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

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What’s within a thesis statement? Exploring features of argumentative thesis statements

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-03-04
Abstract: 

Developing strong academic writing skills often requires years of experience and training within a discipline. When novice writers are asked to write an argumentative essay, they are usually required to draft a thesis statement presenting their position on an issue. In argumentative writing, a thesis statement addresses the writer’s main argument and is the foundation of the entire essay. Features of thesis statements are often defined with respect to their location and length within the essay (e.g., Petric, 2005), or functions. As a result, further research exploring characteristics of argumentative thesis statements could expand understanding about the distinctive features that operationalize the quality of thesis statements. Results of such research would have strong practical implications for instructors regarding what to teach about writing thesis statements. In the present study, four major features of thesis statements were identified (context, positionality, reasoning, and specificity). Two raters were asked to assess the presence of each feature for the 78 thesis statements, extracted from the argumentative essay outlines of an education course. A set of multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate whether each feature, and a composite of the four, contributes to the quality of the introduction and the argumentative essay outline. Key findings indicated that the context feature and the positionality feature are of importance in predicting the quality of introduction and the essay outline. Based on the findings, a revised version of Ken Hyland’s model of argumentation is proposed and several important implications for teaching writing are recommended.

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

Cripping accommodation and inclusion: A critical discourse analysis of accommodations policies and inclusion discourses at BC’s three largest post-secondary institutions

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-06
Abstract: 

Though advancements have been made in including disabled people into social institutions, ableism remains an active systemic form of oppression excluding disabled individuals from participation in all aspects of society. There is a dearth of research on disability, how their manifestations are understood in academic contexts, or on how diverse disability identities experience education. The existing research fails to account for the wide, complex range of disability, or how specific diversities fare within higher education. This study analyzes institutional accommodation policies and discourses as they relate to students with disabilities in higher education in British Columbia. The study looks to a more expansive scope of access for students in higher education who experience ableism and asks what access might look like under a different lens of disability thought. It examines public-facing policy documents on disability accommodation at the three largest public universities in BC using a critical discourse analysis approach to critical disability studies.

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

Dialogues with the written world(s): Plurilingual TEAL pedagogy and content learning of Japanese young learners in multilingual landscapes

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-01-20
Abstract: 

This ethnographic study aims to describe the literacy development of young Japanese children learning English at an international school in Tokyo (Japan). The research participants, who were recruited from Kindergarten to 4th grade (5 to 10 years old), also participated in summer programs in British Columbia (Canada) for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 2 months. The school adopts a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach (Coyle, Hood & Marsh, 2010), within a Hundred Languages of Children of Reggio Emilia educational approach (Edwards, Gandini & Forman, 1998) and Miyazakian dialogic pedagogy (Miyazaki, 2013). The school also adopts a plurilingual approach to teaching (Lau & Van Viegen, 2020) and used linguistic landscapes as a pedagogical tool (Dagenais, Moore, Sabatier, Lamarre & Armand, 2009) to promote children’s English and content learning through a series of critical inquiries. Methodological tools include classroom ethnography (Heath & Heath, 1983; Frank, Dixon & Green, 1999; Egan-Robertson & Bloome, 1998), Action Research (Wallace, 1998), as well as visual (Pink, 2009) and walking ethnography (Ingold & Vergunst, 2008) to explore the linguistic landscapes with the participants. The analyses are anchored within the theoretical concepts interconnecting plurilingualism (Marshall & Moore, 2018), multiliteracies (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009, New London Group, 1996) and language learning in an asset-oriented perspective on education that views language competence as holistic and plurilingual and intercultural awareness conducive to critical thinking (Coste, Moore & Zarate, 2009). The purpose of the thesis is to build upon the current discussion on plurilingual pedagogies, curriculum design and language instruction for K-12 children, in the context of English teaching and learning in elementary schools in Japan. It has wider implications for teacher education in English as an Additional Language (TEAL) situations.

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

Inclusion in childhood studies and education: Ethical responsibility to and for children with disabilities

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-05-26
Abstract: 

In this thesis, I discuss what it might mean to engage in an ethically responsible pedagogy, by posing the following questions: What is our ethical commitment and responsibility to and for others—especially when those others are children with disabilities? More importantly, when recognizing that the most challenging task for educators is to create a context for the collective (Rinaldi, 2006), what kinds of ethical and pedagogical contexts should be cultivated when encountering children with disabilities, so that each child’s existence and alterity are revealed? To engage these questions, I explore the concept of listening through multiple avenues: listening as attending to and for others, listening as attending to the revelation of alterity, listening in the state of dialogue, and listening through “taking a while”. All of these concepts of listening are interpreted in relation to Emmanuel Levinas’s conception of I/other relationality.

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

To come to know who rides upon your tongue: sound sSādhanā—cultivating sSelf through sSwara: A practice-based spiritual inquiry

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-05-06
Abstract: 

This dissertation is the account of a group exploration of Sound sSādhanā—an integrated voice and self-study practice designed specifically for research purpose—undertaken as an artist’s spiritual journey over a three-month duration. The purpose of the study was to explore Sound sSādhanā as practice-based spiritual inquiry from a sound yogi practitioner perspective. This research design emerged from two intertwining oral teaching traditions: Indian music foundational voice cultivation practices; and Nāda Yoga, the path of exploring consciousness through sound, vibration and resonance. Ontological themes of dual and nondual, identified self and transcendent Self, informed the journey, the language, the voice techniques, sound forms and mantric compositions of this inquiry. The voice was the medium of exploration, and voice cultivation was engaged as a yogic path of personal and artistic transformation. Through voice cultivation and re-sounding reflective writing practices, each participant was invited to be a sound Yogi, to study their voice and their practice as a yoga sādhanā, to refine their voice and their personal sādhanās, and to develop witness consciousness to their own person, art, and spiritual inquiry. The research involved a group of six participants as Yogis through a course of individual voice sessions, group gatherings (Satsang), and daily personal Sound sSādhanā practice. The transcripts from the Satsangs along with the written reflections and field notations from each participant’s daily practice, were gathered as a testament to a journey taken and as documentation in support of this research study. Thus, multiple voices re-sound in this dissertation document, which contains the Sound sSādhanā journeys of the six research participants, including the author as researcher, teacher, facilitator, mentor, and Sādhaka (spiritual seeker/ Yogi). This research revealed multiple benefits, including: enhanced creativity, a sense of expanded consciousness, increased self-awareness of body, breath, word and thought; vocal awareness and refinement; enhanced listening; and, increased clarity and organization of thought. This dissertation holds the unique experiences of an oral teaching tradition and reflects the Sound sSādhanā research journey as an invitation to the reader to witness a new form of scholarship within the Yogic paradigm unfolding in the area of art, education, and spirituality. This research contributes to research and education in the field of practice-based spiritual inquiry, sound and consciousness studies, inquiry-based voice yoga practice, and the contemplative arts.

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

Examining social attention and verbal exchange in children with ASD around a high-Interest object during real-life interaction

Date created: 
2021-04-13
Abstract: 

Previous research has demonstrated that social attention is reduced in school-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) when compared with typical developing (TD) children. However, the majority of studies on this topic focused on computer-based stimuli. How school-aged children with ASD attend to social stimuli during real-life interactions is not well understood. The current exploratory study aims to investigate, under the social motivation and CI-distractor framework, how social attention and verbal exchange change in the presence of objects that are of high interest to children with ASD. Nonparametric analysis revealed that the ASD group spent significantly less time viewing the experimenter’s full face than the TD group, and they spent more time speaking than children in the TD group. These provide support for the CI-distractor hypothesis, although future research is needed to confirm the reported pattern of results using an experimental design.

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

Hope for the embattled language classroom: Pedagogies for wellbeing and trauma healing

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-12
Abstract: 

Learning, as it is being increasingly recognized, is centrally predicated upon students’ wellbeing. Research findings indicate that in the instances of wounding and trauma, students’ capacity and ability to learn can be severely compromised. This understanding applies particularly to the immigrant students in the language classroom, many of whom are refugees bringing with them past experiences of privation, violence, wounding and trauma. Since teachers often find themselves wearing multiple hats, not only as an instructor, but also as a friend, philosopher, guide, confidante, and counselor to their refugee and immigrant learners, addressing those students’ trauma with compassion, and employing appropriate pedagogical practices to mitigate their suffering should be of great relevance and inform the teachers’ praxis in the classroom. This dissertation takes an interdisciplinary look at trauma from the vantage points of critical language theories, Buddhist psychology, neuroscience, and psychotherapy, and suggests pedagogies for wellbeing and trauma healing that utilize contemplative ways of education. The practical aim of this dissertation is to support teachers in addressing trauma in their classrooms.

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

The person who arrives: Storying connections between disability studies and educational practice

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-01-19
Abstract: 

I am a disabled scholar, activist, parent, and public-school educator. My practice as an educator is informed by my interactions and activism alongside Autistic/Neurodivergent and other disabled people. The connectivity of social media has created a tremendous opportunity for us to work collaboratively on projects, locally and internationally. My research is situated within the paradigm of practitioner research, and the finely measured attunement and noticings that arise both during and in reflection upon my work with others. Specifically, I am interested in undermining the dominant narratives that suggest disabled people are less than, in order to consider and make space for including alternative perspectives. I seek to understand and respond to disability and disabled children/students/people in our schools and our homes and communities in ways that honour who they already are. I explore opportunities to disrupt the predominant pedagogy around disability within our school systems and the greater society, and as such I work to engage educators (and others) with the ideas of disability studies, drawing upon and amplifying the perspectives and voices of disabled people. What are the opportunities to teach and engage educators (and others) with the ideas of disability studies outside of higher education? My practice, aligned with my scholarship, is political, and I collaborate with other disabled people to shift the conversation about disability so that educators can explore and question ableist attitudes and thus be positioned to become co-conspirators for disability rights alongside their students. My research is a narrative exploration; a weaving of poetry, story, images, and theory that locates me firmly as a member of the disability community. I ask: what are the possibilities for transformation when educators are supported to view disability through a social justice lens that highlights counter narratives of disability, resistance, and pride?

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

Informal spoken language in a mathematics classroom: How high-school students talk about solving for x

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

In secondary mathematics education in British Columbia, written communication is recognized as the dominant form of mathematical language, while little emphasis has been placed on spontaneous, spoken, peer-to-peer language. This prioritizing misses out on the opportunity to see student thinking through their informal speech. The purpose of this thesis is to attend to what students say to each other when they talk about the doing of mathematics in small groups. In particular, I seek to respond to the question, “What informal terms do students use in their spoken language while solving algebra equations in small groups together?” I recorded student conversations as they solved algebra questions, transcribed their discussions, and categorized aspects of their language. I found that students used a variety of terms outside of the mathematics register, terms that demonstrated different implications of mathematics and exhibited singular features of language. Furthermore, I discovered that when students worked with one another, they consistently used metaphorical language to express mathematical operations and objects.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Sean Chorney
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis (Education)) M.Sc.

Vexique: Vocabulary enhancement software for French immersion students

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-01-14
Abstract: 

This dissertation developed and tested online writing analytics software, Vexique, designed to improve French immersion (FI) high school students’ lexical richness by promoting use of alternative vocabulary in phrasing an essay. Vexique’s features were grounded in the Hulstijn and Laufer (2001) Involvement Load Hypothesis for second language (L2) vocabulary acquisition, whereby giving more attention to processing lexical information encourages vocabulary acquisition and retention in L2. Forty-five Grade 12 FI students participated. Students wrote two argumentative essays. Vexique provided quantified feedback of vocabulary and usage on the first essay that afforded making lexical improvements prior to submission. To test effects of the software’s analytics, students wrote a second essay without feedback. Lexical richness increased after learners received prompts about their first essay. Results showed statistically detectable benefits to lexical richness indicated by lexical density and diversity. Results also indicated no statistically detectable difference in repetitive content words in the second essay.

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