Les conceptions et les pratiques enseignantes inspirées du Cadre européen commun de référence d’enseignants de français langue seconde en Ontario

Samantha Van Geel, Université d’Ottawa

Résumé

Cet article présente les résultats d’une étude qui avait pour objectif de comprendre les conceptions de l’enseignement et de l’apprentissage et les pratiques enseignantes inspirées du Cadre européen commun de référence (CECR) (Conseil de l’Europe, 2001) d’enseignants de français langue seconde (FLS) en Ontario. Dans le but de favoriser le bilinguisme au Canada et de soutenir l’enseignement et l’apprentissage du FLS, le gouvernement fédéral promeut l’utilisation du CECR (Patrimoine canadien, 2006), tout comme le ministère de l’Éducation de l’Ontario (2013a). Cependant, les recherches antérieures montrent que les enseignants ont de la difficulté à imaginer l’utilisation du cadre dans leurs pratiques. À la suite d’une analyse thématique, huit entrevues semi-dirigées menées auprès d’autant d’enseignants ont permis de constater, avant tout, que les enseignants estiment que le CECR permet de mieux comprendre la définition du FLS et sa séquence d’enseignement, que les pratiques d’enseignement inspirées du cadre soutiennent le développement de compétences pratiques pour la vie réelle en FLS chez les élèves, et qu’il existe des liens entre les conceptions (système de croyances) et les pratiques à ce sujet.

Abstract

This article presents the results of a study that aimed to understand the conceptions of teaching and learning, and the teaching practices inspired by the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) (Council of Europe, 2001) of French as a Second Language (FSL) teachers in Ontario. To foster bilingualism in Canada and to support FSL teaching and learning, the federal government promotes the use of the CEFR (Canadian Heritage, 2006), as does the Ontario Ministry of Education (2013a). However, previous research shows that teachers have difficulty imagining the use of the framework in their practices. Following a thematic analysis, eight virtual semi-structured interviews with as many teachers found, first and foremost, that teachers believe that the CEFR provides a clear understanding of the definition of FSL and its teaching sequence, that teaching practices derived from the framework support the development of FSL skills practical for real life in students, and that there are connections between conceptions (belief system) and practices related to this subject.


2023 • Vol. 7(1) • 87 – 106 • ISSN 2561-7982 •

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Pluricultural Perspectives on Plurilingual Identity: A Critical Intersectional Literature Review

Rebecca Schmor, University of Toronto

Abstract

Drawing on a methodology of intersectionality, this critical literature review synthesizes existing knowledge on the topic of plurilingual identity while critically prioritizing studies produced by traditionally marginalized scholars from historically excluded contexts. The first part draws on a larger set of articles (n=114) written in French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese to investigate who(se research) is represented in this topic area. The second part explores what themes are present in a subset of 18 studies which represent the least cited articles written by female scholars in peripheralized contexts. The first part of this review finds that research on plurilingual identity is predominantly written in English and French and underrepresented in Italian and Spanish. Findings from the 114 articles show a dominance of female authors affiliated with core countries writing on (neo) liberal themes. The second part of this review reveals that, within the subset of 18 articles, there was no evidence of a connected theory or demarcated definition of plurilingual identity. As such, this review identifies the need for a distinct conceptualization of plurilingual identity itself while contributing to the development of intersectional methodology and advocating for increased transparency of author positionality.

Résumé

S’appuyant sur une méthodologie d’intersectionnalité, cette revue critique de la littérature synthétise les connaissances existantes sur le thème de l’identité plurilingue, tout en priorisant les études produites par des chercheurs traditionnellement marginalisés et de contextes historiquement exclus. La première partie s’appuie sur un ensemble plus vaste d’articles (n = 114) rédigés en français, anglais, allemand, espagnol, italien et portugais pour déterminer qui est représenté dans ce domaine thématique. La deuxième partie explore les thèmes présents dans un sous-ensemble de 18 études qui représentent les articles les moins cités écrits par des chercheuses dans des contextes périphériques. La première partie de cette revue constate que la recherche sur l’identité plurilingue est majoritairement rédigée en anglais et en français et sous-représentée en italien et en espagnol. Les résultats des 114 articles montrent une prédominance d’auteurs féminins affiliés aux pays dominants qui écrivent sur des thèmes (néo)libéraux. La deuxième partie de cette revue révèle que, dans le sous-ensemble de 18 articles, il n’y avait aucune preuve d’une théorie connexe ou d’une définition précise de l’identité plurilingue. Par conséquent, cette revue identifie le besoin d’une conceptualisation distincte de l’identité plurilingue elle-même, tout en contribuant au développement d’une méthodologie intersectionnelle et en plaidant pour une transparence accrue de la positionnalité de l’auteur.


2023 • Vol. 7(1) • 107 – 124 • ISSN 2561-7982 •

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Chinese Student Newcomers’ Transition to a Canadian Postsecondary EAP (English for Academic Purposes) Program: Bicultural Responses and Acculturation

Chuanmei Lin, McGill University
Cameron Smith, University of Ottawa

Abstract

The study investigated the cultural and linguistic lived experiences of Chinese international student newcomers in a Canadian postsecondary English for Academic Proposes (EAP) program. This article aims to explore Chinese students’ transition trajectories within an educational institution in Canada. As Chinese English learners are immersed in Canadian tertiary education settings, their assumptions about knowledge and culture will be challenged, impacting their identities and learning trajectories. Experiences of integration can be positioned across a continuum of bicultural practices, favouring the home or host cultures, depending on how newcomers select and respond to the acculturation process. In this study, we argue that Chinese-dominant biculturalism is one type of response to the host culture by students who have limited English proficiency and little contact with the larger Canadian society. On the other hand, Canadian-dominant biculturalism is another response type that marks an ongoing adjustment of identity loss, transformation, and reclamation, which involves a process of transforming identity between the initial feelings of loss and final reclamation as participants work through experiences of marginalisation. Our findings contribute to a better understanding of Chinese students’ trajectories and have implications for how home and host institutions can support these students as they embark on their studies internationally.

Résumé

Cette étude a porté sur les expériences culturelles et linguistiques vécues par les étudiants internationaux chinois nouvellement arrivés dans un programme postsecondaire canadien d’anglais sur objectifs universitaires. Cet article vise à explorer les trajectoires de transition des étudiants chinois au sein d’un établissement d’enseignement au Canada. Au fur et à mesure que les apprenants chinois s’immergent dans l’enseignement supérieur canadien en anglais, leurs hypothèses normatives sur les connaissances et la culture sont remises en question, ce qui a un impact sur leurs identités et leurs trajectoires d’apprentissage. Les expériences d’intégration peuvent être positionnées sur un continuum de pratiques biculturelles, favorisant la culture d’origine ou la culture d’accueil, en fonction de la manière dont les nouveaux arrivants choisissent et réagissent au processus d’acculturation. Dans cette étude, nous soutenons que le biculturalisme à dominante chinoise est un type de réponse à la culture d’accueil par les étudiants qui ont une maîtrise limitée de l’anglais et peu de contacts avec la société canadienne dans son ensemble. D’autre part, le biculturalisme à dominance canadienne est un autre type de réponse qui marque un ajustement continu de la perte, de la transformation et de la récupération de l’identité, ce qui implique un processus de transformation de l’identité entre les sentiments initiaux de perte et la récupération finale au fur et à mesure que les participants travaillent à travers des expériences de marginalisation. Nos résultats contribuent à une meilleure compréhension des trajectoires des étudiants chinois et ont des implications sur la manière dont les établissements d’origine et d’accueil peuvent soutenir ces étudiants lorsqu’ils entreprennent leurs études à l’étranger.


2023 • Vol. 7(1) • 68 – 86 • ISSN 2561-7982 •

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Teacher Candidates of French as a Second Language and the Construction of a Professional Identity

Josée Le Bouthillier, Second Language Research Institute of Canada, University of New Brunswick
Paula Lee Kristmanson, Second Language Research Institute of Canada, University of New Brunswick

Abstract

This article focuses on a qualitative case study of linguistic support sessions for French second language teacher candidates in an initial teacher education programme in Eastern Canada. The overall purpose of the study was to explore the impact of these sessions on the participants’ linguistic competence and confidence. In particular, this article examines one such impact: the construction of a linguistic and professional identity. Through the analysis of focus group transcriptions, findings related to the concept of identity are shared in order to shed light on the potential of these sessions beyond simply language improvement. The article concludes with a discussion of the possible implications of this study for FSL teacher recruitment and retention.

Résumé

Cet article porte sur une étude de cas qualitative des séances de soutien linguistique destinées aux candidats à l’enseignement du français langue seconde dans un programme de formation initiale des enseignants dans l’Est du Canada. L’objectif général de l’étude était d’explorer l’impact de ces séances sur les compétences et les aptitudes linguistiques des participants. En particulier, cet article examine l’un de ces impacts: la construction d’une identité linguistique et professionnelle. Grâce à l’analyse des transcriptions des groupes de discussion, les résultats liés au concept d’identité sont partagés afin de mettre en lumière le potentiel de ces sessions au-delà de la simple amélioration linguistique. L’article se termine par une discussion sur les implications possibles de cette étude pour le recrutement et la rétention des enseignants de FLS.


2023 • Vol. 7(1) • 52 – 67 • ISSN 2561-7982 •

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When Linguistic Identity and Language Choice Diverge: Francophone Youth in a Minority Setting Embrace their Francophonie and Still Prefer to Speak English

Nico Geraldine Garzon, University of Alberta
Elena Nicoladis, University of British Columbia

Abstract

Sociolinguists have long noted that for a language to survive, young people must speak it. In English-majority settings in Canada, young people in francophone schools often choose to speak a lot of English. The purpose of the present study was to better understand why francophone students speak English so often, focusing particularly on the role of francophone schools, linguistic identity (LI), and future selves. Junior high and high school students in francophone schools participated in focus groups to provide us with information about students’ perception of their languages and the existence and range of linguistic identities. We expected to find that LIs are a strong indicator of feelings toward a language and therefore use. The results of this study showed that the youth embraced their francophone identity and yet still admitted to speaking a lot of English. The youth recognized the contradiction, attributing their francophone identity to feelings of belongingness to the francophone community (particularly schools), rather than the use of language. The results of this study could inform best practices at schools to support the vitality of languages in minority settings.

Résumé

Selon les sociolinguistes, les jeunes doivent parler une langue pour qu’elle survive. Dans les milieux à majorité anglophone du Canada, les jeunes qui assistent aux écoles francophones choisissent souvent de parler beaucoup d’anglais. L’objectif de ce projet de recherche était de mieux comprendre pourquoi les élèves francophones parlent tant d’anglais, en nous concentrant particulièrement sur trois variables : le rôle des écoles francophones, l’identité linguistique (IL) et le futur soi. Des élèves inscrits dans des écoles secondaires francophones ont participé à des groupes de discussion afin de nous renseigner sur leur perception de leurs choix de langues ainsi que sur l’existence et la diversité de leurs identités linguistiques. Nous nous attendions à trouver que les ils soient un indicateur fort des sentiments envers une langue et donc envers son utilisation. Pourtant, les résultats de cette étude ont montré que les jeunes s’approprient leur identité francophone, tout en admettant qu’ils parlent beaucoup d’anglais. Les jeunes ont reconnu la contradiction, attribuant leur identité francophone aux sentiments d’appartenance à la communauté francophone (l’école francophone, en particulier) plutôt qu’à l’usage de français. Ces résultats contribuent à la construction des pratiques des écoles pour soutenir la vitalité des langues en milieu minoritaire.


2023 • Vol. 7(1) • 30 – 51 • ISSN 2561-7982 •

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Editorial: J-BILD and the Open Movement: A Grassroots Journal Pushes against Standardized Quality Metrics

Lauren Halcomb-Smith, Deakin University
Alison Crump, Marianopolis College
Mela Sarkar, McGill University

In this editorial, we share thoughts and commentary on how J-BILD fits within the complex and dynamic landscape of scholarly publishing. We begin with a focus on our stance on the use of particular research metrics, including acceptance rates and impact factors, before exploring how we position ourselves in relation to the Open Access movement.

We begin with some reflections from recent conversations with members of our academic community about research metrics, particularly impact factor and acceptance rates. As an editorial team, we have the pleasure of regularly participating in panel discussions about scholarly publishing at various academic conferences. We value these opportunities for open and transparent dialogue with the academic community, especially as the audience at these sessions is often largely represented by graduate students and early-career researchers for whom participation in scholarly publishing can be challenging. As such, many of the questions that we address during these sessions are about how to navigate this complex landscape. These are fascinating exchanges and highlight that the world of scholarly publishing is vast and varied. The question of where to publish, and how to get there, has many answers; it depends on what you want to say, how you want to say it, and who you want to say it to. There are also practical matters, such as how much a publication in a given journal counts on your CV. It is not only at conferences that we engage in this discussion. On occasion, we have had a J-BILD author write with a question about how we validate the quality of our journal using standardised bibliometrics, such as impact factor or acceptance rates.

These are learning moments for us in terms of how we communicate the positioning of our journal and the values we promote vis-a-vis scholarship and the production and communication of knowledge within a discourse community. We absolutely recognize that the world of academia is often defined and driven by pressures to publish in top-tiered journals. We also appreciate the pressures emerging scholars may be facing from their institutions and funding agencies, which are typically firmly rooted in the culture of quantitative bibliometrics as measures of quality and relevance. When we founded J-BILD, it was never our intention to join that particular stream of academia; rather, we intentionally positioned ourselves in critical response to the mainstream system of scholarly publishing. As such, J-BILD occupies a marginal space in the world of publishing. We are strong advocates for where we stand and what counts as scholarship in the production of knowledge. In the interest of openness and transparency, we feel it is time to be explicit with our authors and potential authors about what they can expect from us as a journal. Unlike many top-tier journals, we are a grassroots, community-operated, and volunteer-run journal. We do not have a business model nor a funding structure. We espouse a service model. We believe strongly in what we are doing. Our peer mentors and copy editors, who serve the journal and support our authors, do so because they believe in what we are doing as well. We do not have an impact factor and are not likely to go in that direction, nor do we track the acceptance rate of our manuscripts. We share concerns articulated elsewhere (e.g., Paulus et al, 2018) about the inappropriate use of bibliometrics, such as Journal Impact Factors (JIFs), to evaluate the quality of individual researchers’ work.

Acceptance rates refer to “the percentage share of formally submitted full manuscripts that end up being published in the journal in question” (Björk, 2019, p. 2). In other words, acceptance rates can signal to an author the likelihood that their manuscript will be accepted for publication in a given journal. While there is some correlation between lower acceptance rates in older and/or higher-ranking journals (Sugimoto et al (2013), it is inappropriate and problematic to assume a causal relationship between quality or prestige and acceptance rates. In other words, researchers should not assume that a journal with a lower acceptance rate is a higher quality or more prestigious journal, although some of the top-tier commercial journals may want us to do so; for example, Elsevier includes acceptance rate as one of its measures of impact (see: Biomaterials Journal Insights, Elsevier, 2023). However, drawing conclusions about a journal’s quality based on its acceptance rate is a problematic and inappropriate “proxy for perceived prestige and demand as compared to availability” (Metrics Toolkit, 2020). Acceptance rates vary drastically between disciplines, country affiliations of the editors, number of reviewers per article, and Open Access status (Sugimoto et al, 2013). To conflate acceptance rate with quality can be seen as a classic application of the scarcity principle of economics, which posits that the rarer or more difficult something is to attain, the more valuable it is perceived to be (Darity, 2022). In other words, people assume that because something is in short supply, it must be valuable. In fact, the scarcity principle is a key tool that can be leveraged to persuade consumers towards making certain choices (W.P. Carey News, 14 February, 2007). This is alarming when applied to the context of scholarly publishing because it further highlights how commercialised this space has become.

While we could estimate the percentage of manuscripts that are accepted each year for publication, the number itself would be meaningless or misunderstood, in isolation; each manuscript that we receive at J-BILD has its own unique journey. We provide feedback to all authors who submit a manuscript, regardless of how that journey unfolds. When we accept a manuscript for peer mentoring, our collaborative model of developing a piece for publishing, some manuscripts take more than a year to prepare for publication, while others get part way, and for various reasons, the process stops; other manuscripts may be ready for publication within six months or fewer. We have also published several special issues, which have altered how many manuscripts we can accept and publish in a given year. From an operational perspective, our editorial board has seen several leaves-of-absence, including three maternity leaves and a sabbatical, since starting the journal in 2017. For these reasons, we don’t set targets and each year is very different. We feel that it is important to recognize that, behind the journal website, is the work of humans in community with one another; we share this because our approach is driven by our commitment to transparency and openness. In fact, top-tiered journals could likely benefit from greater transparency, in terms of how they calculate acceptance and publication rates, and in other ways. Many of those journals remain behind expensive paywalls, which limits access.

The J-BILD model is different; we are open-source and Open Access. Open Access refers to journal articles that are free to read by anyone, rather than sitting behind paywalls that require institutional access, usually paid for by library subscriptions. There are several models to achieving Open Access; as a grassroots, not-for-profit, community-run journal, J-BILD’s approach fits best within the Diamond model of Open Access, which is free for both authors to publish in and free for readers to access (Open Access Australasia, 2021). Interested readers are encouraged to see the recent report entitled The OA Diamond Journals Study (Bosman et al, 2021) commissioned by cOAlition S, to better understand the role of Diamond Open Access journals in the academic publishing landscape.

These conversations about journal impact factors and acceptance rates are timely, with many of us in the scholarly publishing community looking ahead to International Open Access Week in October. This year’s theme is “Community over Commercialization,” intended to encourage “a candid conversation about which approaches to open scholarship prioritise the best interests of the public and the academic community—and which do not” (International Open Access Week, 2023). In reflecting on questions about our bibliometrics, especially within the context of the theme of the upcoming Open Access week, we encourage the academic community to recognize that Open Access publishing is part of a bigger philosophical movement; the Open movement traces its roots back as far as the advent of public education in the 17th century, with significant growth in the uptake and adoption of Open education practices since the 1970s (Zawacki-Richter et al, 2020). Open can be understood as an umbrella approach, informed by the core values of transparency, collaboration, access/participation, and co-creation.

Expanding our understanding of Open as more than free-to-read journal articles is essential in the current academic climate because the landscape of Open scholarly publishing is becoming increasingly commercialised by for-profit journals, who have cunningly aligned themselves with the Open Access movement. Commercial publishers have done this by shifting paywalls, which were previously paid by libraries in the form of subscriptions, to researchers, who pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) to make their research Open Access. At the same time, federal funding agencies are recognizing the social value of research that is openly shared, by adopting policies that mandate Open Access publishing for funded research. This places authors in a difficult position, whereby the cost of Open Access is pushed onto the individual researcher who is compelled by funding requirements to publish their work in an Open Access journal. When an individual APC can run into the thousands of dollars or Euros, there are significant issues related to who can participate in the commercially driven Open Access model. And academics are pushing back; recently, the entire editorial board of NeuroImage, a top-tier neuroscience journal published by industry giant Elsevier, resigned en masse in protest against the rising cost of APCs (Fazackerley, 2023), events which were expertly explored in a recent Guardian podcast (see: Bury, 2023). These issues of access and participation underscore significant contradictions between the core values of the Open movement and the way that the commercial publishing industry has positioned itself within the movement.

Our stance on journal impact factors reflects our broader commitment to the values of the Open movement as a journal and a scholarly community. When we founded J-BILD, we were motivated by a desire to increase access to and participation in scholarly publishing. Indeed, we have shared our stance on the problematic distribution of access and power within the current model of scholarly publishing in previous editorials as well as in published works of our own (Halcomb-Smith et al, 2020). It has always been our approach to consider the concept of Open more broadly than the financial, to also include the core values of the Open movement: transparency, collaboration, access and participation, and co-creation. These values have informed our operating model at every level, positioning J-BILD as something of a fringe journal, existing in the liminal spaces between Open Access and Open Education, between publishing and pedagogy (Halcomb-Smith et al, 2020). For us, Open and the values inherent to the Open movement have informed our decision to adopt a peer-mentorship model, which is not only Open in the sense of transparency, in that authors know who is reviewing their paper, but is also Open in a broader sense: collaborative, co-creative, and accessible. We look for opportunities to actively create a supportive community of scholars.

These are big conversations that are emerging and unfolding in real time. The landscape of scholarly communication is dynamic and shifting rapidly. We look forward to opportunities “to join together, take action, and raise awareness around the importance of community control of knowledge sharing systems” (International Open Access Week, 2023), both during and beyond Open Access Week in October.

Article Summaries

Research Studies

We lead off this issue with Willa Black and Alexandra Krasova’s study, “The story of two female native and non-native TESOL instructors: A duoethnographic look at convergent and divergent language teacher Identities.” Willa and Alexandra use art-based research techniques to explore the similarities and differences between their experiences becoming second language teachers in the United States and Russia respectively. Central to their exploration is the much-debated concept of the “native speaker.” Though the two co-authors are at the same university in Pennsylvania and have much else in common both personally and professionally, the fact remains that Black is an American native English-speaking teacher (“NEST”) and Krasova a “NNEST” (Non-Native English Second Language Teacher) whose first language is Russian. This has coloured their professional identity formation and determined much about the way they have been perceived by their colleagues and students, despite their comparable training and qualifications. Drawing on the Language Teacher Identity research tradition and on their work with art-based pedagogy, Krasova and Black craft a series of duoethnographically-grounded conversations through which the reader experiences, as it were at first hand, the differing pressures on NESTs and NNESTs in the wider international world of ESL teaching. We are taken to Mexico, Spain, South Korea and the UK, as well as to the authors’ homelands, and made to feel the continuing power of the native/non-native binary, as well as the need to resist it; this study shows us one way of doing so. To expose discrimination by naming it is to begin to break it down.

The issue continues with a valuable contribution to the body of Canadian official-language research on language identity by Nicol Garzon and Elena Nicoladis in their research report, “When linguistic identity and language choice diverge: Francophone youth in a minority setting embrace their francophonie and still prefer to speak English.” In Canada, as many J-BILD readers will know, language choice is highly politicized where the two official languages, English and French, are concerned. Although the politics of language choice tend to be more intense and more confrontational in the French-majority province of Quebec, Garzon and Nicoladis show that in English-dominant Alberta, young people from French-speaking backgrounds have fully internalized the language politics so characteristic of Canadian Francophones. The authors draw on the Language Identity literature and on “L2 Motivational Self System” theory as developed by Dörnyei and colleagues (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2009) in their study of a dozen Francophone-identified adolescents in the cities of Edmonton and St. Albert. In peer interviews and focus groups, these youth discussed their use of French and their sense of belonging to Alberta’s French-speaking community. Their families’ diverse origins (Africa, the Caribbean, and others) contrast strongly with the traditional Québécois de souche background envisioned by Canada’s language policymakers; they were nevertheless all fluent and comfortable in French at home and at school. However, all these young people admitted to speaking English far more often than French in their daily lives and indeed to being more proficient in Alberta’s majority language. Garzon and Nicoladis explore the complexities and contradictions inherent in the linguistic identities of their participants, making it clear that when language policy interacts with real-life language practice, language use in minority-language communities may be far more complicated and interesting than some theories might lead one to expect.

Continuing the theme of second language teacher identity and the way it develops across different contexts, Josée Le Bouthillier and Paula Kristmanson report on their study of French second language teacher identity in the officially-bilingual Canadian province of New Brunswick (NB) in “Teacher candidates of French as a second language and the construction of a professional identity.” French-English tensions in New Brunswick differ in both kind and in degree from the summering political undercurrents that inform linguistic interaction in neighbouring Quebec; they are nevertheless present, as Le Bouthillier and Kristmanson explain in their helpful introduction to the landscape of French second language (FSL) education in New Brunswick. This is the only province in which the demand for French Immersion (FI) education has grown rapidly in the last ten years (at a rate as high as 9.6%, as opposed to less than 1% across Canada in general). The demand for FSL teachers in both French Immersion and regular programs (in NB called Intensive French, or IF) far outstrips the supply. Administrative decisions at Ministry and school board level to allow FSL teacher candidates to enter their programs with lower levels of French at the point of entry have put concomitant pressure on New Brunswick universities to increase the ways in which they support pre-service teachers, not only in improving their FSL proficiency, but also in developing their professional identities as confident FSL teachers in their practicum classrooms. Through their analysis of focus group interviews with 13 teacher candidates at the University of New Brunswick, Le Bouthillier and Kristmanson demonstrate the feasibility of offering this kind of support on both fronts, and allow us to hear the teacher candidates’ voices as they reflect on their linguistic insecurities, their relationship to the native/non-native binary, and the ways in which they are working toward mature identities as FSL teachers in this particular Canadian context. Those interested in official-language bilingualism in Canada will perceive the wide applicability to other contexts, and to the teacher identity literature generally.

A very different kind of bilingualism/biculturalism is the focus of “Chinese Student Newcomers’ Transition to a Canadian Postsecondary EAP (English for Academic Purposes) Program: Bicultural Responses and Acculturation” by Chuanmei Lin and Cameron Smith. Drawing on Lin’s master’s thesis work and on her closely related collaboration with Sylvie Roy (Lin & Roy, 2019), the authors report on the adjustment and acculturation experiences of ten international students from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the EAP (English for Academic Purposes) course they were required to take before being allowed to embark on their regular program at the University of Calgary. Students from the PRC make up an increasing proportion of the total number of international students in Canada and face culturally specific challenges in their academic programs and in their daily lives as students. Lin’s insider status with respect to this population enabled her to draw her participants out in sensitive and insightful detail about their experiences integrating (or not) into the international graduate student community in which they found themselves after arriving in Canada. Some of these Chinese international students went to considerable length developing what Lin and Smith term “Canadian-dominant biculturalism,” in which the participants reported important processes of identity loss, transformation, and reclamation as they struggled to develop close contacts with Canadians and to acquire more idiomatic English. Others chose to remain in relative isolation, socializing mainly with other Chinese international students, although they of course did have to succeed in their university-mandated EAP program; they seem to have done so with less emotional involvement. Lin and Smith term this form of interaction with Canadian society “Chinese-dominant biculturalism,” and suggest that more attention be paid in future to the ways such students are prepared for their international experience before leaving home, as well as to the acculturation opportunities available to them in the host country after arrival.

In another research report drawing on the author’s master’s thesis work, this time at the Université de Québec à Rimouski, Samantha Van Geel takes us back to the realm of FSL teacher identity in “Les conceptions et les pratiques enseignantes inspirées du Cadre européen commun de référence d’enseignants de français langue seconde en Ontario.” As Van Geel points out, the theoretical complexity of the Cadre européen commun de référence (which we will refer to here by its English acronym, CEFR, for Common European Framework of Reference), as well as the sheer length and quantity of the documents generated around the CEFR to try to help second language teachers implement CEFR principles in their teaching, have largely prevented second language teachers in Canada from drawing on it in the manner intended by its creators twenty years ago. Van Geel set out to see what a sample of French second language (FSL) teachers in Ontario got out of the CEFR and how they used it in their teaching. The eight teachers who agreed to be interviewed all did so because they knew about the CEFR and said they had been using it for at least a year. Their professional interactions with the CEFR have been overwhelmingly positive; they use it to conceptualize, design, implement and evaluate their language teaching on many levels. The well-known evaluative component of the CEFR with its straightforward breakdown into “levels” (A1 through C2) seemed to be the easiest part of the CEFR for these teachers to relate to; some of them used only the levels, and only for evaluation. However, the many creative ways in which several of Van Geel’s teacher-participants took advantage of the vast array of CEFR-derived teaching tools and teaching concepts (such as, for example, the importance of using authentic materials in the classroom) leads Van Geel to conclude, along with the teachers, that much more effort should be given to putting teacher-friendly training sessions into place for second language teachers across Canada (and, I would venture to say, elsewhere where it is not well known). The recent publication of a supplemental volume (Council of Europe, 2020), intended to make the original CEFR document more accessible to teachers, and to lay readers generally, makes this conclusion, and this article, particularly timely.

Critical Literature Review

The critical literature review we feature in this issue, “Pluricultural perspectives on plurilingual identity: A critical intersectional literature review” by Rebecca Schmor, uses an innovative approach to extract a broad sample of 114 articles from the literature published on topics of plurilingual identity between 1995 and 2023. Schmor’s intent is to demonstrate the biases inherent in the way scholarly publishing works in this area (as, indeed, is ours in this editorial). By using a complex design to ensure that she reviewed articles across a range of languages (French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, as well as English), geographical regions, and, to the extent possible, gender and ethnic affiliation of authors, Schmor succeeds in showing that work by scholars in “peripheral” locations and/or non-dominant languages is underrepresented in the literature on plurilingualism and identity. Her close analysis of a subset of 18 of the articles reveals that the theoretical frameworks used to understand plurilingual identity—if indeed they were used at all—were wildly divergent across her sample. This section of Schmor’s review is particularly valuable, as it will direct readers to a wide international selection of research reports they would likely not come across otherwise. Schmor points out as well that researchers in non-mainstream contexts are less likely to receive adequate funding or to find a broad readership for their work. Through her “methodology of intersectionality,” Schmor amply substantiates her opening and closing statement that “a literature review is a political act.” We concur, and would encourage J-BILD readers and authors to undertake more work along these lines.

Research Proposal

Finally in this issue, Reshara Alviarez, in “Bridging the Divide: In pursuit of access to Language Friendly education in Trinidad and Tobago,” proposes a timely and important investigation into the interaction of official language policy with actual language use by children in the educational system of Trinidad and Tobago. In North America, many of us may think of these islands as being idyllic English-speaking vacation destinations. While (British) Standard English is indeed the official language of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as being the language needed for success in the local school system, the linguistic make-up of the islands is far more complex than policy documents would suggest. Alviarez takes us on a tour through the history and geography of Trinidadian Creole, which is English-based and well-documented (Winer, 2009); the local French-based Patois; and the recent, increasingly significant arrival of Spanish-speaking immigrant and refugee families from the nearby Venezuelan mainland. She proposes a plurilingual approach to the study of Early Years classrooms, in which she will document language use patterns and attitudes among educators and families alike. The need for a more “Language-Friendly” approach to education for the children of the islands, one that will allow them to bring their entire language repertoires into the classroom, is one that readers in many other places will recognize. The study Alviarez proposes will have value far outside its local Caribbean context.

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2023 • Vol. 7(1) • 1 – 9 • ISSN 2561-7982 •

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The Story of Two Female Native and Non-Native TESOL Instructors: A Duoethnographic Look at Convergent and Divergent Language Teacher Identities

Willa Black, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Alexandra Krasova, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The two authors are white, female, middle class, multilingual, and are pursuing their Ph.D. degrees at a university located in western Pennsylvania in order to become TESOL instructors. However, we have one major difference: one of us is a native English speaker while the other is a non-native TESOL instructor. In this duoethnography we focus on how the assigned (and often adopted) identities of English NS and NNS affect how our identities are formed and how we conceptualise them. Moreover, we lean on art-based research methods as a way to build identities and transfer them into the classroom. We find that assigned identities and binaries affect us even in TESOL programs and that art-based research can lead to important discussion.

Résumé

Les deux auteures sont des femmes blanches de la classe moyenne, multilingues, et sont toutes deux étudiantes doctorantes dans une université située dans l’ouest de la Pennsylvanie pour devenir des enseignantes de l’anglais, langue seconde (TESOL). Cependant, nous avons une différence majeure : l’une de nous est de langue maternelle anglophone (NES) tandis que l’autre parle anglais en tant que langue seconde (NNES). Dans cette duoethnographie, nous nous concentrons sur la façon dont les identités assignées (et souvent adoptées) de NES et NNES affectent la façon dont nos identités sont formées et comment nous les conceptualisons. De plus, nous nous appuyons sur des méthodes de recherche basées sur l’art pour construire des identités et les transférer dans la salle de classe. Nous constatons que les identités et les binaires attribués nous affectent même dans les programmes TESOL et que la recherche basée sur l’art peut conduire à une discussion importante.


2023 • Vol. 7(1) • 10 – 29 • ISSN 2561-7982 •

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Bridging the Divide: In Pursuit of Access to Language Friendly Education in Trinidad and Tobago

Reshara Alviarez, OISE, University of Toronto

Abstract

In the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, many local children are first exposed to English when they begin school. Prior to this, their familiarity with language is based on the Trinidadian English Creole or the Tobagonian English Creole that they have known from birth. These children are often expected to use the lexifying English as the language of communication in school. Although Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela have had a reciprocal flow of persons across imagined borders for many years, the recent mass migration and settlement of Spanish-speaking Venezuelan migrants has added another layer of complexity to the linguistic identity of the twin-island republic. As of 2023, migrant children continue to be denied access to public education in Trinidad and Tobago. Although temporary interventions have been put in place by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”), as well as several national grassroots organizations (i.e. The Equal Place Programme/Espacio de Equidad), access to education for migrant children has remained inadequate, and was even more challenging at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic (Caarls et al., 2021). In this proposal, following Cummins (2007, 2009), Benson (2004, 2010), Siegel (2005, 2006), Migge, Léglise and Bartens (2010), Mufwene (2010), and Le Pichon-Vorstman (2020), I outline my research goal of examining the current linguistic landscape of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the opportunities for language inclusion based on the outcomes in two early years classrooms in Trinidad.

Résumé

Dans les îles caribéennes de Trinité-et-Tobago, la première exposition de nombreux enfants locaux à un Anglais non créole a lieu lorsqu’ils commencent l’école. Avant cela, leur familiarité avec la langue est basée sur l’anglais créole qu’ils connaissent depuis leur naissance. On s’attend souvent à ce que ces enfants utilisent l’anglais lexifiant comme langue de communication à l’école. Bien que Trinité-et-Tobago et Venezuela avaient eu un flux réciproque de personnes à travers des frontières imaginaires pendant plusieurs années, la récente migration et l’installation de migrants vénézuéliens qui parlent l’espagnol ont ajouté une autre couche de complexité à l’identité linguistique de la république des îles jumelles. Depuis 2023, ces enfants se voient toujours refuser l’accès à l’enseignement public à Trinité-et-Tobago. Bien que des interventions temporaires aient été mises en place par le HCR et d’autres organisations nationales de base (par exemple, le programme Equal Place/Espacio de Equidad), l’accès à l’éducation pour cette population a été inadéquat, et rendu encore plus difficile au plus fort de la pandémie de COVID-19 (Caarls et al., 2021). Dans cette proposition, à la suite de Cummins (2007, 2009), Benson (2004, 2010, 2013), Siegel (2005, 2006), Migge, Léglise et Bartens (2010), Mufwene (2010), et Le Pichon-Vorstman (2020), je décrirai l’objectif de recherche prévu, qui est d’examiner le paysage linguistique de Trinité-et-Tobago, ainsi que les possibilités d’inclusion linguistique sur la base des résultats obtenus dans deux classes de la petite enfance à Trinidad.

2023 • Vol. 7(1) • 125 – 146 • ISSN 2561-7982 •

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Editorial: The Language Policy and Planning Conference before, during and “after” the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Three-year Wrap

Mela Sarkar, McGill University

With this second special issue devoted to papers that would have been presented at the LPP (“Multidisciplinary Approaches in Language Policy and Planning”) conference 2020, had our planning process, like so much else, not been steamrollered by the global COVID-19 pandemic, we finally wave goodbye to a three-year-long engagement with LPP conference organization and J-BILD guest editorship

Because we had to cancel LPP2020, both the papers in this special issue were in fact presented at LPP2021, well over a year ago. That was the occasion of the first all-online edition of LPP; as readers may recall, it was all rather experimental at the time. Thankfully, LPP2021, hosted at McGill University and chaired by Amir Kalan and myself, was successful beyond our hopes, and gave us the courage to proceed with the planning of a hybrid version of the conference in 2022. We discovered in short order that planning a hybrid conference in fact means planning and putting on not one but two conferences—one all online, the other all in-person—and then also figuring out ways in which participants at each can interact in as natural a manner as possible. With the help of a large team of helpers, we managed to pull it off, as readers may see from the BILD blog post that resulted. The official conference website will remain active for the foreseeable future.

Readers interested in the future of the Multidisciplinary Approaches in Language Policy and Planning conference are requested to check the conference website from time to time for updates. At the moment, we are in negotiations with possible future hosts for the conference, and are reasonably certain that LPP, if it continues, will move to a biennial model. It will therefore no longer be the annual conference that many of us have known for nearly ten years. We learned a tremendous amount from three years of planning and running the conference (or not running it!), and are grateful for the extraordinarily supportive relationships with reviewers, authors, session chairs, graduate student helpers, and of course the McGill-based team—augmented by volunteers from all over the globe—that sustained us throughout. Many thanks to all for their hard work over one, two, or in some cases three full years.

Many thanks as well to J-BILD for graciously agreeing to give our LPP authors the space to publish the papers you see here, as well as the papers in the first special issue

Article Summaries

As in the first of these special issues, our LPP/J-BILD authors take us to corners of the world very distant from our Canadian home base as they explore questions of language policy in education.

Research Studies

In “The secret handshake of Dutch: How the Dutch have systematically denied access to their language in the Caribbean,” Terri Bakker paints a disturbing portrait of the effects of old-school colonial mentality on the education of today’s children in a part of the Dutch Antilles that may be unfamiliar to our readers. Bakker’s forthright approach to analyzing language policy in education for the islands of Saba and St. Eustatius is thought-provoking and may, it is to be hoped, lead to further inquiries into a situation that seems to be calling out for reform.

Innocent Fasse Mbouya and Alain Takam also put the case for pedagogical reform in “Towards the introduction of the teaching of technical English in technical education in Cameroon: Pre-requisites and prospects.” This window into curriculum planning in Cameroon, part of a larger project investigating the delivery of technical education in that country, will give readers valuable insight into the more pressing needs of a key educational sector in an African context where English as a language of education occupies a somewhat ambiguous status and where better policy and practices around English for Specific Purposes (ESP) is clearly much needed. Both these papers are very much policy papers, thus rounding off our engagement with our LPP authors with a good solid period.

Towards the introduction of the teaching of technical English in Technical education in Cameroon: Pre-requisites and Prospects

~ Innocent Fasse Mbouya, University of Douala, Cameroon
~ Alain Flaubert Takam, University of Lethbridge, Canada

ABSTRACT. This study is a follow-up of three previous ones by the same authors. The first one culminated in a language-in-education policy article in 2018. The second study (2022) revisits student, parent and teacher attitudes to, and practices of, English Language teaching and learning in Cameroon Technical Education. It strongly recommends the development of English Language teachers’ capacities in technical education (TE) to teach ESP. The third led to a paper focussing on the achievements, constraints and perspectives of the teaching of English in TE (in press), underscoring the necessity of introducing English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in TE. The present work, which draws from interviews with pedagogic inspectors and the analysis of key relevant documents, proposes steps towards an effective introduction of ESP in TE by outlining general guiding principles for key areas, such as syllabus content, teacher training, integration of competence-based approaches, and didactic material. The study takes into consideration the current education orientation law, existing TE curricula, and prevailing teacher training policy and programmes which include the socio-economic context of Cameroon. The authors understand that each of the aspects addressed should generate more detailed studies.

RÉSUMÉ. Cette étude fait suite à trois précédentes réalisées par les mêmes auteurs. La première a abouti à un article sur la politique linguistique en éducation en 2018. La seconde étude (2022) réexamine les attitudes et les pratiques des élèves, parents et enseignants quant à l’enseignement /l’apprentissage de l’anglais dans l’enseignement technique (ET) au Cameroun, recommandant fortement le renforcement des capacités des enseignants d’anglais à enseigner l’AdS. La troisième, portant sur les réalisations, les contraintes et les perspectives de l’enseignement de l’anglais dans l’ET (sous presse), souligne la nécessité d’introduire l’anglais de spécialité (AdS) dans l’ET. Le présent travail, s’appuyant sur des entretiens avec des inspecteurs de pédagogie et l’analyse de documents clés, propose des mesures pour une introduction efficace de l’AdS dans l’ET. Elle propose des principes directeurs généraux pour les programmes, la formation des enseignants, l’intégration de l’approche par compétences et le matériel didactique. L’étude considère la loi actuelle sur l’orientation de l’éducation, les programmes de l’ET, la politique et les programmes de formation des enseignants, y compris le contexte socio-économique du Cameroun, chacun des aspects abordés devant conduire à des études plus détaillées.

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