3MT 2022 Finalist Launa Linaker

Launa Linaker

Secondary Education, College of Social Sciences + Humanities

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Thinking the Unthinkable

Introduce yourself...

I'm a curious, caring, and adventurous human, a lifelong learner, a changemaker, and an educator at heart, who happens to be doing her Ph.D. in Education. I have an MBA and I love working collaboratively in transforming systems.

What are you researching and what do you hope comes out of your research?

My research is somewhat unique in that I am both researcher and participant in my study, and my invited participants are called co-researchers in recognition of their contribution to my study. Through the lenses of care and trauma, I am researching lived and living experiences of educators, who like me, found themselves safeguarding students during and in the aftermath of human inflicted mass violence.

The purpose of my research is to advise a care-informed, trauma-sensitive curriculum aimed at preparation for, response to and recovery from critical school/community events such as terrorism. Bringing the voice of educators with lived living experience to my research adds a well of knowledge to the current scholarship that to date has focused on student outcomes.

How did presenting a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) help explain your research to the public?

First, culling my work into three minutes forced me to understand what pieces of my research are the key elements. Second, the presentation of ideas through spoken words is much different than through writing. Through feedback in the 3MT process, I have come to express my research more descriptively, well what I mean, I am trying to show rather than tell.

What inspires you to do research?

I am inspired by my personal experience and by my connection to the students who were with me in France. I have an emotional connection to my research yet I used to approach it in a disasscoiated way. I have had to relearn how to relationally connect to my topic and this way of being an embodied and present researcher further inspires me because I see how we can do better in our eduational institutions in supporting students during and through unthinkable events in their lives.

What are three keywords important to your 3MT?

Lived-Experience, Unthinkable, Trauma, Care, Recovery - can I please have 5?

How does your research impact local, provincial, or global communities at large?

Alberta, mirroring national and global events, has not been immune to violence in educational institutions that has placed educators and students literally in the line of fire. Sadly violence in and on schools is a growing phenomenon and further terrorist events that take place outside of our institutions still touch the heart of our students. My research is not the product of pessimism, however. It is pragmatic in nature assuming that we have a duty to think the unthinkable in order to provide educators with the resources and tools they need to be able to respond during and in the aftermath of violent events in ways that supports learning and recovery.

If you had to dedicate your research to anyone from the past, present, or future—who would it be and why?

It cannot be just one. To Misha Bazelevsky, a student of mine who tragically lost his life in the terrorist attack on July 14, 2016 while attending an international study program in Nice, France. And to the brave and courageous educators who have found themselves facing unthinkable events and did what they knew, during and in the aftermath, to provide safety for students.

3MT Image Description - The slide is an image of the Promenaide des Anglais, the site of the attack. The transparent slide is the French Flag. The irony is the attack took place on the day, July 14, Balstille Day,  when all of France celebrates the Unity of its people.

Watch Launa's Three Minute Thesis