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

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The lifeworld of the high school special education teacher: Voices signified

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-20
Abstract: 

This study seeks to synthesize and communicate a clearer and deeper understanding of the lifeworld of High School Special Education Teachers who work in urban school districts in British Columbia among students who have Low Incidence Special Needs. An autoethnographic approach, involving narratives of the author’s own lived experience, and hermeneutic/phenomenological interpretations of interview transcripts constitute the main methods used for this small-scale qualitative study. Four teachers volunteered to participate by providing interviews for this study; three had teaching experience among students with low-incidence disabilities, while the other was an experienced teacher of students with high-incidence learning disabilities. The contributions of the participants suggest several themes that influenced commonly their feelings of job satisfaction, value, and worth in their workplace. These themes range from administrative support through self-efficacy, role expectations, job demands, autonomy, complexity of student profiles, parent expectations, collegiality, school culture/climate, inclusion, safety and violence, caring, and professional development opportunities. After a qualitative analysis/interpretation involving an inter-source comparison of interview themes with concepts gathered from a review of relevant literature and a conceptual framework grounded in educational ethics and capabilities theory, the results of the study portray the role of high school special education teacher as multifaceted and complex; involving multiple tasks that are often misunderstood and undervalued; and often faced with emergent factors, which, if under-accommodated, can lead to teacher burn out and attrition among highly skilled teachers. Despite suggestions in past research contending that higher levels of education and increases in salary are incentives to stay in the field, these themes were never raised by any of the interview participants.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dan Laitsch
Larry Johnson
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Apoema: Exploring a communally constituted conception of selfhood approach to child welfare through an Indigenous Family Group Conferencing program

Date created: 
2020-07-16
Abstract: 

Canadian child welfare systems can be neatly mapped onto individualistic conceptions of selfhood. This individualistic stance is ingrained in child welfare’s framing of child maltreatment, language, and interventions as connected to parents’ unwillingness or inability to make proper and responsible choices. What follows is a series of adversarial and punitive attitudes and practices that normalize defamilialization and emancipation of children and youth from their families, without taking into account circumstances that precipitate the involvement of child welfare systems in families’ lives and the narrow and/or non-existent avenues for self and social improvement available to them prior to involvement. Based on a previously articulated critique of selfhood, this dissertation reaffirms the need for ontological reformulation concerning the nature of selves, offering the communal self as an alternative. This communally constituted, relational, and historical and socio-culturally situated concept of self, acknowledges the interplay of agency and context from a critical lens. It aligns with Indigenous notions of self-in-relation and Indigenist scholarship and advocacy that for decades have urged child welfare stakeholders for more broadly defined notions of selfhood and family. The communal self also grants a space wherein non-Indigenous child welfare stakeholders can ethically position themselves and engage in ally-ship without disingenuously trying to occupy Indigenous perspectives. Through an exploratory qualitative study of the experiences of families and mentors involved with an Indigenous, community-led and based Family Group Conferencing child welfare program in Winnipeg, Manitoba (MB), this dissertation goes beyond theorical considerations, providing a concrete example of the promise of child welfare interventions offered from a communal perspective of selfhood. Mentors, parents, and community members voices’ enliven the Tupi term that precedes the title of this dissertation, apoema, or “the one who sees far”, compelling us to see beyond the immediacy of what surrounds us, to conceive of ways to recast a more harmonious future, not only for Indigenous but for all peoples.

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

Enjeux identitaires et insertion professionnelle des étudiants-maîtres et des nouveaux enseignants immigrants francophones au sein des milieux éducatifs en contexte francophone minoritaire

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-09-16
Abstract: 

Cette recherche porte sur la construction identitaire des futurs et nouveaux enseignants issus des communautés immigrantes francophones en Alberta. Issus de cultures éducatives et professionnelles différentes, la problématique de l’intégration de ces derniers dans le milieu professionnel éducatif en contexte minoritaire francophone albertain se pose. Notre propos dans ce travail consiste ainsi à examiner le parcours personnel et professionnel de ces futurs et nouveaux enseignants issus des communautés immigrantes francophones, qu’ils soient étudiants-maîtres en cours de formation professionnelle ou enseignants débutants ayant au plus cinq ans d’expérience de l’enseignement en français en Alberta. Nous cherchons plus spécifiquement à comprendre ce que leurs parcours révèlent de leur intégration dans une communauté professionnelle qui vit et travaille en milieu minoritaire. La méthodologie est qualitative et interprétative. L’approche compréhensive qui est la nôtre (l’entretien compréhensif et le récit de vie) permet d’accéder à leur expérience migratoire et professionnelle. L’analyse des discours, axée sur les contenus, met à jour les défis d’adaptation et d’intégration que ces enseignants rencontrent, les stratégies qu’ils déploient, ainsi que les projets migratoires et ceux en lien avec leur insertion professionnelle. Elle révèle aussi et surtout comment l’expérience migratoire et les défis d’intégration professionnelle engendrent une reconstruction de soi qui met en avant « leur capacité d’action » ou leur agentivité, au sein d’une communauté professionnelle qui n’est pas toujours ouverte sur l’altérité. Par la narration de leur histoire respective, les futurs et nouveaux enseignants issus de l’immigration francophone donnent au final à voir une quête de soi investie au profit d’une (re)construction identitaire qui se veut francophone et plurielle. Ce faisant, leurs récits interrogent les fondements de la francophonie albertaine dans la façon dont celle-ci se définit à l’aune des courants migratoires

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

Finding my voice through the arts: Becoming wide-awake to the rhythms of my own drum

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-09-11
Abstract: 

My thesis is an arts-based inquiry into discovering my voice through poetry, narrative, and Korean drum. My fundamental purpose is to examine what it means to reflect on my lived experiences and to bring my poetic voice onto the page, and into the world. I employ multiple methodologies, including poetic inquiry and embodied ways of inquiry in my exploration of identity. My thesis integrates theoretical and artistic elements which include poems, personal narratives, and a reflection on my solo performance with a Korean drum. My Korean drum becomes a pathway and form for an exploration into discovering my authentic inner voice. In addition, I attempt to cultivate a state of wide-awakeness, following Maxine Greene’s concept, by exploring my inner landscapes through these artistic mediums and thereby recreating my authentic self. Finally, I discuss the implications of my work, offering suggestions for educational and creative practice, situating the place of ‘voice’ in each domain.

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

Performing identity at the arts edge: Developing radio memoir through the excavation of living inquiry

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-07-30
Abstract: 

In this thesis, I explore how community radio is a pedagogical and artistic platform that fosters personal agency, memoir, transformation and the unfolding of identity. Within the forum of an arts-based radio program, I witness how music, lyrics, broadcasting and personal reflections merge to inspire the surfacing of life’s lost moments, a collection of personal memories. This discovery evolves into a narrative loop between broadcaster and self, which leads to the excavation and interweaving of music and memory, and the alchemy of the radio tales. To this end, I explore autobiography, my mother’s lived experience and personal agency which unfold to become a storied musical memoir. While my research is largely informed by the scholarly work of Jerome Bruner, Lynn Fels, Walter Gershon, Mary Karr, Karen Meyer, Celeste Snowber, Sean Street, and Maxwell van Manen, it is further influenced by scholars whose work reflects arts and music education and is punctuated by songs and song lyrics. Research data for the radio tales and thesis is generated through several avenues: (1) Performative Inquiry explores how radio surfaces musical soundscape while unfolding musical lost moments that reflect lived experience. (2) Living Inquiry explores how writing a living document alongside radio production inspires the surfacing of lost moments and a collection of twenty-seven radio tales; (3) Acousmatic Modality, explores how reflective listening practices unpack contextual insights of lived experience. New understandings emerge through acousmatic dialogue, is comprised of living inquiry, lost moments. radio tales and one’s musical soundscape. My research reveals that everyone has a living story and a musical soundscape, thereby illustrating the universality of radio tales. Within this pedagogical and artistic platform, community radio acts as a springboard for the surfacing of musical soundscapes, the excavation of lost moments, the alchemy of radio tales and the unfolding of identity. The radio tales are offered throughout the thesis, as text and audio, with attached hyperlinks to redirect the reader to the SFU Repository where the audio files are stored.

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

A proposed methodology for investigating chatbot effects in peer review

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-24
Abstract: 

Teaching academic writing skills consumes a lot of time for teachers. One way to save some of this time and support students’ development of writing skills is to supplement teacher-student interaction with a chatbot. I developed such a chatbot, DD, to help post-secondary writers develop a thesis statement for an argumentative essay and to improve their feedback when in the role of a peer reviewer of classmates’ draft essays. The study analyzes student-chatbot interactions in a lower division course as background for developing methodological procedures that examine students’ engagement patterns with a chatbot. Analyses of student-chatbot data reveal students participating in this study tended to be overconfident about their learning. Furthermore, students reported a positive experience when they conversed with the chatbot. Several pedagogical implications for chatbot-guided writing instructions and uses of learning technology are addressed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Philip H. Winne
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Mathematics teacher tension: Arising in, and through, their attempt to change practice

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-07
Abstract: 

While much research is devoted to what it is teachers do, there is far less known about why teachers do the things they do. This is particularly true in the area of mathematics teacher change where, despite an abundance of literature on ways to think about and facilitate change in mathematics teaching practice, a lack of meaningful change in practice is an ongoing concern. This dissertation explores this gap through a qualitative analysis of tension experienced by fourteen teachers engaged in implementing change in their mathematics practice. Viewing teachers as tension managers whose actions are shaped by an undercurrent of uncertainty, offers insight into the ‘why’ behind their actions; it allows for a focus on the process of change in practice, rather than the product. The study uses theoretical constructs of teacher change and teacher agency to position teachers as arbiters of change, responsible for their own growth. Using a hermeneutic phenomenology approach, data collection was conducted in three distinct phases and comprised interviews with, written reflections by, and classroom observations of, groups of teachers at various stages of change. Using a form of emergent coding, data was first analysed for contexts which held potential for change. These were then re-examined for tension using emotion and hedging as indicators of uncertainty. The results indicate that teachers experience internal and external tension that can both trigger and impede meaningful change in mathematics teaching practice. This is dependent not only on the context, but also on the quality of tension, as two types (useful tension and productive tension) are identified and explored for their potential to impact change. Furthermore, the data supports the view that managing tension in change is an agential response. Two management strategies are articulated: living with tension and resolving tension. Finally, the presence of unacknowledged virtual tension was hypothesized as an impediment to the achievement of meaningful change.

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

Classroom teachers’ perspectives of school-based team (SBT) practices in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-06-03
Abstract: 

Classroom teachers today maintain a powerful role in educating an increasingly diverse student population in the midst of changing socio-political climates, educational policies, and limited economic funds. Balancing the need to support students who may have special needs to achieve their individual potential, amidst this context can be challenging for many teachers today. In order to alleviate some of the challenges and pressures teachers face in educating diverse student needs, school-based teams (SBTs) exist in many schools in British Columbia (B.C.) to support teachers with developing the necessary instructional expertise and to identify potential special needs in students. Despite the purpose of SBTs, many classroom teachers report that school team practices are ineffective and largely disconnected from the practical realities of teaching diverse students (Doll et al., 2005; Lane, 2013; Young & Gaughan, 2010). To understand teachers’ experiences and perspectives of SBT practices in the specific context of a large and diverse school district in B.C., I interviewed 15 elementary teachers who had previous experiences teaching students with special needs in the classroom and who had referred their students to SBTs. In their interviews, classroom teachers’ responses uncovered a dissonance that exists between SBT policy and practice. In analyzing their interview responses, I found three key themes: (a) The instructional recommendations made by SBTs are ineffective, (b) There is a lack of funding and resources to implement SBT decision outcomes, and (c) Classroom teachers’ professional judgement was not given the consideration it deserved by SBT members. By using key ideas from Ball et al.’s (2012) conceptual framework for policy enactment to illuminate the findings of this study, I conclude that the “material,” “interpretive,” and “discursive” components of policy enactment play an important role in revealing why tensions exist between SBT policy and practice. The findings of this study suggest that the special education practices in the Rosendale School District need further attention.

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

Continuities and transformations in the practices and narratives of religious identities and literacy development: Bangladeshi Hindus in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-19
Abstract: 

Bangladeshi Hindu diaspora in Canada is a new phenomenon that requires careful observation to learn about their identity formation and literacy practices in relation to their religious affiliations and practices. Identity formation, and literacy and integration practices of diasporic communities have been the focus of multiple studies for some decades. Past social, ethnic, and literacy experiences of immigrants significantly influence their integration in a host society. Drawing on theoretical concepts such as religion-as-social-capital, the role of religion in identity formation, New Literacy Studies, and the Continua of Biliteracy, I document the relationship between religious affiliations and language and literacy practices of seven recruited Bangladeshi Hindu families in GTA (Greater Toronto Area) Canada. This is an ethnographic interpretative study that employs multiple data collection and analysis approaches. Interviews, observation, photography, and reflective tasks were used to collect data. For the analysis of multi-layered data in this study, a combination of analytical approaches was used: grounded theory, narrative inquiry, Critical Discourse Analysis, and situational analyses. The findings suggest that religious affiliations and practices shelter and bind the participants in their new country, contribute to their overall integration into the host society, and work as resources for their literacy development. The findings should not be generalized as the number of participants is very small and individual stories might vary. This study aims to empower language and social studies teachers to initiate dialogues on cross-cultural and cross-religious issues to promote democratic citizenship in public school and adult learning systems in Canada.

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

Perceptions and applications of maker-centered pedagogies in K – Grade 12 ADST and STEM education in BC public schools

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-30
Abstract: 

The researcher surveyed 97 British Columbia ADST or STEM educators concerning their understandings and perceptions of maker-centred pedagogies, and their willingness to apply these approaches. Questions addressed current applications of maker-centred pedagogies in public schools, and the major factors that affect the implementation of maker-centred approaches, including the characteristics of maker-centred pedagogies, the tools and resources used in making activities, and the strategies that support maker-centred approaches. Findings from qualitative and quantitative analyses suggest that most respondents favored maker-centered pedagogies, and that maker-centred pedagogies are being implemented most often in secondary STEM classrooms, though least in Mathematics. Teachers report using both high-tech digital tools and low-tech and traditional tools in making activities. Concerns raised by respondents, but rarely mentioned in literature on making, are student safety, having sufficient physical space for making, fostering appropriate attitudes toward making, and a need for additional teacher training in this area.

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