Monthly Archives: November 2017

Practicum Highlights

Practicum Highlights

The number of lessons that teacher candidates (TC) are required to teach increases during each practicum, and therefore, this past month (considering it was my third placement), I was teaching the whole day during my last week. I was excited and ready for the greater amount of teaching time and added classroom responsibilities because not only was my associate teacher (AT) very supporting, but also being a second year student at OISE meant that I had a lot more course material and discussions to draw from. One course that really influenced my teaching pedagogy and lessons was my Anti-Discriminatory Education course directed by professor Nicole West-Burns. I approached my language and social studies lessons with an equity, anti-oppressive, and anti-bias perspective. The highlights from my language lessons included ‘making connections’ to ‘The Other Side’, ‘Mr. Lincolns Way’ (books on racism and racial segregation), and ‘Wonder’ (a very popular book about bullying), and analyzing media texts (toys and advertisements) for gender and racial stereotypes and representation. The conversation and questions initiated by the students were truly impressive and lead to critical discussions that demonstrated their engagement, eagerness to learn, and prepared them to be critical of the world around them.

This placement was definitely the most rewarding for me; perhaps it was the grade level, my wonderful class, my level of confidence, my friends placed in the same school, or maybe a combination of them all.

Helpful tip: The OISE library has countless teaching material and resources that we, the teacher candidates, can sign out for practicum (or any other time of the year). For instance, some of the activity kits include a 3D digestive system, musical instruments, and Blitzwolf Virtual Reality Glasses. On the other hand, it is a little inconvenient to commute downtown to sign out and return these resources.

Semester One Overview: Reflection and Learning Outcomes

by Viel
MEd, Adult Education & Community Development

I honestly can’t believe that my first semester of grad school is quickly coming to a close. With my last assignments and presentations in tow, I’ve come to a conclusion: I really don’t want this to end. There have been so many things that I have yet to digest and I am surely going to miss the rhythm of grad life—the plethora of readings, the colorful and lively discussions, the thought-provoking lectures, the unfamiliar new faces that have become my friends, the early morning, coffee-fueled library sessions, and the intellectual discourse of my professors—I’ll miss it all over the winter break! And I know you might think of me as too keen or too intense as a student, but I’ve genuinely enjoyed my time here. I’ve come to learn so much and am constantly in awe that every class I always seem to learn something new. Though I do admit, adjusting to grad school was a bit difficult at first, I feel like I have grown accustomed to it and am now willing to further step out of my comfort zone. It’s been a long, arduous three months of constant growth, learning, and reflecting—I’ve definitely come a long way and I’m looking forward to more in the coming semester. You may have been wondering what classes I’ve been taking all this time and so, here’s a peek of the classes you might be interested in and some of the things that I’ve learned from them.

Courses Learning Outcomes
LHA1100 Introduction to Adult Education

Professor Jennifer Sumner

In this class, we talk about the traditions of adult education and how it can be both applied to the traditional and non-traditional classroom settings. Not only do we discuss adult learning theories and forms of learning, we also look at the historical implications of Canadian Adult Education and how they have been ingrained in social movements. Through readings, class discussions, and review papers—we’ve learned about the heritage of Adult Education in Canada through the Antigonish Movement and Frontier College. In the spirit of Canadian Adult Education, we also discussed ways to move forward with the Indigenous peoples of Canada through the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. Overall, we’ve learned how Adult Education continues to be a dynamic field and continues to work in this social justice and anti-oppression framework.
LHA1102 Community Development: Innovative Models

Professors Sherida Ryan & Jack Quarter

In this class, we challenge and deliberate the romanticized notion of “community”. Through our lively discussions of social networks, social economy, social capital, asset mapping, we look at the ways in which community members and developers can address social inequalities and advocate for the marginalized. We talk about various models of community development that have worked for Toronto, such as co-operatives, social purpose enterprises, and asset-based initiatives. Our professors give us the opportunity to discuss the role of the government and which models of development are effective and ineffective. Through our lectures, we also have had the opportunities to meet community leaders who apply these models in their own community development practices. We’ve had guest speakers from places such as  Community Health Centers, The Furniture Bank, Alterna Credit Union, Acorn, U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work,  and Urbane Cycling Co-Op. Our guest speakers allow us to learn about issues, such as social housing and access to healthcare, from the perspective of these leaders working in this field.
LHA1184 Indigenous Knowledge: Implications for Education

Professor J’net Ayayqwayaksheelth


In this class, we talk about how the Indigenous communities can move forward through Truth & Reconciliation. We discuss and learn about the traditional worldviews of the indigenous peoples of Canada. Our professor uses non-traditional teaching practices that elicit the indigenous ways of knowing and how they can be further applied to our own teaching practices. In our discussions, we talk about how we can act as indigenous allies and learn how to critically self-reflect on our own values, perspectives, and beliefs to be able to move forward to create an inclusive and diverse classroom community. We also have the opportunities to meet various Indigenous leaders in the community who continue to apply indigenous worldviews in their work and within institutions. Our professor, who is also an arts educator at the Royal Ontario Museum, talks about how art is an important vehicle in continuing traditions and challenging assumptions faced by indigenous people today.

As you can see, my first semester at OISE was well spent debating, presenting, writing, reading, learning, and most importantly, growing not only as a student, but as an educator. I have definitely come a long way since day one of my studies and I’m sad to leave this semester behind. I have come to familiarize myself with new faces and spaces, to challenge my assumptions and my perspectives, to learn how to listen and respectfully challenge other perspectives, and to step outside of the box. It is in this semester where I found myself continuing the conversations outside of class, looking forward to something new everyday, and applying my newfound knowledge in practical situations. As I end this semester with celebratory treats and dinners with my professors and my peers, I am looking forward to a well-deserved break, but I am also eagerly anticipating the upcoming semester. When I first began school, I was anxious and uneasy about how this first half of my studies was going to unfold—the classes, the professors, the people I would meet—but after completing my first semester, I’ve realized how fortunate I am that I was given this opportunity to continue to learn, to network, to reflect, and to further expand my educational horizons. But don’t worry–my blogging has yet to come to an end and will be continuing until the holiday break! So even though my classes may be coming to an end, my blogging has not!

What are some things YOU are looking forward to in Grad School? Are these some of the classes you’re interested in? I would LOVE to hear from you–comment in the section below!

Questions? Email me at

The Ultimate Presentation Season Survival Guide

by Viel
MEd, Adult Education & Community Development

It’s Presentation Season!

It’s that feeling of “fight or flight” when you first step into the spotlight…your body recognizes that your audience, or rather the judgement that will ensue, is a threat to your overall well-being. That’s why public speaking is regarded as one of the biggest phobias where 75% of individuals suffer from this fear. But don’t worry, there’s hope. I used to be part of that 75%, but I learned how to reluctantly overcome this fear. I found that when I became a Student Ambassador at UofT Mississauga, it really pushed me to come out of my comfort zone, since one of the main responsibilities was to give tours around campus to prospective students and their parents. My presentation skills were further cultivated during my undergrad and especially when I went to teacher’s college at OISE, as there were so many opportunities where I had to push my limits—with every interaction, every presentation, and every group project, and every teaching moment—I was forced to take risks, to refine my speaking skills, and most importantly, I learned how to be OK with making mistakes in front of people.

Once I started grad school, there was more of a group/class discussion and presentation element to all of my classes. My courses have required me to take part in both individual and group presentations, which is something that I had expected before I got here. You need to remember that your presentation skills are just as important in both your academic life and your professional life. The best opportunity for self-reflection and self-assessment for your public speaking skills is through your classes—your professors really look at how you present in front of the class, and not just the content of your slides or your research. So, think about your grad school presentations like a free “Toast Masters” Class! If you really think about it, in the future, you may consider pursuing your doctorate or find a job that requires public speaking, so this is where you really need to have the skill to present, to facilitate discussions, to ask questions, and most importantly, to learn how to persuade your audience. Presenting is a both essential and a dynamic tool for you—so take the opportunity to practice, practice, practice!

To help you “beef” up those presenting skills, I’ve compiled a couple of things that you may want to consider when you start thinking about presentations:

1) Eye contact. Remember when your teacher/your classmates coached you to look at the back wall to completely avoid the anxiety that comes when people are looking at you? Well, believe it or not, this “tactic” is not a good way to connect with people during your presentation. In both formal and informal settings, you need eye contact to make connections and to ensure that people are actually listening to you. One of the best pieces of advice that I got was from professional speakers who said that the best way to solve this eye contact conundrum is to actually just scan the foreheads of people. That way, if you’re a little bit hesitant about looking at people, just look at their foreheads! They said that it gives the illusion that you’re looking at everyone without having to make any eye contact. Obviously eye contact doesn’t hurt once in a while—again, you still need to establish that connection! So maybe you want to balance scanning foreheads and making eye contact, and then, when you’re confidence grows, make eye contact a habit!

2) Keep it short and simple. This point is especially relevant to your PowerPoint slides and even when you are elaborating on a point. You do not want to lose your train of thought and go on a different tangent, something that I struggle with from time to time. So just make sure that you don’t lose your focus and just keep it straight to the point, while making some personal and relevant touches to your speaking points. If you keep trying to find things to talk about for each point, you might lose what you actually want to say.

3) Organization is key. My Adult Education professor first told our class that as an adult educator, you must always have to organize your space. So take the time to organize yourself before your presentation and set out your essential presentation tools. Also make sure that you have your slides organized in a way that shows both the beginning, the middle, and the end. Your organization skills are important, so that your presentation goes smoothly and you’ll be able to look like you are knowledgeable about your topic.

4) Rehearse, but keep it natural. If you do not rehearse or prepare yourself for this presentation, and you just solely rely on the notion of “winging it”…be prepared to discover that this may not be the best idea. We’ve all been there before—where you struggle to get your point across, because you may have missed one of your points. Practicing for presentations is a key tool to avoid making mistakes, but you also want to make sure that you don’t want to appear to be too rehearsed to the point where you look unnatural and sound almost robotic. Again, connecting with your audience really gets people to engage with your presentation! This will also help in situations where technology fails you and you cannot show your slides—you’ll be able to handle those technical errors like a pro!

5) Pace yourself. You may have good points, but they might become lost in the blur that is your presentation. Sometimes, you find yourself speaking too fast to the point where no one can understand you. Always take a deep breath before you speak and in between those transitions. This will even help you to avoid those “uhs” and “ums” that fill those moments of silence! Make this your mantra of presentations: Breathe in confidence, breathe out knowledge!

6) Use humor. Obviously, you would like to keep things professional, but it doesn’t hurt to add a little bit of humor into your presentation—again, engaging and connecting to your audience is the goal! You also want to make your audience feel that you’re comfortable with them and that you’re confident and knowledgeable about your topic. Laughing a little won’t hurt, it’s something some of the greatest public speakers use to ease that tension between them and the audience!

7) Take advantage of the cloud. Backup is super important when it comes to presentations, whether it’s a PowerPoint, a Prezi, or a video—making sure that you have a backup space to put them on will allow you to avoid those technical blunders. Print out your slides, bring a USB, and always create a Plan B when you are presenting, this will enable to get that presentation done and over with, without having to cause any delays! Again, if you practice and know your slides, you don’t even have to look at your notes or your slides–making you look even better!

8) Be heard. You also need to learn how to speak loud and clear. You want to make sure that your speech is natural and not robotic too! If you’re a soft-spoken person like me, sometimes I find it hard to speak up—but again with practice, you’ll be able to overcome that shy voice! I always remind myself to find that “teacher voice” within.

9) Assess Yourself. A great way to get better at presentations is to self-reflect, which will help to assess how you present and what you can to do better for future presentations. Don’t be too critical of yourself, but just be open-minded about giving yourself that room for improvement. A good way to assess yourself is to record a video of you presenting—it’s probably the weirdest feeling to watch yourself actually presenting, but it also helps you to see if you’re lacking eye contact or emotion in your voice, and maybe you speak too much with your hands! You really need to see what will make a good speaker and see how you can apply that with your own presentation skills.

10) Participate. One of my professors during my undergrad always told me that sitting at the front of the class will help you to not become conscious of what people think about you when you are participating in class. Participating in class will definitely alleviate those feelings of anxiety when you present—you’ll also become comfortable with your future audience and it’ll just keep pushing you out of your comfort zone. So go ahead and participate!

Remember, presentations aren’t easy. It may come naturally to people, but for the majority of us, it takes a great deal of practice. Don’t be afraid to take risks and make those mistakes, because it’s the only way you can learn and enhance your skills. One more thing, before you start your presentation—never forget to introduce yourself! After following these recommendations on enhancing your presentation skills, people will probably want to know who you are! So don’t forget to take time to tell your audience your name!

Do you have any tips on surviving presentations? Comment below!

Questions? Email me

Borrowing Research Knowledge from Your Personal Librarian

by Viel
MEd, Adult Education & Community Development

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”

― Neil Gaiman

There’s an app for that. Just Google it. Did you look on Wikipedia already?

Here are some of the common suggestions when you ask about something—people always tend to lead you towards the internet. These are probably some of things you do on a regular basis and it’s something that I do on the daily. Our reliance on technology doesn’t always allow us to get the right answers though. In fact, if you were to think about when our parents or grandparents were writing their university papers, they probably had to manually look things up in the library system or look something up alphabetically in an encyclopedia. Nowadays, accessing information is quite simple…all you need to do is just Google it.

So, what do you do when your professors ask you for a credible source? What if they ask you about empirical evidence for your theses and not just giving away facts? Where do you need to go to get this help?

Have no fear—Desmond is here! Desmond is part of OISE’s library and not only that, he’s also my personal librarian. Sounds pretty special, right?  But don’t worry, it’s not just for me! This program is available to you too, once you become an OISE student.

Desmond, OISE Librarian

The University of Toronto piloted the Personal Librarian Program (PLP) 6 years ago. All the universities’ colleges have the ability to voluntarily run this program within their libraries, depending on the resources available to them. In fact, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has made the Personal Librarian Program available to all their first year students.

OISE signed up for the PLP 4 years ago to help support grad students. This program is only available to first year grad students, who may be new to the area of research and writing papers, but you can certainly keep in touch with them afterwards. OISE’s librarians all come from different backgrounds —Desmond’s primary research is in both Social Justice Education and Indigenous Studies. The PLP usually matches you with a specific librarian who can help you in a general field of study. They try to check in with you at certain points in the year, such as the beginning of the year and when it usually starts to get busy with assignments. You can basically book an appointment with them or talk to them via email so that they can help you with your research, citations, creating bibliographies, the Dos and Don’ts of Wikipedia and Google Scholar, as well as knowing how to access the various databases found on our library system.

Believe it or not, UofT belongs to the top 10 largest library systems in North America, while OISE is the largest Education Library! Just think about your access to all these resources—the books, digital media, databases, journals, curricula—it’s boundless! And the best thing is that your Personal Librarian can help you find the resources that are tailored to your research interests!

Still not convinced about the wonders of University of Toronto libraries? Here are some interesting facts about the libraries you may not know about:

  1. UofT has 44 libraries in total and Robarts, our main library, houses about 8, including the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library.
  2. Bored? Maybe rent out a board game or an old PlayStation console and some old-school video games from Media Commons found in the Robarts Library and play it during your free time!
  3. Our library system isn’t just home to books and journals—they offer digital archives, old films, DVDs, and CDs!
  4. The UofT Library is home to the Internet Archive Canada Headquarters—an amazing collection of old websites, videos, which is in itself, like a digital library!
  5. You can borrow anything from all the libraries—except teaching material (only for Master of Teaching Students) and some items from other colleges that might be restricted, but in general, your access is unlimited.

Overall, I think that your time at OISE and at UofT in general is valuable—especially in terms of your research goals and your research interests! Only looking to Google Scholar or Wikipedia, discredits the hard work of our librarians in collecting and researching resources for all the students! I would highly recommend you pop by and say hello once you are at OISE! Getting to know your librarian not only enhances your OISE experience, but it also gives you access to things you may not know about if you didn’t ask. You can also meet the OISE librarians in your classes, when they hold research workshops that your professor organizes!

My advice: Don’t take your library for granted—they are so knowledgeable in what they do and are great resources to help you cultivate those researching skills. So, get to know your librarians and make the library your go-to place for all your research needs!

*Special Thanks* to Desmond from OISE’s library for taking the time out of his busy schedule to enlighten me about UofT’s extensive library system and services, as well as allowing me to learn about the Personal Librarian Program!

Questions? Email me


The First Few Months of Grad School: What You Need to Know (Part II)

by Viel
MEd, Adult Education & Community Development

I’m sure you are anticipating the second part to my blog post–so, here it is!

#7  Balance your time to “hit the books” and to “hit the gym” 

Living a healthy lifestyle is important—and it’s not just your overall physical health that I’m talking about, it’s also your emotional and mental health! Exercising and meditating are excellent strategies to relieve the stresses of assignments and readings. As a UofT student you also have access to the numerous gym facilities around campus—there are also mindfulness workshops that you can participate in if you feel like meditating! Take part in an intramural, dance with our Zumba instructors, or maybe workout at one of the many gym facilities you have access to with a swipe of your T-Card. There are so many things to do on campus to get you active and to help you to de-stress from all those readings, assignments, and lectures. The best part of it is that all our facilities and so are our fitness classes are all part of your tuition!!

#8 Don’t be afraid to approach your professors 

Sometimes, talking to professors can get intimidating and it is as if though approaching them may not seem to be the best idea at first. In my personal experience with OISE professors, they are very open to talking over assignments and readings with you one-on-one. Remember, the last thing they want to see you to do is not do well in your assignments. Establish a rapport with all your professors—ask them questions about things discussed in class, their take on a current event related to your class, or even just by saying hello to them in the hallways. They are also easily accessible by email. Professors also play an important role if you want to further your education in doctoral studies, especially as references or possibly as mentors for your specific field of research. Again, networking is super important when you are in grad school—so take a hold on all those opportunities in front of you.

#9 Get Out of Your Comfort Zone 

From the first time I stepped into a university to becoming a grad student, I feel like I’ve grown and accomplished so much, but it’s all thanks to stepping outside of my comfort zone. There’s this saying going around that “life happens outside of your comfort zone”. And I think that this is completely relevant, especially in grad school, where your limits are really pushed! You definitely have to step outside of your comfort zone in class discussions, presentations, or even when you are at one of OISE’s many events and workshops. It’s really important to recognize that this is all part of your learning. When I first started at OISE, I was a little apprehensive, because I didn’t know anyone in my program and I didn’t know what to expect when I got here. But as the first few weeks progressed, I met so many new people and I’ve become attuned to my surroundings! Just remember, you might feel a little nervous at first, but once you get started, all your worries will disappear—it all takes time getting used to.

#10 Get Support When You Need It 

Whether you are stressing out about a paper or stressing about what to do after school—OISE has got your back! There are so many student support services available to all of our students! For example, if you need help writing a paper, you may find it useful to go to OISE’s Student Success Centre and get help with your paper or perhaps you can go to OISE’s library if you are having trouble with research. You can also head over to various departments or OISE’s Office of the Registrar and Student Services to seek assistance for your particular situation. When you first step into OISE as a student, you already know that there is a huge network of support that you can access!

#11 Say Yes to Everything  

I attended a UTM convocation ceremony where Bob McDonald, the host of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, was the guest speaker. I always remember his convocation speech , because it was not only enlightening, but it also rang true to me! He said that when an opportunity presents itself to you, you always have to say yes, because you don’t know where it will take you. He went from being a construction worker to a teacher at the Ontario Science Centre and now to a host for one of CBC Radio’s popular programs. He credits all his success to keeping an open mind and saying yes to opportunities that were given to him. So, I took his wisdom and applied it to my own journey and I must say, I have grown so much as an individual and as a learner. At your time at OISE, just say yes to all the opportunities that are available to you, because you really don’t know where it will lead to. So in the words of Bob McDonald, “Just say yes!”

#12 Make the best out of your program

To put this blog post into simple terms—make the best out of your program! You may only be here for a year and a half or possibly more, but something you must keep in mind is that it is important to make sure that you take advantage of all the services and extra-curriculars while you are here. In doing so, you will enhance your university experience and at the same time, meet so many people along the way. I assure you that your time at OISE will fly, but just make sure you enjoy your time and here and be resourceful with all the things available to you.

So, this concludes my extensive list on all things that helped me get through my first few months of grad school. I hope that sharing this will help you to start off in the right track when you get to OISE and to also to get a sense of what to expect when you first get here.

Do you have anything that you want to know about other things about grad school? Comment below!

Questions? Email me

The First Few Months of Grad School: What You Need to Know (Part I)

by Viel
MEd, Adult Education & Community Development

Assignments here, readings there, and oh…wait, don’t forget those presentations.

When you think about how many things you have to do when you are in grad school, you kind of have to brace yourself—there is so much to do and it seems like there is only so little time. My colleagues and I always wonder how it’s possible to juggle school, home, and work at the same time. But by the time you think you’ve got the hang of it, the semester is already over. September and October have flown by and now we are into November—it only seems like yesterday since I’ve accepted my offer and made my decision to go to OISE. At this point in time, I already feel like a seasoned veteran who has got a hold of OISE life and I am making my experience here worthwhile.

I wouldn’t have gotten to this point without a couple of things I’ve learned along the way. And so here, I present to you to Part 1 of the 12 Things You Need to Know About the First Few Months of Grad School--and hopefully, with these insights of mine, you’ll be able to get through your first few months of grad school like a pro!

#1 Graduate Studies are completely different from your studies in Undergrad.  

Depending on what types of courses you’ve taken during your undergraduate degree, you might find grad school much different. I wouldn’t want you to expect that your experiences will be similar to that of your undergrad. In my own experience, my undergraduate was comprised of tests, essays, and presentations. Looking back on my undergrad, there was a lot more lecturing than actual discussion, just because the majority of classes ran for only limited to two hours. When you get to grad school, everything is a little more condensed and there are more opportunities to voice out your opinions, your analyses, and perspectives towards the topic of discussion. As for assessment pieces, professors usually assign research papers, reflection pieces, and presentations. So, expect to be more vocal and open in your grad studies, because your colleagues also come with a vastly different set of perspectives and there is a plethora of opportunities for you to participate!

#2 Organization is key 

Organization skills are an asset to have when you are in grad school, because like I’ve said before, there is so much happening at OISE. Your best bet to making sure you stay organized is to invest in a calendar and mark all the important dates once your professor gives you the course outlines. This way, you already know ahead of time when everything is generally due and whether or not you have overlapping due dates. It makes it easier to plan for other things and when you should start your assignments. It also makes sure that you can plan things not related school, such as hanging out with friends or work.

#3 Be Prepared to do the Readings and Always Keep Up With Them  

Yes, I understand—readings are quite overwhelming, especially when each of your professors assign 50 pages at a time. How do you keep with 150 pages per week? And is it necessary to do all of them? While you may think that you don’t have to complete all your readings for all your classes, you might actually want to re-think that! Remember, your professors don’t just assign those readings to overwhelm you, but they are there for a purpose! Those readings not only come in handy when you are discussing it in class, but they are also handy when you are writing those papers/presentations! You need to show that you are able to apply your knowledge from lectures and your readings when it comes to assessments! So don’t procrastinate, DO those readings!

#4 Network, network, network.  

The best part of grad school is the different people you meet in your classes. Each class comes with a unique set of perspectives, values, and experiences. Whether they are working in law, are part of a faculty/staff of a university or college, or just students that are fresh from their undergraduate studies, they all bring something to the discussions. Depending on what you would like to achieve in your Master’s program, your colleagues could help guide you with the various career paths that you would like to take. That’s why it’s important to network with them and get a sense of what their learning goals are, because they could align with your own learning and career goals. If you’re feeling a little shy, just start off with a smile or a hello and then once you establish a rapport with them, you can talk to them about the class and what program they’re in! Your colleagues provide you with a fresh new set of insights and career paths that you may have never even thought of–so network, network, network!

#5 Get Involved With Extra-Curriculars  

Whether you enjoy playing sports, learning different languages, or meeting people in your program—UofT has so much to offer when it comes to extra-curriculars. Extra-curriculars are so important to your student life, just as your classes are. Getting involved really enhances your overall university experience. Within the first week of school, various UofT clubs and associations hold a “clubs week”, this is a great opportunity to talk to members and see what their interests are and how to get involved. It’s a great way to meet friends, faculty, and to get to know your campus!

#6 Broaden your learning horizons with events, seminars, and conferences.  

Speaking of meeting people, at OISE, we have a plethora of events that happen throughout the year. Many of our presenters include current OISE faculty, students, leaders of various fields, and visiting professors from all over the globe. As part of my Comparative International Development Education collaborative program, one of the requirements is to take part in 5 seminars. The best thing about this is that you get to meet other people in different programs! And don’t worry, it’s not just collaborative programs where you have access to these opportunities, but each department organizes various events and conferences. In my department, LHAE, a staff member sends out weekly emails to tell us about events related to Adult/Higher Education and for the most part–they’re almost all free! Again, it’s a great way to enhance your experience at OISE and it also gives you the opportunity to use those networking skills. So, remember to fit those events into your busy schedules!

Well, that concludes Part I of this blog post–stay tuned for Part II!
What do you think about this list so far? Would love to hear your thoughts–comment below!

Questions? Email me at 


Quick practicum tip: avoid profiling students in your classroom

I can’t believe how fast time flies. I am now half way into my third practicum  – which began in September as a pilot project. Interestingly, my practicum schools have all be located near busy downtown Toronto. That means, you are bound to teach students from all sorts of social locations.

In an academic setting, we all have preconceived notions of what a “strong” student looks like. If educators are profiling students based on their “looks”, they are in for a surprise. Students will be flying under the radar: academic strengths that go undetected from students profiled as no likely to be academically strong and education gaps that go undetected from students deemed to look “like they get it”.

Papers are published about underrepresented populations all the time, and certain racial groups are always categorized as groups under-served in education. Not every classroom we teach in is like the papers we read. We shouldn’t categorize our current students by race and ability which would alter our attitudes towards them.

Go into practicum believing each student can be motivated and give students an opportunity to make an impression on you before you decide for them!