Coming to campus? Visit this page for important information.

Vulnerability, Marginalization, and Education

Vulnerability, Marginalization, and Education (VME)

About the Program

This course brings together four main themes or learning strands, which are:

  • community service-learning
  • vulnerability and marginalization in education
  • international/global/intercultural learning, and
  • experiential education

It explores the complex relationship between students out of school lives and their school experiences. A central outcome is for Teacher Candidates to appreciate that teachers teach students, not subjects. Teacher Candidates will also focus on strategies for integrating service-learning in their own teaching.

Program Focus

The centerpiece of the course is the Global Community Engagement Program (GCEP) [see below], through which Teacher Candidates authentically explore vulnerability and marginalization in education in a global context. The GCEP provides opportunities for Teacher Candidates to plan and implement local and international service-learning projects.

International Projects & Initiatives


Projects in Jamaica focus on outdoor experiential learning especially schoolyard enhanced learning and literacy. Specific projects include:

  1. School Food Program (establish and support school gardens).
  2. Recycling programs.
  3. Reading and literacy (providing classroom resources and computers).
  4. Teaching in local schools.
  5. Financial support to primary and secondary school students (uniforms, school supplies, data for online learning during COVID-19, food).


  1. Textbook project (over 3000 textbooks supplied to primary and secondary schools since 2017).
  2. Girls’ Leadership and Empowerment Program (provides leadership and empowerment training planned and delivered by Teacher Candidates to secondary school girls in Singida, Tanzania).
  3. Teaching in local schools.
  4. Community service projects (e.g., social justice project with adults and children with albinism; distribution of mosquito nets to fight malaria.
  5. School food program (establish and support school gardens and farms).
  6. Financial support to pre-and post secondary students (tuition, uniforms, boarding, school supplies, food).
  7. Support for orphaned and vulnerable children (food security, health and well-being, education).

What Can I Expect to Gain?

  • A greater understanding of the relationship between children’s out of school lives and how they experience school and schooling.
  • Understand the impact of a myriad of factors of vulnerability and marginalization (poverty, gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, and culture) on children’s educational experiences.
  • Actively engage in planning and implementing service-learning projects.
  • Increase appreciation for community service-learning as a teaching strategy.
  • Work with and in marginalized and vulnerable communities.
  • Enhance social and cultural awareness and responsiveness.
  • Gain international and inter-cultural experience in non-western contexts.

Key Features

  • Global Community Engagement Program (GCEP) [see below].
  • Annual Vulnerability, Marginalization in Education Conference and Expo (VMECE). The VMECE is the Faculty of Education’s social justice in education conference. It is a one-day event planned, organized, and run by Teacher Candidates in the VME class.
  • 20 hours of service in a community organization.
  • Fundraising for local and international projects.
  • Collaborations with local community agencies (e.g., participating in United Way-run Poverty Simulation Workshop, ‘Living on the Edge’, and developing curriculum resources for Ontario Student Nutrition Program ‘Farm to School’ program).


Global Community Engagement Program (GCEP)

Global Community Engagement Project (GCEP)The GCEP is the hands-on experiential component of the course Vulnerability, Marginalization and Education. It provides opportunities for community engagement for Teacher Candidates through active participation in service-learning projects locally, and internationally. Through the GCEP, Teacher Candidates will plan and implement service-learning projects and activities. An important aspect of this is the opportunity to participate in international service-learning projects (ISLP) in a foreign country. Current ISL projects take place in the Republic of Tanzania in east Africa (Teach Tanzania) and Jamaica in the Caribbean (Teach Jamaica).

Teach Tanzania / Teach Jamaica

These two projects allow Teacher Candidates to travel to one of these destinations for short-term experiences of three to four weeks. Teacher Candidates engage in teaching in local schools and implementing educational projects in schools and service projects in marginalized communities. The projects are identified by local stakeholders in the host countries and serve rural schools and communities with socio-economic challenges and other disadvantage


Audrey Schumacher - B.Ed. 2019 Intermediate/Senior Division (Music and History) 

“Not a day has gone by without thinking about my time in Tanzania and the many things I learned there. The biggest impact in my life was running the girls leadership program, and seeing the children of Singida thrive in the face of adversity. They have minimal resources; poor living conditions or strained family relationships; limited access to health care; and limitations based on gender, culture, or status. The girls we worked with brought new meanings to the words strength and perseverance. They came every day with open hearts and open minds, ready to learn regardless of the baggage they left at the door. They taught us far more than we could have ever taught them, and I will carry these girls with me in my heart the rest of my life. I’m often overcome with emotion when I think about the ripple effect and impact of a simple gesture within a community. Something as simple as sitting to eat with newcomers to our program who didn’t know anyone else there, or including a boy with Down’s Syndrome in a school wide activity can spark acts of love and acceptance, and could change someone’s life forever. Above all I value the sense of community I realized in Tanzania, and how important it is to have a community; to have each other’s backs, to encourage each other to greatness and spread that potential for greatness. I could never put a price on this experience, it’s value was beyond measure.”

File Attachments: