Dr. Angelica Galante’s research on plurilingual instruction has the potential to increase student engagement among immigrant students and their Canadian-born counterparts
The EdCan Network is pleased to honour Dr. Angelica Galante – Assistant Professor at McGill University’s Faculty of Education – as the PhD-level category recipient of the 2019 Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education. This prestigious award recognizes Dr. Galante’s exceptional leadership in exploring and showcasing teacher professional development opportunities and practical classroom practices that engage students from all linguistic and cultural backgrounds in learning about different languages and cultures.
“Plurilingual pedagogy, although still in its early years in Canada, is much needed particularly because of the rapid change in demographics with many students from immigrant, refugee, and international backgrounds becoming ever more present in our schools,” explains Dr. Angelica Galante. “While both researchers and educators have known for at over two decades that valuing students’ languages, cultures, and identities sparks a great sense of pride and engagement among students, educators are consistently facing roadblocks in how to practically leverage students’ home languages and their unique cultures in the classroom.”
As an emerging scholar and Director of McGill University’s Plurilingual Lab, Dr. Galante has mobilized research nationally to raise awareness about the important need to shift language pedagogy and policy in Canada away from one-language classroom approaches, which do little to support and validate students who wish to learn one of Canada’s official languages, an Indigenous language, or a heritage language. Dr. Galante has also launched the “Breaking the Invisible Wall” website to equip educators to learn about research on plurilingualism, observe projects developed by language students, and explore pedagogical resources that can be used in the classroom.
“Many students in our classrooms speak multiple languages at home, which is a great opportunity for creating classroom activities where students can share these languages with each other while also learning new languages,” says Dr. Heather Kanuka, Chair of the EdCan Network Awards Committee and Full Professor at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education. “Dr. Angelica Galante’s research does not simply remain on paper, but rather has true potential to impact beyond academia in ways that encourage more educators to reap the benefits of multilingual activities within their classrooms.”
Chris Ostrowdun’s research has the potential to challenge new teachers’ mindsets and assumptions towards creating inclusive classrooms for students with disabilities
The EdCan Network is also pleased to honour Chris Ostrowdun – PhD Candidate at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education – as the Master’s-level category recipient of the 2019 Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education. This prestigious award recognizes Mr. Ostrowdun’s ongoing research, which strives to prompt pre-service teachers to rethink, reflect, and reconsider how they approach inclusive education practices towards students with disabilities.
“I created an activity where pre-service teachers in Bachelor of Education programs are asked to draw out how they understand the concept of ‘inclusion,’ before collaborating with other pre-teachers to arrive at a shared understanding of what this means to them as a group,” explains Chris Ostrowdun. “University instructors can then use these drawings in their courses to weave in pre-service teachers’ personal experiences, and connect theories to classroom practice.”
Mr. Ostrowdun’s research is founded on the idea that while provincial or federal policies may set expectations for creating inclusive schools and classrooms, these high-level expectations may not necessarily be implemented by teachers who may have different ideas about what inclusion means and looks like in practice.
“Chris Ostrowdun holds exceptional research career promise and already has a highly productive track record,” says Dr. Heather Kanuka, Chair of the EdCan Network Awards Committee and Full Professor at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education. “His research has tremendous potential to strengthen how Bachelor of Education programs teach diversity and inclusion by rendering courses more relevant to the realities of being a teacher in today’s increasingly diverse and complex classrooms.”
About the Pat Clifford Award
For over ten years, the Pat Clifford Award has recognized the work of emerging researchers – their research contributions, their promise, and their commitment to breaking new ground or revisiting commonly held assumptions in education policy, practice or theory in Canada. Two Pat Clifford Awards have been bestowed in 2019 – one for a PhD-level researcher and the other for a Master’s-level researcher.