Established in 2005, the Centre for Urban Schooling (CUS) connects the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) to urban schools and communities. The Centre conducts research on and advocates for critical practice that is focused on how to better serve historically marginalized and racialized children and youth in public schools. Read our Mission Statement.
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Exploring Critical Consciousness In Toronto’s Urban Classrooms: A Critical Practitioner Inquiry Approach To Understanding And Improving Black Student Achievement
Written by: Nicole West-Burns, Ph.D.
The website is now live: www.cuscrrpinitiative.ca
Please take a look and share widely!
The website includes a documentary that chronicles a year-long professional learning journey with teams of educators from two schools; a report on the initiative; and professional resources.
March 24, 2016
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Title: Volunteer abroad at elite Canadian private schools: Producing young elites through regulated racial encounters
Presenter: Leila Angood, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Urban Schooling
The production of young elites as caring national leaders and global citizens requires regulated racial encounters. At Canadian elite schools, these encounters are formulated as multicultural and humanitarian educational experiences. These carefully managed experiences obscure structural inequities and ongoing exploitation to help secure students’ sense of themselves as empowered and capable.
My paper follows the racial routes through which Canadian elite school girls – both white and of colour – use white femininity to secure ruling class status. This ruling class status requires and reproduces a Canadian brand of global citizenship that articulates through national narratives of innocence and moral excellence, particularly in relation to settler colonialism and peacekeeping. These racial routes to ruling class status recruit particular racial others to participate in liberal modernity through the practices and processes of global white supremacy and settler/colonialism, practices that aim to “assist” Black and Indigenous others “into modernity” (Razack, 2004, 2015).
I analyze ethnographic data using a critical race feminist framework to theorize the encounter between girls from an elite Canadian private school and the Zulu children in South African townships that they visited to teach. I discuss several of the techniques, such as enchantment, that the Canadian group deployed as effective self-making strategies that worked to conceal the deep colonial continuities of the encounter.
This paper answers three questions: (1) what is at stake for young elites in this humanitarian encounter?; (2) what is required in order for the humanitarian encounter to work?; and (3) what does this encounter do for young elites and elite Canadian private schools?
This is the story of how Canadian elite schools and students leverage gendered racial hierarchies to secure the material and symbolic advantages of ruling class status.
Leila Angod is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Urban Schooling at OISE/UT. Her current project is a youth participatory action research study of socioeconomic diversity at the University of Toronto Schools. This paper is drawn from Dr. Angod’s doctoral thesis, Behind and beyond the ivy: How schools produce elites through the bodies of racial others, a critical race feminist analysis of the multicultural and humanitarian encounters that are crucial to the formation of elite subjects and elite schools. The topics of her current writing projects include the heteronormative impulse of the volunteer abroad encounter, We Day, and the One Laptop per Child program. Her recent guest editorial in Curriculum Inquiry, The unruly curricula of the ruling classes, explores how divergent curricular approaches reproduce rather than disrupt ruling class status at elite private schools.
CUS Reserach for Critical Practice in Urban Schools Seminar Series
October 16, 2015
Title: Exploring the relationship between school structure and student belonging
Presenter: Gillian Parekh, SSHRC postdoctoral fellow with the Centre for Urban Schooling
In school, students are organized across various programs and enrichment opportunities. Research has demonstrated that there is significant correlation between the representation of disability, class, race, and gender identities to the degree of value assigned to programs and academic streams (Sinay, 2010; Clandfield et. al, 2014). These disparities call into question students’ experiences of social citizenship and belonging within institutions that adhere to the organization of students along constructed notions of ability and meritocracy (Parekh, 2014). Drawn largely from the Toronto District School Board’s Parent and Student Census data, this paper explores the relationship between institutional programming and students’ experiences in school.
Gillian Parekh is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow with the Centre for Urban Schooling in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at OISE. Most recently, Gillian worked as a Research Coordinator for the Toronto District School Board. Her research interests include critical disability studies, institutional organization, and education equity.
November 6, 2015
Title: Feeling and hearing the difference: Toward an affective methodology for studying social in/justice in education
Presenter: Lee Airton, Lecturer, Master of Teaching Program and the Current Teacher Ed Program
The literature on social justice teacher education (SJTE) is full of specialized language: namely, semantic descriptions of what ‘good’ SJTE looks and sounds like in practice. However, ‘teaching the diversity course’ in pre-service programs is as much an affective proposition – one of intensity, awkwardness, discomfort, welling-up – as a semantic one: what is explicitly stated, whether by teacher candidates or teacher educators. Field leaders (e.g., Zeichner, Ladson-Billings, Cochran-Smith, Grant, Sleeter) have long called for empirical evidence of SJTE’s effectiveness at changing teacher orientations toward social difference in order to benefit their future K-12 pupils. With such evidence in short supply, this study used a post-qualitative methodology and neo-materialist affect- and assemblage-based theoretical framework to explore how SJTE practitioners together produce, in real-time, a sense of ‘good or bad SJTE’ and of themselves as SJTE practitioners. This paper draws on findings from material-discursive fieldwork at education conferences and in SJTE practitioner conversations to argue for a less language-dependent approach to the study of social in/justice in educational contexts.
Dr. Lee Airton is a Lecturer in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE, and received their Ph.D. in 2014 from York University’s Graduate Program in Education. Dr. Airton’s publications on gender and sexual diversity issues in education have appeared in Curriculum Inquiry and Sex Education, and they blog about gender-neutral pronoun usage, user support and non-binary gender identification at theyismypronoun.com. Dr. Airton currently serves on the executive committees of the Canadian Association for Teacher Education and the Queer Studies in Education Special Interest Group of AERA.
FREE YOUR MIND: A HIP HOP Education STEMposium
CUS was a co-sponsor for this event which brings together students, educators,
hip hop academics, and the GTA's finest hip hop education workshop facilitators
Check out the documentation from the STEMposium!
Issue #6, July 2015
Nicole West-Burns: Intersecting Professional Learning, Research and Knowledge Mobiliation
By Audrey Hudson
Issue #5, April 2015
By Audrey Hudson
Issue #4, January 2015
By Audrey Hudson
Issue #3, 2014
By Tara Goldstein and Nicole West-Burns
Issue #2, April 2014
By Dr. Lance McCready, Dr. Carl James, Ramon San Vicente
Issue #1, December 2013
The Math for Young Children (M4YC) Project: