Course Descriptions

For the most up to date information on our course offerings, please visit UBC’s Course Schedule.

Building on the mandate of the Ministry of Education in British Columbia to prioritize environmental curriculum in elementary and secondary education, this course provides a working knowledge of theories and practices for future teachers that position literacy from an environmental and ecological perspective. Bridging natural and virtual ecologies across a range of disciplines, this course affords opportunities for students to explore personal, pedagogical, and research-based relationships to a variety of information environments. It also develops ecological approaches to literacy teaching and research that emphasize sustainability and the creative potential for ecological education rooted in lived experiences.

Students will investigate key literary theories and research studies related to literature for children and adolescents. The focus will be on the use of literary theoretical perspectives that have been used to critically analyze the literary works and to inform the teaching of literary works in schools and other learning contexts. Topics include the application of reader-response theory, semiotic perspectives, materialism/cultural studies, postcolonial theory, feminist theory, critical race theory, queer theories, critical disabilities, ecocriticism, and methods of spatial analysis in the study of children’s and adolescent literature.

Twenty-first Century literacy practices require the ability to “read” and “write” complex texts comprised of multiple modes including linguistic, visual, audial, and gestural. Pedagogical designs must now take into consideration how a range of modalities might contribute to meaning-making alongside and interrelated with, rather than subordinate to, language. In this view, multimodal meaning-making practices in the diverse backgrounds of students must be considered for their educational potential rather than as incidental background to linguistic practices. This interest is broad-based, extends across international borders and linguistic communities. It is driven by more than three decades of research in education, in linguistics and semiotics, and in fields as diverse as internet and communication studies and has led those within the field of language and literacy education to rethink how meaning is made in contemporary classrooms and the world beyond.

Topics for this seminar include: literacy and multimodality as social practices; perspectives from New Literacy Studies, multiliteracies, and new literacies; multimodal storytelling; gaming and multimodal learning; rethinking “the basics” in literacy education; multimodality and “funds of knowledge”; multimodality, multilingualism, identity texts, and pedagogical practices; multimodality and ethnography; and visual interpretation and analysis.

This 1 credit course enrolls members of the DAER group.

Case study research methods are commonly used in the health sciences, political science, psychology, sociology, and business, among other fields. The focus in this course is case studies in language and literacy education. We will discuss what constitutes a case and the theoretical framing of studies, epistemological and ethical issues, research designs and methods for carrying out, analyzing, and writing up case studies, and criteria for evaluating case studies. Course members will be encouraged to investigate and discuss case studies in their own areas of interest.

Narrative and poetic inquiry will be explored within a broad, interdisciplinary, arts-based context, supporting research and teaching inquiries and orientations that concern the creative methods by which language and other semiotic resources can be used to illuminate deeper connections between related phenomena in their area of study. Students are expected to undertake or continue to refine their own arts-based research and inquiry projects within the framework of academic scholarship. This course will provide students with grounding in the theory and application of narrative and poetic inquiry to a variety of real-world problems. In light of recent changes in the British Columbia Ministry of Education curriculum to a more open and inquiry-based model of pedagogy, this course will also consider how researcher and teacher inquiry can serve as a model for how inquiry into big ideas, understandings, and creative actions can be promoted and sustained in school-based and community learning environments.

This course comprises an overview of the application of digital technology in and as literacy research, while considering possible future directions for methods of data collection and analysis, representation, and knowledge mobilization. We look at how automation of literacy practices compels literacy researchers to adopt new research sites and approaches to findings and their relevance for the future of language and literacy education. Globally, reading and writing practices have shifted in response to new devices and genres of expression, from emoticons and memes to collaborative composition and rapid distribution, and hot topic concerns involving privacy, copyright, identity, ethics and politics. Bridging between qualitative data, natural language processing and other algorithmic processes, a re-envisioning of literacy research is long overdue. Among the topics covered are using voice recognition, automated translation, optical character recognition, online forums, social media and streaming data sources, big data, open data and pre-existing software packages, libraries and databases, data visualization and sonification, data performance, multimedia and arts-based inquiry using digital tools. In each of these areas we will explore digital ethics, anonymity and the means by which information is translated and transmediated into code or scalable values, and how lexicogrammatical topographies of meaning might be crystalized as findings through these processes.

Inspired by Carl Leggo, we explore stories as research through hallmark approaches of life writing, autotheory, poetic inquiry, social fiction, creative nonfiction, geostories and related modes of artwork scholarship in educational inquiry. By attending to relational, temporal and situational intentionality, the praxis of writing stories about our teaching and learning lives, and how stories operate as pedagogic pivots, renders stories as research with greater equity, diversity and inclusivity of perspectives, methodologies, and communities across the globe. When composing our lives, giving an account of an event, or chronicling a series of encounters, personal narratives activate educational research differently, engaging thoughts, feelings, affects, atmospheres, as an aesthetic relation that ‘tonalises’ the everyday and informs teaching and learning with empathy, care and wisdom. In this course, we discuss narrative research with oral, written, visual, digital and performative practices, and explore questions such as: What critical moments in learning and teaching change lives? What do we look for when analyzing educational stories? What stories need to be told? What questions need to be asked?

This course will provide an opportunity for students to engage in the comparative study of issues associated with language and culture education of Indigenous peoples and communities on an international scale with universities in Hawaiʻi, Arizona, Alaska, Montana, and Aotearoa (New Zealand). We will review various practices, theories, methodologies and epistemologies that have emerged from diverse Indigenous cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

In this course, we will examine how children negotiate relations of power and the politics of age/maturity, race, gender, sexuality, and class (among other discourses) through their language and literacy practices across a variety of social settings and societies. Theoretical perspectives will include sociocultural linguistics, critical race theories, feminism, and queer theory. The primary emphasis will be on qualitative work.

This course is about the “doing” of qualitative research as a practical, ethically regulated engagement in “knowing, doing and being”. Investigating, interrogating and interpreting values, meanings and purposes unspoken and taken largely for granted in the course and conduct of everyday life is what distinguishes the study of human action from all other forms of inquiry. It is because questions of value, significance and agency form the core of such inquiry that, for qualitative researchers, epistemological and ethical issues converge in the very idea of what it is to conduct educational research. To that end, we will look both at the centre, and at the edges of what counts as a “methodology” and thereby, “research”. Class activities will provide a guided apprenticeship into basic research practices, including observations, ethical review, fieldnotes, interviews, data interpretation, analysis, reporting and write-up. Students will read exemplary research studies and methodological approaches, and will propose and initiate a study of their own. Questions such as “What kind of story does this research tell?”, “Whose story is told, how, by whom, and for whose benefit?” and “How can qualitative research pursue ‘validity’?” will guide a comprehensive inquiry into contemporary qualitative research methodologies, methods and processes in education. We will also consider ways in which research practices are technologically reconfigured, and how this technological re-mediation impacts qualitative research methods and practices.

In this graduate seminar students play active roles as learners/ teachers. The course engages students in exploring and inquiring into how language and literacy are related and interconnected with place, community, history and identities. The course format combines experiential learning, reading and critical reflection on place-based literacies scholarship. Students will have opportunities to use a range of tools and strategies such as digital community mapping, photography and storytelling to reflect on how they are situated in place. The course centres on how being attentive to place-based literacies supports students to become aware and responsive to issues surrounding ecological and social justice.

Digital Literacies: Theory, Research and Practice | Recognizing digital literacies as a social practice, this course highlights the differentiated, situated, and enculturated ways in which learners use technology for diverse relational, informational, expressive, and recreational purposes. Beyond being a set of skills that support the needs of the knowledge economy, digital literacies are understood as the practices of assembling and interpreting linguistic and semiotic resources online, while negotiating platform designs, ideologies and cultures-of-use. Through the interplay of human and non-human interactants, technology mediates social interactions, transforming the social order, and reshaping the way we perform identities, maintain social networks, and produce and consume knowledge. At the same time, it enables new forms of colonialism, amplifying inequalities, automating biases and reproducing modes of exclusion. Addressing these issues, this course discusses the significance of both functional and critical digital literacies for learners to not only participate agentively in online spaces, but also reflect critically on their practices. By examining current theory and research on digital literacies, it illuminates the implications of these issues for language and
literacy learning and explores how digital literacies can contribute to a more equitable and inclusive future.

This course examines current issues in theory and research in English language education, with a particular focus on English for Academic Purposes (EAP). The course will discuss relevant theories of discourse and social context and will emphasize analysis and presentation of academic discourse, relative to the context in which class members are likely to work. The course seeks to bridge the gap between theory and practice in EAP, whether the context is higher education or K-12 school settings. Key course aims are to provide students with a firm understanding about and expertise in: integrating language and content; approaching and analyzing academic language from a functional perspective; and exploring how as educators, we might draw on and utilize the ways of meaning-making that learners bring to the classroom.