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. She wrote and published under the name Lauren Godfrey-Smith prior to 2018 and now writes and publishes as Lauren Halcomb-Smith.
Explore Lauren’s BILD posts here!
Michaela Salmon completed her Master’s research at McGill University in 2016. 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). After moving to Quebec in 2012, Michaela became involved with locally-based research within a critical sociolinguistics framework. She investigated mismatches between language policy, practice, and ideology, and how these mismatches impact certain immigrant groups. These days, Michaela can be found teaching ESL at the CÉGEP level where she encourages the next generation to consider the notions of belonging, identity, diversity, and language within their classroom context.
Browse Michaela’s posts for BILD here!
Patricia Houde grew up in a francophone-only community in rural Quebec. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in psychology at the Université de Sherbrooke, she moved to Banff, Alberta where she spent 17 years living in the Bow Valley. She concluded a Diplome d’enseignement and then taught French Immersion for 12 years. She went on to study Spanish in Guatemala and Mexico, and in 2001 moved to Mexico where she has been teaching at the University of Guanajuato.
In 2010, Patricia graduated with a Master’s degree from the Université de Sherbrooke. She researched language learning strategies with beginner adult learners of English as a second language in Mexico. She has taught ESL, FSL, worked in teacher training in the ICELT program, and in 2011 became a full-time professor in the B.A. TESOL and in the Licenciatura en la Enseñanza del Español at the Departamento de Lenguas for the Universidad de Guanajuato. She has also been a course lecturer at the Université de Sherbrooke since 2011.
In 2014, she entered the Ph.D. in Educational Studies in Language Acquisition at McGill, and in 2015 she joined the BILD-LIDA research group. During her two-year residency at McGill, she served as research assistant for Prof. Caroline Riches and Prof. Roy Lyster, provided ESL teacher supervision in schools in Montreal, and taught a class on French Immersion pedagogy. Patricia has the pleasure to be on the editorial team as a French copy editor for the BILD Journal.
Her research interests deal with language teaching in different contexts, for instance, French immersion, as well as English as a second language in Quebec and Mexico, language learning strategies, teacher education for English and Spanish as a second language, autonomous language learning, and professional development through collective reflective practice with language teachers. Her Ph.D. research investigates the role of reflective practice using a collaborative accompaniment model with ESL teachers who have completed a B.A. in TESOL in Guanajuato, Mexico.
You can see her research projects here: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Patricia_Houde2
Stephen Davis graduated from the Master of Arts in Second Language Education program at McGill University in 2017 and teaches in a French immersion program in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Stephen was born to Canadian biologists in Canberra, Australia, who, upon moving to Saskatoon, made the auspicious decision to enrol him in French immersion kindergarten, which began his lifelong love of language learning. After completing his schooling in French immersion, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in French at the University of Saskatchewan in 2011, followed by a Baccalauréat en Éducation at the University of Regina in 2013. Additionally, he has worked with refugees in Canada; taught in an orphanage in Nepal; and participated in Global Encounter trips with Canadian Lutheran World Relief in Zambia, South Africa, Peru, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. Stephen’s thesis research explored the experiences of newcomer families in French immersion in Saskatoon, and he is also interested in the language education of refugees and critical sociolinguistics. He can often be found playing basketball with his brother, playing tenor saxophone, and petting other people’s dogs.
Take a browse through Stephen’s blog contributions here!