Monique Bournot-Trites

Prospective Graduate Students / Postdocs

This faculty member is currently not actively recruiting graduate students or Postdoctoral Fellows, but might consider co-supervision together with another faculty member.

Associate Professor

Research Classification

Bilingualism and Multilingualism
Teaching and Learning Systems

Research Interests

French immersion
Language Assessment
Intercultural communication

Relevant Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters


Research Methodology

quantitative approach
qualitative approach

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Nov 2019)
Plurilingual and pluricultural subject positioning of plurilingual students in a Francophone minority school in British Columbia (2017)

In this qualitative case study, I explored the process of identity construction of plurilingual students attending a Francophone minority school in British Columbia. Using a theoretical framework informed by a sociocultural perspective on literacies (Barton & Hamilton, 2000; Street, 1984), positioning theories of identity (Davies & Harré, 1990; Blackledge & Pavlenko, 2001), plurilingualism and pluricultural competence (Marshall & Moore, 2013; Moore, 2006), and multimodality (Cope & Kalantzis, 2000; Kress, 2000a, 2000b), I investigated how focal students negotiated multiple subject positions as plurilingual and pluricultural in the context of literacy events in a classroom. My analysis focused on their use of linguistic and cultural resources in their oral interactions, and on their use of modes of representation in their digital multimodal texts. I gathered data through ethnographic methods, and I also collected multimodal digital texts. My analysis of literacy events allowed for identification of “moments of positioning” as plurilingual and pluricultural, in which students activated some of their linguistic and cultural resources, and/or modes of representation to negotiate multiple subject positions. This study of moments of positioning provides a close analysis of factors inhibiting the expression and recognition of some subject positions as legitimate in the classroom. For instance, the monolingual school Discourse – with an upper case D, as conceptualized by Gee (1996, 2001, 2005) – may limit the negotiation of plurilingual and pluricultural subject positions. This study makes significant contributions to research on identity in the fields of literacy and language learning, and in the research on identity in Francophone minority schools. It shows how a Discourse might lead students to express some of their subject positions in their classroom setting, and not others. My analysis of moments of positioning supports current poststructuralist views of identity as dynamic, fluid, and performed in interactions and adds to research demonstrating that subject positions are not stable entities negotiated once and acquired forever (Blackledge & Pavlenko, 2001). In the field of research on multimodality, my research adds to the literature arguing that multimodality can be a powerful tool that children can use when they create texts in which they negotiate subject positions.

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Authenticating "non-native speaker teacher" professional identity in French as a second language (FSL) education (2013)

This qualitative multiple case study considered language teacher identity and what it means to “be authentic” as a teacher of French. It investigated the identity construction of 87 French as a second language (FSL) teachers from British Columbia who participated in a two-week professional development sojourn to France in 2009. The study examined how participants described their experiences abroad in relation to their teaching practices in Canada, and how these accounts made evident particular understandings of cultural and linguistic authenticity. The analysis focused on the way participants’ narratives served to authenticate (Bucholtz, 2003) L2 teacher identity and how conceptions of authentic language and L2 learning and teaching represented both constraining and productive ways of “being” a certain kind of FSL teacher.Broadly situated within a practice theory framework, FSL teacher identity was firstconsidered through a wide-scale analysis of data from the larger cohort of BC teachers, followed by a micro-analytic examination of individual processes of identification “performed” by sevenfocal participants. The analyses highlighted the extent to which the “FSL teacher” category, grounded in a “native speaker” ideology, ultimately informed the identity constructions of eachindividual teacher. The various identity positionings manifested by focal participants shed light on a complex of language ideologies relevant in discourses operating within the FSL professionin Canada with implications for what it means to be practicing as “non-native speaker teacher” inthis context.Given current empirical emphasis on the sociolinguistic and cultural aspects of languagelearning and teaching (Firth & Wagner, 1997; Lafford, 2007), the present study answers a recentcall in applied linguistics for a more rigorous analysis of identity which moves away from theidea of identity as a simple collection of essentialist categories (Dervin & Kramsch, 2011). It does so by foregrounding a discursive-constructionist orientation and attending to theinteractional nature of identity construction, along with a thoroughgoing consideration ofresearcher reflexivity. The study makes significant contributions to applied linguistics research inthe areas of study abroad, L2 teacher development and identity, and the workings of prevalentideologies informing L2 language teaching and research.

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Predictors of grade 3 French immersion students' reading comprehension : the role of morphological awareness, vocabulary and second language cultural knowledge (2009)

Research findings point to reading comprehension as an important mediator of academic achievement for French immersion students (Hogan, Caffs, & Little, 2005). This research investigated the best predictors of word reading and reading comprehension in French as a second language in 72 Grade 3 students of an early French immersion programme. The present research is based on Bemhardt’s (2005) model of second language reading, which views reading comprehension as an interactive-compensatory process. Four main questions guided this program of study: (1) What is the best predictor of word reading among phonological awareness, spelling, verbal working memory, vocabulary and morphological awareness in Grade 3 French immersion students? (2) What is the best predictor of reading comprehension amongphonological awareness, spelling, verbal working memory, vocabulary and morphological awareness in Grade 3 French immersion students? (3) What is the relative role of second language cultural knowledge compared to phonological awareness, spelling, verbal working memory, vocabulary and morphological awareness in Grade 3 French immersion students’ reading comprehension? and (4) What do French immersion Grade 3 students perceive as different in a culturally less and more familiar text that affected their reading comprehension and which cultural context do they prefer and why? Results from hierarchical regression analyses showed that phonological awareness and spelling predicted word reading, whereas morphological awareness predicted readingcomprehension of isolated sentences. Reading comprehension of a narrative text with morefamiliar cultural emphasis was predicted by receptive vocabulary (EVIP). Readingcomprehension of a narrative text with less familiar cultural emphasis was predicted by second language cultural knowledge, followed by morphological awareness. However, participantsperceived the culturally more familiar passage easier and perceived the culturally less familiarpassage as more engaging. Thus, results from the study appear to confirm that reading is an interactive compensatory process. Several theoretical, pedagogical and programme development implications are drawnfrom the present research.

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Reading foreign language websites : a qualitative investigation of students' reading strategies in German (2008)

In this qualitative study based on constructivist learning theory, nine intermediate level university students of German were observed as they read foreign language texts on the Internet. Through observations, as well as think-aloud protocols and semi-structured interviews, the study identified Internet reading strategies the students used, and determined the difficulties they encountered in Internet reading activities. The observed strategies were related to four different types of reading tasks the students had to complete and to the language levels of the students. The four task types included: (a) scanning for specific information, (b) skimming and summary writing, (c) detailed reading and text comparison, and (d) observing linguistic phenomena in a text.The research questions arose from the observation that, while the Internet has a positive influence on motivation, independent learning and cultural understanding (Alm-Lequeux, 2001; Brandl, 2002; Chapelle, 2000; Lee, 1997), the literature also talks of frustration on the part of the students, and of students being overwhelmed by foreign language Internet pages (Kubota, 1999; Rüschoff & Wolff, 1999; Shetzer & Warschauer, 2000). This frustration is hypothesized to be due to the fact that Internet texts are authentic texts written for readers in the target culture, and have not been adjusted to the linguistic and cultural knowledge level of foreign language students. There is still little empirical research on the specific ways students deal with these difficulties while completing Internet reading tasks. The present study was carried out with the aim of shedding light on the Internet reading process for pedagogical purposes. The think-aloud technique of data collection permitted a deeper understanding and a more precise description of this special type of reading than would have been possible with interviews alone. The data analysis revealed eight key factors playing a role in foreign language Internet reading: course performance level, background knowledge, motivation, strategic reading, computer skills, problem-solving style, hypertext structure, and type of task. These factors lead to pedagogical implications for designing suitable Internet tasks for foreign language students, and for scaffolding the foreign language Internet reading process.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Investigating teachers perceptions of the usefulness of Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA) in Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) programme (2017)

The growing tendency towards student-centred communicative approach to language pedagogy has given rise to alternative modes of assessment such as Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA), which is compatible with student-centred SLA theories and pedagogical practices in ESL classrooms (e.g., Fox, 2014; Ripley, 2012). In Canada, since 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has allocated funding to different projects across the country to implement PBLA as an assessment tool in the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) programme.Since language assessment tools have a remarkable role in determining learners’ progress through the LINC programme, and due to the significant impact of assessment tools on newcomers’ professional and educational possibilities in Canada, this study investigated instructors’ perceptions of the usefulness, challenges and benefits of PBLA in the LINC programme. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with ten LINC instructors who have been using PBLA for at least three months. Data were analyzed drawing on Bachman and Palmer’s (1996) concept of test usefulness (validity, reliability, authenticity, interactiveness, impact and practicality) as a theoretical framework for the study. The findings showed that although PBLA has numerous benefits for language learners, when it comes to its implementation, it presents many challenges for LINC teachers. Some of these challenges include: Challenges in developing real-life, CLB-aligned instructional and assessment tasks, difficulties in assessing portfolios and providing feedback, etc. According to the participants, PBLA is better to be used for formative assessment rather than summative assessment. In terms of test usefulness framework, according to the findings, validity and reliability of PBLA as a summative assessment tool is questionable. Regarding authenticity and interactiveness, except for teachers who were teaching lower CLB levels other teachers found PBLA an authentic and interactive method of assessment. As for the students, based on the findings, positive impacts of PBLA on learners’ lives outweigh potential negative impacts. Finally, concerning the practicality of PBLA, a number of issues regarding PBLA implementation were raised. It should be noted that since I had a small number of research participants, the findings of this study may not be generalized to other LINC instructors and LINC programmes across Canada.

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Motivation in Tandem Language Learning (2014)

At a time when an increasing focus on multilingual and multicultural competencies is recognized globally, educational institutions are faced with the challenge of internationalizing their student bodies. It is no longer sufficient to limit language learning opportunities to the traditional grammar or oral-practice classroom, and shrinking budgets have demanded new ways to expose language-learners to their target language in an economical way. At the same time, the need to build intercultural competencies and personal relationships between domestic and international students has necessitated new and creative solutions. One of these solutions is tandem learning, a language learning model that subverts the traditional teacher-student dynamic by having all participants play the role of both expert and learner. This study addresses the biographical makeup, motivations, perceptions of self-efficacy, and self-regulated learning strategies of participants in a university tandem language learning program. Participants, who meet weekly to learn each other’s’ languages, completed a pre- and post-survey assessing various aspects of their language learning beliefs and practices. A small number of participants also completed in-person interviews. The data gathered were analyzed through frequency analysis, descriptive statistics, and thematic coding. The theoretical frameworks used in this study were the socio-educational model, perceived self-efficacy, and self-regulated learning.Results showed that participants are, on average, younger and more international than the rest of the institution’s student body. They are also more likely to be from an East Asian country than the average international student. Results also show that participants commonly join the program in order to improve their oral/aural proficiency as well as develop friendships with members of the target language community, but that they do not always practice effective goal-setting strategies or expend the effort necessary to realize their goals. At the end of the program, participants reported positive feelings toward tandem learning due to their relationships with their partners, the low-anxiety environment in which the program was held, and their beliefs that their language proficiency was improving.

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Voices within the Canadian mosaic: Japanese immigrant women and their chidren's heitage language socialization (2013)

This research collected and documented the voices of six Japanese immigrant mothers married to Canadian men who are trying to raise their children to speak Japanese in Metro Vancouver, B.C. Through in-depth, open-ended individual interviews of intermarried Japanese immigrant mothers, the study attempted to examine the meaning of their experiences with regard to their children’s heritage language (HL) socialization. The mothers’ motivations, hopes, practices, challenges, and feelings were examined revealing the complexity and intricacies of their experiences.The results demonstrated that intermarried Japanese mothers who wish to transmit their language onto their children because they view Japanese language skills as beneficial to their children and as an important tool for communication and to foster relationships between them, their children and their family in Japan. The children’s HL socialization was found to be a part of the mother’s ‘work’, and their attitudes and practices regarding their HL transmission project varied depending on how they were affected by various factors; such as public discourse, the ideology surrounding bilingualism, motherhood and the Japanese language, their personality and the role they take up within their family. The mother’s experiences in HL transmission were loaded with emotional moments as they balanced various competing demands and managed the pressure to meet the ‘good mother’ standard. However, some mothers also felt pleasure and empowerment through their role of HL transmitter. The data suggests that children’s HL socialization shifts mothers’ social networks and language use as well as their identities towards a Japanese orientation leading to an evolution and re-affirmation of their Japanese self.

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Effects of peer tutoring in reading for boys in French immersion (2012)

Inspired by concern for the low motivation for reading in French of boys in French immersion programs, a study was undertaken in an elementary school in Vancouver, British Columbia, in the form of a reading intervention program. The program consisted of a peer tutoring reading group for French immersion males where the tutors were Grade 7 boys and the tutees were Grade 5 boys. The program was based on the Peer Tutoring Literacy Program™ for French Immersion Schools, which was used successfully in Elementary schools in Vancouver. Students met with their partners every week and read together French texts that were especially selected for boys. In addition to increasing motivation for reading, a number of other outcomes were examined: Whether the program would encourage more home reading in French, whether the program would increase the confidence of the tutees, the effect of the gender of the tutors and any effects that the tutoring program had on the Grade 7 tutors. Data were collected in the formof questionnaires (pre-and post-program), and interviews. The results suggest that, overall, motivation for reading in French and confidence in French reading abilities of the tutees increased but that the role of gender was not as significant as anticipated. Effects on the Grade 7tutors were minimal.

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Perceptions of success and support by refugee adolescent students and school saff (2011)

This ethnography was conducted in a sheltered literacy class for adolescent refugee students with interrupted schooling at a high school in Vancouver, B.C. A review of the literature identified a shortage of studies in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) dealing specifically with this population of students, particularly within a Canadian context. The review also identified that literature dealing more generally with refugee students and their schooling experiences did so from a deficiency-based perspective. Finally, it was noted that scholarly publications in TESL over the past several decades have operationalized success predominantly as academic achievement; arguably, this has potentially led to overlooking other forms of accomplishments. In response to the gaps identified in the literature, the present study sought to focus specifically on the perceived successes and support systems by one class of refugee students with interrupted schooling and school staff in a Canadian context. It also aimed to explore alternative ways of understanding success in school which goes beyond academics. Data was collected from twelve students and eight school staff members through semi-structured interviews and observation notes collected by the researcher over a period of ten months. The findings of the study were interpreted through the lens of Urie Bronfenbrenner’s (1979, 2005) ecological theory which situates positive human development within context, as well as the construct of resiliency and poststructuralist view of identity. The first main finding was that most participants did not speak about success as academic achievement, but rather as integration in school life, feeling competent, and forming relationships. A second finding was that while the staff members perceived the students as experiencing success in school, the student participants were hesitant to describe themselves as ‘good’ students. A third finding was that at this particular school, there existed a network of multiple and interconnected support systems which bolstered the students’ perceived successes and were bi-directional in impact.

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Teaching for social justice in the high school Spanish classroom: perspectives and practices (2011)

Talk of social justice is increasingly common in the educational context of British Columbia as well as in the academic literature on education. However, specific examples of how teachers of subjects other than English and Social Studies are taking up a social justice discourse are sparse. Specifically, there is very little written on such approaches to teaching Spanish as an additional language. This exploratory research therefore aimed to understand the extent to which high school Spanish teachers in British Columbia are incorporating social justice education into their pedagogies and curricula. Through online questionnaires sent to Spanish teachers across the province, interviews with seven of these teachers, and four sets of classroom observations, the study explored perspectives on social justice education, classroom practices that evidenced a commitment to such pedagogy, and the perceived obstacles to teaching for social justice in the high school Spanish classroom.It was found that teachers espoused a variety of definitions of social justice education but that the overwhelming majority believed in the importance of such approaches in the Spanish classroom. They evidenced an inspiring array of practices aimed at promoting social justice that could be seen as either educating about social justice, through curricula and classroom discussions, or for social justice, through democratic and anti-oppressive methodologies. It was found that many of these practices could serve to counter each of the five faces of oppression described by Young (1990): exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. Unfortunately, many obstacles to social justice education were also noted, including a lack of support and resources. This study demonstrates that there is a strong interest in bringing social justice education into the high school Spanish classroom but that more must be done to support teachers in this endeavour.

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The effects of tiered corrective feedback on second language academic writing (2010)

The impact that corrective feedback (CF) has on second language (L2) writing has garnered significant attention in the field of second language acquisition (SLA). The many varieties of written CF available mean that while there is comfort in the potential options, there is often confusion in the choice; teachers still struggle to implement the most effective method of responding to students’ writing and students still struggle to effectively implement the feedback. This study reports on the effects of tiered focused metalinguistic CF on the reduction of grammatical errors in 39 intermediate adult ESL students’ academic writing at a major Canadian university. Student’s t-tests for paired samples were used to measure the influence of CF on the reduction of targeted error, and a repeated measures design was used to calculate the between-subject effects of the CF treatment to determine the result of feedback versus no feedback on the different dependent variables. Using a theoretical framework based on Vygotsky and Piaget’s social and cognitive constructivism, this thesis valued the role of self-discovery in the implementation of corrective feedback. This study also used questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to inquire into students’ feelings and perceptions regarding the feedback process. Data from the quantitative statistics suggest that the corrective feedback used in this study resulted in a reduction of targeted error and that this reduction was statistically significant. Results also indicate that as the corrective feedback lessened in focus it appears to have lessened in effectiveness. Finally, this thesis concludes with suggestions for further research and a discussion of the quantitative and qualitative findings. The results demonstrate that the feedback treatment outperformed no feedback in statistically significant ways, although the students reported with high frequency their distaste regarding the type of CF used in this study.

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