Problematizing “For Example”

Teachers often use examples to illustrate the point they want to make. As a language teacher, I am not an exception. While giving examples in my classes, I used to make many culturally embedded references, and when I did, many students’ showed a heightened interest. However, while I was reading Van Herk’s What is Sociolinguistics?, I became increasingly uncomfortable with the examples he used in the textbook. I have been thinking about this sense of unease for a long time, but I wasn’t sure how to articulate it until I read an article written by Patricia Duff (2004), and I found what it was that bothered me.

Continue reading “Problematizing “For Example””

Advertisements

“You cannot teach me English because you are Asian!”

By Xiaoke Sun

Hey, everyone!

This post is a real story happened lately about myself being Asian and becoming an English teacher in Montreal Chinese heritage school. It happens to correspond with the topic of ethnicity and language learning that we have talked previously. I would like to share the story, and you are more than welcomed to help me to figure out my current puzzle.

For quite a long time, I have questioned what is the fundamental criteria to be an English teacher. There is no doubt that having an advanced language proficiency is necessary. Besides, English pronunciation, as mentioned by Yerim in the previous post, is also commonly judged by people as it demonstrates one’s capacity to express themselves and to be understood. Despite of other factors, such as the ability of curriculum design, assessment, and so on, can it be concluded that one’s ability to exercise a language equals to one’s qualification for being an English teacher? If not, what other factors could influence the way of learning and teaching?

Continue reading ““You cannot teach me English because you are Asian!””

Sociolinguistic noticing for language learners

By Melissa J. Enns

Have you ever noticed how effortlessly you switch registers in your first language? Have you ever wondered why it’s easy for you to identify where a character in a story or movie is from based on the way she speaks? Probably not, because mostly, you just know.

It may be easy for you, but second language learners are often at a disadvantage in picking up on these subtleties, and this can be socially and academically problematic. Van Herk (2012) states that “although teachers are aware of the stylistic range that their students might need, their own language ideologies or limited teaching time lead them to focus on the standard end of language” (183). While I agree with his statement, I dislike the truth of it. As teachers, we (hopefully) strive to meet students’ linguistic needs to the very best of our abilities, but failing to give them the tools of sociolinguistic evaluation leaves them disadvantaged socially and academically. Please allow me to explain.

Continue reading “Sociolinguistic noticing for language learners”

Social and cultural factors effects on language learning

Faten Alzaid

Hello everyone. It is nice to share ideas in this blog area. Hence, I would like to share with you and write my first comment.

I am originally from Saudi Arabia. I speak three languages; Arabic, English and a little bit of French. Arabic is my first language and most of my educational life was in Arabic too. Being immerse with Arabic all the time, I always have a desire to teach a new and different language than Arabic. Hence, I decided to specialized in the English language teaching field in my bachelor degree. Since then, English became my favorite and second language. Honestly, I have never been fluent in English and satisfied until I arrived to Montreal four years ago and started learning English language from the zero again. The reason behind that was due to the fact that when I was at my hometown, I was not able to match the language with its cultural content and applied it out side the classroom. I also never practiced speaking in English out side academic contexts due to two reasons; 1) I was not confidant of my language ability at that time 2) there were not enough daily contexts to practice in real life, out side the classroom.

Continue reading “Social and cultural factors effects on language learning”

Language “Hotpot” in Montreal

Monica:

I am a Chinese student, here in Montreal. I have my stories concerning learning English and French. I bet you have your languages and stories as well. And I would like to share my interesting language stories after living in this language “hotpot” for a year. It’s “spicy” and makes me happy with tears.

Continue reading “Language “Hotpot” in Montreal”

Matthew’s language biography!

Matthew

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.

Continue reading “Matthew’s language biography!”

Here we go!

It’s the start of September, start of a new term, and I’m really excited about this one.

I’m Alison Crump, the instructor for the graduate course, Educational Sociolinguistics, in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. Welcome to our course blog.

IMG_0917One of the assignments I created for my (very large!) group of graduate students is something I call “sociolinguistic noticing.” This asks students to pay attention to, reflect on, and write about how sociolinguistic issues (e.g., identity, social status, place, race, gender, language variation, language ideologies, multilingualism, language policy, etc.) play out in every day life, with a particular focus on formal and non-formal educational contexts. Over the course of the term, each student will write to this blog several times, as well as respond to their peers’ posts. I will also make occasional appearances. My hope is that we might find an audience beyond our group as well. Please feel free to join in the conversations. 

Continue reading “Here we go!”