Monthly Archives: May 2018

Would I chose OISE again?

I have been waiting a long time to write this post.  This past year has been quite a ride compared to my first year! I noticed that the pace of the program really picked up during the summer. Partly was due to work and other commitments. Entering the last few months of my program is a bittersweet feeling. I am more aware of my teaching style and how I like to interact with learners.

What are your thoughts on research and electives? Any ups and downs?

This past year, the MT program has introduced the Master of Teaching Research Journal and introduced a limited number of student-faculty research opportunities to support the diverse research interests of MT students. These efforts show that the MT program is committed to developing research-informed teacher candidates. Speaking solely for me however, I would have liked the flexibility in selecting my own research methodology and applying for research ethics – which is all part of the graduate student research experience. I think this would have been met with an MA degree because a thesis and methodology course is required.

What did I learn about myself as an educator?

When I first started this program I thought I would only effective to students above a certain age. I preferred mature students who have developed interested in specific subjects – which is why I chose the intermediate/senior stream, so I could have rich discussions around subject content. After four practicums and various extracurricular and co-curricular involvements with students from grades 3 to 12, I no longer see myself as a classroom teacher. The one-on-one interactions with students confirmed that learning happens best when students have a trusting relationship.

So? I most definitely would chose OISE again for the opportunities within OISE, the network of students, instructors and staff, and partnerships it has across the UofT campus. The opportunities are abundant here, but don’t wait them to come to you – go after them yourself!

Master of Arts vs. Master of Education

by Viel
MEd, Adult Education & Community Development

Upon graduation from my Bachelor of Education, I was already looking into pursuing graduate studies. At first, I wasn’t really sure about what the difference was between a Master of Arts degree and a Master of Education degree. I definitely knew that Adult Education and Community Development would be the program of choice, but I didn’t know which stream I wanted to complete.

Based on my own research, I’ve compiled a list of the differences between the two degrees.  Again, this is somewhat of a general overview of what the program-specific requirements are.

  Master of Arts (MA) Master of Education (MEd)
Overall Degree Components ·         Research-based Program

·         Based on coursework and thesis component

·         8 courses and thesis work

·         Professional Program

·         Based on coursework

·         10 courses

Program Length ·         Full-time: 2 years ·         Full-time: 1.5 years
Funding? ·         Yes – they are part of a funded cohort. The funding details will be a part of your admissions package. ·         No – However, there are opportunities to apply to scholarships/bursaries within your department and external awards.
Doctoral Opportunities PhD – If you would like to continue towards a path of research, the MA fits best when you would like to pursue a job in academia or find an opportunity to also enhance your workplace within a certain field. EdD – If you are looking more to enhance your professional opportunities an M.Ed. is definitely the way to go. Again, this blends both professional and research, but leans towards more how you can apply this to your workplace, just as an M.Ed. aims to do.

Though you may want to later pursue a PhD after an MEd, there might be certain requirements you need to undergo.

Why did I choose a Master of Education over a Master of Arts?

In comparing the two, I chose a Master of Education because I felt that it would open up more professions for me as a current educator. I am also not as interested in pursuing any field of research, but interested more with enhancing my knowledge within the field of Adult Education. I think it was a practical solution for me for my own career goals. It really depends on what you want to do and what your interests are. I think there are just as many opportunities with a Master of Education as with a Master of Arts, it really depends on what you want to do in terms of learning and career goals. Again, there are also different options and different pathways, but hopefully, this will give you a general sense of what can be done with an M.Ed.

Questions? Email me at


by Viel
MEd, Adult Education & Community Development

Back when I was studying for my Bachelor of Education here at OISE, one of the main components that was required to successfully graduate was the practicum.

A practicum is exactly what you would think…it is an opportunity for students to essentially “practice” and to implement their skills and knowledge into the workplace. With regards to theory and best practices, there is so much to remember. In class, there were educational theories upon theories, legislation after legislation, and curriculum everywhere. There was so much that we were learning in such a short time frame, but what really galvanized my skills as an educator was the practicum. This was an excellent opportunity to really put theory into practice.

I believe that practicums are an important part of one’s learning, partly because you can utilize what you’ve learned in the classroom and implement them inside someone else’s “classroom”. Another benefit of the practicum piece is the opportunity to network within your space. It allows you to visualize yourself in that work environment and it definitely opens up the possibility of employment at your practicum site. Though you may not get a job there, you can certainly ask the employees about their journey towards that career.

So, with that in mind, I was hoping that I had the same opportunity once I began my MEd in Adult Education and Community Development.

You’ve probably seen Professor Jennifer Sumner’s name in my previous blog post in my reflection about my first semester. She is one of the professors here at OISE, in the department of Adult Education and Community Development. In taking her class, I’ve not only learned about OISE’s role and leadership in Adult Education, but also the importance of sustainability and advocacy for social change in this field.

This semester, I am taking her other class, The Pedagogy of Food, to enhance my knowledge about the food systems in relation to educational, political, sustainable, social and economical systems.

There is a course, however, that I was supposed to take, but I couldn’t because it conflicted with my schedule. Even though I couldn’t participate in that course, I still think it’s one of the many reasons why I decided to choose OISE. One of the factors that made me decide on this program is the opportunity to participate in a practicum. In my opinion, practicums allow someone who is interested in the field of Adult Education to be able to visualize themselves in that particular workplace.


If you are interested in this course there are a couple of things that you need to know:

1) The Prerequisite: Permission of the Instructor

When you are choosing your courses, you are able to add this to your course schedule, but ultimately, you would need Professor Sumner’s approval about the course. I would recommend contacting her and telling her about the practicum that you intend to take once you’ve added that course. Then, she will send you a proposal form that you must fill out with the guidance of your practicum supervisor, who will help you to decide what project you would like to undertake. Once you hand it in, it will be submitted to Professor Sumner and all you will be waiting for is whether or not your proposal has been approved.

2) Course Structure: Weekly Seminars

The thing that differs from the practicum is that you are still required to come to class to discuss your learning. On top of your practicum hours, you will need to go to class on a weekly basis. During class, there are a lot of opportunities to talk about your learning and how your practicum project is developing. This is a perfect way to learn about the skills required in the field of adult education and the types of responsibilities an adult educator may have. In retrospect, when I was taking practicum during my B.Ed, I wished that there was an opportunity to reflect on my learning, because I feel that reflecting allowed me to grow as a professional and developed my knowledge about the field of adult education.

3) Types of Projects

The reason as to why I chose this course is the fact that it was so open-ended in terms of the projects that I wanted to undertake. Many of the past students of this course worked on interesting tasks, such as an associated research project, policy documents, and curriculum or programme development. Basically, you are able to work on anything that you may feel will work to enhance your skills as an adult educator. Your field supervisor will then evaluate your tasks on the basis of the proposal that you’ve developed prior to your class and as well as per the guidelines of the professor.

4) Successful Completion of the Course

To be able to complete this Pass/Fail course, you must attend the weekly seminars, spend about 36-50 hours at your practicum site (about 3-4 hours/week), and as well as write an integrative paper to help you reflect on your learning goals and the success of your project.

It’s really important to ensure that you are cognizant of the time frame before you start  this class so that you are not in a rush to find a field supervisor. I would recommend contacting Jennifer beforehand to get a good idea about your practicum project and if you are going in the right direction. I think this is a really good opportunity to help you delve into the world of adult education, because from what I have learned, there are a variety of fields you can work in as a graduate of the Adult Education and Community Development program. If you’re interested in this course, but don’t know what types of projects to do, there here is a list of past initiatives our AECD colleagues decided to undertake.

If you would like to learn more about this opportunity, please check out the website.

 Questions? Email me at