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Reframing Equity-centered Partnerships Between Families with Refugee and Immigrant Experiences, Communities, and Schools Through a Lens of Kapwa

November 14, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

This talk will begin at 12:30pm EST following a light lunch served to in person attendees at 12pm.

Stakeholders who provide services and support to families with immigrant and refugee backgrounds are rightly concerned with improving their partnerships with families. The quality of these partnerships depends on an array of stakeholder practices and perspectives; therefore, understanding what stakeholders believe to be practices rooted in equity for working with these families is important to consider. To gain deeper understanding of the ways that stakeholder groups – children’s teachers, parents/caregivers, social service providers, and multicultural liaisons – support newcomer families with integration in their host country, this presentation examines reciprocity as a relational aspiration for these partnerships. Studies that have been informed by an ecological lens tend to reflect systems-wide health and educational endeavors aimed at benefiting the educational, physical, and emotional health of children and their families. Because these relationships tend to be constitutive of asymmetrical power dynamics based on normative knowledge and expertise, examining how reciprocity may position families, students, and stakeholders in different and sometimes competing ways can be useful methodologically and pedagogically in the field of education. Based on a three-year qualitative embedded case study of children, families, and their children’s teachers, this presentation will re-examine the role of reciprocity in emerging work that examines the perspectives of stakeholder groups. Drawing upon post-colonial and Indigenous theories, reciprocity is highlighted to imagine just positioning of the experiences of children and families with refugee backgrounds in their schools and educational research.

About the speaker

Cynthia ReyesDr. Cynthia Reyes is a Professor in the College of Education and Social Services at the University of Vermont. She currently serves as the Associate Dean of Academic & Faculty Affairs. She received her Ph.D. in Literacy, Language, & Culture from the University of Illinois at Chicago, IL. Her research interests include school integration of students and families with refugee backgrounds, global and racial literacy pedagogy, and qualitative research methods. She co-authored Humanizing Methodologies in Educational Research from Teachers College Press, co-edited Reclaiming the Public in Dialogue in Education: Putting the ‘Public’ in Public Intellectual from Peter Lang Publishers and has published in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Journal of Educational Foundations, Research in the Teaching of English, and the International Journal of Teaching and Teacher Education. She is also engaged in community work and co-authored the Vermont Ethnic Studies Framework while serving on the Act 1 Ethnic Studies Advisory Working Group to promote ethnic & social equity standards in public schools. She is a Fulbright Research Chair at the University of Waterloo, ON and the University of Alberta, Edmonton.

Two children working at a desk with a male teacher looking at their work.

Photo credit: MS Word


November 14, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:


Hybrid – Zoom and room 123
67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON N2L 6C2 Canada
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