Ecology, Cultural Awareness, Anti-Racism and Critical Thinking

Integrating Multiple Perspectives in Foreign Language Teaching


  • Silke Braselmann Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
  • Katharina Glas Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
  • Laurenz Volkmann Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena



indigenous studies, postcolonial criticism, interculturalidad, ecopedagogy, EFL teaching/learning


     This paper aims at presenting a critical approach to teaching ecological, postcolonial and ethnic minority topics in the (foreign language) classroom, describing the need to interrelate these three issues in both research and teaching. It illustrates how Western utilitarian perspectives on both humans and nature must be counterbalanced with alternative stances, such as those provided by indigenous views of reciprocity. With regard to teaching scenarios, it suggests the use of multi-text selections in line with the principle of presenting multiple perspectives on global issues. It suggests that two seemingly contradictory teaching/learning objectives can be combined: bolstering up students’ empathetic skills in understanding ecological and interculturally relevant issues on the one hand and becoming critically aware of textual strategies employed to manipulate readers. We use the hitherto less frequently observed example of the demands of the Chilean indigenous minority of the Mapuche to illustrate how different positions published in the English language on the Internet can be used in the foreign language classroom to discuss the issues at stake here: the inextricable interrelatedness of ecological exploitation of natural resources with processes of sociocultural and economic marginalisation and oppression of ethnic minority groups and their worldviews  across the globe.


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Author Biographies

Silke Braselmann, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

Silke Braselmann, Dr. phil., is Assistant Professor of Teaching English as a Foreign Language at Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany. Her research focuses on issues of social injustice and anti-racism in teacher education, inter- and transcultural learning, as well as multiliteracies in the EFL classroom. She has published on the didactic functions and cultural relevance of (multiperspective) Young Adult Fiction; her publications include her monograph The Fictional Dimension of the School Shooting Discourse (Berlin/Boston, 2019) and articles such as Das Jugendliche Imaginäre: Funktionen des Multimodalen Jugendromans (Trier, 2019).

Katharina Glas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

Katharina Glas, Dr. phil., is an Auxiliary Professor of English Language Pedagogy at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile. Her research interests include teacher education, autonomy and well-being, as well as learner motivation and intercultural contents for ELT. Her publications include Teaching English in Chile (Bern, 2013) and Learning to foster autonomous motivation – Chilean novice teachers’ perspectives (2019).

Laurenz Volkmann, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

Laurenz Volkmann, Dr. phil habil, is full Professor of Teaching English as a Foreign Language at Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany. He has published widely on teaching literature and media, inter- and transcultural learning and global issues in EFL. His publications include the standard textbook The Global Village: Progress or Disaster? (Munich, 4th ed. 2013) as well as the co-edited volumes Pragmatic Perspectives on Postcolonial Discourse: Linguistics and Literature (Newcastle upon Tyne, 2016) and Local Natures, Global Responsibilities: Ecocritical Perspectives on the New English Literatures (Amsterdam, 2010).






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