renee stephens

@reneeestephens

Tag: Education

What OCADU Has Taught Me

Ontario College of Art and Design University is an exquisite institution for the creative and imaginative people of my generation, generations past and of the future. I am now in the middle of my third year in Critical and Curatorial Practices and I really enjoy it. It is definitely safe to say that five years ago I did not expect my life to be the way it is today.

I went to OCADU with intentions of Majoring in Drawing & Painting. The week before the deadline for declaring majors, I decided to ask my mentor and good friend (and also my old high school teacher) for some advice because I was having second thoughts about D&P. I thought, “what the hell kind of job is this going to get me?” I’m extremely glad I looked into other options at OCADU and found Critical and Curatorial Practices (which I didn’t even know existed) because writing and being critical is what I enjoy doing. Not only that, but it gives me career choices other than being a freelance artist or teacher, both of which I knew were slim chances of becoming successful (especially for my talent level).

I think I have learned more from the people at my school that I have by the professors themselves. I have met a lot of different kind of people that I would have never of met otherwise since I live in such a small town. The creative and intelligent minds at OCADU have taught me many things about the art scene that I never knew. They have also taught me a lot about myself and what sort of things I believe in and want to strive for. I have made many great friends at OCADU and I am so thankful that they are in my life. The school is all about creating relationships and collaboration because those are the people you will need to know once you have graduated and you’re out and about in the ‘real’ world.

It is an amazing institution and I strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in art and design. It is a fun place to express yourself and be experimental about the things you are practicing.

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Teachers in Ontario Face Far More Difficult Situations Than You’d Think!

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 During work today a co-worker of mine (who happens to be a teacher) were chatting about unacceptable behaviour in the workplace. While exchanging stories, she explained to me about how a young boy in her class was not to respect, take orders from, listen to, or acknowledge female staff and students. His parents explained that this was part of their religion and even the father would not answer the phone if the teacher called the house, because she was female.

I have never in my life heard of such behaviour. Perhaps it is because I don’t exactly believe in religion whatsoever, or perhaps it was because I was raised in a Caucasian Canadian family in Ontario. I don’t know. What I did know is that the education facilities in Canada are going to have quite a hard time keeping up with all of the different religions and cultures that stroll through it. This is not a bad thing however, I encourage multiculturalism and I think it is what makes Canada unique from any other country in the world and it is important for children to learn different cultures and experience different ethnicities at a young age. The question is however, where can we draw the line based on Canadian morals and rights, without being offensive? Because really, if a teacher in Ontario cannot do her job because a young boy says it is his religion to not associate with females because they are below males, in fairness to the other students and staff, what is she to do?

A less extreme example is this same teacher expressed to me her confusion and uncertainty toward another situation. This situation happened on Father’s Day and while all of the students are making fun crafts for their fathers, a young boy refused and became angry and upset because he did not in fact have a father. He took to writing his father’s day card expressing his anger and hate toward his dad for leaving him. I know that this is a horrible situation for any child, but it is strange to think the simple things that my generation came to know as the norm in schools such as fathers/mothers day cards became such an issue now because of the changes happening in society. 

I am hardly 20 years old, and to think that teachers are being faced with such harsh realities when dealing with children of all different races, cultures, religions, backgrounds, etc. Perhaps I am simply just learning about this now and did not see it so much when I was a young girl? I’m not sure, but I would love to hear opinions on the matter! 

Changing Education Paradigms

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