I feel sympathy for Dr Kumaravadivelu. Like “The musician formerly known as Prince”, he name had devolved into a sentence that lazy people used rather than take the effort to work through the seven syllables. I think he was even introduced as “Dr Kumara…whose name I can’t pronounce”. I may have misremembered that but certainly everyone described him that way when mentioning his talks. Justin McNulty, who introduced Kumaravadivelu, was nearly the sole exception went out of his way to pronounce the man’s name repeatedly in his introduction. This prompted the man in front of me to mutter, “show off.”
This is especially ironic as his talk was about using language teaching to transport and share cultural beliefs and practices. Morrison, described (very) briefly in a previous post, discussed how Jin-hye comes to English class and becomes “Jenny” and how this is wrong. I think Kumaravadivelu would agree.
Um, that’s about all I have to say about Kumaravadivelu and his talk. It was moderately interesting but a little too ‘big-think’ for me. I did feel it was particularly appropriate for an Indian to discuss how English is a language of colonialism as well as globalism.
I was satisfied by his talk, even though I didn’t take any notes -nor for any of the plenary speakers; a problem I should rectify at the next conference.
Those among his students who use Rate-My-Teacher seem to find him an interesting speaker if not the best of teachers.