Dr. Ambika G. Raj is Professor of Education at the Division of Curriculum and Instruction. Since joining the faculty at Cal State LA in 2001, Dr. Raj (also known as Ambika Gopalakrishnan), has coordinated programs such as the Storytelling Certificate, Creative Literacies Master's Option, and currently, the Curriculum and Instruction Master's option. She also serves as Core faculty in the Educational Leadership doctoral program. Her passion and strengths lie in using Story and Drama as pedagogical strategies in a wide variety of instructional settings.
My passion is Story in all of its contexts. I have used narrative methods and educational drama from a Critical theoretical standpoint in my praxis for over seventeen years now. My areas of expertize include using story in various educational settings. I have conducted workshops and worked with educators, teachers, community partners such as juvenile prisons and film productions on aspects of Story and how to use aspects of Story in teaching, learning, identity, equity and multicultural aspects. Here at Cal State LA, I have also collaborated with colleagues on Inclusive creative methods, designed and co-teaching courses on adapting Story and educational drama for differentiation.
I have designed many innovative courses and taught at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels to an audience that ranges from Pre-K through College. I incorporate Story and Educational Drama in all my classes - that is my signature. Some of the courses that I have designed and taught are Storytelling for Teachers, Creative and Reflective Methods of Teaching, Trends and Issues in Multicultural Literature, Early Childhood Language and Literacy, Achieving Advanced Pedagogical Strategies for Equity and so on.
My research interests lie in identity and narrative methods including those that explore the performing arts and performance theories. I am intrigued by Creativity and Pedagogy and the interplay of how people become or see themselves as Creative (identity). I believe in the writing process as a form of discovery and have been one of very few faculty to encourage and support Master's thesis / project development here since 2004. My most recent research includes the incorporation of Story in a first grade classroom Writer's workshop. Other Research projects include creating materials for 21st century learning, exploring media and film and so on.
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
Raj, A.G., Storytelling for Teachers. Cognella Publications – In Process, accepted for publication
Raj, A.G., McClanahan, L., Morgan, D., Letcher, M., Stonerock, K., Fergerson, P. Raising our Voices through Documentaries, Storying, Curation and Challenging Censorship: A Panel Presentation Accepted Paper for National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention, St. Louis, MI, November 2017
Raj A.G., Bates, E. J., Almos, J.E. and Alcantor-Armenta, J. Creative Educational Leaders for the 21st Century. A Panel Presentation at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention, Atlanta, GA
Raj, A.G., Preparing early childhood special education literacy teachers. A collaborative project. Panel Presentation at the American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences (AABSS) Annual Convention, Las Vegas, NV
Raj A.G., An International Story Project. Poster Presented at the Ethnography and Qualitative Research (EQRC) Annual Convention, Las Vegas, NV
Raj A.G. Preparing Creative and Inclusive Classroom Materials for the 21st Century – Sabbatical Research
2001 Doctor Of Philosophy (Ph.D.) The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Areas Of Concentration: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, Children’s Literature & Educational Drama
1993 Master of Performing Arts (M.A.) University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India
Areas of Concentration: Theater Arts and Creative Drama
1991 Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Bangalore University, Bangalore, India
Areas of Concentration: Child Psychology, English Literature, and Economics