TEACHING

Introduction

I started my career in education teaching English to school children in a fishing village off the coast of Hiroshima, Japan. During that year, living away from my family and culture, without language skills or teaching experience, I fell in step with teaching. Being isolated, I learned that teaching could be a tool—a tool to connect with others, to learn, and to grow. Since then, I have spent 17 years in education--teaching, learning, and studying. My journey has led me to delve deeply into the field of teaching and learning, focusing mostly on issues of empowerment and transformation, both for students and teachers. For this reason, I am drawn to community-engaged teaching and learning, Indigenous perspectives in higher education, and scholarly inquiry into teaching.

 

Teaching Interests

  • Community-based research methods (Theory)

  • Applied community-based research (Practice)

  • Interdisciplinary undergraduate

        community-based research

  • Community-based teaching and learning

  • Social justice in education

  • Academic Writing

  • Metacognitive strategies for student success

 

 

 

Courses Taught

 

EDTE 531: Social Justice in Education, Vancouver Island University. 

Overview

In this course, we will explore a variety of social justice issues that affect our local community and reflect on how these issues cross over into educational contexts.  Students will explore and reflect on their emerging philosophy as educators, especially as it relates to social justice issues and anti-oppressive pedagogies. Furthermore, we will have opportunities to engage with both community organizations and with local schools and to reflect on the intersections between the two.  Finally, we will work toward developing anti-oppressive teaching strategies and social justice-related learning sequences and teaching resources.

 

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

 

  • Identify a variety of social justice issues present in the local community and schools, and communicate thoughtfully and reflectively about those issues in relation to their emerging identity as professional educator

  • Research, develop and facilitate learning experiences related to social justice issues in education

  • Develop strategies to address and prevent social justice issues in consultation/collaboration with community organizations

  • Develop a learning sequence with activities, resources and assessment strategies for teaching social justice

  • Contribute to positive and purposeful change in the area of social justice and inclusive classrooms 

 

EDCI 452:Cultural Studies in Education

University of Victoria, Faculty of Education (Sessional Instructor)

 

Course Description

What is Cultural Studies in Education?  According to Hytten (1999), cultural studies in education asks about what schools currently do to children and for what purposes, and they explore what schools might do differently and why.  Cultural studies in education suggests that there is an integral relationship between education and the broader society, and that schools and teachers play critical social and political roles. Within a more critically oriented tradition in education, cultural studies also provides a vision for the ultimate purposes of education in society; a vision that involves challenging inequity and injustice and building a more humane society. In practice, cultural studies practitioners explore the links between culture, knowledge, and power, and they aim to uncover disempowering educational and social practices. They challenge the ways in which schools currently function so that those groups with power retain power, and those that are marginalized or powerless remain so (Hytten, 1999, p.528).

 

In this course, we will fuse the theory of cultural studies in education with our emerging understandings of pedagogical practice.  The course is structured around a number of pedagogical strategies that reconceptualise traditional understandings of teaching and learning and that can be used to encourage more equitable and empowering methods of instruction.  Units will be divided into theory--readings, discussions, critical reflections, etc., and practice—interactive and dynamic activities, often student-driven, that facilitate practical engagement and conceptualization of the theoretical principles.  By pairing the theory with the practice, this course aims to provide students with a deeper, practical understanding of issues of critical pedagogy.  Through critical reflection and practice-based application, students are encouraged to reflect upon how they might integrate non-traditional teaching practices (e.g., community-based learning) into their emerging understanding of pedagogy.

Course Evaluations

"On the other hand is the language of the lived curriculum, the more poetic, phenomenological and hermeneutic discourse in which life is embodied in the very stories and languages people speak and live."

 

-Ted Aoki

EDCI 457: English as a Second Language

University of Victoria, Faculty of Education (Sessional Instructor)

 

Course Description

20% of Canadians are not born in Canada and do not speak English as their first language.  This is the highest reported proportion of foreign-born, non-native English speakers to comprise Canada’s national demographic in 75 years (Statistics Canada, 2007).  The resulting gap that exists culturally and linguistically between many of Canada’s teachers and most of Canada’s most vulnerable students is cause for concern, especially in regards to the low level of achievement many ESL students experience in our classrooms (Watt & Roessingh, 2001).  Despite providing a discourse steeped in advocacy and empowerment, many proponents of improving ESL pedagogy fail to bridge the gap between theory and practice by not offering practical suggestions on how educators are to structure their teaching approaches for ESL learners. This course aims to fuse both the theory and the practice behind second language learning and teaching. Furthermore, this course is designed to prepare student teachers to work effectively with culturally and linguistically diverse students by incorporating a community-based learning project into the course in order to inform emerging teachers’ understandings of ESL learners, their lives, and ultimately, the pedagogical approaches necessary to help them. 

 

 

University of Victoria, English Language Centre

Business English (2008)

Advanced Listening (2008)

Kwansei Gakuin University, Hyogo Japan (2004-2006)
Media Studies (Faculty of Graduate Studies)
Advanced English Communication (Faculty of Law)
Advanced English Communication (Department of Sociology)

Al Musannah College, Al Musannah, Oman (2004)
English Reading

English Writing

English Listening

TOEFL Prep

Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso,

Valpaiso, Chile (2003)

English for Specific Purposes (EAP)

(Department of Fishery Science)

Shimokamagari Board of Education,

Shimokamagari, Japan (2000-2001)
K-12 English teacher


Iruma Board of Education, Iruma, Japan (1999-2000)

English teacher (Grade 7-9)

© 2015 by Kathleen Bortolin.