Laura A. Thompson, B.A. Hon. (York), B.Ed. (Laurentian), M.Ed. (Alberta), Ph.D. (Alberta)
Assistant Professor, School of Education
Phone: (902) 585-1231
How can examining minority Francophone and Acadian communities help us better understand Canada as a place and Francophones and Acadians as peoples? My doctoral dissertation explored youth constructions of Alberta/l’Alberta as a complex place during an era of rapid growth and change. While Alberta has a strong historical Franco-Albertan community, it also has a dynamic and emergent Francophone community which is rooted in multiple places, languages, cultures, ethnicities and religions. As a Canadian curriculum researcher, I turn to interrelated notions of context, place and community to re-narrate complex and evolving relationships among curriculum discourses of history, memory, language, culture, geography, knowledge and identity. Themes of resilience, resistance and renewal deepen my ongoing and shifting reflection on my central question – the relevance of minority Francophone and Acadian (school) communities in making sense of Canada and elsewhere (in an interconnected Francophone world). As a Franco-Ontarian interested in Francophone education and identity, I am preoccupied by the stories (not) told about the French language, Francophones, and minority Francophone education in Canada. Given the increasing pluralism in Francophone and Acadian communities (due to migration and immigration), it is critical for the Francophone and Acadian educational milieu to acknowledge and reflect on the political and socio-cultural implications of language-identity education. The tensions between Anglophone and Francophone (or English and French, Canada’s two official languages) and, increasingly, Francophone and other, is a theme running through much of my research. How can Francophone and non-Francophone educators, curriculum developers, policy makers and teachers understand complex and often competing discourses of Francophone culture, identity and curriculum? And how can they better understand Francophone difference to better situate how such historical and political discourses challenge and inform students’ (and teachers’) notions of self and the world? Finally, in terms of teaching from a critical pedagogy lens, issues of identity and representation – nation, race, gender, class, ethnicity and diversity – underpin all B.Ed. and M.Ed. courses I teach. .
Thompson, L.A. (2008). A geography of the imaginary: Mapping Francophone identities and curriculum perspectives in the postcolonial present. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.
In 2008, I received the Outstanding Dissertation Award in Curriculum Studies, awarded by the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies (CACS) for the best doctoral thesis in Curriculum Studies in Canada. I am also a scholar of the Fondation Baxter-et-Alma-Ricard. <www.fondationricard.com >
Thompson, L.A. (2001). L’enseignement de la francophonie mondiale : La situation actuelle dans les écoles secondaires francophones de l’Alberta. Unpublished Master’s Thesis, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.
Chareka, O., Peck, C., Sears, A. & Thompson, L.A. (2009, November, in progress). From Getting Along to Democratic Engagement: Moving Toward Deep Diversity in Citizenship Education. Citizenship Teaching and Learning. <www.citized.info/?strand=6>
Thompson, L.A. (submitted). Living in-between: Complicating hyphen(s) and home(s) in Alberta, Canada’s Francophone communities. In Z. Bekerman & T. Giesen (Eds.) Migration, minorities and learning – Understanding cultural and social differences in education. Jerusalem & Otlen, Germany: Melton Center, Hebrew University & Hochschule für Soziale Arbeit Institut Integration und Partizipation.
Thompson, L.A. (2004). Identity and the forthcoming Alberta social studies curriculum:
A postcolonial reading. Canadian Social Studies 38(3), Spring 2004 <www.quasar.ualberta.ca/css/Css_38_3/index38_3.htm>
Interuniversity Research Collaborations
Teachers' and students' understandings of ethnic diversity: Implications for multicultural education in Canada (SSHRC application, 2009, submitted) Principal Investigator – Dr. Carla Peck, Department of Elementary Education, University of Alberta Co-Investigators – Dr. Laura A. Thompson, School of Education, Acadia University, Dr. Reva Joshee, OISE Centre for Leadership and Diversity/Department of Theory and Policy Studies, University of Toronto, and Dr. Alan Sears, Faculty of Education, University of New Brunswick The primary goal of this research is to provide a rich portrayal of how teachers and students in three regions of Canada (Alberta, Ontario and the Maritimes) understand ethnic diversity. Specifically, the proposed research will enable us to: (1) Delineate conceptions of ethnic diversity inherent in policy and curriculum documents in Canada; (2) Map the qualitatively different ways in which teachers and students understand ethnic diversity; and (3) Provide an assessment of the relationship between students' conceptions of ethnic diversity and expectations set for them in policy and curricular documents.