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Curriculum, Teaching  & Learning
Rob Simon

Rob Simon
Associate Professor


Department: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Research Overview

Rob Simon is associate professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning and Academic Director of the Centre for Urban Schooling at OISE. Drawing on insights from practitioner research, critical literacy, and New Literacy Studies, Dr. Simon's scholarship explores how educators develop understandings, curriculum, and pedagogy from students' diverse cultures, languages, and literacy practices. The aim is to re-imagine schools and classrooms as places oriented to increased equity and educational opportunity for all students.

In 2015, Dr. Simon received the Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation for a project called "Addressing Injustices: Teachers and Adolescents Coauthoring Social Justice-Oriented Literacy Curriculum". He is the principal investigator of The Minecraft Project, a recently completed SSHRC-funded study of youths' perspectives on the educational affordances of the online game Minecraft for urban classrooms.

Curriculum Vitae

Academic History

Ph.D., Reading/Writing/Literacy, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Philadelphia, PA, USA, 2009

MA in Secondary Education, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2003

Single-Subject Teaching Credential, English, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2001

Master's of Theological Studies, Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA, 1997

BA, Liberal Arts, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA, USA, 1991

Teaching Overview

Dr. Simon has taught graduate courses including Literacy: Social and Educational Perspectives, Practitioner Research, Teaching English/Language and Literacy in Middle and Secondary Schools, and Research on Writing and the Teaching of Writing.

Dr. Simon currently teaches CTL3034: New Literacies: Making Multiple Meanings, CTL5017: Critical Practitioner Research in Education, and a course in the Master of Teaching program, CTL7020: Curriculum and Teaching in English: Intermediate and Secondary.

Representative Publications


Beach, R., Appleman, D., Fecho, B., & Simon, R. (2016). Teaching Literature to Adolescents, 3rd Edition. New York: Routledge. Link to e-book in University of Toronto Library:

Kosnik, C., Rowsell, J., Williamson, P., Simon, R. & Beck, C. (Eds.). (2013). Literacy Teacher Educators: Preparing Teachers for a Changing World. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Link to e-book in University of Toronto Library:


Simon, R. (Producer), Baer, P. (Director), with Evis, S., Walkland, T., hicks, b.l., and teachers and youth in the Addressing Injustices Project (2017). Gender is like an ocean. (Documentary film). Toronto, ON. Available at:

Simon, R. (Producer), Kalan, A. (Director), and the Teaching to Learn Project (2015). After Night. (Documentary film). Toronto, ON. Film, related articles, and curriculum resources available at:


Select Articles and Book Chapters:      

Simon, R., hicks, b.l., Walkland, T., Gallagher, B., Evis, S. (Forthcoming, January, 2018). “But in the end, you are all beautiful”: Exploring gender and identity through digital composition. English Journal.

Simon, R., & Kalan, A. (2017). Adolescent literacy and collaborative inquiry. In D. Appleman & K. Hinchman (Eds.), Adolescent Literacy: A Handbook of Practice-based Research. NY: Routledge. Link to e-book in University of Toronto Library:

Simon, R., Evis, S., Walkland, T., Kalan, A., Baer, P., with youth in the Addressing Injustices Project (2016). Navigating the “delicate relationship between empathy and critical distance”: Youth literacies, social justice, and arts-based inquiry. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 15(3), pp. 430-449. 

Simon, R. (2015). “Just don’t get up there and ‘Dangerous Minds’ us”: Taking an inquiry stance on adolescents’ literacy practices in urban teacher education. In J. Lampert & B. Burnett, Teacher Education for High Poverty Schools (pp. 235-251). New York: Springer. Link to e-book in University of Toronto Library:

Simon, R. (2015). “I’m fighting my fight, and I’m not alone anymore”: The influence of communities of inquiry. English Education, 48(1), 41-71. PDF available:,_and_I%E2%80%99m_Not_Alone_Anymore%E2%80%9D-_The_Influence_of_Communities_of_Inquiry.pdf

Simon, R. & Campano, G. (2015). Hermeneutics of literacy pedagogy. In K. Pahl & J. Rowsell (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Literacy Studies. NY: Routledge. Link to e-book in University of Toronto Library:

Simon, R., and The Teaching to Learn Project: Bailey, A., Brennan, J., Calarco, A., Clarke, K., Edwards, W., Fujiwara, C., Kalan, A., Kruja, J., McInnes-Greenberg, E., & Pisecny, A. (2014). “In the swell of wandering words”: The arts as a vehicle for adolescents’ and educators’ inquiries into the Holocaust memoir NightPerspectives on Urban Education, 11(2), 90-106. Available online at:“-swell-wandering-words”-arts-vehicle-youth-and-educators’-inq

Simon, R. (2014). Making critical sense and critical use of the Common Core State Standards. Language Arts, 91(4).

Simon, R., Brennan, J., Bresba, S., DeAngelis, S., Edwards, W., Jung, H., & Pisecny, A. (2014). Investigating literacy through intergenerational inquiry. In H. Pleasants & D. Salter (Eds.), Community-based multiliteracies and digital media projects: Questioning assumptions and exploring realities (pp.159-180). NY: Peter Lang.

Simon, R., Acosta, A., Houtman, E. (2014). “Memeration”: Exploring academic authorship in online spaces. In Pytash, K., and Ferdig, R. (Eds.), Exploring Multimodal Composition and Digital Writing (pp. 54-68). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Simon, R. & Campano, G. (2013). Activist literacies: Teacher research as resistance to the "normal curve". Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 9(1), 21-39.

Simon, R. (2013). “Starting with what is”: Exploring response and responsibility to student writing through collaborative inquiry. English Education, 45(2) 115-146. PDF available online at:

Ghiso, M.P., Campano, G., & Simon, R. (2013). Grassroots inquiry: Reconsidering the location of innovation. Language Arts 91(2), 105-112.

Simon, R., Campano, G., Broderick, D., & Pantoja, A. (2012). Practitioner research and literacy studies: Toward more dialogic methodologies. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 11(2), 5-24. PDF available online at:

Simon, R. (2012).  “Without comic books there would be no me”: Teachers as connoisseurs of adolescents’ literate lives. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 55(6), 516-526. Available online:

Simon, R. (2011). On the human challenges of multiliteracies pedagogy. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 12(4), 362-366Available via University of Toronto Library:

Research Grants and Contracts

Current research includes:

"Addressing Injustices: Teachers and Adolescents Coauthoring Social Justice-Oriented Literacy Curriculum," a five-year project funded by an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. Research collaboration between grade 8 students at Delta Alternative Senior School in TDSB and Master of Teaching students at OISE involving co-authoring critical literacy curriculum for young adult novels addressing social issues.

Honours and Awards

2015 - Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation

2013 - Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award, OISE.

2009-2010 - Post-Doctoral Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

2009 - Ralph C. Preston Award for Scholarship and Teaching Contributing to Social Justice and Educational Equity.

Dr. Simon has been nominated for teaching awards including: Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and the Excellence in Initial Teacher Education awards at OISE/University of Toronto, 2011-2012; The University of Pennsylvania's Center for Teaching and Learning's Graduate Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, 2006-2007, and the Graduate School of Education's Teaching Excellence Award, at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006.

Professional Activities

Recent Plenary Session:
Ethnography in Education Research Forum, 2014:

Recent Interviews:
"Youth and Teachers Respond Collectively to Art Spiegelman's Maus Through Art and Inquiry: An Interview with Professor Rob Simon and Delta Senior Alternative School Teacher Sarah Evis." Interview with Jasmine Wong, Facing History and Ourselves, December 22, 2015. Available at:

"Critical practitioner research at the Centre for Urban Schooling: An interview with Dr. Rob Simon." April 24, 2015. Audrey Hudson.

"Collaborative Inquiry using NIGHT: An Interview with Professor Rob Simon." April 8, 2013. Available at:

Research Centres:
Academic Director of the Centre for Urban Schooling (CUS)
Member, Centre for Media and Culture in Education (CMCE);
Member, Centre for Educational Research in Language and Literacy (CERLL).

Professional Service:
Member, Board of Directors, Life Learning Academy High School, San Francisco, CA.
Area Chair, Area 1, Literacy Research Association
Officer, Literature SIG, AERA

Co-editor, with Korina Jocson and Keisha L. Green:
"Youth literacies and social justice": Special issue of English Teaching: Practice and Critique. Published: December 2016.

Professional journals and publishers I have reviewed for include:
Research in the Teaching of English; English Education; Pedagogies; Curriculum Inquiry; Language and Literacy; Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood; Teachers College Press; Routledge English Language and Linguistics; Sage. I am on the Advisory Boards for Curriculum Inquiry, The New Educator, and In:Cite.

I have served as reviewer for the following professional organizations:
The American Educational Research Association (AERA), The Literacy Research Association (LRA), and the Language and Literacy Researchers in Canada, Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE)