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June 17-18-19, 2004

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OISE/UT December 2003





A Season ends 2003-2004
CSEW* Speakers' Series

Were you there... ?

April 21
"What is Work?" with Margrit Eichler and Ann Matthews

March 31
"Towards a Theory of Schooling: Contributions and Perspectives"
with Newton Duarte and David Olson

February 6
"Contingent Faculty in Higher and Adult Education"
with Joe Berry and Vicky Smallman

February 5
"Activity Theory: A Model for Education on Labour Issues" with
Helena Worthen

January 30
"Resisting Computer Culture" with Ellen Rose

January 21
"Schooling and the Dialectical Reproducation of Knowledge from the Perspective of Activity Theory" with Newton Duarte

December 4
"Does work organization matter?
A study of workers in American Hospitals"
Ann Frost

October 31
"Learning as Competence Development" with Knud Illeris

September 30
"The Role of Social Capital in the Learning Process:
A Study of Low Wage Workers"
Anil Verma & Sara Mann

Wednesday, April 21 4:00-6:00
12-274 Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, OISE University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West (TTC: St George subway stop)

What is Work?
Margrit Eichler & Ann Matthews

To read notes from this presentation, click here.

For a long time, work was defined as a paid activity. Due to feminist pressure, work is now understood to include unpaid work. This inclusion was achieved by stressing the parallels between paid and unpaid work. But unpaid housework is an area of work that has (historically) continued to be viewed through that lens of “paid work”.

In this talk, we will be making an innovative switch to instead view all work through the lens of unpaid housework. Reviewing the results of 300 questionnaires and 11 focus groups (having equitably approached both men and women from various ethnic groups as well as socially challenged groups) we have identified 5 different definitions of work, as well as an answer to the question of what one would define as "not-work". After sharing these, we will speculate on the questions “What new insights can we derive through such scholarship?” and “How might policies be affected if we were to adopt one of the alternative definitions of work?"

Audience participation encouraged during the presentation and beyond the discussion period.

About the presenters:

Margrit and Ann are working together on the Housework and Carework project (go) of WALL

Margrit Eichler (Professor, SESE, OISE/UT) teacher and researcher in family policy, reproductive and genetic technologies, feminist methodology, and an integrative approach to social in/equity that understands the issue of sustainability to be part of social stratification.
Ann Matthews is a doctoral student working as a research assistant with Margrit Eichler on the unpaid work and learning project. Her background is in adult and postsecondary education where she focused on equity issues in classroom pedagogy. Her current interests are in the learning aspects of unpaid work.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 4:00-6:00
12-274 Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education - University of Toronto: OISE - 252 Bloor Street West

"Towards a Theory of Schooling: Contributions and Perspectives"
Newton Duarte and David Olson

Read Newton's summaries in PDF: Summary & Rebuttal

...addressing current interpretations of pedagogical ideas of Vygotsky, Dewey and Piaget.

In what promises to be an exciting and eye-opening debate, Newton Duarte, professor of education at UNESP in Brazil and visting scholar at OISE/UT (Centre for the Study of Education and Work, and the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education), with David Olson, professor emeritis in Human Development and Applied Psychology, will be challenging each others' views on the topic of Activity Theory as influenced by the principles and theories of contrasting philosophers Vygotsky and Dewey.

Co-sponsored by the CSEW, SESE, CACS and HDAP (OISE/UT)

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Thursday, February 5, 2004
Room 12-199 Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education,
University of Toronto: OISE 252 Bloor Street West

"Activity Theory:
A Model for Education in Labour Issues
Helena Worthen

Activity theory offers an opportunity for labour educators to bring social theory into their approach to education. Workplace environments are complex on various levels (communication, conflict, history, etc.), and since labour education means changing consciousness as well as representing a collective, it is reassuring to know that there is place for practice where Activity Theory is concerned.

In her talk, Helena Worthen will discuss how the key concepts of Activity Theory can be applied in the world of labour education. She will then follow up with a real case-study situation, in interaction with the public.

To view a longer statement by Helena about this topic click here.

About the Presenter:
Helena Worthen is Assistant Professor of Labor Education in the Chicago Labor Education Program of the Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, U.S. A. Her research focus is the social and political aspects of education for work, including work opportunities funded through the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Currently she is preparing a study of how women and minorities experience the process of applying to construction trades union apprenticeship programs. She has a Ph.D. in Education from the Univesrity of California at Berkeley. Author of two novels, she is currently Chair of the Chicago chapter of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981.

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Friday, February 6, 2004
Room 12-199 Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education
University of Toronto: OISE 252 Bloor Street West

"Contingent Faculty in Higher
and Adult Education
Joe Berry and Vicky Smallman

Contingent faculty, whether called adjuncts, sessionals, teaching assistants or a hundred other labels, are now the majority of teaching faculty in higher education in both the US and Canada (and Mexico as well). Though there are differences between countries, in general they labour without job security (tenure) or the benefits or perquisites that are traditional in colleges and universities. In response to this situation, a movement has grown up from the grassroots, in relationship with the established unions in higher education, to fight against these inequities and to protect the entire enterprise of higher education from further corporate-style degradation, both for faculty and students.

Smallman and Berry will discuss the outlines of this movement in both countries and its prospects for the future. Of particular interest are the innovative organizing techniques, such as Campus Equity Week/Fair Employment Week (CEW/FEW) and the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor conferences that have occurred across organizational and national lines. These, and other creative organizing strategies, may hold lessons for organizing other workers, especially contingents &/or professionals.

About the Presenter:
Joe Berry is a contingent (non-tenure track) faculty member in both history and labor education at a number of Chicago area colleges, including Roosevelt University, where he is part of the leadership of the Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization, the union there. He is also the Chair of the Chicago chapter of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL) and the chair of the upcoming North American (US, Canada and Mexico) COCAL VI conference to be held in Chicago, August 6-8, 2004. His Ph.D. dissertation from the Union Institute and University (Cincinnati, OH, USA) was about organizing strategies for contingent faculty. He is also on the Coordinating Committee of the North American Alliance For Fair Employment, the network of contingent worker groups in the US and Canada.

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Friday, January 30, 2004 12:00-2:00
7th Floor, Department of Adult Education
University of Toronto: OISE 252 Bloor Street West

"Resisting Computer Culture"
Ellen Rose
click for longer description and link to publisher

User Error exposes how we surrender decision-making power to personal and workplace computers.
Ellen Rose shows that there is no technological bandwagon, no titanic conspiracy to overwhelm us. User Error offers up-to-date  insights and strategies of resistance to general readers, technology professionals, students, and scholars alike.

Read an interview with the author

About the Presenter:
Ellen Rose holds the McCain/Aliant-Telecom Chair in Education and Multimedia at the University of New Brunswick, Fredrickton. She directs a graduate programme in instructional design. In addition to numerous journal articles on media, technology, and pedagogy, she has published Hyper Texts: The Language and Culture of Educational Computing.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2004 12:00-2:00
12-274OISE/UT, Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education

"Schooling and the Dialectical Reproduction of Knowledge from the Perspective of Activity Theory"
View slide presentation in PDF format
Newton Duarte

"What is the school-process of learning? What relationship exists between the historical processes of the (re)production of knowledge by society and the appropriation of knowledge by individuals in school education? Is a pedagogical approach possible in which intellectual autonomy, critical thinking and transformative activity are promoted by the intentional and systematic transmission of knowledge?

"Based in studies that have been developing for more the ten years, Newton Duarte will present an investigative approach to these questions about schooling in contemporary society, exposing contributions from a Marxist Pedagogy that are found in the works of the classical authors of Activity Theory: Vygotsky, Leontyev and Luria."

About the Presenter:

Newton Duarte is an associate professor at Universidade Estadual Paulista (University of Sao Paulo State), Brazil. He is the leader of a Brazilian research group named "Estudos Marxistas em Educação" (Marxist Studies in Education) and is the author of an extensive number of books, chapters and papers published in Brazil and other countries in South America on a Marxist Theory of Education.

From August 2003 to July 2004 Newton Duarte is visiting scholar at the CSEW and Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education.

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Thursday, December 4, 2003 12:00-2:00
12-274OISE/UT, Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education

"Does work organization matter?
A study of workers
in American hospitals

Anne Frost

Low Wage, Low Skill Work and
Organizational Commitment:

Much has been made of the notion of commitment as a mechanism by which high performance models of work organization produce superior performance outcomes. However, much of this research has been conducted in the manufacturing sector. In this paper, we examine the notion of organizational commitment in the context of low wage, low skill service sector employment. Using data from a large-scale study of nursing assistants, housekeepers, and food service workers in American hospitals, we investigate whether work organization has any impact on worker commitment.

Click to read a paper on this topic:
The Effects of Work Restructuring on Low-Wage, Low-Skill Workers in U.S. Hospitals" Appelbam, Berg, Frost and Preuss.

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Friday, October 31, 2003 12:00-2:00

ROOM 7-162 Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology, OISE/UT ( 252 Bloor St West, Toronto)

"Learning as Competence Development"
Professor Knud Illeris
Roskilde University (Denmark)

In his presentation, Professor Knud Illeris gave an overview of an understanding of learning matching the modern concept of competence development, including three main points:

1. The processes and dimensions of learning
2. Different types of learning
3. Mental processes that block or distort possible learning

In his recent book The Three Dimensions of Learning (NIACE 2002), Professor Knud Illeris develops an overall understanding of learning matching the modern concept of competence development covering three main areas of inquiry: processes and dimensions of learning; different types of learning; and mental processes that block or distort possible learning. Illeris offers one of the broadest and most comprehensive visions currently available on the relations between learning and social sciences opening new pathways to thought, discussion and investigation of the topic.

Illeris’ book, which has sold more than 20, 000 copies in the Scandinavian countries and now has been published in English, comes highly recommended by leading scholars Jack Mezirow and Peter Jarvis. The author’s recent article in the International Journal of Lifelong Education, Vol.22(4)details his argument. “This book is written by an author who really knows what learning is about” - Chris Argyris.

About the Presenter:

Knud Illeris holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and is a professor of Educational Research at Roskilde University, Denmark. He is also the Research Director of the Learning Lab Denmark consortium for research on Workplace Learning. He has been the author, co-author or editor of more than 70 books and 300 articles on topics such as learning, motivation, educational planning and practice, theory of qualification and competence development, vocational training, workplace learning, and adult and youth education from the perspective of the learners.

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Click here to access original slides from this presentation

Tuesday, September 30, 2004 12:00-2:00
ROOM 12-274 Dept of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education
University of Toronto: OISE 252 Bloor St West, Toronto

"The Role of Social Capital in the Learning Process: A Study of Low Wage Workers"
Anil Verma and Sara Mann

This first seminar in a new series of research seminars will present the theory and research design behind a WALL study of learning among low-wage earners.

Learning is critical to an individual’s career progression and job security. However, not all individuals are given the same opportunities to participate in learning activities. The amount of learning, both formal and informal, that an individual partakes in depends upon many factors. Social Learning Theory explains some of those factors, including an individual’s self-efficacy and outcome expectancies. Equally important are the resources available to the individual. An individual’s access to learning, self-efficacy and outcome expectancies are dependent on the demographics and characteristics of the organization, the job, and the individual himself/herself. This presentation proposes that the effect of these demographics on self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, access to resources, and subsequently on learning, is moderated by the individual’s level of social capital.

The research design involves interviews, focus groups and a questionnaire-based survey. A group of USWA locals in the healthcare, manufacturing and steel industries are being sought for participating in the study. The USWA is a community partner in this study.

About the Presenters:

Dr. Anil Verma is Professor of Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management at the University of Toronto where he holds a joint appointment at the Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Industrial Relations. His co-edited book, Unions in the 21st Century: An International Perspective, will be published in 2004 by Palgrave Macmillan (UK). He leads a study of learning among low-wage earners within the WALL research project.

Sara Mann is a doctoral candidate in organizational behaviour and human resource management at the Rotman School of Management. She earned an MBA degree from McMaster University. Sara’s research interests include learning, performance stability, leadership and performance management.

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