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By Dale Martelli, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Education, SFU; BCSSTA president; teacher; Vancouver

Teaching is not stagnant. It evolves and changes over time based on our collective understanding of how students learn. As a teacher, I often turn to my colleagues for ideas and opportunities to collaborate. I rarely looked to the world of academia for information on my professional practice. That is, until I started my graduate program in social studies education.

The research that comes from academia is often relevant for teachers but is difficult for teachers to access. Consequently, there is a gap between academia and classroom practice. Teachers do not regularly have the opportunity to read about new research, and researchers miss out on the valuable insight teachers can provide. Throughout my doctoral program, I have been working with teacher colleagues and the Faculty of Education at SFU to create connections between universities and school classrooms.

To facilitate conversations between teachers and academics, the BC Social Studies Teachers’ Association (BCSSTA) created a peer-reviewed journal called Detours: Social Science Education Research Journal. The title came from my own research into the pedagogy of historical thinking in the classroom. Sometimes inquiry into practice or philosophy takes us down unexpected paths, thus Detours.

We are partnered with SFU’s Department of Philosophy, SFU’s Education Faculty, and the British Columbia Library Association. Our editorial board is composed of teachers and professors.

The journal is a space where academic researchers and teachers can share their knowledge and have conversations around theory and application in the field of education. Any social studies teacher or any social science researcher can submit articles. In our first issue we had three articles from teachers and two from academic researchers. A modest beginning but something I hope will grow. This issue will be followed by a conference in February. The conference will be a roundtable paper presentation by all five authors to promote discourse around the papers.

My hope for the journal is that it evolves as a peer-reviewed journal and as a space for connecting social sciences academia with teachers. I hope it also gives teachers who are pursuing graduate studies a space to publish their work and share ideas with colleagues and universities.



The stereotype of academics in their ivory tower isn’t entirely without foundations, but the fact is that most researchers would like their work to be beneficial to society in a very concrete sense. Interacting more with K–12 teachers is a natural way to do so, but often it’s hard to find access points. I think Detours is a great initiative that will facilitate the sort of interaction we can benefit from– Nicolas Fillion, professor, SFU Department of Philosophy

Detours provided me the opportunity to reflect and share my thoughts about the Holocaust’s historic and contemporary relevancy for high school classrooms. I strive to continuously grow as an educator, and Detours has provided an avenue in this pursuit. Detours most certainly challenged my thinking. – Graeme Stacey, teacher, Kelowna

Detours gave me an opportunity to write about my passions. Since publishing my article, I have had scholars email me to have further discussions about my topic and how it connects to my students. It was a valuable professional development experience.  – Tina Clarke, teacher, Kelowna

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