Graduate Spotlight: Sina Derichsweiler, PhD student

Sina Derichsweiler is a visiting doctoral student from Cologne, Germany. She is a research assistant at the University of Cologne in the Department of English. She is also a lecturer with a focus on English language-teaching courses, literary theory and cultural studies.

It was during a conference in Germany that Sina learned about the Okanagan School of Education from Greg Garrard, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies Associate Dean. And we couldn’t be happier that she did!

For her doctoral research, Sina is working on a concept to approach topics concerning gender identity and sexual orientation with a conception of solidarity based on affect and not on identity.

“My idea is to combine solidarity and tradition together with aspects from transformative learning theory and resonance pedagogy,” says Sina. “My approach focuses on the process of teaching and learning in teacher education programs.”

Based on her research, Sina hopes to develop a course for university students, studying to become English teachers, where this concept is interwoven with theories of English language teaching such as competencies in speaking, mediation or critical literary.

Her inspiration for the topic came from her belief that there hasn’t been enough focus on diversity in English language teaching programs.

“There is a lot of focus put on the content, so how to teach grammar or how to teach literature, but not so much focus on how to combine all these aspects with broader ideas of diversity or intersectionality,” says Sina.

Her advice to those interested in pursuing their PhD is to choose a topic you are very passionate about since you will have to work on it for years.

“The overall goal should be to find a topic that you want to become a leading expert in,” says Sina.

Sina will be in Kelowna until February 2020. When she’s not on campus you may find her out enjoying Kelowna’s outdoors, bouldering at the indoor rock climbing gym or exploring other parts of western Canada.