Social Justice Curricular Units

An important goal of CARLA’s Social Justice in Language Education Initiative is to provide instructional materials in multiple languages that teachers can use and adapt to meet their needs and those of their students. From 2020-2023, CARLA’s Social SCILS project supported a team of curriculum developers, who drafted, piloted, and revised intermediate-level curricular units in nine languages: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish. These units were designed with CARLA’s social justice planning templates and are available for download on this page.

All units are published with a CC-BY-NC-SA license, meaning that you can use, copy, adapt, and share them as long as you give appropriate attribution, share them using the same or similar license, and don’t use them for commercial purposes. 

NOTE: To make adaptable copies of documents in the curricular unit folders, right click on the document and select “make a copy” from the pull-down menu.

Artistic Expressions of Individual and Cultural Identity (Spanish)

painting on a building of a stylized faceThis social justice curricular unit for intermediate-level learners of Spanish introduces students to different art forms from Latin America, the United States, and their home communities. As they describe diverse art forms, identify artistic choices, and interpret meanings communicated through these choices, students learn to draw cross-cultural comparisons, understand multicultural identities, and create their own work of art. Essential questions explored in the unit are: What can art forms show us or allow us to show others about historical injustice, culture, and/or identity? Can art be used to raise awareness and/or inspire social action?

Framing and Migration (German) 

63 red-dressed comic people with one dressed in blueIn this social justice curricular unit, intermediate-level learners of German explore historical and contemporary perspectives on migration in Germany and dissect the concept of “framing” and how it affects one’s perceptions of people and events. Students furthermore learn to express opinions and engage with individuals who may not share these options. The questions students address throughout the unit are: What cultural or religious differences between Germans and migrants seem “unbridgeable” and how does this affect immigrants’ welcome and acceptance? How do media reports regarding social justice issues such as migrants and refugees affect readers’ perceptions about these topics? Why is it important to get news from a variety of sources?

Green Cities (German)

white house with a red roof and a green yardThis social justice curricular unit equips intermediate-level learners of German with the skills and knowledge to discuss the impact of environmental factors on the health of city dwellers and issues of access to healthy city infrastructure. They furthermore analyze solutions to increase the health and well-being of city dwellers and propose a plan to mitigate environmental health risks and promote environmental justice. Essential questions framing this unit are: What is the relationship between a healthy life and the environment of the city? To what degree are the resources and infrastructure for a healthy life in the city distributed equitably? How can individuals and institutions make city life healthy and more sustainable for everyone?

Multicultural Paris (French)

screenshot of Paris map with essential questions for the unitThis social justice curricular unit introduces students to the diversity of Parisian neighborhoods through the study of la Goutte d’Or in the 18th arrondissement and engages them with topics of identity and symbolic representations. During this intermediate-level French unit, students explore the following questions: Who are Parisians? How is cultural diversity represented in the neighborhood of la Goutte d’Or? What do national symbols communicate about identity, diversity, and inclusion?

Proud to be Franco-Louisianian (French)

overlapping circles labeled Speaker, Français, English, kréoleIn this social justice curricular unit, intermediate-level learners of French explore various perspectives on linguistic security and insecurity in Louisiana and relate them to their own lived experiences and linguistic identities. Students furthermore analyze initiatives that promote or hinder linguistic security and design their own initiative to promote linguistic pride. The unit is framed by the following questions: How are the language(s) we speak a part of our identity(ies)? Why is linguistic security and/or pride important and how can communities promote it?


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