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

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Exploring iPad video composition: A study of elementary school students’ collaborative digital literacies practices

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-19
Abstract: 

This qualitative research study engages with sociocultural theory, multimodality and Actor-Network Theory to examine the complexities of iPad video composition with elementary school children. While school videomaking has been investigated in studies focused on the finished product, the processes of videomaking and video editing (composition) on these devices have remained largely unexplored. This study seeks to answer: “How does a group of students engage with the iPad in creating a video?” By investigating how mobile devices dislodge the concept of “literacy” from its time-honored “reading” and “writing” connotations and move towards multimodal representations, the author engages with Actor-Network Theory’s “Obligatory Passage Point” (Callon, 1986) and with Fulwiler and Middleton’s (2012) notions of Compositing and Recursivity. The study details the struggles and successes of collaborative work in a group of Grade 4 students and shows how one student emerges as the lynchpin between the adults’ linear, paper-based video composition strategies and the children’s non-linear, digitally-based video composition proclivities. By focusing on how propositional and performance epistemologies (Lankshear & Knobel, 2007) come into play in a classroom previously dominated by paper-based literacy practices, the author hopes to provide practitioners and researchers alike a glimpse into how digital literacies instruction might be taken up in classrooms.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kelleen Toohey
Diane Dagenais
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Self-determination and academic engagement of students with learning disabilities in a special education context

Date created: 
2018-03-16
Abstract: 

Policies that promote inclusive education have been adopted by provincial governments across Canada to provide students with disabilities access to the general education classroom, its curriculum, and interaction with their peers without disabilities. However, there is debate over the ability of general education classrooms to meet the learning needs of students with learning disabilities. The purpose of this study was to investigate student experiences within a self-contained special education classroom and address the primary research question: What is the lived experience of students with learning disabilities within the Literacy Development Program (LDP)? This research was guided by self-determination theory (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2000), that posits human motivation, development, and well-being are impacted by social environments such as classrooms. SDT suggests that when students’ needs for relatedness, competence and autonomy are largely met, they will be self-motivated, curious and eager to succeed. Two sub-questions guided by SDT included: How does the implementation of the LDP support students’ needs for relatedness, competence and autonomy? and, How do supports for relatedness, competence and autonomy within the LDP impact student engagement? Case study methodology provided the opportunity for in-depth analysis of educational practices and student engagement within the classroom. Findings highlight numerous supports for students’ sense of relatedness to their classmates and the staff. Threats to students’ sense of competence through the process of “othering” that enrolment in a special education classroom entails are discussed. However, within the classroom there was considerable support for students’ sense of competence including minimizing otherness. Minimal supports for autonomy were observed within the LDP. As predicted by SDT, variation in academic engagement of three students selected for in-depth study was found. Implications for educational practice are discussed including ways that special education and regular education classroom contexts may minimize otherness for students with learning disabilities.

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

Processes of identity construction for Generation 1.5 university students in Canada

Date created: 
2018-04-05
Abstract: 

The number of adolescent children accompanying their immigrant parents to Canada has steadily increased since the 1990s. Much of the applied linguistics literature on these so called “Generation 1.5” youth (Rumbaut & Ima, 1987; Harklau, et al., 1999) has focused on their deficiencies as academic writers in US Rhetoric and Composition and ESL contexts in higher education (Harklau, Losey, & Siegal, 1999; Harklau, 1999; 2000) and the stigma of ESL in US K-12 contexts (Talmy, 2009). However, the literature on Generation 1.5 students and identity in Canadian higher education is limited (Kim & Duff, 2012; Marshall, 2010; Mossman, 2012, 2013). This qualitative study investigates the processes of identity construction of eleven Generation 1.5 students studying at a university in Metro Vancouver to find out what types of identities and representations of self and other they make relevant, the meanings they attribute to their identities, and what motivates them to construct these identities. In analyzing the accounts and experiences of the participants in interviews, focus groups, and texts and as “culture-in-action” (Hester & Eglin, 1997), I posit that they constructed identities as social categories associated with the languages and social practices of their countries of birth, in liminal spaces among a continuum between Canada and their countries of birth, and a spectrum of related cultural representations. Ideas and beliefs associated with broader “macro” social structures in Canadian society related to language, culture, legitimacy, immigration, power, distinction, and racism were shown to be transcended in and through their representations of themselves and others. Data suggest that moving to Canada caused participants to experience discontinuities between their cultures, languages, and social practices (Kim & Duff, 2012), and in some cases a conflicting sense of self. The study brings implications for finding ways to understand the complexity of immigrant students, avoid reifying and generalizing about them, and not see them as stuck-in-between or lacking.

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

Post 9/11 trauma: A mother’s concern about her adolescent daughter in a Canadian public-school

Date created: 
2017-12-08
Abstract: 

Amidst of the Islamophobic discourse in a post 9/11 context, this study reflects on my experiences of educating my 11-year old daughter as she constructs her ELL (English Language Learner) identity by hiding her Muslim identity in a Canadian public-school language classroom. The study suggests that the negative image of Muslims as well as the rising hypothesis, “All Muslims are terrorists”, restricts her from expressing her individual experience, opinion and commitment in her L2 (English as a Second/Additional Language) classroom. To write my reflection I have taken into account one particular incident of her classroom practice and the process of making meaning of that incident. My reflective analysis (Dewey, 1910) helps me gain a better understanding of my journey as a mother and strengthens my identity as a Muslim L2 teacher. My daughter attempts to accommodate her expressions along the discourses preferred by her classroom community that gives rise to her multiple, shifted, conflicted, contradictory, and hidden identities (Norton, 1998). It is her awareness of the representation or misrepresentation of her religion by the dominant Western culture that impacts her social and educational trajectories as a learner. Her classroom experiences illustrate how Muslim students may continually negotiate/construct their identity positions and how the affordances and constraints of their religious identity can lead to divergent learning outcomes (Sowden, 2007). I draw on the notions of Language socialization (Duff, 2007) and identity and investment (Norton, 2005) to examine how language intersects with other social categories such as religion. This paper concludes with a call for increased attention to a learner’s religious identity, which may closely relate to successful acquisition of English as an additional language.

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

The Impact of One School Community on Female Refugee Adolescents and their Sense of Belonging

Date created: 
2017-12-08
Abstract: 

AbstractEducation is believed to play an essential role in creating a sense of belongingamongst adolescents from refugee backgrounds. This narrative inquiry study setsout to better understand the influence one Canadian school community plays inseven female adolescent students’ sense of belonging. Data were collected over afive-month period through two sets of interviews, observations and an art project.Findings indicate that a sense of belonging is best fostered by positiveteacher-student and peer relationships, the opportunity for youth to get involved inpositive ways within their school community, and through the availability andaccessibility of support services. Sense of belonging was inhibited by language andcultural barriers, as well as limited availability of support services. The femaleexperience was further challenged by familial responsibilities which limitedopportunities to participate in the wider school community.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr Margaret MacDonald
Dr Wanda Cassidy
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Art teacher in process: An illustrated exploration of art, education and what matters

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-12-08
Abstract: 

This thesis is a graphic autobiographical inquiry in comic book form.  The thesis explores personal experiences and reflections of an early-career secondary public-school art teacher in the process of understanding and developing her artistic, teaching and inquiry practices. The visual form of inquiry supports the exploration, reimagining, and representation of the author’s perspective and learning related to art education and teaching including: relationships within and outside of the school context; the experiences and daily practices of the teacher; the importance of form and medium; visual literacy; scholarship; and the aims of art education. The importance of multiple scholarly representations of knowledge is a central theme, with emphasis on an understanding of the graphic form as an action site of inquiry and communication. Through open and empathetic representations of teacher-student interactions, the author advocates for students’ meaningful engagement with the arts, and for the creation of spaces in which students and art educators may imagine and create new possibilities for themselves and the worlds within which they live and co-create.

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

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.