Monthly Archives: January 2016

Max Antony-Newman’s PhD Journey at OISE

Sheldon Zian
by Zian Zhang(Anne)
Master of Education student

Max Antony-Newman and I were chosen as Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development (CSTD) program representatives at CTL Open House 2015. During the event, he answered many questions related to doctoral experience at OISE, which was the first time when I learned about the PhD program in detail. Last week, we met again to further talk about it. Now I want to share Max’s journey with you and hope that this could help those who plan to pursue PhD at OISE.

Max is a second year PhD student majoring in CSTD program under the supervision of Dr. Diane Gerin-Lajoie. He told me that PhD students in his program are required to complete six courses and one Doctoral Proseminar. Then students have to write a thesis proposal and pass comprehensive examination. OISE gives full-time funding for the four-year PhD program. Therefore, Max plans to finish his PhD in 2018.

I asked Max what he had learned from the PhD program. He said, “It helps me to understand complex educational and social phenomena, improve advanced research skills, and design my own study, which would hopefully benefit research, practice, and policy.” He also suggested, “It helps if you know what you want to study and how to go about it. If you are not sure, you will have some time to make your choice once in the program.”

During Max’s PhD journey, he walks as much as he can to release pressure. Walking helps him to clear his mind. Max’s family also helps him a lot. He plays with his younger son in free time. With family’s support, Max never feels lonely.

Max also did his Master’s at OISE. He joined the Master of Education (MEd) program in 2011 and transferred to Master of Arts (MA) program in the second year. He took eight courses when completing Master’s degree. Max’s favorite course was on Pierre Bourdieu and Inequality in Education taught by his eventual Master’s supervisor Dr. Diane Farmer. When taking this course, Max found his topic for Master’s thesis and theoretical framework for his PhD study.

Max came to Canada in 2010 as a skilled immigrant. Before that, he taught for ten years as an English teacher in his homeland country of Ukraine. Max spent seven years teaching in a university and three years in a language school. When he first came to Toronto, he taught IELTS in a private language school from 2010 to 2013.Then he became a teacher in the English Language Program of School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto from 2013 to 2014. Currently, Max is working as a Research Assistant with his supervisor Dr. Diane Gerin-Lajoie, whose scholarship is in the area of minority education and qualitative research. He also has a part-time job at YMCA of Greater Toronto as CLBA Language Assessor, administering CLBA test to newcomers to Canada and referring them to LINC and ESL classes. Meanwhile, he is served as CTLSA student representative and research volunteer for Social Justice and Elite Education conference, which took place at OISE in the summer of 2015.

This year, Max was awarded the Ontario Graduate Scholarship. In future, Max hopes to become a university professor in the field of education research. He said, “This is not easy in the current job market, but I will try my best, so I can help solve educational issues facing our schools.”

 

 

Hewton Tavares’ EdD Experience at OISE

Sheldon Zian
by Zian Zhang(Anne)
Master of Education student

Hewton Tavares and I became friends because of the CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE (CIE)’s ICONNECT INTERNATIONAL MENTORSHIP PROGRAM. Hewton was my mentor in this program. In this role, Hewton’s primary job was to advise me as well as other international students. Hewton guided me through all the questions and concerns that I had at the time. Basically, Hewton led monthly activities in order to help me to familiarize myself with the city of Toronto.

Hewton Tavares is a doctoral student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto. His department is the Social Justice in Education department. He is currently finishing his last year of the Doctor of Education program (EdD). His research focus is on the mentoring practices of immigrants in Canada. Hewton told me that, in the EdD program, students usually have to take eight courses at the first stage. Then they would have to finish doctoral proposals. If their proposals were accepted, students would do field work, and then transcribe their interviews. In the final stage of EdD program, students would have to write their dissertations, and then defend them.

Hewton’s favorite course was the Spirituality and Schooling which is taught by Dr. Njoki Wane. She is a professor from the Social Justice in Education department, and also the director of the Office of Teaching Support at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto. Her course is basically on how people’s spiritual connections affect their learning. The approach is mainly focused on Postcolonial studies. Overall, it is based on the assumption that people have different ways of knowing that need to be respected.

Hewton has lived in Toronto for over 14 years but he is originally from Brazil. He initially came to Toronto as an international student, and now he is a Canadian citizen as well. His undergraduate degree was in Business. Actually, Hewton studied Business Administration at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. He lived in Sao Paulo for 11 years before he coming to Toronto. In fact, Hewton is originally from a Brazilian city called Salvador, which is on the Northeast coast of the country.

After Hewton arrived in Canada, he has switched his career from marketing to education. He has then been a student at the University of Toronto both on the Masters and on the doctoral level as well. At OISE, Hewton started his Masters (Master of Education) in 2007, and his doctoral studies in 2010. Hewton told me that the he likes the way professors teach here, so he chose to do his EdD at OISE. Since I know that EdD students do not have access to the funding package, I asked Hewton how he paid for his tuition and living costs in Toronto. In response, Hewton told me that when he started EdD, he worked as a settlement worker for about two years. He has also got Graduate Assistantship positions from 2012 up to now. He has been as a research assistant in the university on a part-time basis. However, during most of his professional life in Canada, he worked with immigrants and international students in educational and non-profit organizations.

Towards the end of our interview, Hewton made the following comment: “The best gift from my studies was the gift of self-reflection. Before I started my studies, people’s views and ideas could have easily convinced me in many situations. Now I have developed so much in terms of my own knowledge that I am not so easily convinced about different points of view if they do not fit well enough into my own worldview.”

On his spare time, Hewton likes to walk his dog, and then get some fresh air in order to release the pressure from his studies. In this regard, he said that, “life is relative. Do your best but do not put your whole life into your studies. Keep your own friends and connections, wherever they are.” He also mentioned, “Never forget who you are and from where you came from.”

The next stage for Hewton is to get a full-time job related to education and/or immigration. He will look for a job in: (1) a college or university; (2) the government; or (3) even in a foundation or non-profit organization. He will also try to teach in a couple of evenings per week on a part-time basis. Hewton said, “While looking for a job, I will also try to start my own consulting business to help foreigners apply for colleges and universities in Canada.” In any case, if you are interested in Hewton’s skills and expertise, please feel free to contact him at ‪hewton.tavares@utoronto.ca.

 

Interview with PhD student Rema Passarelli- CSTD program

Sheldon Zian
by Zian Zhang(Anne)
Master of Education student

The first time I met Rema Passarelli was in my first semester at OISE in September 2014. We took the same course SPECIAL TOPICS IN CURRICULUM: MASTERS LEVEL: 21 CENTURY COMPETENCIES, MULTILITERACIES, AND ASSESSMENT from Dr. Marlene Scardamalia. Then we chose another course ADVANCED LEGAL ISSUES IN EDUCATION from Judge Marvin Zuker together last semester. The law course is one of our favorite courses at OISE. Judge Zuker is a very nice grandpa XD.

Rema is a second year PhD student at OISE. She is majoring in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development – Equity Studies. Rema told me that she is working on refining choices for the program now. She wants to incorporate her advisor’s influential work dealing with Knowledge Building Technology while maintaining a focus on “abuse of power” and anti-oppressive education.I asked Rema what she learned from her program. She said, “I am still learning. From an affective perspective, I realized that everyone feels a little uncertain about the thesis focus; ideas do change. I learned that there are so many philosophies that influence our daily decisions. Unfortunately, some of those philosophies can be insidious. I wonder a lot about colonialism and privilege. I especially wonder about the impact of Information Technology on shaping society, education, and social psychology.”

In Rema’s leisure time, she walks and exercises as much as possible to release stress when she pursues her PhD. She tries to balance her lifestyle by organizing her time around work, family, friends, social events, and research. Prayer, meditation, and journal writing also help her tremendously.

Rema also gave some suggestions to those who want to pursue PhD degree. She advised that PhD students would need two professors to support application. The PhD is usually built upon Masters thesis. However, the focus for PhD research may change after you are accepted. Your in-depth research and advisors will steer your ideas. Most importantly, connect with other PhD students and form support groups.

Rema was born in Toronto but she currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She has had a lifelong passion for teaching and learning. Over the past 33 years, Rema taught in the Catholic schools for the Hamilton and Toronto school boards. Meanwhile, Rema completed a MEd at OISE and did the teacher training program at University of Toronto.

In future, Rema hopes to teach at a College or University once she completes the doctoral program.

 

 

 

 

 

How to be a Professional Teacher Candidate

CaitlinThumbnail
by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Well hello blog-o-sphere, its 2016! That means I have 3 more months of school and 1 more practicum to go until I get to wear my graduating gown. A lot of you have been sweet in your emails, or face-to-face interactions to ask how I am feeling now that I am nearing the end…and to be honest I am relieved. I cannot wait to finish! Not to say that I did not enjoy my time at OISE, and I am still enjoying it. But I graduated from high school in 2010, went straight to Ryerson for four years and then came directly to OISE. Thats six years of reading theories, waking up early for practicum and long nights writing reflection papers! I am ready to start volunteering in my old classrooms, getting more involved with the Church again and having the opportunity to breathe!

As I mentioned above, I have been preparing myself to become a teacher for a long while. I’ve had my fair share of classrooms, associate teachers and many students that together they could create a parade. Throughout my experiences, I have come across the best tips to become an outstanding teacher candidate. I thought I would share my wealth of knowledge to you, and remind you that this profession has to be taken seriously. We are educating the young minds that are incredibly impressionable. Lets be the best teacher, or teacher candidate we can possibly be! So here are my steps to being a a professional teacher candidate:

  1. Manners Matter- When you are out on practicum, you want to leave a positive impression on everyone. Even if you are shy or introverted, make it a point to be polite and greet all the staff in the school. They may strike up a conversation with you, impart some wisdom or ask you for your expertise on something. By doing this, I have taught an intermediate class art or suggested a cool restaurant for a teacher to try. It doesn’t take a lot to be part of the school community. (Bonus tip: leave a “thank you” card in the staff room on your last day, to remind the teachers you were there.)
  2. Dress, Act and Appear Professional- I know it may be difficult to dress nicely for practicum, especially if you are lacking in the funds department. But try your best to look and appear professional in your appearance. One of you my favourite quotes is: “You can never be overeducated or overdressed.” I am not saying dress up in formal clothing everyday, but looking put together is better than looking like one of the students.
  3. Social Media Lockdown-I will be the first to admit that I am locked onto my phone all the time, and I’m constantly checking my social media. But I am very private with my stuff, and I keep my profile private as well. I am very much an open book with my students, but my personal life is something I want to keep separate and private. I would advise you to privatize your social media accounts if you use them, or censor what you post.
  4. Inappropriate Pictures- I am not directing this tip towards nude or partying pictures, but more towards pictures of students. Even if your social media account is private, you should never post pictures of students without their consent. If we are teaching students to become digital citizens and to respect others’ privacy, we should be practicing what we preach. I see so many teacher candidates posting pictures of their students, and all their faces are visible. I understand those pictures are precious to you, but do the kids a favour and blur out their faces for their own protection.
  5. Visit as much as possible-One of the most frequent questions my students ask me is if I am going to visit again. And I always make it a point to do so. For a couple of reasons. Firstly, I miss teaching once I step back into my classrooms at OISE. I am itching to get back and see them. Secondly, its good to check in with your Associate Teacher and inform them on major news. Lastly, I try and visit the principal when I am back. Its good for them to see you are trying to come back and help out. This shows them your eagerness and commitment to the profession.

I hope these tips were helpful. If you have any tips you think I should add, comment down below and let me know!

I should be finding out my practicum information in the upcoming weeks, so check back to see what grade I will be teaching next!

 

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Professional Preparation Conference 2015: Summary

CaitlinThumbnail
by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

At the end of winter semester, OISE’s Student Services department hosts the Professional Preparation Conference (PPC) to help ready all teacher candidates for post-OISE life.

I attended last years PPC and found it incredibly insightful. I wrote numerous blog posts about my experience and they can all be found here:

Since the schedule and structure of the PPC was similar to last year, I have written the following about my experiences as a second year student exploring the plethora of options:

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Professional Preparation Conference 2015: Life as an Overwhelmed 2nd Year

CaitlinThumbnail
by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

I have just finished my fall semester and about to start the final chapter of my studies here at OISE. To be completely honest with everyone, I am overwhelmed. This semester was a lot of work, up until the week before Christmas. There was assignments due left, right and centre, I’ve been going through some personal issues and then the PPC was placed right in the middle of everything. Unlike last year, I was not prepared for the PPC with everything due on my plate.

So I am going to reveal to you, whether you are a first year or a second year MT student, the top tips to survive the fall semester and the PPC.

1) Prepare your resumés and business cards– There are tons of employers at the PPC. Most of the school boards and employment agencies are accepting resumés and business cards. So prepare yourself by reading the Teacher Employment Handbook and follow their tips to update your resumé and business cards! The above Handbook is the most current one produced by the  Student Services.

2) Bring your “A” game- The 3 days of the PPC and Building Futures Conference is jam packed! If you want to be completely ready and maximize your opportunities to talk to teachers, potential employers or panelists. In order to do this try and…
– dress professionally as you want to start with a great first impression
– bring your own lunch, and snacks because you have no time to get food in                           between sessions
–  bring a notebook and pencil/pen to write notes in, or potential questions you want to ask. This will help when there are millions of people in line to ask questions and you want your specific ones answered

3) Attend the sessions that appeal to you- Conference days are looooong, so pick the sessions that appeal to your interests and needs. Yes, it may be frightening to attend a session that your friends are not going to but be brave and I promise you won’t regret going to a session you were genuinely interested in. No one knows you better than you.

I hope my tips help you get sorted and ready for the next PPC! If you have any other questions please let me know and I will do my best to answer them!

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca