Friday, January 29, 2010

"There is Something Furtive"

Suresh Canagarajah's 2007 article, "There is Something Furtive About the Behavior of Evangelicals in TESOL," touches on themes later discussed in his chapters of Christian and Critical Language Educators in Dialogue -- which should be required ready for any MATESOL student at a religious institution. The whole article is worth a read.

Perhaps we should propose a semantic shift and ask that our critics change their pejorative terms for a positive experience. Evangelical teachers are not being furtive, stealthy, deceptive, and separatist. They periodically bond together and recharge themselves in safe houses for a very social/public mission that is holistic, integrated, embedded, all pervading, deeply ingrained, transformative—in short, incarnational.

P.S. Looking at a review of the book Controversies in Applied Linguistics, I came across this quote:

No doubt Phillipson would argue that the dominant threat of linguistic imperialism is such a vital issue in the world today that adopting a measured, respectful approach is not appropriate and that it is only by aggressively attacking those who are perceived to be defending this hegemony of English that one can hope to achieve anything in the struggle against the new imperialism. I remain unconvinced.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chinese School - BBC 4 Documentary

Filmed in 2008 (the only full calendar year I was in China!) in Anhui province.

Caught an episode on TV yesterday and plan to watch the rest ASAP!

Sometimes TESOL feels like

white academics arguing with each other about what's best for poor people in other countries.

CE/CR idea

China English and Contrastive Rhetoric: The Challenge to (non-Chinese / Western) ESL Writing Teachers.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Notes on Fulbright to China

2-3 years of studying Mandarin at the college level required!

Host institutions for Education
Anhui Normal
Beijing Normal
Huazhong Normal (Wuhan)
Nanjing Normal
NE Normal (Changchun)
SWU (Chongqing)
NW Normal (Lanzhou)
Sichuan Normal (Chengdu)

Hosts for Linguistics (maybe not suitable for my project)
B Lg & Culture U

Years of Chinese lg study required to be considered for Critical Lg Enhancement Award: 2

The equivalent of one year of college-level language study includes but is not limited to:
a summer of intensive language study,
two semesters of study (audited or for credit)
or a year of private tutoring.
A typical academic year is 9 months (36 weeks). A typical language course is 3-5 hours per week or 108-180 hours per academic year of language instruction.

Applicants may not count use of Rosetta Stone, conversational “language exchange” or web-based/distance learning classes as part of their one year of study. Study outside of the above mentioned categories will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Super in-depth fine print on the CLEA:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2011-2012 ideas

2011 is the year I plan to start my PhD research in China. Aside from the fact that the project is still really nebulous, here are some thoughts on things I (might) want to do during that time.

July - August: Lead a team for Amity Foundation's Summer English Program (volunteer English teacher to middle school English teachers in rural areas). This would be really cool, but Sarah is not keen on teaching, so trying to figure out how we could swing it.

August 23 - 28: AILA, Beijing

Sept - January (or entire schoolyear): Research based at a Chinese university.

Here's where it gets sketchy -- which university? Some options....

- Get my old job at Zhejiang University (or even Shaoxing!?)
- Go to one of UBC's partner universities:
Shanghai Jiaotong
Uni. of Nottingham Ningbo (already know some people there)
- UBC also has some partners in Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong (didn't know much about their Eng ed/applx, but see that they do focus on World Englishes and have some well-known faculty) and Hong Kong University. The latter has a well-established research unit on English Education in China - could be an awesome place to be based, but not sure about the cost of living. Good thing about HK is their academic year matches up with UBC's, but Chinese universities don't.

Anyway! This is just the beginning. If I had to rank my preferences at this moment:

1. HKU
3. ZJU
5. Fudan/Peking/SHJT

- UBC scholarships from research office
- Fulbright? (Look into this) Would change the possible host institutions.
- Does the Chinese gov't give any money to stuff like this? Look into it
- RA for my profs research projects in China (Duff, Shi)
- Work PT at whichever university I go to (would have to be FT to get accommodation at ZJU, not sure if working for accommodation $ is the same at all these places) - would be great to get some undergrad courses at an EMI institution in Asia

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Phillipson on Nottingham

One wonders how it can be that monolinguals are seen as experts in second language acquisition. I fear that this foundational principle is carried over into the export of English-medium universities worldwide. Thus the University of Nottingham’s subsidiaries – its campuses in Malaysia and at Ningbo, China - give the clear impression that what is being exported, even in degrees in such subjects as Education, English, Applied Linguistics, and Content and Language Integrated Learning, is not only the British English medium but also British content. The Ningbo website proclaims: ‘All undergraduate and postgraduate programmes …. are conducted entirely in English with the same teaching and evaluation standards as at the University of Nottingham, UK.’ Can this really be considered culturally, linguistically or pedagogically appropriate in Asia, with teachers either from Nottingham or controlled by Nottingham? If such campuses are a meeting-place for UK expertise and Asian needs and realities, is the interaction uni-directional, or open and reciprocal, and how is the project being implemented and perceived?
-Robert Phillipson, from "Disciplines of English and disciplining by English" in the Asian EFL Journal, Dec 2009.

Duly noted. As far as I know, of the 4 professors in the English Studies unit at Ningbo, only one is "monolingual" in the way Phillipson means, which seems like a good thing for sure; of the 50 or so tutors in the first-year EAP program, many are English monolinguals, but a fair number are not.

It's interesting to compare this setup to a place like Shantou University's English Language Centre, which has an equal number of "foreign" and "local" teachers and is set up so that both groups work together. That system seems more amenable to the "open and reciprocal" ideal Phillipson favors. Then again, I'm willing to bet a degree from Nottingham holds a lot more cache in China than a degree from Shantou does. I'm not arguing for or against anything here, I just think it's kind of interesting to see the different models for ELT or English-medium education that are emerging in China now. I'd love to learn about others as well, but these two are the ones I'm most familiar with.

Finally, the bold text above (my emphasis) is an example of why I can never get 100% on board with Phillipson, even when I agree with the general thrust of his arguments.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Conferences 2010 and beyond

TESOL (March 21-27) - Doctoral Forum poster session accepted, professional development scholarship awarded (free registration for conference and pre-conference institutes), but flying to Boston is not cheap. Not sure I'll attend and have to make up my mind by Jan 21. ACCEPTED! (BUT GOT SICK AND MISSED MY PRESENTATION.)

EMP Pop Conference (April 15 - 18) - submitted abstract in Dec, will hear back in Jan. I have been rejected by these guys 3 or 4 times and would really, really like to make it this year. REJECTED! AS ALWAYS!

BC TEAL (April 30 - May 1) - Got a cool idea for a worshop on world Englishes and professional development which I'm sure would be accepted, but not sure I'd have time to do it. Still, it's after spring courses end, so maybe I should go for it....ACCEPETED!

IAWE (July 25-27). I'm on the committee (it's in Vancouver), and am scheming a paper with a classmate. Deadline FEB 28. ACCEPTED!

AILA 2011 (in Beijing, August 2011) - Brainstorming China English stuff - was thinking about trying to do a panel but not sure it's possible. Deadline Feb 28 (Actually Feb 27 in USA). ACCEPTED!


Anyone know where the myth that this song is meant to represent "what American English sounds like to foreigners" or whatever? Seems a little fishy. Is this idea that far removed from saying that Chinese sounds like "ching chang chong," which is to say, it's totally wrong?

The song is pretty great, though.