Tuesday, January 1, 2019

About Me

I am an Associate Professor in the department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. My research interests are in sociocultural theories of learning, issues of power and identity in learning. I am also interested in supporting faculty and grad students in their writing and work-life balance. I work as a coach for the Faculty Success Program and teach CTL 1811, a course for graduate students that builds a community of support around writing.

For details on my research and teaching, download my full cv

Monday, January 8, 2018

Learning in the Learning Sciences: A talk given at University of Calgary

In November 2017 I had the privilege of presenting a seminar talk to the University of Calgary's Learning Sciences group. I'm pleased that the talk was videorecorded, and you can view it if you have Adobe Connect. I was told that you don't need any kind of login so anyone should be able to watch.

Here's the talk:
https://connectmeeting.ucalgary.ca/p3qp5xtbsja/
I haven't yet transcribed it but I hope to put a pdf version of the transcript up here sometime in the next few weeks.

The recording begins with the territorial acknowledgement and an introduction. I start speaking at about 2:20 and the talk is presented in two parts. The first part provides a super fast overview of the book Power and Privilege in the Learning Sciences, co-edited by me and Angela Booker, published in December 2016. For about 20 minutes I talk about sociocultural theories of learning, critical race theory, critical discourse theories of race, queer theory, critical disability studies, settler colonial theory and indigenous epistemologies, and critical pedagogy. Then, at about 28:00, I transition to a discussion of faculty work. I spend the next 20 minutes or so sharing some stories and drawings of my own life, to connect the critical theories from the first half of the talk, to the question: What lives and ideas do the university and the field make possible, probable, easy and hard?

Here's my favorite drawing from the second half of the talk.



If you watch, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Giving this talk, with so many personal stories, felt like a big risk and I am very grateful to the University of Calgary Learning Sciences folks for being such an engaged and appreciative audience.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Vacation time!

I'll be taking a vacation from the blog through August. Next week I'm off on a creative writing workshop with the always amazing Lynda Barry. When I come back, it's all grant-writing all the time, and I'll pop in now and then to update on how it's going 'writing to a structure.'

Happy August!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Writing to a Structure

In this video I talk about a strategy I'm learning from Priscilla Long's book The Writer's Portable Mentor. The idea is to use an exemplar piece, analyse its structure at the section and paragraph level, and then draft your own piece using the same structure. After a first draft is produced, you can start to work with your piece on its own terms... but it's much easier to get there if you borrow a structure.

In the video, I talk a little bit about why I think it's useful and important to write to a structure. While some may think that writing to a structure eliminates creativity, I disagree, and I talk a little bit about why.

I'll be trying out this strategy over the next few weeks and hope to keep you updated about how it goes.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Using tarot to get past writing roadblocks

In today's video I explain how I used tarot to help me (start to!) get past a writing roadblock. In the video I reference:
The Fool's Dog Tarot Sampler (app)
Kim Krans's Wild Unknown tarot deck
Joan Bolker's book Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day

Let me know if you have used tarot to help you with your writing, and what happened!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Another use for the academic word kit: Interview with a scholar

When Lynda Barry and Ebony Flowers visited Toronto in April 2017, Ebony shared a variation on the academic words/questions activity that we already discussed.

Briefly, you use your academic kit to generate a question related to your research, and then you write an interview with a scholar of your choice, imagining how they might answer the question.


Here's my sample comic, when I asked an imaginary Dorothy Holland what illness has to do with monsters.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Creating and using an academic word and question kit

In this video, I talk you through the process for creating an academic word and question kit, so you can generate lots of different free-writing prompts related to your research. The credit goes to Lynda Barry and Ebony Flowers who developed this idea together.

You will need some index cards. Cut some in half - you will use these for words related to your research (plus some unrelated words for fun). On the other cards, write questions. Each question should have a blank in it, to be filled by a word from the word cards. Get creative with the questions! I've listed some example questions below the video.


What is the opposite of ____ ?
What does ____ want?
What animal does ____ remind you of the most?
How is ____ like a monster?
What happens if ____ gets wet?
Does ____ live in our minds?
What does common sense about ____ get right?
Why can metaphors be a problem with ____ ?
What happens when ____ breaks?
What is important about ____ ?
Tell a lie about ____ .
What is the best environment for ____ ?
What makes ____ so alluring?
What does ____ have to do with time?
What if ____ fell on the ground?

Post any additional questions in the comments!