“It’s a dangerous business… going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep to your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Bilbo Baggins (The Fellowship of the Ring)
I’ve often thought of this line as I’ve gone through life’s adventures. Like Bilbo in The Hobbit, I find that I miss the comfort of the life I left, yet when I finally return home, I find myself changed, more worldly, and somehow unable to slip back into life as I used to know it. It is a disconcerting feeling, as though somehow I’ve been separated from a piece of my identity. Recently, I’ve realized that the same could be said about my idiolect, or personal dialect.
I am a teacher and one of the few things I’m secure in is my ability to teach, regardless, or maybe because of, my love of research and learning. I’ve been a teacher since I came to Quebec over 25 years ago. I taught ESL to small groups or individual adults. My classes were intimate by nature, as many of the students were shy about speaking a foreign language in front of strangers, of losing their carefully constructed identities as confident, intelligent adults. In order to get those confident, intelligent adults and later often apprehensive, international students and diffident, unemployed youth to speak out loud, I learned that I had to create a safe space where they felt comfortable making the inevitable mistakes of language learners and to continuously craft a secure place in which they could recover from banging their heads against the vagaries of the English language. Continue reading →
Angelica was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and has both Italian and Spanish heritage. Growing up, she would flexibly use Italian, Spanish and Portuguese in conversations and mixing languages has always been something natural for her. She attended Universidade de São Paulo, Brock University, and completed a PhD in language education at OISE/University of Toronto. Angelica moved to Montreal in 2018, when she accepted a position as assistant professor in Applied Linguistics at Concordia University and became a BILD member . For more about Angelica see our Active Members page.
After decades of research, the field of applied linguistics has finally recognized that languages in fact constantly and actively interact with one another, making it difficult to completely switch off one language while keeping another turned on. Continue reading →
L’intérêt de Caroline (nouvelle membre de BILD/LIDA) pour la sociolinguistique est né lors d’une année passée comme assistante de langue en Angleterre où elle était, après une vingtaine d’années passées en contexte monolingue, non seulement immergée dans une nouvelle langue, mais également confrontée à la perception d’autres francophones de sa propre langue. De retour au Québec, devenue enseignante de français langue seconde, elle a obtenu sa maitrise en linguistique appliquée à l’Université Concordia. Questionnant la vision unilingue qui prévaut encore dans certains milieux d’enseignement où l’on exige que les apprenants laissent leur langue maternelle à la porte de la classe, elle a exploré l’utilisation d’une approche de comparaisons interlangagières en enseignement du français langue seconde auprès d’adultes immigrants. Continue reading →
The guest blogger who opens our regular blogging for 2018-19, Afrouz Tavakoli, is a second year Educational Studies PhD student in the Department of Integrated Studies at McGill University. She completed a degree in Women’s Studies at Concordia University and has a BA in International Relations from Webster University of Geneva, Switzerland. Afrouz is interested in the process of identity formation and belonging as relational and social phenomena. Her inspiration in writing a graphic novel, excerpted here (illustrations by M. Ali Ziaie), was to deconstruct how the interplay of social and power dynamics influences the sense of self and belonging of migrants. Through the graphic novel form she has examined the additional challenges for those immigrants who are categorized as Muslim and Middle Eastern in the current Islamophobia era. In her doctoral dissertation, by drawing on critical pedagogy, Afrouz will be studying how educational institutions in Canada can facilitate self-conscious awareness raising of Middle Eastern Muslim women so that they can autonomously craft and integrate their dual identity as Canadian-Muslim women.Continue reading →