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Lindsay Barton: Thinking alongside her students

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Professor Lindsay Barton

For UofGH's Lindsay Barton, teaching is about getting into the same headspace as her students. 

“For a long time, I didn’t think I could teach, but then I realized I was really interested in the undergraduates,” she says. “Students are often just beginning to leave home and learning to think in an independent way. Thinking alongside them is very interesting.” 

Barton teaches in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Guelph-Humber, and a large part of her courses are devoted to exploring society’s systemic inequalities. Each class, she wants her students to grapple with how forces like racism, ableism, sexism, and colonialism can affect the development of children.

It’s difficult material — it requires students to cast a critical eye on their society and themselves — but Barton says being present as minds change is its own reward.

“I love getting the chance to teach my students some of their first critical theory,” she says. “These topics require a lot of discussions, so we’ll often have lectures that are more like conversations. I try to get them all thinking together, so the class becomes about their ideas and how they see these historical truths in their own lives.”

To help the course material hit home, Barton makes sure her students are engaged. Her lectures are punctuated by video clips that further illustrate her points and students are frequently asked to break into groups to engage with one another’s thoughts and reactions to the course material. 

“It’s important to me that the students use what they know in my classrooms. We’re talking about the emotional lives of people, especially children and families, as they intersect with systems; about the way that we live here in Toronto and how that does and doesn’t work, so it’s something everyone can talk about,” she says. “Every revolution has started when the younger population has begun thinking differently — it’s fascinating to get to be a part of that.”


Barton holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Guelph, a post-graduate certificate in Autism and Behavioral Science from George Brown College, and a Master of Arts in Infant Mental Health and Early Development from the Tavistock Clinic in London, England.

Along with teaching in Early Childhood Studies at the University Guelph-Humber, Barton has a private practice as a psychotherapist, and teaches at both the Canadian Institution for Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and the Toronto Psychoanalytic Society.

With a research grant from the University of Guelph-Humber, Barton is studying dynamic approaches to therapy, and how therapists can move between behaviourist and psychodynamic approaches when working with children.

Areas of Expertise

Child Development
Critical Theory