As a Canada-US Fulbright Award recipient, I completed my Master’s Degree in Education (EdM) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). My EdM at Harvard embodied excellence in every way, from the daily inspiration of faculty to the intensely dynamic interactions with my international peers. I remember seeing Nelson Mandela receive his honorary law degree at the Tercentenary Theatre in Harvard Yard, hearing lectures at the Kennedy School of Government from authors Camille Paglia and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., learning about multiple intelligences from Howard Gardner, and sharing in the fervour of Noam Chomsky’s political activism at the First Parish church in Harvard Square. I was constantly motivated to be my very best and to achieve new heights in my own learning and the learning of others. While I had been an “A” student throughout my undergraduate studies, this environment demanded more than just academic discipline. It required true commitment to intellectual inquiry and a full ownership of one’s voice. At Harvard, I learned to be fully accountable for the quality of my contributions and how to enhance the larger group discourse through meaningful questions and informed insights.
I am often asked why an economist spends time looking at the quality of elementary schools. My usual response is that education is the second largest economic activity in the country. Identifying a better outcome in such a large sector of the economy is of central interest. In a provincial assessment, all students in a specific grade write the same assessment of literacy and mathematics. The assessments are graded outside the school in which they are written by teachers who do not personally know the child. Results are reported back to parents on an individual basis. In Canada, three provinces, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia results are reported at the school level.
As we celebrate International Education Week, I recall my days spent as a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Fellow in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in the 2010-11 academic year. My Fellowship paved the way for future professional opportunities within the health policy sphere. During my grant period, I was a student in the M.A. program in Critical Disability Studies at York University which is housed within the York University School of Health Policy & Management. During my graduate studies, I engaged in comparative health policy research, concerning the Province of Ontario (Canada) and the State of New York (United States).
Over 60 million diabetics, and another 70 million so called “pre-diabetics” – individuals at such an elevated risk for this condition that the odds are stacked against them for converting into full-blown diabetes within a few short years. The country I am describing, India, is not the first that comes to mind to most when thinking about the growing problem of diabetes across the world.Read More
Since I was an undergraduate, I’ve been fascinated by the philosophies, politics, and practices of teaching a second language (in my case, French) to students who have language-based learning disabilities/difficulties in their first language (in this case, English). This interest followed me through graduate school, into the classroom when I taught at the high school level, and now in my work as a professor in teacher education. Because my interest in this area has mixed the languages of French and English, Canada has always been my preferred context exploring this question from a research standpoint and when trying to expand best practices in this particular field. My strong connection to this work was deepened through my recent experience as a Fulbright Scholar and has led to new opportunities to make this connection deeper still.
The world is a big place, so why not get out then and explore it? At the end of high school, many people told me to take time off before University to travel and explore the world, because there wouldn’t be another time when I would be able to just get up and go. At the end of my undergraduate courses, people said the same thing. I should take time off and travel before graduate school, because there wouldn’t be another time when I would be able to just get up and go. As it turns out, life is complicated, and there may be many ways to create opportunities to travel. International education is the closest thing to a perfect method to travel in a meaningful way.