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Transnational literacies and mobile English imaginaries: rethinking the Canada/Brazil relation

2011/03/16

Abstract and paper (pdf) to be delivered at a Seminar on Teacher Education and English Language Teaching [UFSergipe] April 18-20

I Seminário sobre Formação de Professores e Ensino de Língua Inglesa

I Seminário sobre Formação de Professores e Ensino de Língua Inglesa

Transnational literacies comprise a key component of the multiliteracies approach that responds to the rapidly developing new information technologies that are changing the ways we store, access and assess information and create knowledge. They involve more than the kinds of cross-cultural competencies increasingly prioritized by business and government. The full potential of transnational literacies only begins to be realized when the current knowledge/power structures of educational systems and language and identity practices are studied for the under-examined values they carry and assumptions they perpetuate within specific locations.  When those assumptions are examined in their multiple contexts, they may need to contested, revised, or developed to place them more fully in service of the communities involved. The task of revising such assumptions (which drive educational and technological practices alike) cannot be done at a theoretical level alone. It will involve two more steps:  firstly, analysis of the local situation, its history and current needs, its place in the global system, and the hopes of its constituents for the future; and secondly, experimentation in developing new literacies more appropriate to the current situation of the teachers and researchers involved. The Brazilian National Project and the Canada/Brazil partnership project developing in parallel with it, are working to advance this agenda. Given the current importance of English as a global language, these projects recognize that it is useful to develop transnational literacies through analyzing the past and current trajectories of global English and their role in constructing both national imaginaries and the more mobile imaginaries (transnational, global, diasporic, postcolonial) that characterize our global times. In this paper, after defining what I mean by an imaginary, I consider three imaginaries that set some of the contexts through which global English circulates today, before returning to the importance of developing transnational literacies, which can help people shape the changing rules that govern their lives.

The full paper in pdf is available for comment now and is being translated into Portuguese for delivery.

This first seminar seeks to consolidate the work of teachers of English around the department’s research project focused on training teachers of English in Sergipe. The event will thus bring together researchers working on similar issues in Brazil and abroad, especially those linked to the New National Literacy Project, based at the University of São Paulo.

 The conference is organized by Vanderlei J. Zacchi, Federal University of Sergipe, an Adjunct Associate of the Centre. Vanderlei was a Visiting Associate from March 15 to September 15 2008 and is contiuning as an adjunct associate in the National and Global Imaginaries Research Custer

Link to Seminário sobre Formação de Professores e Ensino de Língua Inglesa (I SEFELI)

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