Jeannie Kerr

Associate Professor
Academic Coordinator, Educational Theory and Practice
Faculty of Education


My scholarship examines the reproduction of societal inequalities in K-12, teacher education, and higher education settings through a decolonial orientation and analysis, and is directed towards collaboratively repairing and renewing relations in educational settings and Canadian society. I am particularly interested in addressing educational concerns in urban, culturally-enriched neighbourhoods subject to economic and political exclusions. Drawing on my significant experience teaching in urban K-12 classrooms, my theorizing and research projects centre the complications and complicities in educational activities, and attempt to learn from Indigenous knowledge holders and collaboratively engage with community. My lens on education is through decolonial analysis and curriculum theory - broadly looking at curriculum as the documents and policies produced by educational authorities emerging through historical events and complex negotiations of power, and the ways they become lived in pedagogical relations. My research and teaching engage a decolonial approach through disrupting the centring of Euro-Western approaches and knowledges in the broader interest of supporting vibrant epistemic ecologies and promoting systemic change.

Research Interests

My research examines the reproduction of societal inequalities through K-12 and higher education, and considers the ways that both teacher education and higher education can engage complexity, uncertainty and difference so as to address local and global inequalities. I am primarily focused on the reproduction of societal inequalities in urban, high-poverty, public schooling as well as universities. With an appreciation that schools do not control society, but are embedded within society, I work to understand the complex interconnections between schooling and multiple governmental institutions and forms of authority within a context of settler-colonialism; community strength; Indigenous sovereignty; programs of teacher education; and modes of communication. My research engages storied research approaches to inform school and government policy and practices in teacher education, as well as to consider otherwise approaches to schooling. By otherwise, I refer to possibilities that need to be collectively imagined by collaboratively engaging with community-based and Indigenous knowledges that have had less opportunities for engagement within current forms of schooling.
My research highlights that community needs to be at the heart of educational transformation. There is a need to engage excluded perspectives and knowledges, and orient schools as located, connected and meaningfully engaged and responsible to the local community. I am interested in working with Masters and PhD students that are similarly interested in community-based engagement and decolonial transformation in education.

Research Highlights

2022 - 2024
Principal Investigator: “Indigenous Sovereignty in Elementary Curricula: Returning to First Nations Journeys of Justice”. This research is undertaken with co-investigator Dr. Jo-ann Archibald Q’um Q’um Xiiem and collaborators Christine Stewart at the British Columbia Teachers Federation and supported by Dave Nolette at the Justice Education Society.
Co-Investigator: Indigenous Digital Media Grant – SFU: “Learning from Critical Understandings of Land and Water: Unsettling Place at SFU”. Examining the learning experiences from a Film Series designed by PI Dr. Amy Parent fore-fronting the voices of Indigenous knowledge holders and leaders about the land that SFU occupies and their knowledge of ‘Simon Fraser’.
Co-Investigator: Manitoba Research Alliance through SSHRC: “Racialized Inequality and Opportunity Gaps: Mixed-Methods Research of Student Mobility and Academic Outcomes in Winnipeg's Inner-City”. Examining the relationship between inequitable social-political contexts and schooling experience.
Co-Investigator: Manitoba Research Alliance through SSHRC: “Building Community Using the Toybox Project”. Engaging Indigenous and Newcomer Communities in developing early-years curriculum for sovereignty.
Co-Investigator Social Sciences & Humanities Research Canada, Insight Development Grant. “Indigenous Student Experiences Post TRC: Indigenous Requirement Courses in Teacher Education”. Examining the experience of Indigenous students who have recently completed a mandatory Indigenous Education Course in teacher education, and Indigenous instructors teaching these courses in three universities.
Co-Investigator Social Sciences & Humanities Research Canada, Partnership Grant. The research study “Community-Driven Solutions to Poverty: Challenges and Possibilities” is focused on community driven solutions to complex poverty working through 4 streams: Justice, Safety, & Security; Housing; Education, Employment & Social Inclusion; and Community Economic Development. This is a 7-year $2.4 million project.