A thumbnail sketch of an academic event (by Mehdi Babaei)

Today, I’m posting an overview of my sojourn at the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) and the Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics (CAAL) 2015 joint conference. The conference was held at the Fairmount Royal York Hotel in Toronto, a flashy, swanky hotel, with beautiful architecture, fancy rugs and chandeliers, and historical pictures, which to me, looked like the Grand Budapest Hotel– which hosted those interested in language-related issues. These people include top-notch scholars, editors, faculty members, new and senior researchers, and graduate students, who were congregated to discuss, share, or brainstorm ideas in the field of Applied Linguistics. What struck me was the diverse ways these scholars positioned themselves in the field and how they wanted to be identified. As I’m delving into my recollections of the conference, I will take you through the floors, hallways, rooms and tables of the conference venue, in which one or more people were either looking back at the history of applied linguistics, talking enthusiastically about their findings, or politely criticizing others’ ideas.
Continue reading

Advertisements

BILDing networks at the EGSS Conference 2015 (by Michaela Salmon)

The last week and a half have been an exciting time for us; we presented ourselves publically as a group at McGill’s Education Graduate Students’ Society (EGSS) annual conference, as well as hosting and developing a workshop that explored exciting new research methodologies, particularly those applicable to sociolinguistics (see tweet below).

Continue reading

What’s it like to teach ESL in Montréal: Part 2 (by Lauren Godfrey-Smith)

A few weeks back I wrote about the experience of teaching ESL in Montréal, and I talked specifically about the challenge of what to call ourselves. Are we ESL teachers, or EFL teachers? I didn’t really arrive at a definitive answer to my question, although on my private social media account my friends and I all thought that ‘English as an additional language’ (EAL?) is a more inclusive term than either ESL or EFL and we wholeheartedly agreed that the rest of the world (and the entire ESL/EFL community) should follow in our example and adopt this new – better – acronym. Now that we have that puzzle solved, let’s talk about a different side of the prism that is teaching EAL (alas, I don’t think it will stick, so I’ll continue with ‘ESL’ – under duress) in Montréal: who/where do we teach (or not)? This question is on my mind lately as my 4th-year B.Ed. (TESL) students continue their final field experience and get closer to graduation. Next week, we’re going to do job interviews simulations and they are all thinking about where they can (or can’t) find employment. It tells an interesting story…
Continue reading

Where to now? (by Dr. Mela Sarkar)

I believe in scholarship. I keep the words “scholar” and “scholarship” in a special separate compartment in my head, adjacent to but not quite touching words like “academic” and “university”. Anybody can be a scholar (at least according to this idiosyncratic vision of mine), no matter what else they happen to do, or how they earn their living. Or what class, colour, gender, ethnic origin (etc) they happen to be. It takes a lot of time, and may not be compatible with being highly social (this is probably idiosyncratic again, just because I’m not very social myself), but I truly think that anybody who takes the time to think and read and reflect seriously about things, pretty much anything, can call themself (I need this gender-neutral third-person singular reflexive pronoun!) a scholar.
Continue reading

The trouble with labels: What is identity anyway? (By Dr. Alison Crump)

Categories and labels are troublesome. They create boundaries and borders, and mark who is in, who is out, who is allowed in, who is not. Yet, the persnickety conundrum we face, as BILD scholars, is how to talk about the things we talk about (e.g., identity), without imposing misrepresentative categories and labels on the individuals we engage with and the experiences they are sharing and co-constructing with us. We can’t do away with labels and categories – they are convenient and allow us the efficiency of communicating a message to others on the basis of a shared understanding of where boundaries lie. Of course, if our intended meaning is not shared, we have to be very explicit about what we are talking about. We need to think carefully about what it means to ascribe a label to others and how this could reproduce essentializing ideologies.
Continue reading