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

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Classroom teachers’ perspectives of school-based team (SBT) practices in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-06-03
Abstract: 

Classroom teachers today maintain a powerful role in educating an increasingly diverse student population in the midst of changing socio-political climates, educational policies, and limited economic funds. Balancing the need to support students who may have special needs to achieve their individual potential, amidst this context can be challenging for many teachers today. In order to alleviate some of the challenges and pressures teachers face in educating diverse student needs, school-based teams (SBTs) exist in many schools in British Columbia (B.C.) to support teachers with developing the necessary instructional expertise and to identify potential special needs in students. Despite the purpose of SBTs, many classroom teachers report that school team practices are ineffective and largely disconnected from the practical realities of teaching diverse students (Doll et al., 2005; Lane, 2013; Young & Gaughan, 2010). To understand teachers’ experiences and perspectives of SBT practices in the specific context of a large and diverse school district in B.C., I interviewed 15 elementary teachers who had previous experiences teaching students with special needs in the classroom and who had referred their students to SBTs. In their interviews, classroom teachers’ responses uncovered a dissonance that exists between SBT policy and practice. In analyzing their interview responses, I found three key themes: (a) The instructional recommendations made by SBTs are ineffective, (b) There is a lack of funding and resources to implement SBT decision outcomes, and (c) Classroom teachers’ professional judgement was not given the consideration it deserved by SBT members. By using key ideas from Ball et al.’s (2012) conceptual framework for policy enactment to illuminate the findings of this study, I conclude that the “material,” “interpretive,” and “discursive” components of policy enactment play an important role in revealing why tensions exist between SBT policy and practice. The findings of this study suggest that the special education practices in the Rosendale School District need further attention.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Rebecca Cox
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Continuities and transformations in the practices and narratives of religious identities and literacy development: Bangladeshi Hindus in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-19
Abstract: 

Bangladeshi Hindu diaspora in Canada is a new phenomenon that requires careful observation to learn about their identity formation and literacy practices in relation to their religious affiliations and practices. Identity formation, and literacy and integration practices of diasporic communities have been the focus of multiple studies for some decades. Past social, ethnic, and literacy experiences of immigrants significantly influence their integration in a host society. Drawing on theoretical concepts such as religion-as-social-capital, the role of religion in identity formation, New Literacy Studies, and the Continua of Biliteracy, I document the relationship between religious affiliations and language and literacy practices of seven recruited Bangladeshi Hindu families in GTA (Greater Toronto Area) Canada. This is an ethnographic interpretative study that employs multiple data collection and analysis approaches. Interviews, observation, photography, and reflective tasks were used to collect data. For the analysis of multi-layered data in this study, a combination of analytical approaches was used: grounded theory, narrative inquiry, Critical Discourse Analysis, and situational analyses. The findings suggest that religious affiliations and practices shelter and bind the participants in their new country, contribute to their overall integration into the host society, and work as resources for their literacy development. The findings should not be generalized as the number of participants is very small and individual stories might vary. This study aims to empower language and social studies teachers to initiate dialogues on cross-cultural and cross-religious issues to promote democratic citizenship in public school and adult learning systems in Canada.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Danièle Moore
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Perceptions and applications of maker-centered pedagogies in K – Grade 12 ADST and STEM education in BC public schools

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-30
Abstract: 

The researcher surveyed 97 British Columbia ADST or STEM educators concerning their understandings and perceptions of maker-centred pedagogies, and their willingness to apply these approaches. Questions addressed current applications of maker-centred pedagogies in public schools, and the major factors that affect the implementation of maker-centred approaches, including the characteristics of maker-centred pedagogies, the tools and resources used in making activities, and the strategies that support maker-centred approaches. Findings from qualitative and quantitative analyses suggest that most respondents favored maker-centered pedagogies, and that maker-centred pedagogies are being implemented most often in secondary STEM classrooms, though least in Mathematics. Teachers report using both high-tech digital tools and low-tech and traditional tools in making activities. Concerns raised by respondents, but rarely mentioned in literature on making, are student safety, having sufficient physical space for making, fostering appropriate attitudes toward making, and a need for additional teacher training in this area.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Kevin O'Neill
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

D'apprenant à enseignant : la construction identitaire et l'accès à la communauté professionnelle des enseignants de français en Colombie-Britannique

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-05-29
Abstract: 

Cette thèse examine la construction identitaire d’enseignants de français pour qui le français n’est pas une langue dominante en Colombie-Britannique (Canada). J’analyse plus spécifiquement les dynamiques interactionnelles vécues par des enseignants de français au cours de leur propre apprentissage du français jusqu’à leur situation actuelle en tant que professionnels du français langue seconde. Ces dynamiques sont constitutives de la construction de leur identité professionnelle d’enseignants, mais également de l’identité linguistique qu’ils développent, en tant que locuteurs du français, tout au long de leur parcours d’apprenant puis d’enseignant. Ma recherche emploie une méthodologie qualitative et biographique et repose sur une perspective critique pour analyser les propos venant de 17 enseignants et/ou étudiants- maîtres en formation professionnelle recueillies au moyen d’entrevues semi-dirigées. L’analyse des données montre que la confiance identitaire des participants suit une trajectoire qui correspond à trois stades de vie bien particuliers : la scolarité, la formation professionnelle et la carrière d’enseignant de français. Cette trajectoire s’inscrit dans les dynamiques interactionnelles qu’ils vivent à ces trois étapes et elle évolue en fonction des communautés au sein desquelles les participants s’insèrent. Ainsi, pour certains participants, la période de formation professionnelle à l’université est parfois rendue difficile par une remise en question de la légitimité de l’identité linguistique, et donc par extension, de l’identité professionnelle. Ce questionnement identitaire peut ainsi persister durant la carrière d’enseignant, rendant l’exercice de la profession d’autant plus difficile. En revanche, d’autres participants réussissent, à travers notamment la découverte de nouveaux discours sur le bilinguisme, à trouver une nouvelle légitimité professionnelle et linguistique ; cela contribue à leur donner alors le sentiment d’un accès possible à la communauté professionnelle et linguistique qu’ils désirent, dans le contexte de l’enseignement du français comme langue seconde en Colombie-Britannique.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Diane Dagenais
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Examining and modelling students’ selection of course modality

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-05-08
Abstract: 

Despite online courses’ growing popularity, the factors that shape undergraduates’ choice of course modality are still poorly understood. This study explores the relations between a wide range of factors and students’ modality selection, in a context where both modalities — face-to-face and online — were made available. Undergraduates from a Canadian University enrolled in face-to-face (N = 335) and online courses (N = 315) completed a questionnaire assessing personal factors, course attributes, goal orientation and learning strategies. Data were subject to descriptive and inferential statistical analysis, and two logistic regressions were performed to model students’ enrolment and preference. Analysis revealed that the groups differed significantly in twelve variables. For example, number of previous online courses and enjoyment of online courses were significantly higher for online students. Logistic regression analysis extended these findings, indicating ten significant predictors for online enrolment, among them higher number of previous online courses and higher work-avoidance goals.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Kevin O'Neill
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Experiences of Latin Americans seeking professional jobs in Greater Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-03-05
Abstract: 

Canada is often acknowledged as one of the most welcoming countries for immigrants around the world. However, literature reveals that Canadian skilled immigrants, particularly those from Latin America, are often unemployed, underemployed, and earn significantly less than their Canadian-born counterparts. This dissertation examines the experiences of Latin American Skilled Immigrants (LSIs) in Metro Vancouver, including: the factors that prompt them to migrate; their experiences with the Canadian immigration system; and their transition into the new social space. I critically deconstruct dominant economic approaches to immigration and challenge human capital explanations of the phenomena. By utilizing a multiple case study research design, I conducted in-depth interviews with nine LSIs and coauthored their narratives. Filtered through the lenses of Bourdieu's theory of social reproduction, Rizvi’s ideas regarding the neoliberal imaginary, and Bauman’s concepts of the stranger’s aporia, I found that migration appears as a strategy of social reproduction in which participants aim to maintain or enhance their position in the social space. Furthermore, the neoliberal imaginary in conjunction with the participants’ habitus largely shaped their perception of what moving in the social space looks like and how it is achieved. With respect to their transition into Canada, I found that participants who entered with prearranged jobs (WPJ) had more positive experiences settling and adapting than those who entered without prearranged jobs (WOPJ). Participants WOPJ faced more onerous immigration processes and upon arrival, they encountered a contradictory society that intensely seeks to select the best and brightest, but does little to facilitate their integration and in some cases is even obstructive and discriminatory. Through the same theoretical framework, I realized that settling into the community and transitioning into the labour market did not solely depend on the participants’ intrinsic human capital, but also on a complex series of internal contradictions and relations of power created by the neoliberal imaginary. Acknowledging this complexity may lead to a more comprehensive and unprejudiced construction of the Canadian immigration system. This would allow more room to discuss and address the ethical and moral challenges that many immigration stakeholders face, particularly the higher education system in the era of academic neoliberalism.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Kumari Beck
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Witnessing a mosaic emerge: The phenomenon of transformative learning within a professional master's degree program

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-08
Abstract: 

Personal and professional growth experienced by adult learners has been explored by education researchers for decades. Now in a second wave of theory development, transformational learning research has broadened from its earlier focus on cognitive and rational processes, to explore methods that promote and acknowledge a more holistic view of learning processes and an enhanced range of expressed and demonstrated outcomes that reflect multi-dimensions of transformative growth. What is not currently well documented in the research literature is evidence of sustained changes to personal and/or professional ways of being in the world arising from graduate level professional education programs. Unstructured phenomenological interviews were conducted with 20 alumni of a Master of Education in Educational Practice program (M.Ed. EP) 16-20 months post-graduation. Conversations focused on what the M.Ed. meant to them personally and professionally, experiences of sustained growth, as well as meaningful processes that facilitated and supported their expressed changes. Through phenomenological reduction, a common essence of the experience emerged which highlighted the role of the learning community and a variety of learning activities that were meaningful for the alumni’s change processes. A range of personal and professional outcomes were expressed as either transformative in nature, or professionally grounding, validating, and affirming in terms of professional identity and praxis. In this thesis, the phenomenon of the M.Ed. EP experience is presented as a narrative utilizing phenomenological reductions as exemplars to the nuanced experiences. Potentially adding to the second wave of transformative learning research, it is proposed that these varied accounts may all be expressions of transformative learning when applying a broader interpretive lens that includes professional praxis and professional identity changes as evidence of transformation. Collectively these 20 individual experiences, interpreted as nuanced accounts, act as pieces of a mosaic converging to provide a contextualized vision of transformative learning in the professional practice master’s degree. Findings may support faculty and educational designers who wish to facilitate transformative outcomes for their students.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Cher Hill
David Kaufan
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The understated power of reading contemporary Indigenous literature in Canada, a white supremacist nation

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-23
Abstract: 

This thesis offers a textual analysis of three contemporary novels by Indigenous writers in Canada – Tracey Lindberg’s (2015) Birdie, Katherena Vermette’s (2016a) The Break, and Eden Robinson’s (2017a) Son of a Trickster. Informed by critical Whiteness studies, scholarship on settler colonialism, and reader response theory, I argue how contemporary Indigenous literature facilitates the social and political transformation decolonization requires. When approached with prior knowledge about past and ongoing colonialism, the stories written by today’s Indigenous authors disrupt the settler national myths that normalizes White supremacy in Canada, and demands introspection on how settlers perpetuate colonial violence against First Peoples. Their stories extend possibilities for transformative learning by re-centering Indigenous epistemologies and ontologies, and by reframing kindness, reciprocity, and kinship as human obligations. In creating space for us to imagine existing beyond the limitations set by the racial settler state, these stories can instigate shifts in cultural perceptions and power relations in real ways. These stories also hold implications for meaningful and constructive human rights-based social justice practices, by reshaping knowledge on antiracism and decolonization outside dominant frameworks that assume the colonial state’s legitimacy and permanence.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dolores van der Wey
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Why the mentoring of female educational leaders with an ethic of care matters

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-22
Abstract: 

The intent of this dissertation is to investigate how mentorship practices embodying an ethic of care can play a role in the recruitment and retention of female educational leaders into administrative roles in education. Through a critical review of Nel Noddings’ ethic of care theory and the concept of mentoring, associated as well as opposing or alternative theories are examined. By employing the methodological approach of autoethnography, the marriage of mentoring with an ethic of care can be studied in support of female educational leaders seeking ascension. An informal conceptual analysis of mentoring as well as Noddings’ ethic of care theory provide the framework for analyzing this study which spans both the public K-12 and post-secondary education sectors. Noddings’ ethic of care theory is the lens through which we may view the personal narratives for care or lack thereof, while informal mentorship is explored using autoethnography. Four components are critical to Noddings’ (2012b) care theory from the perspective of a moral education: “modeling, dialogue, practice, and confirmation” (p. 237). Through autoethnography, these components are considered with a focus on natural, relational caring in supporting a female educational leader’s quest towards educational administrative leadership. The findings illustrate that foundational to a female educational leader’s quest for ascension are identity development and dialogue, both of which play a key role in the development of the mutuality of relation. Additionally, through informal mentoring, a mutual relation between the one-caring and the cared-for serves to confirm the best self possible in the cared-for. Encouraging the development of the best self possible in the cared-for is the expression of Noddings’ moral objective. Because the moral objective of allowing natural caring to flourish between the cared-for and the one-caring in reaching the female educational leader’s best potentialities is important in building her capacity to ascend to educational administrative leadership, collaboration with a mentor is key to successfully transforming female educational leaders through ascension into educational administrative leadership roles.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dan Laitsch
Charles Scott
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Listening for listening in art and inquiry

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-09
Abstract: 

Reflecting on my ways of being in the world as an artist, researcher, student, and mentor, I am drawn by the recurring theme of listening—not only in the sense of auditory perception, but also a wider attunement to the world, involving all my intermingling senses. Arts-based research practices of living inquiry, performative inquiry, embodied inquiry invite me to explore the multiple ways I enact listening in different contexts of my life, such as when reading, dancing, writing, transcribing and facilitating art engagement. Through poetry, theory, life-writing and meditations on my embodied experiences, I observe how different metaphors, intentions or practices can guide and enable different kinds of listening experiences. In particular, I propose that listening transcends an act of reception, constituting a creative and dialogical encounter. Listening calls us to release expectations, preconceptions and control in order to enliven our desire for curiosity, discover new possibilities, and bring forth our own unique voice.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Lynn Fels
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.