Angelica Galante – assistant professor in the Faculty of Education – has been named the recipient of EdCan Network’s 2019 Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education (PhD-level category).
The Pat Clifford Award recognizes the work of emerging researchers – their research contributions, their promise, and their commitment to breaking new ground or revisiting commonly held assumptions in education policy, practice or theory in Canada. Galante’s research on plurilingual instruction has the potential to increase student engagement among immigrant students and their Canadian-born counterparts.
The EdCan Network press release, cites Galante’s “exceptional leadership in exploring and showcasing teacher professional development opportunities and practical classroom practices that engage students from all linguistic and cultural backgrounds in learning about different languages and cultures.”
A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Galante speaks Brazilian Portuguese, English and Spanish, and some Italian. Her research interests are rooted in social justice, inclusive education and critical sociolinguistics. She is also interested in working with linguistically and culturally minoritized student populations and communities including immigrants, people in situation of refuge, international students and minority groups.
“Plurilingual pedagogy, although still in its early years in Canada, is much needed particularly because of the rapid change in demographics with many students from immigrant, refugee, and international backgrounds becoming ever more present in our schools,” says Galante, “While both researchers and educators have known for more than two decades that valuing students’ languages, cultures and identities spark a great sense of pride and engagement, educators are consistently facing roadblocks in how to practically leverage students’ home languages and their unique cultures in the classroom.”
As Director of McGill’s Plurilingual Lab, Galante has mobilized research nationally to raise awareness about the important need to shift language pedagogy and policy in Canada away from one-language classroom approaches, which do little to support and validate students who wish to learn one of Canada’s official languages, an Indigenous language, or a heritage language.
Galante has also launched the Breaking the Invisible Wall website to equip educators to learn about research on plurilingualism; observe projects developed by language students; and explore pedagogical resources that can be used in the classroom.
“Many students in our classrooms speak multiple languages at home, which is a great opportunity for creating classroom activities where students can share these languages with each other while also learning new languages,” says Dr. Heather Kanuka, Chair of the EdCan Network Awards Committee and Full Professor at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education. “Dr. Galante’s research does not simply remain on paper, but rather has true potential to impact beyond academia in ways that encourage more educators to reap the benefits of multilingual activities within their classrooms.”