Toward More Inclusive Japanese Language Education: Incorporating an Awareness of Gender and Sexual Diversity among Students
Many educational institutions in North America have declared a commitment to enhancing the diversity of their students, and to providing a learning environment free of discrimination. This diversity unequivocally includes sexual orientation as well as gender identity and expression, and we teachers are expected to play a role in fulfilling this commitment. Nevertheless, there are few opportunities for us to learn about the diversity of gender and sexuality in pre-service training or in-service professional development for Japanese-language education. This paper addresses issues that may create challenges for LGBTQ learners of Japanese, paying special attention to heteronormativity in Japanese language teaching materials and linguistic norms and ideology regarding gendered expression in Japanese, and suggests ways teachers might deal with these issues in order to create an inclusive learning environment for all students regardless of their gender and sexuality.
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