism in the ELT industry in A. Mahboob & C. Lipovsky (eds.) Studies in Applied Linguistics and Language Learning (2009) for Cambridge Scholars Press. The link takes you to a pdf version of the chapter on Academic.edu.
In the classroom
Film English has a B1/B2 lesson plan based on a video called Racism is Real.
Hana Ticha shares a lesson plan for helping students to realise what it feels like to be discriminated against.
Adi Rajan has an activity using images to help students explore their biases.
The Lexical Lab blog has a post about handling conflict in the classroom, including how to respond when students express racism, homophobia or other opinions which can be difficult to know how to respond to.
One of the best TED talks I’ve ever seen (I don’t have a lesson plan for it, but maybe you do?) is The danger of a single story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
Varinder Unlu talks about representing ethnic minorities in materials in the second section of this post on the MAWSIG (Materials Writing) blogpost.
Emily Hird talks about the importance of representation in ELT materials and how it can affect engagement.