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Student Profile: Ilana Shapira

September 14, 2021
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Educational Theory and Practice doctoral student in the Faculty of Education

How can today’s education prepare students to live successfully in a future that it is almost impossible to imagine? What should the future of education look like? How can education maintain an ongoing productive dialogue with the reality of constant changes? My name is Ilana Shapira, and I am a doctoral student in the Faculty of Education—in Educational Theory and Practice: Curriculum and Pedagogy—at Simon Fraser University. As a long time, experienced educator, I am intrigued by the pedagogical challenges I experienced as a teacher to students learning an additional language and as a teacher of teachers—challenges which relate to life in an era of exponential technological development and an unpredictable future. In the last few years, I have developed IVRIKAL- an online teaching-learning space, for teachers of Hebrew, in which I offer a holistic solution for teachers that includes (a) a dynamic, modular- thematic and flexible curriculum, (b) introduction to digital tools and examples of how to integrate them and, (c) contemporary teaching strategies (e.g., project-based learning, flipped class, etc.).

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

SFU offered me a progressive interdisciplinary approach to education. The professors are leaders in their various fields and are committed to remaining current and responsive to new trends in Education.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

While developing IVRIKAL and introducing it to teachers, I realized that the progress of restructuring education to fit today’s era is a process on many fronts other then technology (e.g., curriculum, students’ engagement). In my research I focus on innovative education characteristics and on how to support teachers in becoming innovative teachers who dare to get out of their comfort zone and explore new pedagogy.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

Notwithstanding that my first year in the program was during the pandemic and classes were on Zoom, I felt welcomed from the first moment. My professors presented a high standard and conducted stimulating and engaging lessons, regardless of the challenging circumstances. They have been supportive, encouraging, and helpful whenever I needed them. I have been able to establish good academic relationships with my cohort members. Overall, I feel welcome, connected, and inspired.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

I am a recipient of the Dean's Graduate Fellowship (by nomination only) and the BC Graduate Scholarship (BCGS) funding. Receiving these awards allow me to focus on my studies and, more so, provided me a strong validation about the direction of my research.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?

The program has exposed me to a wide range of academic thoughts and aspects of education. I have gained a fresh perspective on aspects of previously learned education. The faculty of education at SFU is available and open to new ideas. They are helpful in furthering the future career possibilities of their students.

 

Contact : ilana_shapira@sfu.ca

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