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Exploring culturally responsive literacy education: Engaging minoritised youth in academic literacies

Dr Fatima Pirbhai-Illich (University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada)

Dr Pirbhai-Illich will talk about her work with pre-service teachers at the University of Regina, Saskachewan, who she prepares to work in culturally responsive ways with First Nation pupils.

Event details

Despite the failure of traditional academic literacies to engage minoritised and marginalized populations, hegemonic content and modes of instruction continue to flourish. Culturally Relevant/Responsive Pedagogy which empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills and attitudes (Ladson-Billings, 1994; Gay, 2002) together with a broader New Times definition of literacy (Street, 1984) may offer students opportunities to engage in learning in ways that both meet grade level expectations and offer life changing consequences (Moura, 2006). Drawing on the findings from one case, this presentation describes a qualitative study that investigated the ways in which teacher candidates in a critical service learning practicum created spaces for vulnerable and disengaged adolescent youth to engage in academic literacies. This study is framed from a critical multicultural (May & Sleeter, 2010), socio-constructivist perspective (Rogoff, 1990; Vygotsky, 1986) that utilizes a multiliteracies framework (The New London Group, 2000). Critical discourse analysis of the pre-service teacher’s journal entries, anecdotal lesson plans, authentic literacy assessments, final reflections, and the youth’s self-assessment and final digital media are used for identifying emergent themes.


The speaker and members of the Re-Place group will remain after the seminar for a short informal discussion about the seminar and how it relates to the work of the Re-Place research group and possible future collaborations.  All are welcome to join this discussion.

Fatima_Pirbhai_Illich_seminar_details.docxDr Fatima Pirbhai-Illich's abstract and biography (15K)


Baring Court 114