Reflections on Self-Studies Session 3, September 27, 2019


On Friday, September 27, Sara Yuen facilitated an informative session on Positionality as part of the BC TEAL and SIETAR BC series, “Self Studies in Language Instruction and Pedagogy series through an Intercultural and Racially Aware Lens.” A group of us joined together to discuss and share our experience of and thoughts around Positionality.  After introductions, Amea Wilbur led us through a short, guided meditation and then Sara shared an excerpt from The House on Mango Street about the stories of names. This opened up a discussion of how our own names are part of the complex structures of identity, positionality and intersectionality. 

We discussed the fluidity of our identities which vary from context to context and I think we all agreed that “we don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are,” (Talmud Bavli).  Our experiences shape who we are and it’s important to be aware of the roles power and privilege play in our interactions with each other.  Finally, we considered why positionality matters and how important it is to see its impact on our relationships with students, coworkers and others.  The session ended with a quote from Audre Lorde which reminded me of the constant need to evaluate our motivation for our actions and beliefs and why self-studies should include self-study!

“Certainly, there are very real differences between us of race, age and sex.  But it is not those differences between us that are separating us.  It is rather our refusal to recognize those differences, and to examine the distortions, which result from our misnaming them and their effects upon human behavior and expectation.

  • Jo-Ann Dykstra