Category Archives: Student Reflections

Reflecting on My First Graduate-Level Presentation

Anna
by Anna
MEd student, Developmental Psychology and Education

This past Monday, November 28th I did my first presentation in graduate school. It was for my Reading in a Second Language course taught by Professor Esther Geva.

I have to admit that I was a little overwhelmed when preparing for this presentation, but everything turned out all right in the end. I’m good at talking, presenting facts, and sharing my opinion. Upon further reflection, making presentations is actually easier for me than writing papers. Our professor also allowed people to present in pairs or groups; this likely made the presentation much less frightening for some students. I chose to present individually because that’s what I’m comfortable with.

I’m happy to report that my first graduate-level presentation went well! ^_^ There was discussion, everything I said made sense, and my topic tied into what the professor was going to be talking about for that particular class.

I thought it might be helpful to include some strategies I used to ensure things ran smoothly.

Without further ado, I present…

Anna’s Superstar Tips For Effective Presentation Preparation:

  1. Schedule your presentation around the middle of the semester so you can get presentation ideas from the students who presented before you.
  2. Include a clear agenda so that your audience knows what to expect.
  3. If you aren’t that technologically savvy, get a friend or trusted classmate to help you set up your presentation and run it effectively.
  4. Try to relate your presentation content to your own personal experiences, and to what was said in the class previously.
  5. Include enough research to make your point, and try not to overwhelm your audience with statistics.
  6. Involve your audience by including discussion, and asking them to reflect on what they already know about your topic before you begin.

Final Thoughts:

I hope that these tips help prospective students understand the process behind giving a good presentation. It’s not that difficult if you prepare, and it will be over before you know it. Try to relax and make the most of the experience. You never know when presentation skills may come in handy after you’re done your graduate degree at OISE.

Connecting Theory and Practice: My Virtual Life

Anna
by Anna
MEd student, Developmental Psychology and Education

One of the biggest complaints I had heard students make when I was doing my undergraduate degree was that what they were learning didn’t seem relevant or important to real life. In classes that had more practical applications, such as Developmental Psychology, there was still a lot of theory and facts. There wasn’t much opportunity to apply knowledge in a practical context.

Thankfully, that isn’t the case here at OISE. I have plenty of opportunity to apply concepts learned in class to case studies and various other forms of experiential learning.

For this particular blog post, I am going to focus on the My Virtual Life software developed by Pearson Education.

In one of my required courses, Foundations of Human Development and Education, I have a rather unique assignment. I have to grow a virtual child and a virtual adult using the My Virtual Life software developed by Pearson. The completion of the virtual child and adult is worth 10% of my overall grade in the course.

To extend the experience further, I have a Final Paper worth 40% of my grade where I have to pick specific examples from the life of my virtual adult and/or child. These examples are meant to illustrate points in a particular area of development and education that I have decided to examine further.

How My Virtual Life Works

I filled out relevant personal information about myself to create both the virtual adult and virtual child. The process of growing the child and adult to completion is basically answering a bunch of multiple-choice questions about relevant life choices and reflecting on specific parts of life through short answer questions as prompted by the program. The point of My Virtual Life is to understand how certain life choices and parenting tactics affect human development. It’s a nice complement to the theory of the foundation course that every DPE MEd student has to take.

myvirtual-life-screenshot-5

(One of the multiple choice questions I had to answer for my virtual adult.)

Classmates I have spoken to have also said that it’s useful, but some people have also said that it’s fairly easy to make certain decisions virtually and a different matter altogether to make them in real life. These people said more specifically that it was easy to decide to parent a virtual child in a firm and consistent manner, but much harder to do that with an actual child. I see their point, but feel that having a virtual or simulated experience is better than having no practical experience at all.

myvirtuallife-screenshot-1

(A snapshot of one of my virtual child’s milestones.)

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(A later milestone of my virtual child.)

Another benefit of the program is that you can follow the syllabus for course themes and readings as you grow your child to gain a better understanding of each developmental stage as it occurs.

My virtual child, Samuel, is fully grown but my adult is taking longer. I think that this is a useful exercise, but that people need to keep up with it throughout the course of the semester in order for it to be beneficial.

Final Thoughts:

I hope that this post helps prospective students understand how courses at OISE strive to make content relevant and meaningful to everyday life. In this day and age, practical application of skills is important, and I’m glad that I’m in a graduate program that encourages this.

Practicum time? But school just started last month…

by Susan
Master of Teaching

Got questions? Ask me: s.he@utoronto.ca

A month ago, this program and all the people in it were new to me. Now that I have become much more familiar with everything and everyone – we are getting separated! (Keep reading to find out why)

As a MT student, October is full of milestones – academic and professional.

Academic Milestones:

I am excited to have received a couple of graded assignments returned to me (they are also the first grades received in grad school!). Personally, the feedback reaffirms that I made the right choice coming to this program and it gives me time to grow and improve. Some of these assignments include oral presentations and making/delivering a lesson plan. I think these are two essential skills teacher candidates should have under their belt going into a practicum.

In my research class, I had submitted a rough draft of my annotated bibliography. Some of my interests going into this included: science literacy, STEM education effectiveness and career exploration in STEM, STEM in pop culture and media, etc. Recording my reviews helped me see where my research question was headed and I had great peer feedback.

Professional Milestones:

OK, I said that my peers and I are getting separated – but it’s only temporary 🙂

What am I talking about?

Practicum! Yes, practicum is just around the corner and October has been full of excitement about where everyone is headed and what subjects everyone is teaching. So practicum is about a month-long in November and February each year. This is when teacher candidates are placed at different schools and school boards around the GTA to gain practical experience in their teaching subjects. Prior to the practicum, I get a taste of my host school’s atmosphere and met my associate teacher (AT). These are observation days usually a week or two before the placement. My associate teacher – the person who mentors me – is super knowledgeable and teaches grade 12 biology and grade 10 science (my forte!).

Although I won’t be seeing my classmates in class for nearly a month, I am looking forward to the first day of practicum because begins on Halloween and I am glad my placement will start off in such a lighthearted way!

The Hart House

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The Hart House

The Hart House is probably my favorite place of the U of T Campus. It has everything you need. From a music room where you can play the piano, a library, a chapel, a fitness centre. Everything. There is no reason for an international student to not spent time at this hub. During the fall and the winter, if you are a full-time student, you are entitled to use the Hart House without paying any additional fees. However, during the summer, some fees are being charged. However, in comparison with other gyms or art centers at Toronto, the fees at the Hart House are really affordable for students.

 

Sports

IMG_1553 IMG_1554If you are a sportive person but do not want to train as an athlete, at the Hart House you can find a really nice and low-key fitness centre in where you can practice different sports. Also, you can find cardio machines and rooms for different activities. The pool is amazing, and you can it use for training or for taking different swimming classes. And don’t worry if you are just starting learning to swim, there are lifeguards that would keep you safe.

 

 

Dance and Fitness

Yoga, Nia, Latin Grooves, Pilates, Zumba are some of the different dance and fitness class that you can take. These classes are really fun, they keep you in shape and with a good mood for the week.

If you want to take advanced dance classes, the Hart House also offers ballet, hip hop, salsa, and other classes for paying some little fees. Come and enjoy!IMG_1524 IMG_1526 IMG_1547 IMG_1548 IMG_1552

 

Art and Music

Can you believe that there is an Art Gallery inside the Hart House? And a Theater? You can watch different plays, concerts, and an art collection in the same place! And if you want to play some music, there are different opportunities for performing during the year at Hart House.

Clubs and Committees

Do you want to get socially involve in Toronto? Hart House is a good place to start. Is there an event that you would like to volunteer? Hart House clubs and committees have something for everyone, find the group that’s right for you. If you find an organization that you would like to be a part of, contact them directly for membership information.

Restaurants

Cheap and good meals always available at Hart House.

Seriously, just come and see for yourself.IMG_1532IMG_1538IMG_1550IMG_1522

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


En Español: La Hart House

 

MA in Child Study and Education Program: My Reflections — Kathrin Cornibert

Name: Kathrin Cornibert
Program: MA Child Study and Education
Year: 2

What drew you to OISE’s program?
What drew me to the Child Study in Education program is the balance of practical, theoretical and research embedded within the program, with focus placed on the Primary/Junior Division. I loved that through this program it would provide me with the opportunity learn about how to teach young children through the analysis of relevant research studies and application through hands-on experiences. This is what makes this program so unique. Furthermore, the Child Study in Education program creates an avenue for multiple opportunities post-graduation, which include recommendation for the Ontario College of Teachers as well as future research in education. I have also heard positive feedback and recommendations by graduates from this program, which includes commentary about its evident sense of community and knowledge building

What did you love about the program and/or your professors and peers?
There were a number of components to the Child Study in Education program that were valuable and authentic. The program very much resembles a community of learners, supporters and facilitators. The professors are very knowledgeable about various areas, many of which are supplemented with research studies they have been involved in. The staff/professors are also genuinely interested and supportive of the students’ interests through the tailoring of their lectures, advice and practicum placements. The professors truly care and set the students up for success.

Furthermore, the Child Study in Education program is very considerate and personalized according to student’s interests. A great quality to this program is that it is flexible in content according to students interests. Students have the option to complete a Qualified Research Paper if they wish to pursue research (and/or continuing education at the doctorate level), stream into special education and/or early childhood education (in which they will be acknowledged for after completing the additional qualitifications).

Another unique quality of the program derives from a prominent philosophy held about supporting students’ learning, which is through Inquiry-Based Learning. The Child Study in Education program has a laborarory school (Nursury to Grade 6) that is exemplary of theory to practice, providing students an opportunity to observe, learn, experience and apply their knowledge and ideas about this particular concept along with others. This truly serves as an authentic experience in a safe and comfortable place where the classroom teachers are also very supportive and resourceful.

What did you learn about yourself at OISE?
While attending the MA Child Study program at OISE I have learn a lot about myself. I have refined my practice and teaching philosophy while continued to master my existing skills while learning new ones. I have learned to be flexible in planning and implementing activities that are inclusive, culturally sensitive and engaging. Through the various practical experiences I have encountered, I realized my love for teaching in diverse communities. Some of the courses I have taken have reaffirmed my interest to get involved in prevention in the early years, supporting families locally and globally that are living in poverty or have a low socio-economic status. Although it has its challenges and obstacles, it has encouraged me to explore, test boundaries and apply my knowledge about child development and the influences that contribute to it (nature and nurture). I have grown as a professional in my appearance, philosophy of early childhood and primary/junior education as well as the language I use to communicate to students, parents, teachers and other professionals. Furthermore, through OISE, it has shaped me into a reflective practitioner in the field of education. I have learned and exercised reflection of my own practices while trying to understand the rationale behind other’s actions in theory and reality. This has made me appreciate and value feedback in hopes of improving what I love to do; teach. There is always room for growth, however improvement can only happen if you are open to constructive feedback and active reflection. I strive to be the best I can be and through the programs offered at OISE. OISE encourages, challenges as well as excites me by its exposure to valuable and insightful resources/courses facilitated by knowledgeable professors.

Need more information about the MA in Child Study and Education program?

Learn more > MA in Child Study and Education

Master of Teaching Program: My Reflections — Lara Munro

Name: Lara Munro
Program: Masters of Teaching- Primary/Junior
Year: 2

What drew you to OISE’s program?
I applied to the MT program at OISE and to the one-year consecutive B.Ed program at a few other schools in Ontario. But, what drew me to the MT program at OISE is the fact that it’s a “two-in-one” program in the sense that I can get my teaching certification AND a masters degree, all in only two years. Also, since the MT program is two years, I have the opportunity of having four 4-week teaching practicum experiences, compared to only two in the B.Ed program. OISE is unique in that I haven’t seen this type of program at any other university when I was looking into programs at different universities within Quebec and Ontario. It was clear that the MT program was the right choice for me!

What did you love about the program and/or your professors and peers?
The MT program is fairly big, especially being in the Primary/Junior option, with aproximately 100 first-year students. Despite there being so many students in the program, I love the fact that we are divided into cohorts and that we have all of our classes with the same people. When I started at OISE in September I wasn’t sure if I would like the fact that we were “stuck” with the same people for the whole 2 years of the MT program. However, after spending a lot of time with my classmates and getting to know them better, I’d say they are one of the main reasons why my experience at OISE has been so positive. I feel like we are a family, and it really exemplifies a sense of community and inclusion- values which are clearly important and central to the mission and vision of the programs within OISE. Another great aspect about having a tight-knit “family” within our cohort at OISE is the relationships we are able to build with our professors. In contrast to undergraduate studies, where most classes took place in a big lecture hall and there was minimal interaction with the professors, OISE’s professors make a conscious effort to get to know each and every one of their students. Their warm and supportive demeanor makes it clear that they really want their students to do well and go on to be amazing teachers. They make themselves available to their students outside of class hours, and go above and beyond what is expected of them to help their students succeed.

What did you learn about yourself at OISE?
I learned a lot about myself in the short time that I’ve been at OISE. I’ve learned that I am more adaptable and open to new experiences than I had previously thought. Moving to a new city and starting a program without knowing anyone wasn’t easy, but the friendly and supportive environment that one immediately feels at OISE has helped me with this transition and grow as a person because of it. Most importantly, I have learned that I love kids, and I treasure the relationships that I am able to build with them through teaching and the impact that I will hopefully have on them. I haven’t always known that I wanted to be a teacher, but my experience at OISE has confirmed that this is definitely the right choice for me. Not only can I not see myself doing anything else, but I’ve never felt so motivated and excited to do anything than I do with teaching. I know it’s not an easy job, but I’m not looking for easy. I just want to be a teacher.

Need more information about the Master of Teaching program?

Learn more > Master of Teaching

Master of Teaching Program: My Reflections — Samantha Brumer

Name: Samantha Brumer
Program: Masters of Teaching – Primary/Junior
Year: 2

What drew you to OISE’s program?
There were many things that drew me to OISE’s program. Its reputation is known worldwide, and being the top school in the country, it was an obvious choice for me. I’ve also visited Toronto numerous times, and I thought it would be a great place for me to build roots for my future career in education. Being an anglophone from Montreal, I saw a lack of opportunity for me in Montreal based on my language and skills. Toronto offers more to me based on its size and language of business. Although I am bilingual, the opportunity to teach in both French and English is greater in Toronto. OISE offers so much to its students based on professional learning and growth, but also on personal development.

What did you love about the program and/or your professors and peers?
Over the few short months that I’ve been here, I’ve learned so much about who I am professionally and personally. The fact that all of our courses are spent with the same group of people really has allowed us to connect as more than just peers; I’ve come to regard our cohort as a family of sorts. All of my professors have shown such passion and dedication to what they believe in and the future of education. They really get to know each of us individually and are there to support us through our learning. Never did I think assignments could be a way of self-exploration, and not something to just get through! They have shown us that the process is far more important than the product, and taking care of yourself through meditation and mindfulness is equally as important as creating a safe environment for your students.

What did you learn about yourself at OISE?
I’ve learned so much about myself already from my time at OISE. I’ve gained insight into different parts of myself that I didn’t know existed, and I’ve already begun to develop my philosophy of education. OISE has given me the confidence to think outside the box, and empowered me to pursue that ideal of what I believe education and the education system should look like. This program has forced me to look inward and challenge my beliefs and assumptions, further solidifying some while shedding others that aren’t reflective of who I am at this point in my life. I look forward to the next year and to the endless possibilities of growth and development within the program and within myself!

Need more information about the Master of Teaching program?

Learn more > Master of Teaching

Masters of Teaching Program: My Reflections — JiaJia Lou

Name: JiaJia Lou
Program: Masters of Teaching- Primary/Junior
Year: 2

What drew you to OISE’s program?
After being an English teacher for 6 years in China, I started to have strong curiosity in school environment, teaching methods and teachers’ values in developed countries. Apparently, OISE is one of the top educational institutions in the world and Master of Teaching program provides four practicums that can help me experience real classes in Canada. More importantly, MT program offers students teaching certificates after graduation.

What did you love about the program and/or your professors and peers?
This program teaches me not only theories, but also practical teaching strategies! Professors are knowledgeable, encouraging, and caring. They try their best to fulfill our potential! Peers are excellent, kind and helpful! I learned from them and gained help from them! As an ELL student, I feel our community is very inclusive!

What did you learn about yourself at OISE?
Before I came to OISE, I knew I was passionate about being a good teacher! Now, after I learned how to write research papers and how to search the resources, there is a whole new world in front of me! I can hear the voices of great minds in education area! Nothing can make me happier when I read different opinions from expertises arguing the topics that I am interested in!

Need more information about the Master of Teaching program?

Learn more > Master of Teaching

 

Masters of Teaching Program: My Reflections — Misbah Nawaz Din

Name: Misbah Nawaz Din
Program: Masters of Teaching- Primary/Junior
Year: 2

What drew you to OISE’s program?
There were many reasons why I was drawn towards this program at OISE. First off, I was definitely intrigued by the fact that I could obtain my OCT certificate, in addition to my Masters of Teaching. Furthermore, OISE is a world renowned institute and being taught by some of the most prestigious faculty members, in their respected fields, was an opportunity I did not want to miss.

What did you love about the program and/or your professors and peers?
My favourite part about the program definitely has to be the community building that takes place within each cohort. Knowing that we are all going through the same journey, over the next two years, helps ease the stress. My cohort has become part of my family and I am so thankful for having them there as my support system; I know that I have made some life-long friends.

The professors at OISE are absolutely wonderful. Every single one that I have had, so far, has been extremely supportive in helping us transition into the program. I have gained so much knowledge in this first year and am so thankful that whenever I needed guidance, my professors were always there for me. They have a lot of resources and are more than happy to share them, so definitely ask if you need anything!

The program goes by super fast! Even though I have learned so much in the last year, I truly feel that two years are essential for every teacher candidate. There is so much left to learn and I believe that the second year will make us feel more prepared when we go out into the field of education.

What did you learn about yourself at OISE?
There is a lot of reflection that is done in the program and it allows you to think deeply about yourself as a teacher and upon your experiences. Through this process, I have come to understand that I am much more creative than I thought and am able to come up with unique ideas to incorporate in my lesson designs. I also learned that I enjoy taking on a leadership role and am quite good at organizing and facilitating groups.

 

Need more information about the Master of Teaching program?

Learn more > Master of Teaching

 

Masters of Teaching Program: My Reflections — Anza Humayun

Name: Anza Humayun
Program: Masters of Teaching- Primary/Junior
Year: 2

What drew you to OISE’s program?
The Master of Teaching program not only combines a Masters degree with teacher certification, but also provides students the opportunity to learn from some of the best educators in Canada. In addition to the renowned faculty, the department has an extensive network of practicum schools across nine different school boards in the GTA.

What did you love about the program and/or your professors and peers?
I love all aspects of the program. More importantly, the connections you build with your professors and with your peers are truly irreplaceable. The community-like feel of the program and the extensive support you receive from everyone around you is what makes this program so valuable.

What did you learn about yourself at OISE?
I learned how to challenge myself and take risks during practice teaching. I also learned that making mistakes is not only acceptable, but in fact necessary to my growth and development as a teacher.

Need more information about the Master of Teaching program?

Learn more > Master of Teaching