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

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Conceptualizations and challenges to care: A case study of primary teachers' experience of caring towards students in an inner-city school

Date created: 
2016-04-07
Abstract: 

This qualitative study investigates how primary teachers at an inner-city elementary school conceptualize and enact care towards their students. This study uses a case-study methodology, based at one school site in British Columbia, and employs both focus group discussions and interview strategies. The school is designated inner-city since it serves a substantial number of students living in poverty (23%). The four teachers involved in the study stressed the importance of developing strong and attentive relationships with their students; this included dialogue with students and listening attentively to their needs, interests and experiences. The study also showed that teachers enact care through modeling caring relationships to their students. The teachers identified a number of challenges to care: these included cultural, socio-economic and language differences between the teachers and their students, the transient nature of the student population, the lack of support and funding from the school district for the diverse learning needs of the students, and opposition and suspicion from many of the parents who either did not value education or who had had negative school experiences of their own in the past. While each of the teachers considered caring to be central to their teaching and engagement with their students, they did not see the caring relationship extending to caring for the parent population. The teachers’ conceptualization of care aligned partially with Noddings’ view about care as relationships and the importance of fostering care through dialogue and modeling. Less attention, however, was given to Noddings’ focus on practice and on confirming care in others. Each of the teachers noted that while care towards primary-aged children in inner-city settings was challenging, there were also many rewards, including deep and emotional connections made with the students in their care and an understanding that their care was making a positive difference in their lives.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Wanda Cassidy
Ann Chinnery
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Brave creatives: research partnerships between universities and companies in the creative sector

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-03-14
Abstract: 

This study examines the opportunities and challenges of research partnerships between universities of art and design and companies. Using qualitative phenomenological research methodology, fifteen interviews were conducted with university faculty, company directors and government research-funders.The study’s findings indicate that while universities of art and design have become more willing to form partnerships with companies, this relationship is underpinned by two significant incentives. First, the importance of government funding as an enabler of university-industry research partnerships cannot be understated. Second, there is a significant driving force for businesses to source talent and hire students and university graduates. Also evident in the results of the study is the shifting cultural gap that exists between universities and companies. This cultural gap begins with a weighty disparity in objectives. Companies are driven by product cycles and profits and seek to protect research results, while universities are driven by societal needs and seek to create and disseminate new knowledge. Despite the cultural differences, this study shows that the university community is gradually adopting the attitudes and values of the business community. There is a growing presence, and quite possibly dependence, on commercial activities such as university-industry partnerships, which support the corporatization of universities. Yet, despite their differences, the majority of study participants from universities, companies and government funders regarded their research partnerships as sustainable models of innovation. An indisputably collaborative endeavour at best, university-industry research partnerships unleash talent and spark innovation. At worst, they undermine academic freedom and impede curiosity-driven research. While focused on university-industry research partnerships, this study raises issues far beyond universities and companies by offering a glimpse into the inescapable contagion of public-private partnerships within public institutions.

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

"Meandering into Meaning: A teacher's reflection on the pedagogy of wandering"

Date created: 
2016-03-03
Abstract: 

I began going for a series of walks during my Arts Education Master’s program that permanently changed my view of the act. I came to see this type of reflective walking as Wandering, which I define as walking that becomes pedagogical in its imaginative call to slowness and reflection. Much of learning seems to be conducted as a hurried affair. This timed approach to learning, and the stresses it brings, is what brought me to the autobiographical examination of the possibilities of wandering as reflection. I begin with a look at historical connections between walking and thinking. I then discuss my modes of inquiry: narrative, poetic and performative. Next is an embodied textual wandering that places the reader on the journey with me, followed by a conclusion and a look at the texts that inform my perspective as an appendix.

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

Impossibility Aside: Clowning and the Scholarly Context

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-03-14
Abstract: 

This dissertation presents snapshots of the author’s ongoing living, embodied inquiry, which seeks to blur boundaries between her identities as a clown and as a scholar. Rather than documenting finalized “data,” this dissertation accompanied the author as she spiraled through the possibilities of bringing clown and scholarly practices together. The dissertation was written in, through, and as an element of the process of engaging scholarly and clown practices in ways that deepen, extend, challenge, and inform one another. By bringing clown and scholarly practices together, the author has identified four foundational principles that make up a particular “clown epistemology,” which may be used as an approach in educational contexts, including the context of scholarship: 1. Vulnerability, 2. Engagement in the “magic space of co-creation,” 3. Multiplicity, and 4. Transgression toward transformation. The dissertation explores ways that these foundational principles might enrich clown and scholarly practices and create the unique approach of a “clown scholar.”At the heart of both clown and scholarly practices lays the possibility of transformation. The author suggests that the foundational principles of clowning support us to put “impossibility aside” and to delve into “the moment of immanence,” thereby revealing and engaging with a widened range of possibilities. While she began by considering how clowning practice could be applied to work done in the academy, the author concludes by seeing the ways that clown and scholarly practices can become mutually informing and reinforcing in order to facilitate unique approaches to teaching, learning, growing, and transforming ourselves, our communities, our societies, and our cultures.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Vicki Kelly
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Unswaddling pedagogy: Imagining a new beginning to the practice of Imaginative Education

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-04-15
Abstract: 

My intention in this thesis is to introduce the concepts of swaddling, non-swaddling and unswaddling pedagogies, and to raise awareness and build trust in the somatic capacities of young children. These somatic capacities should be taken into account within any pedagogical setting and relationship in order to enable a smooth pedagogical transition and transformation from the Somatic to the Mythic Kinds of Understanding (KsU) as conceptualized and described within the theory of Imaginative Education. By emphasizing the pivotal role of the Somatic KU in a child’s learning journey, and by accentuating new and existing cognitive tools (CTs), I seek to connect the as yet theoretically disconnected Somatic and Mythic Understandings of Imaginative Education. Future research should attend to continuing to minimize the losses of children’s somatic capacities through their pedagogical journey.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lynn Fels
Kieran Egan
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

A Landscape of Choices: The Academic Journeys of 15 University Students

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-03-23
Abstract: 

This thesis describes the life experiences of 15 young people as they transitioned from being students in K–12 schools into university and college-level studies. The research was conducted at a regional university located in British Columbia, Canada. The thesis focuses on how the study and career plans of the participants changed directions from high school into university. Specific attention was paid to understanding the various factors that were perceived by the participants as having been significant influences on their plans for academic studies and for future careers. The participants in the study were recruited because they had initially intended to major or focus their studies in fields of science or science-related professions. The interview conversations also explored why some participants had persisted in their pursuit of sciences after entering university while others had decided to change emphasis from science to non-science programs. The interview conversations reveal the complex life spaces through which the students navigate as they developed their university programs and experiences. The interview data also demonstrates that many students currently enrolled in university also engage in significant part-time work and that they have various forms of engagement with their families and communities outside campus life.

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

Regards croisés sur la réussite scolaire

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-02-12
Abstract: 

Alors que de nombreuses définitions circulent pour définir la réussite scolaire, ce travail analyse le discours de divers acteurs scolaires au sein d’un conseil scolaire francophone dans une province anglophone quant à leurs représentations de la réussite scolaire. Ces acteurs scolaires sont respectivement des élèves finissants du secondaire, leurs parents, ainsi que certains membres du personnel de l’école, tels une aide pédagogique spécialisée, des enseignants titulaires et spécialistes, et une direction. Leurs propos, recueillis lors d’entretiens compréhensifs, ont permis de cerner différents éléments qui offrent des pistes de réflexion pouvant éclairer la pratique pédagogique et mettre en lumière les rôles et responsabilités de chacun des acteurs scolaires en vue de favoriser le succès scolaire de tous les élèves.Les participants à cette recherche s’entendent pour dire que la réussite scolaire est unique à chacun : une quête à la fois personnelle et sociale, une projection à la fois utopique et réaliste, propice à la réalisation de soi dans un contexte familial et social, et enfin, un portail vers l’avenir. L’analyse des entretiens permet de dégager trois grands besoins: le besoin d’être, le besoin de l’autre et le besoin de devenir. Les participants ont également identifié plusieurs facteurs intrinsèques et extrinsèques, nécessaires selon eux à la réussite de l’élève, qui amènent à réfléchir sur la réussite scolaire dans le cadre de la construction identitaire de l’élève tout au long de son parcours scolaire, de la place de la relation école-famille dans la réussite de l’élève, et de la notion de leadership éducationnel partagé dans un tel contexte.Au final, des recommandations sont proposées afin d’orienter le mandat scolaire et guider le développement personnel de l’élève ainsi que la formation continue des intervenants scolaires, dans le but de favoriser la réussite scolaire des élèves.

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

Learning and Memory in Virtual Spaces

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-11-20
Abstract: 

Space and context are fundamental factors in cognition which have powerful effects on learning, memory, and recall. Previous studies have shown that changes in the physical context between learning and assessment tasks can degrade recall performance. The research on virtual context effects, however, is scant, especially in the area of learning. Virtual environments are increasingly utilized in educational technology research and application without a careful understanding of space and context. This study investigated the effect of context in a virtual space on learning and memory using a between groups experiment that controlled the use of context changes and the level of immersion in the environment (2D or 3D). It contrasted two existing hypotheses explaining these effects: context-dependence and situational model updating. The results suggest an interaction between the level of immersion in the environment and whether or not a context change occurred.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kevin O'Neill
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

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.