The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Implementing Critical Content-Based Instruction (CCBI) in Chinese Language Classroom

Hong Li, Emory University (United States)



Critical Language Pedagogy, Content Based Instruction

Critical content-based instruction (CCBI) integrates critical pedagogy and content-based instruction. “In their proposal for critical content-based instruction for world language, Sato et al. note that beyond the dual aims of language and content learning, students should also learn through instruction what prompts them to practice critical analysis, and to develop their own criticality in terms of knowledge, skills, and dispositions to engage in critical analysis (2017). The latter two aims should also be identified as learning outcomes to potentially also be assessed within the course.” (Glynn and Spenader, 2020) By applying a critical lens to content-based and culturally based themes in language classes and forging the connectedness between language learning and society, CCBI empowers language teachers to foster not only linguistic and cultural competence but also expand their students’ worldviews.

This presentation discusses how CCBI was implemented in an advanced Chinese language class at a university in the United States and reflects on the pedagogical considerations and challenges of CCBI. Specially, the course content was revamped for the purpose of engaging students in reflections on contested social issues that are important in our societies. The four units in this course included 1) Wuhan lockdown and the controversy surrounding Fang Fang’s diary, 2) the deterioration of U.S.-China relations and its impact on studying aboard, 3) Anti-Asian violence and sexual harassment, and 4) Inequality in Chinese society. Authentic journalist and literary texts were selected to demonstrate different perspectives, disrupt stereotypes, and highlight power structures that affect societies and people’s lives. In addition to sharing course content and curriculum structure, this presentation discusses the teaching strategies used for critical reflection in synchronous and asynchronous settings, such as critical readings of texts, dialogues among students and with native speakers, etc. Lastly, the presenter will provide examples of learning activities and reflect on the challenges of teaching controversial topics through CCBI. The pedagogy is applicable in a wide range of language and culture courses.


[1] Glynn, C., & Spenader, A. (2020). Critical Content Based Instruction for the Transformation of World Language Classrooms. L2 Journal, 12(2).

[2] Sato, S., Hasegawa, A., Kumagai, Y., & Kamiyoshi, U. (2017). Content-Based Instruction for the Social Future: A Recommendation for Critical Content-Based Language Instruction (CCBI). L2 Journal, 9(3), 50-69.

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