Dr. Jia Li is a John A. Sproul Research Fellow at Berkeley Language Center and Canadian Studies Program in 2018-2019. She was a Canada-US. Fulbright Research Scholar in Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2011-2012 and is presently an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. As an applied linguist and researcher in language and literacy education, Dr. Li’s research focuses on bridging culturally and linguistically students’ academic language, literacy and academic achievement gaps in urban school boards in Canada and US, such as Boston Public Schools, the Toronto Public School District , Indigenous communities as well as in North American universities. Through collaboration with a team of Canadian and US researchers across disciplines, her work aims to develop data-driven innovative interventions to support American and Canadian youth’s academic language and literacy development across disciplines and in enriched cultural contexts. This can enable them to become contributing citizens with critical thinking skills. This is achieved through using multimedia, social media and mobile technologies which are in tune with youth’s strong interest in new technologies. These interventions take account of cognitive, socio-economic and socio-cultural factors and other contextual variables that contribute to learning differences among students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Dr. Li’s research has been funded through several national grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and Fulbright Canada, and Ontario Ministry of Education. The results have been published in high impact journals, including Canadian Modern Language Review, Computers & Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, Computer Assisted Language Learning.
For the research project sponsored by the Sproul Fellowship at UC, Berkeley, Dr. Li collaborates with Dr. Richard Kern and Mark Kaiser, Director and Associate Director at BLC and Gisèle Tanasse, Head of Media Resources Center in designing and conducting an intervention study that builds on Canadian and American youth’s interest in video creation and viewing through social media. The research project is entitled “Understanding Canadian culture and language: A critical analysis of cinematography and language use in modern Canadian and American films”. It aims to create a series of annotated pedagogical film trailers to introduce Canada themed films, help youth foster their interest in Canadian language and culture and furthermore gain an in-depth understanding of Canada in an innovative, engaging and entertaining way. In light of interdisciplinary research advances in the fields of Canadian studies, film studies, language and literacy education and multiliteracies pedagogy, the project’s objectives are (1) to enhance the understanding of Canadian history, culture, society and contemporary issues, and promote Canada’s influence among American and international youth in the US and; and (2) develop a critical perspective on the image and identity of the country as it is portrayed in Canadian and American cinema.