Research Initiatives


Research Initiatives

Research at UTS takes many forms. As an institute we value and support practitioner research conducted by our teachers, and we facilitate and coordinate a number of research partnerships between the school and the University of Toronto.


Practitioner Research

Core Competencies Briefs

The following research briefs are intended to support educators in making research-informed decisions around their pedagogical practice.  Each brief in this series will highlight a global competency as outlined in Dr. Michael Fullan’s conceptual framework of the 6 Deep Learning Competencies (6Cs) – character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.  Each brief provides some historical context, a conceptual overview including key tensions, key insights into theory and practice related to the competency from the research literature, and highlights some supporting approaches to explicitly and skillfully develop this competency in learning environments.  

Deeper Learning, traditionally known as "learning for transfer," develops global competencies such as the 6Cs; and vice versa - these competencies can support the process of Deeper Learning in a discipline or subject area (National Research Council, 2012).  Dr. Jean Clinton asserts that fostering Belongingness, Deeper Learning, and student development of global competencies / 6Cs leads to student wellbeing (Quinn, McEachen, Fullan, Gardner & Drummy, 2019).  Related to the global competencies and the 6Cs, is the 6 Global Competencies articulated by the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC), and the 7 Transferrable Skills articulated by the Ontario Ministry of Education.  Other Canadian provinces have also defined their own set of global competencies.

A special thank you to Maria Vamvalis for preparing the 6C's research briefs for UTS!

The Eureka! Fellows Program: Practitioner Research Support and Consultation

The Eureka! Fellows Program began in 2016 under the leadership of renowned educator and researcher Dr. Clare Kosnik. Participating teachers engage in a teacher-research inquiry circle to identify and investigate problems of practice, formulate research questions, design appropriate research protocols, conduct literature reviews, analyze their data, and present their results to peers and the education community more broadly.

Beginning in 2020, the legacy of Dr. Kosnik’s work will continue under the leadership of the Eureka! Director, Dr. Kim MacKinnon.

For more information, please see the 2016 and 2019 reports below. Teachers interested in the Eureka! Fellows Program can contact Dr. Kim MacKinnon (

Eureka! Fellows' Report 2019

Introduction: Still the Same but Different
Clare Kosnik Ph.D.
Professor, Director Jackman Institute of Education, OISE/UT

Kahoot! in the History Classroom: An Exploration of the Value of Gamified Quizzes
Marc Brims
Instructional Leadership Facilitator - Canadian & World Studies
Geography and History Teacher
University of Toronto Schools

An Examination of Preferred Instructional Techniques Among Seventh-Grade Students
Garth Chalmers
Vice Principal
University of Toronto Schools

Looking in on New Teacher Induction and Support
Nancy Dawe, Ph.D.
Instructional Leadership Facilitator, Expressive Arts
Music, Integrated Studies, and AP Capstone Research Teacher

How Children See Art; How They See Themselves as Artists
Tara Rousseau
Visual Art Teacher, OISE/UT

Eureka! Fellows' Report 2016


Research Partnerships with the University of Toronto

As an affiliate of the University of Toronto, the school participates in a number of research partnerships across a broad range of faculties and departments. To date, these have included, though are not limited to, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), the Faculty of Pharmacy, the Department of Psychology, the Munk School of Global Affairs, the Rotman School of Management, the Department of Physiology, the Department of Geography, and the Department of Chemistry.

University of Toronto Researchers who are interested in partnering with UTS should fill out this brief form. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Eureka! Director, Dr. Kim MacKinnon (

Deckchair Learning Platform, Jeff Graham (Psychology Department, UTM)

Prof. Graham is a faculty member in the Department of Psychology and his lab is located at UTM. He is the co-inventor of DeckChair Learning Systems Inc, a unique Ontario corporation that facilitates computer-supported learning. Dr. Graham is working with a team of UTS teachers of chemistry and Latin to support student learning and assessment through Deck Chair Learning Systems. This collaboration involves the participation of UTS faculty in developing robust knowledge banks and will be used as a vital resource in supporting student learning and assessment in chemistry and Latin. It is also being used to support the Brain Bee neuroscience program, in collaboration with the Firefly Foundation and the University of Toronto Collaborative Program in Neuroscience and Professor Zhong-Ping Feng. Support for students preparing for the Brain Bee and for learning neuroscience will be made available across Canada and beyond through the DeckChair learning platform. Professor Graham completed research last year in collaboration with a UTS chemistry teacher that illustrated the potential of ongoing formative review and feedback, focussed on accuracy and speed for solidifying students’ foundational knowledge and contributing to retention.

iPRAKTIKUM (Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures)

Students from the University of Toronto's Department of Germanic Languages and Literature,
work with an S5/S6 (Grade 11/12) UTS German class as part of the iPRAKTIKUM program,
which provides university students studying Germanic Studies with practical work experiences.
Examples of the work include assisting in German classes at UTS and tutoring UTS students learning German. Read more.

Clare Kosnik (Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning, OISE)

During the past year Prof. Kosnik completed a second round of an inquiry cycle with a cohort of five UTS educators on a teacher researcher co-designed research project. The teacher research articles are currently being prepared for publication. Clare continues to create opportunities for participating teacher researchers to disseminate their findings at various symposia and educational research conferences. The project is fully funded by the UTS Eureka! Research Institute@UTS. In addition to UTS teachers, Prof. Kosnik is working with teachers from the Lab School at the Jackman Institute of Child Study. She also involves other OISE instructors and they together facilitate a teacher research inquiry community at UTS which is the subject of research for the OISE team.

David Montemurro (Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning, OISE)

Prof. Montemurro coordinates the UTS site-based cohort of the Master of Teaching program at
OISE. This cohort is comprised of sixty students (thirty students in each year of the program) who opted into a cohort focused on global citizenship education, and one housed in a school with a commitment to global citizenship education. These OISE teacher candidates take their courses at UTS and have the opportunity to participate in UTS programming through a range of avenues ( e.g. they do placements at the school, routinely observe and support classroom practice, co-facilitate UTS student co-curricular activities, act as proctors, and support UTS admissions processes). Prof. Montemurro also is conducting research on the site-based cohort and the extended opportunities provided to OISE teacher candidates, including investigating the relationship between global competency frameworks for teaching and learning and the implications for teacher education reform. UTS staff members provide workshops for the students, facilitate the in-class observations days and welcome the MT students into their classes and provide opportunities for students to participate in leading student extra-curricular activities.

LINCDIRE (Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Reinvented) Project, Enrica Piccardo, OISE

LINCDIRE was initiated by Prof. Enrica Piccardo at OISE in 2014. The project aims to develop an online platform for learners of Ojibwe, French, German, Italian and ESL (with more languages to be added in the future) for all age groups from young children to adult learners. This platform will serve as an e-portfolio that will support teachers and students in reflecting on and plotting their language-learning trajectory with particular attention to:

  • integrating indigenous perspectives, content and pedagogies with modern language-learning techniques;
  • valuing plurilingualism and pluriculturalism - encouraging learners to make connections between all the languages and cultures they are even slightly familiar with, including
  • home languages from different language groups, both in the classroom and throughout their learning journey;
  • action-oriented learning - moving classroom activities from being merely communicative to action-oriented, which particularly values authentic tasks and resources that connect
    more closely to real-life language use;
  • technology-mediated learning - harnessing the online platform to help connect classrooms which are geographically far apart (especially important for indigenous language learning communities), to promote an understanding of the lifelong language learning journey and to promote metacognition and self-assessment according to the revised Common European Framework of Reference, an approach which is informing curriculum and learning resource development around the world.

UTS has contributed data for the project collected through several classroom observations and
follow-up interviews with me. Some of our students have also registered on the trial version of
the LITE e-portfolio platform and will be providing their impressions of the tool in a later phase of
data collection. UTS has also contributed one of the sample tasks (units), which we developed
to illustrate for teachers how the above areas of focus can be integrated into existing unit topics. Read more. 

Jim Slotta (Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning, OISE)

Professor Slotta returned to OISE this year after a two year leave as Dean of Research at Boston College. Jim was recently appointed to a five year term, commencing in July 2019 to the President’s Chair in Education and Knowledge Technologies. UTS is a collaborator in the research program of Professor Slotta who has submitted a recent SSHRC Grant application. This research will focus on helping classrooms become knowledge communities. The proposal advances a pedagogical model--Knowledge, Community, and Inquiry (KCI)--that has been developed to bring new forms of collaboration and inquiry into secondary science classrooms. Professor Slotta has been doing collaborative research with UTS faculty for approximately thirteen years.

Dr. Anna Taddio (Faculty of Pharmacy)

In July 2018, Dr. Taddio received more than $1 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to support her continuing research and targeted efforts to reduce fear of needles in youth. Prof. Taddio has conducted research at UTS focused on student experiences with immunization to mitigate pain. Dr. Taddio’s program of research aims to improve pain mitigation during medical procedures, particularly for children, in order to optimize health outcomes. She currently leads a national interdisciplinary team that is studying and promoting evidence-based pain mitigation during vaccination (HELPinKids&Adults). This work was used as the basis of a global guidelines by the World Health Organization. This past summer, Dr. Taddio worked with UTS staff to create a video to support her CARD (Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract) program.

Over the last two years, Taddio and her team led a small implementation project [a pilot site was UTS] that demonstrated how incorporating evidence-based interventions and accommodating preferences of youth receiving school-based vaccines reduced pain, fear and dizziness associated with getting needles.
Developed for youth by youth, CARD is a game where students select interventions they want to “play” from within each category and then share them with adults who help support their choices. For example, a student may wish to play from category “A” and ask to be vaccinated in a private place, or “D” and bring an electronic device to serve as a distraction. ‘CARD is a major breakthrough,’ says Taddio. ‘It is the first knowledge translation tool to integrate all that is known about pain, fear and fainting mitigation into a simple, low-cost, appealing training approach for youth. Read more.


Research with External and International Partners

The Eureka! Research Institute @ UTS coordinates the conduct of research in the school by external partners and supports the development of research partnerships with a broad range of external and international partners.

External researchers who are interested in partnering with UTS should fill out this brief form. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Eureka! Director, Dr. Kim MacKinnon (