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.


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