Associate Professor, Education
Okanagan School of Education 

I came to academia through an interconnected path that aligned my passion for history with my curiosity and love of learning into one career. History has always fascinated me. Learning how and why our world and society have been shaped into what we know today is incredible and powerful. I’m particularly interested in citizenship, which also has an ethical dimension related to how we live together and what we aim toward as a society. 

I have been an educator for over 25 years, teaching at the high school and university levels. Since beginning my career, I have always enjoyed teaching and developing workshops for the education of youth and teachers. I also enjoyed continually learning and reflecting on my teaching practice. This is what led me to decide to pursue my PhD and work in a post-secondary context. Working in academia allows me to continue sharing my love for learning with students through teaching while using research to explore my passion for history and citizenship. I love how we learn and grow together as a discipline by engaging with each other’s work—it really is a living field! 

My research developed from my interest in history and social studies. Citizenship has been the aim of social studies teaching in BC since the course was established, and citizenship was also a major aim of the establishment of public schooling. My work explores the concepts of citizenship and citizenship education including what meanings and aims are associated with citizenship, the history of concepts of citizenship and citizenship education and how citizenship education can be improved. Recently, I received a SSHRC grant to enable a cross-Canada study on the conceptions of citizenship and citizenship education. The study invites all Canadians to participate in an online survey to share their thoughts citizenship education, and their beliefs about what kind of society they would like Canada to be now and in the future. The goal of this research is to consider Canadians’ diverse perceptions of citizenship, identity and citizenship education to serve as the foundation for the development of a new Citizenship Education program in schools. In addition, I work with the Citizenship Education Research Network (CERN) that brings together scholars, community-based researchers, policymakers, practitioners and diverse stakeholders to explore meanings, processes and approaches to citizenship and citizenship education in Canada. 

“Watching students learn together through inquiry, discussion and experiential education fills me with joy.” 

Currently, I am working with students to write a history of the changes to the concepts, aims and educational goals and processes of citizenship education in Canada. I actively collaborate with my students to research and write papers. Watching students learn together through inquiry, discussion and experiential education fills me with joy. I teach at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Something I’m particularly proud of is that I was able to combine my passion for teaching with my research interests to develop two graduate-level courses, one of which focuses on local and global citizenship education. 

Life can be hectic balancing work with a young child and two dogs, but I love living and working in the Okanagan. I love spending time in the outdoors enjoying nature—a passion I enjoy sharing with my son, who was born here in 2013. Even after more than a decade at UBC Okanagan, I’m still in awe of our stunningly beautiful campus. Beyond the landscape, it’s also the people who make this campus special. I appreciate my colleagues in the Okanagan School of Education and how positive, supportive and collaborative they have been throughout my journey here.



Meet Dr. John-Tyler Binfet, Okanagan School of Education

“My goal is to create inclusive spaces where students are challenged to think differently and move forward through the world in
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