FSL Disrupt project

Teaching language equitably and using critical literacy

Below you will find a description of the project goals. Find out more about the project at

www.FSLdisrupt.com

@FSLDisrupt is inspired by the work of educators at DistruptTexts.org. We apply many of the principles of this educational movement to the FSL context. They inspired the Collective Catalogue of FSL Books for Diversity project website, to question texts that were being used and suggest new texts for teachers.

 

The @FSLDisrupt community is a live professional learning community that brings together secondary FSL teachers to think about how to improve their own practice and FSL programs for their students, by learning about anti-racism, decolonization, culturally-responsive pedagogy, equity, inclusivity, etc. As such, this Mission Statement is very much a live document.

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Teacher co-learning: A resource for teachers, by teachers

  • We take a co-learning stance. The work being done here is BY teachers FOR teachers. We count ourselves as members of and contributors to the FSL Disrupt teacher community.

  • We want to acknowledge our positionalities: We enter into this work keeping in mind the diverse experiences, privileges, viewpoints and learning gaps of our team members. We strive to learn from and with each other. We communicate regularly and respectfully to share our views, acknowledge our differences and work together towards the common goal of firstly, surfacing and naming oppressive pedagogical practices in FSL; and secondly, creating tangible and actionable teacher resources and sharing instructional practices that build more inclusive and anti-oppressive classrooms where our students feel that they matter, are seen, and belong.

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  • We take the position that people move through the process of (un)learning at their own pace and in their own way. We take any mis-steps and misunderstandings very seriously and practice responding with concrete changes. We aim to be transparent about that process because we know other teachers will likely have to do similar work.

  • We are of the opinion that learning is a life-long endeavour. We also take the stance that tangible change can only ever really come to fruition if people try actively to think about and work on their practice as antiracist and equity-seeking teachers. We work from the understanding that everyone in this community wants to learn and wants to improve their practice as educators.

Why this work matters

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  • Our current FSL curriculum document in Ontario lacks an anti-racist framework. It engages with intercultural understanding on a very surface level; summarily acknowledging the colonial history and legacy of the French language in Canada and around the world. We are deeply aware of the harm that has been/can be perpetuated by French texts and we believe that representation matters, and as such, we are focused on how we represent and engage with texts in FSL classrooms as well as the types of texts we choose as educators.

  • We believe in acknowledging and examining the way power structures play out in the classroom and are reflected in the FSL Curriculum. We believe that our text selection and interpretation, as teachers, is never neutral. We aim to develop and share instructional strategies to broaden the interpretation of texts so that diverse ways of knowing can be supported and valued.

  • We believe texts and literature can be a way to access and showcase a wide variety of lived-experiences about/within la francophonie, namely, recognizing the colonial legacy of the French language worldwide. As such, we advocate for using texts as “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors” (Rudine Bishop, 1990) to develop empathy and understanding.

  • The aim of our project is to encourage FSL teachers to intentionally centre the voices of Black, Indigenous and People of colour across la francophonie. Excluding the voices and experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of colour in our classroom learning does not represent the rich diversity of human experiences and does a disservice to our students.

  • We aim to build teacher capacity in selecting texts and promote the idea of co-creating knowledge with our students. We believe that developing critical literacy among teachers and students is necessary.

  • We see the FSL Disrupt work as a cyclical process where we work to break down harmful pedagogical practices, mindsets and systems and build up and create equitable alternatives rooted in anti-oppression. These are the specific educator moves that we are supporting:

    • Diversifying materials, content, instructional strategies

    • Teaching to learning outcomes that address power structures and social justice, inclusion and diversity

    • Designing language learning and assessments that offer opportunities for students to demonstrate learning outcomes in diverse ways, involving students in creating knowledge and content.

    • Acknowledging that teachers have a lot of power and privilege in the classroom and sharing that power with students can change the power-dynamics between teachers and students.