Monthly Archives: October 2017

Pros and Cons To Being A Commuter

By Viel
MEd, Adult Education & Community Development

One of the biggest factors in your university experience is your commute to and from school. The great thing about going to OISE is that it is in a central location in the west end of Toronto and is accessible by both GO Transit and TTC. There are so many ways in which you can get to OISE and University of Toronto in general, and depending on where you live, it is not a very long commute. In my classes, I’ve met colleagues coming from Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Richmond Hill, and Scarborough, and they all roughly take about an hour or so to commute.

Not sure whether commuting is for you? Below, I’ll be posting both pros and cons of being a commuter and maybe this will help you decide if commuting is right for you!

Pros Cons
  • Saves on Gas Money: You do not need to worry about spending too much on gas, most of the money that you spend on getting to school is on transit, and if you were to calculate it, on average, you save money on gas!
  • Environmentally-friendly: By commuting you are doing your part in helping lower the carbon emissions from waiting in traffic or simply by driving your car. Grab a friend and carpool to the Go Station to help the environment even more!
  • Less Stress: Commuting can sometimes get stressful with the delays and the crowds, but overall, it’s not as bad as you think. Not having to drive saves you some time to relax and for some, to sleep!
  • Additional time: I love to do my class readings on my morning commute. My commute is about an hour long, but I don’t mind having time to destress and to relax. If there are days when I don’t complete all the readings, I just set aside a reading or two for my commute for the day of my class! It’s a great way to help you balance your time!
  • Costly: Depending on where you live, you might have to take on form of transportation. I take both the Go Train and the TTC to get to school, so yes, it can get a little costly. BUT the good news is that, starting January 2018, TTC is cutting their fairs by 50% for Go Train users! Another way you can save on your transit money is to switch your PRESTO fares to “Student” status, you just need to complete a form on the Go Transit, and they will send you a Go Student Pass.
  • Delays: Delays are especially prevalent in the winter, but making sure that you plan your commute ahead of time will help you some situations. I usually leave earlier so I do not have to worry about delays! If you come to school early, it also gives you some time to possibly grab a coffee and do some more readings!
  • Crowded: Sometimes taking transit can get a little overcrowded, especially during the peak hours (rush hour). As I said before, sometimes you need to plan ahead of time to avoid these types of situations! I haven’t really had these issues, because transit usually schedules shorter wait times during these hours, to help ease the crowding. Overall, I don’t really have this problem getting to school!

As you can tell, commuting definitely has its perks and its disadvantages, but to be honest, I don’t mind commuting! It’s fast, effective, and it gets you where you need to be without the hassle! Yes, it can get a little costly, but there are ways you can save money! Overall, I am content with my commute to OISE and hopefully, this will help to weigh out your commuting options!

Questions? Email me

Place-Based Education/Trips

Place-Based Education/Trips:

As an extension of our Social Studies course the professor decided to take us on a walk through some of University of Toronto’s popular areas. I have walked all these paths numerous times but it was different this time as I was observing the environment through a social studies lens. I appreciate each of these significant places a little more now as I have learned about the history of the land.

One destination during our walk was ‘Philosophers walk’, a popular walkway for many getting across campus and the general public. We walked on a land that was once a body of water and the water was buried years ago for a Royal visit. Before Philosopher’s walk was altered, Indigenous groups used the river to fish and to travel to and from Lake Ontario. While sitting at the Amphitheatre and learning that it was a place for Indigenous groups to get together, the feeling of empathy arose in me as this beautiful natural land was destroyed by human construction, and continues to be destroyed and altered.

Some other trips and workshops that I took part in include:

Social Studies trip to Evergreen Brick Works: Learned how the land has transformed over the years and how this place can be used as an educational field trip for our future students.

Picture: Machine that made bricks back in the day and the hiking path.

Supporting English Language Learners trip to Bata Shoe Museum: Workshop on different types of shoes and different materials that can be used to make shoes. The custom made Timberland boots for Shaquille O’Neil.

Art trip to Art Gallery of Ontario: Different textures and techniques used in paintings. How art is used to express and present different themes, such as global warming and exploitation of natural resources.

Science in-class workshop on Robotics and STEM.

Third Practicum!

I have successfully completed 2 out of 4 of my practicums, Kindergarten and grade 3, with the Peel District School Board. I will be starting my third practicum for the month of November in a grade 5 classroom also with the PDSB. Not every student gets a different grade or a different school for each placement-it depends on the availability of schools and associate teachers who are willing to take teacher candidates. I got lucky to have a great range of grades and schools so far. That being said, the coordinators will ensure that over the 4 practicums at least 1 would be in the primary level and 1 at the junior level (as I am in P/J), and they will ensure that your commute is no longer than 90 minutes. MT students are allowed to change their preferred school boards for each practicum but I choose to keep mine in Peel as it is the easiest for me to commute to.

I am looking forward to teaching grade 5 students as it will be my first time in a junior classroom. Before each placement month we are scheduled to go in for 1-2 observation days. These observation days allow us to get to know our associate teacher (AT) , the students, the class culture/atmosphere, and the school set up before starting to teach. My first observation went great as everyone was very welcoming and helpful. I was looking forward to teaching science this practicum but unfortunately my AT does not teach science. Instead, I will probably teach social studies and media (language arts)!

Your Go-to-Guide to the Application Process

by: Viel
MEd, Adult Education & Community Development

You’ve attended OISE’s First Open House. Check.

You’ve talked to current students, alumni, staff, and faculty regarding your options. Check. 

You’ve completed your first step in going to the Open House. And now you’re ready to apply! Fortunately for you, you were able to get a sense of the OISE community by participating in the Open House! So hopefully, that’s helped get you a better idea of what to expect!

So what’s next? Or what do I do now? Is probably what follows after attending all those information sessions. It reminds me back to when I was a prospective student exactly a year ago. I was in the same boat as you—I researched my way through the website, looking for all the answers to my questions, and somehow, I didn’t know exactly where to start.

How long will this degree to take to complete? What do I need to provide? What exactly is a statement of intent? How do I get a hold of an academic reference? Will I have everything by November 15th?

When you are confronted by all these questions, simply starting the application is a daunting task. Then you see that you only have a little less than a month before the deadline. There seems to be so many things to do and so little time to complete everything. So what’s my advice to you? Follow these 6 tips to help you complete your application properly and on time!

Tip #1: Do your research. I HIGHLY recommend you look at our brand new website and click the Future Students tab. You will find almost ALL your answers there, whether it’s to a specific question or a general one. If you click “apply now” it will lead you to a page where it outlines all the steps you need to take, and conveniently, each step has a “Frequently Asked Questions” section to refer to when you feel stuck.

Tip #2: Start ordering those transcripts now. You might run into some problems with your transcripts, so it’s best to make sure that you order them right away. Don’t wait until the last minute for you to send your transcripts. Once you’ve sent them, just check in with your application to see if we’ve received it.

Tip #3: Contact your references. Your references need to know that you are applying for the program. By letting them know that you have chosen them as your reference, they will be on the lookout for that email. You also need to give them time to fill the reference section out. By giving them a heads-up, you’re giving them more time to think about what they need to write and the time frame that they need to work with to get it done.

Tip #4: Stuck on that statement of intent? Or don’t know what to write? Well, you might want to check out Step 3 of the Admissions website. It gives you a general idea of what they are looking for. Writing statements of intent are a little difficult at first, but you need to make sure you plan it out ahead of time. Do your research about the programs and try to align your interests and your goals to that particular program.

Tip #5: Fill out your statement of intents, your resumes, and other supporting documents on a Microsoft Word document, so in case the site crashes, you have it saved directly on your computer.

Tip #6: Have a checklist of all the things that you need to complete. Every time you get something done, check it off!

What to do if you’ve followed all these tips and looked up all the Frequently Asked Questions? Contact Us! You might have a very specific question and we will do our best to answer them.

And by now, after reading all of this—you’re probably set to go. Now all you have to do is click that “Apply” button! Always make sure you also check in with your application from time-to-time to see if all your documents have been received or if you are missing anything! Best of luck!

Do you have any tips on doing your application? Comment below!

Questions? Contact me at

A Visit From the Aga Khan Foundation of Canada

by Susan
Master of Teaching


Students in the MT program are no strangers to 21st century competencies.

This October, the MT program is fortunate enough to have presenters from the Aga Khan Foundation of Canada (AKFC) to deliver workshops for teaching Global Citizenship in the classroom. AKFC presenters Genevieve and Afroza were experienced and eager in leading the workshop on how to teach Global Citizenship in the classroom and provided ready-to-use teaching aids.

If you are a prospective teacher, consider ways you can incorporate culture, equity, and sustainability into your class!

AKFC Global Citizenship Workshop, Oct 2017

A shocking statistic that I’m walking away today is the “Average Person” you would encounter in the world (compiled by National Geographic in 2011).

Age: 28

Gender: Male

Ethnic group: Han Chinese

Handedness: Right-handed

Average income: $12,000 US

Bank account: No

Cell-phone: Yes




It’s Open House Season at OISE!

by Viel
MEd, Adult Education & Community Development

October. A time of year when Pumpkin Spiced Lattes take over our newsfeeds whether you like it or not. A time of year when turkeys and candy cloud our judgement in moments of hunger. A time of year when both graduate and undergraduate students alike work tirelessly to turn papers, assignments, and presentations into academic gold, while simultaneously wishing  winter break can come sooner rather than later. October is also an important time of month when all three campuses get to meet and to talk to future students like you!

Yes, it’s already that time of year—it’s Open House Season!

What’s so important about Open Houses, anyways?  

From a prospective student point of view, it is really difficult to look for the right answers to your questions and to see if the program  and the campus is really right for you. Some prospective students may become confused about the admissions process and some prospective students might not know exactly where to start. I think that it’s important to realize that you need to start somewhere and the OISE Open House might be the perfect start for you.

At the University of Toronto, Fall Campus Days is a time when the university “opens” their doors to many of our prospective students. We do our part in making sure that you get to see a sneak peek of what life on campus is like and whether or not our campus would be a good fit for you. Many representatives from our programs, recruitment team, student clubs and organizations, and current students are around to talk to you about the various programs and services that are available to you on campus. You can even find people that will help you in answering most of your questions and easing your worries about the application process. Though some of your questions may not all be answered that day, what’s important is that you will be able to know the right people to talk to.

Coming from someone who has attended many of these Open Houses, I assure you it is the perfect time for you to visit OISE! You can definitely learn a lot about the programs, OISE in general, and all the helpful resources and services that are available to you. It also gives you an opportunity to meet many of your future professors and classmates! You will also be able to get a feel of what the university is like and what to expect when September 2018 rolls in.

Do I need to bring anything?  

You don’t need to bring much! Most of what you need will already be there for you. Bring a friend or two, or perhaps a family member. You also might want to prepare some general questions that you may want to ask. It’s best to have a program in mind that you would like to apply to, but other than that, that’s really all you need.

So what are you waiting for? Mark your calendars! Get your PRESTO and TTC passes ready! Prepare your questions! OISE will be hosting three Open Houses this month and we want YOU to join! Even if you might be on campus visiting one of UofT’s Fall Campus Days, it doesn’t hurt to come by and say hello to us!

When do these Open Houses take place?  

OISE has three Open Houses taking place this month. Deciding which one to go to really depends on which program you would like to apply to.

Teacher Education Open House  –  Saturday, October 14, 2017
Registration 9 – 9:30 am; Event time: 9:30 – 12:30 pm

Research Programs (MA, EdD, PhD) Open House – Saturday, October 14
Registration 10 – 10:30 am; Event time: 10:30 am – 1:30 pm

Master of Education (MEd) Open House – Saturday, October 21, 2017
Registration 9:30 -10:00 am; Event time: 10:00 am – 1 pm

Do I need to register?

YES! You do! If you are interested in attending the Open House, please register here.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

In the meantime, if you have any questions/concerns, you can contact me on




I had applied to numerous Bachelor of Education program and the Master of Teaching program to fulfill my goal of becoming a teacher. Choosing the MT program was a very easy decision for me as I will be getting a masters as well as my certification to teach in Ontario in essentially the same amount of time; something that is unique to OISE. Aside from the courses to get me OCT certified and 4 1 month long placements, I am also required to write a Master of Teaching Research Paper. Students get to a chance to conduct their own small scale qualitative research study in an area of their choosing. This really attracted me because it allowed me to incorporate my own areas of interest, concern, and passion into my research, and essentially tailor my learning to my own interest.

Being in my second year I am still happy with my decision. The cohort based classes are very conducive to learning and it helps to build a learning community where everyone is there to support one another. The professors are all very knowledgeable, filled with great experiences, friendly, extremely helpful, understanding, and genuinely want you to do well. Course evaluations are also taken into great considerations as all our needs and concerns are immediately addressed.

St. George Campus

I have always wanted to be downtown for schooling and I am in love with it. I did my undergrad at York University and the campus was a typical university campus; standing on its own. The St. George campus is huge and very beautiful. The older buildings each have their own little courtyards with benches, which are great for walks or for a nice study area in the summer. There is also affordable restaurants in the area for a quick snack or meal before and after classes. We also get access to all the libraries on campus. When studying gets tiresome there is always something to do in Toronto and my friends and I really explored around in the summer semester when we had classes only two days a week!
The OISE building does not have a lot of food options; only a very small cafeteria, but there are places to eat right outside the building.

All About Me



Post by: Viel
Master of Education,
Adult Education & Community Development


Hello, my name is Viel (pronounced VL)!

I am in my first year of the Master of Education Program in Adult Education and Community Development (AECD). I am really looking forward to be able to share my experiences at OISE and hearing from you all!

Why did you choose OISE 

In 2014, I graduated from OISE with a Bachelor of Education, back when it was offered as a one year consecutive program. I was in the Junior/Intermediate stream with English as my teachable. During my year at OISE, I had met so many people both within my cohort (kind of like a homeroom) and outside of my cohort. I really felt like I was in a big community that year! That’s why when I first decided to pursue my Master’s degree, OISE was at the top of my list.

The AECD Program at OISE is part of the Department of Leadership, Adult, and Higher Education (LHAE). I chose Adult Education and Community Development in particular, because I had always enjoyed working with adults, particularly newcomers. Throughout my undergrad and my year in the Bachelor of Education program, I have always been keen on community development—collaborating with various community agencies through work or volunteering! It was clear from the beginning that this program was a perfect fit for me!

The University of Toronto is a place where you have so much access to different services, such as the various gym facilities found all across campus, the study spaces, and the library (the 4th largest library system in North America)! The University of Toronto has so much to offer and there are a plethora of resources to take advantage of. It is perfectly-situated in a vibrant and bustling hub of Toronto, surrounded by Queen’s Park, the Bata Shoe Museum, and the Royal Ontario Museum. The best thing about our campus is that most of it is accessible by transit!

What is your academic background? 

I graduated from University of Toronto Mississauga where I studied an English major and French and History minors. As mentioned, I also studied at OISE in the Consecutive Teacher Education Program. I have always felt the need to continue my learning and I am always looking for ways to challenge my way of thinking and to build on my own set of skills and experiences.

What do you like to do outside of school?  

Outside of school, I enjoy playing the ukulele, going to concerts, and spending a lot of time with my friends and my family. I also love to volunteer! I’ve been a volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Halton for 11 years–I always make sure that I find the time in my schedule to volunteer with them. I am currently a Girls Linking Our World facilitator, encouraging adolescent girls to take on leadership skills and building confidence, all while promoting diverse ways of healthy active living. It is really important for me to find the balance between academics, work, volunteering, friends, family, and “me time”. Finding that balance is all about trial and error! You just need to find ways that work for you. It took me quite some time to adjust my schedule. Having some down time for socialization and other things is all part of being a student, so just make sure you find it!

If you are currently reading a really good book or if you are currently enjoying listening to a particular indie artist/band–let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear from you.

Questions? Email me at and I will do my best to help you!