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

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Fostering well-being with secondary students through a mindfulness and yoga program: A mixed methods study of emotion regulation and perceived stress

Date created: 
2017-11-29
Abstract: 

Mindfulness in schools has emerged over the past few years as an intervention strategy for increasing emotional awareness and emotion regulation and managing student stress. However, in the literature, the affordances and constraints of introducing mindfulness in schools to improve youth well-being has received little attention. This research aims to address this gap by exploring the feasibility and benefits of using mindfulness and yoga to foster well-being (i.e., greater emotion regulation and less perceived stress) among secondary school students. For the purposes of this study, mindfulness is defined as a present-moment, non-judgmental attention and awareness of the ongoing activity of internal and external stimuli. Two phases of this study focused on developing action initiatives for a Youth Wellness Program (YWP) and examining the effects of youth participation on emotion regulation and stress using a mixed-methods convergent design. A collaborative approach to fostering well-being combined participant feedback with mindfulness education to inform the development of a relevant and effective program. Twenty-nine secondary students participated in eight 45-minute mindfulness sessions and eight 45-minute yoga sessions during lunch and after school hours over eight weeks. Four additional weeks of 45-minute sessions that combined mindfulness and yoga were optional and attended by 23 participants. Participants completed measures at three points in time: pre-intervention, during the intervention and post-intervention. It was expected that participation in the mindfulness- and yoga-based program would yield an increase in emotion regulation and a decrease in perceived stress among participants. Quantitative results indicated that an improvement in emotion regulation, perceived stress, self-regulation, mindfulness and perceptions of well-being was observed as a result of participation in the YWP for all participants. There was a negative correlation between mindfulness and emotion regulation indicating that as mindfulness increased difficulty in emotion regulation decreased. The baseline measure of positive youth development (i.e., measures of self-confidence and empathy) revealed that the junior grade level participants had higher than average empathy prior to the YWP while self-confidence was similar between the two grade levels (junior and senior) in terms of comparison. Qualitative analyses of the participants’ feedback yielded eight categories with 21 themes and 107 sub-themes that reflected and provided a deeper understanding of the improvements found in the quantitative data. The implications of these findings for education and future research are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Susan O'Neill
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

At the intersection of identity and the body: One woman’s experience of disability and sexuality

Date created: 
2017-12-11
Abstract: 

This study sought to understand the ways in which the intersections of sexuality, disability, and identity are experienced and understood by one woman living with cerebral palsy. The central research question for this thesis will ask: “How do women with cerebral palsy narrate their lived experience of disability and sexuality?” Through interviews conducted using Arvay’s (2002) narrative method of analysis, a narrative was co constructed to explore the experience of negotiating one’s identity as a sexual being while living with cerebral palsy. A thematic analysis revealed three key processes which facilitated an understanding of one’s self as a sexual being: the identity formation process, the relationship formation process, and the development of a disability identity.This research provides a rich and contextualized account of the intersectional nature of identity and the impact of occupying multiple marginalized positions on one woman’s lived experience with disability and sexuality.

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

Young children’s understanding of angles in a dynamic geometry environment

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-11-27
Abstract: 

Angle is an important topic in geometry. It is a concept that children find challenging to learn, in part because of its multifaceted nature. The purpose of this study is to understand how children’s thinking about angles evolves as they participate in a classroom setting featuring the use of a dynamic geometry environment (DGE) in which the concept of angle as turn was privileged, a concept that does not require a quantitative dimension. Three research questions were proposed for the study, addressing respectively: (1) the different conceptions of angles developed by the children; (2) contributions of the DGE (The Geometer’s Sketchpad) to children’s developing conceptions of angles; (3) the kinds of discourse in which children engage. The participants in the study were 20 kindergarten/grade 1 children (aged 5-6) along with their class teacher. The data consist of video recordings of nine classroom sessions around angles conducted by the class teacher. Sfard’s (2008) commognitive framework was used to analyse the data focusing mainly on her four characteristics of mathematics discourse, which are word use, visual mediators, routines, and narratives. The children’s gestures were also taken as a significant aspect of their discourse. This study highlights the importance of gestures and motion in children’s developing conceptions of angles. It presents implications of considering young children’s embodied forms of communications along with their verbal communication for understanding their mathematical thinking. Extending prior research on children’s difficulties in unifying static and dynamic conceptions of angles, this study provides one way of establishing a relationship between angle-as-turn and angle-as-shape conceptions.

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

Intuition and Education

Date created: 
2017-11-29
Abstract: 

This project seeks to validate the kinds of intuitive experiences many people have, but which get subjugated, neglected, or rejected by institutions of knowledge. In particular, it responds to a scholarly silence about psychic, intuitive experiences like gut feelings, pre-cognition, and 'just knowing,' that are unexplained by hegemonic epistemological framing, which often (inadequately) explains intuition as expertise. Motivated by a desire to make these experiences sensible within an intellectual culture wedded to analysis and objective knowledge production, this research seeks to fill a gap in pedagogical practice in the area of understanding and supporting the intuitive function. Through a review of literature about intuition in philosophy and psychology, I recommend that intuition be conceptualized through an emergent psychological theory, transpersonal theory, that accounts for an extended range of inter-subjective and transpersonal consciousness. The dissertation then turns to the self-help realm, where a genre of intuition development books do the work of educating for intuition that formal educators have not. These books provide a framework for understanding intuition as a psychic sense, and recommend a programme of practice for educating the intuitive function. Intuition is presented as a relational, contextual way of knowing that relies on the coherence of the subject-knower, and the pedagogy for intuition directs practitioners towards transformative self-development.Drawing from Foucault's analysis of ancient practices of care of the self, I argue that the programme of practice for intuition development relies on a framework of the self as being both contingent (thus able to transform), and capable of experiencing connection to realms of non-ordinary and non-discursive consciousness. I suggest that the work to become more intuitive challenges the deceit of a subject's alienation from her context. Intuition development pedagogy contains contemplative and reflective practices that enables non-discursive and 'non'-ordinary experiences of consciousness. A similar programme may be a productive way forward to educating for intuition.

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

Fostering personal growth for counsellors through transformative pedagogy and the learning of an experiential play-based therapy

Date created: 
2017-11-15
Abstract: 

The impact of learning a new experiential play-based therapy on the personal growth of counselling students and qualified counsellors is explored in this study. Extensive research exists on personal growth opportunities for practicing counsellors within the context of group work, personal therapy, supervision and ongoing professional development. However, few studies focus on the integration of personal growth opportunities afforded through the learning of counselling strategies and approaches in counsellor education programs at the graduate level. Addressing this gap, the study draws on transformative pedagogy theory and practice as a way of understanding and fostering personal growth opportunities among both practicing and student counsellors. A qualitative action research methodology was used which draws upon the researcher’s own experience as both counsellor and counsellor educator. Participants, aged 22 to over 65 years, included three students in a full-time master’s counsellor education program, one in a full-time master’s in art therapy program, three students in a part-time master’s counsellor education program, and 10 qualified counsellors at master’s or diploma level working with children and youth in the field. The workshop component of the research, which was based on the principles of transformative pedagogy, involved a training course in Neuroscience and Satir in the Sand Tray (NSST). The interview component consisted of individual in-depth interviews with participants using NSST to elicit responses plus a follow-up questionnaire after the course was completed. The process and the emergent outcomes of the participants' experiences were examined using an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Each interview was video-taped and photographs were taken to document the participants’ process of engaging with NSST. IPA provided insights into how personal growth was experienced and how this in turn emerged as personal growth opportunities, which were both fostered and interpreted through a transformative pedagogical approach. There were two main findings. Most participants reported experiencing personal growth opportunities and these were manifested in a variety of ways. Further, the majority of participants reported experiencing one or more of the many aspects of the transformative pedagogy which foregrounded and afforded their personal growth. Implications for counsellor education are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Susan O'Neal
Susan O’Neill
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

A visual arts educator-researcher’s inquiry into the role of the teacher in an intergenerational arts program

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-11-28
Abstract: 

This study explores a visual arts educator-researcher’s inquiry of the role of the teacher in the development and implementation of an intergenerational (IG) arts program. Two iterations of an IG arts program were implemented in New Westminster, British Columbia with retired longshoremen and 1) 20 homelearners aged 10–11 years, during eight weekly sessions, and 2) in collaboration with an elementary teacher and his class of 24 Grade 3–4 students aged 8–9 years, during ten weekly sessions. The aim of this inquiry is to explore what it means to be a visual arts educator-researcher within an IG learning context and to examine the social practices that underpin the effectiveness of the program. Reflexive analysis focused on reflection in action and on action, drawing on data collected during the study that included observations, interviews and artifacts. The findings highlight a process for deepening our understanding of intergenerational interactions for artistic learning that emphasize equal group status and provide a framework for viewing teaching as a social practice.

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

Exploring the relocation experiences of female indigenous youth in foster care through storywork

Date created: 
2017-09-11
Abstract: 

This qualitative study uses Indigenous Storywork methodology as described by Jo-ann Archibald (2008) to explore the relocation experiences of four female Indigenous youth. Additionally, this study draws on Métis Beadwork methodology informed by Métis Knowledge Holder and artist Lisa Shepherd. This study answers the question, “What stories of relocation are told by female Indigenous youth in foster care who have relocated from rural northern communities and are residing in a Lower Mainland residential program?” Indigenous youth are over represented in the Canadian Child Welfare system as a result of colonization, residential schools, and the removal of Indigenous children from families. There is limited understanding of this populations’ experience of relocation while in foster care. Using Métis Beadwork/Indigenous Storywork methodology, I used beadwork teachings combined with the seven Storywork principles to guide my research and engage with storytellers which include: respect, responsibility, reciprocity, reverence, holism, interrelatedness, and synergy. Findings from this study reveal the youth’s perspective on their experiences of relocation and create space for youth voice in research. Findings may also guide service providers in providing culturally appropriate, effective, and meaningful services to female Indigenous youth in the child welfare system. Findings are presented in three sections: leaving, arriving, and adjusting.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Sharalyn Jordan
Amy Parent
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Long-term perceived outcomes of an integrated curriculum program as it relates to active citizenship

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-09-06
Abstract: 

How should 21st century youth be educated to meet the challenges of work, life and citizenship that will lead to environmental, social and economic sustainability? This is a question many educators have been trying to address for a long time. Although the importance of an education system attempting to address 21st century needs is recognized, it is not clear how to achieve this. This dissertation’s research addressed this issue, asking, “What are the perceptions of a group of alumni from a Grade 10 integrated curriculum program (ES 10) with regard to the effects of the program on their citizenship activities?” A retrospective study utilizing mixed methods determined the long-term effects of ES 10 relating to active citizenship and identified key learning environment program features that alumni believed to be important. Quantitative instruments measured student’s perceptions of their ES 10 learning environment relating various active citizenship components. Qualitative data collection included an open-ended survey and a group interview. The major findings of this study show that alumni believe ES 10 affected their current disposition toward and engagement with citizenship activities, identifying various program elements as having influenced their overall development. Environments where group cohesion is high with regular engagement in student-relevant, hands-on activities and experiences followed by a reflective process were identified as important. Also identified as important in helping students gain skills, beliefs and attitudes that have influenced their adult years were allowing students to have a voice in how the schedule is arranged, what sorts of activities they might choose or how their work may be assessed.

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

The persistence of second and first class power engineering distance education students at BCIT: A grounded theory approach

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-09-07
Abstract: 

This study was designed to investigate persistence of 2nd and 1st class adult power engineering distance education students from a qualitative paradigm. Existing literature did not offer a suitable explanation and understanding of the observed experience. This study seeks to contribute to the literature through an investigation of learner characteristics, internal as well as external and psychological outcomes manifested as satisfaction and stress. In addition career goals as well as anticipation of financial reward was investigated. A pilot study involved three persisters, and a further twenty persisters participated in the main study, conducted in the British Columbia Institute of Technology Power Engineering Department. Charmaz’s version of a grounded theory methodology was employed. Qualitative interviewing through in-depth individual interviews was the method of data collection. A theoretical sampling approach was used to identify participants for the pilot study as well as for main study. Findings indicated that age seemed to be associated with some factors. One group, in their early twenties and late thirties, made their decisions about pursuing 2nd and 1st class power engineering courses based on the influence of a family member or members that were involved in the power engineering field. A second group of participants, in their early forties to late fifties, often chose to pursue 2n and 1st class power engineering courses because of encouragement at the workplace, or to secure better job opportunities and more quality time with family. Students who persisted in the program had a variety of educational backgrounds, though most did have prior postsecondary education, either in the form of a one or two-year diploma or degree. The proposed model of persistence of 2nd and 1st class adult power engineering distance education students incorporates learner characteristics, as well as external and internal factors that converge through psychological outcomes to student persistence.

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

Prosocial activity in a Montessori primary classroom: a case study

Date created: 
2017-09-15
Abstract: 

The purpose of this study was to investigate young children’s prosocial behaviour development in a Montessori classroom context. A longitudinal, single-case study design was employed, using qualitative methods to provide an in-depth understanding of the context and the participants’ experiences. Using naturalistic observations, a group of children were observed for their two pre-kindergarten and one kindergarten years in a multiage classroom. A traditional Montessori primary classroom was selected for the program criteria of a larger class size and a small teacher-to-student ratio. Results demonstrated that the smaller teacher-to-student ratio contributed to the available opportunities and the perceived need for students to enact prosocial behaviour, particularly in helping each other with curricular materials. The teachers modeling concentration and precision while demonstrating use of the Montessori curricular materials led to students reproducing this activity, establishing a classroom work ethos that grew along with students’ increased mastery of material work. The students also reproduced prosocial actions modeled by the teachers, becoming integral and effective contributors to classroom management. I explain the relationship between the children’s increasing curricular mastery and their prosocial activity using a community of practice model. In this model, the students’ progress is explained by their shifting membership and legitimate teaching experiences within their community of practice. These findings have implications for the social value of a well-planned and precisely delivered curriculum for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten aged students in a Montessori multiage classroom. Previously reported social and academic drawbacks of multiage classrooms were not found in this classroom. Additional practical and theoretical implications are discussed.

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