Understanding Racialized Expectations in the ELT Profession

10 August 2017

This month we are publishing Race and Ethnicity in English Language Teaching by Christopher Joseph Jenks. In this post the author discusses where racialized expectations come from and how they shape language teaching and learning.

Expectations are everything; they help us make decisions and make sense of existing life experiences. Our expectations shape decisions to seek out particular food items, holiday destinations and places of residence, and influence the extent to which we are satisfied with them. For instance, the satisfaction that I receive from eating a kale salad is not tied to my expectation that this particular food item tastes good. This would, without saying, be a foolish expectation. Rather, consuming a kale salad brings me satisfaction because of my expectations that it will result in good health and allow me to align myself with the all-important hipster community. Of course, the belief that kale is a food item of both a health-conscious individual and an advanced human being is the result of many years of cultural conditioning, which materializes in my decision to seek out particular foods and shop at grocery stores that will remain unnamed.

The decision to enrol in a particular school taught by an instructor that looks a certain way and speaks a specific language variety is also shaped by an existing set of expectations. My book, which examines race and racism in English language teaching and learning, is essentially about understanding where racialized expectations come from, and how they shape our understanding of, and actions pertaining to, the profession. That is to say, a preference for hiring White instructors from so-called Western countries does not materialize in a vacuum – a key observation in my book – but this ideology is rather rooted in a history of cultural conditioning that informs individuals what they should expect to see and hear in the language classroom.

What discourses and ideologies are responsible for such expectations? The expectation that English is a language (best) spoken, and therefore taught, by a small group of countries comes from a number of discourses and ideologies, and indeed varies from one region of the world to another, including colonial and imperial histories; in a place like South Korea, English is often associated with North America because of the role the United States has in military, political, and economic affairs.

My interest in writing this book comes from the many unanswered questions that exist regarding how such expectations become racialized in and through the discourses that are circulated within the English language teaching profession. For instance, I was motivated to understand how neoliberal forces shape the expectations one has when thinking about what English course to take. Although I am not interested in criticizing neoliberalism as an economic theory necessarily, I was motivated to show that the commodification of English facilitates the creation and circulation of racialized expectations. The book was also written because I was very much interested in examining how expectations are formulated from the point of view of privilege, such as White instructors from places like the United States. I show in my book, for example, that racial privilege creates the expectation among White instructors that they are in the best position to facilitate language learning, and this in turn influences how said teachers orient themselves within the profession; I refer to this expectation as White saviorism.

Although this project is ultimately about understanding where racialized expectations come from and how they shape language teaching and learning, the book also explores what needs to be done in the profession to create new discourses and ideologies that attend to the racial diversity that exists within the workforce. Like my desire to eat kale salads, I attempt to show that racial discrimination and privilege are misplaced expectations that come from years of cultural conditioning. This is no easy task, as racism is tied to decades of complex political and cultural struggles; yet I will be happy if my book makes even the smallest of contributions to the eradication of racism in the profession.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you enjoyed this, you might also be interested in Why English? edited by Pauline Bunce, Robert Phillipson, Vaughan Rapatahana and Ruanni Tupas.


No, Where Are You Really From? The Impact of Categorizing Others

8 August 2017

This month we are publishing Becoming Diasporically Moroccan by Lauren Wagner. In this post the author discusses the themes of microaggression and othering that are explored in her book.

© Kiyun Kim – from Racial Microaggressions, December 2013

Contrary to the typical imagination of discriminatory speech being direct and obvious, othering or categorizing statements often happen more subtly through microaggression. It can be understood as the ways underlying stereotypes about race, class, gender, and other social attributes are reproduced in casual encounters – like the experience of the woman in the picture on the right, from photographer Kiyun Kim’s project on microaggressions in a NYC university (For more testimonies, see the Microaggressions Tumblr or this nice video at Quartz with examples from film and TV). Microaggressions can be found anywhere, and experienced by anyone who might find their own sense of identity and belonging inadvertently or purposefully stereotyped by someone else. As they are becoming more widely researched and recognized as fostering social divisions, universities around the US are mandating that incoming students learn about the negative impacts of microaggression on their peers.

Yet, the existence of ‘microaggression’ is coming under attack by media and researchers, who question many of the claims made about potentially negative impacts of subtle speech. In Becoming Diasporically Moroccan, I try to show how the very subtle communicative and embodied modes for categorizing others do have an impact – not necessarily a direct and immediate one, but a cumulative and collective impact, as whole communities can come to feel ‘othered’ by the repetition, across members and over time, of small speech acts that create distinctions between us and them. This book doesn’t concentrate on how ‘othered’ groups feel harmed; rather, I try to focus on how othering contributes to evolving ideas of membership, participation, and a sense of belonging in an emerging group.

Let me take the example from the photograph above to illustrate how categorization happens in ordinary conversation.

No, where are you really from?

This is a question I hear quoted all the time by my research participants as one of the most troublesome ones they receive. While they are Moroccan-origin individuals who grew up in Europe, they share the problem of many migrant-origin individuals around the world of somehow not being allowed to be ‘from’ the place where they grew up.

The person asking this question may be on a genuine quest for information, but this includes layered, embedded assumptions that make it microaggressive. It is, firstly, context-specific, and depends on local knowledges and shared assumptions about what is ‘normal’; what should a person who is from somewhere look, sound, or be like? That leads to a second factor: that statement takes into account some kind of visible embodiment as categorizable in a combination of place (e.g. the somewhere she is from) and descent (or, the family lineage she comes from). This statement makes an assumption that place and descent map onto each other following a ‘normal’ category. Asking where she is really from implies that her claim to be from that somewhere is impossible. When these assumptions work together, they perpetuate this kind of (maybe unintentional…) microaggression, where this woman may feel like she has to justify being from the somewhere she feels she is from.

No wonder she is rolling her eyes…

Categorization at ‘home’

In Becoming Diasporically Moroccan, I pick apart face-to-face interactions where similar kinds of categorizing talk takes place, but in a different kind of context. Instead of looking at how Moroccan-origins manage their categorization in their European homelands – which might be compared to how lots of other minorities and migrant-origin groups have to deal with microaggression within a dominant (often ‘white’) group – this book looks at how these categorizations take place between Moroccans who live in Morocco and Moroccan-origin adults who visit Morocco from Europe. Like some other communities that develop in one place and can trace their familial descent to another place, Moroccans have a chance to regularly visit ‘home’. When they do, however, they often feel ‘othered’, in the opposite way to how many feel ‘othered’ in Europe.

By looking at individual examples of interactions in marketplaces, between resident Moroccan vendors and Moroccans-from-Europe, I show the subtle conversational details of how this ‘othering’ works. My conclusion, however, is not about how one or the other party may be doing wrong… Instead, I advocate that we start to think about how individuals like this – who grow up connected by descent and place to multiple homelands – together create new categories that help us evolve our thinking about where anyone might ‘belong’.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Local Languaging, Literacy and Multilingualism in a West African Society by Kasper Juffermans.


The importance of situating work within deeper historical contexts

3 August 2017

This month we published Statehood, Scale and Hierarchy: History, Language and Identity in Indonesia by Lauren Zentz. In this post Lauren reveals the surprising inspiration behind the book.

A month or so ago, after I’d completed this book and actually had time to let my thoughts wander again, I flashed back to the first time that I appreciated history. I was on my first study abroad trip as a college student in 2001 in Avignon, France, sitting in a 13th century building that had become our class building. In the upstairs library I picked up a historical linguistic book on the history of European languages dating all the way back to Roman times. Throughout high school I had developed a great disdain for learning history, as the histories taught in US high schools are not only entirely suspect but they are also incredibly boring, and usually ‘taught’ by a rotating stream of sports coaches (at least in my high school). But this dusty book that I found in this 13th century building in France transported me to a Rome that actually had people (not just Caesars), who walked, and talked, and yelled at politicians, and had relationships and were humans, just like us some millennia later.

I’d never related this experience to the current project at hand – a book about contemporary language in Indonesia – until I sat down that day and reflected on the obsession I’d had with historicizing the Indonesian context as I wrote this book. This need to historicize most certainly had links with current researchers’ calls for the addition of more history to our work; but I’d like to also think that I was driven to do so by that one experience I had so long ago, when I learned that history was where we could see living people exercising agency – and having it exercised over them – in their contexts over long periods of time.

Statehood, Scale and Hierarchy: History, Language and Identity in Indonesia is clearly a book for graduate students and professionals in the fields of Sociolinguistics, Linguistic Anthropology, Applied Linguistics, and Indonesian studies in general. I hope that readers will take away from this book the importance of situating our work within deeper historical contexts. Part of this importance for me comes from the desire to explain that Indonesia’s current historical context is not the way it is simply because of the development of the nation-state in reaction to European colonialism. Many of Indonesia’s current sociolinguistic facts are due to human currents and power dynamics that have been going on for far longer and in far more complex ways than only colonial and post-colonial states can answer for. I have attempted to situate contemporary Java and my college student participants in such a deep history, as individuals conditioned not only by their contemporary subjectivities in Indonesian statehood under globalization, but also as historically situated subjects whose linguistic practices reflect a deep and complicated history of life on Java over centuries.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Race and Ethnicity in English Language Teaching by Christopher Joseph Jenks.


Why use mixed methods in early language learning research?

27 July 2017

This month we published Early Language Learning edited by Janet Enever and Eva Lindgren, the first book in our new series, Early Language Learning in School Contexts. In this post the editors discuss the use of mixed methods in their research.

Understanding how young children learn additional languages in classroom environments is complex. Children learn how to speak, interact, read and write with help from teachers, peers and parents. The surrounding world, as well as themselves, influences their motivation to learn, their self-concept and their attitudes, all of which are important for their learning of an additional language. This wide range of factors with the potential to impact on children’s learning presents serious challenges to traditional research methods. For example, can a qualitative study of say, the oral language production of four children in a few lessons provide us with any clarity as to how young children in general learn additional languages at school? Similarly, can a quantitative study of the oral language production of a whole cohort of children learning an additional language at school provide us with a nuanced understanding of how development for each individual child occurs? Both set-ups could include a variety of factors, in depth analyses in the qualitative approach and advanced statistical methodologies in the quantitative approach, but regardless of which approach is taken, it seems likely that neither will provide very satisfactory answers. For these reasons and many more, we have become interested in adopting a mixed methods approach to our research, with the idea that it might provide a more comprehensive view of how language learning unfolds in classroom environments.

As a theoretical frame, mixed methods research (MMR) is regarded as relatively new, although there is evidence of research approaches that have adopted some form of ‘mixing’ for centuries (Maxwell, 2016). Given current developments in the field, it is unsurprising that views differ on exactly how MMR might be conceptualised. However, recent understandings seem to be moving towards the idea that it can be understood as bringing together all dimensions ‘as an over-arching concept (…) at the philosophical, methodological, and methods levels’ (Fetters & Molina-Azorin, 2017, p.293). Arguing for a framework of integration, they propose an ‘MMR integration trilogy’ outlining the possible dimensions that may be integrated, including: the philosophical, theoretical and researcher positioning; the rationale, aims, data collection and analysis dimension; the approaches to interpretation, dissemination and research integrity. Their suggestion is that if researchers are attentive to all dimensions then ‘more advanced and sophisticated mixed methods studies’ will result (p.303).

As researchers interested in working with MMR we recognise that we are a long way from addressing such a strongly integrated approach at the outset of framing our research plans. Indeed, it may well be that a more fluid approach which allows for the emergence of some form of mixing during the research process may allow for greater creativity in some instances. The variety of research studies contained in our edited volume Early Language Learning reflect a good proportion of the approaches to MMR currently in use in the field of early language learning. As such, we hope they set the bar for future exploration of this research paradigm that may help to clarify whether a more strongly integrated approach to this field of research can contribute to an enhanced quality of research.

References

Fetters, M.D. & Molina-Azorin, J.F. (2017). The Mixed Methods Research Integration Trilogy and Its Dimensions. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 11(3) 291–307.

Maxwell, J.A. (2016) Expanding the History and Range of Mixed Methods Research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research 10(1), 12–27.

For more information about this book, please see out website. The editors have also produced a video in which they introduce their book, which can be watched here. If you found this interesting, you might also like Learning Foreign Languages in Primary School edited by María del Pilar García Mayo.


An Interview with Anna: 15 Year Work Anniversary!

25 July 2017

This month Anna and Sarah are celebrating their 15 year anniversary working at Channel View/Multilingual Matters. In this post we ask Anna a few questions about the last 15 years…

What made you apply for your first job at MM?

I’d love to say that it was a burning desire to work in publishing and a long-held interest in multilingualism. However, the truth is that I finished my degree and knew I wanted to stay in Bristol, so I applied for every job in the local paper that I thought might be interested in an English and Philosophy graduate, including setting crosswords and training as an academic librarian. Multilingual Matters invited me for an interview, and the rest is history!

Anna on her first day

Do you remember your first day?

My first day was spent ‘celebrating’ the departure of my predecessor Berni, who had worked for Multilingual Matters for 17 years (such a long time!) I made a banner out of old printer paper, and then we went for a very nice lunch with plenty of wine. So not an especially taxing day, but quite a good introduction to the culture at MM.

How has your job changed over the years?

I started as an editorial assistant for the Multilingual Matters journals. The office was very paper-based at the time – we printed out everything – and emails came in once an hour. I can still remember the excitement of the day the internet was on all day for the first time! We used t-cards to keep track of what was where at every stage in the process, which involved scissors and Pritt Stick, and I did some typesetting using an MS-DOS program that was probably older than I was.

Gradually I managed to badger my way into being allowed to work on the books, and when we sold the journals and Marjukka retired in 2008 I took over as Editorial Director. Now I commission books for 12 book series, as well as overseeing the strategy for our whole publication programme, and keeping an eye out for new and exciting things for us to publish. I also attempt to make Tommi do his editorial admin occasionally!

While the nature of my job has changed quite a bit since I first started, I’m still working with a lot of the same authors and editors: Colin Baker, Viv Edwards and John Edwards have all been constants throughout my 15 years, and authors whose journal papers I worked on 15 years ago are now writing books and editing book series for us.

What has been your biggest achievement/success?

That’s a really hard question! The recent publication of the 6th edition of Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism represented the culmination of five years’ work and it’s a book I’m very proud of, although the authors are both such a dream to work with that my input was minimal. It’s always nice when books you’ve worked on win awards, or we publish something really ground-breaking and innovative. But actually what gives me the most satisfaction is the smaller, on-going successes: when I talk down an author who is on the point of giving up because of a critical peer-review and help them see a way through it; or when we’re overwhelmed at a conference by people wanting to tell us how great our books are and how important it is that we as a company continue to exist. I also love doing workshops/talks for PhD students and it always seems like a real success to get lots of follow up emails and book proposals as a result.

Anna and Sarah celebrating 15 glorious years at CVP/MM

What’s your favourite part of the job?

My favourite part of my job is my lovely colleagues, some of whom I have now known for a VERY LONG TIME. It’s an absolute joy to work in such a friendly, supportive office where all kinds of eccentricity are positively encouraged, and where the tangents go on for longer than the meetings. As with all groups of people who spend a lot of time together in a confined space, there are days when I could cheerfully murder the lot of them, but those days are few and far between. If they fired me I would probably keep on turning up for work anyway!

What’s your favourite memory (together?) of the last 15 years?

One evening in Frankfurt that may have involved a bottle or two of wine springs to mind, or a karaoke session in Leeds that got hijacked by an entire conference. To be fair there is never a dull moment sat next to Sarah! She once crushed a wine glass with her bare hands, her driving rage is terrifying, and she can run 100m faster than Usain Bolt if there’s a pigeon anywhere near her…

Here’s to the next 15 years! Check out Sarah’s interview here.


An Interview with Sarah: 15 Year Work Anniversary!

21 July 2017

This month Sarah and Anna are celebrating their 15 year anniversary working at Channel View/Multilingual Matters. In this post we ask Sarah a few questions about the last 15 years…

Sarah at Frankfurt Book Fair

What made you apply for your first job at MM?

I had done an English degree so publishing was one of the more obvious routes to take. I remember seeing the ad in the paper that specified a ‘seaside office’ which appealed to me as I’m from a seaside town. The ad also promised the possibility of travel which seemed very exciting!

Do you remember your first day?

Hmm, not the details but first impressions – everyone was very friendly and welcoming, it was a very quiet office and it was very nice to have a walk along the seafront at lunchtime! I also remember being excited but slightly awed by the amount there was to learn and how global the company was.

How has your job changed over the years?

I was a journal editor for my first few years and it was a good way of getting to know a lot of people in the field. I started helping with some proof-checking on the books and eventually took over supervising the cover design process and ebooks. I was also doing admin for some of the book series. When we sold the journals in 2008 I became production manager and commissioning editor for Tourism and Cultural Change. I’m now also commissioning editor for The Future of Tourism, currently looking after all the tourism series while Elinor is on maternity leave and get to one or two conferences every year.

What has been your biggest achievement/success?

When I worked on the journals the biggest achievement was getting all issues published in the year they were meant to come out! With book production (and this involves the whole company not just me!) steadily increasing our output from 39 books in 2008 to 60 books in 2016 felt like a big achievement. On the editorial front, I think any time you’ve actively commissioned a title and it goes into production is a great feeling!

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Production and editorial is a nice balance of detailed work with a more creative side. This is pretty much a dream job working with and for amazing people, so hard to pick one thing. Obviously getting to travel to conferences and hanging out with all our authors across the world is very cool!

What’s your favourite memory (together?) of the last 15 years?

Ha, Anna and I don’t get to travel together much (I have no idea why??!) but we have had one or two memorable trips – including one particular evening in a bar in Frankfurt and a karaoke-session in Leeds with a few of our authors/editors! We’re very good at celebrating at MM/CVP so any occasion is pretty memorable!

Congratulations Sarah! Watch this space for an interview with Anna about her experience of the last 15 years.


Critical Tourism Studies VII conference, Palma, Mallorca

19 July 2017

Last month Sarah attended the Critical Tourism Studies VII conference in Palma, Mallorca. In this post she tells us a bit about her trip.

Sarah with Heike Schanzel and Brooke Porter – authors of forthcoming book Femininity in the Field

The last CTS conference I went to was CTS II in Split, Croatia so it was high time Channel View attended another one! There is a definite buzz around these conferences and this one did not disappoint, with many high quality papers and a wonderful location.

As always, it was great to be able to catch up with current and prospective authors and meet so many new people with such interesting research underway.

Sarah taking part in the publishing panel

This conference was a first for me as I had been asked (along with the other publishers present) to take part in a panel on editing and publishing in tourism. I already had a great deal of respect for academics presenting their papers on a regular basis but being on the other side of things for once was pretty nerve-wracking (although it was a good experience). I hope the audience members found it as useful as I did.

The conference finished off in style with a beautiful gala dinner and the evening closed with line-dancing to a Spanish-version of ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ – brilliant!

Not a bad setting for a conference!

After the conference it was lovely to spend a day wandering around beautiful Palma – including a trip to the beach!


Guía para padres y maestros de niños bilingües

14 July 2017

This month we are publishing Guía para padres y maestros de niños bilingües: 2.a edición by Alma Flor Ada, F. Isabel Campoy and Colin Baker, the Spanish edition of Colin Baker’s bestselling book A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism. In this post, Alma Flor and Isabel reveal why a Spanish edition of the book was needed.

En nuestro frecuente contacto con padres cuya primera lengua no es el inglés y son residentes de los Estados Unidos, a quienes encontramos en talleres, conferencias, visitas a escuelas o bibliotecas, nos queda a menudo el dolor de comprobar que muchos de ellos se acogen a creencias y prácticas contrarias a lo que beneficiaría a sus hijos, como lo demuestra la experiencia y la investigación.

Alguna de las falsas creencias, en muchos casos totalmente inconscientes, que justifican sus decisiones son que:

  • sus hijos aprenderán inglés más rápidamente y mejor si solo se educan en inglés,
  • sus hijos conservarán el español que aprendieron como niños, incluso cuando solo hablen inglés, y no se haga ningún esfuerzo para practicar o desarrollar su español,
  • sus hijos tendrán más éxito en los Estados Unidos si hablan solo inglés ya que eso les permitirá asimilarse y ser aceptados más fácilmente

Aunque estos padres no prevén inicialmente las dificultades de comunicación entre ellos y sus hijos, sí hemos encontrado a padres que se enfrentaban a la dificultad de no tener un idioma común con sus hijos.

El bilingüismo es un tema complejo que puede manifestarse de muchas formas y los hablantes pueden llegar a diferentes grados de bilingüismo por caminos diversos. Este libro ofrece información e invita a reflexionar a los padres y maestros a tener un claro entendimiento de la alegría y los retos que implica el privilegio de llegar a ser bilingüe.

La necesidad de proporcionar información rigurosa a los padres nos llevó a crear la versión en español de la cuarta edición de Colin Baker, Guía para padres y maestros de niños bilingües. Alma Flor ya había creado una versión de la primera edición que se ha usado ampliamente. La cuarta edición en inglés, amplió los temas sobre el uso de la tecnología, los resultados recientes de la investigación en psicología y nuevos descubrimientos en educación.

Quizás lo más distintivo de este libro es la forma en que Colin Baker ha organizado los contenidos, a través de una serie de preguntas claras de interés para cualquier persona involucrada en la educación de un niño, en proceso de llegar a ser bilingüe. A través de la lectura del índice cualquiera puede rápidamente identificar lo que más le interesa y así llegar sin dilación a los consejos que busca en el libro. Las respuestas se presentan con claridad y de forma simple y se dirigen al lector de manera personal.

La edición en español añade secciones dirigidas a la integración de la escuela y el hogar, se dan sugerencias para el aprendizaje en el hogar y recomendaciones de literatura infantil en español.

Nos alegra haber dedicado tiempo, en medio de nuestra ocupada vida como autoras de literatura infantil y escritoras de materiales educativos, para crear esta edición en español. Fue una labor satisfactoria y esperamos que muchos padres y maestros encuentren en este libro una valiosa información.

Les invitamos a visitar nuestros portales

www.almaflorada.com

www.isabelcampoy.com

o contactarnos en

almaflor@almaflorada.com

isabel@isabelcampoy.com

For more information about this book, please see our website. Colin Baker’s bestseller, A Parents‘ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism (4th edition), on which this book is based, is also available on our website.


An Interview with Rodolfo Baggio, Co-author of “Quantitative Methods in Tourism: 2nd edition”

4 July 2017

This month we are publishing the second edition of Quantitative Methods in Tourism by Rodolfo Baggio and Jane Klobas. In this post Rodolfo answers a few questions about the book and the work of a tourism academic.

It’s been six years since we published the first edition of Quantitative Methods in Tourism. What can we expect from the second edition?

First of all let me say that I’ve been quite surprised and amazed to see that our little work received so much attention as to deserve a second edition. We (my coauthors and I) are very grateful to the readers and to find out that our idea of providing a “practical” handbook has worked well. In this edition we have essentially done two things. One has been (rather obviously) to amend the little inaccuracies or errors that inevitably escape in a work like this one, even after a good number of checks. Then we have improved and updated examples and references and added some new materials on data screening and cleaning, the use of similarity and diversity indexes, path modelling and partial least squares, multi-group structural equation modelling, common method variance, and Big Data.

What is the collaborative process like between you both?

For this book (as for the previous edition), after having agreed on the topics to include, we split them based on our expertise and interests so that each one of us wrote the different pieces, then we swapped the chapters and cross checked all the materials.

What is the most rewarding and most difficult thing about writing a book?

The most rewarding thing is for sure the moment in which you get the book in your hands. The most difficult (probably better to say tedious, tiring or grim) comes when you have finished writing and you have to start checking, refining, correcting, reworking, etc.

As a tourism academic, what’s the favourite place that you’ve travelled to in the course of your research?

Contrary to what many might think, working in tourism, whether as an academic or industry practitioner, does not necessarily mean travelling. There are hotel employees that have never seen places different from their hotel or teachers that have never been in a city different from the one in which they give classes. I have been privileged and, due to personal attitude and life chances, have so far had an incredible number of possibilities to travel to many parts of this planet. I do not have a favourite place. All are interesting and exciting in one way or another. Probably my truly favourite place is one (and there are many) in which I have not yet been.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing books?

Well, not being a writer most of my life is spent NOT writing books, so I do what anyone else does. Personally I enjoy reading, walking around, listening to good music, travelling and so on. But I also very much enjoy studying and researching new avenues for the difficult work of understanding a complex and complicated domain such as the tourism one.

For more information about this book, please see our website.

 


Multilingual Matters at the International Symposium on Bilingualism 2017

30 June 2017

Earlier this month, Anna and Laura left Bristol in the midst of a heatwave for rainy Ireland and the biennial International Symposium on Bilingualism, which was hosted this year by the University of Limerick. In this post Laura tells us what they got up to.

A very busy coffee break

The theme of the International Symposium on Bilingualism conference this year was ‘Bilingualism, Multilingualism and the New Speaker’ and delegates enjoyed a packed schedule of presentations, either linked directly to the theme or to any other aspect of bilingualism and multilingualism research. Clearly the topic of the conference lies right at the heart of Multilingual Matters and we were pleased that there was plenty of interest in our books. So much so that we often had a queue of keen customers at the stand during the breaks and were very glad to have each other to share the workload.

Naturally, the 6th edition of our bestselling textbook, Foundations of Bilingualism and Bilingualism by Colin Baker and Wayne E. Wright, was a popular choice but it was matched in popularity by New Perspectives on Translanguaging and Education, edited by BethAnne Paulsrud, Jenny Rosén, Boglárka Straszer and Åsa Wedin. All the authors of other bestsellers, Raising Multilingual Children, by Julia Festman, Gregory J. Poarch and Jean-Marc Dewaele and Beyond Age Effects in Instructional L2 Learning by Simone E. Pfenninger and David Singleton, were present to talk to readers about their work. Another hot title was New Insights into Language Anxiety edited by Christina Gkonou, Mark Daubney and Jean-Marc Dewaele, who was one of the keynote speakers.

Accompanying Jean-Marc Dewaele as other plenary speakers were Ana Deumert, Alexandre Duchêne, Elizabeth Lanza, Tina Hickey and Lisa Lim. The keynotes were all very well-attended and we were glad to be able to slip away from a quiet stand in order to hear them.

Laura and Anna putting their free conference umbrellas to good use

Aside from the packed academic schedule, delegates were treated to a drinks reception, Irish BBQ with traditional Irish music and dancing and a Gala Dinner, featuring a live band and welcoming dance floor. Needless to say, we returned home utterly exhausted from an excellent and enjoyable conference and already looking forward to the next one in Canada in 2019!


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