A reflection of my learning experiences in my teaching approaches

Miss Education

As a teacher, I only wish that I can teach my second language students everything there is to know about English in the little time I have with them throughout the year. But, as Mougeon et al. (2010) research findings state, there is only so much that can be learned about a language (or a vernacular) in a controlled setting like a classroom, and that notions about a language are also taught in other settings such as public environments (the shopping mall, the park, etc.) (Van Herk, G., p. 183).

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Coco’s language biography

Cocoa Puffs

I was born in Beijing, China. My mother tongue is Mandarin. My parents speak Mandarin to me, and I speak Mandarin to my parents and my Chinese friends. I do not speak any dialect. However, since my great grandmother and my grandmother were originally from Hunan, a province in the southern part of China, they spoke one of the numerous dialects in Hunan. As I spent every holiday with my great grandmother and my grandmother when I was a little kid, I could understand the dialect in Hunan. Interestingly, my grandfather was not from Hunan. He came from Shandong, the northern part of China. When he spoke to my grandmother, he would use Mandarin, the language that I understood well. Unfortunately, I failed to speak any dialect. Nevertheless, when I met people from Hunan or Shandong provinces, I would proudly connect myself with them, and I was keen to learn more about the dialects because the dialects represent my heritage.

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You are what you speak

Emmanouela Tisizi

Not a day goes by without somehow reflecting on my past choices, many of which have undoubtedly been the wrong ones. When it comes, however, to the study choices I have made, I feel privileged. My academic journey began at the University of Athens, where I embarked on my BA in Greek Philology. Soon enough two master’s degrees in Modern Languages (Oxford University) and Education Language (University of Edinburgh) followed, after realizing that delving into languages fascinated me.

Greek is my first language, so obviously it is the one I use the most while I am at home. Since I was born and raised in Greece’s capital, Athens, I was taught the dominant Greek dialect, the one most Greeks use. Or, at least that’s what I thought until I started observing people and the various ways in which they made use of their language, when the context of each conversation changed.

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Matthew’s language biography!


Hello everybody! In class, we were asked to think about our own language biographies and discuss them. This is also a great way of getting the ball rolling for the blog posts. It looks like I’m one of the first students to post anything, so here goes nothing.

Where to start? I’m originally from the north of England, but I’ve been in Montréal since 2008. My first language is English. It’s the language I grew up speaking and it’s the language I still speak for the majority at home. Since being in Montréal, I’ve come to realize the difference in how I use English between my home country and my adopted country. Actually, I tend to think I have two main English identities.

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Language and cultural identity


I teach ESL to immigrants who work very hard to lose their accent. They feel they need to eradicate their foreign accent in order to be taken seriously at work. Although it is my job to help them do this, I really think that it is sad that this variance is regarded as a negative attribute.

The first language that I learned was English, and because I lived with my Grandmother, she was my first model for my native tongue. My Granny was an immigrant; she came from Russia when she was 4 years old and spoke in broken English. She had a very basic vocabulary and syntax and would stick to two or three word sentences: “Come eat!”, “ Don’t walk barefoot!”. I thought about this when I had trained myself to use simpler sentences for ESL class.

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