I have worked in as an educator in a variety of countries including Canada, the United Kingdom, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, and Tanzania. I have taught a variety of learners, from primary/secondary students to adult learners. These students come from various cultural, linguistic, economic, and social backgrounds, including students from affluent families to newcomer and refugee students, located in both urban and rural areas. Based on this, I have gained a practical understanding of how to tailor my teaching to the various needs of my students while meeting curricular objectives and priorities. I have created, facilitated, and managed education initiatives for museum visits, teacher training sessions, short courses, as well as residential and day camps.
I am also an avid researcher who believes that my practice can be improved through the active engagement of research in the contexts where I teach. I am therefore a proponent of action research in education and the power of reflective practice in bringing forth insights through interrogation and introspection. The area of research I am most interested in deals with the intersection of power, representation, belonging, and democracy and asks how schools can foster a greater spirit of democracy through a reinvigorated curriculum that emphasizes the diversity of our students’ histories and allows these students to feel a greater sense of belonging to their communities. Connected to this are the important ideas of pluralism and religious literacy and how both of these values are important in mitigating conflict and strengthening communal bonds through the alleviation of ignorance.
Some of the most important personal experiences that have shaped my life include my own position as a visible minority with multiple hybrid identities living in Canada. I am a dual citizen of Canada and Belgium, bilingual in French and English, with parents who were born and raised in East Africa of Indian ethnic origins, belonging to a minority religious community group. I have also been fortunate to travel to nearly 40 countries which has opened me up to the diversity and complexity of the world. These experiences have not only shaped who I am as a person, but also my professional life and academic interests. I am always curious about the stories of those I encounter and have been fortunate to build long lasting relationships with many individuals across oceans and continents.
One of my most important identities that has shaped and influenced who I am as an educator and researcher is fatherhood. Becoming a father and having a young daughter has forced me to face multiple questions I have about the life my daughter will lead in the future. I think about the society in which she’s going to grow up and the work that I can do to make sure that that society will be a welcoming one, where the types of issues I faced as a visible minority will not be issues for her. Becoming a father also made me (re)think about my position on pervasive paradigms such as heteronormativity, misogyny, and patriarchy. The influences of my studies and the adoption of a highly critical lens that emerged from these studies has forced me to confront the social, economical, and political disparates and barriers that exist and to find ways to make sure that this world will be kinder and gentler not only for my daughter, but also for my students’ generation.