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Graduate Speaker Series - Education & Learning

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66 Harbord Street

Toronto, ON M5S 1G2

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Graduate Speaker Series - Education & Learning

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 (5:30pm - 7pm)

Lower level of the Grad Room - 66 Harbord Street

The August 2017 session of the Graduate Speaker Series will tackle the topic of Education & Learning. We have two speakers from OISE and one from the Department of Geography & Planning. The themes discussed will include geographies of inequality, educating for leadership and adult literacy policies. Please see below for details:

Beyhan Farhadi, PhD candidate (Human Geography) - Department of Geography & Planning

E-Learning, Social Differentiation, and Student Identity in the Toronto District School Board

The re-emergence of competency based education, as a model promising students access to 21st century skills through the power of technology, is belied by the intensification of educational inequality reflected in the provision of electronically delivered instruction (e-Learning) in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). In this presentation, I draw on ethnographic data, which includes multiple interviews with 20 e-Learning students in the TDSB, to set up the ideological assumptions which produce these digital spaces, central to which is the concept of competence and the practice of differentiation. I outline the ways that these assumptions contravene our commitment of public education and discuss how students navigate institutional stressors, central to which is an emphasis on performativity; this term, I argue, not only captures the practice of neoliberal governance, but also emerging discourses of identity.


Phylicia Davis, M.Ed. (Adult Education and Community Development) - Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education, OISE

Adult Literacy on the Margins: The KGO Adult Literacy Program

The purpose of this paper is to examine the current adult literacy policies and practices in Ontario and how they affect adult learners in this province. An outlier in current adult literacy policy, particular focus is paid to the Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park (KGO) Adult Literacy Program; specifically analyzing adult literacy on the margins. Using an autoethnographic approach, the paper analyzes and discusses adult literacy on the margins through three themes: literacy is personal, by the community and for the community and an act of resistance. Using these themes, the paper shows how the KGO Adult Literacy Program addresses adult literacy on a personal/local level as well as conveying the obstacles that learners must overcome in order to reach their goals. This paper concludes with recommendations regarding adult literacy in Ontario and the importance of the implementation of a national adult literacy strategy in Canada.


Chizoba Imoka, PhD candidate - Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education, OISE

Educating for Colonial and Divisive Leadership: The Case of Nigerian Secondary Schools

My research responds to the longstanding call to create and advance an African education system that develops a new generation of democratic African leaders. Focusing on Nigeria, my study investigates how Nigerian secondary schools are preparing and equipping Nigerian students to contribute to the development of their communities in a culturally grounded, just, and inclusive way. Specifically, the study examines the schooling experiences of Nigerian students to delineate the nature of student success/failure they were immersed in and the extent to which these conceptions of success/failure are aligned to principles of decolonization. Accordingly, my research question is: To what extent are Nigerian students prepared to engage in and contribute to the political, economic and cultural development of their immediate communities without reproducing coloniality? My sub-research questions include:

  1. a) What are the schooling experiences of Nigerian students in k-12 schools?
  2. b) To what extent and how are the schooling experiences of students rooted in the principles and philosophies of decolonial and inclusive schooling/leadership?
  3. c) What do Nigerian students believe is needed in the schooling system for them to:
    1. Become successfully engaged in the political, economic and cultural development of their community/country/continent?
    2. Be more equipped during their teenage years to contribute to the political, economic and cultural development of their community/country/continent?

Answering these questions will generate data that will facilitate a comprehensive student centered and decolonial assessment of Nigeria’s education system. Consequently, a core objective in my research is to provide policy and practice recommendations for decolonial student centered educational change in Nigeria and in effect Africa.


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