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

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Learning and teaching visualization tasks in secondary mathematics classrooms

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-14
Abstract: 

In the new British Columbia’s Mathematics curriculum, students are expected to “visualize to explore mathematical concepts.” Although research shows that spatial skills can improve with targeted intervention, oftentimes these skills are considered to be difficult to transmit and to assess. In this study, students in Mathematics 8 and Mathematics 9/10 classes engaged in visualization tasks inspired by Caleb Gattegno’s practice. They imagined a scenario described by the teacher, drew a sketch of the scenario, and discussed their solution with peers. Through drawing, the students developed strategies including showing hidden edges of three-dimensional shapes, and stepwise rotation of shapes and learning how to draw loci. Through discourse, they stated conjectures and arguments, applying their own mathematical agency. Students developed awareness of definitions, conventions and properties of shapes and the ability to consider multiple constraints of task and to generalize. Additionally, they developed awareness of their own and their peers’ thinking.

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

The learning virtues: Chinese cultural dispositions and student success

Date created: 
2020-04-15
Abstract: 

Internationalization in Western higher education, especially given the large number of students coming from China, requires an understanding of culturally-informed learning dispositions. Learning challenges and cultural strain are the foci of most of the existing research, however these foci do not sufficiently illumine the positive and often outstanding educational outcomes these international students attain. This phenomenological case study explores the experiences of eleven Chinese international students in an undergraduate dual degree program of Simon Fraser University and Zhejiang University, investigating the qualities they share which dispose them to perform well academically. An analysis of three sources of data, namely, (1) autobiographical descriptions of student participants’ learning histories, (2) interviews with student participants, and (3) interviews of two faculty members, reveals six key learning dispositions driving these students earnestly, strategically and proactively toward academic excellence. With “Enterprise” and “Resolve,” they set high standards and aspirations as their learning goals, and pursue these goals with diligence. In the process of academic learning, “Concentration” assures full engagement in learning tasks, while “Perseverance” helps them endure learning hardships. “Humility” has them temper their self-satisfactions in order to be ready to learn from their teachers and peers. With the disposition of “Responsibility,” learning to the best of their abilities fulfills family expectations and connects their actions to intended futures.These learning dispositions are rooted in the Confucian learning tradition. They reveal the moral dimension to the learning. This study thus charts a new line of inquiry, one based on taking an emic, insider perspective on the internationalization of higher education, that promises to enrich our understandings of learning beyond knowledge construction and competency development. The findings will also inform current and potential Chinese international students, and their host Western universities, how and why these students are able to excel in their studies. Some practical recommendations for supporting these international students are drawn from the study data.

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

Perspectives on the competency-driven reform in British Columbia: A case study of the science teacher education program at SFU

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-01
Abstract: 

This case study is situated in the context of the new concept-based competency-driven curriculum implemented by the province of British Columbia. Implicitly embedded in the resurging movement of competency-based education (CBE), the educational reform emphasizes not only the curricular content but also core and curricular competencies. Many studies relate that education stakeholders’ theoretical and practical understanding of the reform itself is crucial for a successful implementation. Therefore, interviews were conducted to obtain pre-service teachers’, school associates’ and teacher educators’ theoretical and practical understanding of the reform in the context of the teacher education program at Simon Fraser University. By doing so, this research informs the discussion on BC’s redesigned curriculum, and consequently facilitates a successful implementation.

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

Development of an integrated heuristic model of shame-rage cycle: A narrative review with implications to case formulation

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-02
Abstract: 

Anger and shame are individually explicated through intrapsychic, interpersonal, and emotional-motivational processes. The phenomenon of shame-rage, a common psychological defensive strategy, is described and illuminated as an unconscious avoidance mechanism that involves maladaptive expressions of anger and shame separately. Shame-rage strategies are empirically found in individuals who exhibit vulnerable narcissistic traits; this population is selected to discuss the development and consequences of shame-rage strategies. Compassion is suggested as a necessary therapeutic framework to support individuals suffering from shame-rage related afflictions. Affective neuroscientific concepts are embedded throughout this thesis to link shame-rage phenomenology to the evolutionary and empirical study of neuroscience in an effort to support therapeutic endeavours.

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

Community college remedial algebra: The search for an alternative

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-07
Abstract: 

This dissertation is an attempt to add to the research on community college mathematics education, and to examine one way in which content delivery might be adapted from other levels to teach community college remedial mathematics courses. In order to address these issues, I adapted the idea of Design-Based Research and the Teaching Experiment to an entire class of students in order to examine whether Realistic Mathematics Education (RME) would be adaptable to the community college environment. I produced activities that would highlight the concepts students in the class were required to learn but delivered them as a fantasy narrative using the principles of RME. I analyzed student submissions from the tasks embedded in these activities to determine whether RME had been a successful means by which to deliver the content and found not only that students had learned as much by this delivery method as by lecture, but that they had developed a sense of meaning from the mathematics in the process. These results suggest not only that methods designed for one population can effectively be used for others, but that community college students will be at least as successful under such a modified model. While teachers have always modified the work of others for their own purposes, the results of the research done for this dissertation support the idea that such modification is appropriate and effective; more specifically, it suggests that the time and effort required to modify methods for use in alternative environments is worth the sacrifice, and I would recommend that instructors at every level explore the myriad ways by which content can be delivered.

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

Constellations of meaning and emotion: Gay, bisexual, and queer men’s experiences of holding hands in public

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-14
Abstract: 

There is a scarcity of literature examining gay, bisexual, and queer (GBQ) men’s experiences of public displays of affection. An interview protocol informed by Emotion-Focused Therapy was used alongside narrative inquiry to conduct semi-structured interviews with 10 GBQ men about their experiences of holding hands with other men in public. Specifically, this research endeavoured to understand how GBQ men made meaning of their hand-holding experiences and how emotion was woven into these narratives. Analysis revealed that the GBQ men in this study made meaning of their hand-holding by comparing their experiences to dominant cultural meanings about hand-holding and GBQ identity. In particular, those whose experiences least matched dominant cultural meanings shared stories which were suffused with the most detail and emotionality. Counselling implications include the possible benefit of psychoeducation about emotions, helping couples increase mutuality, and exploring the effects of heterosexism in individuals’ and couples’ lives.

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

An exploration of British Columbia's TVET instructors' perceptions that influence their curriculum choices

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-01-16
Abstract: 

Instructors’ perceptions, values, and belief structures influence their curriculum decisions and may fundamentally overlap, contradict, and/or conflict, leading to a confluence of curricula cultures within the classroom. This study investigated Trades and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) instructors’ perceptions to gain a better understanding of how those perceptions give rise to cultures of curriculum, particularly those that inhabit postsecondary TVET in British Columbia (BC). A total of 37 TVET instructors from BC participated in this study. Collectively, the participants represented a total of 10 Red Seal trades. Joseph’s (2000) conceptualization of curriculum as culture was used as the theoretical lens to investigate vocational instructors’ general perceptions regarding (a) their role as a teacher, (b) the intellectual capacities of their students, and (c) the purpose and future needs of vocational education. Q Methodology (Stephenson, 1935) was selected as the optimal research approach. Q factor analysis resulted in a four-factor solution, revealing the correlation of participants’ shared curricular beliefs and values as four statistically distinct perspectives. Factor array tables and interview transcripts were reviewed to interpret and name the viewpoints as expressed by the participants grouping together in each factor: Factor 1 – the constructivist crew, Factor 2 – the canonical cluster, Factor 3 – the experiential team, and Factor 4 – the 21st century progressives. Two major findings were gleaned from this study. First, tensions exist between the theoretical underpinnings of competency based education and training (CBET) and the curricular beliefs held by Factors 1, 2 and 4. Factor 3, however, is found to be in broad agreement with the goals and pedagogies associated with CBET. Second, distinct views held by each factor are theoretically opposed to those of other groupings, creating incompatibilities and divisions within the education system. The findings from this study have implications for future research, practice, policy, and theory and lend support to other curriculum studies in both mainstream education and TVET. My intention is for these findings to bring forth awareness of the largely unexamined theoretical confusion that I found to exist within the BC TVET system and to provide a reference point for stakeholders’ discussions and future curricular decisions.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Michelle Pidgeon
Natalia Gajdamaschko
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

A politics of disgust: Selfhood, world-making, and ethics

Date created: 
2018-04-20
Abstract: 

Disgust is an “everyday” experience as it appears in everyday, ordinary moments. Yet, disgust has remained challenging to address both theoretically and in our personal interpretations of disgust experiences. Current accounts in education, psychology and the humanities have minimized how disgust can play a role in meaning-making at personal, interpersonal, and social levels. In other words, they have focused on trying to answer what disgust is, rather than what it does. My research will show that disgust has an impact on processes of selfhood, world-making, and ethics. I will argue that disgust encounters are not a residue or by-product of experiences, but rather, work to create structures of meaning about selfhood, interpersonal relationships, and the worlds we inhabit. These structures allow subjects to organize and understand their experiences. In short, disgust is about “meaning-making.” My analysis will use feminist intersubjective perspectives to examine disgust as they provide a useful way to understand the relational aspects of disgust and the ways in which disgust impacts processes and forms of understanding. In particular, I apply Jessica Benjamin’s approach to recognition to draw out disgust’s relevance to meaning-making. I will argue that disgust is an affective moment in which the struggle for recognition plays out. Through the lens of recognition, disgust’s significance to processes of selfhood, interpersonal relations, and ethics becomes evident. My analysis includes a case study of Ashley Smith’s incarceration and the circumstances leading to her death in 2007 to demonstrate the significance of disgust encounters as struggles for recognition.

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

Early bilingual development in preschool and kindergarten: An ethnographic study of three Punjabi-speaking emergent bilingual learners in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-10
Abstract: 

Canada’s population has been multicultural and multilingual for many years, and recently there have been changes to official language education policies, programs, and practices in public schools across the country. Unfortunately, education through the medium of an official language (often the language of schooling) has not served young bilingual children as well as it might, and many such children, especially those who come from minority language backgrounds, encounter schooling difficulties. In response to this situation, provincial and territorial Ministries of Education in Canada, along with local school districts, have invested considerable resources to support elementary teachers in adapting their instructional practices for bilingual children and their families. The purpose of this ethnographic study is to examine the language practices of three bilingual children from Punjabi language backgrounds in one school district in the province of British Columbia, Canada. I employed a variety of ethnographic methods including classroom observations, fieldnotes, and audio and video recordings of the focal children’s language practices during free play. In addition, at the end of the study, I conducted semi-structured interviews with the children’s parents, grandparents, and teachers about their literacy beliefs and how these beliefs influenced their literacy instruction. My findings revealed that the children were able to creatively use their language repertoires to actively participate in classroom activities with their parents, grandparents, teachers, and peers in two different classrooms (an early learning program and a full day Kindergarten classroom). The findings of this study highlight the opportunities for teaching and learning with bilingual children in Early Childhood Education settings.

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

Incorporating computational thinking and coding in BC secondary mathematics classrooms

Date created: 
2020-03-10
Abstract: 

There has been considerable attention on the term “computational thinking” (CT) over the past decade in the education community. With a global movement to include coding in the school curriculum, British Columbia (BC) also introduced coding to the K-12 curriculum in 2016. There have been on-going discussions about what CT is, why we should teach CT (and coding), and how we should teach it. However, there has been little research on the current state of affairs in BC with respect to teacher practices related to CT. By surveying, observing and interviewing BC secondary mathematics teachers, this study focuses on teachers’ perspectives on how to incorporate CT and involve coding in classrooms. Results showed that most teachers understood CT as being about problem-solving skills. CT and coding have not been taught frequently but are incorporated in various ways, primarily using block-based programming. Despite challenges, teachers found that these CT and coding activities elicited a high-level engagement and were accessible to a wide range of students.

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