Lo que importa is what matters (by Dr Yecid Ortega)

To find out more about Yecid’s work, check out his website at https://www.andjustice4all.ca .

Matter in Spanish means materia or what things are made of.  In the context of the physical world, it refers to the material substance that makes up everything around us. In English, the word “matter” also means the same but means something else when used in a sentence like it does not matter, it matters, it matters to all, etc. Here, matter might also be something of importance or significance; it can be used to refer to something that is important, significant, or of consequence. For example, when we say that something “matters” or is of “great matter,” we are emphasizing its significance, value, or importance.

For me, what matters is beyond that, it encompasses all the tangible objects and substances in the universe, including the Earth, stars, living organisms, and inanimate objects in relation to the self and the Cosmos (See figure 1).

Figure 1: Our relationship with the cosmos

The key components of this blog post (the matter, la materia) refer to the intersectional and multiplicity of mechanism, architecture, tools and engineering of why I do the work I do. Similar to the idea of matter that exist in various states (solid, liquid, gas, plasma, condensation, etc.), throughout my life, I have been going through different states, stages, phases, but one thing that always remains was the core idea of working for social justice.

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Thinking with and beyond liminality: (re)claiming the ‘in-between’ (by Magali Forte and Parise Carmichael-Murphy)

This week we have two guest bloggers. Magali Forte is a doctoral research assistant in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC, as well as a French immersion teacher in Vancouver, BC. In her research, she adopts a sociomaterial perspective, putting to work posthumanist, new materialist and Deleuzo-Guattarian theories, in order to examine identity in a different way in multilingual education settings. Doing so, she acknowledges and continues to learn about the rich Indigenous perspectives that are informing her work. Parise Carmichael-Murphy is a PhD student at the Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester. She has worked with children and young people across the 0-25 age range in formal and informal education settings. In her research, she embraces Black feminist thought and Intersectionality to unpack how education policy and practice can perpetuate social inequities.

As doctoral students in education, we have been thinking critically about normalized language practices in education which hinder children’s and teenagers’ sense of belonging and negatively impact their process of identity construction. We ask the following questions:

  • How might the notions of liminality and threshold help us consider how children’s and teenagers’ identities find or lack space to express and transform in education with/in all of their languages?
  • How does the curriculum viewed as an imposed political box limit the ways in which we (are) educate(d)?
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Not another Black Life: Towards an anti-racist ESL pedagogy (by Yecid Ortega)


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.

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Starting a conversation about linguistic inclusion (by Ben Calman)

Ben Calman is a master’s student in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE) at McGill University. His current research focuses on linguistic inclusion of international students in Canadian higher education. Ben was born in New York and spent his formative years there and in Washington D.C. He has a B.A. from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He lives in Montreal with his wife Michelle and their cat Louise.

My friend Austin, a fellow student in my cohort at McGill, refers to us fondly as baby scholars. As a baby scholar, entering the field of sociolinguistics in what McGill still refers to as the Second Language Education concentration is a daunting task.

Source: pixabay.com

Sifting through what Marshall and Moore (2018) call the “panoply of lingualisms” (p. 1) often feels less like sifting and more like hacking through a dense jungle of wonderful, intriguing ideas.

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Language in the Times of COVID-19: To Unite or to Divide (by Dr Sunny Man Chu Lau)

Language has always been a site of political struggle. All people regardless of their race, religion, age or gender are now being affected by COVID-19.  However, to deal with the unprecedented global emergencies, different governments and community groups are using language to achieve varied political ends. While in some situations language is employed as a positive tool to democratically reach all people to inform and protect, in others it is weaponized for socially exclusionary purposes.

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