Nuggets of Learning at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)
By: Susan deJonge
It all started with a school board email invitation to apply for a Masters degree at OISE. The Hamilton Wentworth District School Board had partnered with OISE to encourage participants in the LHA (Leadership Higher and Adult Education) program. I had always considered doing a Masters degree and was looking for something to increase my engagement at work so I went to the information session. I left the session thinking, "Hey I'll apply and see what happens.!"
Personally and professionally, I was busy. A partner, three teenage daughters, family commitments, work, not to mention I had been out of school formally for over 25 years! Regardless, I took the plunge and will never regret the decision to study at OISE. I am currently finishing my ninth course at OISE and will complete my final course during the fall session of 2017 (September to December). As I start to reflect about the learning journey, here are some highlights.
Highlights of my learning journey at OISE include:
- the collaborative and deeper learning experiences
- time to reflect about my personal and professional beliefs about education
- the challenges to read, write, and communicate, including APA 7th edition!
- how the experience impacted, and changed my perspective at work
- pushing out of a comfort zone and taking new risks
- the gratitude I have for the people I have encountered including professors, the HWDSB cohort group, and students at OISE
- the educator/student balance I have achieved over the past three years
- using 21rst Century skills such as collaboration, knowledge exchange, deeper learning and broadening my technology skills
"What has been and what is now the nature of my educational experience?" (Pinar, 1975, p.20)
Nuggets of Learning that Impact my Work at Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB)
HWDSB Mindfulness Steering Committee
I stepped out of my comfort zone to be part of a collaborative committee that guided the rollout of a brain based curriculum titled, MINDUP. This informal leadership opportunity lead me to a supportive instructional role with staff members across the school board. I assisted with the professional development, initial start up of MindUp, problem solving strategies, and implementation of MindUp.
From OISE, I learned to look at policy and change and be part of it instead of a product of it.
To view my critical analysis of the HWDSB mindfulness roll out, click here
James MacDonald School Student Council
I started a student council that included students from grade 1 to grade 6. We often think of middle and high school students when we think or student council, but this has been an amazing experience. We tackled issues such as equity awareness in special education, mental health and well being, applying for government grants, school spirit, bullying, Me to We, taking part in school board "Change" forums and kindness. This has lead to school wide events that are lead by the students not educators. I have become so aware of the "student voice" piece and how crucial it is to a community of learners. This has evolved into the collaborative creation of social justice curriculum.
From OISE I changed my perspective on the relationships that exist in communities, school boards, schools and classrooms.
Mental Health Awareness
After completing the Dare to Dream grant and project with a group of wonderful students, I was inspired to continue. This past year junior student council initiated mindful moments walks, the creation of Mindful Mannequin, and a school wide mannequin challenge and video production.
From OISE, I have keenly researched mental health policy and mindfulness and applied it in my personal and professional life. I have taken on leadership roles to promote my passion. To view my video on mindfulness at the HWDSB, click here