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

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The clinical practice of embodied care: A phenomenological examination of physician-family interactions in oncological treatment

Date created: 
2017-05-16
Abstract: 

The purpose of this study was to explore family caregivers’ interactions with physicians as they accompanied their loved ones through cancer treatment. Increasingly, family caregivers have assumed caregiving duties that were once the domain of medical professionals. It is natural, therefore, that family caregivers should seek guidance from the attending physicians in carrying out the multiple and complex responsibilities of cancer caregiving. Yet these interactions serve not just to communicate information and guide care-giving actions. They can be seen to be integral to the quality of care provided by virtue of the manner in which the physicians engage with the family members as a matter or course and in the most telling circumstances of cancer treatment. My aim has been to document how and to what extent the interactions between physicians and caregivers are conducive to a compassionately extended framework of cancer care. This hermeneutic phenomenological study is based on in-depth interviews with five caregivers. Five major themes emerged from the participants’ stories: seeking presence–finding absence; feeling bereft–turning away; turning towards–gestures of presence; to give; and words from the family–a practice of embodied care. The interview data comprising this study has been composed as an extended narrative of how gestures, intonations, facial expressions and stances can be perceived as being crucial to helping family members feel integral to their loved ones’ cancer treatment. They spoke of the power of small, everyday, gestures to create a space of presence. While the participants also spoke of many neglects and indifferences, they also identified physicians who unceasingly gave of their time to be physically and emotionally available to family caregivers of their cancer patients. These physicians were seen to offer the gift of compassionate presence which sustained caregivers and physicians alike throughout the cancer journey. This study holds recommendations for how the space of medical care can be more compassionately defined and where the suffering of the patient, the accompanying family, and the physician can be recognized. Suggestions for transformational healing practices for physicians, allied health professionals, and the family caregivers themselves are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Stephen J. Smith
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Concepts for an enactive music pedagogy: Essays on phenomenology, embodied cognition, and music education

Date created: 
2017-05-10
Abstract: 

This thesis consists of an introduction and seven essays that develop possibilities for philosophy of music and music education through the lenses of phenomenology and the ‘enactive’ approach to mind. The phenomenological-enactive perspective presents a compelling alternative to dominant information-processing or so-called ‘cognitivist’ models by embracing an embodied and relational understanding of perception and cognition. It therefore offers new opportunities for exploring the nature and meaning of music and education that have both ethical and practical implications. While the essays may be read as stand-alone pieces, they also share a number of concepts and concerns. Because of this, they are organized into four parts according to the general themes they develop. Part I provides a general introduction to the basic ontological questions that motivate the essays. Here I discuss my path as a scholar, introduce the phenomenological and enactive perspectives, and briefly consider how they align with pedagogical theory. Building on these concerns, the following essay adopts a ‘critically ontological’ orientation. It draws out a number of reductive assumptions over the nature of music, education and what human being and knowing entails. In response, it posits a general framework for a music pedagogy based in enactive bio-ethical principles. Part II explores the nature of musical experience in more detail. Here knowledge in embodied cognitive science is developed towards an enactive approach to musical emotions, and to reconsider the problematic notion of (musical) ‘qualia’. Part III discusses practical applications of phenomenology for music and arts education––first in the context of private music instruction (drumming pedagogy), and then through the development of multimedia arts- inquiry projects. Part IV draws on enactivism to explore the deep continuity between music, improvisation, and the fundamental movements of life. The first paper suggests possibilities for curriculum development and self-assessment in improvisation pedagogy. The concluding essay brings together many of the insights discussed in the previous papers––recasting them in light of Eastern philosophy to reassert the relational, holistic, and “life based” understanding of mind, music and education that lies at the heart of an enactive music pedagogy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Susan O'Neill
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

An exploration of academic department chairs in British Columbia public colleges

Date created: 
2017-05-03
Abstract: 

The overriding goal of this mixed method study was to contribute to the relatively small documented body of literature on BC public college chairs by providing a descriptive account of the chair position and chair people from the perspective of the people performing the chair role and from an analysis of college documents and faculty collective agreements. The specific purposes were: 1) to gain an understanding of the position of academic department chair; 2) to gain an understanding of the people who perform the role of academic department chair in BC public colleges; 3) to identify and describe the challenges and successes experienced by chairs in BC public colleges; and 4) to explore strategies to improve the position of chair in BC public colleges. Publicly-available government policy documentation, chair job descriptions, and faculty collective agreements of all 11 BC public colleges were analyzed. In addition, all 11 public colleges were invited to participate in an online survey consisting of 76 fixed-format and open-ended questions. Ten colleges participated with a response rate of 53.4%, representing 125 chairs of the 234 chairs serving at the 10 colleges. Survey responses were analyzed applying Kahn’s et al. (1964) Organizational Role theory and Mintzberg’s (1979) theory of Professional Bureaucracy as a theoretical framework. Four main conclusions, each one corresponding to each of the four main purposes, emerged from the study: 1) the chair position in BC public colleges is a joint faculty and administration temporary position, assigned with multiple tasks and roles that guide the chair person in serving students and faculty; 2) BC public college chair people are leaders with no official authority who are guided more by altruistic motives rather than by self-serving financial motives and/or career ambitions; 3) the inherent nature of the chair’s dual role and the professional bureaucratic nature of post-secondary educational institutions prevent the elimination of all role conflict experienced by BC public college chairs but it is possible to reduce or eliminate four of the six types of role conflict; 4) strategies to improve BC public colleges’ chair position include a reduction in chairs’ work load, a plan to improve communication and educate members in the chair’s role-set about both the dual role of the chair position and the professional bureaucratic nature of public colleges.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Michelle Pidgeon
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ed.D.

A multiple case study of points of tension during TESOL teaching practica

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-11
Abstract: 

Becoming a teacher involves more than the acquisition of a new set of skills and knowledge. It involves a change in one’s identity, and this change seems affected by tensions experienced during the teaching practicum. This multiple case study explores the points of tension experienced by 18 student teachers during practicum in a TESOL Certificate program in order to better understand transformations in one’s identity when one becomes a teacher. The study aims to address two questions: “What are the points of tension experienced by student teachers during their practicum and what are the discourses they engage in to talk about these tensions?” and “How can curricular and methodological changes in a TESOL program support the emergence of a transformational discourse when experiencing tensions?” The study uses a theoretical framework that conceptualizes the location of becoming a teacher in Bhabha’s (1998; 2008) Third Space, explores and extends Mezirow’s (1990; 1991; 2000; 2012) system of Transformational Education, and makes use of Bakhtin’s (1968; 1981) notions of dialogism and chronotopes of time, space, and threshold as constructs for creating, collecting, and interacting with the data. Freire’s (1970; 1974; 1992) notion of power underlies all aspects of the study from exploring the implications of inhabiting the role of teacher-as-researcher (Zeni, 2001) to the avoidance of prescriptive outcomes in program design. The study involved the collection of written and video data from three cohorts of student teachers throughout their four-month TESOL certificate program. A dialogical approach was applied to the analysis of the data that interweaves the experiences of the teacher-as-researcher with the experiences of the participants. The results indicate that student teachers experienced personal, interpersonal, knowledge, cultural, pedagogical, and methodological tensions, but more significantly, four discourses (blaming, explaining, questioning, problem-solving) were identified and explored for their transformational potential. The outcomes of the study indicate that some of the above discourses are more transformational than others. Suggestions and examples for developing a TESOL teacher education practice that provides time and space for transformational discourse to emerge are presented.

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

Intelligent Tutoring Systems and Learning Outcomes: Two Systematic Reviews

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-12
Abstract: 

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) are computer programs that dynamically model learners’ psychological states to provide individualized instruction. ITSs have been developed for diverse subjects to help learners to acquire domain-specific, cognitive and metacognitive knowledge at all educational levels. In this thesis, I report on two studies conducted to examine the current state of the ITS field. The first study is a meta-analysis conducted on research that compared the outcomes from students learning from ITSs to those learning from non-ITS learning environments. It examines 107 studies, published prior to 2013, with a total of 14,321 participants. The results show that ITSs outperform teacher-led, large-group instruction (g = .42), non-ITS computer-based instruction (g = .57), and textbooks or workbooks (g = .35). However, no statistically significant difference was detected between learning from ITS and learning from individualized human tutoring (g = -.11) or small-group instruction (g = .05). The second study evaluates research on the relative effectiveness of Bayesian networks in constructing student models in ITSs, which involves 143 studies published between 1992 and 2014. The study explores how Bayesian network was adopted to support the development of student models, relative to its strengths and weaknesses in investigating learning constructs and their contributions to the effectiveness of BN student modeling. A number of implications are drawn with respect to the application of BN in ITS design. Both reviews provide evidence that ITSs are relatively effective tools for learning. Furthermore, ITS researchers are invited to reconsider three fundamental research questions that have been examined since the emergence of ITSs and how they contribute to and constrain advances in effective ITS design in light of developments in artificial intelligence research. Finally, recommendations for future research directions are provided to researchers in the ITS community.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Philip Winne
John Nesbit
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Older Adult Gamers: Digital Game Genres and the Perceived Benefits of Gameplay

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-13
Abstract: 

In this rapidly aging society, successful aging is drawing the attention of not only older adults but also of researchers who want to help the older population to improve or maintain their well-being. The digital game is a promising technology that could assist in successful aging. This survey study profiled older adults on background characteristics, various aspects of the digital games that they played as well as on the amount of time spent playing games and on the perceived benefits of digital game playing. 875 older adults, over the age of 55, were recruited from shopping malls, community centers, and seniors’ centers in the Greater Vancouver area. However, only the data of the 463 older adults who played digital games were analyzed. Certain types of digital games were found to have significant associations with some of the background characteristics of older adults. Significant associations were found among the different types of digital games that older adults played, the amount of time they spent playing games, and the perceived benefits of playing digital games. These results revealed a number of new findings regarding the types of digital games that older adults play and the identification of new areas of future research.

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

Parental Support for Students Who Participate in High School Athletics: An Exploration of the Perceived Influence of Parents and Its Effect on Student Self-Efficacy and Academic Success

Date created: 
2017-04-10
Abstract: 

This mixed method study explored student athletes’ perception of parental influence in their high school athletic endeavours and how this perceived influence affected their self efficacy and academic success.   The quantitative data was derived from surveys that gauged student perceived parental involvement, self efficacy and academic success in two high schools in a large metropolitan school district in British Columbia. One of the schools was a school composed primarily of students of mid to high social economic status while the other was designated an inner-city school.  The qualitative focus group consisted 10 athletes from each of the schools – a male and female from each grade – discussing students’ feelings about perceived parental involvement and how it affected their self-efficacy and academic success.  The findings showed that all of the student athletes – regardless of which school they attended – perceived that their parents were involved in their high school athletic careers. This perceived parental influence did not, however, substantially influence their self-efficacy or academic success.  Student athletes did feel increased membership when part of a high school athletic team and the interactions with their peer group and positive role models is linked to engagement in school, stronger feelings of self-worth, and academic success.  This study showed that perceived parental influence, while likely a positive support for students, had very little effect on the students’ perception about themselves or their academic success.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. Daniel Laitsch
Dr. Fred Renihan (retired)
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Perspectives of Canadian student volunteers in a university “Conversation Partners Program” for international students

Date created: 
2017-04-06
Abstract: 

The experiences of Canadian-born students in university programs aimed at intercultural relationships as well as language exchange is lacking in the literature. This study asked, “How does the experience of communicating with international students in a university sponsored Conversation Partners Program shape the identities of the Canadian conversation partners?” Narrative inquiry was used to determine the most common and relevant themes through out the interviews with the participants. These common themes were identified as: “reflecting on cultural norms and values”, “emerging openness to diverse perspectives”, and “expanding social and cultural network identities.” Implications for these intercultural exchanges are that both parties (Canadian and International students) gain in perspective taking, in learning about other cultures while being encouraged to question their own cultural values, and in learning to navigate the world by gaining personal and cultural assets due to becoming more open to the values and beliefs of diverse cultures.

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

Joining Learning and Making: A Practitioner’s Retrospective Auto/biographical Account of How Inquiry Can Contribute to Social Justice Efforts in a Community

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-01-25
Abstract: 

An opportunity arose in the author’s work as an animator in a community group to design a socially innovative project to address homelessness in her city. Her retrospective auto/biographical account of the design and implementation process demonstrates how qualitative inquiry can contribute to the efforts of community-based practitioners committed to advancing social justice in their communities. Two inquiry frameworks were used. The first, mindful inquiry, is guided by phenomenology, hermeneutics, critical social theory, and the Eastern knowledge tradition of Buddhism. The second, ALMOLIN (alternative models of local social innovation), explores the dynamics of social exclusion and social innovation. Its ethical social-justice position provides alternative criteria to determine whether a social innovation responds to human deprivation; empowers disenfranchised citizens by building capabilities; and changes social and power relations, transforming exclusionary mechanisms into inclusionary strategies. Drawing on these intersecting frameworks, and thinking through and with relationships and lived experiences in her practice setting, a bold vision emerged of what the author here calls the Whole Community Project. Practical actions of coordination and collaboration with multiple stakeholders brought into being places and spaces in the community that provided material pathways to formal education, employment, affordable housing, and home ownership for citizens who had been left behind due to homelessness, addiction, mental health issues, and unemployment. In joining inquiry with making, this unique project design demonstrated that such citizens can recover, achieve employment that provides a sustainable livelihood, and own their own homes in less than two years. The project met the goals of improving the lives of citizens in the author’s practice. The inquiry also informed the design of inclusive interactive civic spaces to promote broader inclusive participatory inquiry: what had been perceived as individual troubles (e.g., homelessness, addiction) could now be transformed into community issues for public deliberation towards more socially just public policy.

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

Undergraduate students' understanding of transformations of sinusoidal functionss

Date created: 
2017-01-23
Abstract: 

Trigonometry is one of the fundamental topics taught in high school and university curricula. However, it is considered as one of the most challenging subjects for teaching and learning. Contributing to research on learning trigonometry, this dissertation sheds light on aspects of undergraduate students’ understanding of transformations of sinusoidal functions. Six undergraduate students participated in the study. Two types of tasks – (A) Identifying sinusoidal functions and (B) Assigning coordinates – were presented to participants in a clinical interview.To analyze the collected data, three theoretical frameworks, Mason’s theory of shifts of attention, Presmeg’s visual imagery and Carlson, Jacobs, Coe, Larsen, and Hsu covariational reasoning were used in this dissertation. Mason’s theory provided opportunity to study the critical role of attention and awareness in learning and understanding mathematics, and in particular the concept of transformation of sinusoidal functions. Presmeg’s classification of visual imagery was applied for investigating students’ visual mental constructs since the participants applied their imagery on different occasions when they completed the interview tasks. Lastly, participants’ solution approaches were evaluated using covariational reasoning, focusing on Carlson’s et al. description of mental actions associated with developmental levels. The results of this research show that undergraduate students participating in this study experienced difficulty in identifying a phase shift/ horizontal transformation of the sinusoidal functions. They, in fact, determined “BC” as phase shift instead of “C” when they relied on the representation of sinusoids as f(x)= A sin/cos((B(x+C))+D. Some participants were also unable to complete tasks in which coefficient of x was a fraction. I conclude this dissertation with some pedagogical suggestions in terms of learning and teaching transformations of sinusoidal functions.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Rina Zazkis
none
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.