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

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Shifting landscapes in the academy: Career development as a strategic priority

Date created: 
2018-04-04
Abstract: 

Higher education institutions may find it is challenging to deliver educational programming in the global environment. In the face of declining government support, this Canadian Institution has struggled to re-invent itself by operating in a business-oriented way. With a new guiding document, the Strategic Plan, new terms appeared, such as, sense of urgency, strategic priorities, and other rhetoric that revolves around the mission to be entrepreneurial. This study used descriptive qualitative research to look at the impact of a trend in post-secondary education that might be rationalized as academic capitalism by revealing faculty and administrators’ perceptions about the role of career development and its role in educational programming. The development of dedicated educational programming that has an increasing focus on career development and/or work-integrated education was driven by predominantly economic motivations, immigration policy, and students’ needs. The research reported on the effects of academic capitalism, entrepreneurialism, and strategic priorities in college discourse by uncovering perceptions about the role of career development that is increasingly embedded in the curriculum. Career development is a lifelong process of balancing learning, work, and personal goals and it has demonstrated a growing role within this Institution. The research draws from the theoretical framework of academic capitalism and is further informed by entrepreneurialism and resource dependency theory. The study found that research participants defined career development in different ways for themselves as opposed to students. When referring to their own career development, participants emphasized professional development, and when referring to students, career development had the same meaning as work-integrated education. Further, participants thought that career development and/or work-integrated education were essential components that met students’ needs and created financial resources for the college. Participants believed career development should be threaded throughout all curriculum in subject-specific ways. Six emergent themes were identified in the data and these influenced the creation of the implications for policy and practice, and recommendations that followed.

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

Online language teaching: The convergence of learning management systems and teaching practices

Date created: 
2018-01-29
Abstract: 

How do different Learning Management System (LMS) components facilitate and/or constrain the activities and pedagogical approaches in fully online language courses? To what extent online language instructors exercise their pedagogical preferences when teaching in LMS environments? These questions were examined from an Educational Technology perspective, considering foreign language learning as a question of learning design. The study employed a survey design with scaled and open-ended questions. Quantitative data were analyzed using non-parametric tests, and qualitative data were analyzed using an open coding procedure. The participants were 97 university and college second-language instructors located in Canada and the United States, who were currently teaching or had taught credit-bearing online courses. Results showed that online language instructors do not make frequent use of synchronous or communicative LMS tools (chat rooms, whiteboards, multimedia rooms; peer review, whiteboards or Wikis); and there is not a clear relation between tools and the type of learning activities they are used for. The study also explored where the type of LMS, the language taught and the years of teaching experience of the instructor were factors that influence the use of LMSs. Although some associations were found, no general conclusions could be drawn. In relation to instructors´ ability to implement their pedagogical preferences when teaching online courses, analysis indicated that the great majority of the participants felt limited by the LMS to some degree, and that limitation was felt more strongly by instructors who had a higher preference for the Constructivist approach. Qualitative analysis suggested that the main advantages of teaching through a LMS were the flexibility and convenience that the online medium provides to students, and that it is a good medium to promote a student-centered type of learning. The major limitations centered on the lack of physical contact, the difficulty to organize synchronous communications or group-based activities, and the time instructors require to prepare and deliver activities as well as to provide personalized feedback to students.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kevin O'Neill
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The contributions of temperament and theory of ‎mind to teaching abilities in early childhood

Date created: 
2018-02-22
Abstract: 

Peer tutoring is an effective evidence-based practice commonly used in early childhood ‎settings. Theoretically, to teach effectively the child must understand particular features of ‎the student's mind, an ability referred to as Theory of Mind (ToM). Despite a conceptual ‎connection between ToM and teaching ability, few studies have empirically examined this ‎relationship. ‎In addition, effective teaching is likely supported by certain dispositions that ‎enable the teacher to interact in a regulated and positive way with the student. In ‎childhood, dispositions such as these are captured under the rubric of temperament. This ‎study investigated the contributions of ToM and temperament to children's ability to teach ‎another.‎Children aged 3-5 years (24 girls; 28 boys) engaged in 2 teaching tasks in which they ‎taught an age appropriate children’s game to an adult. Children also completed 3 tasks ‎assessing ToM and their parents completed the Children’s Behavior Questionnaire, a ‎measure of child temperament. ‎Results showed that although performance on basic ToM tasks did not relate to teaching ‎behaviour, performance on the advanced ToM task did. Children who scored higher on ‎the advanced ToM task demonstrated better teaching skills. In addition, several ‎temperament dispositions were associated with children’s teaching performance. Activity ‎level was negatively associated with teaching ability, while attentional ability was ‎positively associated with teaching scores. Ability to suppress pre-potent responses was ‎also positively associated with teaching behaviour. In a regression model including ‎temperament dimensions and ToM scores as predictors of teaching only the temperament ‎dimension of attention was statistically detectable. ‎

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lucy Le Mare
Philip Winne
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Text Marking: A Metacognitive Perspective

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-02-23
Abstract: 

Despite learners’ engagement in cognitive and metacognitive processes when marking text, text marking was only examined from a cognitive perspective. Although identification of important information using textual cues and prior knowledge is a cognitive process, the decision of whether to mark or not is metacognitive. Learners use standards they create to metacognitively monitor content and decide which parts merit marking and which do not. Acknowledging the metacognitive aspect of text marking would provide a better understanding of how the study tactic works. The current study investigates the effects of standards for metacognitively monitoring learners’ interaction with text when reading and marking. The experimental design allows comparisons of performance and marking activity among groups given or not given specific criteria of content to study and mark. The research also examines standards learners use when they freely mark text as well as the probability of recall for an information segment if marked or not marked. Learners used nstudy to mark text. nStudy is an online learning tool that allows learners to mark text and logs detailed traces of marking, and provides a description of what and how much learners’ marked. Findings show that if learners are given specific criteria to focus their learning, they do not need to mark text to process specified content. This implies that the key to efficacy of text marking is the judgment that learners engage in when deciding whether a text extract should be marked or not. Providing learners with criteria to guide marking and studying text dampens the marking of content not specified in the criteria, but it does not elevate the marking of criteria- specific content. Interestingly, learners who freely marked reported using 17 different standards when judging what to mark. Findings also show that, marking text and being engaged metacognitively in deciding what content to mark does enhance the probability of recalling marked text.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Philip H. Winne
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Exploring iPad video composition: A study of elementary school students’ collaborative digital literacies practices

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-19
Abstract: 

This qualitative research study engages with sociocultural theory, multimodality and Actor-Network Theory to examine the complexities of iPad video composition with elementary school children. While school videomaking has been investigated in studies focused on the finished product, the processes of videomaking and video editing (composition) on these devices have remained largely unexplored. This study seeks to answer: “How does a group of students engage with the iPad in creating a video?” By investigating how mobile devices dislodge the concept of “literacy” from its time-honored “reading” and “writing” connotations and move towards multimodal representations, the author engages with Actor-Network Theory’s “Obligatory Passage Point” (Callon, 1986) and with Fulwiler and Middleton’s (2012) notions of Compositing and Recursivity. The study details the struggles and successes of collaborative work in a group of Grade 4 students and shows how one student emerges as the lynchpin between the adults’ linear, paper-based video composition strategies and the children’s non-linear, digitally-based video composition proclivities. By focusing on how propositional and performance epistemologies (Lankshear & Knobel, 2007) come into play in a classroom previously dominated by paper-based literacy practices, the author hopes to provide practitioners and researchers alike a glimpse into how digital literacies instruction might be taken up in classrooms.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kelleen Toohey
Diane Dagenais
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Self-determination and academic engagement of students with learning disabilities in a special education context

Date created: 
2018-03-16
Abstract: 

Policies that promote inclusive education have been adopted by provincial governments across Canada to provide students with disabilities access to the general education classroom, its curriculum, and interaction with their peers without disabilities. However, there is debate over the ability of general education classrooms to meet the learning needs of students with learning disabilities. The purpose of this study was to investigate student experiences within a self-contained special education classroom and address the primary research question: What is the lived experience of students with learning disabilities within the Literacy Development Program (LDP)? This research was guided by self-determination theory (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2000), that posits human motivation, development, and well-being are impacted by social environments such as classrooms. SDT suggests that when students’ needs for relatedness, competence and autonomy are largely met, they will be self-motivated, curious and eager to succeed. Two sub-questions guided by SDT included: How does the implementation of the LDP support students’ needs for relatedness, competence and autonomy? and, How do supports for relatedness, competence and autonomy within the LDP impact student engagement? Case study methodology provided the opportunity for in-depth analysis of educational practices and student engagement within the classroom. Findings highlight numerous supports for students’ sense of relatedness to their classmates and the staff. Threats to students’ sense of competence through the process of “othering” that enrolment in a special education classroom entails are discussed. However, within the classroom there was considerable support for students’ sense of competence including minimizing otherness. Minimal supports for autonomy were observed within the LDP. As predicted by SDT, variation in academic engagement of three students selected for in-depth study was found. Implications for educational practice are discussed including ways that special education and regular education classroom contexts may minimize otherness for students with learning disabilities.

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

Processes of identity construction for Generation 1.5 university students in Canada

Date created: 
2018-04-05
Abstract: 

The number of adolescent children accompanying their immigrant parents to Canada has steadily increased since the 1990s. Much of the applied linguistics literature on these so called “Generation 1.5” youth (Rumbaut & Ima, 1987; Harklau, et al., 1999) has focused on their deficiencies as academic writers in US Rhetoric and Composition and ESL contexts in higher education (Harklau, Losey, & Siegal, 1999; Harklau, 1999; 2000) and the stigma of ESL in US K-12 contexts (Talmy, 2009). However, the literature on Generation 1.5 students and identity in Canadian higher education is limited (Kim & Duff, 2012; Marshall, 2010; Mossman, 2012, 2013). This qualitative study investigates the processes of identity construction of eleven Generation 1.5 students studying at a university in Metro Vancouver to find out what types of identities and representations of self and other they make relevant, the meanings they attribute to their identities, and what motivates them to construct these identities. In analyzing the accounts and experiences of the participants in interviews, focus groups, and texts and as “culture-in-action” (Hester & Eglin, 1997), I posit that they constructed identities as social categories associated with the languages and social practices of their countries of birth, in liminal spaces among a continuum between Canada and their countries of birth, and a spectrum of related cultural representations. Ideas and beliefs associated with broader “macro” social structures in Canadian society related to language, culture, legitimacy, immigration, power, distinction, and racism were shown to be transcended in and through their representations of themselves and others. Data suggest that moving to Canada caused participants to experience discontinuities between their cultures, languages, and social practices (Kim & Duff, 2012), and in some cases a conflicting sense of self. The study brings implications for finding ways to understand the complexity of immigrant students, avoid reifying and generalizing about them, and not see them as stuck-in-between or lacking.

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

Post 9/11 trauma: A mother’s concern about her adolescent daughter in a Canadian public-school

Date created: 
2017-12-08
Abstract: 

Amidst of the Islamophobic discourse in a post 9/11 context, this study reflects on my experiences of educating my 11-year old daughter as she constructs her ELL (English Language Learner) identity by hiding her Muslim identity in a Canadian public-school language classroom. The study suggests that the negative image of Muslims as well as the rising hypothesis, “All Muslims are terrorists”, restricts her from expressing her individual experience, opinion and commitment in her L2 (English as a Second/Additional Language) classroom. To write my reflection I have taken into account one particular incident of her classroom practice and the process of making meaning of that incident. My reflective analysis (Dewey, 1910) helps me gain a better understanding of my journey as a mother and strengthens my identity as a Muslim L2 teacher. My daughter attempts to accommodate her expressions along the discourses preferred by her classroom community that gives rise to her multiple, shifted, conflicted, contradictory, and hidden identities (Norton, 1998). It is her awareness of the representation or misrepresentation of her religion by the dominant Western culture that impacts her social and educational trajectories as a learner. Her classroom experiences illustrate how Muslim students may continually negotiate/construct their identity positions and how the affordances and constraints of their religious identity can lead to divergent learning outcomes (Sowden, 2007). I draw on the notions of Language socialization (Duff, 2007) and identity and investment (Norton, 2005) to examine how language intersects with other social categories such as religion. This paper concludes with a call for increased attention to a learner’s religious identity, which may closely relate to successful acquisition of English as an additional language.

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

The Impact of One School Community on Female Refugee Adolescents and their Sense of Belonging

Date created: 
2017-12-08
Abstract: 

AbstractEducation is believed to play an essential role in creating a sense of belongingamongst adolescents from refugee backgrounds. This narrative inquiry study setsout to better understand the influence one Canadian school community plays inseven female adolescent students’ sense of belonging. Data were collected over afive-month period through two sets of interviews, observations and an art project.Findings indicate that a sense of belonging is best fostered by positiveteacher-student and peer relationships, the opportunity for youth to get involved inpositive ways within their school community, and through the availability andaccessibility of support services. Sense of belonging was inhibited by language andcultural barriers, as well as limited availability of support services. The femaleexperience was further challenged by familial responsibilities which limitedopportunities to participate in the wider school community.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr Margaret MacDonald
Dr Wanda Cassidy
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Art teacher in process: An illustrated exploration of art, education and what matters

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-12-08
Abstract: 

This thesis is a graphic autobiographical inquiry in comic book form.  The thesis explores personal experiences and reflections of an early-career secondary public-school art teacher in the process of understanding and developing her artistic, teaching and inquiry practices. The visual form of inquiry supports the exploration, reimagining, and representation of the author’s perspective and learning related to art education and teaching including: relationships within and outside of the school context; the experiences and daily practices of the teacher; the importance of form and medium; visual literacy; scholarship; and the aims of art education. The importance of multiple scholarly representations of knowledge is a central theme, with emphasis on an understanding of the graphic form as an action site of inquiry and communication. Through open and empathetic representations of teacher-student interactions, the author advocates for students’ meaningful engagement with the arts, and for the creation of spaces in which students and art educators may imagine and create new possibilities for themselves and the worlds within which they live and co-create.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lynn Fels
Michael Ling
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.