College of Education

Research Area(s)

  • teacher education; secondary school English language arts; Aboriginal education; decolonization; transformative education; curriculum; and service learning


Dr. Geraldine Balzer is an Associate Professor of Curriculum Studies in the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. Her experiences teaching Inuit students led to her interest in decolonizing pedagogies and transformative education. Her teaching focuses on ways of disrupting the hegemony of standard English and embracing the diversity of Englishes within our world, incorporating Aboriginal and postcolonial literature into secondary classrooms, and preparing teachers to be advocates of social justice.  Her research focuses on decolonization and social justice. She works with teachers to explore the use of diverse literary texts and literary theory in order to engage students in critical thinking about societal issues. She also studies International Experiential Education/Service Learning and its impact on Canadian participants and host communities in Central America. A central focus of this research is to ensure that Indigenous host communities in the Global South have voice in the development and implementation of these programs. Reciprocity is central to developing research that is not an extractive industry but is co-owned by the researchers and the communities.


  • Ph.D. University of Saskatchewan, Interdisciplinary Studies (Curriculum Studies and English), 2007
  • M.Ed. University of Saskatchewan, 1987
  • M.A. University of Waterloo, English, 1983 
  • B.A. University of British Columbia,Theatre Arts and English, 1980


Undergraduate Teaching

  • ECUR 379 – Introduction to English Language Arts (Secondary)
  • ECUR 165 – Teaching in Secondary Schools
  • ECUR 411 – Inquiry Project: Central America Study Tour

Graduate Teaching

  •  ECUR 811 – Curriculum Perspectives
  •  ECUR 812 – Curriculum: Theory and Practice
  •  ECUR 815 – Decolonizing Curriculum


  • Social Justice Pedagogies in the ELA classroom
  • International Experiential Learning

Service and Outreach

Building Reciprocity in International Experiential Education

Students and volunteers from schools in the Global North have participated in service learning and experiential education in the Global South for decades. Members of host communities describe the joys and frustrations of being involved in these programs. While willing participants, their cultural protocols and daily challenges have not been recognized consistently or respectfully.

Participants from Nicaragua and Guatemala met in Managua, Nicaragua to share their experiences with Canadian researchers. Their stories reveal the importance of these visits from the Global North while also illustrating the one way transmission of knowledge. In this video, they challenge participants from the Global North to explore ways of co-developing programs, respecting local protocols and community governance, and encouraging reciprocity.

Individuals and institutions involved in partnerships with communities and agencies in the Global South are called to equitable relations with their partners and hosts.



Graduate Supervision

  • Ullah, M. (2015). Thriving in Nature. [MA] Environmental Education and Communication, Royal Roads University.
  • Allen, S. (2016). Superhumans: How teachers use graphic novels to encourage student engagement in literature. [MEd] Curriculum Studies, University of Saskatchewan.

Selected Publications

  • Kornelson, L., Balzer, G., & Magro, K. (Eds.) (in press) Teaching global citizenship: A Canadian perspective. Canadian Scholars’ Press.
  • Balzer, G. (in press_Where in the World is Neuschwanstein? A Postcolonial Reflection on Global Citizenship and Geographic Isolation. In Kornelson, L., Balzer, G., & Magro, K. (Eds.) Teaching global citizenship: A Canadian perspective. Canadian Scholars’ Press.
  • Heidebrecht, L. & Balzer, G. (2020) Decolonial Experimentations in International Service Learning Research and Practice: Learnings from Mayan Indigenous Host Communities. Michigan Journal of Service Learning.  26 (1), DOI

Selected Presentations

  • Kornelson, & Balzer, G. (2020) Those who teach know: Exploring teacher knowledge in global citizenship education – a Canadian perspective.Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (conference cancelled)
  • Balzer, G. (2019) Becoming Teachers of Engaged Citizens. European Literacy Congress, Copenhagen, Denmark, August 6.
  • Balzer, G., Laynez, A., Lopez, M., O’Sullivan, M., Roberts, T., Sepulveda, R., & Smaller, H. (2018) Remapping Global Education: Reporting on a South-South encuentro. Comparative International Education Conference, Mexico City, (March 25-19)