Oh là là! Responding to the Globe and Mail’s criticisms of French immersion (by Stephen Davis)

I have come to know French immersion deeply over the years as a student, teacher, and researcher in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Throughout my life, this instructional program has been a source of tremendous enrichment, as it has been for millions of Canadians before me since its beginnings in 1965. Moreover, the benefits of French immersion have been documented extensively in peer-reviewed research, which include strong French proficiency, positive cultural identity, and social closeness to native French speakers. Nevertheless, writers for the Globe and Mail have repeatedly cast French immersion in an uncharitable light. I would like to respond to two relatively recent and especially erroneous articles: French immersion could do with a dose of reality (Gee, 2016) and There’s just one problem with French immersion… well, several, actually (Wente, 2016). Continue reading

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Translanguaging pedagogy: ¿Qué significa? (by Dr. Alison Crump)

This term, I’m teaching a graduate course called Educational Sociolinguistics and we’re blogging (the course blog is here). In the course, we explore social, cultural, and political dimensions of (second) language education, and there’s a lot of resonance with what we write about here in the BILD community. The course blog is our public facing space for ongoing ‘sociolinguistic noticing.’ This is the practice of reflecting on connections between our own (and others’) language teaching and learning experiences and sociolinguistic issues (e.g., identity, social status, place, race, gender, language variation, language ideologies, multilingualism, language policy, etc.). Continue reading

What accent sells the most cars? (by Michaela Salmon)

When we first started the blog, the BILD group discussed the types of topics and ideas that we wanted to discuss here. Alison spoke about the concept of “sociolinguistic noticing”; here we have a platform to share the little instances of language use that we notice around us in the day-to-day, from our perspective as critical sociolinguists (for example, see Lauren’s post from Australia last year, where she a business was promoting “accent training”, or a collection of Alison’s sociolinguistic noticings here). I would like to contribute something I recently noticed myself, and encourage all of you to consider your own response to this instance.   Continue reading

The Other and the Author (by Cristina Baz)

Cristina Baz graduated from McGill University with a B.Ed. and M.A. in Second Language Education. She currently works in translation, language teaching and administration, sometimes escaping with her co-author to work on their new books. 

You can get in touch with Cristina via e-mail or visit her Facebook page or website!

I am the Other. Being the Other is always done to you. It comes as a result of racializing discourses that form part of the West’s colonial legacy, sorting “some people, things, places, and practices into social categories marked as inherently dangerous and Other” (Dick and Wirtz, 2011, p. E2). As such, being an immigrant, especially a visible minority, in a Eurocentric world means that you will always be seen through racialized lenses. In reality, there was nothing fishy about the period and place of my birth or the schools I attended, but the mix and match of random circumstances have yielded quite an interesting “identity crisis starter pack”. Continue reading