Narratives of Language Learning and Identity Construction of Plurilingual Well-Educated Immigrants in Quebec: Pedagogical Implications  

Friday, March 17, 2023 14:30to16:00

Narratives of Language Learning and Identity Construction of Plurilingual Well-Educated Immigrants in Quebec: Pedagogical Implications

Date: Friday March 17th, 2023
Time: 2:30 to 4:00 pm

This talk is based on a study that explores the trajectories of skilled and well-educated immigrants, and their investment in language learning, identity construction, and integration in Montreal. Many immigrants to Quebec are well-educated and know multiple languages. Their plurilingual repertoires are further developed when they learn French and English in Quebec. The study investigated the experiences of ten plurilingual immigrants as regards their expectations and concerns through their investment in language and integration.

The findings revealed that participants perceived plurilingualism (after migration to Quebec) as cultural capital, providing a sense of empowerment and resulting in the privilege of gaining easy acceptance in the new society and its labour market. Their unsuccessful employment scenarios and social adaptation, however, disproved (or challenged) an earlier assumption.

Overall, examining participants’ narratives brought out three themes which principally guided data collection:

  1. Investing in language learning strategies and cultural capital
  2. Re-negotiating multiple identities in mobility
  3. Expressing a desire for greater social receptiveness.

The study has elucidated how immigrants’ linguistic and social integration into the economic and sociocultural fabric of Quebec can be more seamlessly achieved. The implications of the study for language teaching and learning will be discussed.

About Mehdi Babaei, PhD Faculty Lecturer McGill Writing Centre

Mehdi Babaei is a Faculty Lecturer at the McGill Writing Centre. Since 2014, Mehdi has taught undergraduate and graduate academic writing and various language courses at McGill's Faculty of Education, School of Continuing Studies, and the McGill Writing Centre. With a PhD in Educational Studies, Second Language Education, Mehdi has contributed to research on prior learning and assessment recognition, language and identity issues amongst plurilingual immigrants, and reflective teaching practices. Mehdi has been an active member of a Montreal research group called BILD (Belonging, Identity, Language and Diversity), to which he has been a regular contributor through publishing blog posts.

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