Language Teaching Processes as Cultural Contact Area and Microaggressions

Creative Commons License

Durmuş M.

MILLI FOLKLOR, no.122, pp.50-63, 2019 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 122
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.50-63
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


It is seen that descriptions related to culture mainly helps to highlight the criteria which is useful for separating a culture from another culture. In addition to this, there are many social groups (sexual, economic, racial, ethnic, religious, political, etc.) that determine the personal and social identity of an individual. Cultural identities, which differentiate depending on the individual's preferences and belonging, reveal the concept of multiculturalism or cultural diversity as a different concept related to this subject. With the description adopted in this study, multiculturalism, accepts the broad scope of race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, class status, education, religious / spiritual tendency and other cultural dimensions rather than only racial, ethnic and religious diversity. While these constitute the sensitive aspects of individuals' racial, ethnic and personal etc. identities, each cultural dimension carries unique problems, prejudices and dynamics, and those working in multicultural areas must have sufficient sensitivity regarding these cultural dynamics and problems. While the language teaching classes can also be monocultural or multicultural depending on whether learner groups and cultures are homogenous or not, it is seen that language teaching classrooms and language teaching processes, as an engagement/contact area for cultures, contain many remarkable issues and problems which can be addressed by the concepts of culture-centered studies. Male-centrism in the context of micro-aggression, sexist attitudes and behavioral research, dead or living White European male phenomenon are a few of the underlined concepts in this article. Among these, the concept of micro aggression emerged in the literature concerning the racist attitudes and actions in social life and education environments in America in 1970s and especially developed and spread by psychological counselling literature and it is addressed thoroughly in language teaching context. Micro aggression can occur either explicitly or implicitly between learners and instructors, course materials, which may also be representatives of the target language, or between learners. It will be useful to study this subject with various aspects in order to raise awareness in instructors, material developers and in learning-teaching managements about said bias and conflicts based on culture, and to offer guidance about how to manage these processes. In this context, the article focuses on the ways of thinking, attitudes and actions that occur under the influence of both culturally defined specific or relative structures as well as universal cultural phenomena. In this type of contacts of cultures, stereotypes and prejudices are the determinants of communication. It can be said that rather than "melting pot" which points to the standardization of students' thoughts and values when approaching cultural subjects and problems in language teaching, the metaphor of "mixed vegetable pot" which points to protecting and maintaining values with respectful, understanding and emphatic principles is agreed on commonly almost everywhere.