Have you met… Dr. Katie Brubacher

Get to the know the assistant professor of elementary education specializing in language and literacy education

18 October 2023

Katie BrubacherTell us about yourself!

Having worked predominantly with multilingual children in Ontario schools, I am a K-12 teacher of almost 20 years. I am now an assistant professor in elementary education at the University of Alberta specializing in language and literacy education. 

What brought you to the U of A Faculty of Education?

After having visited Edmonton a number of times, I was excited to see that the U of A was hiring for a faculty position in my area. I had not ever really imagined that I would leave teaching children, but the chance to further my career in such a research-driven institution while still working in teacher education appealed to me.

What are your current research interests?

I am very excited to be participating in my first book launch this coming November for a book that I collaboratively wrote about teacher education for multilingual students with nine other scholars. I am interested in furthering this research within the Alberta context. The book we wrote was very much tied into policy enactment. I am continuing this policy aspect of the work through an analysis of the new English language arts curriculum in Alberta in relation to Indigenous and critical literacy perspectives. However, my work as a teacher and my dissertation were with newcomers in Division 2 and 3 who were new to Canada and had not had the opportunity to learn to read and write before immigrating here. This work is done through a humanizing approach to researching with children. I am finding ways to continue to work with the children as researchers in Edmonton. I am doing this by exploring how to create a strong sense of belonging through multilingual approaches and trying out different ways of playing and laughing while engaging with language and literacy. Translanguaging and emotion-based theories inform my research. 

What inspired you to enter this field?

The students in my elementary schools but now it is my teacher education students. I can’t wait to get back to working with children in Alberta through my research.

Describe your teaching philosophy.

I want to prepare my teacher education students to inspire children and create inclusive and equitable future classrooms. I think both theory and practice are important in teacher education. While I strive to make sure my students understand new ideas, doing practical activities that I have learned through my work as an elementary teacher is very important too. Before I left teaching children just over a year ago, my school district had centred anti-Black racism in its in-service professional development. These ideas are not just theoretical for me but something that was expected to be part of my practice in schools. Finding ways to bring this knowledge as well as new ideas pertaining to Indigenous communities in this new land where I live are key components of my teaching philosophy. I also worked to create safe spaces for 2SLGBTQ+ students and parents in my schools. I hope to impart this philosophy to my teacher education students.

What are your impressions of the U of A so far?

The picture book collection that is now housed at Rutherford is amazing. I spent much of my first fall on the second floor going through the different literature (and puppet) collections. 

What interests you outside work?

I love the markets. The fresh produce is amazing. Thank you to the city for all the bike lanes, tree-lined streets, and keeping the river valley as park space. My seven year old, Isaac, and I do lots of biking, swimming, playground-hopping, and cross-country skiing in the wonderful facilities and trails available throughout Edmonton.