LangSci Talk - Dr. Harini Rajagopal, Language & Literacy Education (Virtual)

February 22, 2024, 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm

Join us online on Thursday, February 22, 2024, from 12:30pm - 1:30pm for the next Language Science Talk featuring Dr. Harini Rajagopal, Department of Language & Literacy Education at UBC. This event will be virtual. 


Please use the Zoom details below to attend virtually:

Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 665 9265 7114
Passcode: 837243

Title: Centring the margins: Building equity from relational connections in young multilinguals' fluid language and literacy practices


Rather than a fixed set of transferable skills endorsed by dominant educational models and normative practices, an expansive understanding of languages and literacies facilitates the nuanced ways that young, marginalized children create, share, and learn. Drawing from relational literacies, multiliteracies, and translanguaging, this presentation explores aspects of fluidity, affect, and emergence. Dr. Rajagopal offers three multimodal stories from collaborating with emergent multilinguals and their teacher in a grade 2/3 classroom to foreground relationality between the children. Illustrative classroom moments with Nicole, Anh, and Pari – categorized as English Language Learners – orient towards the idea that when composing multimodally children bring themselves into relation with themselves, others, and the world, create new meanings through intersubjective experience, and gain a sense of fulfilment from enacting relational purposes. She explores how a focus on relational beingness invites these children to find belonging in new language, cultural, and material contexts and engages perspectives of language and literacies via relations mediated through the process of making meaning. Especially in response to the deficit identities they are often categorized with, this emergence becomes an act of equity for these children. Welcoming multiple languages and literacies relationally and creatively prompts us to interrogate Eurocentric and neocolonial constructions of education, and to design culturally sustaining practices that centre stories of being and becoming. 

Speaker bio:

Dr. Harini Rajagopal is a listener of stories and enjoys working on collaborative and creative pedagogical designs. She is an Assistant Professor in Language and Literacy Education, at UBC. Rooted in antiracist perspectives, her work focuses on collaborating with children and teachers to mindfully include diverse communicative repertoires (especially multiple languages, photography, arts, playfulness) into mainstream classrooms, while paying attention to the realities of class, cultural, and systemic inequities. Dr. Rajagopal engages with a feminist ethic of care, relationships and process, decolonizing and reflexive methodologies, and uses participant-friendly methods that value multiliterate practices as resources for all students’ learning, and for designing caring justice-oriented pedagogies.

First Nations land acknowledegement

We acknowledge that UBC’s campuses are situated within the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh, and in the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation and their peoples.

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