Education researchers awarded SSHRC Insight Grants

Professors Jen Gilbert and Gillian Parekh have been awarded Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grants totaling approximately $250,000. The grants were announced in the Insight Development Grants and Insight Grants Competition categories.

“We are extremely delighted and would like to congratulate Jen and Gillian on these awards which are a testament to the strong and vibrant research culture in our Faculty,” said Lyndon Martin, Dean of the Faculty of Education. “Both Jen and Gillian are doing important research that is both relevant and timely.”

Professor Jen Gilbert

Jen Gilbert

Gilbert will receive $198,000 for two projects analyzing the role of consent in sex education curriculum and policy. Between Yes and No: Rethinking Discourses of Consent in Sex Education explores these issues in Ontario high schools and Yes? Discourses of Consent in California’s Sex Education Policy and Practice turns to debates in California. Both projects examine how discourses of affirmative sexual consent including violence, agency and youth, can influence conversations to positively transform sex education policy and practice in Canada and beyond.  The research will help teachers, principals, and staff develop pedagogical strategies that address the reality of sexual violence in young people’s lives by putting the complex scene of sexual decision-making at the centre of sex education.

Among the goals of the project, Gilbert hopes to provide support for teachers and principals working to incorporate lessons about affirmative sexual consent in sex education; develop professional development materials for sex education teachers; and, enrich public conversations about sexual consent, violence and youth cultures.

Gillian Parekh

Gillian Parekh

Parakh will receive $52,711 for her project Transformative action towards equity: Strategic remodeling of special education programming to support students' academic and social development. The project, which is currently underway, examines students’ experiences of belonging and exclusion in school by exploring trends around access to programming and pedagogical approaches employed in classrooms at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).

Parekh investigated trends and consequences associated with academic streaming and special education. In light of the disparate opportunities afforded to diverse racial, class, ability, and gender identities, and the significant implications regarding academic success, she is now launching two research projects that will track and measure distinct de-streaming initiatives taking place within the TDSB. One project focuses on the inclusion of students in special education across approximately 50 elementary schools, and the other is an initiative aiming to de-stream Grade 9 courses at the secondary level.

“Jen and Gillian’s exciting research projects demonstrate the Faculty of Education’s leading edge on social justice research in contemporary schooling and society,” said Heather Lotherington, Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Education.

The goal of the SSHRC Insight program is to build knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world by supporting research excellence in all subject areas eligible for funding from SSHRC. To learn more about the program, please visit the SSHRC website.