2023 Language Teaching Forum: Promoting Justice-oriented Teaching in the Language Classroom

2023 Language Teaching Forum: Promoting Justice-oriented Teaching in the Language Classroom

2023 Language Teaching Forum: Promoting Justice-oriented Teaching in the Language Classroom

Presented by: The Center for Language Acquisition

Co-sponsored by: The Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research (CALPER)

The Center for Global Studies at Penn State


Cassandra Glynn, Concordia College

Pamela Wesely, University of Iowa

Date and Time: September 16, 2023, 10:00am-1:00pm

Registration: https://psu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJElf-2srj0sE9XShhAIz1Hn7FlcBMIUiHMa


In this 3-hour workshop, participants will have the opportunity to examine their current practices of teaching for social justice in the language classroom and to gain new perspectives and ideas about how to transform their work with language learners. The workshop will begin with some foundational concepts of social justice education that are necessary for developing language learning spaces committed to equity, access, and criticality. We will build on these concepts by discussing the role of critical moments in the classroom and by navigating examples together, considering how we can maintain compassion for students in the face of controversial or difficult topics and situations that arise in educational settings. Finally, we will examine entry points in the participants’ curriculum for integrating critical and social justice topics, and participants will be able to collaborate and share ideas.


Dr. Pamela M. (Pam) Wesely is a Professor of Multilingual Education and the Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs in the College of Education at the University of Iowa. Her scholarship and teaching explore K-12 foreign/world language education in the United States. Building on eight years of work as a middle school French teacher and eleven years working in the experiential learning environment of Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota, she studies the attitudes, motivations, perceptions, and beliefs of stakeholders in K-12 foreign/world language education. Innovation is a key area of interest in her work, particularly pedagogical innovation that departs from the grammar-based curriculum, like content-based instruction, instruction focused on comprehensible input, social justice education, and technology integration in the language classroom. Her work has been published in journals including Foreign Language AnnalsModern Language JournalJournal of Teacher EducationTeaching and Teacher EducationCALICO JournalLanguage Teaching Research, and Journal of Mixed Methods Research. She is a co-author of Words and Actions: Teaching Language Through the Lens of Social Justice (ACTFL, 2018). Dr. Wesely is a past member of the ACTFL Board of Directors and is a Past President of the Iowa World Language Association (IWLA).

Dr. Glynn is Director of Graduate Education Programs and an Associate Professor of Education at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN.  She received her MA and PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota with a focus in Second Languages and Cultures Education.  Dr. Glynn’s research interests center around the experiences of marginalized and underrepresented students in world language classes and on world language teachers’ experiences as they take critical approaches to teaching languages and cultures.  Her work has been published in journals such as the L2 Journal, Modern Language Journal, Language Teaching Research, and the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy.  She is co-author of Words and Actions:  Teaching Languages through the Lens of Social Justice (ACTFL, 2014, 2018) and co-editor of the volume Transforming World Language Teaching and Teacher Education for Equity and Justice:  Pushing Boundaries in U.S. Contexts.  Prior to starting at Concordia College, Dr. Glynn taught middle school language classes and high school German, including dual credit, and worked in the German and French Villages at Concordia Language Villages.