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Blog 142

Blog 142

Effecting a Framework of Engaged Teaching at York University: A Student's Perspective

By Luca Montana

Teaching has oftentimes been framed as a dialogical undertaking; whether a teacher serves as a presenter of knowledge to groups of learners, a recipient of novel understandings from those students, or an interlocutor in formal proceedings about the status of education, the elements of conversation remain intrinsic to the trade. While philosophers of education present disparate views regarding the authority given to each of these voices, the Associate Deans Teaching and Learning Council Sub-Committee on Research and Innovation in Teaching and Learning—comprised of various York University stakeholders, including myself—has oriented its focus around the ways in which educators contribute to these dialogues.

In having been a member of the York University community in various capacities—from having been an undergraduate and graduate student to serving as a teaching assistant in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies—I have come to recognize how these discussions underpin the scholastic experiences of students. Over the course of the past year, the the Sub-Committee has been able to put forth a renewed Framework  of what it means to be an engaged educator at York University, which aims to elicit further inquiry by staff to better enhance not only learners’ realities, but also the actualization of professional objectives. The perspective of scholarly teaching that we have endorsed signifies a shift from traditional scholarship as it renders visible and legitimate the work teachers do ‘behind the scenes’ in order to generate superior learning opportunities. Thus, we encourage university staff to continue having discussions about engaged teaching from various entry points and consider bridging their local concerns with other conversations about post-secondary education in an effort to further contribute to these imperative dialogues.

Serving as a student representative on the Sub-Committee has been an enlightening experience and has cemented my trust in York University as an institution. In bringing together voices from across the university, the ADTLC’s Sub-Committee on Research and Innovation in Teaching and Learning exemplifies York University’s commitment to interdisciplinarity—in recognizing how talks about teaching should not only be left to those with specialized knowledge on the subject—as well as self-determinacy among students and staff. As a student in the Faculty of Education, sitting on this committee allowed me to bring my knowledge of teacher-led research to the table, while also becoming acquainted with what this looks like at the post-secondary level. Therefore, it helped me situate Engaged Teaching as a reflective process that is grounded in the intricacies of classroom dynamics and informed by personal, as well as external research, yet also responsive to the realities of the contemporary era.

Conversations concerning education occur in various milieus and it is our hope that by shining the spotlight on traditionally unseen locales that these exchanges continue to flourish.

About the Author

Luca Montana joined the York University community in 2012 as a student in the undergraduate program in Law and Society from which he graduated summa cum laude in 2016. He subsequently earned his MA in Socio-Legal Studies—focusing on legal geography, urban sociology, and critical disability studies—from York University in 2018 as a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canadian Graduate Scholar. Mr. Montana is currently a teacher candidate with the Faculty of Education at York University where he will return in September 2020 to begin a MEd.