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

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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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
Lynn Fels
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

A ghost at church: A narrative inquiry into how single LDS (Mormon) women make meaning of their sexuality

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-13
Abstract: 

There is very limited research exploring the experiences of single LDS (Mormon) women and sexuality. This study used a narrative approach to explore how ten single LDS women make meaning of their sexuality within a context that forbids premarital sexual activity. Four main constraints emerged from participants’ stories. As women, they face limits on institutional authority and pressure to put their personal needs second. As single individuals, they are susceptible to stigma and have no legitimized outlet in which to discuss or express sexuality. These significant constraints were most evident in bishop’s interviews. Experiences there impacted how women viewed themselves and formed their identities, including their sexual identities. Challenges include arbitrary penalties and experiences of judgment and shame. Some women act agentically within these institutional constraints as they choose how to interpret rules, define their own relationships with their sexuality and negotiate changing perceptions of the institution and of God.

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

‘Fragile Faggotry’: A narrative inquiry into Latinx men experiences with anti-effeminacy stigma

Date created: 
2018-11-07
Abstract: 

Gay men embrace “straight-acting” behaviour to avoid feminine traits. The discourse of “straight-acting” produces and reproduces anti-effeminacy behaviours and homophobia contributing to the likelihood of mental health problems. Research suggests that Latino gay men tend to conform with traditional masculinity ideology when they are strongly involved with their ethnic group, social customs, and traditions. This attitude leads to anti-effeminacy as well as homonegativity. However, literature is still scarce on studies that examine how Brazilian queer men navigate and make meaning of homonegativity and anti-effeminacy stigmas. Therefore, this qualitative study uses interpretive narrative methodology centring the voices of six Brazilian men living in Canada. The findings explore themes of culture, race, and ethnicity, and their intersectionality with gender and sexuality. Thus, it provides an overview of how these men navigate discourses of masculinity and femininity in their daily interactions and implications for promoting healthier relationships and overall mental health among Latinx.

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

Divine resonances: A spiritual inquiry guided by the archetypal insights inspired through song

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-09-14
Abstract: 

A gift, an offering, the divine understandings given as words and music intermingle to bestow spiritual insights of divine wisdom informed by agape, conveying archetypes through narrative. Divine resonances enable empathic connectivity by engaging archetypes interpretively within songful experiences as narratives emerge from the songful soundscape. Song compels the perception of emotionality through story, entailing a communion with the human condition, the eternal, and the divine. Love, joy, regret, hope, hopelessness, loss, these are but a few of the enduring themes that music may convey through a myriad of comedic, romantic, tragic, and satiric/ ironic renderings. Through poetry, words activate an understanding of the ego, the soul and the self as we connect with resonance to narrative character archetypes. Divinity is imbued in song. Through inquiry, the ethical merges with aesthetic practices, as song inextricably interwoven with being and becoming fosters a responsible subjectivity as it is informed by agape with the divine grace brought to our lives in the wisdom given by song.

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

Alexithymia and atypical facial expressions in individuals with autism spectrum disorders

Date created: 
2018-06-08
Abstract: 

This dissertation research sought to determine in what ways, and in what contexts, emotional facial expressions are atypical in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) population, and to investigate the specific role that alexithymia—a condition characterized by difficulties identifying and describing one’s feelings—may relate to facial expression production abilities in individuals with and without ASD. Results of a meta-analysis showed that on average, individuals with ASD display facial expressions less frequently and are less likely to share facial expressions with others in naturalistic settings or automatically mimic the expressions of real faces or face stimuli in comparison to non-ASD comparison groups. Their facial expressions are rated as more awkward or unusual in appearance, sometimes making it difficult for observers to identify what emotion is being expressed. However, across studies, participants with ASD do not express emotions less intensely, nor do they respond more slowly to emotion-eliciting stimuli. Age, intellectual functioning of ASD participants, and methodological features of the study, significantly moderated the strength of effect sizes. A second study examined spontaneous facial production in response to emotionally arousing videos in children with and without ASD. Results showed that alexithymia, but not ASD traits, was negatively correlated with spontaneous production of negative facial expressions. A similar pattern of results was found in a third study, such that alexithymia and depression were associated with less spontaneous emotional expression during tasks that required typically developing undergraduates to watch emotional video clips or tell emotional stories about their personal lives. In a separate task in which participants were instructed to pose emotional facial expressions, it was hypothesized that reduced voluntary expression accuracy would be more strongly related to ASD traits than alexithymia or depression, although support for this prediction was mixed. Results provide partial support for the suggestion that reduced spontaneous expression and reduced voluntary expression accuracy have distinct correlates. I argue that the alexithymia construct deserves significantly more research and clinical attention within the ASD population.

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

Giving the void its colours: The art of living in existential paradox

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-06-29
Abstract: 

The scholarship of many existential thinkers has been dedicated to how humans can live with an awareness of existential paradox without attempts at denial or reconciliation that may lead to destructive behaviour. This thesis continues this inquiry and explores the art of living with this condition without attempts at reconciliation. More specifically, it consists of five paper-based chapters each offering possibilities for the continued development of an art of living in existential paradox. The first paper explores how Schneider’s awe-based life philosophy, when combined with Buber’s I-Thou philosophy and hermeneutic inquiry, may mitigate the potential negative consequences of existential paradox. The second paper examines the potential link between reactions to existential givens of existence and adult attachment styles, which may help explain why some individuals live more readily with the absurdity of the human condition. In the third paper, the oeuvres of Camus and Becker are examined with respect to how absurd creation may be used as a practice that facilitates lucid awareness and acceptance of existential paradox. The fourth paper is an exploration that combines Epicurean and existential philosophy to imagine how an expanded view of human motivation might lead to new ways of living with existential paradox. The final paper explores the practice of purposefully leaning into existential paradox to trigger aesthetic experiences of awe, which may help to positively reframe one’s experience of existential realities. The last chapter explores how the gleanings from each of the papers may be applied and contribute to the field of counselling and psychotherapy, which would form an integral part of an art of living in existential paradox.

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

Challenging racial privilege in international experiential learning programs with Canadian university students

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-07-11
Abstract: 

This study examines the experiences of Canadian undergraduate students who have completed an International Experiential Learning (IEL) trip in Uganda. Through qualitative pre-trip and post-trip interviews as well as journals, I investigate how students’ understandings of racial privilege were maintained or disrupted through their work and participation in an IEL program. Using the lenses of postcolonialism and critical whiteness studies, three themes emerged in the data including imaginary Africa, helping and growing, and Canadian identity. My findings suggest that students have gained greater awareness of their racial privilege after their trip. I argue that IEL programs have the potential to challenge Canadian students’ understandings of the Global South in ways that help them identify their social location and personal motivations for enrolling in an IEL program. I contend that this will minimize the likelihood of reinforcing racial privilege dynamics between the Global North and South and promote critical reflection of how racial privilege impacts everyday lives beyond the IEL experience.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Elizabeth Marshall
Kumari Beck
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.