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Addressing Educational Debt in Adolescent Literacy (DIAL), Year 1 Report

Addressing Educational Debt in Adolescent Literacy (DIAL), Year 1 Report

Download iconAuthors: Stefanie De Jesus, Mandeep Kaur Gabhi, Aakriti Kapoor
September 2021


The TDSB Addressing Educational Debt in Adolescent Literacy (DIAL) Plan reflects TDSB’s commitment to address persistent educational debts that negatively impact achievement and well-being, and to transform learning for all students. DIAL is grounded in the theoretical framework of multi-literacies (New London Group, 2006) as well as anti-oppressive education. While the former centres around the significance of multimodality and the need for a more holistic approach to pedagogy (Cope and Kalantzis, 2009), anti-oppressive education aims to teach students to embrace their diversity and create spaces to actively work against various forms of social oppression (Kumashiro, 2000).

The data was collected in collaboration with educators and administrators from 71 schools in order to explore how professional learning and collaborative inquiry is experienced by the practitioners. Data collection tools like observations, focus groups, surveys and educator scrapbooks were used to understand the impact of DIAL on practitioners and their teaching practices and spaces. The digital scrapbooks provided artefacts to document the practitioners DIAL journey as well as the impact of DIAL on students and their learning spaces.

Key findings include:

  • The practitioners reflected on the relevance of DIAL as an opportunity to not just empower the students to be agents of change but also be agents of change themselves. Administrators and educators alike shared that the DIAL professional learning, and sessions by Dr. Nicole West-Burns empowered them to unlearn/re-learn and consider initial shifts in their practice.
  • Involvement in DIAL had both personal and professional impacts on practitioners, in that they became conscious of their identity, power, and privilege, and how this may manifest in their classrooms, as well as broader resources, policies, and structures in education.
  • The impact of DIAL on students and their learning spaces reflected inclusion of student voice, nurturing of their critical consciousness, agency, and advocacy efforts.