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Globalization, Culture, and the Changing Nature of Research – Diana Brydon draft Global Studies Conference

2011/07/13

Global Studies Conference 2011 http://onglobalisation.com/conference-2011/

Abstract Transnational literacies combine global consciousness with the development of competencies suitable for full participation in the knowledge society. They encompass the digital, multimodal, informational, and critical literacies associated with both traditional reading and writing skills and the range of new literacies required by evolving information technologies. We have selected transformational practices in the teaching of global English in universities and schools in Canada and Brazil as our key site of intervention.Both Brazil and Canada face challenges in their educational systems that we believe can be addressed through sharing best practices and research expertise. Global English, bilingualism, and multilingualism play different roles in each country, and the challenges they pose for the next generation are different. By working together, we hope to involve students, teachers and researchers in both countries in closer and more intensive trans-hemispheric exchange.

draft Brydon statement http://myuminfo.umanitoba.ca/Documents/4164/BrydonRioPaper.pdf excerpt below

By way of a recap: What is our project and how does it link to the concerns of this Global Studies conference? Neil has addressed the value of developing Brazil/Canada knowledge exchange in current contexts. We will be contributing our expertise to shaping the evolving hemispheric imaginary while reorienting South/North dialogue into more equitable systems of exchange. Walkyria, our co-director, has described our understanding of current Brazilian educational policy within global contexts and the challenges it poses us. Lynn Mario has introduced our  partner in this project, the Brazilian National Project in the Teaching of English  and how and why it is promoting what we mean by critical,, new, and transnational literacies. Roseanne has described some of the initiatives her group in Maceio is taking in partnership with the National Project and how that relates to our work within the “Brazil/Canada Knowledge Exchange: developing transnational literacies. ” It remains for me, as Director of the project, to sum up and open the floor to questions.

Goals
As you have heard, we are a new research program involving a partnership between universities, and between teachers, students, and researchers, in Canada and Brazil. Our goals are 1. To strengthen transnational literacy and cross-cultural understanding within and between Brazil and Canada;  2.To work with English teachers and teachers-in-training to integrate theory and practice, developing site-specific pedagogies appropriate to global challenges; 3.To advance understanding of how globalization is impacting education (at all levels)  in Canada and Brazil; 4. To advance the Brazil/Canada relationship; and 5. To contribute to understanding of how to make transnational, interdisciplinary partnerships work. What are transnational literacies and why do they matter?

What do we mean by “transnational literacies”?
It’s a blanket term for us to encompass the growing list of literacies seen tobe necessary for successful innovation in the global knowledge economy. To pluralize literacy is to recognize that older and often ethnocentric notions of literacy are being challenged by both technological changes and decolonizing initiatives. Literacy in the plural acknowledges the many ways in which people make meanings.In pluralizing literacy, we link our work to the “cognitive justice” movements associated with Latin American decolonial thinking and their critique of what Walter Mignolo has called the oppressive and Eurocentric dimensions of colonial modernity.

In modifying literacies with the adjective “transnational,” we refer to the fact that our lives are becoming global in ways that are changing our experience of what it means to be a national subject. Such changes in how we live our nationality do not, as some fear, necessarily erode our sense of national belonging and obligation. In fact, they may deepen it. But we do recognize that what the nation means for people and what it can do in a globalizing world are shifting. Brazilians and Canadians experience and express our national identities differently. Nonetheless, both countries face challenges that educational systems are being asked to address.

The nation’s role in education is currently under pressure globally. Our project is designed in the belief that Canada and Brazil can learn from each other in how we are choosing to meet these challenges. Together, we hold the potential to co-create the kind of pedagogical initiatives and educational reforms that will help our students learn for living successfully in our changing world.

“Transnational literacies,” as we conceive them, combine hemispheric awareness and global consciousness with the development of competencies suitable for full participation in the knowledgesociety. These literacies encompass the digital, multimodal, informational, visual, textual, and critical literacies associated with both traditional reading and writing skills and the range of new literacies required by evolving information technologies and new media platforms. All literacy works through language. Our approach to transnational literacy works through considering the changing role of global English and what it means to teach English in different local contexts, each of which engages the global in different ways.  Portuguese remains the national language of Brazil, the language of everyday life and cultural expression. But it is being joined by English in ways that make English itself a form of new and desirable literacy.

Context and Challenges
The case for building dialogue between Canada and Brazil has been well made and increasingly recognized by governments in both countries. We see this hemispheric turn as part of the regionalization initiatives that accompany globalization. The Canadian Council on Learning Report to Parliamentarians (2010) notes problems in the Canadian higher education sector when seen in global contexts, and identifies literacy as an issue of particular concern. Challenges facing education in Brazil have been widely described by national and global actors (eg. the World Bank Report 2003). Our project includes the 27 generic competencies identified in the Tuning Latin-America Project (Aboites 455) within the scope of transnational literacy, but through the critical lens we adopt, these competencies are expanded to emphasize the development of higher order thinking. This shift in pedagogical focus from conveying information to encouraging critical analysis and knowledge creation will be equally important for Canada and Brazil in the twenty-first century. Each country is beginning to make this shift in distinctive ways. Each can learn from the initiatives of the other.

We have selected transformational practices in the teaching of global English in universities and schools in Canada and Brazil as our key site of intervention because this is where English studies, cultural and globalization studies, applied linguistics and sociolinguistics, new media education and institutional restructuring in global higher education meet. Both Brazil and Canada face challenges in their educational systems that we believe can be addressed through sharing best practices and research expertise. Global English, bilingualism, and multilingualism play different roles in each country, and the challenges they pose for the next generation are different.  By working together, we hope to involve students, teachers and researchers in both countries in closer and more intensive trans-hemispheric exchange.

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