Sandra R. Schecter

Professor, Education and Applied Linguistics

PhD - Stanford University, Stanford CA; MEd - Harvard University, Cambridge MA; Diploma in Education - McGill University, Montreal; BA (Honours) - McGill University, Montreal

Location(s) / Contact Info:

263, Winters College - WC
Keele Campus
Phone: 416-736-2100 Ext. 30730

Email: sschecter@edu.yorku.ca

Available to supervise graduate students

Biography

Sandra R. Schecter is Professor of Education and Linguistics at York University. She has taught at York since 1996. From 2009 to 2012 and in 2013-14, she served as Graduate Program Director in Education. She has published articles, books, and edited volumes on language policy and planning, language socialization, language and cultural identity, and bi- and multi-lingual language acquisition and learning.

 

Professor Schecter’s research contributions show two main thematic thrusts. The first concerns her research on the development of bilingual and biliterate abilities among linguistic minority groups and individuals, focusing on a more comprehensive understanding of the relation among language, culture, social space, and geographic place. In addition to providing a broad perspective on the role of language in the worlds individuals both participate in and aspire to, her research also uncovers patterns of systematicity and change in actors’ uses of different language varieties and in their constructions and deconstructions of cultural meanings ascribed to these processes.

 

The second major thrust of Professor Schecter’s research reflects a concern with effectively preparing and supporting practitioners who work in settings characterized by asymmetrical group relationships as well as multiple languages and ethnicities. In efforts largely supported by SSHRC, she has created structures that allow school communities to incorporate inclusive practices that involve community members in curriculum development; focus on the fostering of collegial environments that are supportive of individual teacher agency; centre on action research projects; and build on the interests, circumstances, and resources of students and caregivers. Professor Schecter’s  project "Parent Involvement AS Education" comprises an intergenerational after-school language and literacy program for linguistic minority students that incorporates cultural resources and knowledge already existing within families and communities.

Faculty & School/Dept

  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies, Linguistics and Applied Linguistics - Applied

Selected Publications

  • Gutiérrez Estrada, M. R., & Schecter, S. R. (2018). English as a "killer language"? Multilingual education in an indigenous primary classroom in northwestern Mexico. Journal of Educational Issues, 4 (1), 122-147.
  • Schecter, S. R., Rashkovsky, K., & Atari, Y. (2017). Using place-referenced approaches to extend language-minority youths' problem-solving abilities and literate engagement. Urban Education. doi:10.1177/0042085917714514.
  • Schecter, S. R. (2015). Language, culture and identity. In F. Sharifian (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of language and culture (pp. 196-208). New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
  • Schecter, S. R., Arthurs, B., Wong, A., & SenGupta, S. (2015). "Roots and routes": Professional educators' transformative insights into the linguistic and experiential worlds of generation 1.5 language minority students. Learning Landscapes, 8 (2), 337-361. doi:10.36510/learnland.v8i2.712.
  • Schecter, S. R., Parejo, I., Ambadiang, T., & James, C. (2014). Schooling transnational speakers of the societal language: Language variation policy in Madrid and Toronto. Language Policy, 13 (2), 121-144. doi:10.1007/s10993-013-9310-y.
  • Ippolito, J., & Schecter, S. R. (2012). Using institutional structures to promote educational equity: A tale of two schools. Elementary School Journal, 112 (4), 607-626.
  • Schecter, S. R. (2012). The predicament of generation 1.5 English language learners: Three disjunctures and a possible way forward. Canadian Journal of Education, 35 (4), 308-340.
  • Schecter, S. R., & Lynch, J. (2011). Health learning and adult education: In search of a theory of practice. Adult Education Quarterly, 61 (3), 207-224.
  • Schecter, S. R., & Otoide, L. (2010). Through parents' eyes: An activist visual literacy project. International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education (IJCDSE), 1 (1), 43-52.
  • Schecter, S. R., & Sherri, D. L. (2009). "Value added?" Teachers' investments in and orientations toward parent involvement in education. Urban Education, 44 (1), 59-87.
  • Schecter, S. R., & Ippolito, J. (2008). Parent involvement AS education: Activist research in multilingual and multicultural urban schools. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 5 (1), 163-183.
  • Ippolito, J., & Schecter, S. R. (2008). A school-based research approach for responding to the literacy needs of linguistically diverse families. Education Canada, 48 (2), 55-58.
  • Bayley, R., & Schecter, S. R. (2007). Four Mexican immigrant families interpret texts and instructional agendas. In R. Horowitz (Ed.), Talking texts: Knowing the world through instructional discourse (pp. 159-183). Hillsdale, NJ, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Schecter, S. R., Ippoito, J., & Rashkovsky, K. (2007). Giving parents part of the PIE. Educational Leadership, 64 (6), 69-71.
  • Cummins, J., Chow, P., & Schecter, S. R. (2006). Community as curriculum. Language Arts, 83 (4), 297-307.
  • Bayley, R., & Schecter, S. R. (2005). Language production across the bilingual continuum: Mexican-descent children's Spanish and English narratives. In K. Denham & A. Lobeck (Eds.), Language in the schools: Integrating linguistic knowledge into K-12 teaching (pp. 121-133). Hillsdale, NJ, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Pease-Alvarez, L., & Schecter, S. R. (Eds.). (2005). Learning, teaching, and community: Contributions of situated and participatory approaches to educational innovation. Hillsdale, NJ, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Bayley, R., & Schecter, S. R. (2005). Negotiating multiple agendas: Mexicanos in California and Texas. In A. C. Zentella (Ed.), Language socialization in Latino families, communities and schools. New York, NY, USA: Teachers College Press.
  • Schecter, S. R., & Bayley, R. (2004). Language socialization in theory and practice. Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 17 (3), 605-625.
  • Bayley, R., & Schecter, S. R. (Eds.). (2003). Language socialization in bilingual and multilingual societies. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  • Cummins, J., & Schecter, S. R. (2003). Introduction: School-based language policy in culturally diverse contexts. In S. R. Schecter & J. Cummins (Eds.), Multilingual education in practice: Using diversity as a resource (pp. 1-16). Portsmouth, NH, USA: Heinemann Books.
  • Schecter, S. R., Solomon, P., & Kittmer, L. (2003). Integrating teacher education in a community-situated school agenda. In S. R. Schecter & J. Cummins (Eds.), Multilingual education in practice: Using diversity as a resource (pp. 81-96). Portsmouth, NH, USA: Heinemann Books.
  • Pon, G., Goldstein, T., & Schecter, S. R. (2003). Interrupted by silences: The contemporary education of Hong Kong-born Chinese Canadians. In R. Bayley & S. R. Schecter (Eds.), Language socialization in bilingual and multilingual societies (pp. 114-127). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  • Bayley, R., & Schecter, S. R. (2003). Introduction: Toward a dynamic model of language socialization. In R. Bayley & S. R. Schecter (Eds.), Language socialization in bilingual and multilingual societies (pp. 1-6). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  • Schecter, S. R., & Cummins, J. (Eds.). (2003). Multilingual education in practice: Using diversity as a resource. Portsmouth, NH, USA: Heinemann Books.
  • Pacini-Ketchabaw, V., & Schecter, S.R. (2002). Engaging the discourse of diversity: Educators' frameworks for working with linguistic and cultural difference. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 3 (3), 400-414.
  • Schecter, S. R., & Bayley, R. (2002). Language as cultural practice: Mexicanos en el norte. Hillsdale, NJ, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • James, C. E., & Schecter, S. R. (2000). Mainstreaming and marginalization: Two national strategies in the circumscription of difference. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 8 (1), 25-42.
  • Schecter, S. R. (2000). Diversity as the fall guy: When adaptations go awry. In C. E. James (Ed.), Experiencing difference (pp. 106-112). Halifax, NS, Canada: Fernwood Publishing.
  • Schecter, S. R. (1984). Listening tasks. New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.

Selected Presentations

  • Schecter, S. R. (2019, June). International students in Ontario secondary schools: How the stereotypes mislead. Presented at: International Society for Language Studies conference, Hong Kong.
  • Gutiérrez Estrada, M. R., & Schecter, S. R. (2018, June). Teacher agency in language education in an indigenous context in northwestern Mexico. Presented at: International Society for Language Studies annual conference, Waterloo, ON.
  • Schecter, S. R., Gala, M., & Rajaswaran, D. (2018, March). Supporting the school engagement and academic success of African and Caribbean descent students. Presented at: Ontario Education Research Symposium, Toronto, ON.
  • Schecter, S. R. (2018, January). Using place-referenced approaches to extend language minority youths’ problem-solving abilities and literate engagement. Presented at: 16th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education, Honolulu, HI.
  • Schecter, S. R., & James, C. E. (2017, October). Supporting the school engagement and academic success of bi-dialectal, African and Caribbean descent students. Presented at: Ontario Modern Language Teachers Association fall conference, Hamilton, ON.
  • Schecter, S. R. (2017, May). Examining the academic literacy development and linguistic environments of Canadian-born ELLs. Presented at: EQAO Annual Forum, Ontario Ministry of Education, Toronto, ON.
  • Schecter, S. R. (2016, May). Fostering the academic literacy development and social integration of Canadian-born English language learners. Presented at: Symposium on "Learning for the Newly Arrived" hosted by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Swedish Department of Education, invited keynote presentation, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Schecter, S. R. (2016, March). Generation 1.5 linguistic minority students: A “between” population of 21st century learners. Presented at: Symposium on "Critical Perspectives on 21st Century Learning" at 10th annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference, Valencia, Spain.
  • Schecter, S. R. (2015, November). Fostering the academic literacy development and social integration of generation 1.5 English language learners. Presented at: ERGO Professional Learning Conference 2015–16, keynote address to language specialists, Stratford, ON.

Research Projects

International students in an Ontario secondary school

Role: Principal Investigator

Amount funded: $25,000

Year Funded: 2018

Duration: 1 year

Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

This action research initiative supported a collaboration with teachers and administrators attached to an Ontario secondary school for purposes of fostering the school engagement, academic literacy development, and overall wellbeing of a cohort of early study abroad (ESA) international visa students. The project was situated within a secondary school affiliated with a major school board serving the Greater Toronto Area. With a student body of 900 students, the school hosted a cohort of approximately 110 ESA students during the course of the 14-month research collaboration. The students, enrolled in grades 9 through 12 and ranging in age from 14 to 20, originated from over 20 countries, primarily the Philippines, China, Iran, Turkey, Korea and Vietnam.

International students in Ontario secondary schools: Policies, protocols, and practices

Role: Principal Investigator

Amount funded: $146,195

Year Funded: 2019

Duration: 3 years

Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

This project advances a research and public service agenda focused on the schooling and social and cultural adaptation of early study abroad (ESA) international students who have come to Canada for the purposes of obtaining an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). There are currently over 572,000 International students in Canada, who contribute $21.6 billion to local economies (Toronto Star, 2019). Although the bulk of these students’ study at the college level, the number of K-12 International students is growing -- particularly in Ontario, which has the largest share of any province. Anecdotal evidence from professional educators associated with host school boards and schools, and preliminary findings from a pilot study undertaken by the PI, suggest that this cohort of students experience significant adaptation issues. Nor is the impact on host schools insignificant, as issues arise that do not fall neatly within the portfolio of academic accommodation.

Promoting the academic literacy development of generation 1.5 English language learners: A Pro-active agenda

Role: Principal Investigator

Amount funded: $57,716

Year Funded: 2011

Duration: 3 years

Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

This enrichment-oriented project aimed to expand the range of literacy, numeracy, and life skills of students who are born or start formal schooling in Canada but speak another language in the home. The project involved a collaboration between university researchers, students, teachers, school administrators, parents, and community members focused on developing linguistic minority students’ linguistic skills in tandem with their conceptual thinking, in this manner enhancing their academic achievement.

Schooling Bi-dialectal Students: A Workshop Series for Parents, Teachers and Educational Workers

Role: Co-Principal Investigator

Amount funded: $25,000

Year Funded: 2016

Duration: 1 year

Funded by: Ontario Ministry of Education (Inclusive Education Branch)

This project resulted from a grant awarded to Drs. Sandra R. Schecter and Carl E. James for the purposes of developing and hosting after-school workshops for parents, professional educators, and equity officers concerned with the learning needs, educational performance, and social integration of African- and Caribbean-descent students in Ontario. To this end, I assembled a group of stellar educators with research expertise to serve as facilitators of workshops corresponding to themes that address different needs and interests identified by professional educators, parents, and educational workers who teach, raise, and mentor this student demographic. See also project website:

Awards

  • International students in Ontario secondary schools: Policies, protocols, and practices, SSHRC Insight Grant - 2019-2021
  • My mother parachuted me over Thornhill: International students in a GTA secondary school, SSHRC Partnership Engagement Grant - 2018-2020
  • Schooling Bi-dialectal Students: A Workshop Series for Parents, Teachers and Educational Workers, Ontario Ministry of Education (Inclusive Education Branch) - 2016
  • Promoting the academic literacy development of generation 1.5 English language learners: A Pro-active agenda, SSHRC Insight Development Grant - 2011-2013
  • Schooling speakers of the societal language as a second dialect, SSHRC International Opportunities Fund - 2009-2012
  • Mediating the academic literacy development of generation 1.5 student: Elementary focus, SSHRC Standard Research Grant - 2008-2111
  • Parent involvement AS education: The primary and middle school classroom as a site of intergenerational language learning, SSHRC Standard Research Grant - 2004-2007
  • Parent involvement AS education: The primary and middle school classroom as a site of adult language learning, SSHRC Strategic Research Grant (Valuing Literacy in Canada) - 2003-2006
  • From literacy to multiliteracies: Designing learning environments for knowledge generation within the new economy, SSHRC Initiative on the New Economy Research Alliances Grant (Collaborator) - 2003-2006
  • Educational restructuring in Canada and the United States: Policy and practice, SSHRC Special Initiative Grant - 1999-2001
  • Situating learning in home, school, and community: An action research collaboration, SSHRC Standard Research Grant - 1998-2001
  • Family language environment and bilingual development: Towards and integrated maintenance model, Spencer Foundation Major Research Award - 1994-1996

Professional Affiliations

  • Canadian Society for the Study of Education
  • American Educational Research Association
  • American Association of Applied Linguistics
  • Internatiomal Society for Language Studies

York University Affiliations/Cross Appointments

  • Graduate Program in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics

Service/Community Activities

  • International Journal of Language and Culture: Editorial Board
  • Social Studies and Humanities Research Council of Canada: Insight Grant Review Panel
  • York University: Director, Graduate Program in Education (2009-12, 2013-14)