Monthly Archives: January 2015

Free Course? Yes Please: Graduate Student Academic Support

Wook
by Wook
Master of Education student
Developmental Psychology and Education

In graduate school, there are more oral presentations and writings involved. If you are pursuing a thesis based degree, you would be doing more of those during the process of completing your thesis. Some students may not have completed a thesis or written a research paper during their undergraduate years. As I mentioned before, University of Toronto has a huge pool of resources that can help the admitted and current students to succeed (more reason to come and study at OISE) so you do not need to worry about entering a graduate school boot-camp before you start your program!

The Office of English Language and Writing Support (ELWS) offers free non-credit courses and workshops to both native and non-native speakers of English on topics such as proposal writing, improving your academic writing style, and oral presentations. These courses are exclusively for graduate students at the University of Toronto so once you get accepted to one of our graduate programs at OISE, you can definitely take advantage of these wonderful courses. Although I did not have a chance to take any of the courses that were provided in Fall semester, I am planning on taking a SSHRC proposal writing workshop this year.

The courses that are provided include writing SSHRC and NSERC proposals, editing your own work, understanding the research articles. Some courses are created for non-native speakers of English which is a great option for international students who want to improve their conversation skills in various academic settings. In addition, these courses provide a great opportunity to network with graduate students who are studying in other departments within the University of Toronto. Since the University of Toronto is such a huge institution, it is challenging to meet people who are not in the same department. Networking and socializing with graduate students from other departments can lead to new research ideas and might even lead to an opportunity to collaborate with one another!

If you would like to find more information about ELWS, please visit: http://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/currentstudents/Pages/Current-Years-Courses.aspx

Are you  curious about the OISE student experience? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

 

Introducing: International Transition Advisor

Wook
by Wook
Master of Education student
Developmental Psychology and Education

This week, I sat down with Ms. Erika Bailey, a Transition Advisor from the Center for International Experience. Every Monday, Erika visits OISE to assist current / admitted international students with any problems, goals, or concerns that they might have about their academic or personal lives.

I asked Erika about her main role as a Transition Advisor. She defined her role as a professional listener and a way-finder. Her work is student centered. Whatever the student needs, she will try her best to support the student. Some of the most frequent topics she deals with include housing issues, challenges involving language and cultural differences, academic success, and mental health related concerns. While the list may seem pretty extensive for a single person to handle, Erika’s main objective is to provide a confidential and safe space for international students to share their stories and help students to be able to walk out of the meeting with a plan to start minimizing the problem at hand.

As students, we normally look for assistance when we face a challenge that we are unable to resolve. While Erika welcomes international students to discuss pressing issues, she also welcomes international students who just want to drop by and talk about their experiences in Canada. She is also an OISE alumna so she is very familiar with academic and personal lives of OISE students.

My last question to Erika was that if she had any advice for prospective students. She said “Get comfortable with uncertainty.” Pursuing a degree in a different city, a country or an institution, may result in anxieties that are caused by uncertainty and unfamiliarity. Learning to deal with this is a life skill. However, Erika said that there are many professionals that are available to accommodate new students with their transition to the University of Toronto. As a current student, it was very comforting to know that I have a strong support from the institution that I am studying at!

If you wish to check out the Centre for International Experience or the International Transition Advising, visit:

www.cie.utoronto.ca / www.uoft.me/transitionadvising

Please keep in mind that these resources are available for current and admitted international students only.

 

Are you  curious about the OISE student experience? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Slamming Creativity: An Assignment for My “Fundamentals in Teaching” Class

CaitlinThumbnail
by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Happy New Year Blogosphere!

This month has been crazy. As I only finished one course in December, the majority of my courses have carried over in the New Year. Therefore, all my work I put down during the break is now DUE!

I can’t declare official chaos, but every assignment I finish puts me closer to sanity. But I wanted to pause for a second and share with you guys an assignment I am working on right now. For my Fundamentals in Teaching class, we have a creativity assignment. We are supposed to reflect on how we can be creative in the classroom by creating a presentation. Most of my classmates have paired off or have joined a massive group to create something wonderful. But I thought of taking a non-traditional route with my presentation.

A couple of months ago I wrote about the boy who asked me if I would rather be a millionaire or a teacher for the rest of my life. (You can view that post here!) I thought it would be unique to bring that situation into my presentation. As I am one-woman show, I decided to present the situation as a slam poetry piece. I decided to present my thoughts on what was going through my head when he asked me that question. I have finished writing my piece and I present on Monday (Jan 19). If I am brave enough, I will ask a peer to record me and I’ll post it for everyone to see. If you would like to see my piece, comment below and let me know!

Slam poetry is huge, especially amongst the youth in urban areas. The rhythm of slam poetry brings a life to written text. Most of the slams are written about the author’s personal experience with conflict or passion. Slams are meant to be felt, and to evoke strong emotion.

I was inclined to write and present a slam poetry piece after watching 2 inspirational people perform their slams.

The first person is Taylor Mali. He was a teacher and now a full time slam poet. He is most famous for his piece “What Teacher’s Make.” He has presented this piece live many times, but has found success when he was featured during a Ted Talk. I love how he enunciates certain words and channels passion through his words. You can watch his slam piece below:

My second inspiration was Alicia Keys. During my undergrad, I bravely recited Alicia Key’s slam called POW in my Creative Arts 2 class. I have never recited slam poetry before, but I was instantly hooked on making the piece perfect for my performance and I was so proud of myself for taking a leap into the unknown. Alicia commands the audience by using different tones in her voice and elevates her volume at certain parts. Here is a clip of her piece:

Ever since that performance, I have been itching to do it again, and here is my turn!

 

Wish me luck guys. I am quite scared as I had support from my partners last time I performed, but I think if I can do this in front of my peers, I will have the confidence to bring it to my classrooms.

Are you  curious about the OISE student experience? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

 

Get ready for a spectacular year!

Wook
by Wook
Master of Education student
Developmental Psychology and Education

 

Happy New Year! Caitlin and I have many projects planned for this year. We are currently in the process of contacting students in different departments at OISE to provide prospective students (YOU!) with current student profiles.

To make things more exciting, we are also going to have our current students’ reviews on some of the best courses that prospective students (again, YOU!) could and should take once they start their new exciting adventures at OISE in 2015.

If you have any suggestions for future projects that you would like us to look into, please leave a comment below or contact us via email!

Are you  curious about the OISE student experience? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca