Critical content-based instruction (CCBI) integrates critical pedagogy and content-based instruction. By applying a critical lens to content-based and culturally based themes in language classes and forging the connectedness between language learning and society, language teachers have the power to foster not only linguistic and cultural competence but also expand their students’ worldviews. This presentation discusses how CCBI was implemented in an advanced Chinese language class in spring 2021 at a university in North America and reflects on the pedagogical considerations and challenges of CCBI. Specifically, the course content was revamped for the purpose of engaging students in reflections on contested social issues that are important in our societies. The four units in this course included 1) Wuhan lockdown and the controversy surrounding Fang Fang’s diary, 2) the deterioration of U.S.-China relations and its impact on studying aboard, 3) Anti-Asian violence and sexual harassment, and 4) Inequality in Chinese society. Authentic journalistic and literary texts were selected to demonstrate different perspectives, disrupt stereotypes, and highlight power structures that affect societies and people’s lives. In addition to sharing course content and curriculum structure, this presentation discusses the teaching strategies used for critical reflection in synchronous and asynchronous settings, such as critical readings of texts, dialogues among students and with native speakers, etc. Lastly, the presenter will provide examples of learning activities and reflect on the challenges of teaching controversial topics through CCBI. The pedagogy is applicable in a wide range of language and culture courses.
Hong Li, Emory University, United States