GISIG WEBINAR on 12th November, 2016

James Mitchell

Privilege, Power, and Intersectionality: Awareness of Ourselves in Our Teaching Practices

Abstract
Intersectionality, the study of how social identities (e.g., race, gender, class, sexuality) overlap, has only recently emerged as a topic of discussion in TESOL, and can aid teachers in their understanding of oppression, privilege, and power. This presentation will explore the basics of intersectionality, how it affects TESOL educators and their practices, the way in which English has been linked through history to the language of power and how teachers can bring this self-awareness into the language classroom.

Biodata
James D. Mitchell is an MA TESOL student at Portland State University (PSU) in Portland, Oregon. He has experience teaching EAP in the USA and Germany. His presentation and publication experience spans curriculum design, social justice, and LGBTQ+ topics in TESOL. Currently, he is a teaching assistant for the TESOL methods courses at PSU and is working on his thesis related to the relationship between gender and sexual identity and emotion and affect in language learning.

Julietta Schoenmann

Clothes to Die For

Abstract
Many of us adore fashion and love the way clothes have got cheaper over the last twenty years. But have you ever thought about who makes your clothes? What their working conditions are like? How much they get paid? And how you can raise awareness of the exploitation going on in the fashion industry with your students? This webinar will briefly explore the supply chain that transforms raw materials into the items we buy and suggests practical steps you can take to help your students question the practices that make their clothes so affordable.

Biodata
Julietta Schoenmann has been a language teacher and teacher trainer for over twenty years, working in state and language schools in China, Eritrea, Turkey, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. She has been training teachers and trainers in countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Serbia, Nigeria and Libya but also works on assignments such as developing materials for teachers and learners. Her educational interests include teacher development in low resourced environments and promoting learner engagement in the classroom.

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9 Responses to GISIG WEBINAR on 12th November, 2016

  1. Bill Templer November 21, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

    This interview with Halima (in Bengali, trans. into English), a child laborer in the garment industry in Bangladesh, was included in the article that my Thai colleague Phuangphet and I published in HLT, it has a lot of material on child labor, here Halima: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTIfY9SmJdA This the kind of interview that can be an eLesson Inspiration type focus, with a lesson plan that deals with an actual victim of this indusry.

    Our HLT article 2011: http://www.hltmag.co.uk/aug11/mart02.htm

    People can have affordable, durable, relatively fashionable clothing in a socialist economy, that was proven in some parts of Eastern Europe (perhaps not all) 30 years ago — if clothing is not made for profit, with no greed-driven middlepeople and no exploitation at the workers’ base level. It could also be to a careful extent outsourced in a world socialist economy, but not a capitalist one. A rational, not an irrationally organized economy such as nearly all of us live in today. I think these are points that have to be developed and stressed in working with students. Of course, some will disagree.

  2. Julietta Schoenmann November 21, 2016 at 6:34 pm #

    Thanks very much for the link to the interview Bill – and the link to your article too. Why not present an alternative to the capitalist model that our students have grown up with and presumably assume to be normal with no alternative way of managing our national economies? I think it’s a movement that’s gaining traction and just needs a few more big hitters to start making a noise about it and then change may start to happen. Our system is failing so many at the moment that it seems to be broken whether we agree with it or not. I’ve just started reading Paul Mason’s Post-Capitalism (https://www.ft.com/content/adfaf156-39cb-11e5-8613-07d16aad2152) so might be able to tell you more when I’ve covered a few more chapters…..!

    • Bill Templer November 22, 2016 at 10:45 pm #

      I think one intriguing bridge to the future via the past is getting students to reflect on the world their parents, grandparents and many of their teachers grew up in in socialist Eastern Europe before the Cold War was lost. This generally is not being done in East European syllabi and classrooms.

      Yet whatever the system was — state-capitalist, authoritarian Leninist one-party dictatorial socialism and ‘worker oppression’, the rocky road under Cold War constraints to proto-communism, with many social and cultural achievements, and many areas of production not for profit, a whole core of de-commodification (the ‘ad-free commodity world’), and indeed de-monetizing of many services — it was a quite different organization of economy and society, yes and of solidarity and community. Even among teachers on the job. And, for example, quality control of food production, a much-lamented loss in Bulgaria which I have long been trying to understand. Many people nostalgic for the old socialist sausage, socialist yoghurt, socialist biscuits, socialist restaurants, you name it.

      Teachers where I am are careful not to speak positively about any aspect of the socialist world they knew intimately from the inside, its pluses, perceived minuses, lack of supposed ‘freedom’ — striking differences from the mess of gross inequality and contradictions we have today, euphemistically called in Bulgaria the ‘transition’ the преход (to even G’d doesn’t know what).

      Yet many teachers are remarkable storehouses of personal experience growing up in ‘state socialism’ that their own pupils, yes and even their own kids, are quite ignorant of. What was exemplary? And why? Why was the health care system 8 to 10 times better in 1980 than today in Bulgaria, in most Russian towns? A fact certainly where I am. Why was electricity fully affordable, largely in a sense demonetized, for all? Today I got an electric bill for the past month that is 30% of my wife’s net monthly salary, and winter has not yet arrived. On and on.

      You get my point. This is tapping ordinary people’s actual experiences (and narratives) for what they’re worth, specifically in the mental ruins of post-socialist classrooms. It is in part grassroots working-class oral history. But it is also ‘lived history’ that can tell younger learners about some alternatives that actually can work. And did work. Of course, in the UK, US, much of Latin America, other approaches are more germane.

    • Eve January 3, 2017 at 9:00 am #

      It’s a pleasure to find such ratoniality in an answer. Welcome to the debate.

  3. Patricia Santos November 22, 2016 at 12:13 am #

    Great reflections! Thanks for sharing this wonderful food for thought and fuel for action!

  4. Bill Templer December 31, 2016 at 5:04 pm #

    This is a new feature report on sweatshops and wage slavery in the Brazilian garment industry in Sao Paulo — very striking, primarily poor Bolivian migrant workers: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/latin-america-investigates/2016/12/brazil-slaves-fashion-161229063654192.html The video involves detailed investigative reporting.

  5. Bill Templer February 6, 2017 at 10:22 am #

    This on Bangladesh garment workers (from LabourStart):

    At least 11 garment union leaders and activists have been detained in Bangladesh in an alarming step backwards for workers’ rights and democracy in the country.

    Security forces have raided the houses of trade union leaders and volunteers, and many have gone into hiding in fear of their safety.

    Trade union offices in Dhaka have been invaded, vandalized and forcibly shut down, with membership documents burned and furniture removed.

    Support these workers by taking a moment to sign our petition and help fight to end the attack on garment workers:

    https://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=3310

    And please share this message with your friends, family and fellow union members.

    Thank you.

    Eric Lee
    LabourStart http://www.labourstart.org

    • Bill Templer March 2, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

      In a follow-up re Bangladesh,

      The 35 Bangladeshi unionists and garment workers arrested since December last year have all been released, following an international campaign led by IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union. Over 10,742 of you signed the online campaign on LabourStart, making it one of our largest campaigns this year.

      IndustriALL Global Union General Secretary Valter Sanches welcomed the decision to release the jailed activists: “We have seen an incredible show of global solidarity and this is an important victory for garment workers in Bangladesh, sending a strong message to the country’s industry to enter into a constructive dialogue with the trade unions. The issue that sparked the crackdown on unions at the end of last year still remains. We will continue to support the fight for higher wages and will closely monitor the situation until all charges are dropped.”

      IndustriALL has produced a very short video showing how successful this campaign was. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwoBm0YM8vE&feature=youtu.be

      LabourStart is very pleased to have played a role in this great victory for the garment workers of Bangladesh.

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