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

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Educating Semiosis: Exploring ecological meaning through pedagogy

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-10-15
Abstract: 

This thesis consists of six essays – framed by introduction and conclusion chapters – that develop possibilities for philosophy of education and pedagogy from the lens of bio-semiotics and edu-semiotics (biological and educational semiotics). These transdisciplinary inquiries have found commonality in the concept of learning-as-semiosis, or meaning-making across nature/culture bifurcations. Here, quite distinct branches of research intersect with the American scientist-philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce’s (1839 - 1914) pragmatic semiotics. I argue in these essays that the research pathway suggested by the convergence of edu- and bio-semiotics, reveals possibilities for developing a (non-reductive) theory of learning (and pedagogy generally) that puts meaning-making processes in a central light. A fully semiotic theory of learning implores us to take an ecological and biological view of educational processes. These processes explore the complementarity of organism-environment relations and the relationship between learning and biological adaptation. They also unravel new implications for education through the basic recognition that meaning is implicitly ecological. Understanding semiotic philosophy as an educational foundation allows us to take a broader and less dichotomized view of educational dynamics, such as: learning and teaching, curriculum design, arts and music education, inter/trans-disciplinary education, literacy (including environmental and digital literacy), as well as exploring the relationships and continuities between indigenous/place-based and formal pedagogical processes and practices. From this meaning-based and ecological perspective, what is important in the educational encounter is not psychologic explanations of learning stages, predetermined competencies, or top-down implemented learning-outcomes, but rather meaning and significance and how this changes through time-space and with others (not only human others) in a dynamic and changing environment. As addressed more directly in the conclusion chapter, these essays unravel the implications of this emerging approach to the philosophy of education, pedagogy and learning theory, specifically by providing conceptual/philosophical possibilities for integrating arts education, science education, and indigenous place-based knowledge into holistic educational approaches and programs.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Susan O'Neill
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Real patients as co-debriefers in simulation-based education: An exploratory study

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-09-23
Abstract: 

This thesis explores and describes the experiences and perspectives of three different roles within a patient-centred, healthcare simulation-based education session for the continuing professional development of new graduate nurses. The experiences examined are those of the session’s co-debriefers, who include a mix of patient family partners and clinical educators, and the learners, who are new graduate nurses. The study uses mixed methods but primarily takes the form of a basic qualitative descriptive study and meets the requirements of patient-oriented research. Participants included 44 new graduate nurses, six clinical educators, and two patient family partners. Survey and interview analysis are developed around three main themes: Findings specific to simulation and co-debriefing, Beliefs surrounding patient- and family-centred care and the inclusion of patient family partners, and Relationships. Implications for practice and future research are recommended.

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

Inducing self-explanation: A meta-analysis and experiment

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-26
Abstract: 

Self-explanation is a process by which learners generate inferences about causal connections or conceptual associations. This dissertation seeks to contribute to the literature on inducing self-explanations, by way of prompting, to facilitate learning. More specifically, this research seeks to understand the effects on learning gains when learners are prompted to self-explain in various contexts and with various prompts. As such, one goal of the dissertation is to provide a comprehensive review of prior research on self-explanation. A meta-analysis was conducted on research that investigated learning outcomes of participants who received self-explanation prompts while studying or solving problems. Our systematic search of relevant bibliographic databases identified 69 effect sizes (from 64 research reports) which met certain inclusion criteria. The overall weighted mean effect size using a random effects model was g = .55. We coded and analyzed 20 moderator variables including type of learning task (e.g., solving problems, studying worked problems, and studying text), subject area, level of education, type of inducement, and treatment duration. We found that self-explanation prompts (SEPs) are a potentially powerful intervention across a range of instructional conditions. To further investigate the effect of various prompts on studying expository text, I conducted an online experiment employing a 2 x 2 x 3 factorial design, in which one factor was within subject. One hundred and twenty-six participants were randomly assigned to one of three self-explanation prompt conditions (content-free (generic), content-specific (specific), and no SEP). The results support the utilization of generic self-explanation prompts in comparison to specific self-explanation prompts and receiving no prompt. Specifically, the generic self-explanation group outperformed the other two groups on the reading comprehension outcome in the short-answer question format.

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

Measuring and understanding self-handicapping in education

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-09-10
Abstract: 

Self-handicapping is intentionally fabricating obstacles to performance. It is very prevalent in education where it interferes with learning and lowers academic achievement. Few self-handicapping experiments have approximated authentic learning situations, elevating concerns about ecological validity and generalizability. This study addressed several methodological concerns by (a) posing a task common in education, and (b) offering participants multiple occasions to choose among several productive, neutral, or self-handicapping approaches to learning. Undergraduate learners were randomly assigned to receive contingent or non-contingent success feedback on three learning tasks. Each task offered multiple occasions to claim or practise self-handicapping by making selections within a component of the software. Those selections caused changes in the learning environment while participants worked on tasks and generated data about self-handicapping more realistically situated and in finer grain than data gathered in prior research. Results indicate this method for unobtrusively recording data about self-handicapping validly represented the construct. Learners’ choices reflected preferences for certain handicaps and described patterns of hidden versus blatant self-handicapping. Evidence for self-handicapping and self-regulated learning across tasks was found. Some learners repeatedly self-handicapped, Others self-regulated learning over time by demonstrating metacognitive awareness, monitoring, and control of learning activities regardless of feedback provided. Encouraging metacognition may aid self-handicappers to more productively self-regulate their learning over time.

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

Alienation and consciousness: Towards a dual-aspect approach to issues of social justice

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-09-23
Abstract: 

A great portion of people’s lives are spent in the workplace. I argue that many Western workplaces are neither sites of democratic practices or equality but are based on modes of exploitation that benefit the few. Consequently, workers experience alienation, a term used by Karl Marx to describe the separation of the worker from their work, from others, and from themselves. This separation manifests in the various mental health issues we see today in all arenas and walks of life, and these issues are being addressed in a variety of helping professions, including education and counselling. In recognizing that our society has not taken up an adequate degree of foundational analysis, this thesis proposes a Marxist analysis of alienation and its impact on citizens’ wellbeing. I use the counselling profession as an example at-hand to make the argument as to why the profession must offer critiques of capitalism if it is to properly address social justice issues and to effectively respond to a predominant source of mental distress within our current society. However, helping professions themselves are a product of, and a co-creator of, the capitalist system. Despite their concerns for social justice, I argue that they perpetuate injustice by supporting the status quo and by operating from individualistic, decontextualized, and ahistorical models. The prevalence of world-views that promote a materialistic individualism must be therefore challenged. Hence, it is proposed that consciousness, the original subject matter of psychology itself, must be accounted for within our world-view. An argument is put forth that panpsychism is a promising philosophical position from which to generate new understandings and appreciations for the world and our place in it. A panpsychic dual-aspect monism invites novel ways to consider the ways in which helping professions function at both the micro-level of the individual person, but also, simultaneously, at the macro-level of system change. I call upon Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a good example of a micro-level approach that can be utilized within many helping professions that centers the experience of consciousness as a vital component to personal and societal change. The implications of addressing individual and systemic change in relation to education, especially within the context of our current climate crisis, are discussed.

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

Developing an Islamic framework for psychotherapy: An Islamic conceptualization of psychological wellbeing and healing

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-01-25
Abstract: 

Data from outcome research studies indicate that spiritual and religious approaches to psychotherapy are effective in improving the psychological wellbeing of clients. While there has been significant growth in the field of Islamic psychology, the development of an approach to counselling that is indigenous to Islamic thought and scholarly works is no simple task. The purpose of this study was to explore and develop the beginnings of a psychotherapeutic framework based upon the Islamic understanding of psychological wellbeing and healing. Using a modified Delphi method with Islamic scholars and teachers as participants (n=6), this study has demonstrated the application of a unique methodological approach applying Islamic epistemological and ontological principles. After three rounds of questionnaires using the Delphi method, emergent coding content analyses and quantitative analyses of the data resulted in 47 consensus statements on the Islamic views of human nature, psychological wellness and illness, and change processes. The major themes and findings of this study lay the groundwork for the development of a psychotherapeutic approach that can be used by counsellors and other helping professionals with both Muslim and non-Muslim clients. There is a need for further exploration, additional research, and multi-methodology studies to create a comprehensive and practical framework. The findings of this research ultimately further the collective effort in the field of Islamic psychology to develop an epistemologically and ontologically sound Islamic approach that can be applied in counselling practice.

Document type: 
Thesis
Supervisor(s): 
Masahiro Minami
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Student strategy awareness and use: The development of a measure

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-08
Abstract: 

Students cope with the attentional demands of a university setting by accessing a range of cognitive and behavioural strategies. Yet, they may not be aware of the full scope of strategies available to them. The aim of the study is to design and evaluate the Strategy Use and Awareness Questionnaire to estimate students’ awareness and use of strategies that optimize control of attention and/or compensate for stress on an executive system due to environmental and/or neurobiological influences. An item analysis was conducted that included an assessment of dimensionality and item trimming. Findings from an exploratory factor analysis suggest a seven factor solution is optimal; Comprehension Monitoring, Planning/Organization, Self-Reward, Self-Regulation, Organization with Mobile Phone Technology, Distraction Management, and Organization of Materials. This measure is likely to benefit students, as well as counsellors and coaches interested in improving strategy use of students.

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

Exploring students' concepts of success in a first-year engineering course using fuzzy cognitive maps

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-10-29
Abstract: 

This thesis presents iterative action research that was situated in my practice as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering at Simon Fraser University. Motivated by a puzzlement that arose with regards to an expectation gap between faculty and students, I created and embedded an exercise in one of my first-year engineering courses, where students explored their concepts of success using fuzzy cognitive maps (FCMs). The research captured in this thesis started in 2016 with a pilot study, and it culminated in two full studies: one in 2017 and one in 2018. The foundation for this work is Schön’s reflective practitioner, systems theory/thinking, Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology, and Kosko’s FCMs. For the two full studies, students created their FCMs in small groups, resulting in 44 group FCMs. Students also had the opportunity to personalize their FCM resulting in over 300 FCMs. These FCMs are analyzed and presented using various indices. In addition, to ensure the voices of students were captured throughout the process, I also conducted follow-up surveys and interviews. For most students, the personalized FCMs were not sufficiently different from their group FCM. The majority of ideas captured in the FCM were related to longer-term concepts, with few instances of immediate concepts related to school. A concept that appeared frequently and one that was highly connected was the concept of happiness. In addition to various indices associated with the FCMs, this thesis also uses other forms visualizations, such as chord diagrams and heatmaps, to visualize and understand the FCMs. Several areas of future work are suggested to extend this work in both the short-term and long-term. While my initial focus was to better understand my students, one of the outcomes of conducting this research was a reflective loop that allowed me to better understand myself. In order to frame and reframe this research required a study of self, which I present throughout this thesis. My intent with this document is to capture the messiness of practice-based research and push back against technical rationality.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Shawn Bullock
Michael Ling
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Exploring the presence of pathological demand avoidance in school aged children

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-11
Abstract: 

This research studied the presence of PDA (an obsessional avoidance of life’s ordinary demands along with high skills of social manipulation) in typically developing children and those diagnosed with autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and/or anxiety disorders. Children with autism were hypothesized to have higher incidence of PDA than children without autism. Purposive sampling was used in participant recruitment. Findings should be understood within the indicated limitations. A sample of 78 participants responded to an on-line questionnaire that collected information on the presence of PDA. There was a statistically significant difference in the PDA scores for children with and without a clinical diagnosis (autism, ADHD, anxiety). Children diagnosed with autism had significantly different (higher) PDA scores than children without autism. No other comparisons were significant. The results support the hypothesis that children who have autism have more intense symptoms of PDA than those without autism.

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

Mathematics professors' views on written and oral assessment in mathematics

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-12
Abstract: 

One of the most striking differences between the Canadian educational system and the European educational systems is the importance given to oral assessment, particularly in mathematics courses. This thesis studies the views on oral assessment in post-secondary education from mathematics professors’ perspectives. Seven mathematics professors and instructors are interviewed, being asked to explain how they perceive the oral examination, and how they compare the oral exam to the written exam. Four out of seven mathematics professors and instructors were educated in Poland, Romania, Bosnia, and Ukraine, and they are currently teaching mathematics at a university in Canada. The other three professors were educated in Canada, Germany, and the United States, and they are currently teaching at a university in Germany. Five participants had previously experienced oral examination in mathematics while the other two had never been exposed to oral examination in mathematics throughout their schooling. The results show that similar beliefs about mathematics result in different beliefs about mathematics assessment. They suggest that the mathematics professors’ views on oral assessment in mathematics are influenced by their schooling and teaching experiences with mathematics assessment, as well as the socio-cultural and the institutionalized mathematics assessment norms that exist within the teaching institution.

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