OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

Counteracting Microaggressions: How TESOL Educators Can Empower Students


TESOL educators are challenged to help students who experience bias, prejudice, and racism. ESL teachers of new immigrants may find their students struggling to study in areas where xenophobia circulates, while teachers of short-term visitors could be called upon to help students process hostilities based on their native languages, accents, or appearance. While overt acts of violence or aggression are easy to identify and denounce, microaggressions—brief, subtle, and ambiguous denigrating messages to a marginalized person—are harder to combat and can leave lasting scars. ESL students experiencing microaggressions typically respond to the trauma through “fight, flight, or freeze.” Educators can teach students an alternative: An opportunity to “stand” for themselves and provide a response that alters the aggressor’s consciousness for the better. The presentation given to CATESOL 2017 Conference by Dr. Lynne Diaz-Rico, MA TESOL Program Coordinator and Yvette R. Lopez, graduate student, gave TESOL professionals practical tools to overcome apprehension, successfully facilitate open dialogues in the classroom, and provide ESL students with the skills needed to respond to microaggression incidents in an empowered way that mutually benefits both aggressor and the person being targeted.

This document is currently not available here.