Teaching Language Through the Lens of Social Justice

July 24–28, 2023
1-week in-person summer institute

Beth Wassell
Beth Wassell

This institute will provide language educators with tools and resources to transform their curriculum and instruction to emphasize inclusive, justice- and equity-based language teaching. Drawing on social justice education frameworks, participants will collaborate with colleagues to revise, extend, and expand standards, objectives, activities, and assessments for a unit or a segment of instruction.

This institute is appropriate for educators who are just getting started with critical or social justice approaches to language teaching and learning as well as those who have had previous experience or professional development. Participants will leave with a unit of instruction as well as other units, lessons, texts, materials, and resources that integrate language learning objectives with those related to identity, diversity, equity, justice, and action.  


Program Schedule (9am-4pm)
Day 1
  • Examining Equity, Justice, Access and Inclusion in Diverse Language Classrooms 
  • Sustaining the Voices and Identities of All Students 
  • Setting the Stage for Social Justice Education  
Day 2
  • Points of Entry for Social Justice Education
  • Researching Topics, Issues, and Content
  • Teaching Controversial or Politically Charged Content 
  • Exploring Sample Units, Lessons, and Activities 
Day 3
  • Adapting Materials for Diversity, Justice, Equity, Inclusion and Action
  • Designing Activities and Formative Assessments
  • High-Impact Experiences for Action and Advocacy 
Day 4
  • Integrating Content, Justice, and Action in Units
  • Balancing Proficiency, Culture, and Social Justice Goals
  • Incorporating Social Justice in Summative Assessments
Day 5
  • Sharing Units, Lessons, and Materials 
  • Engaging in Inquiry, Reflection and Self-Assessment 
  • Advocacy for Social Justice Education
After this institute, you will be able to:
  • Identify and describe basic principles of social justice frameworks;

  • Examine and respond to current issues in language education related to equity, access, inclusion and social justice;

  • Create a classroom environment that fosters inclusion, equity, and student voice;

  • Design original language units or segments of instruction that integrate content related to justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion;

  • Locate and adapt texts, resources, and other classroom materials to emphasize social justice education; and

  • Engage in ongoing inquiry, self-assessment, reflection related to equity, justice and inclusion.


Beth Wassell is a Professor in the Department of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Education at Rowan University in New Jersey. She teaches courses related to language education and social justice education and conducts research that focuses on K-12 language teacher education. Prior to her work in teacher education, she worked as a Spanish teacher at the high school, elementary, and community college levels.

Target Audience
This institute is designed for teachers of world language, immersion/dual language immersion, English as a Foreign Language (EFL), English as a Second Language (ESL) at the elementary level through the postsecondary level, as well as teacher educators.

Priority Teacher Professional Development Scholarship Program–NEW!

Logo - PriorityThe Priority Teacher Professional Development Scholarship program is designed to promote equity and access to affordable professional development for world language educators who are currently teaching at a Community College, Minority Serving Institution, or Historically Black College/University in the United States and/or are currently teaching a Less Commonly Taught Language in the United States. The program provides funding for selected teachers in these categories to attend a CARLA Summer Institute for no charge.

Learn more and apply by March 17, 2023 on the Priority Teacher Professional Development Scholarship website.

Quote MarksRight quote marksThe CARLA Institute, Teaching Language Through the Lens of Social Justice, was a great way not only to become energized about embarking on this work, but also to acquire the know-how necessary to make it a reality. I learned that I do not need to start over in writing a new curriculum. I can make small adjustments to what I already teach to engage students in addressing injustices and taking action.
Joseph Westerfield, 2022 Institute Participant
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Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414