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

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Dehumanization in the workplace

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-08
Abstract: 

Workplace stress is often referred to as the epidemic of the century. It is so normalized within our society that it often goes unrecognized and unquestioned. This study describes and explores the phenomenon of workplace stress. This study looks at some of the key factors, such as overwork, being undervalued in the workplace, and emotional labour, that contributes to workplace stress. This study makes a case that workplace stress is a cloaked phenomenon for dehumanization. The research starts with theoretical overview of dehumanization through different theoretical constructs, such as instrumentalism and moral disengagement, and also through Haslam's and Montague's models of dehumanization. The theoretical explorations here consider how we have allowed ourselves to become dehumanized and how we have allowed others to be dehumanized. The study then looks at how dehumanization shows up in the workplace. From there, it takes a historical perspective, and considers how successive industrial revolutions resulted in the current forces and pressures that insidiously dehumanize workers in the workplace. The study then moves to ways we can recover, in a more systemic and conscious way, the human dimension in workplaces, and build and develop caring communities through leadership-facilitated positive changes. It offers different perspectives on how one can cultivate awareness of self and expand one's sense of one’s own humanness. Finally, this study focuses on the outer direction and examines the collective work experience and attempts to answer the question: How does an organization shift to be an organization that is humanizing.

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

Exploring reflective practice and intentional response with teachers: Implications for wellbeing in the classroom

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-02
Abstract: 

This qualitative study explores teachers’ use of reflective practice and an intentional response cycle to help guide their responses to unexpected and/or challenging events in the classroom. I refer to the relational approach to intentional response and reflective practice as a reflectiveresponse cycle. This cycle brings together two areas of research that have tended to be treated separately in relation to research on teaching practice: effective coping skills and reflective inquiry and practice. Drawing on a reflectiveresponse cycle, teachers learn to engage in a simple and accessible process that can assist them in feeling more present and in control of their reactions to unexpected and/or challenging events that arise in their day-to-day interactions with students in the classroom. The focus of the literature review is research on reflective inquiry and practice, as well as an exploration of related concepts that impact teacher wellbeing, including the construction of one’s sense of self, mindful awareness, and compassion. A phenomenological method was used to examine, understand, and describe the lived experiences of nine teacher participants as they engaged with the reflectiveresponse cycle over a 4-month period. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore the contextual meaning of the participants’ experiences before and after their interaction with the reflectiveresponse cycle. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Thirteen themes and three subthemes were identified. These themes and subthemes are represented under five categories: 1. Critical reflection: Insights (Questioning Beliefs and Teacher Identity) and New Perspectives; 2. Mindful Awareness: Presence and Shifts in Practice; 3. Compassion: Open-Hearted and Open-Minded; Teacher Wellbeing: Optimism, Gratefulness and Agency; 4. Mentorship: Guidance, Probing and Challenging, Encouragement, and Outcomes. Two overarching themes, Connection and Growth, emerged through this process. The findings indicate a need and a desire on the part of teachers for reflective practice and intentional response education and professional development. Many of the participants spoke of ending their school day feeling the burden of guilt from unintended reactions toward challenging situations in the classroom. They found their engagement with the reflectiveresponse cycle to be beneficial in relieving their sense of guilt, replacing it with an improved sense of connection with their students. Implications for educational practice 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.

Parents’ perspectives on bullying: How do they understand and respond to their children’s victimization in elementary school?

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-04
Abstract: 

When young children are bullied, the parents who care for them are also affected. Yet their experiences are understudied. This qualitative phenomenological study explored elementary school bullying from the parent’s perspective. In-depth interviews were conducted with six mothers to explore how parents understand bullying as well as to gather descriptions of their experiences supporting their children and interacting with school personnel. Three inter-twined themes emerged from the phenomenological analysis: “personal responsibility”, “difference” and “isolation”. Parents in this study tended to take on a high degree of personal responsibility for their children’s social plights and strongly felt their role was to support their children and stop the bullying. All the children were diagnosed or had a suspected diagnosis of ADHD, anxiety or a learning disability. Parents indicated that their child’s difference and inability to fit into the school environment made them vulnerable to bullying. Parents experienced feelings of isolation as they tried to fulfill their parental responsibility. Although the findings suggest these parents were concerned with their children’s ability to feel a sense of belonging at school, in communicating with school personal about the bullying, they avoided expressing concerns about belonging and focused on individualistic interventions for themselves and their child. This suggests that educators build awareness and dialogue about the power dynamics that play out between parents and teachers, and amongst children who are perceived as different.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lucy Le Mare
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The work of learning: The stories of a group of undergraduate university students

Date created: 
2019-04-15
Abstract: 

The research presented in this thesis was in the form of a qualitative inquiry into the perceptions by a group of senior undergraduate students of their learning processes and experiences in the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at Simon Fraser University (SFU). The research goal was to explore what students understood of their learning and their lives as learners. The research aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of the ways in which students approached learning tasks, their awareness of study tactics, their styles of working, and their use of particular practices, tools, and routines. The research invited senior year FHS students to describe and reflect on the ways in which they cultivated and developed their approaches to learning and study and how they regarded the various learning environments they had experienced during their time in the FHS. It also elicited students’ thoughts about self-regulated learning, quality teaching and meaningful assessment, and the degree of confidence or enthusiasm they brought to learning challenges. They were also asked about their orientations toward further learning or about learning outside formal institutional structures. As the research for this thesis progressed through the series of interviews, it became evident that the participating students led very full lives beyond their work at the university, and that their work in learning and their views of the nature of knowledge and the scope of the field of health sciences were all affected by their overall life circumstances and experiences. The research found notable students’ abilities to balance and manage their competing priorities and effectively align their complex “life spaces” with often demanding academic requirements. The study’s findings suggest that improvements to students’ experiences in university learning require that those involved in curriculum and program design, learning supports, and general student services, give serious consideration to the remarkable diversity of students’ lives.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Milton McClaren
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

La pluralité des identités francophones et l'école en milieu minoritaire en Colombie-Britannique : des identités individuelles à l'identité collective

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-08
Abstract: 

La mobilité de la population francophone de la province entraine dans son sillage une mouvance de l’identité francophone en Colombie-Britannique (CB). Elle conditionne et façonne, au gré des migrations et des fluctuations économiques, les conditions d’appartenance à cette communauté en même temps que celle-ci se construit et se définit. Dès lors, la communauté francophone de la CB se caractérise par sa diversité culturelle et linguistique, ainsi que par son taux élevé de bi/plurilinguisme. Dans un contexte où l’école est considérée comme le principal moyen de lutte contre l’assimilation linguistique et comme outil privilégié de transmission identitaire, il est nécessaire de définir et d’analyser, voire de redéfinir le rôle de l’école de la minorité ainsi que ses acteurs éducatifs dans un environnement pluriethnique, plurilingue et multiculturel. De nature qualitative, cette étude de cas repose sur une série d’entretiens compréhensifs de groupes et individuels, avec des élèves de 17 à 19 ans, des enseignants, des conseillers, des aides pédagogiques, des services spécialisés et des administrateurs de trois écoles secondaires francophones en CB. L’objectif de cette recherche a été de comprendre la complexité des liens entre les usages linguistiques et culturels des élèves et la construction identitaire en contexte minoritaire francophone d’aujourd’hui. Notre exploration se place dans la perspective de prendre en compte la pluralité de l'identité francophone des élèves comme un atout pour les apprentissages scolaires, un renforcement de la vitalité, et une construction de l'identité collective de la communauté francophone minoritaire. Cette recherche a ainsi montré que si l’école a le souci d’assurer une plus grande inclusion des élèves bi/plurilingues et anglophones, elle est davantage préoccupée par la diversité culturelle qui change le visage de la communauté francophone de la CB. L’école francophone de la CB en est à interroger la notion de francophone afin de changer ses représentations traditionnelles d’une communauté francophone imaginée encore très présentes dans l’imaginaire, au profit d’une identité pleinement civique fondée sur la langue.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Danièle Moore
Cécile Sabatier ; Claudine Brohy
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Science teaching that matters: Conceptions and experiences of first-year university students

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-09
Abstract: 

This study is holistic, empirical, interpretative, and empathetic in its nature. It is holistic because I was interested in viewing a broad, background picture of good teaching, not only through the overall institutional goals and specific curriculum outcomes, but also through becoming more fully aware of the student participants’ distinct personal lives, their extracurricular activities, their volunteerism, and their work commitments. The study is also empirical because it focused on students’ experiences with teaching and learning occurring in both physical and educational environments of Simon Fraser University (SFU). It is interpretative because it aimed to observe, understand, and portray the meanings of interpretations of students’ experiences. Finally, the study is empathetic in its nature because it is concerned with students’ conceptions and perspectives as well as their opinions and emotions. The research presented in this thesis describes first-year students’ experiences with science teaching received at SFU. It applies qualitative empirical analysis as a research methodology as well as consideration of the pedagogical dynamics and implications for first-year science students. Main themes about good first-year science teaching emerged after conducting comprehensive interviews with eight student participants. The interview findings were interpreted by considering and articulating the meaning of students’ experiences in their first year of study in postsecondary sciences at SFU.

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

Design and evaluation of an online digital storytelling course for seniors

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-15
Abstract: 

The aging population is growing steadily worldwide. At the same time, people are increasingly relying on technology for socialization. Thus, it is important to find ways of stimulating older adults to acquire digital literacy skills, and to foster social connectedness and lifelong learning. Previous research indicated positive results in achieving these goals through a face-to-face digital storytelling course for elders. This thesis describes a project that studied two offerings of a fully online version of the course. The courses ran for 10-15 weeks. Data collected using a qualitative approach included a demographic questionnaire, instructional materials surveys, and a course evaluation survey, followed by individual interviews. Results showed positive and consistent responses regarding the instructional material design, the sense of accomplishment and agency for creating legacy, the desire to continue using this technology, and the benefits of bonding with colleagues and the facilitator.

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

Musical dialogues: Narrative explorations of Buber's ideas of 'Meeting' and 'Living Center' within the creative musical collaborations of a professional singing group and a children's after-school music program

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-01-18
Abstract: 

A major influence in the contemporary understanding of dialogue has been Martin Buber’s seminal book I and Thou, first published in 1923. In this book Buber points to a relational approach in our interactions with others, with nature and with God. In my own daily interactions I have noticed the profound effects of dialogue, particularly in educational and musical contexts. Musical interactions can be viewed as dialogical, with some of the most meaningful encounters (meetings) occurring with a common understanding of music as living center. That music can be seen as the living center, and that we can find dialogical meeting through music is something that is supported by Buber’s philosophy. In exploring moments of meeting and mismeeting, an understanding of how the dialogical values of listening and voicing are realized in musical contexts, and an understanding of the limitless possibilities of dialogue, may be revealed. In this thesis I inquire into the meaning of Buber’s ideas of meeting and living center, and seek to understand how these key concepts can be realized in music making environments.

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

Asking the big questions: Elementary educators developing their professional practice through inquiry

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-01-31
Abstract: 

Using a variety of qualitative methods, this participatory action research study investigated how a group of elementary school educators experienced and perceived an independent, inquiry-based approach to professional development. It includes a discussion of how the participants described the similarities and differences between and inquiry-based professional development process and the more traditional in-service workshop model of professional development. The teachers reported feeling motivated to engage in this form of inquiry-based learning. Each of the educator participants in this study felt the self-directed and problem-based nature of their learning, which is in line with the tenets of adult learning, or androgogy (Kidd, 1959; Knowles, 1980) were important factors in this engagement. The participants reported that despite the challenges that they identified, such as time pressure, accountability, and administrative support, inquiry-based professional development led to positive changes in their teaching. Recommendations for implementation of inquiry-based professional development are also discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. Paul Neufeld
Dr. Lucy Lemare
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Carbon butterfly alchemizing trauma through creative intention, storytelling and art

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-20
Abstract: 

Carbon Butterfly’s shared narrative creates meaning through an experiential practice of art making, storytelling and daily walks in the forest that re-member my Indigenous and authentic wholeness; a contemplative praxis awakening to the regenerative process of life’s wholeness and harmony. Life is always inviting back life into renewal through all its cycles of death, birth, love and rebirth. My invitation to the reader is to receive this thesis as an offering, each offering is a crafted fragment that seeks resonance with the reader’s heart. A telling that seeks to reveal. I intend each piece as a gesture, an offering, a gaze, a whiff, a glance, a momentary encounter as experienced by immersing myself in my daily rituals of art practice, performative writing, and immersing myself in nature. This thesis is a storying of how I come to touch my pain and in so doing, come home to myself.

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