Raptis, Helen

Associate Professor


Phone number: (250) 721-7776
Email: hraptis@uvic.ca
Department: Curriculum and Instruction

Research description:

- Intersection of government policy and minority learners
- Social and historical foundations of education in British Columbia
- Multicultural and anti-racist education
- School effectiveness and school improvement
- Examination of two generations of Tsimshian learners (from the Terrace region) to understand how government policies of segregation and integration shaped their schooling and their adulthood.

Expertise Profile
Residential schools represent part of the story in understanding education and Indigenous communities, says Dr. Helen Raptis.

The professor in Curriculum and Instruction studies the history of education, specifically the intersection of minority learners and formal education systems.

Looking at the period from 1900-1969, Dr. Raptis has determined that more Indigenous students attended on-reserve day schools than residential schools.

She is contributing to a fuller story on Indigenous communities by examining how Aboriginal children transitioned from Aboriginal day schools to public schools.

In a recent project, Dr. Raptis collected narratives from two generations of Tsimshian learners to see how government policies of segregation and integration impacted their schooling and transition to adulthood.

Her findings enabled both the elders and their offspring to know more about each other and their own communities. It also showed that day schools were less benign than historians have previously thought.

Understanding the history of education can help us avoid the pitfalls of the past and enable learners of all genders, race, and culture to succeed at school, she says. Her research may even help us understand why the high school graduation rate for Aboriginal students is around 60 per cent.

Dr. Raptis's background in government consulting and teaching prior to becoming a professor gives her a multi-faceted approach to delivering classes.

In addition to her work with Indigenous communities, Dr. Raptis is also working on an interactive website, The Educational Heritage Museum, to enhance the learning and teaching of education history. The project is a partnership with Lower Vancouver Island Retired Teachers and UVic's Faculty of Education.

Related Links
Dr. Raptis' Faces of UVic Research video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWMf2n_LvPQ

The Education Heritage Museum website: www.educationheritage.ca

International research:

Dr. Raptis is currently collaborating with Dr. Cecilia Abras of the Universidade Federal de Sao Joao del Rei in Brazil. They are investigating the history of pre-service teacher education in Canada and Brazil.

Countries lived or worked in:

Dr. Raptis has lived in Australia, France and the United States.


French, Spanish and Greek

Community projects

Dr. Raptis studies the history of education as it was practiced more broadly in the province of BC and specifically on Vancouver Island/ Victoria.

UVic Speakers bureau

Helen Raptis takes part in the UVic Speakers Bureau.
More information about the Speakers Bureau can be found here.

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