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U of C researcher receives Educational Research Award

October 6, 2020 ATA News Staff

The Alberta Teachers’ Association has named Dr. Rahat Zaidi, from the University of Calgary, as the recipient of its 2020 ATA Educational Research Award.  

Rahat Zaidi’s research on collaboration between teachers and refugee parents has earned the ATA’s 2020 Educational Research Award.


Zaidi is an associate professor and chair of Language and Literacy at the U of C’s Werklund School of Education. Her research study was conducted with an interdisciplinary team and in collaboration with the Calgary Board of Education, whose efforts were led by Christine Oliver, system principal with the district’s ELL and Diversity Services.

Optimizing Parent-Teacher Collaboration in Refugee Children’s Learning, completed in April 2020, examined the challenges and barriers for refugee families and their children’s teachers in establishing the relationships critical for student learning and success.

“To build a strong, positive parent–teacher relationship requires time, trust and effective communication,” said ATA president Jason Schilling. “Dr. Zaidi’s research is important because it lays out what needs to happen when our students and their families are refugees. The challenges in those situations are very different and we need the resources to address them.”

In her study, Zaidi cites the time obligation required to attend English language classes, lack of knowledge and experience with Alberta’s education system, and lack of access to technology as a few of the challenges hindering the ability of parents who are refugees in forming relationships with their children’s teachers.

The ATA Educational Research Award is valued at $5,000 and is presented annually to a faculty of education member or sessional lecturer at an Alberta university or university college who has undertaken high-quality research on classroom teaching and learning. ❚

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