DEI Language Games with Dr. Jackie Steele: February 27, 1pm (online)

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Dr. Jackie Steele: DEI Language Games flyer

Co-sponsored by the JALT CALL and GALE SIGs and the Iwate-Aomori, Kyoto, Okinawa, Saitama, Shizuoka and Yokohama JALT Chapters. 

このイベントはJALTの地区(岩手&青森、京都、沖縄、埼玉、静岡、横浜)と分野別研究部会(CALL SIG, GALE SIG)の共同開催です。

DEI Language Games: How to build an equitable and inclusive classroom

Dr. Jackie F. Steele, Political Scientist, and CEO & Founder, enjoi Japan K.K.

スティール博士について ジャッキー・F ・スティール博士は教育者、政治学者、そしてenjoi Japan K.K.のCEOとして、これまでダイバーシティ教育に関連した数々の活動、講演を行ってきました。 

“Diversity Feminist Language Games and DEI Tactics to enrich EFL Pedagogy in Japan” 

In English as a Foreign Language teaching, how can we mobilize and teach a democratically inclusive form of the English language and simultaneously raise awareness of intersecting systemic inequalities as a matter of diversity-positive pedagogy? Few mother tongue anglophones and few EFL professors have formal training in critical race theory, critical feminist theory, queer theory, disability studies, nor in social justice topics pertaining to contemporary diverse citizenship and democratization. When we are teaching our mother tongue in a foreign country, do we continue to reflect and convey the inegalitarian patterns used by most of our peers, or do we have a higher responsibility to educate ourselves and our students about how to speak English in a way that conveys respect for diversity, rule of law, and the constitutional commitments to democratic equality, non-discrimination, and intersectional equity that form the backdrop of our societal tissue? Where does linguistic pedagogy intersect with civics, ethics, and social justice? 

Language has power. Many accomplished instructors of the English language and professors of linguistics working in Japan may unknowingly convey and repeat discriminatory “language patterns” that in fact perpetuate and sustain inequitable power relations between and across social groups. Channeling the power of privileged groups, certain types of language patterns pass for “normatively neutral,” when in fact they are part and parcel of the discursive “language games” needed for inequitable power relations to be sustained by stealth. We know that language or linguistic representations indirectly proselytize discriminatory views of “normalcy”, “respectability”, “typical family formation”, “normal bodies” and/or “true citizens”. These representations can be deceptively misogynist, patriarchal, homophobic, ethno-racist, and colonizing of our democratic rights to equality. 

With greater awareness of how anti-democratic English “language games” are passed on through legacy EFL curriculum, we can begin to draw upon and integrate civics lessons from constitutional democracy, intersectional ethics from feminist legal scholarship, and disruptive tactics from diversity feminist movements and anti-oppression scholarship. These various DEI awareness strategies and tools can empower our language teaching in ways that positively raises 1) diversity and equity awareness, 2) linguistic competence, 3) equitable EFL change agents who will bring greater understanding to these thorny issues of democracy and raise the literacy of the growing, global, English-speaking community.