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

Receive updates for this collection

The relationship in between mathematics students' self and group efficacies in a Thinking Classroom

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-07-23
Abstract: 

Self-efficacy has been thoroughly studied in its connections to mathematics education and student learning. However, the modern secondary mathematics classroom is shifting towards increased group activities and tasks. The Thinking Classroom model is a particular means of increasing student engagement through group work. As classrooms evolve, group efficacy has become an increasing factor in student achievement. This study is an exploration of the possible relationships between self and group efficacy in a Thinking Classroom. Students were observed during group work and then given a questionnaire to measure their self and group efficacies and any possible variation. A select group of students was then interviewed. After the interview, the results were analyzed for common themes of particular efficacies. The results suggest that the Thinking Classroom model can lead to more positive group efficacy, which then leads to more positive self-efficacy.

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

Making in the classroom: A self-study examining the implementation of a makerspace

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-07-10
Abstract: 

Making is a popular trend that holds many promises for classroom education, the most salient of which is as a vehicle for constructionist learning (Cohen, Jones, Smith & Calandra, 2017). In this self-study, I examine tensions that arose from implementing the makerspace concept in my grade 10-12 alternate classroom. Self-study is an ideal way to explore the application of makerspace in the classroom as it is both improvement-aimed and contributory (LaBoskey, 2004). This study found that my fear and uncertainty that arose in implementing a makerspace in the classroom contributed to privileging of choice and autonomy over other aspects of makerspaces. Self-study helped me to re-connect with my values and beliefs of supporting student empowerment and student autonomy through scaffolded practices. This self-study also highlighted the importance that fear plays in surfacing tensions that need attending. This rich description of one teacher’s experience contributes to the conversation of how to bring makerspaces into the classrooms.

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

More than words: Using qualitative video-recall procedures to contextualize queer couples’ communication and partnered gay men’s sexual communication

Date created: 
2018-06-19
Abstract: 

This thesis contains two manuscripts related to the study of queer couples’ communication. In the first manuscript, I discuss qualitative video-recall procedures as valuable tools for generating contextualized and queer-affirmative understandings of queer couples’ communication. I argue that these procedures address limitations of dominant approaches to couples’ communication research, enabling researchers to attend to important social and political factors that shape how queer couples communicate. In the second manuscript, I use these innovative research procedures to explore partnered gay men’s sexual communication. In this study, three diverse gay male couples had video-recorded conversations about their sexual relationships, followed by separate video-recall interviews. Findings explore how gay male couples collaboratively navigate complex sociopolitical contexts by resisting, creatively modifying, and negotiating dominant sexual scripts. I explore how dominant sexual discourses and interpersonal power dynamics shape these dyadic processes.

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

Building a contemplative classroom for students with anxiety

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-06-19
Abstract: 

This thesis addresses student anxiety in school. Many students feel a deep and chronic sense of anxiety, and this thesis thematizes this topic around the author’s experience as a primary school teacher. The author undertakes autobiographical reflections on her teaching experience and observations about students she teaches, studies the literature on student anxiety, and finally brings all of these into the conceptual framework of contemplative inquiry. The contemplative inquiry framework provides a lens through which to interpret and understand students who are anxious, and moreover, it provides ways of working with anxiety. The thesis presents the understanding that, for students to feel comfortable and safe in the classroom atmosphere, it is vital for educators to help create a classroom that students may feel is positive. The thesis goes into detail on inner work, mindfulness, and living curriculum. The author’s first-person experience of studying and learning in her Master of Education program, as well as autobiographical writing that capture the author’s childhood memories that pertain to the thesis topic, are presented in this thesis.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Heesoon Bai
Department: 
Education:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Design and usage of a private margin on public online discussions: Experiences from semester-long mixed-mode courses

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-03-16
Abstract: 

In the transition from paper-based to web-based document sharing and commentary systems, the ability for readers to respond directly to what they are reading in a private, context-preserving, easy to use manner has been lost. While paper margins have been used for centuries for commenting and developing ideas, web-based systems have emphasized public contributions. This study examined if the loss of an affordance for private annotations could be significant to postsecondary learners. This question was addressed by adding a private “Virtual Margin” to an existing web-based forum used by two classes of Education graduate students, and examining their usage of it over the duration of a complete semester. The Virtual Margin was introduced to students at the start of the semester, but they were not instructed on how to use it to support their work, or given any grade incentive to encourage their use of it. Quantitative traces of students’ activity and detailed qualitative coding of their annotations indicate that several students in each class used the Virtual Margin as an integral part of how they participated in the web-based forum over the full duration of the semester. Some students clearly invested substantial time and effort in their Virtual Margin annotations, even though they knew there would be no reward for, or acknowledgement of, their work from anyone else. Three of the most common uses of the Virtual Margin were to privately record opinions on other students’ notes, to create summaries of them, and create private drafts of notes to post publicly at a later time. Less common uses included reminders for themselves and diary-like personal reflections – which for one student involved a very large investment of effort. Some expected uses, such as self-monitoring, goal-setting and other self-regulatory behaviors, were observed to a much lesser extent.The results of this study suggest that a private, context-preserving virtual margin with a flexible and easy-to-use writing area has some potential to aid students in their learning and public forum contributions. Though a minority of students might use this feature, it is simple to implement and may contribute to time-on-task and student learning.

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

Buddhist understanding and skilful means: Adding depth and meaning to K-12 teachers’ practice of mindfulness

Date created: 
2018-02-28
Abstract: 

With the documented benefits of Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) such as the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, training in mindfulness has become increasingly popular in North America. Recently, MBIs have been developed to advance K-12 teachers’ social and emotional competence, and to support them in dealing with work related issues such as stress and burnout. These interventions are consistent with the relational approach to Social and Emotional Education, where students’ social and emotional competence is augmented by teachers’ personal advancement, and their increased capacity to cultivate caring relationships. MBIs for teachers typically focus on a few elements of Buddhist theory – primarily mindfulness, as well as kindness and compassion training. These foci are to the exclusion of the broader theoretical framework of the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, in which the practice of mindfulness originated. When the practice of mindfulness is divorced from the Buddhist teachings of which it is part, what is arguably lost is a deeper understanding of the conditions that lead to human suffering, and a more substantive means to addressing it – leaving mindfulness at risk for being misunderstood and misused. Within the current thesis, I argue that there are other elements of Buddhist theory (i.e., wisdom and ethics), that are secular in nature, and important to ensuring K-12 teachers receive, and sustain, maximal benefit from mindfulness-based practices. These include teachers having access to (1) trainings included in the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, and (2) ongoing support. Such knowledge and support can enrich educators’ understanding and embodiment of mindfulness-based practices, which will be of benefit not only to their personal wellbeing, but will also help them in their efforts to create caring classroom environments, enhance teacher-student relationships, and support student wellbeing.

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

Starting from now, learning to see: Introducing pre-service teachers to the process of Indigenous education through a phenomenological art inquiry

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-11
Abstract: 

This thesis explores how a practice in phenomenological art inquiry might help pre-service teachers begin decolonizing themselves so they are better prepared to include Indigenous education in their lessons in sensitive and culturally relevant ways. Drawing on a review of literature in the areas of critical pedagogy, Indigenous education, and phenomenology, two central questions drive this research: 1) how might student teacher engagement in phenomenological art inquiry, informed by Ann Curry-Stevens’ framework for transformative education for privileged learners (2007), impact on student teachers’ perceptions of Indigenous peoples and education and help them enact more holistic approaches to Indigenous education that avoid replicating colonial stereotypes? and 2) how might art precipitate the kind of ontological uncertainty necessary for transformative education to ensue? To address these questions, a pre-service teacher education program called Starting from Now, Learning to See was developed to assist participants in acquiring the dispositions and strategies necessary to deliver effective and inclusive Indigenous education to their students. The program exposed student teachers to several examples of political- and identity-based contemporary Aboriginal art with the aim of disrupting their perceptions of Indigenous peoples, while at the same time providing alternate, and arguably more inclusive, versions of the Canadian narrative. In particular, students were asked to undertake a process of phenomenological art inquiry in relation to the art works presented. This process asked them to become aware of their own reactions and responses not only to the aesthetics of each work, but also to the discourses each work introduced, such as the impact of colonization on Indigenous peoples, misrepresentation, and erasure. The program was implemented with a cohort of 30 pre-service teachers in the Professional Development Program (PDP) at Simon Fraser University during five sessions over a 4-month period. A qualitative study using thematic analysis explored participants’ written reflections and a multimodal social semiotic discourse analysis was used to examine participants’ phenomenological inquiry into Indigenous artwork. The findings indicated that learning to engage with art in a dialogic and phenomenological fashion is highly effective in helping student teachers detect and correct gaps in their knowledge by offering them a point of entry into Indigenous teaching and learning that is both contemporary and relevant. There was also considerable evidence of on-going resistance to the inclusion of Indigenous education in schools both from participants, from Faculty Associates and others at the school sites in which their practicums were set, which points to the need for post-secondary institutions to increase their efforts to improve the depth and degree to which they support Indigenous education. In particular, more needs to be done to provide careful instruction, ideally from Indigenous mentors, and ample time for student teachers to absorb and internalise the concepts associated with Indigenous education, especially given that the current structure of PDP embeds this aspect of instruction within larger pedagogical discourses. The study also revealed a pressing need for improved Indigenous education in our K-12 systems, as many students arrived in the PDP with significant self-identified deficits in their knowledge and understanding of Indigenous peoples.

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

Use and perceived effectiveness of multidisciplinary teams to address problematic student behaviour to prevent campus violence in Canadian higher education

Date created: 
2018-02-16
Abstract: 

Case studies of high-profile occurrences of on-campus violence have resulted in recommendations for colleges and universities to implement multidisciplinary teams, called Behavioural Intervention Teams (BITs). These teams serve as a mechanism to collect, assess, and intervene when high-risk behaviours occur within an institution and prevent future violence. BITs have been in operation in the United States for over a decade and, thus this study sough to understand to what degree Canadian institutions have implemented teams. Subsequently, this study was designed to understand the experience of those who serve on such teams and their perceptions of the effectiveness of the practice. This multi-staged mixed methods study distributed online surveys, adapted from previous American surveys (Gamm, Mardis, & Sullivan, 2011; Van Brunt, Sokolow, Lewis, & Schuster, 2012), to all English-speaking institutions in Canada and a representative sample of team members were interviewed. All results were analyzed using the social ecological model which is a recommended approach when conducting effective violence prevention work. Nearly 75% of Canadian institutions have implemented teams, which had been in operation for an average of just over four years. It was found that the larger an institution the more likely the institution was to have a team. The characteristics of Canadian teams did not differ drastically from the characteristics of United States teams with the exception of team function and meeting frequency as Canadian teams had adopted a practice of co-leadership. Without question, team members described the BIT process as being an effective way to address problematic student behaviour as a method to prevent campus violence. Team members attribute the effectiveness to the inclusion of multidisciplinary perspectives within the membership of the team and how the backgrounds of each team member enhanced the ability of the team to appropriately assess and achieve a successful outcome. Despite the process of behavioural intervention being described as effective, team members articulated substantial challenges they experience in conducting their work: (a) team issues, (b) institutional issues, (c) case complexity, and (d) legal/policy issues. Team members also described how participating on a BIT team can have negative impacts on the individual professionally as a result of the additional workload associated with participating on the team. Team members described being negatively impacted personally as the work of BIT caused: (a) stress and fear, (b) interpersonal issues as a result of difficult team dynamics, and (c) negatively skewing their perceptions of the amount of distressed students within the institution. These negative impacts were countered by the overwhelming positive benefits that team members experienced as a result of their participation on a BIT team. Team members described professional benefits as: (a) trusted peers, (b) new skills, and (c) a greater sense of fulfilment within their role within the institution. Overall, team members described participating on a BIT team as enjoyable and held a strong belief that the work of BITs makes a difference within their campus community by maintaining a safe environment and how the work positively affects the student of concern by permitting them to continue their studies.

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

Experiencing mathematics through problem solving tasks

Date created: 
2018-05-07
Abstract: 

Learning through problem solving is an old concept that has been redeveloped as a valuable strategy to teach mathematics. Many teachers feel a tension between the value of teaching through problem solving and the necessity of teaching a prescribed curriculum , often resulting in minimizing the time students spend on genuine problem solving. The purpose of this thesis was to investigate the extent that a mathematics student encounters curriculum while working freely on problem solving tasks. A student in a Pre Calculus and Foundations Math 10 course, which already had a culture of thinking and problem solving, was observed for a 1-month period to see what mathematical content they engaged with through problem solving. Observations, photographs, and notes were taken about the tasks and the mathematics that the student encountered during problem solving each day. The variety of tasks was very broad to prevent students from assuming a problem solving strategy based a current unit of study. Through analysis of the content one student engaged with, it was found that almost the entirety of the Pre Calculus and Foundations 10 prescribed learning outcomes was encountered in addition to both a review of some curricular content from Math 6 through Math 9, as well as exposure to curricular content from Math 11 and 12.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Peter Liljedahl
Department: 
Education: Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Enhancing post-secondary student support and retention: Lessons learned from the storied lives of former first year BDSc students

Date created: 
2018-05-23
Abstract: 

Student retention remains one the most widely researched areas in higher education. However, there exists a paucity of research that has examined student retention through the lens of first-year students who have been dismissed from their institution, particularly within Canadian health-related undergraduate programs. Using a qualitative narrative inquiry, this study explored the lived experiences of 10 former first-year students in the University of British Columbia’s Bachelor of Dental Science (BDSc) program. Informed by Braxton and Hirschy’s (2005) model of student departure for commuter students, goals of the study included investigating students’ experiences as they transitioned into their first year in the program, the influencing factors that contributed to students’ academic performance and subsequent dismissal in their first year of study, and the support mechanisms and resources needed for entering students. Individual interviews were conducted at two separate times with each participant to better understand their challenges and needs as they entered and transitioned through their first year of university. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim to facilitate the thematic coding of emergent themes. Narrative analysis involved an examination of participants’ experiences related to temporality, place, and sociality accomplished through coding, member checking, and researcher memos. Academic under-preparedness, large university class sizes, challenges connecting with faculty, and external influences were identified as factors that contributed to participants’ unsuccessful academic outcome. The social environment for participants was strongly tied to classroom life. Academic learning communities successfully facilitated the establishment of close friendships and feelings of social integration. Disconnection with many faculty members resulted in participants feeling academically not integrated and contributed to lower levels of perceived institutional commitment to student welfare which negatively impacted students’ ability to progress. The existing university student services departments and support resources were under-utilized. Lessons learned from this research have resulted in a greater appreciation for the role that an institution has in supporting its students. Participants’ lived experiences and suggestions have informed recommendations for policy and practice that may assist the BDSc program, the university, and other institutions of higher education in developing more robust, accessible, and visible programming to support student success.

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