This week’s guest blogger is Grace Labreche, a PhD Student at McGill University. She is interested in accent bias towards second language speakers, specifically in shifting the focus off of accent reduction practices and towards addressing accent bias among native speakers. In her research, Grace asks: How can we mitigate the bias in listeners instead of asking speakers to reduce their accent? How does a listener’s language attitudes and ideologies impact their listening bias? As an applied sociolinguist, she hopes to use her research to inform educational policy in language learning institutions. When she is not working or in school, Grace loves to paint and cross stitch. She also enjoys gardening while listening to horror podcasts, much to the dismay of her neighbours.
It is a little over a year today that I began the exciting new chapter in my life as a language school administrator in a private language school. This language school, like many others in Montreal, is a boutique language school, whose main clientele are wealthy international students and tourists looking to take some language courses while visiting abroad. The courses are costly compared to government funded language programs and the school’s main source of student recruitment is international language tourism agencies and advisors.
This week’s blog post includes a linked audio file. Just click on the link below if you would like to hear the post read aloud. Scroll down to read the text.
“Not another black life!” was chanted several times during the pandemic marches for Black Lives Matter in Toronto in early 2020. In one of those demonstrations, I walked with the crowd for about two hours, some chanting out loud while others were just singing and dancing. Suddenly the march became a mini party across the street from the Toronto police headquarters until we were told to disperse and use different streets to evacuate the premises to avoid police persecution.
Prologue: I wrote a first draft of this blog way back when the first wave of COVID-19 hit Québec, and I (along with many of you readers, I’m sure) had suddenly found myself sitting on the couch with way too much time on my hands, with way less things on which to spend it…
I was recently teaching an ESL class of intermediate-level adults when the topic of being bilingual/multilingual came up; we’d been listening to a news story about how being bilingual boosts brainpower and decreases the chance of memory problems later in life. When I asked my students if they felt bilingual, I was sorry to see only a few of the two dozen students raise their hands. And yet, when I asked them to tell me whether they used English every day for communicative tasks like doctor’s appointments and grocery shopping and parent-teacher interviews, they all said yes.
We have been anticipating the publication of this post for several weeks now. It is our first spoken word poem and it comes to you from Jennifer Burton, at University of Regina. After completing her degree in Justice Studies, she decided to take one year out of her life to teach English as a Second Language in Seoul, South Korea. Teaching in Korea soon became her life and one year quickly turned into five. In 2010, she returned back “home” to Regina, Saskatchewan and continued teaching ESL at the University of Regina. Currently, she is writing her MEd thesis where much of her work is informed by her experiences as a teacher and language learner, centering on some of the themes highlighted in the BILD blog. Continue reading →