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Addressing Racism in English Language Education

Ein Vortrag im Rahmen der  Vortragsreihe Lehrerbildung
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Vortrag
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Dr. Silke Braselmann
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Englisch
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Addressing Racism in English Language Education

Ever since the Black Lives Matter movement gained new momentum in June 2020, racism has become an increasingly important topic for young adults all over the world: As (mostly younger) people in Berlin, London or Vienna protested the murder of George Floyd alongside the racist attacks and police brutality in their own countries, racism became an integral part of the European discourse on racism. This transcultural and globalized dynamic calls for implementation in English language teaching – with English as lingua franca of the global anti-racism movements and the US as a major point of reference in the discourse, English language teaching (ELT) offers many starting points for critical, self-reflexive and engaged debates and for establishing an anti-racist teaching practice. However, classroom realities differ widely – and so do perspectives on racism. While some learners (and teachers) may encounter racism in their everyday lives, others will not share these experiences or may not be aware of these realities at all. Yet, in order to dismantle racism, one needs to be able to identify and describe it.

This talk focuses on the ways in which English language education can help to foster competences and hone skills that are required to do so – especially in predominantly white settings. Based on a theoretical framework that draws on Critical Race Theory and Critical Whiteness Pedagogy, the talk outlines some of the main aspects and challenges that may arise when racism is addressed in the EFL classroom and offers some ideas and practical examples. By suggesting heuristic principles as well as teaching materials and activities, the talk engages in the ongoing debate about the value and necessity of critical, engaged, and oftentimes uncomfortable teaching practices that actively counter racism – in the classroom and beyond.

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ThILLM Nummer: 5094-77-1059/22

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