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School of Education

Dr. Deborah Berill sitting at a table with 3 students in an office surrounded by bookcases

School of Education

Professor Emeritus

Dr. Deborah Berill

Dr. Deborah Berill simling at the camera for a protrait of her head neck and shouldersDr. Deborah Berrill was the Founder of the Trent University School of Education and Professional Learning following 20 years with the Queen’s University Faculty of Education and 7 years as a classroom teacher. She is known as a passionate teacher and has been awarded multiple higher education teaching awards, including the prestigious national 3M Teaching Award, the Ontario Premier’s Award for Leadership in Faculty Teaching, the Trent University Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Queen’s University Golden Apple Award, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Lamp of Learning Award and she was the first recipient of Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario’s Educator of the Year Award. She has also been a recipient of the Trent University Eminent Service Award.

Dr. Berrill has served on multiple provincial education committees including advisory groups related to learning disabilities, adolescent literacy, and use of web technology as a teaching tool. She was a member of the Ontario and Canadian Associations of Deans of Education for 5 years and is in her 3rd year as a member and presently co-chair of the Ontario Education Research Panel. Preceding that, for 6 years, she was the Editor for the peer-reviewed monograph series, What Works: Research Into Practice and has been on multiple Teacher Education Accreditation Panels for the Ontario College of Teachers. Most recently, she served as the Facilitator for the Accreditation Resource Guidelines (2014) for the expanded B.Ed. program in Ontario.

A widely published researcher, Dr. Berrill incorporates sociocultural approaches to investigate issues of social justice in education. Past research included attention to gender and science; issues of sexuality and masculinity in the lives of male teacher candidates, and issues of identity development in oral and written argument. She has also published extensively on the use of teaching portfolios in teacher education. Her present research focuses on literacy development for underserved and disengaged populations. In conjunction with a First Nation school, she has co-developed a community-based approach to supporting literacy development and is presently working with the same community to develop a “skateboarding into literacy” (sk8Lit) program to support adolescents. Her dictum, “Try literacy tutoring first” is a call to support literacy development through building community capacity to develop relationships with students to support particularized, precise literacy intervention.