The Faculty of Education welcomes three new postdoctoral fellows this fall: Beyhan Farhadi, David Pereira and Farra Yasin.
Beyhan Farhadi’s research interests focus on the impact of online learning on educational inequality. Farhadi is trained as a critical geographer, which has given her interdisciplinary latitude to research online classrooms as a spatial arrangement and system of order that impacts student and teacher identity. “When I reference the term critical, I mean that my work is attentive to how power at a systems level constricts freedom and agency, and how this dynamic is patterned as oppressive in schooling,” says Farhadi.
During her time at York University, Farhadi will be working with associate professor Sue Winton to understand how teachers in Alberta and Ontario understood and enacted online learning policies introduced by governments and school boards as part of remote instruction during COVID-19 school closures. How did this impact their capacity to respond to systemic inequities and students’ diverse range of needs? “We have completed our first round of focus groups, and will be speaking again with the same group of teachers in October and January to understand how their experiences have impacted their practice teaching face-to-face under traditional models of schooling,” says Farhadi.
“I am very pleased to work with Dr. Farhadi in our study of how teachers enacted online learning policies introduced by governments and school boards in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications of online learning for social inequality,” says associate professor Sue Winton. “Dr. Farhadi’s frontline experience as a secondary teacher (including emergency remote teaching) and her expertise in e-learning makes her the ideal person to lead this project.”
Farhadi is publishing her doctoral work, which examined the relationship between educational inequality and e-learning at the Toronto District School Board, day school program. She is vice-chair at The Critical Geographies of Education Specialty Group at the American Association of Geographers, and is on the steering committee of "Toronto the Better," which is an active research project run out of the City Institute at York University. The goal of Toronto the Better is to improve local democracy in Toronto and beyond.
David A. Pereira is the York University Faculty of Education Postdoctoral Fellow in Sexuality, Gender and Education and a Centre Fellow at the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. He is a graduate of the Department of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.
Working with associate professor Jen Gilbert, Pereira will support research activities for the Beyond Bullying Project, a storytelling and research project that explores the circulation of narratives of sexuality and gender in high schools.
Pereira’s research program centers on queering school success using an intersectional and queer theory approach. As a critical ethnographer and qualitative researcher, he foregrounds student and youth voices to critically analyze and expose systemic discrimination and inequities in education. His past research looked at the secondary school experiences of ethnoracialized linguistic minority students in Toronto and how their identities are constructed and disciplined in ways that impact their educational trajectories.
David’s future research seeks to better understand how “non-traditional” students access and transition into postsecondary education given that the postsecondary sector by-in-large continues to present obstacles and barriers for “non-traditional," especially LGBTQ2+ students, and their success. David teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in qualitative methodologies and sexuality and gender studies in Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto and York University’s Faculty of Education.
For the past two years, David served as director of the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office at the University of Toronto, coordinating and delivering education, resources, support, conflict resolution and investigating complaints on the basis of sexual and gender diversity for the entire university community – students, staff, faculty and librarians across the university’s three campuses.
Doctor Farra Yasin is a visiting postdoctoral fellow at York University’s Faculty of Education and is working under the supervision of associate professor Theresa Shanahan, the principal investigator of Policy Enactment in Ontario Schools: Teacher Professionalism in Practice. This study provides critical policy sociological research on how teachers interpret laws and policies that regulate their profession in relation to the changing policy contexts from 1995 to the present.
Yasin has an extensive background in qualitative research on practice. This York University Faculty of Education graduate completed the dissertation, A view from the classroom: An inquiry into how educators of Ontario’s Literacy Basic Skills program conceptualize adult literacy learning and the thesis, Comic strip writing and the construction of identity: a qualitative study on the writing practices of grade seven and eight students. Both of these research projects involved completing qualitative institutional research that focused on the investigation of student learning and teacher practice. Both projects received the department awards in 2011 for the thesis and 2018 for the dissertation.
Yasin’s expertise in the workings of the school board governance and teacher professionalism goes beyond the study of legislation and law. As a teacher in Ontario and England, a researcher on the diversity of teacher practice, and a student educated in Ontario, Yasin brings a lived understanding of policy enactment in Ontario and is drawn to policy enactment research because of the emphasis on the human relation to policy. Yasin appreciates the opportunity to receive the York Visiting Researcher’s Fellowship and the mentorship of Dr. Shanahan, the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.