Diversity and Inclusion of Sociopolitical Issues in Foreign Language Classrooms: An Exploratory Survey

Ryuko Kubota, Theresa Austin, Yoshiko Saito-Abbott

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One aim of foreign language teaching is to broaden learners' worldviews and promote intercultural communication. Less discussed, however, are domestic diversity and sociopolitical issues. Through a survey of university students of Japanese, Spanish, and Swahili, the authors of this study investigated diversity in the classroom, students' backgrounds and learning experiences, and their perceptions about the relationship between foreign language learning and issues of race, gender, class, and social justice. The study found more racial diversity in Japanese and Swahili than in Spanish classes and in beginning Spanish classes than in advanced Spanish classes. Beginning Spanish students related foreign language learning with social justice issues less frequently than did advanced students. A follow-up survey revealed stigmatized experiences and detachment from ethnic identity among some minority students.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalForeign Language Annals
StatePublished - Mar 2003


  • Language and Literacy Education
  • Linguistics
  • Political Science

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