Negotiating the Messiness of Teaching Linguistic Justice Online:  Reflections of Multilingual Writing Instructors During COVID

Forster Kudjo Agama 1, Marcela Hebbard 2 * , Bernadette M. López-Fitzsimmons 3

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp. 128-148

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This qualitative phenomenological study explores how multilingual writing instructors define linguistic justice and how they incorporate linguistic justice in their online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. The global health crisis officially declared in March 2020, pushed educators around the world to become online instructors overnight. This rapid move to an online environment magnified technology, language, race, and socioeconomic inequalities. In higher education, online environments are prone to linguistic inequalities and linguistic racism. For decades, scholars in the field of composition have argued that in order to dismantle elitist monolingual ideologies, writing instructors, multilingual and monolingual alike, should investigate their own positions and pedagogical practices regarding language (teaching) practices. Thus, through the use of reflexivity, the authors served as researcher-participants and collected four different sources of data. The findings demonstrate that while the authors implement linguistic justice in their courses, their translinguistic histories impact their pedagogies differently. Furthermore, the data suggest that reflexivity prompts them to monitor their own attitudes, ideas, and actions by putting them on pause and allowing them to become uncomfortable – even frightened at times – about their experiences at the intersection of teaching and practicing linguistic justice. An implication of this study is that through reflexive interactions, practitioners can begin to make sense of their nuanced positionalities and become more transparent about their teaching roles and responsibilities as well as their identities in other areas of life in relation to linguistic justice.

Keywords: linguistic justice, online writing instruction, multilingual instructors, COVID-19 pandemic, qualitative research.