Dr. Cory Wright Maley portrait

Dr. Cory Wright-Maley

Associate Professor, Education

Phone: (403) 254-3129
Email: Cory.WrightMaley@stmu.ca
Office: M103
PhD Curriculum & Instruction, University of Connecticut
MEd, Stanford University
BA (Honours) History, University of Calgary
BA (Honours) Political Science, University of Calgary

Specialization/research interests:
Social studies education, Simulations, Effective ELL instruction, Interactive pedagogy, Powerful teaching methods, Democracy in educational environments

Cory Wright-Maley is an assistant professor in the Department of Education at St. Mary’s University. Cory’s a Calgary native, completed his master’s degree at Stanford University, and taught in Woodside, California for six years before backpacking around the world for a year, returning to begin his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut. It was here that he met his wife, Jenn. He is the father of three. His 5 year old wants to become a chess master, his 3 year old loves dancing, dinosaurs, and Chuggington, and his baby loves to fall asleep on his chest while he walks around the house. His love of Star Wars, Doctor Who, Zombies, and his penchant for T-Shirts reveal his quirks and interests. He teaches introductory and social studies methods courses for elementary teachers, and is viewed as a “taskmaster” by his students, albeit a “kind” and “caring” one. Ultimately, his mission is to help each of his graduates become the kind of teacher he would want his own children to have as they enter the school system. His research is anchored broadly in social studies education, focusing on simulations and on how to empower teachers to support marginalized populations in social studies contexts. His past and current works have explored democracy in the face of economic inequality, teaching about family diversity in Catholic elementary contexts, and understanding the needs and challenges of English language learners (ELLs) in the content classroom. Still learning and growing, he is seeking to better understand the indigenous practices, history, and culture of the region.

As a K-12 teacher I sought to develop my own teaching around two questions: (1) ‘how do people learn?’ and (2) ‘for what reason do people learn?’ The purpose of learning lends itself powerfully, I think, to understanding how we learn, and contains further implications for what schooling is, or ought to be. With this in mind, I began to experiment with a curriculum that was at once challenging for students, but also rich with pedagogical variety (simulations, public service, debates, games, discussions, theatrical presentations, museum displays, and other activities) that helped push students to engage in the subject matter in more diverse and authentic ways. I wanted my classes to be a source of uplift and verve, classes that my students deemed to be as valuable and engaging as they were challenging.

I have worked diligently to carry this mission with me into my university teaching, where I seek to engage my students in creative practices that they can incorporate into their own classroom practices. I want to emphasize for them the impact of active, meaningful, challenging, and enjoyable learning. If we promote educational experiences where students are most often passive recipients of learning, I believe that it is likelier than not that they will become passive recipients of action in the world. Like many liberal theorists, it is my assertion that humans are shaped by our experiences. Thus, the nature of the experiences we create for our children impact their ability to garner, develop, and use their knowledge in ways that impact the world in a positive way.

In recent years, I have grown to believe that encouraging youth leadership and participation in decision making will ultimately promote good governance, both individually and socially, and may ultimately increase the wellbeing of the commonweal. In order to prepare our students for the 21st century, it is essential that we prepare teachers to engage their students effectively in democracy as enlightened citizens. Further, I have grown increasingly interested in the notion of inclusion in democratic life and in the classroom. It is my firm belief that teachers should have the tools to address growing student diversity as well as increasingly complex social issues in their classrooms, which requires considerable tact in the elementary context. In order for teachers to act as agents of change, they must be fully equipped with the rigorous intellectual tools they need to investigate and interrogate their practices and the world around them. To do so, teachers must be equipped to integrate educational and democratic theory with a critically engaged pedagogical practice in order to actualize truly powerful practices.

At the core of my vision is education that engages students creatively and critically in the process of change, liberation, and self-realization toward a spirit of democracy and mutual-aid. I am confident that my passions for creative pedagogies, democracy, and diversity will continue to drive both my research and practice for years to come.

Wright-Maley, C. & Davis, T. (Eds.), (2017). Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Economic Disparity. New York, NY: Routledge. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781317391685

And Watch For

Wright-Maley, C. (Ed.). More like life itself: Simulations as powerful and purposeful social studies. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.

Recent Articles:

Wright-Maley, C. & Joshi, P. (2017). All fall down: Simulating the spread of the black plague in the high school classroom. The History Teacher, 50(4), 517-534. http://www.societyforhistoryeducation.org/pdfs/A17_Wright-Maley_and_Joshi.pdf

Levine, T. & Wright-Maley, C. (2017). Studying teacher preparation for linguistic diversity: Promoting triangulation while minimizing cost. SAGE Research Methods Cases. DOI: 10.4135/9781473979635

Wright-Maley, C. & Joshi, P. (2016). Why OPEC is still relevant—especially to the social studies. Social Education, 80(3), 168-173.

Wright-Maley, C. (2016). “Their definition of rigor is different than ours”: The promise and challenge of enactivist pedagogies in the social studies. Cogent Education, 3(1), 1-14. DOI: 10.1080/2331186X.2016.1140557

Wright-Maley, C., Davis, C., Gonzales, E., Colwell, R. (2016). Considering perspectives on transgender inclusion in Canadian Catholic elementary schools: Perspectives, challenges, and opportunities. Journal of Social Studies Research, 40(3), 187-200. DOI: 10.1016/j.jssr.2015.12.001

Wright-Maley, C. (2015). What every social studies teacher should know about simulations. Canadian Social Studies, 48(1), 8-23.

Wright-Maley, C. (2015). On “stepping back and letting go”: The role of control in the success or failure of social studies simulations. Theory and Research in Social Education, 43(2), 206-243 DOI: 10.1080/00933104.2015.1034394

Wright-Maley, C. (2015). Beyond the “Babel problem”: Defining simulations for the social studies. Journal of Social Studies Research, 39(2), 63-77 doi:10.1016/j.jssr.214.10.001

Wright-Maley, C., & Green, J.D. (2015). Experiencing the needs and challenges of ELLs: Improving knowledge and efficacy of preservice teachers through the use of a language immersion simulation. Cogent Education, 2(1), 1-17. doi:10.1080/2331186X.2015.1030176

Wright-Maley, C. (2014). In defense of simulating complex and tragic historical episodes: A measured response to the outcry over a New England slavery simulation. Canadian Social Studies, 47(1), 18-25.

Book Chapters:

Wright-Maley, C. & Green, J. D. (2018). Bitter Challenge; Swede Success: Simulating Language Learning Experiences in Social Studies Classrooms. In D. Oliveira & K. Obenchain, (Eds.). Teaching History and Social Studies to English Language Learners: Preparing Pre-Service and In-Service Teachers. Cham, CH: Palgrave MacMillan. https://www.palgrave.com/br/book/9783319637358

Wright-Maley, C. (2018). Yes, children should know where meat comes from: Preparing teachers to navigate the delicate nature of interrogating the sacrosanct. In S. Shear, Tschida, Bellows, L.B. Buchanan, E.E. Saylor (Eds.). (Re)Imagining Elementary Social Studies: A Controversial Issues Reader, pp. 177-198. Charlotte, NC: Information Age. Press. http://www.infoagepub.com/products/(Re)Imagining-Elementary-Social-Studies

Wright-Maley, C., Lee, J., & Friedman, A.M. (2018). Digital simulations, games, and other emerging technologies in historical learning. S. A. Metzger & L.M. Harris (Eds.). The Wiley International Handbook of History Teaching and Learning, pp. 603-630. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. https://www.wiley.com/en-us/The+Wiley+International+Handbook+of+History+Teaching+and+Learning-p-9781119100737

Wright-Maley, C., Levine, T., Gonzalez, E. (2014). Instruction in progress: In search of effective practices for emergent bilinguals. In Levine, T., Howard, L., Moss, D. (Eds.). Preparing Classroom Teachers to Succeed with Second Language Learners, pp. 154-173. New York, NY: Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Preparing-Classroom-Teachers-to-Succeed-with-Second-Language-Learners/Levine-Howard-Moss/p/book/9780203766590

My passion for simulations research continues to be stoked by new questions that continue to emerge. I am particularly interested in several dimensions of simulation-based teaching that I am starting to explore:

The first question I am asking is how do teachers learn to be effective facilitators of simulations in K-12 classrooms? This has implications for how we train teachers, how we come to understand their perspectives on using them, and what challenges emerge in the process of learning how to teach this way.

The second set of questions have to do with chaos theory: How, if at all, does chaos theory apply to human simulations? Do we act in predictable, non-linear ways that aren’t readily obvious? If so, how might chaos theory help us to better understand human interactions across social domains?

Finally, I am asking how simulations might contribute to the process of learning how to create a more just society. In particular, how might simulations help us to think about and develop an economic landscape that is more equitable?