Standpoint Theory in Professional Development: Examining Former Refugee Education in Canada

Vanessa Braun


On September 2, 2015, a toddler was photographed on an unnamed Turkish beach in a position reminiscent of a baby sleeping in his crib. Alan Kurdi would instantly become the poster child for an entire nation that had no other alternative but to run and risk their lives on inflatable dinghies. On the open expanse of the Mediterranean Sea, the rate of survival was much higher than staying in Syria. On December 11, 2015, the newly elected Canadian Liberal majority government opened up Canada’s borders to Syrian refugees, and the Canadian education system is now grappling with how to adequately address the needs of their former refugee students. This article examines how deficit discourse affects academic excellence of all English as an Additional Language (EAL) learners, including former refugee students, and how professional development offers a cost-effective solution to the effects of deficit discourse on former refugee students, while equipping teachers with reliable skills and tools to use in diverse classrooms. In addition, this article investigates how standpoint theory can be used as the foundation for professional development programming for teachers of all students, including those who were refugees.

            Keywords: education; deficit discourse; standpoint theory; refugee


Integration; refugees; education; standpoint theory

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