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

ALISON CRUMP, Marianopolis College and McGill University

LAUREN HALCOMB-SMITH, Royal Roads College

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. 

REFERENCES

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

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

Introduction

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.

References

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.

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

 

ABSTRACT

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.

RÉSUMÉ

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”