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Dr. Yiola Cleovoulou named Assistant Professor (Teaching Stream), effective July 1, 2019.

August 2019

Photo of Mark Wade, new faculty

Congratulations to Dr. Cleovoulou on being named Assistant Professor (Teaching Stream) at the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development (APHD), effective July 1, 2019. Dr. Cleovoulou is also a proud OISE alum having completed her MA and PHD in Teacher Development from the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning (CTL).

We spoke to Dr. Cleovoulou to learn a little more about her journey.

Can you share some highlights and accomplishments from your career?

I began teaching in an urban, inner city elementary school. It was there that my vision for teaching took shape. My experiences as a classroom teacher made me realize how important relationships are to student learning. I also realized how important context is to both development and pedagogy. I experienced the interplay of so many components of schooling that we know are important to student learning. 


Fast forward and years later and I am a qualitative researcher in the field of education. There is something powerful about capturing the nuances and details of what it is we are looking to understand. My work is in the areas of childhood pedagogy and teacher education and I apply my scholarship to teaching. Now as a faculty member in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development (APHD) I thoroughly enjoy my role as a teaching stream professor. A highlight is teaching 'teacher candidates' in the Child Study and Education Program (CSE) - what can be more fulfilling than engaging with future teachers? In 2014 I received a teaching award from the University of Toronto: Excellence in Teaching Initial Teacher Education and I found out I was nominated by my students.  In addition to teaching and co-ordinating the CSE program I helped develop a new Doctorate of Education (EdD) degree in Child Study which will accept it's first cohort in Fall 2020. The EdD in Child Study is going to be an incredible path for our CSE graduates. I am excited to be working on developing this program and feel it is a significant accomplishment for the department.

Can you tell us more about your current research and why it's important?

One area of my research explores teachers' practices. Understanding the daily practices of teachers is important because it helps us understand the challenges they face and the strategies they use - from there we can think about how to improve teachers' work. Knowing best practices and evidence informed practices are necessary; it is also necessary to understand what teachers are actually doing and then we can think about how to bring evidence-based practice into teachers' daily work. Understanding how teachers think about teaching and learning also helps us better understand and recommend ways to support teachers. I am now exploring program development in teacher education. I am excited to explore program coherence for program development.

What courses are you teaching this year? How would you describe your approach to teaching and learning?

This year I will be teaching the Childhood Education Seminar (APD 2201) for the Child Study and Education program. This is a full year course that looks at many components of elementary pedagogy. My teaching approach is based on building a safe space, a community of learners, where dialogue is valued and listening more so. I work hard to bring theory and practice together; in my course as I encourage teacher candidates to read critically and connect their course learnings to their daily experiences.  


What do you like to do in your spare time (any favourite activities)?

I enjoy travel - this year I was able to visit Hangzhou, China; last year my family visited Thailand and the year before we toured Cyprus and Austria. My husband is a world traveller so I enjoy trekking and touring the world with him and our children. I enjoy spending time at the family cottage. I also enjoy attending my children's sport activities; my daughter is a competitive gymnast and my son is a soccer player.  

What is your favourite cuisine and why?

Oh! So many - among my favourite: Thai and Italian and everything in between really!

What is the one thing you like about Toronto and why?

I like that Toronto is a dynamic and evolving city. It is a young city that is growing and changing rapidly and I appreciate its demographic diversity.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments, personally and professionally?

On a personal level: watching my children joyfully engage in daily life gives me a sense of great accomplishment. On the professional front: when teachers message me, years after graduating from the MA CSE and share they are enjoying their work and are contributing to the field of education - this feels like a great professional accomplishment. 


I am here at the University to effect change in society so when I hear great news from our former students, I feel very proud.

You can view Dr. Yiola Cleovoulou's full faculty profile here.