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

Receive updates for this collection

An inquiry into the question of Being in teaching: World, Attunement, and the danger of Enframing

Date created: 
2016-02-29
Abstract: 

Heidegger argued that modern human beings have forgotten a more fundamental and originary understanding of the meaning of Being. This forgetting of Being is not limited to lived experience but permeates the history of philosophy and metaphysics. Put simply, modern philosophy (and, for Heidegger, metaphysics) presupposes a reductive understanding of Being as an entity, or an entity with enduring presence, that ultimately limits the possibilities of human thinking and existence. Educational practice and scholarship also operates from this comportment of a forgetting of Being. The following inquiry raises the question of Being in teaching by phenomenologically engaging with three key distinctions from Heidegger’s thinking as each bears upon educational practice. World and attunement, the first two distinctions, are most accessible in Heidegger’s thinking from his magnum opus Being and Time. The third distinction represents a theme from Heidegger’s later thinking on technology, the danger of Enframing. While not exhaustive, each concept interrogates the many-sided question of Being in order to illuminate new possibilities for teaching. The inquiry does not offer solutions but rather traces a path that opens and keeps in tension the question of Being in teaching in order to support further study.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Stephen Smith
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

How and why teachers use real world connections in the secondary mathematics classroom

Date created: 
2016-03-01
Abstract: 

Real world connections are considered to be an important aspect of a mathematics classroom. There is an abundance of literature that expresses how beneficial real world connections are for students. However, there is little literature that looks at a teacher’s point of view: what is a real world connection and how are teachers using these in their secondary mathematics classrooms? This study focuses on the teacher perspective of real world connections by surveying and subsequently interviewing participants within one school district. It can be concluded that there is still no global definition for real world connection, but there are trends that show teachers make connections in order to motivate students, increase their interest, and build skills that can be transferred into the real world, such as collaboration, independence, and communication.

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

Représentations de la formation continue des enseignants de français langue seconde chez des acteurs éducatifs en Alberta

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-12-11
Abstract: 

Cette recherche porte sur les représentations de la formation des enseignants en français langue seconde, spécifiquement dans la zone rurale du nord-ouest de l’Alberta. Elle se propose de mettre en lumière les points de vue de divers acteurs éducatifs concernés, à savoir, des enseignants et des directeurs qui exercent dans cette partie de la province. Dans ce paysage éducatif, où certains défis (tels que la croissance démographique, les nouvelles migrations, la pénurie d’enseignants et leur isolement) viennent entraver le développement professionnel des enseignants de français langue seconde (FL2), la présence d’un centre de formation, le GPARC, essaie de remédier à ces difficultés afin de promouvoir la formation professionnelle des enseignants dans le nord-ouest de l’Alberta. Pour tenter de saisir cette réalité au plus près des acteurs du terrain, nous avons recueilli auprès de ces derniers des données du terrain à partir d’une série d’entretiens que nous avons analysées, selon une approche qualitative. Ces entrevues avaient pour visée la compréhension des enjeux éducatifs que des éducateurs en zone rurale rencontrent lorsqu’il est question de la formation des enseignants en français langue seconde dans un contexte où l’idéal du bilinguisme officiel n’est pas toujours une réalité. En mobilisant les notions de développement professionnel et de représentations, nous avons ainsi mis à jour les discours des acteurs sur le contexte minoritaire du français, en zones rurales; nous avons exposé leurs attentes en matière d’accompagnement professionnel et dégagé leur appréhension du rôle du GPARC dans celui-ci. Au final, cela nous a conduit à formuler quelques pistes de réflexion qui pourraient servir au développement des formations professionnelles pour les enseignants de FL2 en fonction du contexte minoritaire du français, en zones rurales.

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

Exploring barriers and enablers to technology integration into pedagogical practice

Date created: 
2015-12-18
Abstract: 

In today’s post-secondary settings there is an increasing push to integrate technology into the delivery of courses and programs. In spite of technology-rich environments (access to equipment, technical support, etc.), the potential of technology to transform teaching and learning has not been completely realized. The literature suggests that second-order barriers, teacher belief systems, are the true gatekeepers to realizing this transformation and point to the important role professional development (PD) can serve in affecting beliefs. This qualitative case study sought to explore how faculty, who had completed a PD program aimed at hybrid course development, integrated technology and the barriers and enablers they perceived to technology integration. The findings of this study support the notion of a fully integrated PD model, including institutional knowledge building around the affordances and benefits of technology supported pedagogy.

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

Taking an integral and eco-contemplative perspective on the phenomenon of addiction in dislocated societies: Beyond “acceptance” and towards soul-making in non-dual awareness

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-01-27
Abstract: 

This dissertation is an attempt to think more broadly and deeply about the phenomenology of addiction in dislocated societies. It introduces integral philosophy and its approaches to recovery by bringing awareness to what needs to be addressed and added to acceptance based aftercare programs and curriculum development. Based on the proposed philosophical exploration, this dissertation examines and expands the term ‘psychological flexibility’ to include psychocultural diversity and psychosocial integration. The new Integrative Recovery Measure (IRM) is then explored throughout the dissertation. Moreover, this dissertation places the new IRM within the purview of a philosophical inquiry that examines holonic fields of human existence (the total spheres, the ecosphere and the noosphere) and their contact points (non-dual awareness, eco-psychology and soul making, respectively). These contact points become core perspectives that are always within awareness and thus can be used by clients’ post-treatment. They provide a fluid, caring and creative stability when it is needed most in the form of non-dual recognition, a secure attachment to the natural world, inner work, and soul making.

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

Mathematical needs in the physics classroom

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-02-15
Abstract: 

This study focuses on the physics teachers’ views on the difficulties students have in physics that are mathematical in nature. While research in physics education attends to these difficulties, it does not attend to the teachers’ voices in identifying and handling these difficulties. Nine physics teachers, currently teaching at the high school level in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada, participated in my study. I designed two questionnaires that inquired into my participants’ perspectives on the mathematical issues their students face in their physics classes, and possible remedies to overcome the identified problems. The results echo previous research in identifying the areas of difficulty (e.g., fractions, trigonometry), and add particular examples of problems that hinder students’ success. Furthermore, the results reveal that the most common resolution to mathematical difficulties in the physics classroom is to value the understanding of mathematical processes rather than memorizing an algorithm and number crunching.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Rina Zazkis
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis (Education) ) M.Sc.

Using Bourdieu's theory of practice to understand academic under achievement among inner-city students in British Columbia: A conceptual study

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-01-18
Abstract: 

This is a conceptual study borne out of an ongoing practitioner inquiry in which I, as a practicing teacher, am trying to understand, on a theoretical level, why the children at my inner-city school repeatedly underperform in an academic sense in spite of being provided with additional resources. The achievement gap that exists between British Columbia’s inner-city children and their more affluent peers cannot be adequately explained by differences in finances alone, but it has sociological roots, which I explore in this study. To understand the achievement gap I have chosen to filter it through Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice and evaluate the effectiveness of his theory in being able to effectively explain the who, what, where, when, why, and how of this problem, which has been persistent for me as an inner-city educator. I utilized the interpretive approach of hermeneutics to fuse my horizon with that of Bourdieu so as to develop a deep understanding of his theory of practice and its core concepts of cultural capital, habitus, field, and symbolic violence, and their implications for inner-city school children. Hermeneutics permitted me to uncover multiple layers of theoretical evidence that I used ultimately to make an inductive argument that finds in favor of using theory of practice to understand academic underperformance among British Columbia’s inner-city school children. After concluding that theory of practice can be an effective heuristic for understanding the achievement gap, I made a number of recommendations with respect to how it has transformed my praxis (practical action) and phronesis (practical wisdom), and how it can help other teachers who work in British Columbia’s inner-city schools, as well as the students and parents with whom they work.

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

Language, gestures and touchscreen dragging in school calculus: Bilinguals' linguistic and non-linguistic communication

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-01-25
Abstract: 

This research study concerns patterns of high school bilingual learners’ communication when they interact with touchscreen-based dynamic geometry environments (DGEs) during calculus discussion and exploration. Specifically, three research questions are proposed for the study, addressing respectively: (1) the interplay between linguistic and non-linguistic communication, (2) the mathematical competence demonstrated in the activity and (3) the role of the technology for facilitating calculus thinking. Using aparticipationist lens and the theoretical framing of thinking-as-communicating, I provide qualitative video analyses of six pairs of high school bilingual calculus students’ communication by focussing on their word-use, gestures, and touchscreen-dragging actions with DGEs during their mathematical activities. The goal of this study is to identify bilingual learners’ competence during pair-work on mathematical activities with touchscreen-based DGEs.In Part I of the study, I compared two pairs of participants’ thinking in two different types of visual mediators: “static” as those found in textbook diagrams, and “dynamic” as exploited by the use of DGEs. The analysis provides evidence that the participants utilised different modes—utterances, gestures and touchscreen-dragging—of communication. In particular, touchscreen-dragging emerged as a form of gestures for communicating dynamic and temporal calculus relationships. In addition, the studentscommunicated about the fundamental calculus ideas differently when prompted by different types of visual mediators.In Part II of the study, I provide analyses of communication involving four pairs of participants while exploring the area-accumulating functions with touchscreen-based DGEs. Findings resonate with Part I: the students relied on gestures and touchscreen-dragging as non-linguistic features of the mathematical discourse to communicate dynamic aspects of calculus. Moreover, by adopting a non-deficit model and examining the interplay between word-use, gestures and touchscreen-dragging with DGEs, it waspossible to identify bilingual learners’ competence in mathematical communication. This study underscores the importance of considering bilingual learners’ non-linguistic forms of communication for understanding their mathematical thinking. It also presents implications for teaching dynamic aspects of functions and calculus, by arguing for amultimodal view of communication to capture the use of gestures and touchscreen-dragging in mathematical communication. Furthermore, it allowed me to identify new forms of communication mobilised in dynamic, touchscreen environments.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nathalie Sinclair
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Understanding the learning and social gameplay experience of older adults playing a Bingo digital game

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-12-15
Abstract: 

This study examined the social gameplay and learning experience of older adults during four weeks of gameplay using a customised educational digital Bingo game with nutrition and health content. The research design (n=50) used a sequential explanatory mixed methods approach to investigate the experience of this group of older players (60 years and above). This method split the study into two phases: the first phase consisted of four weeks of gameplay and quantitative data collection using pre- and post-tests, while the second phase consisted of post-gaming interviews of selected players to collect qualitative data. The results showed significant improvement of players’ game attitude and social connectedness scores from the pre-test to the post-test. Further support from interview data confirmed these increases. The interview data also shed light on the importance of social connectedness, co-playing, older players’ preferences, and knowledge gained from playing this game. These results were consistent with earlier research studies. New findings included the generation of a conceptual framework explaining the connections among the various themes discovered from the older adult players’ game-playing experiences. This framework also explains how a digital game that offers a relevant objective to older adults (in this case, learning about nutrition and health in a good social co-playing setting) can provide them with a good social and learning experience. In addition, the positive gameplay experience provided to this group of players fostered their engagement in the game, their uninterrupted play, and contributions to digital game development based on their experiences.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Kaufman
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Eco care: Nurturing possibility & resistance within education

Date created: 
2015-11-25
Abstract: 

This research examines moral development in relation to the natural world within three elementary aged children and one public elementary school teacher. This work is based on several ethical starting points: 1) that entities within the natural world have intrinsic value and agency, 2) that we are interdependent with each other and 3) that we should therefore act with humility and caution. These considerations gave rise to a new methodological approach called ‘eco portraiture’, which builds upon questions and lessons arising from direct contact with the natural world so that the more-than-human remains in foreground of the research methodology itself. This work extends Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis (1997) conceptions of ‘portraiture’ as a methodology to also include arts-based explorations of place. This research took place on a weekly basis for a total of two years at a public elementary school focused on ecological education. Two themes regarding moral development were uncovered: ‘empathy’ and ‘belonging’. Empathy took the form of a developing ‘eco sensitivity’ in these students. Central to this type of moral development were particular ways of attending, valuing and listening to the more-than-human. These processes acted as roots for a type of ecological care to grow. Taking these life experiences seriously, this research proposes that young children are not inherently ‘egoistic’ as traditional developmental theorists such as Piaget (1932) and Mead (1934) have argued, learning to extend care outwards as they differentiate themselves from others, rather that they are relational. Phenomenologist Kleinberg-Levin (2008) suggests at this early stage, there is a “reversible communicative relationship with nature” that is working to shape and inform the child (p.61). I argue that if an educator diligently works on cultivating this notion of empathy, there is the potential for the child’s moral orientation not to exclude or background the natural world but rather welcome it as an active teacher. This notion of empathy is then paired with the concept of belonging as feeling part of the human and more-than-human community was essential in building confidence and courage in these children. This appeared to be important in resisting dominant cultural norms that may be working against an ecological care.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Appendix A: Ecoboy-fort.mp4
Appendix B: Bambi.mp3
Senior supervisor: 
Sean Blenkinsop
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.