Critical Content Based Instruction for the Transformation of World Language Classrooms

This interpretive multiple-case study examines the practices and perspectives of four mid-level and secondary world language teachers in diverse teaching contexts as they design and implement critical content-based instruction units in their classes. Knowing that content can be defined as either cultural or academic content (Spenader, Wesely, & Glynn, 2018), the middle and high school level teachers in this study aimed to use a critical approach in their curricula and to integrate topics of social justice into the cultural content, promoting inquiry and critical thinking among students. Using data collected from recorded videos of teaching and individual semi-structured interviews, this study aims to answer the following research question: How is Critical Content-Based Instruction (CCBI) (Sato, Hasegawa, Kumagai, & Kamiyoshi, 2017) being employed by U.S. Spanish teachers to examine complex topics through a lens of social justice? Findings indicate that teachers feel compelled to integrate topics of social justice into their curriculum to promote criticality (critical thinking) and to encourage students to effect change in their own communities and beyond. The discussion supports consideration of teachers’ roles in the development of student agency through their curriculum and instruction. Implications are addressed for educational research, teacher education, and professional development.