Elizabeth Smyth's Homepage

Elizabeth Smyth (esmyth@oise.utoronto.ca)
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto
252 Bloor St West,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1V6
voice: 416 978-0145
fax: 416 926 4761

I am Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. I am cross-appointed to the Department of Theory and Policy Studies. My involvement in initial and graduate education and research focuses on the changing context of education and classroom practice, historical and contemporary studies of the impact of gender, the history of teachers and the education of highly able learners. In the Initial Teacher Education program, I offer a cross listed related studies course: The History of Education in Canada. A complete list of reports and publications is available by contacting me directly.



For the powerpoint slides, entitled "Researching the History of Women Religious in Atlantic Canada: Promising Practices and Contemporary Challenges", presented at the Public Symposium on the History of Irish Roman Catholicism in Newfoundland, sponsored by the
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s and the Canadian Catholic Historical Association, 8-10 September 2005 Please click here.



My current course offerings include:

  • Curriculum, Teaching and Learning 1000: Foundations of Curriculum

This is a required course for master's students. The aim of this course is to apply theory and research to the study of curriculum. The course (a) provides a language for conceptualization; (b) reviews the major themes in the literature; (c) provides a framework for thinking about curriculum change; and (d) assists students in developing critical and analytical skills appropriate to the discussion of curriculum problems.

  • Curriculum, Teaching and Learning 1020: Teaching High Ability Students
  • This course critically analyzes a number of curriculum models and explores instructional strategies currently used to program for high ability students in a variety of learning environments. Program differentiation within a regular classroom setting is also examined. The course is delivered through computer mediated conferencing.

    • Curriculum, Teaching and Learning 1012: Curriculum for Girls and Young Women: Historical and Contemporary Issues

    This course will examine how appropriate curriculum for the education of girls and young women has been defined and delivered in Canadian schools. This course is delivered through computer Mmdiated conferencing.

    • Theory and Policy Studies 1403: History of Education in Canada

    This course provides students with an overview of the persistent and recurring themes in the history of Canadian Education. It examines the interdependent relationship of the history of education to the larger field of Canadian history, using categories of analysis drawn from current historiography. This course is delivered through computer mediated conferencing.

    • Theory and Policy Studies 1416: Ontario Education

    This course analyses the interplay of gender, race, class, ethnicity and religion in the history of education in Ontario from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries. This course is delivered through computer mediated conferencing.


    • Leading Sisters, Changing Times

    I am the principal investigator in this study that analyzes the lives and works of leaders drawn from five congregations in the period from The Second Vatican Council to the present. The study identifies who the women were, what congregations they came from, who influenced them in their dual career path of religious and professional leaders, whom they influenced and assesses their impact nationally and internationally. It furthers the previous studies by drawing on the interplay between the Canadian branches and broader international organizations of which they were members.

  • Disciplining Academics: the tenure process in social science faculties
  • I am a co-investigator in this study that is concerned with changes in tenure policies and their impact on faculty members in social science faculties in Ontario universities. It uses a combination of historical documentary research and in-depth interviews to explore tenure and academic life. I am collaborating with Dr. Sandra Acker, OISE (principal investigator) and Dr. Michelle Webber, Brock University.

  • Teaching Sisters In English Canada: Documenting and Analyzing Their Engagement in Elementary, Secondary and Higher Education
  • I was the principal investigator of this three year course of research which documented and analyzed the history of teaching sisters in English Canada and their roles in the development of elementary, secondary and higher education. It built on the research completed under the SSHRC study (File 410-94-0314), "Teaching Sisters in English Canada: Structuring a Context for Ongoing Research by Creating a Database and through a Case Study of One Order 1891-1951." The three phases of the study employed techniques of oral history, collection and scrutiny of archival sources, qualitative and quantitative data analysis, to develop the history of seven purposefully identified communities of sisters who included teaching as one of their mandates.


    • Traditions and Tensions in Teacher Education: The experience of teacher educators in Ontario, Quebec and Sasketchewan 1945-2002.

    I was a collaborating investigator on this multi year SSHRC grant, with Dr. Sandra Acker (Principal Investigator) and Drs. Joanne Dillabough (OISE/UT), Dianne Hallman (University of Saskatchewan) and Thérèse Hamel (Université Laval) as co-investigators.



    I have served on the SSHRC Standard Research Grant Selection Committee. I have served on a number of teacher education assessment panels for the Ontario College of Teachers. I am a member of the General Assembly of the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences. I am currently the Vice President of the Canadian History of Education Association. I serve on a number of international advisory boards for scholarly journals including The History of Education Review. Contact me at:esmyth@oise.utoronto.ca