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This timely and critical look at the teaching of English shows how language is used to create hierarchies of cultural privilege in public schools across the United States. Drawing on the work of four ESL teachers who pursued anti-racist pedagogical practices during their first year of teaching, the author provides a compelling account of how new teachers might gain agency for culturally responsive teaching in spite of school cultures that often discourage such approaches. She combines current research and original analyses to shed light on real classroom situations faced by teachers of linguistically diverse populations. This book will help pre- and inservice teachers to think about such challenges as differential achievement between language learners and "native-speakers"; hierarchies of languages and language varieties; the difference between an accent identity and an incorrect pronunciation; and the use of students' first languages in English classes. An important resource for classroom teaching, educational policy, school leadership, and teacher preparation, this volume includes reflection questions at the end of each chapter.
"This is an important and timely book. How to best educate new Americans, including the best language policies, is a matter of controversy and dissent. Race, Empire, and English Language Teaching is must reading for teachers and school administrators, policymakers, and concerned citizens who are interested in a deeper understanding of how anti-racist pedagogical practices and culturally responsive teaching can work to engage all students moving forward."
—Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, dean and distinguished professor of education, UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, co-author of Learning a New Land
"Foregrounding teachers' voices, Motha lucidly conceptualizes ideological facets of teaching English—monolingualism, native speakerism, and standard language—as racialized practices that undergird colonial power and contradict pluricentric understandings of English. Her analysis is intellectually robust, morally engaging, and discursively accessible. This is a must-read for all ESL professionals."
—Ryuko Kubota, professor, Department of Language and Literacy Education, The University of British Columbia
Suhanthie Motha is assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Washington, Seattle.