Casey Burkholder became invested in the notion of citizenship and belonging from an early age, growing up in Canada’s North. Because her family moved frequently (from Edmonton to Red Deer to St. Albert to Fort Smith to Calgary to Winnipeg), and because as an adult she has lived in Wolfville, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Calgary, Charlottetown and Montreal, she has often struggled to answer the question, “Where are you from?” At Casey’s first teaching job at a public school in Hong Kong, she taught ‘non-Chinese’ ethnic minority youth. During her two years as a classroom teacher, she saw her students systematically excluded from school activities and language instruction, and watched as many students were pushed out of the school. She wondered about the difference between the Hong Kong government’s policy to include ethnic minority youth in schools, and their lived experiences. This question served as the foundation for Casey’s Master of Arts work, which she undertook in Educational Studies at Concordia University. In her doctoral work at McGill University’s Department of Integrated Studies in Education, Casey is embarking on a study that includes an analysis of the representations of ethnic minorities’ histories and cultures in Social Studies textbooks, and an action-oriented project of creating youth-led responses to these representations with cellphone videos (cellphilms). In her teaching practice at the post-secondary level at Concordia, McGill and the University of PEI, Casey infuses her teaching practices with the need to include, explore and represent multiple perspectives of history, belonging, and citizenship.
Heather Phipps is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. Heather’s research interests in early childhood literacy and curriculum studies have emerged from her prior experiences as a French immersion Kindergarten teacher in Alberta and an ESL elementary teacher in Québec. Heather teaches and supervises pre-service teachers in the Bachelor of Education program and First Nations and Inuit Education at McGill. While pursuing graduate studies, she has also worked as a Research Assistant for Dr. Teresa Strong-Wilson on two SSRHC funded projects investigating Canadian children’s literature and social justice with pre-service and in-service teachers. As an educator, avid reader and emerging researcher, Heather is inspired by the writer Ursula Nordstrom’s words, “I am a former child, and I haven’t forgotten a thing.” Drawing on research in Childhood studies and early literacies, Heather is interested in the multiple ways that young children engage with the words and images in diverse picture books. In her current dissertation research, she is studying young children’s responses to diverse Canadian picture books in the context of a culturally and linguistically diverse public elementary school in Montreal. Through ethnographic and qualitative methodologies, Heather is interested in listening to and respecting children’s voices, particularly in relation to the rights of the child.
Lauren joined BILD in 2013 as a founding member. From 2013- 2016, Lauren was the group’s secretary and actively involved in blogging and other BILD projects. In 2016, Lauren transitioned to affiliate member in order to focus on her new role as the Managing Editor of J-BILD.
Lauren completed her PhD in Educational Studies at McGill University in 2017. For her doctoral research, Lauren investigated the experience of non-classroom language anxiety among French-as-an-additional-language learners in Montréal. Her study revealed significant interplay between language anxiety and individuals’ feelings of belonging and identity, particularly among learners from diverse backgrounds.
Lauren lives in Victoria, BC, where she works in educational technology and faculty support at Royal Roads University.
Explore Lauren’s BILD posts here!
Michaela Salmon only recently completed her Master’s research at McGill University.. However, her interests in second language acquisition and the social contexts of language use extend back many years. Growing up with a language-obsessed mother in an otherwise monolingual family in Australia, she grew up feeling attached to her “mother” tongue, German, but without the heritage to back it up. So began the years of language learning: at home, overseas, at school, and at university. After studying in Austria, Michaela undertook an undergraduate Honour’s thesis, where she questioned the reasons for the reportedly lower rates of German acquisition by Turkish immigrant children in Vienna, compared to children from other backgrounds. So the seed was planted: for becoming a language teacher, and for exploring further the implications for learning languages (or not). Now transplanted to Quebec, Michaela is engaging in locally-based research within a critical sociolinguistics framework. She is investigating mismatches between language policy, practice, and ideology, and how these mismatches impact certain immigrant groups. French language student over morning coffee, ESL teacher and tutor by day, researcher by afternoon, bicycle rider and dog walker by night, Michaela is carving out a niche in her newly adopted home.
Browse Michaela’s posts for BILD here!