Idealogy in Action

I am interested not just in how we formulate knowledge but also in the very foundations of thought, by which I mean the physical processes of the body as well as the basic socio-cultural assumptions from which we have constructed the social institutions that embody and manifest these abstractions. The basic assumptions that inform our worldview and impact our ideas about society and culture influence how we visualize social services like education and how we encourage and discourage individuals who conform, or fail to conform, to social norms and expectations. I want to explore the drive of the human brain to learn and acquire skills, knowledge and imaginative processes and to investigate how these processes become codified as epistemes. Moreover, on a practical level, I am curious about how these factors empower a student to express and fulfil personal development goals.

I would particularly like to work with those who fall through the cracks. Many of these students exist in a liminal position; they may be transient, traumatized, transgressive--in effect, unable to conform to social norms in the same way as others. Their uncomfortable position within the hegemony not only affects their ability to perform in an academic setting but also the social institutions' ability to meet these students' needs. I hope to look at the ways that the academic system addresses (or fails to address) these learners as liminal and how best to create a learning environment that optimizes their abilities and skills. I believe education works best when based on mutual respect and in an environment that encourages student contribution, expertise, and personal knowledge as well as creativity and critical thinking.

Of course this list is partial and there is much more that I would like to accomplish. In general, I want to explore many different types of learners, including both children and adults who have struggled with education and feel marginalized within a traditional setting. My volunteer and employment history reflects my idealogical commitment to subaltern communities. Prior to becoming an official resident of Canada, I volunteered my time to service organizations such as the Montreal YWCA and RECLAIM, at the latter of which I worked as a literacy tutor. I have worked with at-risk and special-needs children as a care provider and a behaviour interventionist. I've worked with women who are HIV/HepC+ and their children in a capacity building community theatre project. Additionally, I participated in two research projects. In the first of these, I interviewed sex-trade workers to help assess whether their needs are being met by local organizations such as PACE and WISH. The goal of the second project was to identify drug and alcohol issues and solutions in my East Vancouver neighbourhood. Currently, I am a director on two boards, the AtmAmsphere Art Society and the Grandview Woodlands Area Council. All of these endeavours illustrate my commitment to working with people marginalized by the larger society. I truly believe that compassionate education can help disenfranchised learners cross unwritten normative boundaries and maximize their own potential; however, I hope that they are able to do so in the current academic (and bureaucratic) setting should the institutions in which they participate recognize and adapt . I hope to explore new territory outside traditional educational narratives in order to encourage critical and creative thought.