Microaggressions and intercultural competence in the Spanish classroom






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Microaggressions are subtle offensive mechanisms that can be intentional or unintentional (Pierce, 1970). For the past 50 years, researchers have documented their damaging effects on peoples’ mental and physical health. In this report, we focus on microaggressions in the Spanish classroom and with Latino/Latinx/Hispanic students, including their damaging effects within the context of changing demographics in the United States, how they impact our language classrooms, and how they can be mitigated through language curricula that promote intercultural citizenship. Also, we share strategies and suggestions to counter microaggressions in the language classroom, grounded in the assumption that to support socially just learning environments, educators must create a healthy atmosphere where all students feel safe, respected, and validated, and are held to high academic and civic standards. We believe that language teachers are uniquely positioned to create learning environments that model intercultural perspectives and foster the necessary openness to analyze and understand different perspectives as students advance their intercultural competence.

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