Research News

Prasad earns top honor for early career research from Canadian Education Association

November 23, 2016

UW-Madison’s Gail Lori Prasad is the winner of the 2016 Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education for her groundbreaking work that highlights how culturally and linguistically inclusive classrooms have the potential to reshape the way teachers support language learners.

Prasad, an assistant professor with the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, was in Toronto Tuesday to receive this prestigious honor from the Canadian Education Association (CEA). Prior to arriving at UW-Madison in the fall of 2015, Prasad received her Ph.D. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

Gail Prasad
Prasad
According to a news release from CEA about her work, “Dr. Prasad’s Indian-Japanese Canadian background –- growing up in a household where her parents and extended family spoke a wide range of languages -– spurred her fascination for language and identity. Leveraging her experience as a former classroom teacher and strong desire to connect with every learner, Dr. Prasad has boldly and successfully collaborated with groups of multilingual elementary students as co-investigators of their language experiences by using a highly creative arts-based approach that incorporated photography, drawing, and multilingual bookmaking.”

The report continues: “These exercises led to conversations that provided Dr. Prasad with the opportunity to collect valuable data based on children’s self-expression and reflection. This not only allowed students to see their unique identities reflected in their work, but also deepened their classmates’ appreciation for cultural and linguistic diversity. Dr. Prasad’s subsequent research from these experiences highlighted in this article provides a framework for teacher education and professional development by demonstrating the benefits of incorporating students’ first languages into classroom activities. This work is especially pertinent in Canada’s increasingly diverse school systems.”

To learn much more about Prasad and her cutting-edge work, check out this CEA Pat Clifford Award page, which includes a Q&A interview.