Episode 19 - Inclusive Language Instruction with Indigo Young, MS CCC-SLP

Episode Summary

Language development is a cognitively and socially demanding process.

In this episode, Indigo Young, MS CCC-SLP, explains how educators and practitioners can cultivate equitable and inclusive environments that promote language development with a focus on children from marginalized backgrounds. Ms. Young discusses the importance of anti-oppressive practices in educational contexts, emphasizing the continuous, discerning process that bridges our understanding of identity and power, cultural humility, and equity-seeking practices. She identifies key forms of biases and offers insights and applications in any educational setting. This episode is critical for our understanding of how we frame education within the context of identity, equity, and inclusion to support all students.

Top READ Bookmarks
Each episode, host Danielle Scorrano identifies key takeaways or “READ bookmarks.” 

1. Anti-oppressive Educational Practices

Deliberate practices and strategies which purposely seek to reduce inequitable outcomes and increase inclusion and belonging, grounded in foundational frameworks.

Goals include:

  • Understanding that racism is embedded in the fabric and systems of our society
  • Emphasizing cultural sensitivity at the forefront of the relationship with students
  • Prioritizing equity-seeking practices by acknowledging the disparate outcomes in healthcare, medicine, and education
  • Portraying positive and accurate representation of students from all backgrounds
  • Increasing inclusion and belonging and uplift the most marginalized communities through equity-promoting practices
  • Uplifting the most marginalized communities

A major component of anti-oppressive intervention encompasses building competencies to understand and support children who bring diverse linguistic backgrounds to the academic settings.

"[Anti-oppressive practices are important] because we are acknowledging that students are living racialized and sexualized experiences, and we can't ignore it because it's a part of who they are and a part of how they're experiencing school and the rest of the world."

2. Language Socialization

Language is a cognitively demanding process, and it is also interwoven within the fabric of our social structures. Every student who enters the classroom brings their own unique social experiences. The diversity of social and cultural experiences holds critical implications as educators and practitioners support students from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds.

"We talk a lot about language socialization. You're always learning language in your social environment. They're inherently connected. It’s really impossible to disconnect your socialized experience as you're learning language."

3. Understanding and Dismantling Bias

Ms. Young discusses six types of bias that apply to work in educational settings, holding implications for how educators and practitioners choose curriculum, implement instructional pedagogy, and build relationships with their students.

Types of bias:

1. Invisibility
2. Stereotyping
3. Imbalance 
4. Selectivity
5. Fragmentation and Isolation
6. Linguistic bias

"Increasing opportunities for contact in a way where the power dynamics are [equitable] and it's collaborative and is backed up by the research as a way to help to decrease [bias, especially implicit bias]."


To learn more about Indigo Young, visit the MGH Institute.

To learn more about anti-oppressive interventions, listen to Indigo Young on Tiffany Hogan’s SeeHearSpeak podcast.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Washington Models of Evaluating BiasResearch by Tracy Conner, PhD on African American English and language Learning for Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance)National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing 


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READ Podcast is produced by The Windward School and The Windward Institute. READ is hosted by Danielle Scorrano.

About READ: READ, the Research Education ADvocacy Podcast connects you with prominent researchers, thought leaders, and educators who share their work, insights, and expertise about current research and best practices in fields of education and child development.
Note: All information and insights shared demonstrate the expertise and views of our guests.