What’s it like to teach ESL in Montréal: Part 2 (by Lauren Godfrey-Smith)

A few weeks back I wrote about the experience of teaching ESL in Montréal, and I talked specifically about the challenge of what to call ourselves. Are we ESL teachers, or EFL teachers? I didn’t really arrive at a definitive answer to my question, although on my private social media account my friends and I all thought that ‘English as an additional language’ (EAL?) is a more inclusive term than either ESL or EFL and we wholeheartedly agreed that the rest of the world (and the entire ESL/EFL community) should follow in our example and adopt this new – better – acronym. Now that we have that puzzle solved, let’s talk about a different side of the prism that is teaching EAL (alas, I don’t think it will stick, so I’ll continue with ‘ESL’ – under duress) in Montréal: who/where do we teach (or not)? This question is on my mind lately as my 4th-year B.Ed. (TESL) students continue their final field experience and get closer to graduation. Next week, we’re going to do job interviews simulations and they are all thinking about where they can (or can’t) find employment. It tells an interesting story…
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What’s it like to teach English in Montréal?: Part 1 (by Lauren Godfrey-Smith)

Eighteen months ago, I gave up teaching English full-time at a cégep to start my doctorate at McGill. Since then, I’ve been involved in the teacher education programs at McGill and have had the chance to work with undergraduate and graduate students preparing to become language teachers in Montréal and beyond. Recently, in a class with my 4th year B.Ed. (TESOL) students, we had a conversation about the political, cultural, and institutional factors that play a role in our teaching. Listening to these student teachers, brightly poised to enter the job market as English language teachers, I wondered: what’s it like to teach English in Montréal? The short answer is: it’s complicated. The long answer is… long. So, I’m going to explore this question over the course of my next few blog posts. In this instalment, I grapple with our nomenclature.
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YouTube, the ‘Montréal Switch’, and what it means to call Montréal home (by Lauren Godfrey-Smith)

I am weirdly fascinated by a comedic music video titled ‘Anglo’ by Montréal-based comedian, Mike Patterson. The video is captioned with this description (translated from French), “Are you an Anglophone? Are you annoyed when you speak in French and all the Francophones switch into English because of your accent and grammatical errors? It’s important to practice though! That’s why I wrote this song. We live in Québec, let us speak French, even if it’s not good! Speak to me in French when I buy my beer at the corner store, ostie!” (‘ostie’, referencing the host, is a religion-based expletive unique to the variety of French that is spoken in Québec, and is roughly equivalent to ‘damn it’). To give you a general idea, the video is about self-described Anglophone Mike Patterson, who in the song (entirely in French) expresses his frustration at always being spoken to in English whenever he speaks French. Since putting this video up on YouTube in 2012, Patterson’s video has received around 13,000 views and some pretty interesting comments from viewers. Continue reading