Faculty Research

Pivot and Flex: Faculty of Education Researchers Highlight the Impacts and Inequities of the Pandemic

Faculty of Education researchers pivot their ongoing research to highlight inequities exaggerated by the pandemic on vulnerable populations, gaining valuable insight into the impact of public health measures on teachers, students and their families. For the past year, people have been forced to deal with public health measures and restrictions brought about by the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The effect on education is highly visible, with school closures, remote learning, and social distancing. However, impact hits further than empty classrooms and busy computer screens. Faculty of Education researchers dig deeper, pivoting their ongoing research to draw attention to these hidden impacts.


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Faculty Research

Connecting with Nature: Learning to be a Part of the Dance
What is education? What is the purpose of education? Can the current education system help sustainable co-living with nature? These are some of the questions that have been floating around in the academic discourse of educational philosophy for some time. Dr. Mark Fettes and Dr. Sean Blenkinsop address these issues in their research and envision the education system to be inclusive of nature, community, people, and to be guided by the principles of imagination, inquiry, and justice.

Learning Sciences, Self-regulated Learning and the Necessity of Doing Research
Dr. Phil Winne (PhD, Stanford) is a Distinguished SFU Professor of Education and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Canadian Psychological Association. Formerly a 2-term Tier I Canada Research Chair, he researches self-regulated learning, metacognition and learning analytics; and develops software technologies to support learners and gather big data for learning science.

Dr. Elina Birmingham’s Research Aims to Support Students with ASD to Develop Autism Awareness
Dr. Elina Birmingham's research examines how children, adolescents, and adults attend to and interpret social information. In addition, she examines how mechanisms of social attention and perception operate differently in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Her recent work is examining how atypical sensory processing associated with ASD, like hypersensitivity to sound, interferes with social and learning opportunities for children with ASD, and to find new technological solutions to address sound sensitivity. 

In a New Book, Professors Chart a History of Life Writing as a Means to Address Gender and Racial Injustice
Dr. Elizabeth Marshall’s research interests include children’s and young adult literature, life writing, picture books, comics, and popular culture. Marshall’s interdisciplinary scholarship has appeared in numerous academic journals. Her current book project focuses on representations of alcohol and childhood in American visual culture.

Dr. Lynn Fels on Performative Inquiry, Arts for Social Change, and Mentorship
Dr. Lynn Fels’ research addresses arts for social change, performative inquiry, arts across the curriculum, and inquiry through performative writing. She is passionate about enabling communities of learners to collaboratively address social issues by engaging in creative, arts-based processes. She has recently received a SSHRC Insight Development grant for her research in Performing Mentorship: Investigating Mentorship in 4 Arts for Social Change Contexts (2019 – 2021).

Dr. John Nesbit and Professor Joan Sharp on Critical Thinking and Dialectical Map
Dr. John Nesbit and Professor Joan Sharp speak about the origins of Dialectical Map (DMap), an intuitive, online argumentation tool that aims to raise students' level of critical thinking skills. They also share the collaborative spirit behind the project and the tool’s success across disciplines.

Dr. Margaret MacDonald on Philosophical Inquiry & Development of Early Childhood Views on Sustainability
Dr. Margaret MacDonald is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education specializing in Early Childhood Education. She teaches a number of undergraduate and graduate courses in Early Childhood Education and is an active mentor and co-inquirer at UniverCity Childcare Centre. Her most recent research looks at children’s understanding around stewardship and sustainability through the lens of philosophical inquiry and new materiality.

Dr. Mark Fettes on Building Sustainable Educational Ecologies
Dr. Mark Fettes is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, the Academic Director of the Centre for Imagination, Research, and Culture in Education (CIRCE), and president of the Universal Esperanto Association (UEA) also known as World Esperanto Association. From the foothills of northern Italy to Gabriola Island, the work of Dr. Mark Fettes continues to connect the world.

Q&A with Dr. Wanda Cassidy on Cyberbullying and the Promotion of Positive Online Behaviour
Dr. Cassidy is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and Director of the Centre for Education, Law and Society (CELS). She is also the Faculty's leading expert on cyberbullying.

Q&A with Dr. David Kaufman on AGE-WELL
As one of the co-leaders in the AGE-WELL NCE project, Kaufman tells us more about the project and his collaboration with other researchers.

Dr. Lucy Le Mare Discusses The Romanian Adoption Project – A 25-year Longitudal Study
Dr. Le Mare reveals the importance of her Romanian Adoption Project's impact on research, education and adoption communities.

Student Research

Sense of Belonging and Well-Being: Voices of Doctoral Students

Christina Van Wingerden is a PhD candidate in Educational Technology and Learning Design. As an educator, Christina is greatly interested in and dedicated to education, empowerment, and equalizing power and privilege for historically excluded, and oppressed peoples of all backgrounds and identities, and the lifelong learning that requires. Her research interests include sense of belonging and inclusion in online learning environments, particularly the possibilities of the learning management system as a third space for students to engage and develop in academic socialization and scholarship.


Critical Pedagogy for Socially Just Media Production Education and Media Work Futures

As a PhD candidate in the Equity Studies program, Ki Wight's  research relationships between media production education, media work cultures, and systems of oppression. Her work engages critical and decolonial pedagogy, social justice education practices, critical whiteness studies, feminist and queer theory, and media and cultural studies. She works as an instructor in the Communication Studies, Motion Picture Arts, and Women’s and Gender Studies departments at Capilano University. Previously, she was a film and television producer and executive for Canadian and international productions.


Resilience, Support, and Empowerment: Experience from Community-based Research

Akiko Ohta is a PhD student in Languages, Cultures and Literacies and a member of the SFU Mental Health Services Research Lab. She was recently an Evaluation Lead for a pilot project supporting Government-Assisted-Refugee mothers in Canada and has also worked on rural community development in several Islamic countries. Akiko is particularly interested in approaches that support refugee mothers’ individual challenges and complexities, enabling them to feel a sense of belonging in their new home and empowering them to pursue a future.


Service as a Way of Being: Understanding the Experiences of Service Providers toward Building an Equitable Environment

Elizabeth Bishop is pursuing her PhD with the Philosophy of Education program in the Faculty of Education. She has recently won a Develop Grant with Vancouver Foundation. Her research with the foundation focuses on understanding the lived experiences of healthcare and social service providers to build a productive, equitable, and safe work environment.


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Impact of Early Intervention Programs on the Social-Emotional Development of Educationally Disadvantaged Children
Camilla Enns is a master’s student in the Counselling Psychology program in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. She was recently awarded a graduate scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). With the support of this scholarship, her research will focus on the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program, an early intervention program that supports vulnerable and socially isolated mothers with young children.

Exploring Kinship in Children’s Literature through a Queer Ecologies Framework
Kathleen Forrester is a PhD candidate in Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Education Educational Theory and Practice (eTAP): Curriculum, Theory and Implementation program. Studying under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Marshall, she researches kinship in children’s literature through a queer ecologies framework. In 2017, her manuscript, Jaida Wood, was longlisted for the international Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition. Kathleen has published peer-reviewed papers on topics related to children’s literature in the International IBBY journal, Bookbird, in the Canadian journal, Jeunesse, and most recently, in the open-access journal, Barnboken.

Mass Conflicts, Lived Experiences of Youth Born of Wartime Sexual Violence, Stigma and Sexual Health
Jessamyn Hung is a Master’s candidate in the Counselling Psychology program in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Their research explores the experiences of youth conceived through wartime sexual violence in order to evaluate and address barriers to sexual and reproductive wellness. Jessamyn is a passionate advocate for mental and sexual health justice and aims to contribute to service accessibility through their research.

Investigating the Nature of Radicalization of Fundamental Belief Structures and Implications for Education
Steven Zhao is currently a 3rd year PhD student at Simon Fraser University, who is studying and thinking about the philosophy of education. Specifically, he is in the midst of thinking and writing about ideas such as, belief polarization, dialogical ethics, spirituality, Buddhist modernism, philosophy of mind, and ethics of communicative/educational technologies.

Dr. Jing Li on Transformative Pedagogy: Public Places as Educational Sites and Community Building
Dr. Jing Li recently completed her PhD from the Faculty of Education from SFU. Her research interests include sociolinguistics, critical pedagogies, critical multiliteracies in (non)formal educative contexts, and community research in art, culture, and education. She shared her doctoral journey, her research interests and the projects she is currently involved in.

Dr. Poh Tan on How Different Epistemologies Have Converged in Her Research and Why It Is Important
With a PhD in Experimental Medicine, Dr. Tan is completing her second PhD in Educational Theory and Practice at SFU. Her research focuses on the development of scientific literacy through Indigenous Hawaiian epistemology. She was editor-in-chief of SFU Educational Review Journal, and is the inaugural recipient of the Dean of Education Kris Magnusson’s Emerging Leaders Graduate Award for leadership and advocacy for positive change in education. In this interview, Dr. Tan shares valuable insights with us about her research, and experiences in academia

Jacqueline Barreiro on Storytelling, Pedagogy, and Post Humanism
Jacqueline Barreiro, doctoral candidate in SFU’s Curriculum Theory and Implementation program, Sessional Instructor for the Faculty of Education, and Associate Editor of SFU’s graduate-run Educational Review Journal. Her doctoral inquiry focuses specifically on the educational implications of posthumanist theories as pedagogical tools of critique. Informing her scholarship is over twenty years of experience as teacher and principal in the K-12 system and at the University level in the United States, Ecuador, and Canada. Jacqueline was particularly transformed by her experience working as a teacher, and then principal, at a school in the rural Ecuadorian Andes. The culmination of Jacqueline’s experiences orients her towards engaging in research and pedagogical practices that improve conditions for students.

Bronwen McCann on Collaborative Program Evaluation and Community-Engagement
Bronwen McCann is a Master’s student in the Arts Education program. She is passionate about early childhood education, particularly curriculum development that bridges the divide between arts and outdoor education.

Jovita Vytasek on Writing Analytics Software
Jovita Vytasek is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Education and works in the Educational Psychology Laboratory. She presents us with a new topic modelling software application designed to help writers with revision.

Dominic Trevisan, PhD student, Co-authors Most Read Education Research Article in 2017
After completing his master’s here at SFU, Dominic decided to pursue his PhD in Educational Psychology. “I wanted to study in a heavily research-focused program, but with opportunities to conduct practical research in educational and other applied settings.”

Current PhD Student Dr. Poh Tan Focuses Her Research on Developing Scientific Literacy in Young Children
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Poh Tan did not have an easy childhood. Domestic violence was a reality in her family. Yet, with a strong passion for science, she was determined to overcome her home problems and through perseverance and motivation she became a stem cell specialist.

Annette Rouleau's Inspirational PhD Journey
Ms. Annette Rouleau started her PhD in Mathematics Education in September 2014. She admits having conflicted feelings when Prof. Peter Liljedahl first asked her to be his PhD student. However, she has since met the challenge head-on.

New Faculty Research

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Indigenous Ways of Learning and Developing Ethical and Collaborative Approaches to Research
Dr. Sara Florence Davidson is a Haida/Settler educator and scholar who has a PhD in Literacy Education. One of the main areas of focus in her research is seeking ways to merge the strengths of Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives and pedagogical practices in the K-12 school system. Dr. Davidson is also the project lead on Indigenous Storybooks, where she is learning about how traditional Indigenous stories can be used to strengthen text-based and Indigenous literacy practices.

New Materiality, Practitioner Inquiry and the Importance of Research to Serve Communities
Dr. Cher Hill’s primary areas of expertise include teacher education, qualitative research methods, and practitioner-inquiry, as well as reflective and diffractive practice. Her current scholarship utilizes new materialist theories to make visible the complex entanglements between humans and more-than-humans within educational contexts. Dr. Hill’s recent work involves collaborating with community partners to educate citizens about the impact of colonialism on the Fraser watershed and mobilizing them to restore local creeks.

Critical Journalism and Media Production as a Means for Children’s Moral and Social Development, Understanding Social Issues and Transgressing Boundaries
Dr. Robyn Ilten-Gee’s research is interdisciplinary and focuses on three areas: children’s moral and social development with applications to education, critical pedagogy and social justice education, digital media production and journalism education. She is interested in taking a critical approach to moral development and moral education, critical digital literacy and ways in which multimedia production and journalism can grow critical consciousness and critical moral reasoning.

Imagination in Learning, Teaching Practices and Leadership
Dr. Gillian Judson’s current research looks at the role of imagination in leadership. Her previous scholarship examines imagination’s role in learning (K-post-secondary), imaginative and ecological teaching practices (PreK through post-secondary), and imaginative assessment in the post-secondary context. She plans to research the nature of the leadership (involving both formal administrators and instructional leaders) in schools implementing Imagination in Ecological Education practices such as the Walking Curriculum.

Children’s Digital Literacies, Agency and Creativity, and Learning Practices for Equitable, Inclusive, and Culturally-Responsive Educational Advancement
Dr. Kristiina Kumpulainen’s research focuses on children’s digital literacies, agency and creativity, and learning and teaching practices with evolving technologies in formal education and informal learning environments, including early childhood education centers, schools, homes, museums, science centres, libraries, outdoors, and in digital and immersive worlds. She has researched and developed pedagogies, learning environments and tools for children’s science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) learning, multiliteracies, and for children’s environmental and climate change education.

Inclusive and Equitable Learning to Ensure Social Justice
Anchored in critical disability studies, decolonial theory, and sociocultural, constructivist approaches to learning and teaching, Dr. Inna Stepaniuk’s research and teaching (a) expose the politics of dehumanization embedded in educational systems and (b) support schools and educators to become social justice-oriented educational leaders. Two inquiries that have guided her academic and professional journeys are how to transform schools into inclusive and equitable communities and how to support educators to become social justice-oriented educational leaders.

Dr. Yumiko Murai on Creative Learning, Re-envisioning Pedagogy and Assessment
Dr. Yumiko Murai’s research focuses on designing and studying technological tools, programs, and environments that support learner motivation and confidence through online and in-person creative activities. She shared her journey from a music educator to a researcher and how her experiences from her music classes inspired her to pursue an Ed.D and to explore creative learning approaches in education.

Dr. Geneviève Brisson on Plurilingualism, Transnational Identity and Scribjab
Geneviève Brisson is an assistant professor in Language and Literacy and Francophone Education at SFU. Since joining the Faculty of Education in the Fall of 2017, she has been busy working on a variety of research projects, teaching in the French module of the PDP (Professional Development Program) and contributing to the next generation of researchers by sitting on master and doctoral committees. She has recently come back from participating in the AAAL (American Association of Applied Linguistics) conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Angel Lin on Classroom Language Education
Dr. Angel Lin is a Professor in the Faculty of Education and Canada Research Chair in Plurilingual and Intercultural Education. Dr. Lin's current research focus is language use in the classroom. She is exploring new theoretical horizons in classroom language education, beginning with the ways that formal teaching and the use of standardized national languages are in tension with ordinary language use.

Dr. Alanaise Goodwill Shares Her Experiences as an Indigenous Psychologist and Educator
Dr. Goodwill, Registered Psychologist in British Columbia (BC), joined the Faculty of Education in September 2017 as an Assistant Professor in the Counselling Psychology program. She is an Indigenous scientist-practitioner and educator who uses decolonization lenses to mental health practices by addressing serious manifestations of colonial violence.

Implementing Indigenous Perspectives in Courses in the Professional Development Program with Dr. Pooja Dharamshi
Dr. Dharamshi talks with us after recently concluding the data collection phase for her project funded by a grant from the Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines (ISTLD).

Dr. Masahiro Minami Discusses Japanese Morita Therapy
Dr. Minami, Assistant Professor, joined the Faculty of Education in May 2016. Currently, he serves as the Assistant Secretary General for the International Committee for Morita Therapy.

Retiree Research

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Environment, Sustainability and the Need for Effective Education and Communication to Respond to Climate Change
Dr. Milton McClaren is an active Emeritus Professor of Education in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, where he teaches in the Curriculum and Instruction Ecological Education MA program and is a Cohort Supervisor in the Doctoral Program in Education (Ed.D.). He is an Adjunct faculty member in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University. Dr. McClaren was involved in the development of the environmental education programs at both universities.

Dr. Robin Barrow Urges Educators to Think about What It Means to Be “Well-educated” and What It Means for Their Teaching
Dr. Robin Barrow was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada in 1996 and has contributed significantly to the field of educational philosophy. He served as Dean of Education at SFU for ten years and is a professor in the Philosophy of Education since 1982. Throughout his academic career, he has authored 23 books (and editor of three) and has published over 100 articles in academic journals, in the fields of philosophy, classics, and education. He was also Andrew Lloyd Webber’s first librettist on his first musical, Cinderella Up the Beanstalk and Most Everywhere Else

Dr. Kelleen Toohey  on Language Learning and Scribjab
Dr. Kelleen Toohey is a Professor Emerita at Simon Fraser University. Her research has focused on language learning, especially the learning of English as a second language by children. She is one of the originators for the app, Scribjab, a multilingual tool to create and share digital stories.

Dr. Selma Wassermann on Teaching for Thinking, the Age of Disinformation, and Children’s Moral Dilemmas
Selma Wasserman is a Professor Emerita in the Faculty of Education. A writer, educator, and researcher, Selma is noted for her work in the areas of child-centered education, teaching for thinking, and teaching with the case method. With an extensive publishing record, her most recent works include, Teaching in the Age of Disinformation (2018), What’s the Right Thing to do?: Promoting Thoughtful and Socially Responsible Behavior in the Early Childhood Years (2019), and Evaluation Without Tears: 101 Ways to Evaluate the Work of Students (to be released in 2020).

Dr. Cheryl Amundsen on Academic Development
Dr. Cheryl Amundsen is a Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Education, as well as the Founder, and Past Director, of the Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines (ISTLD), where she developed the Teaching and Learning Grants program. Cheryl's research has focused on how university professors develop pedagogical knowledge in relationship to their subject matter, how they come to understand teaching (and graduate supervision), how they make instructional decisions including the integration of various technology applications and the effects of these from the learner's perspective. She was the Principal Investigator, for a twelve-year longitudinal study (2006-2018) entitled, Developmental Trajectories of Doctoral Candidate Through New Appointee: A Longitudinal Study of Academic Identity Construction.

Dr. Adam Horvath – An Update on Research Work Post-Retirement and the Challenges & Opportunities of Data Sharing
Dr. Adam Horvath is professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Education at SFU. During his academic career, he has published over 100 articles, presented over 200 conference papers, written chapters for edited volumes, and authored a book. He is also a registered psychologist and has an active practice as a psychotherapist.

“Thinking the Unthinkable, Imagining the Impossible, and Discussing the Improbable”: SFU’s Philosophers’ Café
Written by Dr. Meguido Zola, Professor Emeritus, discussing his participation with SFU’s Philosophers’ Café, and his inspiration for creating an FoE Retirees’ Research Fund proposal to explore Philosophers’ Café at greater depth.

Prof. Sharon Bailin's RRF Research Activities
Prof. Sharon Bailin is a recipient of a grant from the Retirees’ Research Fund (RRF). The RRF began in 2014 with the aim of supporting on-going research, scholarly activities and dissemination by retirees who formerly held tenured appointments within the Faculty of Education. Dr. Bailin provides a brief report of her RRF research activities.