Avasha Rambiritch, University of Pretoria
Avasha Rambiritch is a lecturer in the Unit for Academic Literacy at the University of Pretoria (UP) where she teaches academic literacy and academic writing modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level. She is also the co-ordinator of the writing centre. She has a PhD in Applied Linguistics (Language Practice) and has published research articles in accredited journals on language testing, academic writing, social justice and writing centre support, aswell as co-authored chapters in books published by reputable publishers. She has previously served on the Executive Committee of the South African Association for Language Teachers (SAALT) and the Southern African Linguistics and Applied Linguistics Society (SALALS), is an Associate Member of NExLA (Network of Expertise in Language Assessment) and serves as Board Member of ICELDA (Inter-Institutional Centre for Language Development and Assessment). She is also one of the founding members of the newly established South African Association of Academic Literacy Practitioners (SAAALP) and co-heads a Special Interest Group on Writing Centres.
Avasha is actively involved in promoting writing centres and research driven writing centre practices. In 2019, jointly with her research partner and enabled by a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) grant from the University of Pretoria, she hosted a colloquium on the topic of Tutor training: the relationship between theory, lore and practice. History was made in that it was the first colloquium in South Africa to bring together writing centre directors and consultants from eight universities around a theme of common interest and concern. In 2021 she was part of the organising committee of the 1st UFS (University of the Free State) and UP (University of Pretoria) Joint Virtual Conference on the theme: Academic Literacy and Writing Centre Practitioners’ Responses to Covid-19 and the move to online/blended teaching and learning. She has recently secured funding to conduct research on Multilingualism in the Online Writing Centre and hopes to share those findings in the near future.
Casey Philip Wong, Georgia State University
Casey Philip Wong, PhD (he/him) is currently an Assistant Professor of Social Foundations of Education in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University. Dr. Wong’s interdisciplinary research examines how institutionally and historically marginalized students are provided opportunities to engage in authentic learning experiences that sustain their cultures, languages, lives, and communities (i.e., culturally sustaining pedagogy). Consequently, he aims to advance social justice in education through interrogating the assumptions undergirding hegemonic educational practices through critical race feminist, anti-colonial and anti-racist frameworks, and by investigating and developing culturally sustaining and asset-based pedagogies to teach and learn otherwise. He collaborates with students and educators to affirm, foster, sustain, and revitalize educational institutions and processes that critically center overlapping and interconnected African/Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities. Dr. Wong has worked with activists in Hip Hop Education to organize four Think Tank gatherings, as well as a Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy (CSP) conference that brought together leaders working for educational justice.
Dr. Wong is working alongside H. Samy Alim and Django Paris to organize a follow-up convening, and to conduct research as a part of a Lyle Spencer-funded research project exploring CSPs across the world. In 2020, they released a chapter on this research in The Handbook of the Cultural Foundations of Learning (edited by Na’ilah Nasir, Carol D. Lee, Roy Pea, and Maxine McKinney de Royston). He is also co-editing a volume with H. Samy Alim and Jeff Chang entitled, Freedom Moves: Hip Hop Knowledges, Pedagogies, and Futures (University of California Press for release in Fall 2022). Including contributions by teachers, community-based educators, activists, and Hip Hop artists from across the U.S., Spain, Syria, Palestine, and South Africa, the volume examines how Hip Hop pedagogies can develop critical consciousness and advance social justice for youth when presented as culturally relevant and sustaining curriculum and instruction. He was most recently an invited panellist for a Presidential Session at the American Educational Research Association on creating expansive and equitable learning environments (virtual), and an invited presenter for a Presidential Session on Hip Hop Pedagogies at the American Association of Applied Linguistics (Chicago), as well as a speaker at the International James Baldwin Conference (Paris). Dr. Wong has been working inside and outside of schools to heal, cultivate critical thinking, and educate for collective freedom with K-16 youth and young people, from Oakland to NYC, for over 12 years.