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

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Finding Wonderland - Artistic identity as a way of being

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-18
Abstract: 

As playwright and actor, through the integration of performative and embodied forms of inquiry that embrace autobiographical writing, I explore my history as an artist, and reflect upon the importance of the arts in my life. Performative Inquiry invites the researcher to attend to significant moments that occur through creative action. Embodied Inquiry helps us deepen the connection to our bodies, utilizing them in research through writing, moving, listening and being. Both forms of inquiry use the body, the imagination and personal experiences. By reflecting on those experiences and being awake to those individual moments, we can gain great insight into who we are as artists and educators. In presuming academic identity to be separate from artistic identity by assuming the role of “teacher”, even that of “music teacher”, I lost the identity of artist. The absence of artist created tension as I thought I had to choose between one or the other. After less than five years of teaching, the disconnect between the artist I was and the person I was becoming, continued to grow. I experienced an absence of artist and I had to find her again. I performed my thesis as a one woman show, with a reflective written piece exploring the shift in thinking necessary to re-imagine myself as both artist and teacher. Throughout the process, self-sabotage and self-doubt were at play.

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

A critical analysis of Mexican migrant farm workers in British Columbia: Language, oppression, and resistance

Date created: 
2018-12-13
Abstract: 

Migrant farm workers have come to Canada through federal programs since 1966 in response to socio-historical conditions here and the sending countries. While Caribbean workers speak, read and write in English, most Mexican workers' main language is Spanish, besides native languages. Very few Mexicans speak English. Despite language proficiency in English, racist and abusive practices have played out in the experience of many Caribbean and Mexican migrant farm workers. The federal programs that allow Canadian employers to hire these workers are part of an exclusionary system that resulted in the commodification and marginalization of migrant workers that come from the Global South. A second consequence of such programs is the imbalanced power relationships that materialize in daily experiences of racism and abuse for most Spanish-speaking migrant workers in an English-dominant society like British Columbia. Governments negotiate the contract for these workers and do not include language proficiency in English or French for workers from Spanish-speaking countries as a requirement to work in Canada. In addition, the federal government neither provides services for migrant farm workers in their own language nor offers them any possibilities to access language education while in Canada. This study focuses on the experiences of racism and exclusion that a group of Mexican migrant agricultural workers in BC face in their daily interactions with Canadian society. It also describes some strategies these workers, as "non-legitimate" speakers, have created to deal with such practices in an English-dominant society. I explore how concepts like race, racism and the racialization of “the other” work in conjunction with other theoretical conceptualizations such as social space, language, power and discourse to understand better the vulnerability of many workers to exploitation and exclusion in BC. This analysis provides ways to understand how language has turned into a strategy to deal with racist discourses and social practices in Canada. In other words, language becomes a site of oppression for many workers in BC, while it turns into a site of resistance for a few of them. This study fills the gap in the literature of analysis of migrant farm workers in BC from a theoretical framework that relates to issues of race, language, and power.

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

Dehumanization in the workplace

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-08
Abstract: 

Workplace stress is often referred to as the epidemic of the century. It is so normalized within our society that it often goes unrecognized and unquestioned. This study describes and explores the phenomenon of workplace stress. This study looks at some of the key factors, such as overwork, being undervalued in the workplace, and emotional labour, that contributes to workplace stress. This study makes a case that workplace stress is a cloaked phenomenon for dehumanization. The research starts with theoretical overview of dehumanization through different theoretical constructs, such as instrumentalism and moral disengagement, and also through Haslam's and Montague's models of dehumanization. The theoretical explorations here consider how we have allowed ourselves to become dehumanized and how we have allowed others to be dehumanized. The study then looks at how dehumanization shows up in the workplace. From there, it takes a historical perspective, and considers how successive industrial revolutions resulted in the current forces and pressures that insidiously dehumanize workers in the workplace. The study then moves to ways we can recover, in a more systemic and conscious way, the human dimension in workplaces, and build and develop caring communities through leadership-facilitated positive changes. It offers different perspectives on how one can cultivate awareness of self and expand one's sense of one’s own humanness. Finally, this study focuses on the outer direction and examines the collective work experience and attempts to answer the question: How does an organization shift to be an organization that is humanizing.

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

Exploring reflective practice and intentional response with teachers: Implications for wellbeing in the classroom

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-02
Abstract: 

This qualitative study explores teachers’ use of reflective practice and an intentional response cycle to help guide their responses to unexpected and/or challenging events in the classroom. I refer to the relational approach to intentional response and reflective practice as a reflectiveresponse cycle. This cycle brings together two areas of research that have tended to be treated separately in relation to research on teaching practice: effective coping skills and reflective inquiry and practice. Drawing on a reflectiveresponse cycle, teachers learn to engage in a simple and accessible process that can assist them in feeling more present and in control of their reactions to unexpected and/or challenging events that arise in their day-to-day interactions with students in the classroom. The focus of the literature review is research on reflective inquiry and practice, as well as an exploration of related concepts that impact teacher wellbeing, including the construction of one’s sense of self, mindful awareness, and compassion. A phenomenological method was used to examine, understand, and describe the lived experiences of nine teacher participants as they engaged with the reflectiveresponse cycle over a 4-month period. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore the contextual meaning of the participants’ experiences before and after their interaction with the reflectiveresponse cycle. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Thirteen themes and three subthemes were identified. These themes and subthemes are represented under five categories: 1. Critical reflection: Insights (Questioning Beliefs and Teacher Identity) and New Perspectives; 2. Mindful Awareness: Presence and Shifts in Practice; 3. Compassion: Open-Hearted and Open-Minded; Teacher Wellbeing: Optimism, Gratefulness and Agency; 4. Mentorship: Guidance, Probing and Challenging, Encouragement, and Outcomes. Two overarching themes, Connection and Growth, emerged through this process. The findings indicate a need and a desire on the part of teachers for reflective practice and intentional response education and professional development. Many of the participants spoke of ending their school day feeling the burden of guilt from unintended reactions toward challenging situations in the classroom. They found their engagement with the reflectiveresponse cycle to be beneficial in relieving their sense of guilt, replacing it with an improved sense of connection with their students. Implications for educational practice and future research are discussed.

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

Parents’ perspectives on bullying: How do they understand and respond to their children’s victimization in elementary school?

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

When young children are bullied, the parents who care for them are also affected. Yet their experiences are understudied. This qualitative phenomenological study explored elementary school bullying from the parent’s perspective. In-depth interviews were conducted with six mothers to explore how parents understand bullying as well as to gather descriptions of their experiences supporting their children and interacting with school personnel. Three inter-twined themes emerged from the phenomenological analysis: “personal responsibility”, “difference” and “isolation”. Parents in this study tended to take on a high degree of personal responsibility for their children’s social plights and strongly felt their role was to support their children and stop the bullying. All the children were diagnosed or had a suspected diagnosis of ADHD, anxiety or a learning disability. Parents indicated that their child’s difference and inability to fit into the school environment made them vulnerable to bullying. Parents experienced feelings of isolation as they tried to fulfill their parental responsibility. Although the findings suggest these parents were concerned with their children’s ability to feel a sense of belonging at school, in communicating with school personal about the bullying, they avoided expressing concerns about belonging and focused on individualistic interventions for themselves and their child. This suggests that educators build awareness and dialogue about the power dynamics that play out between parents and teachers, and amongst children who are perceived as different.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Lucy Le Mare
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The work of learning: The stories of a group of undergraduate university students

Date created: 
2019-04-15
Abstract: 

The research presented in this thesis was in the form of a qualitative inquiry into the perceptions by a group of senior undergraduate students of their learning processes and experiences in the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at Simon Fraser University (SFU). The research goal was to explore what students understood of their learning and their lives as learners. The research aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of the ways in which students approached learning tasks, their awareness of study tactics, their styles of working, and their use of particular practices, tools, and routines. The research invited senior year FHS students to describe and reflect on the ways in which they cultivated and developed their approaches to learning and study and how they regarded the various learning environments they had experienced during their time in the FHS. It also elicited students’ thoughts about self-regulated learning, quality teaching and meaningful assessment, and the degree of confidence or enthusiasm they brought to learning challenges. They were also asked about their orientations toward further learning or about learning outside formal institutional structures. As the research for this thesis progressed through the series of interviews, it became evident that the participating students led very full lives beyond their work at the university, and that their work in learning and their views of the nature of knowledge and the scope of the field of health sciences were all affected by their overall life circumstances and experiences. The research found notable students’ abilities to balance and manage their competing priorities and effectively align their complex “life spaces” with often demanding academic requirements. The study’s findings suggest that improvements to students’ experiences in university learning require that those involved in curriculum and program design, learning supports, and general student services, give serious consideration to the remarkable diversity of students’ lives.

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

La pluralité des identités francophones et l'école en milieu minoritaire en Colombie-Britannique : des identités individuelles à l'identité collective

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-08
Abstract: 

La mobilité de la population francophone de la province entraine dans son sillage une mouvance de l’identité francophone en Colombie-Britannique (CB). Elle conditionne et façonne, au gré des migrations et des fluctuations économiques, les conditions d’appartenance à cette communauté en même temps que celle-ci se construit et se définit. Dès lors, la communauté francophone de la CB se caractérise par sa diversité culturelle et linguistique, ainsi que par son taux élevé de bi/plurilinguisme. Dans un contexte où l’école est considérée comme le principal moyen de lutte contre l’assimilation linguistique et comme outil privilégié de transmission identitaire, il est nécessaire de définir et d’analyser, voire de redéfinir le rôle de l’école de la minorité ainsi que ses acteurs éducatifs dans un environnement pluriethnique, plurilingue et multiculturel. De nature qualitative, cette étude de cas repose sur une série d’entretiens compréhensifs de groupes et individuels, avec des élèves de 17 à 19 ans, des enseignants, des conseillers, des aides pédagogiques, des services spécialisés et des administrateurs de trois écoles secondaires francophones en CB. L’objectif de cette recherche a été de comprendre la complexité des liens entre les usages linguistiques et culturels des élèves et la construction identitaire en contexte minoritaire francophone d’aujourd’hui. Notre exploration se place dans la perspective de prendre en compte la pluralité de l'identité francophone des élèves comme un atout pour les apprentissages scolaires, un renforcement de la vitalité, et une construction de l'identité collective de la communauté francophone minoritaire. Cette recherche a ainsi montré que si l’école a le souci d’assurer une plus grande inclusion des élèves bi/plurilingues et anglophones, elle est davantage préoccupée par la diversité culturelle qui change le visage de la communauté francophone de la CB. L’école francophone de la CB en est à interroger la notion de francophone afin de changer ses représentations traditionnelles d’une communauté francophone imaginée encore très présentes dans l’imaginaire, au profit d’une identité pleinement civique fondée sur la langue.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Danièle Moore
Cécile Sabatier ; Claudine Brohy
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Science teaching that matters: Conceptions and experiences of first-year university students

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-09
Abstract: 

This study is holistic, empirical, interpretative, and empathetic in its nature. It is holistic because I was interested in viewing a broad, background picture of good teaching, not only through the overall institutional goals and specific curriculum outcomes, but also through becoming more fully aware of the student participants’ distinct personal lives, their extracurricular activities, their volunteerism, and their work commitments. The study is also empirical because it focused on students’ experiences with teaching and learning occurring in both physical and educational environments of Simon Fraser University (SFU). It is interpretative because it aimed to observe, understand, and portray the meanings of interpretations of students’ experiences. Finally, the study is empathetic in its nature because it is concerned with students’ conceptions and perspectives as well as their opinions and emotions. The research presented in this thesis describes first-year students’ experiences with science teaching received at SFU. It applies qualitative empirical analysis as a research methodology as well as consideration of the pedagogical dynamics and implications for first-year science students. Main themes about good first-year science teaching emerged after conducting comprehensive interviews with eight student participants. The interview findings were interpreted by considering and articulating the meaning of students’ experiences in their first year of study in postsecondary sciences at SFU.

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

Design and evaluation of an online digital storytelling course for seniors

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-15
Abstract: 

The aging population is growing steadily worldwide. At the same time, people are increasingly relying on technology for socialization. Thus, it is important to find ways of stimulating older adults to acquire digital literacy skills, and to foster social connectedness and lifelong learning. Previous research indicated positive results in achieving these goals through a face-to-face digital storytelling course for elders. This thesis describes a project that studied two offerings of a fully online version of the course. The courses ran for 10-15 weeks. Data collected using a qualitative approach included a demographic questionnaire, instructional materials surveys, and a course evaluation survey, followed by individual interviews. Results showed positive and consistent responses regarding the instructional material design, the sense of accomplishment and agency for creating legacy, the desire to continue using this technology, and the benefits of bonding with colleagues and the facilitator.

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

Musical dialogues: Narrative explorations of Buber's ideas of 'Meeting' and 'Living Center' within the creative musical collaborations of a professional singing group and a children's after-school music program

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-01-18
Abstract: 

A major influence in the contemporary understanding of dialogue has been Martin Buber’s seminal book I and Thou, first published in 1923. In this book Buber points to a relational approach in our interactions with others, with nature and with God. In my own daily interactions I have noticed the profound effects of dialogue, particularly in educational and musical contexts. Musical interactions can be viewed as dialogical, with some of the most meaningful encounters (meetings) occurring with a common understanding of music as living center. That music can be seen as the living center, and that we can find dialogical meeting through music is something that is supported by Buber’s philosophy. In exploring moments of meeting and mismeeting, an understanding of how the dialogical values of listening and voicing are realized in musical contexts, and an understanding of the limitless possibilities of dialogue, may be revealed. In this thesis I inquire into the meaning of Buber’s ideas of meeting and living center, and seek to understand how these key concepts can be realized in music making environments.

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