Building Resilience in the Classroom: Empowering Students/Teachers Against Linguistic Discrimination via Linguistic Skills


This study aims to bring Linguistics to classrooms to advocate Linguistic Equality and build resilience against discrimination. Modern linguists regard all languages and language varieties as equal in value; however, academic and social discourse practices regard standard variety as essentially superior to non-standard varieties (Collins, 1999). Such discrimination includes all native speakers, particularly the variations associated with racial, ethnic, or cultural minorities (Lippi-Green,1994), and extends as far as discrimination against those whose accents are of foreign origin. This study argues that linguistics can contribute to equity and social justice and prevent language-based discrimination in formal education and consequently in public discourse. In a pedagogical model that brings linguistics into the English classroom and includes community building, non-discriminatory linguistic practices could empower students to achieve their best by building resilience. To that end, teachers create linguistically justified non-discriminatory learning environment where clarity and efficiency in communication is valued more than competent accuracy in language use. Anti-discriminatory practices in the classroom include understanding and uncovering of implicit bias and prejudice for or against any dialects/accents spoken by linguistically diverse learners. Language can be "a point of focus for those in pursuit of social justice and change" (De Korne, 2021) Social activism is a way to reach the goal of social justice/equity and peace in the society. Education is a way to reach the goal of building a socially active and conscientious society consisting of individuals who know how to be open to new ideas and can change the world for the better.

Author Information
Gulsat Aygen, Northern Illinois University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: IICAH2023
Stream: Language

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon