Education - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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A multiple case study of points of tension during TESOL teaching practica

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-11
Abstract: 

Becoming a teacher involves more than the acquisition of a new set of skills and knowledge. It involves a change in one’s identity, and this change seems affected by tensions experienced during the teaching practicum. This multiple case study explores the points of tension experienced by 18 student teachers during practicum in a TESOL Certificate program in order to better understand transformations in one’s identity when one becomes a teacher. The study aims to address two questions: “What are the points of tension experienced by student teachers during their practicum and what are the discourses they engage in to talk about these tensions?” and “How can curricular and methodological changes in a TESOL program support the emergence of a transformational discourse when experiencing tensions?” The study uses a theoretical framework that conceptualizes the location of becoming a teacher in Bhabha’s (1998; 2008) Third Space, explores and extends Mezirow’s (1990; 1991; 2000; 2012) system of Transformational Education, and makes use of Bakhtin’s (1968; 1981) notions of dialogism and chronotopes of time, space, and threshold as constructs for creating, collecting, and interacting with the data. Freire’s (1970; 1974; 1992) notion of power underlies all aspects of the study from exploring the implications of inhabiting the role of teacher-as-researcher (Zeni, 2001) to the avoidance of prescriptive outcomes in program design. The study involved the collection of written and video data from three cohorts of student teachers throughout their four-month TESOL certificate program. A dialogical approach was applied to the analysis of the data that interweaves the experiences of the teacher-as-researcher with the experiences of the participants. The results indicate that student teachers experienced personal, interpersonal, knowledge, cultural, pedagogical, and methodological tensions, but more significantly, four discourses (blaming, explaining, questioning, problem-solving) were identified and explored for their transformational potential. The outcomes of the study indicate that some of the above discourses are more transformational than others. Suggestions and examples for developing a TESOL teacher education practice that provides time and space for transformational discourse to emerge are presented.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Roumiana Ilieva
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Intelligent Tutoring Systems and Learning Outcomes: Two Systematic Reviews

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-12
Abstract: 

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) are computer programs that dynamically model learners’ psychological states to provide individualized instruction. ITSs have been developed for diverse subjects to help learners to acquire domain-specific, cognitive and metacognitive knowledge at all educational levels. In this thesis, I report on two studies conducted to examine the current state of the ITS field. The first study is a meta-analysis conducted on research that compared the outcomes from students learning from ITSs to those learning from non-ITS learning environments. It examines 107 studies, published prior to 2013, with a total of 14,321 participants. The results show that ITSs outperform teacher-led, large-group instruction (g = .42), non-ITS computer-based instruction (g = .57), and textbooks or workbooks (g = .35). However, no statistically significant difference was detected between learning from ITS and learning from individualized human tutoring (g = -.11) or small-group instruction (g = .05). The second study evaluates research on the relative effectiveness of Bayesian networks in constructing student models in ITSs, which involves 143 studies published between 1992 and 2014. The study explores how Bayesian network was adopted to support the development of student models, relative to its strengths and weaknesses in investigating learning constructs and their contributions to the effectiveness of BN student modeling. A number of implications are drawn with respect to the application of BN in ITS design. Both reviews provide evidence that ITSs are relatively effective tools for learning. Furthermore, ITS researchers are invited to reconsider three fundamental research questions that have been examined since the emergence of ITSs and how they contribute to and constrain advances in effective ITS design in light of developments in artificial intelligence research. Finally, recommendations for future research directions are provided to researchers in the ITS community.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Philip Winne
John Nesbit
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Older Adult Gamers: Digital Game Genres and the Perceived Benefits of Gameplay

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-13
Abstract: 

In this rapidly aging society, successful aging is drawing the attention of not only older adults but also of researchers who want to help the older population to improve or maintain their well-being. The digital game is a promising technology that could assist in successful aging. This survey study profiled older adults on background characteristics, various aspects of the digital games that they played as well as on the amount of time spent playing games and on the perceived benefits of digital game playing. 875 older adults, over the age of 55, were recruited from shopping malls, community centers, and seniors’ centers in the Greater Vancouver area. However, only the data of the 463 older adults who played digital games were analyzed. Certain types of digital games were found to have significant associations with some of the background characteristics of older adults. Significant associations were found among the different types of digital games that older adults played, the amount of time they spent playing games, and the perceived benefits of playing digital games. These results revealed a number of new findings regarding the types of digital games that older adults play and the identification of new areas of future research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Kaufman
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Parental Support for Students Who Participate in High School Athletics: An Exploration of the Perceived Influence of Parents and Its Effect on Student Self-Efficacy and Academic Success

Date created: 
2017-04-10
Abstract: 

This mixed method study explored student athletes’ perception of parental influence in their high school athletic endeavours and how this perceived influence affected their self efficacy and academic success.   The quantitative data was derived from surveys that gauged student perceived parental involvement, self efficacy and academic success in two high schools in a large metropolitan school district in British Columbia. One of the schools was a school composed primarily of students of mid to high social economic status while the other was designated an inner-city school.  The qualitative focus group consisted 10 athletes from each of the schools – a male and female from each grade – discussing students’ feelings about perceived parental involvement and how it affected their self-efficacy and academic success.  The findings showed that all of the student athletes – regardless of which school they attended – perceived that their parents were involved in their high school athletic careers. This perceived parental influence did not, however, substantially influence their self-efficacy or academic success.  Student athletes did feel increased membership when part of a high school athletic team and the interactions with their peer group and positive role models is linked to engagement in school, stronger feelings of self-worth, and academic success.  This study showed that perceived parental influence, while likely a positive support for students, had very little effect on the students’ perception about themselves or their academic success.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. Daniel Laitsch
Dr. Fred Renihan (retired)
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Perspectives of Canadian student volunteers in a university “Conversation Partners Program” for international students

Date created: 
2017-04-06
Abstract: 

The experiences of Canadian-born students in university programs aimed at intercultural relationships as well as language exchange is lacking in the literature. This study asked, “How does the experience of communicating with international students in a university sponsored Conversation Partners Program shape the identities of the Canadian conversation partners?” Narrative inquiry was used to determine the most common and relevant themes through out the interviews with the participants. These common themes were identified as: “reflecting on cultural norms and values”, “emerging openness to diverse perspectives”, and “expanding social and cultural network identities.” Implications for these intercultural exchanges are that both parties (Canadian and International students) gain in perspective taking, in learning about other cultures while being encouraged to question their own cultural values, and in learning to navigate the world by gaining personal and cultural assets due to becoming more open to the values and beliefs of diverse cultures.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Maureen Hoskyn
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Joining Learning and Making: A Practitioner’s Retrospective Auto/biographical Account of How Inquiry Can Contribute to Social Justice Efforts in a Community

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-01-25
Abstract: 

An opportunity arose in the author’s work as an animator in a community group to design a socially innovative project to address homelessness in her city. Her retrospective auto/biographical account of the design and implementation process demonstrates how qualitative inquiry can contribute to the efforts of community-based practitioners committed to advancing social justice in their communities. Two inquiry frameworks were used. The first, mindful inquiry, is guided by phenomenology, hermeneutics, critical social theory, and the Eastern knowledge tradition of Buddhism. The second, ALMOLIN (alternative models of local social innovation), explores the dynamics of social exclusion and social innovation. Its ethical social-justice position provides alternative criteria to determine whether a social innovation responds to human deprivation; empowers disenfranchised citizens by building capabilities; and changes social and power relations, transforming exclusionary mechanisms into inclusionary strategies. Drawing on these intersecting frameworks, and thinking through and with relationships and lived experiences in her practice setting, a bold vision emerged of what the author here calls the Whole Community Project. Practical actions of coordination and collaboration with multiple stakeholders brought into being places and spaces in the community that provided material pathways to formal education, employment, affordable housing, and home ownership for citizens who had been left behind due to homelessness, addiction, mental health issues, and unemployment. In joining inquiry with making, this unique project design demonstrated that such citizens can recover, achieve employment that provides a sustainable livelihood, and own their own homes in less than two years. The project met the goals of improving the lives of citizens in the author’s practice. The inquiry also informed the design of inclusive interactive civic spaces to promote broader inclusive participatory inquiry: what had been perceived as individual troubles (e.g., homelessness, addiction) could now be transformed into community issues for public deliberation towards more socially just public policy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Suzanne Smythe
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Undergraduate students' understanding of transformations of sinusoidal functionss

Date created: 
2017-01-23
Abstract: 

Trigonometry is one of the fundamental topics taught in high school and university curricula. However, it is considered as one of the most challenging subjects for teaching and learning. Contributing to research on learning trigonometry, this dissertation sheds light on aspects of undergraduate students’ understanding of transformations of sinusoidal functions. Six undergraduate students participated in the study. Two types of tasks – (A) Identifying sinusoidal functions and (B) Assigning coordinates – were presented to participants in a clinical interview.To analyze the collected data, three theoretical frameworks, Mason’s theory of shifts of attention, Presmeg’s visual imagery and Carlson, Jacobs, Coe, Larsen, and Hsu covariational reasoning were used in this dissertation. Mason’s theory provided opportunity to study the critical role of attention and awareness in learning and understanding mathematics, and in particular the concept of transformation of sinusoidal functions. Presmeg’s classification of visual imagery was applied for investigating students’ visual mental constructs since the participants applied their imagery on different occasions when they completed the interview tasks. Lastly, participants’ solution approaches were evaluated using covariational reasoning, focusing on Carlson’s et al. description of mental actions associated with developmental levels. The results of this research show that undergraduate students participating in this study experienced difficulty in identifying a phase shift/ horizontal transformation of the sinusoidal functions. They, in fact, determined “BC” as phase shift instead of “C” when they relied on the representation of sinusoids as f(x)= A sin/cos((B(x+C))+D. Some participants were also unable to complete tasks in which coefficient of x was a fraction. I conclude this dissertation with some pedagogical suggestions in terms of learning and teaching transformations of sinusoidal functions.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Rina Zazkis
none
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Self-Explanation and Self-Questioning Prompts in Online Medical Health Learning

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-13
Abstract: 

Online instruction in medical education is beneficial due to moves toward competency-based curricula, continuing education, serving professionals in remote locations, and knowledge updates as research advances. Those who study content online may require support to use effective methods that transform passive, less-engaged learning into active comprehension and purposeful application. This study compared two learning tactics: self-questioning and self-explanation that have not been compared in prior research. Health professionals and students across Canada studied a chapter in the Canadian Fundamentals of Fetal Health Surveillance (FHS) Self-Learning Online Manual, presented on an online learning management system. Participants used nStudy learning software to open note templates and type in either self-explanations or choose one among several question stems then fill in blank space(s) to create a question. Participants who created self-explanations performed better on the achievement posttest than those who generated self-questions. Further analyses disaggregated posttest items into intentional learning (relating to information in the text about which participants were prompted to generate an annotation) and incidental learning (relating to information in the text not directly prompted for annotation). Within the self-explanation condition, there was no statistically detectable difference in recall on intentional (prompted) content compared to incidental (non-prompted) content. In the self-questioning condition, incidental content was recalled similarly to the self-explanation group. However, there was a marked and statistically detectable decrease in recall of content about which participants were prompted to generate self-questions. Possible reasons for this effect based on past research and participant comments are discussed along with limitations of the study and opportunities for further research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Philip Winne
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Relationships between STEM self-efficacy, same-sex role models and academic behaviour

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-11
Abstract: 

Although women make up approximately half of undergraduate enrolments in postsecondary educational institutions, women continue to be significantly underrepresented in many areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In this study, survey responses from 249 undergraduate students enrolled in at least one STEM course were analyzed to further investigate possible relationships among sex, academic course choices, same-sex role models and STEM self-efficacy. Results show that female students were less likely than male students to declare a STEM major. Among female students there was a correlation between the number of same-sex instructors and being a STEM major as well as the number of STEM courses taken, and further investigation revealed that self-efficacy was a significant predictor of female undergraduate’s major. Implications, future directions and study limitations are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Phil Winne
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

On the Neuro-Turn in Education: From Inside Out

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-03-30
Abstract: 

On the Neuro-Turn in Education gives a lived account of my exploration of quantitative research in education at the intersections of neuroscience, cognitive science, and cognitive psychology. I argue that existing quantitative studies fall short of meeting all (if any) of transdisciplinarity’s multiple dimensions, and I assert that such research is, in essence and methodology, an expression of the neuro-turn in education. This turn has reinforced a view of education, even if largely implicit, as a closed and mechanistic system—a perspective that so far has prevailed in our society over the view of education as a living process.I have met with transhumanists gravitating toward the outer edge of the neuroscience of learning, in the stratosphere of artificial intelligence, where the prospect of becoming smarter overshadows the wish to become wiser. In that respect, neuroethics - the most recent subdiscipline of applied ethics - rises from the paraxial fact that neurotechnologies are generating ethical challenges while at the same time promoting a neuroscientific understanding of ethics. I argue that ethical questions related to “my brain” are not distinct from ethical questions about “my self” in relation to others, a fact that a subdiscipline risks missing because it focuses on the particulars of the biological explanation of ethics, at the cost of the bigger picture: the complexity of the societal constructs involved in elaborating our moral judgments. I reclaim the richness of my embodied phenomenological being across an inside–out continuum from self to others, and from human to non-human others; and I explore intersubjectivity as resonance at both the philosophical and the organic levels. Finally, I reflect on how, as a philosopher of education, I can be an active participant in sharing with educators and all stakeholders a redefinition of the purpose and aims of education. Central to such dialogue is an urgent need to shed light on toxic metaphors that turn humans into data. By illuminating such issues, I hope to initiate our homecoming to a posthumanity embedded in the fabric of the world.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Heesoon Bai
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.