Decentering Expected Voices and Visibilities through Connective Learning in a Feminist Transnational Bridging Pilot
Keywords:internationalization, bridging courses, feminist qualitative research, mutual mentoring, connective learning
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.
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