Last week, in my critical issues and second language education graduate course, we read and talked about Christianity, missionary work and English language teaching. Two articles informed our conversation:
Pennycook, A., & Makoni, S.. (2005). The modern mission: The language effects of Christianity. Journal of Language, Identity and Education, 4(2), 137-155.
Varghese, M. M. &, Johnston, B. (2007), Evangelical Christians and English Language Teaching. TESOL Quarterly, 41: 5–31. doi: 10.1002/j.1545-7249.2007.tb00038.x
My students generally disapproved of using English language teaching to proselytize. The following student’s comments sum up the overall sense of our discussion: “I understand that teaching is in itself value-laden. We bring to our classrooms our belief systems. As such, there can never be a complete division of faith and teaching. However, the difference I see is in that Evangelical ELT teachers are using their profession as a mission.” English language teaching should not be used as a way to convert students to Christianity.
After we came back from our coffee break, a student showed me this photo she had taken of a poster outside our classroom door. The poster advertises two free 45-minute English classes offered in a classroom in the University library. While the poster promises English language improvement, I’m left feeling that a more accurate title for this poster might be something along the lines of Come and talk in English about Christianity.
Today is International Mother Language Day. The website of the United Nations explains that: “International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.”
The fall semester is almost over and I’m starting my prep work for Winter 2013. I’ll be teaching 3 classes – EC&I 871 AE (Critical Issues in Second Language Education); ELNG 200 (Linguistic Diversity and English Language Arts) and DLNG 425 (Didactique de la langue). The DLNG course is a new one for me and it’s in French (part of our French immersion education program) so that will mean extra work in terms of tracking down my readings (it really makes you understand how English dominates academic publishing).
I’m in Montreal at Concordia University for the 11th International Conference of the Association for Language Awareness. I’m giving a paper on Wednesday. This morning, I went to an interesting session on plurilingualism by Gail Prasad, a PhD candidate at OISE.
Students contact me from time to time to find out about the classes I’m teaching, usually in the area of TESOL and second language pedagogy. I find that if I post the information on my blog, people find their way here after a bit of a Google search. In Fall 2012, I’ll be teaching 1) one undergraduate course: ELNG 200 Linguistic Diversity and English Language Arts and 2) one graduate course: EC&I 856 Language & Learning. In Winter 2013, I’ll be teaching two sections of ELNG 200 and one graduate course: EC&I 871AE Critical Issues in Second Language Education.
I’m teaching one course: a graduate class in second language acquisition theory and research. I’ve taught this class twice before (in French and in English) and it’s one that I enjoy. In addition to a number of journal articles, I’m using Lourdes Ortega‘s “Understanding Second Language Acquisition” as the course text.
Three undergraduate students representing the University of Regina will be chosen to travel to Kyoto Notre Dame University, Japan, to assist teaching in English from July 25 –August 7, 2012. To be eligible, you must: be a Canadian citizen; be a full-time undergraduate student at the University of Regina; have a valid Canadian passport; have some basic Japanese language skills (a very minimal level of Japanese language proficiency is expected); have experience working with International students (or other young adult ESL students such as high school students); and demonstrate some involvement in extra-curricular activities. If you’re interested in this opportunity, you can find out more by reading the Kyoto Ad 2012 and by emailing Loanne Myrah (email@example.com). To apply, click here: Application Form (Youth Ambassadors 2012). The application deadline is June 8.