Ava Becker, PhD, MA, BA (hons)

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education - Secondary Education Dept

Pronouns: she/her


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education - Secondary Education Dept


Area of Study / Keywords

The lived experience of language language and trauma multimodality multilingualism language ideology qualitative methods language socialization


Current funded projects include:

  • 2023-2024 From language portraits to language playlists: Charting methodological possibilities with multilingual youth in crisis
  • 2023-2024 An exploration of music-talk interviews in Spracherleben research with adult heritage speakers
  • 2022-2024 A multimodal exploration of care ethics and care writing

Select Publications

Journal Articles

Becker, A. (2023). “Too much earthquakes!”: Imagined transnationalism and heritage language learning two generations after exile. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education. https://doi-org.login.ezproxy.library.ualberta.ca/10.1080/15348458.2023.2245028

Becker-Zayas, A. (2022). Finding Max’s wolves: Literacy socialization in the margins. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. https://doi.org/10.1177/14687984221098351    

Kendrick, M., Namazzi, E., Tibwambulala, E., & Becker-Zayas, A. (2020). Closing the HIV&AIDS “information Gap” between children and parents in rural Uganda: A case for multimodal pedagogies. Education Sciences, 10(8), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10080193 (registering DOI)

Becker-Zayas, A., Kendrick, M., & Namazzi, E. (2018). Children’s images of HIV/AIDS in Uganda: What visual methodologies can tell us about their knowledge and life circumstances. Applied Linguistics Review, 9(2-3), 365-389.

Becker, A. (2014). Funds of (difficult) knowledge and the affordances of multimodality: The case of Victor. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 10(2), 18-33.

Guardado, M., & Becker, A. (2014). “Glued to the family”: The role of familism in heritage language development strategies. Journal of Language, Culture and Curriculum, 27(2), 1-19.                

Book Chapters

Becker, A. (2023). Transcultural pedagogies for challenging times: Deshaciendo la maleta. In R. Zaidi, U. Boz, & E. Moreau (Eds.) Transcultural Pedagogies for Multilingual Classrooms: Responding to Changing Realities in Theory and Practice (pp. 185-199). Multilingual Matters.

Duff, P. A. & Becker-Zayas, A. (2017). “Demographics and heritage languages in Canada: Policies, patterns, and prospects.” In O. Kagan, M. Carreira, & C. Chik (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook on Heritage Language Education (pp. 57-67). Routledge.

Guardado, M., & Becker, A. (2013). Fostering heritage languages and diasporic identities: The role of grassroots initiatives in Alberta and British Columbia. In C. Mady & K. Arnett (Eds.), Minority populations in second language education: Broadening the lens from Canada (pp. 55-70). Multilingual Matters.    

Book Reviews

Becker-Zayas, A. (2022). Review of Discourse, ideology and heritage language socialization: Micro and macro perspectives. M. Guardado. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 25(1), 184–186. https://doi.org/10.37213/cjal.2022.31339

Becker, A. (2019). Review of Heritage language policies around the world. C. A. Seals & S. Shaw (Eds.). Heritage Language Journal, 16(1), pp. 120-123.

Becker-Zayas, A. (2015). Review of A sociolinguistics of diaspora: Latino practices, identities, and ideologies. R. Márquez Reiter & L. Martín Rojo (Eds.). Language and Education, 30(3), 281-284.

Becker, A. (2015). Review of The public and its problems: An essay in political inquiry. R. Rogers (Ed.). Education and Culture, 31(1), 101-104.

Becker, A. (2014). Review of Language policies and (dis)citizenship: Rights, access, pedagogies. V. Ramanathan (Ed.). Language and Education, 28(4), 397-400.


I am currently the instructor and course coordinator of EDSE 307: Language, Literacy, and Society in Educational Contexts. It is a required course for all students in the secondary education program. EDSE 307 seeks to raise preservice teachers' critical awareness of language as it is used and learned both in and out of schools, with particular attention to supporting emergent bilingual and multilingual students.


I welcome expressions of interest from graduate students seeking to explore the intersections of multilingualism, multimodality, trauma, and (language) education.


EDSE 307 - Language, Literacy and Society in Educational Contexts

Prerequisites: *9 in the Major subject area, EDPY 304, EDU 100/300, 210, and 211. Corequisite: Courses in the Introductory Professional Term (IPT) for the Secondary Education Route. Successful completion of the on-campus portion of the IPT is expected prior to being granted permission to continue into EDFX 350. EDSE 307 is designed to prepare teachers to develop English language and literacy abilities in learners in grades 7 through 12, particularly diverse and minority learners. Note: Not open to first year students.

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