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

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A way towards an education for the communal self

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-12-16
Abstract: 

Educators have spent 130 years, from Dewey to Pinar, developing curricula in North America that have contributed to the development of the idea of an “individual self”. Such emphasis on individuality has inadvertently resulted in a narcissistic self, i.e., an individualized, consumeristic type of self that is much in line with the neoliberal agenda. We humans, have reached a point in which a new structure for the self is needed. This dissertation demonstrates that we are more interconnected and interdependent than we previously admitted and, ultimately, aims to prove that we are in fact communal selves, routinely influenced and constructed by the people, animals, and environment that surround us. Ultimately, this dissertation aims to offer teachers a framework for community development and wholesome inclusion, by means of developing curricula with the idea of “communal selves” as a point of departure. In the realm of dreaming and imagining, our communal selfhood could reach the minds and hearts of every human being and shift the way we relate to each other.

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

Teachers’ experiences with disruptive student behaviour: A grounded theory study

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-22
Abstract: 

For both new and veteran teachers disruptive student behaviour is consistently reported as the most demanding aspect of the teaching experience and is often cited as one of the reasons teachers leave the profession. Using grounded theory as a guiding methodological framework in this study I explored the interview data from 13 general elementary teachers collected over a three-year period from Fall 2015 to Fall 2018 asking, “How do experienced elementary school teachers perceive and manage disruptive student behaviour? And what are the relationships among their perceptions of disruptive classroom behaviour, teaching philosophy and strategies?” This study took place, in British Columbia, Canada, at a time when the province underwent changes in class size legislation subsequently 10 of the 13 teachers interviewed provided data about these changes to their class size and their management of disruptive student behaviour. Findings from this study showed that teachers considered behaviour to be disruptive when they did not understand its underlying purpose, it was unexpected and it required the teacher to make substantial and unplanned changes involving the whole class. In this process, the teacher was found to consider and weigh the impact of the behaviour on the student and the other students in the class. Finally, the teachers considered the behaviour’s impact on their own ability to teach and meet the needs of all their students, and its impact on the other students’ ability to learn. Findings also showed that class size and composition influenced teachers’ perceptions and management of disruptive student behaviour. Overall smaller class sizes were viewed as beneficial, however, teachers noted that the loss of the Educational Assistant (EA) in the classroom to support all students was an unexpected consequence of the class size reduction. This loss of an additional trained adult was profound when dealing with one or several disruptive students. Overall findings from this study, including those on class size and composition, highlighted the importance of relationality and community building as part of what “good teachers” do to support positive learning behaviour. The findings suggest that disruptive student behaviour can be understood theoretically within a two petal relational model where tactical strategies integrated with relationship building can support positive behaviours and prevent a relational disconnect with students.

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

The interdependence of technology, pedagogy, and epistemology: A self-study of my pedagogy of technology teacher education

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-10-16
Abstract: 

This research investigates teacher candidates’ theories of knowledge in a technological environment and a post-secondary teacher educator’s pedagogy of technology teacher education. This dissertation attends to the pedagogical interdependence of purposeful technological environments with a view to narrowing the epistemic gap between students and teachers through the design of educational technology within an undergraduate course. The research uses self-study methodology to investigate and improve my pedagogy of technology teacher education and simultaneously advance the fields of educational technology and learning design and technology teacher education. Self-study of teaching and teacher education practices (S-STTEP) is a type of educational research methodology that is concerned with the understanding and improvement of one’s practice and the relationship between teaching and learning in teacher education. A four-part analytical framework in this self-study is used to provide an account of my practice as a technology teacher educator through an analysis of my espoused theories (Argyris & Schön, 1974) (the explicit reasons we give for our actions) and my theories-in-use (Argyris & Schön, 1974) (implicit theories that explain how we behave). The analytical framework coalescences my professional knowledge in an epistemology of practice to help me articulate my assertions for actions as a technology teacher educator using maker pedagogy and experiential learning as technological and educative learning environments. The study of practice as an epistemic source of knowledge supports accesses to one’s authority of practice, which is an ontological lens used to study what resides in knowing-in-action. An authority of practice is the warrant that leads to an understanding of professional identity and professional knowledge, and how it develops and is reframed. The epistemic study of practice in this research makes contributions to educational research in the professional development of the teacher educator through the self-study of educational practices and actions.

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

Teachers’ understanding of peace and citizenship education and ways of integrating data literacy in Colombia’s Cátedra de la Paz

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-09-25
Abstract: 

Following the end of a long-lasting armed conflict, Colombia created a peace and citizenship education course called Cátedra de la Paz, looking to promote a culture of peace in all schools in the country. However, teachers’ views about, practices in and responses to challenges of implementing the course remain unknown, as well as how they integrate data into their teaching practices. This study is focused on secondary school teachers’ understanding of Cátedra de la Paz, their instructional approaches and their views of the role of data in the course. To achieve this, 45 teachers participated in an online survey, from which 10 were selected for an interview. Findings show that teachers have complex views of the course, face several challenges to implement it and have a limited vision of data integration. These results highlight the need to provide context-oriented support that consider teachers way of understanding the course.

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

Mathematics teaching and social media: An emergent space for resilient professional activity

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-19
Abstract: 

Professional activity around mathematics teaching is considered vital in the improvement of mathematics education at all levels. Research in mathematics education has identified aspects of teacher professional development that are effective, but there has been a recent push for better understanding how mathematics teacher professional development can also be sustainable. To this end, informal professional activity around mathematics teaching has become of particular interest in the field. Since many education professionals are turning to resources that are becoming increasingly available beyond the confines of institutional boundaries, such as via social media, many of the constraints of traditional forms of professional activity are being bypassed, allowing for informal professional activity to flourish. In some cases, collectives of professionals have formed in such contexts. One such collective, referred to as the Math Twitter Blogosphere (MTBoS), has remained resilient for almost ten years with ongoing activity around mathematics teaching occurring daily. Although this self-organized, bottom-up, emergent collective thrives with engagement around mathematics teaching, it has received very little empirical attention within mathematics education. As such, this study investigates the inner workings of this collective by drawing on tenets of complexity thinking to develop a more comprehensive description of its nature and how it thrives. Informed by an ethnographic journey of becoming a MTBoS participant, I select and analyze data in innovative ways to uncover both the ideational network in MTBoS and the social network that drives its existence. Analysis of these networks illuminates the influence not only of social capital, but also of ideational capital, both of which are necessary for determining ideational resilience within the collective. The results of this research indicate not only the popular topics within MTBoS, but also more importantly, features that drive ongoing and often generative activity around mathematics teaching within this online, unprompted, unfunded and unmandated professional setting.

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

The river carries that which the mountains cannot hold: A series of geophilosophical experiments with the Fraser River

Date created: 
2019-07-05
Abstract: 

This dissertation is divided into two parts. In part I the argument is put forward that the ideas and practices informing life and work (with a special focus upon work within the human services industries, including education) must emerge from and find ways to return to the specific relational and ecological assemblages that include the land, air, and water with which we live and work. The term geophilosophy is explored to help unpack such an assemblage of land and thought, ecology and history. In Part II of this thesis the reader is invited into a succession of explorations with a geophilosophy. These explorations involve a kind of pilgrimage with a river, in particular with the Fraser River – a geological entity with which the author has close personal ties. In articulating the concept of geophilosophy, the author takes guidance from a diverse group of thinkers, such as: Deleuze and Guattari, Gregory Bateson, Lynn Hoffman, Jacques Derrida, Tompson Highway, John Kelley, Isabelle Stengers, Bruno Latour, Dianne Chisholm, Brian Massumi, Eduardo Galeano, and Bruce Alexander. Part II of this geophilosophical journey involves two forms of chapters. First, there is what the author calls the Dérive-Prayer, a process which requires travel with the river accompanied by a series of reflective essays focusing upon the relations that emerge between a specific location along the river and spiritual, political, and ecological realities that also come to life within the same area of the river. Secondly, there is a series of essays that the author describes as Experiments – these are geophilosophical experiments. Significant philosophical concepts are tied to the geographies connected with the river. This pilgrimage with the Fraser River watershed follows a particular path -- beginning at Sts’ailes First Nation and moving upstream along the Fraser’s watershed, through Kamloops, the Thompson and the North Thompson Rivers, all the way to the Fraser’s headwaters at the continental divide. The Fraser is then followed downstream through its Eastern reaches, past the Cariboo, past the town of Lillooet, through the Fraser Canyon and the Fraser Valley, rolling on through Vancouver and into the Salish Sea. This pilgrimage ends in the same place the river begins, far out in the cold waters of the Pacific. This study is seen as having an ontological focus in that it attempts to open-up possible worlds in which those who recognize their relations with these geographies can learn to live and take action. Such ontological unfoldings hold much diverse relevance for the assortments of living beings who reside with the river, and it holds particular relevance for those of us who work within the various human service industries connected with these lands. The author offers this work as a form of contemplative inquiry placed philosophically before the creation of ethical imperatives, yet after, or in the midst of, its ontological unfolding.

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

Language acquisition in a deaf learner: An autobiography

Date created: 
2018-07-09
Abstract: 

This thesis presents an autobiographical account of an exceptional learner\'s journey as a member of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community—a learner who, despite challenges, acquired four languages and become an educator of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. This \'learning journey\' is interpreted through a sociocultural lens and approach of Plurilingualism informed by research and practice in language education. The exhibitions are based on the writer’s ethnography concerning acquisitions of American Sign Language (ASL), English, Spanish, and German through decades of academic work that have been effectively applied to professional work and societal and cultural engagements.

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

Community in the making: Weaving places of learning, cultural production, and community building within a community festival space in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-01-13
Abstract: 

Bringing together the theories of cultural studies and critical pedagogy, as well as the multisensory approach to cultural production, this dissertation explores a community festival, namely, the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival in Vancouver, and its important role in the construction of pedagogical spaces, local culture, and community. Drawing from multiple sources of data generated from four years of ethnographic work between 2013 and 2017, this dissertation takes a close look at how cultural production practices and processes, embodied learning experiences, civic agency, and community building interlink and influence each other to turn the ephemeral space of a community festival into a dynamic performative space that fulfils educational, social, cultural, and personal functions. Through instances of the production of critical multiliteracies and festival participants’ active engagement, this dissertation illustrates how the Festival served as a multi-functional space, a) providing a critical pivot for civic pedagogies to rise; b) involving festival participants into relational, sensory learning and enabling them to become critical learners and cultural citizens through multimodal cultural production; and c) serving as both the medium and outcome of its participants’ engagement and their sense-making. The study offers a robust conceptualization of the community festival and creates new links between the urban festival, pedagogy, cultural production, and place-making. It also provides insights into the educative potential of the community festival as a site for critical public pedagogy.

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

Springsteen, a three-minute song, a life of learning

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-09
Abstract: 

This dissertation is an autobiographical and educational rendering of Bruce Springsteen’s influence on my life. Unbeknownst to him, Bruce Springsteen became my first proper ‘professor.’ Nowhere near the confines of a regular classroom, he opened the door to a kind of education like nothing I ever got in my formal schooling. From the very first notes of the song “Born in the U.S.A.,” he seized me and took me down a path of alternative learning. In only four minutes and forty seconds, the song revealed how little I knew of the world, despite all of my years in education, being a teacher, and holding senior positions. Like many people, I had thought that education was gained from the school system. One song changed everything. It made me question the very definition of education and what it means to be educated. This work, through life writing, examination of lived experience and deep sustained reflection, represents my educational journey. It describes my ‘other’ education, the kind of learning discovered through my passion for the music of Springsteen and the lyrics and delivery of his songs. I unpack these experiences of life and learning in terms of contemporary educational literature and dis-courses. This allows me to interpret how my ‘other’ education was formed in light of Springsteen, his songs, live performances and some of his observations. I make a case in this dissertation for the contribution of popular song as a potent force for learning and transformation. I aim to open the door to further the potential for rock and popular music in educational practice.

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

Design, development, and evaluation of an online escape game for older adults

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-11
Abstract: 

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that seniors (persons who are 60 years old and older) are one of the fastest-growing populations in the world. Accordingly, maintaining their quality of life has become an exponentially important issue, and digital technologies can help. A large number of older adults have embraced digital technologies. Many others would be open to digital technologies provided that they would see the benefits and become motivated to use these new tools. Older adults can benefit from new technologies in various ways and digital games provide one such way. Older adults represent a growing demographic of gamers. Research has shown that digital games have physical, cognitive, emotional, and social benefits for seniors. They also offer opportunities for lifelong learning and improving digital skills. Nevertheless, older adults are underrepresented as digital game players, and hence, digital games that are designed for them are still rare. Due to age-related changes and different preferences, digital games targeted at older adults have particular design requirements to address their needs and preferences. A user-centred design (UCD) process is an approach that includes older adults in the design process to make sure the game is usable and enjoyable for them. In this project, an online escape game was designed, developed, and evaluated using a UCD process. The game is based on real-life escape rooms that are collaborative adventure games in which a team of players is locked in a room. They need to discover clues and solve puzzles to attain the final goal; i.e., escape the room, usually within a time limit. We performed a needs assessment in real-life escape rooms, created a game concept based on the assessment, designed the game with older adults, and tested two prototypes iteratively with older adults. The findings suggest that the game was usable and enjoyable for older adults. However, it still needs several refinements and further usability and field testing before a larger audience of players can use it.

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