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Act I Scene I

Student Voices- Rebecca Starkman


Hi. I’m Rebecca Starkman, a doctoral student studying with Kathleen Gallagher in the Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development program at OISE. My research is exploring students who identify as religious, or as practicing their religion, and who attend public schools. I’m really interested in the relationship between religiosity and secular values, and given that Canada is such a diverse country with a lot of different minority religious groups, I’m interested to see how students who identify with these religious minorities experience the public and the secular education system.


So originally I was drawn to Kathleen because we have a lot of overlap in our interests in gender and in feminism. When I was looking for a supervisor here at OISE Kathleen came up immediately as someone who really focuses on gender and other types of minoritied experiences and who also draws a lot on feminist theory. And then I went to read her book, Drama Education in the Lives of Girls, and her researching around the different discourses and possibilities afforded to girls in school really resonated with me. So it seemed like we would probably be a good fit.


Since coming on board and working with Kathleen for the past tow years on her Urban School Performances project, I have learned a lot about gender that has really stretched my understandings far beyond how I originally thought about it. My own Master’s work was in Jewish girlhood and experiences around the stereotype called the Jewish American Princess, so I was really conceptualizing gender primarily in terms of the female experience. Through working with Kathleen, I’ve really broadened that scope and I’m looking now at both male and female and other conceptualizations of gender in schools overall.


Another wonderful aspect of working with Kathleen has actually been getting to learn about drama education and arts-based research methodologies. I actually don’t have any background or history in drama or performance, and through work with her I’ve really dove into arts-based methods and drama in schools and drama pedagogy and its completely expanding my thinking around how to do research and how to conduct ethnography. So I’m really exciting to extend some of these understandings into my own work and to continue to collaborate and learn a lot more from her through this process around gender and around drama and arts methods. 

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