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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: January 2021

9 - The Community as Transformative Classroom

from Part III - Transformative Language Learning and Teaching Applications in University Programs


Social pedagogies, which establish a connection between individual learning and the sociocultural context in which that learning occurs, are increasingly prevalent within postsecondary education, including language education (Bass & Elmendorf, ). These approaches provide students with opportunities to interact with the broader communities beyond the classroom. This often means connecting with an increasingly urban, multicultural, and multilingual environment where various groups and individuals negotiate their identities. In this chapter, we draw on examples from language programs at two institutions to illustrate how students explore the surrounding world and discuss how social pedagogies, in particular place- and community-based approaches, connect learners with the languages spoken around them. Engagement with the communities that shape and are shaped by the geographic and historical spaces they inhabit can be transformative for both the learners and the community (Charitos & Van Deusen-Scholl, 2017). This requires, however, designing and implementing pedagogical practices that extend the classroom to facilitate learners' engagement with their local communities.