A Large Intimate Group: Teaching Social Interaction, 100 students at a time (by Jacqueline Peters)

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

Translanguaging for communication and identity (re)building: The story of a 74-year old Brazilian woman in Montreal (by Angelica Galante)

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

Two dialects, two kids at home: a story from a sociolinguist dad (by Dr. Davy Bigot)

This week’s guest blogger, sociolinguist Dr. Davy Bigot, reaches out to BILD from the Département d’études françaises à l’université Concordia, where he brings a European French speaker’s perspective to the study of Quebec French. As he tells us, a fascination for the differences between the two varieties of French has occupied his personal as well as his professional life.

I discovered sociolinguistics 20 years ago. I was about to finish my BA in English Studies at Tours, in France. One of my last courses had this strange title which I no longer recall… It wasn’t “Sociolinguistics 100”, but more like “Language and society.” I had already had basic courses in English phonology, phonetics and syntax. I was not really into linguistics at that time. I remember that Professor Régis, who later became my Master’s thesis supervisor, said, at the end of the first course, something like “If anyone is interested in writing a master’s thesis in sociolinguistics about Star Wars, just tell me!” I thought he was joking… He wasn’t. To make a long story short, I wrote my thesis about “Star Wars Episode 1: the Phantom Menace”, and this changed my life.

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Heroes, fools and scholarly publishing (by Dr. Mela Sarkar)

The editors of scholarly journals have one hell of a hard row to hoe. I say this in sympathy, never having had the courage to take on the job myself. Note that “job” in this context carries no expectation of remuneration. Editors spend hours, days and years reading manuscripts, sending them out to equally-unpaid reviewers they have to cajole into keeping to deadline, and dealing with authors along a spectrum of angelically cooperative to diabolically recalcitrant. I make no mention of the quality of the scholarship being written about, which is, as we say, “orthogonal” to the issues above. Editors then have to put all the pieces together into journal issue after journal issue. Continue reading

Responding to local and global realities in Montreal’s Greek community through a B.Ed. TESL teacher education program (by Dr. Caroline Riches)

Dr. Caroline Riches is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies at McGill University. She is the Director of Teacher Education Programs & Certificates and MA programs in the department. Her research interests are in teacher education & development (Collaboration in Haitian Teacher Development: Cultivating Inclusive Action Research Practices) and bilingualism (Toward Achieving Canadian Bilingualism: Investigating Pre-service ESL and FSL Teachers’ Linguistic and Professional Identities).

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