Editorial 3(1): Behind the Scenes at J-BILD

ALISON CRUMP, Marianopolis College and McGill University


MELA SARKAR, McGill University

The publication of this issue marks J-BILD’s third year in press and our fourth issue. Over the last several years we have been working out how to run a journal. What is our vision for the journal? Where do we fit within the landscape of scholarly publishing? Is it where we want to fit? How do we create our own space while staying true to the values and ideals of scholarship as “making knowledge together” (Paré, 2016)? What kind of work do editors, authors, peer mentors, copy-editors, and readers have to do together to make that space?

We have touched on these questions in previous editorials; in Volume 1(1), we focused on J-BILD’s guiding principles as an open-source, collaborative peer-mentoring journal, inclusive of all stages of the publication cycle. In Volume 2(1), we went further in describing our approach to open scholarship and collaborative peer review. In Volume 2(2), we made a case for publishing as an act of hope and defiance against intolerance. It is evident from our past editorials, as well as our published articles, that J-BILD is a journal that invites members of the scholarly community to revisit assumptions, both about the field of inquiry and about the nature of scholarly publishing. 

J-BILD represents a new model of academic publishing, in contrast to the traditional publishing house of yore. Picture academics (white men, mostly), hunched over oak desks, clouds of cigar smoke hanging in the air, the clink of ice cubes in a freshly poured tumbler of whisky. There are piles of papers precariously balanced everywhere. Young women rush back and forth with proofs needing editorial approval (by men— “Miss, take this and type it up for 4pm, would you?”) And the sound of the typewriter. Click clack. Click clack. Click. Ding! Busy women, averaging 90 words per minute. 

Professional women in 2019 are no less busy than their foremothers. But it’s a different kind of busy. The accident of history that has meant that J-BILD’s editorial team is made up of women has had the effect of making us reflect on ways in which academia may be changing. Women are no longer relegated to minor secretarial or other essentially menial functions in the world of intellectual work. Mothers who are professionals and scholars are no longer swimming against the current. 

For the three of us, our development in these domains—the personal, professional, and academic–has happened concurrently. Our graduate work coincided with the birth of our children, and so our scholarly work has always been interwoven with the dailiness of our lives. Ding! Another email comes in. Waah! The baby’s woken up. Reach for the (baby) bottle. We have perfected the art of nursing whilst editing articles, annotating bibliographies, and debunking outmoded theories. Since launching J-BILD in 2017, our senior editorial team has welcomed two babies and a fifth grandbaby, two career changes, one cross-country move, a wedding, and more. Rather than seek to keep these parts of our identities separate and siloed, we draw strength and inspiration from our family lives for our professional and scholarly work, and vice versa. There have been many J-BILD meetings that have taken place over Skype while one of us breastfeeds an infant or plays with a toddler or knits something special for a cherished grandchild. We fit in emails to our authors during lunch breaks at our day jobs, write editorials while babies nap, and review manuscripts while the dishwasher runs in the background after bedtime. 

If scholarship is making knowledge together, then the kind of knowledge we create together depends on the kinds of relationships we bring to and create through our scholarly work. J-BILD is built on a supportive, community-based model where members are not excluded from publishing based on certain norms of merit (title, academic experience, research output, etc.). J-BILD authors actively take part in a collaborative review process with a peer mentor—the process is transparent and includes authors in every phase of the publication process. The relationships that are built throughout this process are no less important than the product, i.e., the journal issue. We are encouraged that this model seems to be resonating with our authors and mentors. As one of our authors wrote to us recently: “[My peer mentor] has been an amazing support throughout this process. I keep telling my fellow graduate students that it is possible to have a positive review experience and am encouraging them to look into J-BILD! I sincerely hope this collaborative approach can be taken up by other journals, as it has been so helpful to me as a junior scholar.” 

This issue is perhaps the most representative of our lives behind the scenes of J-BILD. In January 2019, we received 11 submissions for this current issue. With our hands full of babies and older children, juggling mothering and careers and families, we found ourselves rushing to keep up with our own self-imposed tight timelines for the journal (i.e., moving from submission to publication in less than half a year). And by acting in haste, we found we were losing the sense of connection, the relationships with our authors, with our peer mentors, and even with each other. To foster the community-building that is at the heart of J-BILD, we needed to allow more time to mull, to ponder, to read, to write, to reflect, and to connect. In our opening paragraph above, we asked, how do we create our own space while staying true to the values and ideals of scholarship as “making knowledge together” (Paré, 2016)? The answer is: by slowing down and managing expectations—our own and others’. 

We have a number of manuscripts in process and look forward to publishing them in due time. For this issue, we are very pleased to present two articles that we judged were valuable contributions to perspectives on diversity in education in contemporary Canadian contexts. Each is from a different stage of the research cycle, namely, a critical literature review and a research study. 

Isabelle Côté is the author of “Regard croisé sur l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans les recherches menées en français au Canada”, a critical literature review of research related to the integration of Indigenous perspectives into teacher education and K-12 programs in British Columbia. Through her discussion and interpretation of Canadian-based research, Côté reveals a number of challenges and successes found in integrating the perspectives of Indigenous people. 

“‘How am I supposed to teach them French when they can’t even speak English?’: Unpacking the myth of English proficiency as a prerequisite for French immersion” is a recent research study by Stephen Davis. In this article, Davis explores the beliefs of French immersion teachers about Allophones in French immersion in Saskatoon. He frames his study within the sociolinguistic landscape of Canada and Saskatchewan, highlighting the problematic nature of the Anglophone-Francophone binary within conversations around language and education, which essentially exclude citizens who speak a first language other than French or English. Davis presents and interprets the data generated through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with French immersion teachers to reveal how French immersion teachers perceive the suitability of French immersion for Allophone students in Saskatoon, as well as how these teachers perceive English proficiency as a determinant of success. Davis concludes with practical recommendations for school boards and a call for further research about Allophone learners in French immersion programs. 


Paré, A. (2016, April 17). Making knowledge together: Voice, identity, agency, and communal effort [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://bild-lida.ca/blog/uncategorized/making-knowledge-together-voice-identity-agency-and-communal-effort-by-dr-anthony-pare

Thinning the Classroom Walls: Graduate Student Perspectives on Blogging as Pedagogy

Volume 2(2): 2018

ALISON CRUMP, Marianopolis College

ABSTRACT. In this digital age, learning is happening in many places and spaces outside classrooms; however, pedagogies do not always reflect or connect with digital and open access spaces for learning. In this article, I share results from a research project I did with former graduate students on their experiences contributing to a course blog for a course I taught in fall 2016. Data come from a focus group and survey. Findings show that blogging as pedagogy, from the perspectives of the graduate students, provided an opportunity for peer and collaborative learning, which enriched their own self-reflections on their learning. In addition, writing for a legitimate audience beyond a single instructor and beyond the walls of the classroom, created a third space where the students could have their own opinions and voices validated. I argue that thinning the classroom walls through open pedagogies, such as blogging, is essential for fostering skills that graduate students need for their emerging scholarly identities.

RÉSUMÉ. En cette ère numérique, l’apprentissage s’effectue dans de nombreux endroits et espaces en dehors des salles de classe. Toutefois, les pédagogies ne permettent pas ou ne sont pas toujours liées aux espaces numériques de libre accès pour l’apprentissage. Dans cet article, je partage les résultats d’un projet de recherche mené auprès de mes anciens étudiants quant à leurs expériences à contribuer à un blogue dans le cadre d’un cours donné à l’automne 2016. Les données proviennent d’un groupe de discussion et d’un questionnaire. Les résultats démontrent que la pédagogie par le blogue, du point de vue des étudiants aux cycles supérieurs, permet l’apprentissage collaboratif et par les pairs, ce qui enrichit leur analyse réflexive individuelle sur leur apprentissage. De plus, l’écriture pour un auditoire légitime, au-delà de l’enseignant et au-delà des murs de la classe, crée un troisième espace où les étudiants peuvent faire valider leurs opinions et voix propres. Je soutiens que de développer une pédagogie ouverte, comme le blogue, est essentiel pour favoriser les habiletés nécessaires aux étudiants des cycles supérieurs afin de constater l’émergence de leur identité universitaire.

Keywords: blogging, pedagogy, community of practice, graduate studies, public scholarship.


In this digital age, learning is happening in many places and spaces outside classrooms.  Collins and Halverson (2009) remarked that despite this, pedagogies do not always provide opportunities to connect with those spaces of learning. In this article, I share results from research I did with some of my former graduate students on their experiences blogging for a graduate course I taught in fall 2016. The article begins with a discussion about blogging as pedagogy. I then outline the context of the blogging as pedagogy research project and describe the research project. This project was designed to enrich my own reflections on my pedagogical intentions to thin our classroom walls through blogging with students’ perspectives.

I taught undergraduate and graduate courses in (second) language education at McGill in Montreal for over a decade. When I taught the course that is the focus of this article, it was my first time integrating open access learning in a face-to-face course. Before that, I relied on a more conventional pedagogical approach, which had students hand in a number of learning artifacts during the term and then produce a larger final piece at the end of the course. In this approach, students are, for the most part, writing and demonstrating their knowledge for an audience of one—the instructor. Their knowledge is developed and displayed inside the closed walls of the classroom. Every year, I see excellent term papers that could meaningfully contribute to others’ teaching practices or pedagogies, but in the traditional model, opportunities for sharing and expanding knowledge are limited, since only the instructor sees the work. After making a change to my pedagogical approach to open up spaces for connected peer- and publicly-engaged learning, I am no longer convinced that a model that emphasizes displaying knowledge to a singular audience is best serving our students. This is especially true in the field of education, which is unquestionably about engaging in public and social work. As teacher educators, we teach our students about social constructivism and reinforce that learning is social. If we embrace the philosophy that scholarship is “making knowledge together” (Paré, 2016), we need to be providing students with “opportunities to demonstrate their learning in legitimate contexts outside the classroom” (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p. 25). This has inspired me to push beyond the walls of the classroom in my teaching. I did this through blogging as pedagogy.

Blogging as Pedagogy

I am certainly not the first person to use blogging and other social media platforms as a way to extend learning beyond the classroom in a philosophy of open access and connected learning (e.g., Cormier, 2010; Honeychurch, Stewart, Bali, Hogue, & Cormier, 2016; Nunan & Richards, 2014; Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011; Steel, Cohen, Hurley, & Joy, 2012). Stewart (2015) argued that social networks are sites of scholarship, and in fact, extend beyond Boyer’s (1990) four components of scholarship—discovery, integration, application, and teaching—by “fostering extensive cross-disciplinary, public ties and rewarding connection, collaboration, and curation between individuals rather than roles or institutions” (Stewart, 2015, p. 1). In socially networked learning, power hierarchies that are sustained in the peer review system, which reinforces the idea that certain people can authoritatively comment on the value of an individual’s scholarly work, are challenged. Blogging can provide a low-stakes writing space for peer learning and collaborative production of knowledge; in other words, it can foster the emergence of a community of practice (Wenger, 1998), a group of people who have common interests and can learn more about them through their interactions within the community than they would on their own. Blogging as pedagogy also allows for a shift from teacher-centred to student-driven inquiry-based learning and provides students with diverse sources of knowledge (Collins & Halverson, 2009). In the field of education research, there has been particular interest in blogging as a learning tool for English Language Learners (e.g., Alrubail, 2015; Campbell, 2003; de Almeida Soares, 2008; Richards, 2014; Stanley, 2005) and for pre-service teachers’ professional development (e.g., Hramiak, Boulton, & Irwin, 2009; Justice et al., 2013; Nambiar & Thang, 2016; Oner & Adadan, 2011).

What I have not seen as much in the scholarship is a focus on the role of blogging as a pedagogy for graduate studies. One exception is Guerin, Carter, and Aitchison’s (2015) case study on the use of a blog called Doctoral Writing SIG (Special Interest Group: https://doctoralwriting.wordpress.com) to support doctoral students’ writing. The researchers found that the blog fostered a supportive community of practice where doctoral students could get feedback and valuable advice on their writing. In a blog post published in the New York Times, Will Richardson (2017), long-time advocate for integration of media and technology in K-12 education, wrote that because the why, what, and with whom of learning has changed, and learners have more control over their learning. As Richardson (2012) elsewhere argued, this shift puts the onus on teachers to “unlearn and relearn much of our own practice” and rethink our roles as educators. He suggested that we do this by thinning the classroom walls and sending work out into the world; making connections beyond the classroom; and learning along with our students (Richardson, 2012).

For me, these three recommendations resonate deeply with graduate-level teaching as well. Graduate courses are often designed with the goal to help students develop the skills graduate students need for thesis research. In the traditional model of academic scholarship, which privileges peer review, the emphasis is on students demonstrating to a professor that they can take a stance on a research issue, critically analyze and synthesize large bodies of scholarship, write a research paper, and do in-class presentations. However, we are at an important juncture for re-thinking our roles as educators at the graduate level. The Canadian Tri-Council agencies now require that publicly-funded research be published in open source platforms (Government of Canada, 2016), and we are seeing a shift in higher education towards publicly-engaged scholarship across the disciplines (e.g., the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies’ (CAGS) project to Rethink the PhD; University of British Columbia’s Public Scholars Initiative, which supports diverse forms of collaborative doctoral scholarship; and, the increasing popularity of public scholarship competitions for graduate students, such as the 3-Minute Thesis, or 3MT).

As educators, we need to recognize what it means to be a scholar in the digital age of open access scholarship and how this impacts our pedagogies. We need to embrace pedagogical approaches that support our graduate students’ identities as emerging scholars in this changing higher education context. Blogging as pedagogy is one such approach.


In Fall 2016, I taught a graduate course in McGill’s Faculty of Education called Educational Sociolinguistics. In the course syllabus, I described the course as follows:

The course takes as a premise that language (as a noun and as a verb) is a social construct and a social practice shaped by language ideologies. With this foundation, the course explores the social, cultural, and political dimensions of (second) language education. It pays special attention to areas of sociolinguistics most pertinent to language education, including language variation, language attitudes and ideologies, teacher and learner identity, language contact, multilingualism, and language planning and policy.

My 2016 cohort was the largest graduate class I have ever had, with 37 students. Most of the students had language teaching experience, in formal and non-formal learning contexts around the world. Many of the students were in their first term of graduate studies at McGill and more than two thirds were international students (primarily from Asian countries) or from out of province, so new to Montreal. When planning the course, I knew that I would not have a teaching assistant and that I would need to find ways to make spaces for the students’ diverse perspectives on and experiences with language education and sociolinguistics. I was not confident that the face-to-face classroom hours alone would be sufficient. I designed the course with pedagogical intentionality to allow for scholarly work that would extend beyond the traditional closed walls of the classroom and give everyone an opportunity to participate in collaborative and connected learning. I did this by creating a course blog (https://educationalsociolinguistics.wordpress.com) that we would all contribute to. The blogging assignment was called “sociolinguistic noticing” (see Appendix 1). It asked students to write about connections between what we were reading or talking about in class and their experiences teaching or learning a (second) language. On the first day of class, I spoke about the blog in the context of making connections between contributing to and becoming part of an open access scholarly community and the important identity work that graduate students do as they develop their scholarly identities. When I had previously taught the same course, I had set up this assignment on a closed online discussion forum. I wrote about my rationale for moving this assignment to a public-facing blog my first blog post for the course:

I decided to take this part of the course beyond the classroom walls and face outwards, to the public. Sociolinguists are, at the core, interested in understanding how language is used (or not used) in social practices and settings. We are not often interested in remaining within closed walls. Language teachers who are sociolinguists are interested in understanding the implications of sociolinguistics to theories and practices of language learning in formal and non-formal educational contexts. And so, why keep our sociolinguistic noticing to ourselves? Why not open up this forum and turn it to the public? Why not engage with a broader audience and, in so doing, expand our own thinking and understanding? (September 8, 2016)

The students were expected to write three blog posts over the 13 weeks of the semester. They could choose when they wanted to write their posts and I evaluated them based on content. There was also a small percentage of the grade for this assignment for blog engagement; that is, commenting on at least six other blog posts. I did not evaluate the content of the comments, but simply whether or not they posted the minimum number of comments. To manage this, I asked students to email me at the end of the course with a list of the URLs of the posts they had commented on. Many students exceeded the minimum of six required comments. Although there was no grade for the content of the comments, I was very impressed with the respect the students showed for each other’s work—many comments were longer than the blog posts themselves, provided additional resources and suggestions, and were constructive and thought-provoking.

I also participated in the blog by writing posts throughout the course and commenting on students’ posts. As Keiren, one of the participants in the focus group said, “it really helped me that you had already prepared a blog to start it. It gave us an idea of what we were expected to do.” Another participant, Monica, also commented on my participation in the blog: “at the very beginning, you posted your comments and you kind of set up a role model for us. What kind of content we should post, and what length that we need to post.” My participation served as a model for students, but it was also a way for me to engage in learning with and from the students.

Blogging was a new pedagogical venture for me, and I expected it would be new for the students as well. As such, I built in a few measures to appease what I expected could cause some anxiety for the students. First, I gave students the option to write and publish under a pseudonym. Fifteen of the 37 students opted to use a pseudonym. Also, I set up a discussion forum on our closed learning management system where students could ask for feedback from peers on a blog post before publishing it to the blog. This closed space was only used twice. I was somewhat surprised that they didn’t use the feedback forum more but realized during the course that the students were comfortable enough with each other to share feedback on the blog itself. In terms of technical support, I provided students with detailed instructions on how to submit a blog post, how to embed media, and how to post comments. I expected there to be some technical support questions along the way, but there were none. At a practical level, I set the blog up so I was the sole author of the blog. Students submitted their posts to me and then I published them. This allowed me to ensure that there was never anything inappropriate published on the course blog. This was never an issue, although there were a few times when I sent the author an email and asked them to add forgotten references and re-submit.

When we started the term and I introduced the blog assignment, I did not know if we would find an audience beyond the class cohort. Over the 13 weeks of our course, we published 113 blog posts and posted almost 400 comments. By the end of the course, there were over 5000 hits from 37 countries, with more every day even though the course is over (as of the date of publication, there have been over 11,000 hits). I think it is fair to say that we did indeed find an audience. What does that mean for the learning experience of the students who contributed to the blog? Over the course of the term, I had many of my own reflections on the blogging as pedagogy experience; however, in this article, I did not want to write on behalf of my students, but rather give them the chance to share their own perspectives and reflections. This motivated the research project I undertook after the course ended.

Methods, Participants, and Data


The goal of this project was to better understand students’ experiences with the course blog. I designed a qualitative inquiry that used two methods to generate data: focus group and a survey. Both were based on the same set of open-ended questions (see Appendix 2). In January 2017, after the course was over and I had submitted my final grades, and after receiving approval from McGill’s Research Ethics Board, I reached out to my former cohort and invited them to participate in a focus group discussion. I explained that this was the first of two steps in the research project and that they would hear from me again shortly with an invitation to participate in an anonymous online survey. I included the survey in the research design because I anticipated that those who volunteered to participate in the focus group would be students who had had positive experiences with blogging. In addition, I was aware that the focus group participants might be inclined to share only positive aspects of their experiences because of the inherent power differential between us. The anonymous survey was included in the research design to help address the possibility of a biased skew towards the positive. The survey also offered the whole class cohort the opportunity to participate in the study and share their perspectives on blogging.


The participants in this study were drawn on the basis of the availability of volunteers; that is, it was a non-random convenience sampling (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998). There were five students who volunteered to participate in the focus group: Monica, Sky, Keiren, and Vera, and Miley (all pseudonyms). All but Monica were in their first year of graduate studies at McGill, and all are either international students or from another province in Canada.

When we started arranging the focus group schedule, Monica was not able to find a time when she could meet with the rest of the group. She suggested that I meet her over Skype. As a result, I did one Skype interview and one focus group with the other four participants. I did the focus group first, which allowed me to carry threads from the group conversation into the interview with Monica. The interview lasted 30 minutes and the focus group discussion was one hour. I audio recorded both and transcribed the recordings the day after the interview and focus group, respectively. After this first phase, I sent the entire cohort of former students the link to an anonymous online survey that had five open-ended questions. There were ten survey respondents (36.7% response rate).

Data Interpretation

Interpreting the data began with transcription. As I was doing the transcriptions, I wrote my preliminary interpretive reflections on the transcripts proper in square brackets. I then used an open coding process (Corbin & Strauss, 2015), which involved reading through the transcripts and identifying words or themes that repeated, and then re-reading and refining the themes. This iterative process led to the four themes that are discussed below.

Themes and Discussion

In this section, I share vignettes from the focus group/ interview data and extracts from the survey data according to four themes. The themes are not presented in order of significance as none were more prevalent in the data than the others. There is also considerable overlap among the themes.

Learning From and With Peers: “It’s not only myself learning this course”

All participants (focus group, interview, and survey) said that when I first presented the blog assignment in class, they felt nervous, unsure, skeptical, or worried about it. However, this changed over time, as they saw the first few posts from peers. Monica, for instance, shared her initial hesitation about writing in public, but after having seen some of her peers’ posts, she realized that she had things to share as well.

You need to write down your words and I’m not good at academic writing as well, so at first I was so worried about that. . . . Then I saw maybe three or four blogs which is very interesting and I suddenly felt that maybe I can share my opinion as well. . . . I grew up in China so I have my personal experiences, and here, maybe people grew up in different areas and they have different feelings about sociolinguistics. . . . It’s not only myself learning this course. For example, right now, I have other courses, but sometimes I have my opinions and I want to listen to others’ opinions as well, but sometimes at the class, they speak very fast and I cannot catch up with them and I cannot raise my questions to them. And also, I have my opinions as well but I’m afraid of speaking out. But the blogging provides a platform for us to share opinions and for us to make interactions with each other. I think this is quite awesome.

For Monica, the blog gave her the experience of learning with her peers. This helped her feel that she had something unique and important to contribute to others, which was not something she had felt in other graduate courses. Although she was hesitant initially to contribute, Monica became a very engaged participant on the blog, writing many long and thoughtful comments in response to her peers. She also said that she appreciated how the blog was a “platform for teacher-student interaction. I think this is not common for Chinese students.” Her experience resonates with what Cormier (2010) has written about how open access pedagogy shifts didactic learning, where the teacher is seen as the knowledge-provider, to community as curriculum, which fosters distributed learning across flattened relations of power.

Vera had a similar initial hesitation when I first introduced the blog assignment. Like Monica, seeing her peers’ posts gave her some confidence to write her own:

For me, it was quite a novel idea because I’ve never had this kind of assignment before. And I wasn’t sure what you want from a blog. Do you want us to reflect what we are talking about in class or you want us to combine our own experience? So, I was struggling for a while. But after I’d seen others’ posts, it felt good.

One of the survey respondents wrote about how reading blog posts enriched their own learning: “Since I lacked working experience, I was particularly curious about what they [classmates] encountered when they were teaching. I learned a lot in others’ blogs as much as in classroom.”

Miley described the blog as a community-building space, where she could get to know her classmates and learn about diverse perspectives:

I also think the blog creates a third space. Like usually we come to class, we hear presentations or lecture, then we go back home, and we never know our classmates. But the blog created a place for us to really know our classmates, their thoughts, their language, their story. And I think it feels more like a community. Feel more close to others.

There is a rich body of literature on Third Space, inspired by postcolonial theorist, Homi Bhabha (1994) and cultural geographer, Edward Soja (1996). In the context of digital communications, Stewart (2016) argued that third space “is a potentially transformative space between the roles of student and teacher, a hybrid space where identities and literacies and practices can actually change on both sides” (italics in original). Miley’s comment lends support to the interpretation of third space as transformative.

Keiren replied to Miley by adding that “I felt it’s not just about us getting to know each other, but it’s also about, it’s kind of like a stepping stone to begin a conversation with people who share the same interests.” Here, Keiren is speaking about the blog connecting with a community beyond our class cohort. She had been contacted by someone outside the class who had read her blog post and was interested in what she had written. This suggests that the blog helped to foster the emergence of a community of practice (Wenger, 1998), which extended beyond the students in the class. That is, it brought people together who share a similar interest, which they developed further through ongoing communication and sharing of stories, experiences, and practices (Guerin, Carter, & Aitchison, 2015).

One aspect of the blog that surprised me somewhat was the degree of engagement in the comments. Because I did not grade the content or quality of the comments, I wondered if students might simply write “nice post” and get the mark for commenting. However, the comments students wrote for each other far exceeded this. As Keiren said “[Writing comments] wasn’t about the grade. It was about the space we had created. And because you appreciated the fact that you were getting feedback, you wanted to provide feedback back. It was a kind of give and take. It was good.” Miley added “Because we are trying to respect others’ work and at the same time, we are looking for others’ feedback.” I see this as evidence of a sense of a learning community among peers.

Overall, the participants felt that the blog was a community-building space that fostered collaborative and connected learning, which took place beyond the classroom walls. While they expressed that they learned with and from their peers, this sense of learning community also including me (the instructor) and extended beyond the class cohort.

Reflecting: “It pushes me to reflect in daily life”

Many of the participants spoke or wrote about how contributing to the blog helped them reflect more deeply on their own teaching practices and learning. Sky, for instance, talked about how the blog pushed her to reflect and engage more deeply, both with her classmates and with the content of the course. She also appreciated being given the agency to make her own choices with respect to what to write about.

It [the blog] actually pushed me to engage. Well, I think it was the content of the course coupled with the blog that pushed me to engage with things on a deeper level. There was always ideas percolating in my head for blog posts. I wrote 3 and I had probably 10 formulated in my mind that just didn’t materialize. I really enjoyed it. And I liked having the freedom to choose which aspect of the course we wanted to engage with on a really personal level. Because that’s always what you end up coming out with, too, is the parts that you really made your own. I really enjoyed that and it was a new type of learning experience for me. I have always gone through classes where things were very structured—these are the 3 topics you can choose from and these are the requirements. So, I really enjoyed having the freedom to engage with it on my terms.

Similarly, Miley commented on how knowing she would have to write blog posts made her listen actively and attentively during class and that it helped her develop her final project.

I think it really helped me to catch the fleeting ideas, fleeting thoughts in class. I know that I need to write 3 blogs so every time I think about things, I write it down. It forced me to make a lot of notes. And the first blog that I wrote, it was about my own experience and [it] developed into being my final project, which is about language attitudes and ideology. So, I think it really helped me.

Vera found that writing for the blog changed how she thinks about aspects of her daily life that she used to take for granted. It also helped her develop a sense of praxis—that important meeting of theory and practice.

For me, it pushes me to reflect in daily life. I read everyone’s posts and they are talking about themselves, their own experiences. [Before], I wasn’t reflecting while I was teaching. I thought that teaching and what you learned are quite separate. So, after the blogging, I tried to combine the two. Like in real life, you will notice something that is about languaging or it is about identity. So, I think it’s a good way to mix what you’ve learned and what you are doing.

Sky also talked about how the blog pushed her to engage in deep self-reflection, a critical practice for educators:

Blogging pushes people to self-reflection because blogging is by nature much more personal. . . . It affected not just what we were blogging about, I found, but the fact that I was always thinking about potential blog posts had me engaging in personal reflection in just about everything we did. . . . Even if you don’t realize it, you carry a huge set of attitudes or beliefs into the classroom or into your research, so it’s fantastic to be pushed to stop and look at what those attitudes and beliefs are and if there are any that you want to change.

Earlier in the article, I explained that I had decided to include the survey in the study to guard against a sampling bias and allow for anonymous responses, which might represent diverse perspectives. On the whole, the participants expressed very positive experiences with the blogging. However, one student’s experience stood apart. In the survey, this student wrote:

I thought it [the blog] was a little tedious and lacked direction. . . . The instructions were too vague and there were no guiding questions. It was not fun when I didn’t have any topic in mind to write about. . . . I had a hard time finding topics I was really interested in and it just felt like I was feigning interest for the sake of the assignment.

This perspective is important reminder to me as an educator that my own reflections on and experience of a pedagogical approach do not necessarily mean that all students shared the same position. I intentionally did not give students a great deal of guidance with respect to what to write about on the blog, though sometimes in class, I would suggest a topic that students might want to explore further in a blog post. By design, “sociolinguistic noticing” encourages the students to have ownership of their own learning and reflect on and write about issues or topics that resonated with their own experiences. This student’s perspective is a good reminder that everyone comes to a learning situation with their own expectations for what will work for them as learners and this can influence how open they will be to novel approaches that do not necessarily align with those expectations.

Another indication that all 37 students were not equally as invested in the blog was that there were some students who left writing and submitting their posts until the end of term. They treated their three posts as assignments to complete and submit, rather than participating in the community-building aspect of the course.

What I found was that students who were on board with the blog were very on board and their level of engagement led them to deeply reflect on their own learning beyond the context of the blogging and to participate more actively during class, by taking notes or listening attentively. On the other hand, some were less engaged and saw the blog as another assignment to complete and did not see the potential benefits to participating actively. The reflection that most of the participants spoke to is closely related to the first theme (peer learning) as well as the next theme—knowing that they are writing for an authentic audience.

Writing for an Audience: “I could be more faithful to myself as an individual”

As I discussed in the opening of the article, the traditional pedagogical model in graduate studies is a closed model, which has students producing learning artifacts for an audience of one—the instructor. In the focus group and interview discussions, we talked quite a lot about what it meant to be writing for a public audience and how that affected the students’ thinking and writing. Throughout the course, I periodically shared blog statistics on the number of visitors we had as well as what countries they were from to reinforce the message that the students were indeed sharing their work in legitimate contexts outside the classroom.

Keiren talked about feeling encouraged when someone from outside the class cohort left a comment on her post: “it was so encouraging when you got feedback or a comment. . .because it means you’re writing something interesting and capturing and getting someone’s attention.”

Because she knew her post would be in a public space, Vera said that she wanted to make sure she was “writing something interesting and [she was] willing to explore the literature to support [her]self.” She also talked about wanting to make her writing accessible:

I was thinking about trying to make it interesting. How to make things you have read be accessible to others who haven’t read the paper you’ve read. And they won’t feel that you’re just dropping a term, but it’s from your own experience and I want to make it smoothly translated. That’s way different, because if I write for a professor, I would presume she has read a lot and what I’m talking about, she must know this, so I don’t bother that much to make it interesting.

Vera saw writing for the blog as very different from writing for just the professor because she was expected to do more than display her knowledge. It encouraged her to think about her writing differently because she wanted to engage and connect with readers when she shared her ideas.

Miley, likewise, put effort into making her blog posts interesting, not just for the benefit of the reader, but to initiate a conversation with the reader(s). She said, “I also wanted my blog to be interesting because of the audience. I wanted them to comment on it or they can share some common thoughts or provide some suggestions for me.” Sky said that writing for an audience helped her approach her writing with intentionality.

I found too that it made me a lot more careful about how I put things together. . .it’s really easy for me to fill a lot of space, but what are you saying in that space? I really found that having the constraints of keeping it to an appropriate length for a blog post pushed me to make sure that the content of every paragraph really counted. . . . I put a lot of thought into accessibility. . .because it’s not just our class that can access it, it’s anyone. I wanted to make sure that what I wrote was understandable and engaging to some stranger who happened to type a keyword into a search engine.

As one survey respondent shared “I felt like I could be more faithful to myself as an individual. I was able to let the ‘student’ take a back seat and share my thoughts as an individual.” This comment resonates with the notion of third space, that potentially transformative space where new identities can emerge (Stewart, 2016). For this student, the blog was a space where they could perform an identity other than student. Another survey respondent also commented on the role of the blog in opening up spaces for to perform different identities: “I enjoyed the experience writing for the blog. It allowed me to engage with both the material and my classmates’ ways of thinking about that material. A lot of the insights into the readings provided by my fellow students also opened a window into their own identities and perspectives.”

Another survey respondent wrote about communicating with an audience: “It is great to have a platform where you can share your opinion with others instead of just handing in assignments without a chance to communicate. And blogging encourages you to think in the position of the readers and organize your idea in a reader-friendly way.” As with the others, this participant recognized the value in writing for a legitimate audience outside the class.

In my own preliminary reflections on this project, which I shared in a non-course blog post, I wrote:

Writing for an audience beyond just the evaluator/ prof/ instructor can have an important impact on the development of students’ identities as writers; that is, they can see themselves as someone with valid and important ideas. . . . The blog was a space where students could develop (or nurture) identities as writers and this is because they were writing, not just to display knowledge to the prof for marks, but to engage an audience, connect with readers, share ideas. In fact, the focus group participants referred to each other and their peers as authors – something I have never heard among a cohort of students before. (March 5, 2017; italics in original)

Hearing the focus group participants refer to each other and their former classmates as authors, rather than classmates, suggests to me that they emerged from the course with a sense of themselves and others as writers. This is an important insight into the potential impact of blogging as pedagogy because emerging scholars often struggle to position themselves as writers within academia (Fazel, 2018).

Overall, for the participants, writing for an audience validated their opinions and perspectives and pushed their writing skills by encouraging them to think intentionally about making their writing interesting for and accessible to a broad audience. In short, writing for an audience gave opportunity for the students to authentically engage, share, and connect, and open up identity spaces beyond ‘student.’

Having a Voice: “Your own ideas are actually valued”

With a class of 37 graduate students, as I wrote earlier in the article, I did not think that the face-to-face hours of our class would allow for everyone to participate in a collaborative learning space. In addition, with the large number of international students, I expected that some would experience in-class language anxiety (i.e., stress, tension, or fear that language learners experience) that inhibited them from speaking in class. The blog was a space where everyone contributed and several of the participants, both in the focus group and the survey, commented on how the blog provided them with a place to express themselves. As Monica said,

I really loved to read others’ stories. We have talked about language anxiety and I think for me, I’m afraid of speaking in front of public and also in the classroom because of my language and sometimes I’m afraid of making mistakes. And also whenever I have some ideas when you’re lecturing or people are giving their presentations, I just note down the ideas and then I will share it on the blog later.

Monica not only found the blog was a place she could share her ideas, but knowing that she had to write blog posts also encouraged her to listen actively and attentively during class. For Monica, the blog did not stand alone, but was an integral part of the whole course. In fact, there were a number of students in the cohort whose final projects developed directly from a blog post they had written, integrating feedback or suggestions they had received on their ideas in the comments.

Sky saw the aspect of voice from a different perspective. She said, “I know I’m one of the people who talks a lot in class, maybe too much. I try to tone it down, but it was really fantastic to get a chance to read blog posts from my quieter colleagues because I want to get to know everyone, not just the people who talk lots in class.” She appreciated being able to hear her classmates’ voices on the blog because she didn’t in class. This suggests that she saw her classmates as colleagues and collaborators.

Likewise, a survey respondent wrote: “The blog was a great way to hear a wide range of voices; I particularly enjoyed hearing from students who had a point of view and background that was very different from mine.” Once again, what echoes in this statement is that the blog was a space for the diverse voices that make up a community of learners.

Miley and Vera shared a similar perspective on how the blog was a place where they felt their ideas were validated, as seen in this exchange during the focus group:

Miley:  The blog was a creative space for us to really think about our personal life.
Maybe it is not academic or not that valuable to some professors, but it is very valuable for us.
Vera:  Yeah, your own ideas are actually valued.
Miley:  Yeah, it is valued.

Miley and Vera are both international students who did not speak a great deal during class. The blog gave them the opportunity to have their ideas and knowledge validated by their peers.

Knowing that their ideas were valued encouraged participants to engage more deeply during class (e.g., by active listening and note-taking). This seems to have been especially important for students who did not feel comfortable talking in class. The blog allowed for everyone to be heard and the participants saw this co-constructed learning as valuable. When learners feel that they have a voice that is valued by others, this contributes to a sense of community and collaborative learning. This is the real work of scholarship.

Before turning to my closing thoughts, I would like to share a few pedagogical notes on challenges I experienced as part of my reflection on the blogging assignment.

Pedagogical Notes

As with all teaching, but especially when trying a new approach, there is always room for reflection and refining. Over the term, there were a few challenges that I experienced with the blog assignment, which could be mitigated with slightly different pedagogical design.

The first challenge had to do with the blog posting schedule. Because I wanted to create space for student agency in the course, I did not give deadlines for blog posts. I simply told them that they had to contribute three posts before the end of the term. What this meant was that some students left some or all their posts until the end of term even though I tried to encourage them to write throughout the term. In the focus group, I talked about what this was like from my perspective:

A lot of people left blog posts till the end, so then it was too crazy because I had all the final projects to grade as well. I felt so badly because I was reading these amazing blog posts and I wanted to respond and write back, but I just couldn’t do it. . . . I had a bit of a blog crisis in December. I tried to nudge people to post before the end of term. Maybe that’s something I need to think about in my planning for the future, not to let it [the blog assignment] go right to the end of the course, but maybe a couple of weeks before. I tried to reply to and comment on all the posts, but by the end, when there were so many, I was reading them, and they were so good and there was so much I wanted to say, but I couldn’t.

At the end of the course, the blog lost some of the richness of collaborative knowledge-making that I had seen throughout the earlier part of the term. One of the survey respondents suggested that I provide three deadlines for the posts, so students would need to write one post per month.  This is something I would consider in the future.

Another aspect of the blog that presented a challenge for some participants was the lack of feedback they received on their writing (grammar/ style). I evaluated the posts on the basis of three criteria: 1) Evidence of critical engagement of course readings and concepts: that is, making links between the readings and their experiences/ observations as a language learner/ speaker/ teacher and asking questions to push their own and others’ thinking forward; 2) integrating other articles/ blog posts; and 3) language. I tried to comment on all the posts and give feedback on the content of the posts, and this proved to me an immensely time-consuming goal. Two of the survey respondents wrote that they would have liked to have received feedback on the language in the blog posts in order to improve their writing. With the class size I had, and the number of blog posts and comments being published, this was not feasible. I would like to encourage any teacher who is considering integrating blogging into their pedagogy to carefully consider the time investment needed to remain actively engaged with the blog throughout the course. I do agree that feedback on writing would add an important layer to the pedagogical design. This would have been a great task for a teaching assistant, if I had had one.

Another challenge was shared by one of the survey respondents, who commented on the difficulty of finding topics to write about.

The challenge for me is thinking about and choosing the topic to write about because I don’t want to just analyze a theory. I want to vividly tell a story or describe a language phenomenon worth noticing. Of course, it’s not easy. At first, I had to spend a long time searching my mind for a piece of story. But later I became alert to what and how people use languages and it became easy gradually.

One way to help manage this would be to brainstorm possible topics for blog posts in class.  However, since the goal of “sociolinguistic noticing” was to provide an opportunity for individuals to reflect on how their own experiences teaching and learning a (second) language related to what we were covering in the course, I intentionally did not provide much direction with respect to the blog topics. That said, this is an aspect of the design that could be better scaffolded in the future.

Another aspect to blogging pedagogy that I would like to build into future course designs comes from a suggestion by a survey respondent who wrote, “I think blogging was hard for me because I wasn’t exactly sure what I was allowed to write and what I wasn’t, or what was appropriate and what was not. If we had a quick exercise about safety in writing blogs, it may have helped.” I appreciate the students’ feedback and suggestions—my future blogging pedagogy will be enriched because of their contributions.

Closing Thoughts

Blogging as pedagogy, from the perspectives of graduate students, provided an opportunity for the students to become a community of practice, where they learned collaboratively from their peers and others, which enriched their own self-reflections on their learning. In addition, writing for a legitimate audience beyond a single instructor and beyond the walls of the classroom, gave them a space where they could have their own opinions and voices validated, where they could hear others’ voices, and it allowed them to position themselves as writers, an identity that is crucial for emerging scholars to be able to perform.

Fisher (2011) stated that “learning is only as powerful as the networks it occurs in” (p. 59). With some exceptions, blogging in the course did provide opportunities for powerful connected learning. However, approaches to thinning the classroom walls seem to be less common in graduate studies. I strongly believe that graduate students should complete their degrees with the conventionally expected skills of being able to write academic papers and present scholarly work at conference. However, in the context of the shift in higher education towards open access, the findings of this study reinforce the importance of providing graduate students with opportunities to connect with a wider public in meaningful knowledge-making. Engaging, connecting, and sharing ideas—these are a critical part of developing an identity as an emerging scholar, and should be impacting our in-class pedagogies with graduate learners. Thinning the classroom walls through open pedagogies, such as blogging, is essential for fostering spaces for graduate students need to discover and perform scholarly identities. Blogging as pedagogy is just one way to thin the classroom walls. My hope is that this article may encourage other graduate educators to explore open pedagogies that help thin the classroom walls and engage students in public and networked scholarship.

In closing, I would like to sincerely thank my cohort of former students for bravely embarking on this pedagogical adventure with me, as well as the participants for sharing their insights and suggestions with me. It was a truly enriching and humbling experience to join in this blogging as pedagogy journey with them.


Alrubail, R. (2015, March 16). Blogging for English language learners [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/blogging-for-english-language-learners-rusul-alrubail.

Bhabha, H. (1994). The location of culture. London: Routledge.

Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. New York: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Learning.

Campbell, A.P. (2003). Weblogs for use with ESL classes. The Internet TESL Journal, 9(2). Retrieved from http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Campbell-Weblogs.html.

Collins, A., & Halverson, R. (2009).  Rethinking education in the age of technology: The digital revolution and schooling in America.  New York: Teachers College Press.

Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2015). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (4th ed).  Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Cormier, D. (2010).  Community as curriculum – Vol. 2. The guild/distributed continuum. In D. Araya & M. A. Peters (Eds.), Education in the creative economy: Knowledge and learning in the age of innovation. New York: Peter Lang.  Also retrieved from http://davecormier.com/edblog/2010/01/27/community-as-curriculum-vol-2-the-guild-distribute-continuum/.

Crump, A. (2016, September 8). Here we go! [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://educationalsociolinguistics.wordpress.com/2016/09/08/here-we-go/.

Crump, A. (2017, March 5). Blogging as pedagogy: Beyond writing for an audience of one. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://bild-lida.ca/blog/uncategorized/blogging-as-pedagogy-beyond-writing-for-an-audience-of-one-by-dr-alison-crump/.

de Almeida Soares, D. (2008). Understanding class blogs as a tool for language development. Language Teaching Research, 12(4), pp. 517 – 533.  http://doi.org/10.1177/1362168808097165.

Fazel, I. (2018). Emerging scholars’ socialization into scholarly publication: Negotiating identities and investments in a neoliberal era (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Fisher, C. (2011). Implementing a networked classroom.  In W. Richardson & R. Mancabelli (Eds.), Personal learning networks: Using the power of connections to transform education (pp. 59-82). Bloomington: Solution Tree Press.

Government of Canada (2016). Tri-agency open access policy on publications. Retrieved from http://www.science.gc.ca/eic/site/063.nsf/eng/h_F6765465.html.

Guerin, C., Carter, S., & Aitchison, C. (2015). Blogging as community of practice: Lessons for academic development? International Journal for Academic Development, 20(3), 212-223. http://doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2015.1042480.

Honeychurch, S., Stewart, B., Bali, M., Hogue, R.  J., & Cormier, D.  (2016). How the community became more than the curriculum: Participant experiences in #RHIZO14. Current Issues in Emerging eLearning, 3(1), Article 3. Available at: http://scholarworks.umb.edu/ciee/vol3/iss1/3.

Hramiak, A., Boulton, H., & Irwin, B. (2009). Trainee teachers’ use of blogs as private reflections for professional development. Learning, Media and Technology, 34(3), 259–269. http://doi.org/10.1080/17439880903141521.

Justice, J., Anderson, J., Nichols, K., Jones Gorham, J., Wall, S., Boyd, A., & Altheiser, L. (2013). The affordance of blogging on establishing communities of practice in a pre-service elementary teacher education program. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 21(1): 49-88.

Nambiar, R. M. K., & Thang, S. M. (2016).  Examining Malaysian teachers’ online blogs for reflective practices: Towards teacher professional development.  Language and Education, 30(1), 43-57. http://doi.org/10.1080/09500782.2015.1071386.

Nunan, D., & Richards, J. C. (Eds.) (2014). Language learning beyond the classroom. New York and London: Routledge.

Oner, D., & Adadan, E. (2011). Use of web-based portfolios as tools for reflection in preservice teacher education.  Journal of Teacher Education, 62(5), 477-492.

Paré, A. (2016, March 17).  Making knowledge together: Voice, identity, agency, and communal effort.  [Blog post]. https://bildlida.wordpress.com/2016/04/17/making-knowledge-together-voice-identity-agency-and-communal-effort-by-dr-anthony-pare/.

Richards, J. C. (2014). The changing face of learning: Learning beyond the classroom.  RELC Journal, 46(1),  1-18. http://doi.org/10.1177/0033688214561621.

Richardson, W. (2012, October 25). Three starting points for thinking differently about learning. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/guest-post-three-starting-points-for-thinking-differently-about-learning/?_r=0.

Richardson, W. (2017, August 28). The “future of learning” isn’t. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://willrichardson.com/future-learning-isnt/.

Richardson, W. & Mancabelli, R. (Eds.) (2011).  Personal learning networks: Using the power of connections to transform education. Bloomington: Solution Tree Press.

Soja, E.W. (1996). Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and other real-and-imagined imagined places. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

Stanley, G. (2005, March 6). Blogging for ELT. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/blogging-elt.

Steel, K., Cohen, J. J., Hurley, M-K., & Joy, E. A. (2012). Why we blog: An essay in four movements. Literature Compass, 9(12), 1016–1032. http://doi.org/10.1111/lic3.12012.

Stewart, B. (2015). In abundance: Networked participatory practices as scholarship. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(3), 1–12.

Stewart, B. (2016, March 31). Third spaces and third places – #DigPed PEI. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://theory.cribchronicles.com/2016/03/31/third-places-third-spaces-digped-pei/.

Tashakkori, A. & Teddlie, C. (1998). Mixed methodology: Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches. London: Sage.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Appendix 1

EDSL 624: Educational Sociolinguistics

Assignment 2: Sociolinguistic Noticing – Course Blog (30%)

I am a firm believer in scholarship as public discourse; that is, scholarship that is open, accessible, and connected to other people. As such, I have set up a course blog (educationalsociolinguistics.wordpress.com), which will serve as our public-facing course space. Through the blog, we will have the opportunity to engage with the wider community. We will seek out connections with others, through blog posts, Twitter (if you have an account), Facebook groups, and other academics.


The purpose of this assignment is to engage in deep noticing of sociolinguistic issues and consider how they relate to language education and do so in an open forum.

Minimum expectations

  1. At least 3 original posts any time over the 13 weeks (8% each = 24%), roughly 500 words each.
  2. In your posts, make connections between something we have read, talked about, or that you’re thinking about, and your experiences teaching or learning a (second) language. You may also want to offer a critique (see Note 1) of one of the readings we have done in class. You are expected to demonstrate a critical engagement with the course topics. Pose questions to elicit responses and engage your readers. What do you want to know more about?
    • If you want someone to read your draft before posting, ask your peers in the class for feedback in the MyCourses discussion thread called “Peer feedback, please.”
  3. The remaining 6% of the marks for this assignment are for engagement; that is, responding to 6 other blog posts (1 response = 1%). I will not evaluate the content of your responses, but will track that you are engaged in contributing to the discussion on the blog.
  4. It is possible that people outside our class will respond, too. It is good blog etiquette to respond to readers.
  5. You are welcome to exceed the minimum expectations for posting to the blog.

Note 1: Critique does not only mean being negative. You can offer a good critique, if you think an article/ study is deserving. Tell us why you think it is good (e.g., Is it methodologically sound? Does it offer a new theoretical perspective on an issue?, etc.), or not.

* See the document “Blog Instructions” in MyCourses for step-by-step instructions on how to submit your blog post.

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Evidence of critical engagement of course readings and concepts: that is, making links between the readings and your experiences/ observations as a language learner/ speaker/ teacher and asking questions to push your own and others’ thinking forward
  2. Integrating other articles/ blog posts
  3. Language is error free

Grading Scheme

A (exceptional): Expectations of the assignment have been surpassed and demonstrate creativity and originality. Work shows in-depth understanding and critical awareness of links between the individual assignment and other class readings and activities, in line with the goals and major themes of the course itself and goes beyond the course content and material. Language and format of the work are exceedingly well-structured, eloquent and error free.

A- (very good): Understandings and insights in the work are apparent, and there is evidence of critical engagement with the subject matter. Expectations are met, and some are surpassed. The language and format of the work are very well-structured and error free.

B+ (good): Expectations of the assignment have been met. Understandings and insights are apparent, and there is some evidence of critical engagement. The language and format of the work are well structured but may contain a few errors.

B (acceptable): Basic expectations of the assignment have been mostly met. Understandings, insights and evidence of critical engagement are somewhat apparent. The organization and structure of the work lack consistency and the work contains more than a few language errors.

B- (adequate): Some expectations of the assignment have been met. Work lacks organizational structure, logical coherence and clarity with frequent language errors.

F (Fail) (inadequate): Does not meet expectations.

Appendix 2

Survey Questions

  1. What was your overall experience writing for and contributing to the EDSL 624 blog?
  2. How did you feel when you first heard about the blog assignment? (How) did your feelings about it change over the term? If so, why?
  3. In what way was writing for the blog different from/ similar to writing on discussion forums on MyCourses?
  4. Did you experience any challenges or obstacles with the blogging assignment? If so, how could these be mitigated or addressed?
  5. Please feel free to share any other thoughts or feedback.

Editorial 2(2): BILDing Optimism in Uncertain Times

Volume 2(2): 2018

ALISON CRUMP (Senior Managing Editor), Marianopolis College

LAUREN HALCOMB-SMITH (Managing Editor), Royal Roads University

MELA SARKAR (Senior Advisory), McGill University


This issue, our third since we launched the journal, marks an important milestone: J-BILD has now had a first birthday. Even the longest-running and most highly-respected journals had once to make it past their first year. In Canada, applied linguists can reflect with pride on the continuing success of the Canadian Modern Language Review / Revue Canadienne des langues vivantes, which will celebrate its 75th year in 2019. The CMLR/RCLV began as a modest publication of the Ontario Modern Language Teachers’ Association in 1944, a year in which the fields of applied linguistics and sociolinguistics had yet to be mapped out; a year in which the fields most in the minds of our forebears were the battlefields of Europe and East Asia. In a similar vein, many readers will know that the Modern Language Journal, another top-ranked periodical for those of us interested in language learning/use, passed its centenary in 2016. We need not remind readers of the conflagration that was raging in 1916.

Launching a new scholarly journal several years into a terrible international conflict, the end or outcome of which could not with any certainty be foreseen, must have seemed dangerously optimistic to the point of foolhardiness in 1916 or 1944. Yet a few courageous scholars dared to do it. Now, as J-BILD moves into its second year, climate change is probably the gravest looming threat to the continued happiness and safety of not only our own species, but of all our co-inhabitants of the planet whether animal or vegetable. Right-wing governments dedicated, among other things, to the denial of this huge potential for global disaster are coming into power in one place after another.

Americans are emerging from midterm elections in the Trump presidency, an era in North American and global politics that, if we and the planet get past it, will be remembered as significant. A majority of Brazil’s 200-million-plus people recently made an extreme rightist their president. And in Quebec, where J-BILD got its start a year ago, a right-of-centre and relative newcomer to politics swept a new political party to power a few weeks ago. One of the planks in the new party’s platform was a promise to reduce immigration. A deep fear of the “Other” seems to be one of the main drivers of mainstream politics across national boundaries, and at the same time, more and more people are being forced to flee their homelands and cross those boundaries in search of a safe haven.

So, while the team of determined volunteers who launched J-BILD a year ago are blessedly spared the tribulations experienced by citizens of warring nations, we still, with our readers, confront serious challenges to our collective well-being. Not the least of them is the current backlash against diversity (the “D” of BILD), as insidious and in its own way as dangerous as the climate changes that are sweeping the world. A new journal that builds on the bedrock of diversity as an inherent value is, we think, worth supporting and persevering with as never before. Even supposedly innocuous Canadian pro-multiculturalist preaching, though on the surface opposed to the right-wing ideal of a safe homogeneity, conceals an inner denial of the everyday reality of diversity. At the federal level, people who identify as members of communities other than White Anglophone or White Francophone are lumped into cultural groups whose languages are not recognized, yet who are celebrated for the “diversity” they bring to the Canadian cultural mosaic—an intolerance-masking language of which scholars like Sara Ahmed (2007) are heavily critical. This kind of discourse locates diversity in the bodies of Others and insulates the invisible majority against any real engagement with difference. In her critique of institutional policies on diversity and equity, Ahmed argued, “you end up doing the document rather than doing the doing” needed for meaningful change.

Language, the “L” of BILD, is no less important; like critical sociolinguist Monica Heller (2007), we see language/s as socially distributed through historical, political, and economic processes that inform what resources are assigned what value, by whom, and with what consequences. The value thus assigned goes far beyond the purely linguistic. In our era, language is one of the most ubiquitous scapegoats for ancient enmities that have more to do with scarce resources among feuding families than with speech. Language is rooted in, while also helping to define, identity, the “I” of BILD. As Norton (2000) has pointed out, identity references the desire for recognition, affiliation, and security—all of them necessary for physical and psychological well-being. Affiliation, appartenance, belonging—the “B” of BILD—bring us back around to where we began, with the defense of diversity and an insistence upon inclusion. The “Other” is by definition the person who does not belong.

But we are all the Other. We can only belong by virtue of renouncing simplistic notions of belonging. The identity we may thus win through to transcends, while encompassing, the individual. We take our stand with Hugo of St-Victor, the 12th-century monk Edward Said was fond of quoting: “The man who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign land” (Said, 2000, p. 185). Finding a contemporary idiom for truths that go back to medieval times and forward into an uncertain, but certainly diverse, future—there in a nutshell is one of the main leitmotifs of J-BILD.

In This Issue

We are thrilled to be able to share six research articles, four in English and two in French, which in different, but interrelated ways, examine intersections of the four pillars of J-BILD, and thus contribute important voices to BILDing optimism in these uncertain times.

Marie-Pier Bastien, author of “Pratiques de littératie familiales d’élèves hispanophone,” presents the results of a qualitative study exploring the family language practices of ten students enrolled in French schools in the Outaouais region for whom Spanish is the family language. Beginning with an exploration of the unique sociolinguistic context of the Outaouais region, Bastien presents and discusses the data generated through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Her analysis paints a rich picture of the family language practices of her participants and highlights the unique ways in which family language practices manifest among young people in multilingual environments. Bastien concludes with recommendations for supporting such students in their development as multilingual individuals.

Alison Crump’s article, “Thinning the classroom walls: Graduate student perspectives on blogging as pedagogy,” brings to light the views and experiences of graduate students a sociolinguistics and language education course in their use of blogging as a pedagogical tool. Crump presents and discusses data generated through focus groups and surveys to show how the use of blogging supported students in their learning through the cultivation of peer support, collaboration, self-reflection, and authenticity in the experience of writing for a “real” audience. Crump argues that open pedagogies, such a blogging, thin the classroom walls and create opportunities for publicly-engaged and networked scholarship.

Eun-ji Amy Kim, S. J. Adrienna Joyce, Annie Desjardins, and Yuwen Zhang’s article, “Speaking to our minds, hearts, and hands: A cogenerative inquiry on learning through an interdisciplinary land-based course,” reflect on their settler/visitor learning/teaching experiences in a land-based, interdisciplinary Indigenous field course in Kahnawá:ke. Their article takes the form of a metalogue, a method for engaging in dialogues both with theories and self-reflexivity and draws out the diversity of the co-authors’ different learning paths. Common throughout the article, is an emphasis on building relationships based on collaboration; indeed, the authors argue, this is the real work of achieving the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Accord on Indigenous Education. Kim and company bring their metalogue to a close with a series of recommendations for universities, instructors, and students for future land-based interdisciplinary courses.

In “Reframing FSL teacher learning: Small stories of (re)professionalization and identity formation,” Mimi Masson presents the results of a case study of two French as a second language (FSL) teachers and the factors that informed their professional identity. Through the analysis and discussion of narrative data, Masson argues that participants’ successful identity-formation was closely linked to their feelings of being validated and supported by their respective communities. Masson concludes with recommendations for addressing FSL teacher attrition and retention.

Sylvie Roy and Julie Byrd-Clark’s article, “Les identités multiples des jeunes Canadiens,” reflects on the importance of examining former and current discourses on linguistic and cultural competencies in considering the future of young people’s multiple identities. The authors draw upon ethnographic and sociolinguistic data that they gathered in Francophone and French immersion schools in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Ontario. The youth in their studies do not see their identities as fixed but as continuously changing, yet they are deeply concerned with how others see them. The authors emphasize the importance of recognizing the linguistic and cultural repertoires of young people who are living in diverse contexts in order to foster greater inclusion in and belonging to Canadian communities.

In their article, “Supporting reconnecting immigrant families with English Language Learners in rural schools: An exploratory study,” co-authors Gregory Tweedie, Anja Dressler, and Cora-Leah Schmitt focus on how Filipino secondary school immigrant students in Alberta acculturate and develop a sense of belonging when language and content acquisition, social-emotional, and acculturation supports are in place. The authors present and discuss data drawn from interviews with recently reconnected Filipino families as well as written responses from the teachers of the young people in these families. Through their work, the authors conclude that it is particularly important for the young people in families that are reconnecting to have language and content acquisition, social-emotional, and acculturation support for the development of their sense of belonging and identity.

In closing, we at J-BILD hope that these articles will inspire you to reflect upon your own experiences and positions as researchers, learners, educators, fellow beings, and encourage you to continue to thoughtfully and meaningfully engage with yourselves and others.


Ahmed, S. (2007). “You end up doing the document rather than doing the doing”: Diversity, race equality and the politics of documentation. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30(4), 590–609. doi:10.1080/01419870701356015

Norton, B. (2000). Identity and language learning. New York: Pearson.

Said, E. (2000). Reflections on Exile and other essays. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Editorial 2(1): Opening scholarship and rethinking peer review

Volume 2(1): 2018

ALISON CRUMP (Senior Managing Editor), McGill University
LAUREN HALCOMB-SMITH (Managing Editor), Royal Roads University

In his book, The Access Principle, Willinsky (2006) identified the year 2003 as the breakthrough for the open access (OA) movement. Fifteen years after the OA breakthrough, we can see the impact of this movement on high-level policies governing academic publishing and throughout the publishing landscape. For instance, the Canadian Tri-Agency now requires that publicly-funded research be published in open access journals (Government of Canada, 2016). We have also seen the emergence of software to help manage online and open source journals (e.g., OSJ – Open Source Journal) and seen journals transition from print-only to online-only journals. As Eve (2014) argued, however, “there is nothing in the concept of open access that means anything must be done differently except to lower price and permission barriers to research” (p. 137). This is seen, for instance, in Willinsky’s definition of the access principle, that “[a] commitment to the value and quality of research carries with it a responsibility to extend the circulation of such work as far as possible and ideally to all who are interested in it and all who might profit by it” (p. xii). In this editorial, we focus on how we can leverage technology in academic publishing to extend the principle of open access toward a principle of open scholarship. Beyond open access, our view of open scholarship is collaborative and transparent, rather than anonymous and potentially adversarial. Open scholarship, we argue, is changing how we produce and share knowledge. We focus on two aspects of J-BILD—the online platform and the collaborative peer mentoring model—that align with our vision of open scholarship.

When planning to launch the Journal of Belonging, Identity, Language, and Diversity (J-BILD), we explored several options for publishing platforms, the most obvious one being OJS (Open Journal Software). This federally-funded software provides editors, reviewers, and authors with a secure backend for managing submissions and an anonymous peer review process. We did not need this functionality for J-BILD because we do not do anonymous peer review of manuscripts. Instead, we use Google docs to allow authors and members of the editorial team to work collaboratively on developing manuscripts for publication (more on this shortly). Because we didn’t need a system to manage anonymous submissions, J-BILD is self-hosted with WordPress, a platform that gives us aesthetic flexibility as well as something most journals within our field do not offer: the ability to comment on published articles. While we have not seen comments on J-BILD articles yet, we are excited about giving readers the option to connect with authors and provide feedback on what they are reading because doing so allows conversations about research to happen more freely and openly than traditional publishing often allows. These ideas of free and open scholarly conversations tie back to our beginnings as a blog with the Belonging, Identity, Language, and Diversity (BILD) community. It is our view that open scholarship is more than open access. It involves opening lines of communication and inviting public dialogue about published research. It also means making the process of producing published research (that is, through peer review) a personal and collaborative one, rather than one masked in “blind” objectivity.

In founding a journal on the principles of open scholarship, we have taken inspiration from Eve (2014), who reminded us that “shifts in publication practice allow us the space to rethink peer review and other practices and to ask whether there are analogous changes, facilitated either socially or technologically, that could be worth exploring at this time of transition” (p. 137). Like Eve, we challenge the traditional model of peer review as the gold standard in academic publishing and have joined a small, but growing community of scholars who are breaking down the practice of double-blind review (e.g., CJNSE; eLife; Hybrid Pedagogy) and taking away what is sometimes an unconstructive atmosphere. We are also avoiding using the ableist language in the term blind review. We recognize that anonymized peer review “works on a series of unspoken ideological assumptions that are never wholly objective and apolitical” (Eve, 2014, p. 139). By challenging the condition of anonymity in peer review, we have developed a model for J-BILD much like the one Jesse Stommel uses for Hybrid Pedagogy, which focuses on building community through collaborative peer mentoring (Linder, 2018).

We have not, however, shirked the idea that a manuscript should be reviewed by more than one person. Each J-BILD manuscript benefits from the feedback of at least three people: peer mentors do several rounds of feedback with authors, focusing primarily on argument structure and content; copy editors do a second review and a closer edit of grammar, references, and formatting; senior copy editors do a final review and formatting check. Authors are closely involved with the editorial team during each of these feedback cycles, and everyone’s identities are known to one another. This collaborative peer mentoring is done entirely on Google docs, which allows multiple people to access and edit the same document. As managing editors, we are also involved throughout the process. For example, peer mentors or copy editors can flag us in a comment, which sends us an email notification that our attention is needed on a manuscript to resolve a question or issue. Because peer mentors and copy editors have the opportunity to work back and forth with authors, this can improve the quality of their feedback. We have heard from peer mentors that this is a more satisfying experience than doing anonymous reviews, one that encourages a greater sense of investment in the research and the final publication.

Another aspect of the collaborative peer mentoring model that contributes to open scholarship is the quick turnaround time our model allows; we are often able to publish manuscripts within six months to a year of their submission. This is entirely due to the extremely engaged and dedicated members of our editorial team, who we feel are so committed because of the interpersonal connections they make and the investment they feel in helping move an author’s work towards publication. In our view, it is extremely important to recognize the people who contribute to a single issue, which we do as an ongoing practice through our interactions with our editorial team, and through collaborative decision making and input on editorial processes and procedures. We also list their names on the same webpage as the issue they have contributed to. This, we hope, will help address the peer reviewer fatigue—that is, the difficulty in finding reviewers for submissions—that some journals experience. Because of the relatively short timeline for publishing a manuscript, authors are able to bring current research and scholarship to the community, which can allow for dialogue that is fresh enough for authors to use the ideas generated to further their research. This has the potential to enrich the quality of research, expand the reach of knowledge, and of course, build community.

We see open scholarship as grounded in the open access movement, thus it is important to acknowledge some issues with OA. First, open access does not mean universal access; there remain barriers, such as language and connectivity barriers (Suber, 2012). Open access also does not mean free. There are many costs associated with producing scholarship; however, in the world of academic publishing, many of these costs are subsumed under the umbrella of “service.” J-BILD, for example, has no fees for authors and operates on an annual budget of about $100 (fees for hosting the WordPress site and for our domain name) and a tremendous number of volunteer hours, not just ours but from the entire editorial team, including the peer mentors, copy editors, senior copy editors, and web developer.

Publishing an online journal that is also open access is changing how knowledge is produced and shared. It is also changing how people read, for instance, by encouraging more critical engagement with reading because readers can click hyperlinks and check sources and have access to more complete data sets (Willinsky, 2006). An area that has not been fully explored in the field of Applied Linguistics is the integration of digital tools, methods, and media in publications. As a field, we could draw some inspiration from work being done in the field of Digital Humanities, where this practice is far more advanced (see, for example, Vectors Journal, which explores the intersections of technology and social relations). We expect that the J-BILD model will continue to evolve over time as authors begin to embrace the affordances of new media and produce texts that are more multimodal.  We hope to continue to push the boundaries of open scholarship and to encourage new kinds of authors and new kinds of conversations in open spaces.


We received 15 submissions for our second issue. We are pleased to be publishing eight manuscripts–five recent research projects and three critical literature reviews.

Research Studies

Marie-Eve Bouchard presents the results of her study of the ideologies that surround the use of rhotics in the Santomean variety of Portuguese in her article, titled “A distinctive use of R as a marker of Santomean identity.” Bouchard presents and discusses data generated through sociolinguistic interviews to show how the distinctive use of rhotics is becoming a marker of Santomean national identity, particularly among younger Santomeans who grew up after the independence of the country and among those who expresses pride in the Santomean variety of Portuguese.

Timothy Loh, author of “‘Maybe Jesus knows Sign’: Resistance through identity formation,” presents the results of anthropological research exploring how Deaf Christians negotiate their identities as members of two distinct identity groups: Deaf and Christian. Contextualizing his research within historical events over the last 50 years, Loh presents his analysis and interpretation of data generated through ethnographic field work to argue that Deaf Christian identity formation does not necessarily include a conflict between deafness and Christianity, but rather a resistance against historically-rooted narratives in Christianity that relate to deafness as a deficit. Loh further argues and demonstrates that Deaf Christians use language and communication to index and reinforce their identity as Deaf Christians.

“Spanish Language Ecosystems in New Mexico and their Impact on Spanish Language Learners,” by Sarah O’Brien, explores how U.S. students’ receptiveness to Spanish language learning is impacted by the social perceptions of the language that exist within their surrounding community. O’Brien shares the results recent research within three school districts in New Mexico, where she generated data through mixed-methods over a period of seven months. Through her interpretation and discussion of these data, O’Brien explores the stratified views held by members of the school communities, specifically related to ideologies of language related to learning and speaking Spanish, concluding with a number of language planning suggestions for improving outcomes for Spanish language learners.

“Navigating Competing Identities through Stance-Taking: Migration, Class, and Nation,” by Elizabeth Peacock, presents the results of ethnographic research on Ukrainian teenagers’ use of stance-taking on issues of migration as a means of aligning or disalinging themselves in interactions with others. Grounded in stance theory, Peacock’s paper seeks to address limitations in the existing body of research related to the ways in which individuals take up stances in everyday interactions. Through her analysis and interpretation of qualitative data generated through group discussion, Peacock makes links between stance-taking and social identities as they relate to socioeconomic class and migration in Ukraine, revealing the broader views held by Ukrainian teenagers on migration.

Gregory Tweedie and Robert Johnson, authors of “Listening instruction and patient safety: Exploring Medical English as a lingua franca (MELF) for nursing education,” present the results of a recent student exploring Medical English as a lingua franca (MELF). Specifically, the authors look at the intelligibility of interactions using MELF and its implications on patient safety. Through their analysis and discussion of mixed-methods data, the authors argue that intelligibility can have implications on patient safety, concluding their paper with recommendations related to language education of nursing professionals in sociolinguistic contexts where MELF is used.

Critical Literature Reviews

“L’enseignement du français chez les Premières Nations d’hier à aujourd’hui: Enjeux didactiques, pratiques pédagogiques et perspective interculturelle,” by Nancy Crepeau and Carole Fleuret, takes a critical stance to explore the pedagogical foundations at the origins of current French-language teaching practices in Quebec. In particular, the authors focus on the implications of current teaching practices on students from First Nations backgrounds and identify issues related to learners’ language repertoire, academic achievement, and plurilingual competence. The authors conclude their review with recommendations for the future.

In his paper, titled, “A case for policy analysis in minority language discourse: A critical literature review,” Taylor Ellis explores Indigenous language revitalization in educational contexts. Beginning with a critical review of linguistic diversity metaphors, such as language-as-resource (Ruiz, 1984) and language ecology (Hornberger, 2002), as well as specific case examples from around the world, Ellis problematizes and highlights the issues inherent to the language-as-resource model as a whole.

Hailey Iacono presents “Designing opportunities to support pre-service teachers in noticing and understanding how to position students competently: An overview of supporting literature.” Iacono frames her critical literature review within the context of recent educational reforms, specifically as they relate to the mathematics classroom, and limitations in the scope of teacher educational programs. Through her exploration of the literature, Iacono successfully highlights several guiding principles to address such limitations, ultimately making the argument that more research on teacher noticing of interactions relating to positioning students competently is needed.


 Eve, M. P. (2014). Open access and the humanities: Contexts, controversies and the future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Government of Canada (2016). Tri-agency open access policy on publications. Retrieved from, http://www.science.gc.ca/eic/site/063.nsf/eng/h_F6765465.html?OpenDocument

Hornberger, N. H. (2002). Multilingual language policies and the continua of biliteracy: An ecological approach. Language Policy, 1(1), 27–51.

Linder, K. (2018, Feb. 19). Dr. Jesse Stommel on founding a journal. Retrieved from, https://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/research/podcast/e99/

Ruíz, R. (1984). Orientations in language planning. NABE: The Journal for the National Association for Bilingual Education, 8(2), 15-34.

Suber, P. (2012). Open access. Cambridge, MA, and London, UK: The MIT Press.

Willinsky, J. (2006). The access principle: The case for open access to research and scholarship. Cambridge, MA, and London, UK: The MIT Press.

Unofficial Multilingualism in an Intercultural Province: Polyvocal Responses to Policy as Lived Experience

Volume 1(1): 2017

CASEY BURKHOLDER, University of New Brunswick

ALISON CRUMP, McGill University

LAUREN GODFREY-SMITH, Royal Roads University

MELA SARKAR, McGill University



Daily language use in Montréal (Québec) is a delicate balancing act that goes beyond bilingual / multilingual categories or multicultural / intercultural frameworks. Language policy, which to an extent dominates the Québec linguistic landscape, can also be seen as the object of constant manipulation and negotiation by individuals and communities who exercise agency in locally-determined and locally significant ways. Our Montréal-based research community, BILD (Belonging, Identity, Language and Diversity), draws on perspectives from outside as well as inside Montréal, and Québec, to show how people and policies interact in real-life contexts that defy description in terms of neat dichotomies. We take advantage of our many voices to harmonize a polyvocal conversation about language use on the ground in Montréal and further. Weaving together several strands of research and lived experience, we form a tapestry of complex language practices in constant combination and recombination. We further offer suggestions for ways to rethink official models of multiculturalism and bilingualism as frameworks for understanding how individuals in cities like Montréal use language in their everyday lives.


À Montréal, Québec, l’utilisation courante de la langue devient un délicat exercice d’équilibre qui va bien au-delà des catégories de bilinguisme / plurilinguisme ou des cadres théoriques reliés au multiculturalisme / interculturalisme. Les politiques linguistiques qui jusqu’à un certain point dominent le paysage linguistique québécois, peuvent être vues en tant qu’objets de manipulation et de négociation constante, par des individus et des communautés qui mettent en pratique des actions sur le plan local. Ces actions sont déterminées et significatives seulement à ce niveau. Notre communauté de recherche basée à Montréal, LIDA (langue, identité, diversité et appartenance) se fonde sur des perspectives situées à l’extérieur ainsi qu’à l’intérieur de Montréal et du Québec; nous cherchons à montrer comment les gens et les politiques interagissent dans divers contextes de la vie quotidienne, contextes qui défient toute description en termes de dichotomies nettes. En utilisant nos multiples voix, nous harmonisons une conversation polyvocale autour des usages linguistiques sur le terrain à Montréal et au-delà. Nous tissons une riche tapisserie de pratiques langagières complexes, en combinaison et recombinaison constante, à partir de plusieurs fils tirés de la recherche et de notre expérience vécue. Nous offrons aussi des suggestions qui permettraient de repenser les modèles officiels de multiculturalisme et de bilinguisme en tant que cadres conceptuels pour comprendre comment les gens habitant des villes comme Montréal utilisent le langage dans leurs vies quotidiennes.

Keywords: multilingualism, interculturalism, language policy, polyvocality.
Continue reading “Unofficial Multilingualism in an Intercultural Province: Polyvocal Responses to Policy as Lived Experience”


Volume 1(1): 2017

ALISON CRUMP (Senior Managing Editor), McGill University
LAUREN GODFREY-SMITH (Managing Editor), Royal Roads University


It is a wonderful sense of achievement to be writing this editorial, the first of what we hope will be many for the new Journal of Belonging, Identity, Language, and Diversity (J-BILD) / Revue de langage, d’identité, de diversité et d’appartenance (R-LIDA). As this is the inaugural issue of J-BILD, we thought we should start this editorial with our origin story—we believe it is an example of how much can be accomplished at the grassroots level within academic communities.

J-BILD is the newest branch of a wider BILD research group, which began at McGill in 2013. The BILD research group first came together as the brainchild of Dr. Mela Sarkar (now Senior Advisor to J-BILD), who noticed that several graduate students in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE) at McGill with very different research projects were similarly interested in exploring issues related to belonging, identity, language, and diversity. In 2013, Mela organized a casual lunchtime meeting for us to get to know one another and share ideas. A number of us kept meeting and talking and eventually decided to give our group a name: the Belonging, Identity, Language, and Diversity (BILD) research group. In the first year, our meetings were something like a book club—we met regularly to discuss an article related to our interests. We later presented as a group at some conferences, developed a social media presence (Twitter, Facebook), staged a few of our own symposia, and started a blog, which now has international readership. Since the fall of 2014, we have been publishing weekly blog posts written either by BILD group members, or guest bloggers. In 2016, we started the BILD Speaker Series and invite visiting scholars to present their research as BILD guests. In June, 2017, we were proud to be the invited keynote symposium at the ACLA/CAAL (Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics) conference at Ryerson University in Toronto where four BILD members presented on the topic of innovative methodologies in Applied Linguistics. In 2016, three years after that first lunchtime meeting, we started planning our newest and most ambitious project: the launch of a scholarly journal, J-BILD. Although J-BILD is new, because of its roots in the BILD research group, we are confident that we already have international reach. This is reflected in the composition of our editorial team, which includes members from across Canada, as well as Iran, Ireland, South Africa, Tasmania, and the United States. We look forward to seeing how this team will grow with each subsequent issue.

J-BILD is founded on several defining principles:

• J-BILD is an open source and open access journal.

Part of the ethos of the BILD research group since its beginnings in 2013 has been to foster a growing community of scholars, researchers, and teachers, who similarly explore issues related to belonging, identity, language, and diversity. As such, J-BILD is an exclusively online, open source and open access journal, which allows us to make publications immediately and permanently free for everyone to read, download and share. J-BILD contributes to a movement in the world of scholarly publishing that increases access to knowledge, facilitates collaboration, raises researcher visibility, and builds community. As an online journal, we have can include multiple modes of scholarly work in our publications. Over time, we hope to leverage the potential of online publishing and we invite submissions that move beyond the written mode.

• J-BILD is a non-anonymized peer mentoring journal.

We firmly believe that the anonymity in the traditional publishing model does not guarantee scholarly rigour. We have been inspired by the Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education (CJNSE), which has been operating as a mentoring journal for over a decade. Rather than relying on an anonymous peer review process, J-BILD relies on the gracious contributions and commitments of peer mentors who work directly with authors through the revision process. J-BILD’s non-anonymized peer mentoring not only provides authors with respectful and constructive feedback on their work, it also develops a sense of collegiality among J-BILD mentors and authors, once again, contributing to the goal of building community. For this issue, we have worn several hats, as editors and authors/ mentees, and have certainly found the open peer review process to be a very positive and constructive one.

• J-BILD is committed to recognizing and valuing all stages of the research process.

This means that we welcome submissions from emerging and more experienced scholars. For this first issue, we were happy to have received a variety of types of submissions that reflect the range of stages of the research process—research proposals; critical literature reviews; and research studies. We received ten submissions, six of which have progressed to the publication stage and appear in this issue.

The articles in this issue show us that there are many ways to examine the intersections of issues of belonging, identity, language, and diversity.

Research Studies

“Unofficial multilingualism in an intercultural province: Polyvocal responses to policy as lived experience,” by Casey Burkholder, Alison Crump, Lauren Godfrey-Smith, and Mela Sarkar is a co-authored and collaborative piece of writing, with multiple voices and multiple research projects of the BILD community represented and woven throughout in a polyvocal conversation. In this paper, these polyvocal voices critically reflect on official models of multiculturalism and bilingualism as frameworks for understanding how individuals in cities like Montréal use language in their everyday lives. The authors conclude their conversation with suggestions of ways to rethink official models of multiculturalism and bilingualism.

Karen Pennesi, author of “Universal design for belonging: Living and working with diverse personal names,” presents the results of extensive interview and literature research to show how institutional agents manage name diversity. Pennesi argues that concerns with saving face and being polite can involve micro-aggressions, which can have implications to do with exclusion, belonging, and other disadvantage for people with certain kinds of names. Pennesi’s recommendations for normalizing name diversity in work and social life make a significant contribution to making multilingual and multi-ethnic societies more welcoming to immigrants and other with diverse names

In their article, “Les représentations sociales sur les langues d’élèves de la fin de l’élémentaire en contexte francophone minoritaire,” Joël Thibeault and Carole Fleuret share the results of a multiple case study of eight elementary school students studying in French. Thibeault and Fleuret bring to light their participants’ social representation of language as well as the potential connections between these representations and participants’ subject-verb agreement. J-BILD readers may be particularly interested in the themes of plurilingualism that emerged from the study and the authors’ discussion of the importance of taking into account learners’ plurilingualism in their teaching practice.

Critical Literature Reviews

Chris Gosling, author of “Identity as a research lens in science and physics education,” begins his critical literature review by problematizing how gender in Physics Education Research (PER) has traditionally focused on gender as a differentiator between how female and male students learn or engage with physics. Gosling goes on to present an insightful review of the relevant literature related to PER and the complex and intersectional nature of student learning as gendered identity formation within the culture of school science. Gosling investigates and sheds light on how identity is employed by researchers of PER and how its use can help move gender research in physics beyond a binary perspective of gender.

“Understanding the connections between second language teacher identity, efficacy and attrition: a critical review of recent literature,” by Philippa Parks, explores the issue of teacher attrition among additional language teachers. Parks seeks to address the question of what it is about additional language teachers that makes them particularly prone to leaving the profession. Parks considers the role of self-efficacy and identity in teacher attribution, with a view to informing how additional language education can address the issue of attrition.

Research Proposal

Milagros b. Calderón Moya’s research proposal, “Issues related to interprovincial migration in Quebec: A Latin American perspective,” seeks to examine the perspectives of skilled Latin American immigrants towards interprovincial migration in Quebec and bring to light how the lack of adequate awareness of diversity in public school philosophies has resulted in the othering of minority groups in Quebec, making their departure to other provinces more likely. The potential contribution of the proposed research is clearly articulated by Calderón Moya when she says, “This research will provide immigration authorities and education specialists with tools that can provide fair educational and employment opportunities that truly resemble Quebec’s democratic values to Quebec’s current and future newcomers.”

Closing Thoughts

As a new journal, we recognize that there are many ways in which we can grow. In the short term, we hope to develop the resources to have a fully bilingual (English and French) journal site and also to leverage the potential of online publishing more widely.

We would like to close by expressing our deep appreciation of the authors for trusting their work with us, as well as the peer mentors who have worked closely with authors, often with several rounds of revisions, and on a very tight timeline (tight in the world of publishing). It is due to the dedication, collaboration, and commitment of the mentors and authors that we have been able to move from the inaugural call for papers in May to this first issue in November. We hope that you enjoy reading the issue as much as we have enjoyed putting it together.