Dr. Esther Sokolov Fine

Senior Scholar, Professor Emerita (Retired)

B.A, - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan; B.Ed. - Ontario Teachers' College, Toronto, Canada; M.Ed. - University of Toronto, OISE, Toronto, Canada; Doctorate - University of Toronto, OISE, Toronto, Canada; Master of Fine Arts - Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont

Email: efine@edu.yorku.ca

Website: www.childrenaspeacemakers.ca

CV of Dr. Esther Sokolov Fine


Professor Esther Sokolov Fine is a Senior Scholar and Professor Emerita in the Faculty of Education at York University, where she taught from 1991 until retirement in 2015. Before coming to York, she was an elementary teacher with the Toronto Board of Education. There, she taught in downtown public housing communities and alternative programs, including four years of teaching at the Downtown Alternative School. Her book Raising Peacemakers  (Garn Press, 2015) and the book Children as Peacemakers (Heinemann, 1995), which she co-authored with teachers Ann Lacey and Joan Baer, present a 28-year history of the Downtown Alternative School (DAS) and members of its community across time.  Esther conducted video research in Toronto’s Regent Park and at the Downtown Alternative School beginning in the 1980s.  Through film footage and retrospective retrospective research with the former DAS community, she bridges earlier data and more recent interviews in a fifteen-years-later study.  These interviews, along with articles and narratives, can be accessed through her website (www.childrenaspeacemakers.ca), along with segments from the feature length video: “LIFE AT SCHOOL: THE DAS TAPES” (co-produced with filmmakers Roberta King and Ron Squire, King Squire Films Ltd., 2001).  Esther taught pre-service and graduate courses in creative writing, developmental and critical literacy, adolescent and children’s literature, critical pedagogy, and models of education.

Scholarly Interests

Peacemaking and conflict resolution, diversity and social justice, alternative models of schooling, language and literacy, creative writing

Faculty & School/Dept

  • Faculty of Education

Selected Publications

  • (2021). The Teacher's Helper (a short story) nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In Vivian Dorsel (Ed.), upstreet number 17. Richmond, Massachusetts: Ledgetop Publishing
  • Nina Bascia, Esther Sokolov Fine, Malcolm Levin (2017). Alternative Schooling and Student Engagement - Canadian Stories of Democracy within Beaurocracy. (Bascia, Sokolov-Fine, Levin, Ed.) Toronto: Palgrave macmillan
  • Esther Sokolov Fine, Jim Head, Victoria Shearham (2017). PLAYING THE BULLY. Toronto, Ontario: Joininpress
  • Esther Sokolov Fine (2015). RAISING PEACEMAKERS. New York: Garn Press
  • (2012). Children As Peacemakers. Retreived January 2012 from http://www.childrenaspeacemakers.ca, 19-26.
  • Bascia, N. & Fine, E. (2012) Alternative Schools: Issues and Models, a report prepared for the Toronto Catholic District School Board, for study on Public Alternative Schooling in the GTA. Toronto Catholic District School Board.
  • JimĂ©nez, K. & Fine, E. (2009). Safe Walk Home: cultural literacy in the Regent Park community. Vitae Scholastics , 26 (1), 80-97.
  • Fine, E. (2003). Storytime. Talking Points, 15 (1).
  • Fine, E. (2003). Out there with the Kids: why bother?. Language Arts, 81 (1), 34-42.
  • Fine, E. (2002). Play Time. Talking Points , 14 (1), 2-6.
  • Dudley-Marling, C. & Fine, E. (1997). The Politics of Whole Language. Reading and Writing Quarterly , 13 (3), 247-260.
  • Fine, E. (1997). Shaping and Re-shaping Practice: teacher education and the preparation of peacemaking teachers.36 (1), 53-58.
  • Fine, E. (1997). Learning the Language of Peacemaking: researching the early moments . Canadian Association of Young Children, 22 (2), 18-22.
  • Susan Stires (1995). Primary Voices: Conflict Resolution. In Fine, E., Norquay, N. (Ed.), Primary Voices K-6Vol. Second Year Collection, ). Urbana, Illinois, U.S.A.: National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
  • Fine, E. (1995). Peace Talk. English Quarterly, 27 (4), 4-9.
  • Fine, E. Lacey, A, & Baer, J. (1995). Children as Peacemakers. Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S.A.: Heinemann
  • Fine, E. (1994). Peacemaking as a Tool for Change.. Primary Voices K-6, 2 (4), 2-3.
  • Fine, E. (1989). Collaborative Writing: key to unlocking the silences of children.. Language Arts, 66 (5), 501-509.
  • Fine, E. (1987). Marbles Lost, Marbles Found: collaborative production of text.. Language Arts, 64 (5), 474-489.

Research Projects

children as peacemakers

Role: Principal Investigator

Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

a 23 year study of students who experienced school-wide peacemaking in their early years in a downtown Toronto public school - a 3 phase filmed project (1992-2015)

Professional Affiliations

  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
  • Whole Language Umbrella: Past Treasurer
  • CSSE
  • Alternative Schools Advisory Council, Toronto District School Board

York University Affiliations/Cross Appointments

  • York University Senate: voting member winter 2012
  • YCEC (York Centre for Community and Education): affiliate researcher

Service/Community Activities

  • Alternative Schools Advisory Council, Toronto District School Board
  • Regent Park Consectutive Site Advisory Council
  • Toronto Catholic District School Board: Co-researcher. Team Research on Alternative Schooling.