International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Inclusion and exclusion in foreign language education: A critical overview, with illustrations from studies of a German classroom for young secondary learners and of five Polish textbooks

The foreign language classroom is in many ways feminine and heteronormative. But if male students feel excluded, late 20th century studies showed mixed‐sex classroom interaction to be dominated by boys, and women's and girls’ representation in textbooks to be lacking. Relatedly, students who do not identify as heterosexual can be ‘othered’, and are absent from textbooks. I provide brief, illustrative accounts of two empirical studies—of gender and classroom interaction, with data from a German classroom, and textbook representation of gender, using selected Polish EFL textbooks. The findings of the classroom interaction study are nuanced. Those of the textbook study point to an improving gender (but not sexuality) representation. I argue that analysts seeking sexual diversity in representation should focus on ‘degrees of heteronormativity’.

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