Check out our inaugural issue!

Critical Perspectives in Education - fin

The OISE GSRC Journal is a graduate student-led journal disseminating the research presented at the annual Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) Graduate Student Research Conference (GSRC) at the University of Toronto. 

The journal is made possible through the support of graduate students and the mentorship of OISE alumni. 

Find out more about the OISE GSRC


Download our whole issue.


Or scroll through individual articles below. 

Cover art is a collage created by student-artists, entitled Critical Perspectives in Education


Vol. 1, Issue 1

Introduction to the Inaugural OISE Graduate Student Research Conference Journal: Creating Possibilities for Change in Education

Heba Elsherief

Mimi Masson

Shawna Carroll

When we decided to extend the annual Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) Graduate Student Research Conference (GSRC) this year into a journal that could be a venue to showcase presenters’ work, we knew the endeavor would take us into previously unexplored terrain. As any conference organizers might know, the amount of work involved in ensuring that all goes well on the day(s) of the event belie all that is required to pull it off: the planning and practice, the long nights and the exhaustive attention to getting the details right. Oftentimes, during the latter months of 2017 and the earlier ones of 2018, if felt like we would only release our metaphorical breaths of relief in the evening of April 21st, after all the chairs were stowed away, the last light switch flipped off. (Download PDF)

Legitimization and Normalization of EQAO Standardized Testing as an Accountability Tool in Ontario: Rise of Quantifiable Outcome-Based Education and Inequitable Educational Practices

Ardavan Eizadirad

Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between curricula and standardized assessments and the philosophies that inform their relationship in the context of Ontario, Canada. The philosophical origins of Ontario’s curriculum and assessment policy and practice are explored to see if there is evidence of a trilateral symbiotic relationship between the Ontario curriculum, the Tyler Rationale referring to the central questions Ralph Tyler identified as significant for effective curriculum development, and Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) standardized testing. It is argued that the legitimization and implementation of EQAO standardized tests beginning in 1996 contributed to the rise of quantifiable outcome-based education within the Ontario curriculum justified via philosophical underpinnings of the Tyler Rationale. Furthermore, it is argued that the way EQAO standardized tests are administered and the results used, with a focus on quantifiable outcomes, perpetuates inequitable educational practices particularly disadvantaging racialized students and those from lower socio-economic status. (Download PDF)

Key words: Standardized testing, EQAO, equity, accountability, assessment

Children’s Drawings: An Expression of Academic Knowledge in Kindergarten?

Hanna Wickstrom

Abstract: Children represent and communicate their learning through multiple modalities, yet assessment of academic learning is often restricted to methods that necessitate formal writing ability. To intervene on this issue, empirically validated measures such as the Early Print Task and Drawing Task, will demonstrate how children’s drawings can be utilized to communicate academic knowledge, thereby providing young children with greater accessibility to share their learning. Implications offer possible solutions to the limitations of classroom assessment practice, by exemplifying how educators can access and assess student learning to support the growth of young children’s academic knowledge. Guided by multimodal theory and grounded in contemporary kindergarten curriculum, this position paper based on a methodological study poster illustrates how theory can inform practice and the fostering of deeper understandings of child-centered measures of student learning. (Download PDF)

Keywords: kindergarten, multimodal theory, emergent writing, children’s drawings

Experiential Science Education Outside Classrooms and Barriers to Its Implementation

Elena Boldyreva

Abstract: Experiential learning outside classrooms, e.g. field trips to such organizations as zoos, museums and conservation centres, offers numerous experiential learning opportunities for students in General Science and Biology classes in Grades 9-12. Field trips have been known to improve understanding of scientific concepts, biodiversity and environmental issues, although the literature shows there are barriers to a wider implementation of experiential learning opportunities by science teachers. The purpose of this research was to identify what outcomes high-school teachers in Ontario observe from their students participating in experiential learning activities at zoos, museums, and conservation centres, what barriers teachers identify, and how they overcome them. A qualitative approach based on semi-structured interviews was used. In teachers’ opinion, outdoor experiential learning programs provide positive outcomes for students, but the success of those programs depends significantly on planning and preparatory work by teachers, proper trip management and collaboration between teachers, organizations’ personnel and volunteers. (Download PDF)

Key words: experiential learning, environmental, science, secondary school

School-Based Mindfulness Interventions: Reviewing the Research

Tiffany Bayliss

Abstract: Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have become increasingly popular in the past few decades, and can be found in many treatment contexts including hospitals, health centres, corporate offices, and prisons. School-based MBIs, in particular, have become a topic of special interest for educators and researchers. Although there is widespread optimism regarding the potential of MBIs to treat students’ stress, depression, anxiety, disorders like ADHD, and more, it is difficult to make pronouncements about the actual effectiveness of mindfulness training for these purposes; some promising research exists, but it is limited in quantity and generalizability. This review attempts to explain the concept of mindfulness as it is applied in MBIs, describe a range of school-based MBIs that have been implemented and studied, analyse the strengths and limitations of the research to date, and offer some recommendations for future directions. (Download PDF)

Keywords: mindfulness, meditation, education, school-based, intervention

An Exploratory Analysis of Quality Judgements and School Choices in the Montreal (Canada) School Market

Justine Castonguay-Payant

Abstract: This exploratory analysis of seven semi-structured interviews is part of a doctoral thesis which aims to highlight whether mechanisms promoting social and school segregation are mobilized through the parents’ school choice practices in Montreal’s quasi-market (Felouzis, Maroy & van Zanten, 2013). It examines the parental point of view of school quality in four boroughs of Montreal and it explores how educational quality judgments (Felouzis & Perroton, 2007) are developed. It also focuses on judgment devices (personal networks, school marketing and promotion), that are the most commonly used by parents (Karpik, 2007; Draelants & Dumay, 2011).Very little is known on how parents ultimately determine their choices, however the results of this study show that 1) parental expectations in education, 2) the impact of instrumental and expressive dimensions related to schooling, as well as 3) their relation to "others" (van Zanten, 2009b) may have an effect on their quality judgments of a good. (Download PDF)

Keywords: Quebec, school choice, school quality, judgment devices, relation to others, singularities, school market

Le transfert inter-langue dans le programme d’immersion française : La conscience syntaxique

Diana Burchell

Catherine Mimeau

Hélène Deacon

Poh Wee Koh

Xi Chen

Résumé : L’objectif de cette étude était d’examiner le transfert inter-langue de la conscience syntaxique chez les enfants anglophones inscrits à un programme d’immersion française. Pour réaliser ce but, nous utilisons des analyses de médiation. Nous avons mesuré la conscience syntaxique avec une tâche de réorganisation de mots. Nous voyons que la conscience syntaxique aide pour l’acquisition du vocabulaire réceptif, la lecture de mots et enfin la compréhension en lecture dans les deux langues. Cette étude démontre que la conscience syntaxique est essentielle quant au développement des habilités langagières: soit en anglais soit en français. En outre, nous voyons que la conscience syntaxique dans une langue contribue à la compréhension lors de la lecture dans une autre langue. Ces résultats permettent d’étayer une approche recommandée en ce qui concerne l’enseignement des structures syntaxiques dans le programme canadien d’immersion française. (Télécharger le PDF)

Mots clés : la conscience syntaxique, la compréhension de la lecture, le programme d’immersion française, la psycholinguistique

A Comparison of Teacher Experiences between Course-Based and Immersion-Based FSL Teacher Education Program

Adam Kaszuba

Abstract: In recent years, there has been a push towards the development of teacher education programs which place an emphasis on both content and language. In Ontario, the need for more qualified French teachers has spurred the creation of immersion-based teacher education programs, where fostering the advancement of the language proficiency of its candidates is concomitant to the goal of the development of their pedagogical knowledge and skills. These programs stand in contrast to the course-based model which focuses primarily on language teaching methods. This small-scale study provides a comparison of teacher experiences between these two types of programs. One recent graduate from the Concurrent French Bachelor of Education program at Glendon College, York University, and two teacher candidates from the Master of Teaching program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education were recruited. The findings support that immersion-based teacher education offers in-depth second language theory and strategically timed practical experiences. It also supports the development of the language proficiency, cultural knowledge, and identity of the FSL teacher candidates. The findings indicate that the course-based model is deficient, suggesting that course-based programs need to develop more suitable means of supporting FSL teacher candidates in all these areas. (Download PDF)

Keywords: Content and language integrated learning, French second language, language teacher education, French immersion

Incorporating Anti-Oppression and Anti-Racism Training During Field Placement: Lessons Learned

Zoila A. Del-Villar

Abstract: The goal of the present study is to explore pre-service social workers’ perceptions of an anti- oppression and anti-racism curriculum consisting of a series of four training programs, including how the curriculum influenced their work, strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum, andadditional training needs. This study seeks to answer the following research questions:

1. How do pre-service social workers who receive training in anti-oppression and anti-racism during their fieldwork placement respond to these training programs?

2. How can we construct effective anti-oppression and anti-racism curriculum to support social workers in the field?

Preliminary findings suggest that pre-service social workers participating in a series of anti-oppression and anti-racism training programs during field placement respond well to the content and readily utilize the presented concepts in their field work and broader life. Accordingly, they view curriculum as integral to furthering education and competency, both academically and in the field. (Download PDF)

Keywords: social work education; field practicum; anti-oppressive practice, anti-racism education

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