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

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An exploration of peer administered academic departments: Towards an intersubjectively mindful leadership paradigm.

Date created: 
2010-04-12
Abstract: 

This dissertation, framed in modernity, examines the connections and interconnections of its externalities and their implications for one dynamic genre of Canadian post-secondary institutions: the special purpose teaching university (née, university college). In particular, the ‘peer administered academic department,’ typical of the flat organizational paradigm of the university college and its reliance on the inherent goodwill of peer administration in the design and delivery of programs, is explored. The distributed leadership of flat organizations manifested in peer administration both originates out of and is vulnerable to modernity’s influences. In the horizontal organization, peer administration relies heavily on the goodwill, collaboration, and cooperation of its members. Hence, conditions and characteristics that endanger relationships, and thus the quality of collegiality, decisions and, ultimately, action, are the focus of a critique of presumptions of egalitarianism. Environments in which radical individualism prevails and rankism is permitted, in concert with modernity’s externalities such as communications technologies, self-governance, and globalism directly impact flat organizations. Commonly held presumptions of democracy, the level playing field, the inclusiveness of Canadian pluralism, the benefits of technology, and the innate cooperation of individuals, are interrogated with a view to uncovering their impact on the peer administration model. Finally, a model of clear leadership is presented as a way of fostering goodwill, developing more effective leadership strategies, and improving the experience and effectiveness of members of peer administered academic departments.

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

On the psychological and physiological foundations of structure in geometry: a study in educational neuroscience

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-04-27
Abstract: 

Perception has structure. Aspects of this structure are relevant for image-based geometrical objects and relations between them, referred to as schematic perception and inferencing, respectively. Perception of geometrical structure, is a specific cognitive function. Without direct perception of structure mathematical reasoning may be inefficient and inaccurate. It is important for mathematics educators to understand the nature of schematic perception and to identify ways in which it can be nurtured in students. The main focus of this thesis is a specific aspect of image-based geometrical reasoning, the schematic nature of geometrical diagrams. The research framework is educational neuroscience. Selected results from mathematics education research pertaining to geometrical reasoning are constrained and informed by selected results from the neurosciences pertaining to the cerebral cortex and cerebellum, and vice versa. These two epistemological domains are integrated coherently with a theoretical framework that draws on embodied cognition and the neutral monism of Spinoza. A cognitive network model of the cerebral cortex enables concepts to be understood in an extensional (i.e., generalized) sense. It may also permit an explication of the distinction between procedural reasoning and conceptual reasoning and a re-evaluation of mathematics education theories of concept formation. However, the extensional concepts of the cerebral cortex are too inexact for mathematical application. I argue that a functional role of the cerebellum is to schematize these extensional concepts of the cerebral cortex, and then these schematic concepts may be understood in an intensional (i.e., abstracted) sense. I suggest there are implications for mathematics education theories of abstraction and generalization. I present the hypothesis that decontextualization in the presentation of mathematical concepts may be a significant factor in the development of students’ ability for schematic perception and inferencing from geometrical diagrams.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dr. S. R. Campbell
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Conceptual change with refutational maps

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-08-05
Abstract: 

The purpose of this research was to explore the effect of studying refutational maps on conceptual change. Refutational maps are diagrams that explicitly present correct conceptions and commonly held misconceptions. A sample of 120 participants was randomly assigned into three groups: a refutational map group, a refutational text group and a non-refutational text group. A posttest was conducted to examine participants’ performance on free recall and learning transfer measures. Results revealed that the refutational map group outperformed the other two groups on the free recall test. On the transfer essay test, the refutational map group outperformed the non-refutational text group but was not statistically detectably different from the refutational text group. On the transfer multiple-choice test, differences in the mean scores of the three treatment groups were not statistically detected. The research also found that need for cognition and logical thinking predicted the acquisition of scientific concepts, and students with lower logical thinking ability benefited more from learning the refutational map. These findings provide an insight into prior research on conceptual change and have instructional implications for incorporating effective cognitive tools in science classrooms.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
John Nesbit
Phil Winne
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Using subordination to teach and learn mathematics

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-07-27
Abstract: 

The practice tasks we find in mathematics are often problematic, both for student motivation and for student learning. Often, nothing is learned because the student is involved in mechanistic repetition. Drawing on the idea that only awareness is educable, Dave Hewitt argues for an approach to practice that avoids thoughtless repetition by shifting the focus of the activity. His subordination tasks focus attention on a more engaging task, while still enabling practice. This action research study involves developing subordination tasks for principles of mathematics 10 students and investigates whether such tasks can be designed and implemented across the curriculum, and used in every class. Six tasks were created and implemented. An analysis of the results shows that in addition to the three characteristics of subordination defined by Hewitt, tasks need to consider the classroom milieu, be accessible, engaging, and relevant, practice an appropriate skill, and provide immediate feedback.

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

Engaging with languages and multiple identities: Portraits of young French immersion Chinese children in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-07-15
Abstract: 

This ethnographic inquiry examines how five young (ages 6 – 8) Chinese children constructed their identities through multilingual, multiliteracy, and multicultural practices. The children attended French Immersion programs in the Richmond school district, British Columbia (B.C.), Canada. A variety of qualitative methodologies was used to document children’s literacy practices and their emerging identities. Semi-structured interviews and field observations were conducted at home, in school and in the community from April 2008 to February 2009. The goal of using these methodologies was to document children’s multi-linguistic biographies (e.g., choice of languages and communicative practices), multiliteracy practices (e.g., the kinds of academic and cultural activities that children engaged in both in and outside of the home), and social relations (e.g., family and peer relations and their emerging identities). The findings from interviews, field observations, and artifacts produced by children were analyzed within the context of current sociolinguistic views of language and identities. The data highlighted that identities among young French Immersion Chinese children is dynamic, complex, and contextualized. The data also offered a perspective on children’s multilingual, multiliteracy, and multicultural practices at home, in school, and in the local community. The results will be of interest to parents, teachers, school policy-makers, and scholars, as they shed light on many aspects of multilingual and multicultural students’ lives in French Immersion in the Greater Vancouver area.

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

Educative leadership: what abides amid change

Date created: 
2011-07-14
Abstract: 

This conceptual study examines a seven year project designed to pursue systemic instructional change in a mid-sized, urban, public school district on the west coast of Canada. The project, which proceeded under the banner of “instructional intelligence,” was co-coordinated by the author and included advisement by an external consultant. Involving a conceptual framework related to the complex systems thinking of Edgar Morin, the dialogue of David Bohm, the communicative action and discourse ethics of Jurgen Habermas, the philosophical anthropology of Charles Taylor and Jean Gebser, the phenomenological and spiritual hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur and Henri Corbin, and the phronesis of Aristotle, this conceptual study seeks to identify the conditions of leadership under which the notion of systemic change will sustain and enhance a comprehensive framework for educative teaching and learning. Sources for the study include the author’s own narratives of experience, which constitute his participant-observer’s reconsiderations of reflective practices, collaborative actions, and dialogic interactions, particularly in relation to the practices of facilitating dialogue and deliberative decision making. Other sources involve hermeneutic, inter-textual, and heuristic comparisons from a wide range of literatures, including frequently-excluded discourses from such areas as medieval and renaissance cosmologies, Rosicrucian alchemy, Goethean science, Waldorf education, and archetypal and spiritual psychology. A rhetorical, heuristic comparison between an evolving framework for educative teaching and learning and an alchemical emblem published in Germany in 1616 is a prominent feature of the study’s methodology. The concept of emergence is central to the study. As a result of a thought experiment that includes narrative, conceptual, dialogical, and hermeneutic methods of inquiry, an enhanced framework for educative teaching and learning and the concomitant conditions of educative leadership emerge during the course of the study. Recommendations are made regarding the sustainability of the focus district’s initiative for systemic instructional change. Though the recommendations apply to the specific case, there is much potential for a more general application.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Geoff Madoc-Jones
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ed.D.

Who cares? Who doesn’t? An exploration of perceptions of care based on the experiences of secondary school students from different economic groups

Date created: 
2011-06-22
Abstract: 

This qualitative study analyzes the perspectives of secondary students from different economic backgrounds and how they do or do not experience care in their schools. A secondary finding determines that the economic status of these same students is often a contributing factor to how they perceive care. The theoretical framework for this study is anchored in the work of Nel Noddings and others who have contributed to the ever-growing body of knowledge regarding ethics of care in an educational context. The main objective of this study was to better understand how students from different economic groups come to define and perceive care. A second theoretical framework is anchored in the works of Pierre Bourdieu for a comprehensive understanding of economic status, Bob Mullaly for oppression, bell hooks, Jonathan Kozol, and Ruby Payne for understanding poverty in an educational context, and Madeline Levine and Suniya Luthar for privilege and the culture of affluence respectively. The study used a grounded theory method and data collection included semi-structured interviews, document analysis, and field notes. The study found that economic status affects student perceptions of care. The research findings describe how students from different economic backgrounds define and perceive care. A discussion of the findings gives possible reasons why one group of students may perceive care differently from another. Since care is (or should be) a central part of education, this research has implications for educators and subsequently for teacher education programs and could enhance the school experiences of all youth regardless of their economic status.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Wanda Cassidy
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

The impact of representations of leadership and literacy on capacity building: A West African case study

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-07-07
Abstract: 

The need to develop sustainable organizations capable of working towards development objectives, including literacy, has resulted in an emphasis on capacity building in the international development community. This case study of a mother tongue literacy program in existence for over 20 years examines how capacity building is related to the representations of leadership and of literacy constructed by Ifè (Ana) people of Togo and Benin. Most of the 41 interviewees are leaders in the local associations, or in the umbrella organization which birthed them. Theories underpinning this study include the theories of représentations sociales (social representations) from French scholarship in social sciences, of leadership, and of literacy and development. One significant finding was that much of the capacity building at the personnel and organizational levels is based on decisions made by technical advisors and/or funders. Nevertheless, Ifè leadership themes are clearly reflected in the choices made by program leaders for personnel development, such as use of the mentorship model for supervisor and coordinator training. The most pertinent representations of leadership to organizational capacity building are competence, creativity, and solidarity. However, in personnel and community capacity enhancement, qualities pertinent to the development of relationships such as patience, faithfulness, caring, and respect are crucial for capacity building effectiveness. Meanwhile, representations of literacy, such as literacy as openness and development, literacy as full participation in society, and mother tongue literacy as a means of preserving the culture, strongly influence the literacy program’s emphasis on community development. In addition, because biliterates are seen as having a responsibility to monolinguals, the program produces translated and adapted development materials among its texts and offers writers’ workshops to program teachers. The data provided by this study discusses leadership and followership qualities valued by one African culture, so is useful to the development or refinement of leadership theories and models, particularly as regards African leadership and leadership in volunteer organizations. It also contributes to further theorizing regarding the relationship between literacy and development. It may also inform training used in cross-cultural contexts. Recommendations for literacy program leaders and other stakeholders in literacy and development efforts are included.

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

"It's a healthy social thing": recreation managers' perceptions of community health promotion.

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-06-30
Abstract: 

This study explored perceptions and experiences of municipal recreation managers to assess the congruency between a health promotion approach and their delivery of community recreation services. Responses gathered through face-to-face interviews and a focus group, indicated that their community development model of recreation service delivery is consistent with many core health promotion values and principles. Emergent themes illustrated how managers viewed their work through a relational lens and believed that authentic leadership development, ongoing collaboration with communities and enhanced positioning of municipal recreation services, have the potential to build the capacity of recreation departments to promote community health. Further interpretation suggested that applying community health promotion models to address social determinants of health could enhance the impact of community recreation services on quality of life. Current practices and recommendations for building community health promotion capacity, may be of interest to municipal recreation departments, specifically, those working with diverse urban communities.

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

"Me Too, I’m an artist": Refiguring aesthetic education

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-07-19
Abstract: 

Who gets to play? This paper addresses the question by examining common forms of aesthetic experience enacted in everyday forms of classroom experience (as viewed through Jacques Rancière’s notion of ‘the politics of the aesthetic’). The purpose of this paper is to build on a view of emancipated learning by linking Ranciere’s notion of ‘intellectual emancipation’ to equally resonant arguments in the works of Ellsworth, Lather, & Bakhtin (among many others). Using movie & theatrical idioms, my story pivots not only on Ranciere’s pre-supposition of the ‘intellectual equality of anyone’, but also upon the view that ‘knowing is nothing - doing is everything’. These two points, brought together, suggest a performative theater that departs not only from traditional/progressive forms of pedagogy, but also from forms of critical pedagogy that would see themselves as the emancipatory solution to the former. Taking Ranciere’s The Ignorant Schoolmaster (literally), I highlight a notion of ‘affordances of equality’ that updates Jacotot’s practice of experimenting in ‘the gap between accreditation and act’. This experimental way of doing challenges the opposition - or rather plays in the gap - between theater and world, imitation and reality, an expert role and a talent imitable by anyone at all.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Suzanne de Castell
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.