Linguistic Inclusion and Equity In Online/Digital Learning Spaces
Concurrent Session 1 & 2 (combined)
Today, attendees at conferences like OLC Innovate can expect a commitment to and presentations on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Advocacy. Often left out of the conversation, though, is language. This session overviews the importance of this topic in teaching and learning and reviews research related to linguistic discrimination/ bias and educational outcomes. Along the way, participants will be asked to participate in language-related activities, designed to get them questioning their language-based biases and increase their understanding of linguistic diversity. Participants will leave with practical ideas to implement in their lives to move towards more linguistically inclusive and equitable learning environments.
At this point, topics related to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Advocacy (shorthanded I.D.E.A.) are regular parts of conferences. Though by no means sufficient yet, attendees at conferences like OLC Innovate can expect a commitment to and therefore presentations on I.D.E.A. That said, often left out of the conversation is language itself and linguistic diversity. What is fascinating about this fact is that language is such an important part of our everyday lives. Whether it is using a particular pitch or word to identify with a specific gender, pronouncing the “ll” in Spanish in a particular way to identify with a specific region of Spain, or framing stories with a specific structure to identify with working class culture, humans use language every day to express who they are, who they want to be, and where they come from. This also means, however, that as language users, we go about the world with a number of language-based intuitions and an entire language system that we rarely take the time to question. Like other identities and characteristics, we carry with us a myriad of language stereotypes, some of which are obvious to us, but many which we hold without recognition.
This session will begin with an overview of the importance of this topic, particularly situating it in a conversation of teaching and learning. We will review fascinating research showing the link between linguistic discrimination and bias and educational outcomes. We will also discuss struggles and strategies related to this topic within online and digital environments. Along the way, participants will be asked to participate in a series of language-related activities, designed to get them questioning their language-based biases and increase their understanding and awareness of linguistic diversity. A major goal of the session is to provide educators (administrators, teachers, instructional designers, and the like) with practical ideas they can implement in their lives to move towards more linguistically inclusive and equitable learning environments. These will range across the learning space and include moments of learning / artifacts such as the syllabus, learning management systems, classroom discussion, and assessment, among others. Together, we will work to understand the ways in which our current working and learning environments are not linguistically inclusive nor equitable. We will question our own language-based assumptions and biases. And we will learn some of what it takes to commit to a linguistically inclusive and equitable future.