A Participatory Approach to Teaching for Social Justice in the English Classroom

Publication Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Bonnie Mennell


What does language teaching have to do with social change? How can language teachers incorporate the issues of social justice into language teaching? This paper explores the use of a participatory approach to teaching for social justice in the English classroom. Using a similar structure to Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy, this approach helps raise students’ critical consciousness about their lives through problem posing and empowers them to gain control over their lives and take action for change. Through centering language instruction on the students’ life experience and placing it at the heart of the instructional process, this approach enables them to make decisions and be in command of their own learning.

The materials that are proposed in this paper are meant to illustrate how to address social justice in the English classroom as well as to show other teachers that teaching more than English in a language class is possible and that teaching language toward social change is desirable.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Politics and Social Change

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