Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Language Classroom: Towards Critically Engaged Practice in Teaching Persian as an Additional Language


Dr. Nahal Akbari


March 11, 2023

Virtual Lecture Series on Persian Language Pedagogy: New Trends and Innovations

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Language Classroom: Towards  Critically Engaged Practice in Teaching Persian as an Additional Language

Dr. Nahal Akbari
Clinical Assistant Professor
University of Maryland


Zoom Registration


Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are familiar terms on our campuses these days, and creating inclusive and equitable environments for an increasingly diverse student population is a core value at many institutions of higher education. Language educators find themselves facing specific challenges when it comes to the meaningful integration of these principles into their approaches to teaching, curriculum design, selection of instructional materials, assessment, and day to day classroom practices. This paper aims to discuss some of the challenges that Persian language instructors might face in their commitment to inclusive and equitable  teaching to a diverse group of heritage, non-heritage, and underrepresented students in their classrooms. More specifically, some aspects of diversity among Persian language learners (and teachers) including ethnoracial, cultural, linguistic, political, ideological, gender and socioeconomic status will be discussed, and ways to actively tackle some of the inequities woven into our interactions and available instructional resources will be examined. Particular attention will be given to gender inclusiveness, linguistic diversity, and attitudes and identities from the theoretical perspective of a critical language pedagogy.
Nahal Akbari is Clinical Assistant Professor and the Director of the Persian
Language Programs at the University of Maryland, including the Persian  Flagship. She has a PhD in second language education from the University of Ottawa, Canada. She has been leading and contributing to various teacher training workshops and collaborative projects in instructional materials development, assessment, and program evaluation at different institutions of higher education across the US and overseas. She has published articles and book chapters on Persian pedagogy and discourse analysis. Her research interests include intercultural rhetoric, second language writing, and teacher education. She is currently serving as the president of the American Association of Teachers of Persian (AATP).