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About Sophia

Presenting at The Multidisciplinary Approaches in Language Policy and Planning Conference (August, 2022)
Soil Camp 2021
" I wish to be a teacher" from my personal journal, age 7
Presenting my research at the University of Calgary Graduate Research Symposium (March, 2020)

Locating of myself (Moore, 2017)

“Too narrow a knowing privileges one story over another, and silences voices that equally belong and have a right to speak” (Wattchow, 2004, p.1)

I look to Indigenous methodology literature which guides my expression of positionality and relationally or as Moore (2017) describes, the locating of the researcher. We speak from our positionality (Graveline, 1999). I am a daughter, sister, granddaughter, teacher, and learner. I am a Muslim woman and a member of the Lebanese diaspora. Both my maternal and paternal grandparents came to Canada in hopes of a better life and I have benefitted from their struggle. I am a first-generation graduate of university. I locate myself with and within the communities I engage with—this brings ethical engagement affordances, but more importantly, a responsibility to seek guidance (Innes, 2009). I hold a similar cultural and linguistic identity to the majority of my participants but I do not have the lived experience of being forcefully displaced by war. My research strives to provide just ways to see racially and linguistically minoritized learners in the space of teacher education. My deep sense of care for historically marginalized learners, specifically, those from the Middle East (the places where my “family’s histories are woven into the landscape” (Todd, 2018, p. 153)) is at the root of my research motivation. My research seeks to fundamentally challenge the skewed and problematic Western colonial representations of young refugee learners and depict more holistic and caring pictures. 

In the Fall of 2021, I began my MA degree in Educational Research, specializing in Learning Sciences. During my time in the MA program, I have experienced immense growth as an educational researcher, emerging scholar and in my pedagogy for teaching and learning. My ongoing and future research interests are situated in linguistic design for equity and justice, leveraging lived and non-dominant knowledges in disciplinary spaces, with a specific focus on experiences of refugee children within learning spaces. My experiences as a racialized multilingual student and certified teacher in Alberta fuel my commitment to this research and continued commitment to the communities I am in relation with through my research, practice and community-based volunteer work. As a researcher with experience in both the fields of Sociology and Education, and as a professionally certified teacher, with specialized training working with historically marginalized learner populations, I was and continue to be drawn to the transdisciplinary understandings of learning, equity and justice-oriented design approaches and pedagogical innovations that seek to deepen learning—central to the field of Learning Sciences. Through my work alongside Dr. Takeuchi and research team, I have engaged in a plethora of opportunities that have acquainted me with the larger Learning Science field at the community, institutional, national and international levels. The research that I have been developing for my MA thesis has been grounded and situated within the field of the Learning Sciences, focusing on language as a pedagogical tool that can be mobilized to connect and reconnect in learning—shifting away from seeing language as a preset learning outcome. This work is nested within the Soil Camp program, a summer outdoor learning opportunity serving refugee children and youth in Calgary, and designed network toward eco-social justice. This engagement was envisioned and enacted by Dr. Takeuchi and the transdisciplinary team of educators (where I have been playing a pivotal role in program design and research), scientists, community workers, and those at the heart of the work—children and youth. I have been fortunate to be a part of this network, through my roles as a co-coordinator, pedagogy and design collaborator, researcher, and facilitator. As a second-generation Canadian of the Lebanese diaspora and multilingual individual, holding both English and Arabic in my linguistic repertoire and dear to my heart, I understand the transformative power present in designing learning environments that carefully attend and listen to multilingual repertoires. Such work has a transformative potential to open new pathways for non-dominant children’s identity and learning.

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