Decentering Expected Voices and Visibilities through Connective Learning in a Feminist Transnational Bridging Pilot

  • Sarah York-Bertram York University
  • Marie Lovrod University of Saskatchewan
  • Lisa Krol University of Saskatchewan
Keywords: internationalization, bridging courses, feminist qualitative research, mutual mentoring, connective learning

Abstract

This paper outlines the learning opportunities that emerged when international students acquiring English for Academic Purposes joined Canadian undergraduates fluent in English for an Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies. Critical reflections provided by students, course facilitators, and the graduate student researcher were gathered through surveys, interviews, and focus groups that examined experiences of academic internationalization in feminist and language acquisition classrooms, co-designed to engage difference as a valuable resource in community and knowledge-building. Results included development of mutual mentoring relationships across a wide range of educational and cultural backgrounds; honing of international students’ English-language skills through structured, intentional learning opportunities with others fluent in English; deepening awareness of non-western and Indigenous contexts as sites of critical knowledge production; and evidence that international and local newcomers to university campuses have much to offer one another. For everyone involved, there were opportunities to reflect critically on both subject matter and pedagogies of community building; use accessible language to build connections; interrogate knowledge claims emerging from the many contexts that instructors and students brought with them into learning conversations; and practice collaborative knowledge-building by probing the effects of local and global power systems in the learning pathways of students, instructors and institutions.

Author Biographies

Sarah York-Bertram, York University

Sarah York-Bertram was graduate student researcher on this project and is currently a PhD candidate in York University’s Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies programme, where she researches gender and feminist history and affect theory. Sarah holds a Canada Graduate Scholarship, and her SSHRC-funded Master’s thesis won the 2013-2014 University of Saskatchewan Thesis Award in Humanities and Fine Arts

Marie Lovrod, University of Saskatchewan

Marie Lovrod (corresponding author), is associate professor and coordinator of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research addresses intersecting constructions of childhood, youth and aging, in the context of traumas/resiliencies produced as localized effects of global capitalization. She values inclusive communities of practice in research and learning.

Lisa Krol, University of Saskatchewan

Lisa Krol is the bridging coordinator for the Language Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. The Language Centre provides intensive English instruction for international students prior to undergraduate or graduate studies. Her M.Ed is in Special Education from the University of Saskatchewan.

Published
2017-06-23