Another semester done and another year draws to a close (by Rhonda Chung)

It is time to bid this semester, and this year, adieu and also to take stock of some of its highlights.

L’automne est une période de transition et le LIDA n’a pas fait exception à cette règle.

In September, our team went through membership changes. New members joined, while older members moved out of Montreal, and other members took time to care for their growing families. Yet no matter where we found ourselves in life or in academia, we always came together to collectively peck at questions of defining identity and membership to a linguistic community. This brought out posts about raising multilingual children, using narratives to engage students, and issues surrounding language revitalization in indigenous communities.

This semester also saw the inaugural issue of the Journal of Belonging, Identity, Language, and Diversity–a culmination of BILD, sweat, and cheers!

In October, we welcomed University of Regina’s Associate Professor of Education Dr. Andrea Sterzuk to the McGill campus as part of our Speaker Series. Her talk, entitled “Building language teacher awareness of colonial histories and imperialistic oppression through the linguistic landscape”, sparked lively discussion and debate among audience members. In November, we also invited guest blogger, photographer and Syracuse University 2018 artist-in-residence Andrew Jackson, who wrote about the psycho-geographical notions of migration and space.

In keeping with having dynamic speakers, we were preparing to have Dr. Beth Gatbonton as a guest blogger this Spring. Her research touches upon sociolinguistic aspects of bilingualism and pedagogical issues related to teaching and learning. We were all shocked and saddened when we learned of her sudden passing in November. Beth will be remembered as a passionate researcher, teacher, and friend whose spirit will be missed by all who knew her.

As friends, students, and mentees will attest, Beth emphasized the importance of not only supporting language learners’ expression of their identities, but also of advocating for the inclusion of diverse cultural and linguistic voices. Language transmits culture, and culture carries language–how can language learning or teaching ever really take place without acknowledging these elements?

On behalf of the entire BILD team, we wish you a happy holiday season full of merriment & mirth!

Attache ta tuque (il fait frette dehors!) et on se voit en 2018!

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