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

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Language, gestures and touchscreen dragging in school calculus: Bilinguals' linguistic and non-linguistic communication

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-01-25
Abstract: 

This research study concerns patterns of high school bilingual learners’ communication when they interact with touchscreen-based dynamic geometry environments (DGEs) during calculus discussion and exploration. Specifically, three research questions are proposed for the study, addressing respectively: (1) the interplay between linguistic and non-linguistic communication, (2) the mathematical competence demonstrated in the activity and (3) the role of the technology for facilitating calculus thinking. Using aparticipationist lens and the theoretical framing of thinking-as-communicating, I provide qualitative video analyses of six pairs of high school bilingual calculus students’ communication by focussing on their word-use, gestures, and touchscreen-dragging actions with DGEs during their mathematical activities. The goal of this study is to identify bilingual learners’ competence during pair-work on mathematical activities with touchscreen-based DGEs.In Part I of the study, I compared two pairs of participants’ thinking in two different types of visual mediators: “static” as those found in textbook diagrams, and “dynamic” as exploited by the use of DGEs. The analysis provides evidence that the participants utilised different modes—utterances, gestures and touchscreen-dragging—of communication. In particular, touchscreen-dragging emerged as a form of gestures for communicating dynamic and temporal calculus relationships. In addition, the studentscommunicated about the fundamental calculus ideas differently when prompted by different types of visual mediators.In Part II of the study, I provide analyses of communication involving four pairs of participants while exploring the area-accumulating functions with touchscreen-based DGEs. Findings resonate with Part I: the students relied on gestures and touchscreen-dragging as non-linguistic features of the mathematical discourse to communicate dynamic aspects of calculus. Moreover, by adopting a non-deficit model and examining the interplay between word-use, gestures and touchscreen-dragging with DGEs, it waspossible to identify bilingual learners’ competence in mathematical communication. This study underscores the importance of considering bilingual learners’ non-linguistic forms of communication for understanding their mathematical thinking. It also presents implications for teaching dynamic aspects of functions and calculus, by arguing for amultimodal view of communication to capture the use of gestures and touchscreen-dragging in mathematical communication. Furthermore, it allowed me to identify new forms of communication mobilised in dynamic, touchscreen environments.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nathalie Sinclair
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Understanding the learning and social gameplay experience of older adults playing a Bingo digital game

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-12-15
Abstract: 

This study examined the social gameplay and learning experience of older adults during four weeks of gameplay using a customised educational digital Bingo game with nutrition and health content. The research design (n=50) used a sequential explanatory mixed methods approach to investigate the experience of this group of older players (60 years and above). This method split the study into two phases: the first phase consisted of four weeks of gameplay and quantitative data collection using pre- and post-tests, while the second phase consisted of post-gaming interviews of selected players to collect qualitative data. The results showed significant improvement of players’ game attitude and social connectedness scores from the pre-test to the post-test. Further support from interview data confirmed these increases. The interview data also shed light on the importance of social connectedness, co-playing, older players’ preferences, and knowledge gained from playing this game. These results were consistent with earlier research studies. New findings included the generation of a conceptual framework explaining the connections among the various themes discovered from the older adult players’ game-playing experiences. This framework also explains how a digital game that offers a relevant objective to older adults (in this case, learning about nutrition and health in a good social co-playing setting) can provide them with a good social and learning experience. In addition, the positive gameplay experience provided to this group of players fostered their engagement in the game, their uninterrupted play, and contributions to digital game development based on their experiences.

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

Eco care: Nurturing possibility & resistance within education

Date created: 
2015-11-25
Abstract: 

This research examines moral development in relation to the natural world within three elementary aged children and one public elementary school teacher. This work is based on several ethical starting points: 1) that entities within the natural world have intrinsic value and agency, 2) that we are interdependent with each other and 3) that we should therefore act with humility and caution. These considerations gave rise to a new methodological approach called ‘eco portraiture’, which builds upon questions and lessons arising from direct contact with the natural world so that the more-than-human remains in foreground of the research methodology itself. This work extends Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis (1997) conceptions of ‘portraiture’ as a methodology to also include arts-based explorations of place. This research took place on a weekly basis for a total of two years at a public elementary school focused on ecological education. Two themes regarding moral development were uncovered: ‘empathy’ and ‘belonging’. Empathy took the form of a developing ‘eco sensitivity’ in these students. Central to this type of moral development were particular ways of attending, valuing and listening to the more-than-human. These processes acted as roots for a type of ecological care to grow. Taking these life experiences seriously, this research proposes that young children are not inherently ‘egoistic’ as traditional developmental theorists such as Piaget (1932) and Mead (1934) have argued, learning to extend care outwards as they differentiate themselves from others, rather that they are relational. Phenomenologist Kleinberg-Levin (2008) suggests at this early stage, there is a “reversible communicative relationship with nature” that is working to shape and inform the child (p.61). I argue that if an educator diligently works on cultivating this notion of empathy, there is the potential for the child’s moral orientation not to exclude or background the natural world but rather welcome it as an active teacher. This notion of empathy is then paired with the concept of belonging as feeling part of the human and more-than-human community was essential in building confidence and courage in these children. This appeared to be important in resisting dominant cultural norms that may be working against an ecological care.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Appendix A: Ecoboy-fort.mp4
Appendix B: Bambi.mp3
Senior supervisor: 
Sean Blenkinsop
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Conceptualizing a Mentorship Program for University Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Date created: 
2015-12-17
Abstract: 

Mentoring students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in post-secondary education settings can provide beneficial and efficient support for enhancing their educational and social experiences. This study provides an in-depth understanding of a university mentorship program using a grounded theory approach to determine how the Autism Mentorship Initiative (AMI), a mentorship program designed for students with ASD, was experienced by its participants. Participants were undergraduate and graduate university students attending Simon Fraser University (SFU). Data was collected from semi-structured interviews with both mentees (SFU students with ASD) and mentors (SFU students without ASD); as well as other AMI documents, in order to identify common themes that emerged throughout the mentoring process. By using a grounded theory method, the following five broad themes were identified and interrelated under the core theme of A Mentee-centered Approach. These broad themes include: (1) The Natural Progression of the Relationship, (2) The Versatile Mentor, (3) The Meeting Process, (4) Identifying and Implementing Goals, and (5) Learning Together. Subthemes also emerged within the broader themes that further explained how each theme emerged from the “ground” up. This study provides insight into the experiences of the participants in AMI in order to provide an exploration of a mentorship program that has potential to inform support services and practices for students with ASD in higher education. The dual-perspective approach (of considering the experiences of both mentees and mentors) gives a rich description of what comprises mentorship for students with ASD.

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

Invisible Victims: Stories of Engaging the Victim Services System

Author: 
Abstract: 

There is scant research exploring the experiences of people who use victim services. This exploratory study used a narrative approach to examine the experiences of five community members who have engaged the victim services system in the Greater Vancouver area in Canada. The main theme that emerged from participants’ stories centred on the experience of invisibility, where participants described feeling unheard, unseen, and unacknowledged in their interactions with the victim services system and with individuals working within it. In contrast, they often described helpful experiences as those where they felt supported and acknowledged. These findings are discussed in relation to the extant literature surrounding victim services, clinical implications, and directions for further research.

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

The changing faces of self-esteem: A critical history of the concept and its implications for personhood

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-12-14
Abstract: 

This thesis critically analyzes the concept and phenomenon of self-esteem using the approach of historical ontology. The analysis focuses on how understanding and application of the concept has shifted as a consequence of three sociohistorical processes: the quantification, idealization, and normalization of self-esteem. While self-esteem originally was understood as unquantifiable and a by-product of success, it is now considered quantifiable and a cause of success. As well, whereas the modification of self-esteem previously was regarded as idiosyncratic, it is now believed that all people can and should raise their self-esteem using generic strategies that emphasize self-responsibility and self-management. It is argued that these changes gave rise to a new kind of person called “low self-esteemers.” Revealed is that although low self-esteemers have low self-esteem because they are marginalized in society, they are held responsible for their negative self-feelings. The source of their low self-esteem is social and political—a consequence of neoliberalism—but they and others are made to believe the cause of their low self-esteem resides internally as an individual psychological problem.

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

A phenomenological study of the therapeutic benefits of woodcarving

Date created: 
2015-12-04
Abstract: 

The pace of life in modern society can be hectic and unrelenting. It is therefore not surprising that people often feel emotionally and physically depleted and seek out ways to relax and rejuvenate mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There are many forms of recreational and therapeutic activities that people engage in during their day to day lives in order to relax and recuperate from the grind of modern life. Some activities are physical in nature, such as yoga, baseball, jogging or hiking in the woods. Some are more creative, such as painting, writing or singing. While other therapeutic hobbies are closer to being chores, like baking or gardening. There are a myriad of activities that people find relaxing; however, an activity that one person finds relaxing another person may find onerous or frustrating. Woodcarving is a creative and often cultural activity that is sought by many as a means of recreation and relaxation. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of research that has explored the potentially therapeutic benefits of working with crafts, especially woodcarving. The goal of this study was to use qualitative phenomenological methods to ascertain the common therapeutic benefits participants derived from engaging in woodcarving and to ascertain the shared benefits of the woodcarving experience. The findings of this research established that there were six common therapeutic benefits of woodcarving that were shared by all the participants to some degree. For some participants woodcarving can be a very spiritual and meditative practice, for others it is simply a way to relax and create something aesthetically pleasing with their own two hands. To our knowledge, this study is the first to highlight the therapeutic and life-enhancing benefits of woodcarving. It is my hope that this paper may generate interest in this field of study so that in the future more research may be focused upon the therapeutic benefits of woodcarving and other crafts.

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

Filtering our selves: Associations between early adolescent self-perceptions and Instagram activity

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-12-14
Abstract: 

The purpose of this study was to examine relationships among early adolescents’ self- perceptions, Instagram use (viewing photographs, posting photographs, and importance of getting “likes”), and self-reported impacts of Instagram use on feelings about physical appearance and peer relationships. Harter’s (2012) Self Perception Profile for Adolescents and The Instagram Questionnaire (developed for the present study) were administered to 104 (male = 51; female = 53) grade eight students. Eighty four percent of participants had an Instagram account, and the majority reported viewing Instagram more than once daily. There were no gender differences in Instagram use. Boys reported more positive self- perceptions than girls in the social, athletic, appearance, and general self-worth domains. Girls reported Instagram use having a greater negative impact on their feelings about their appearance than did boys. Correlations revealed those who viewed Instagram more frequently were more likely to have negative self-perceptions about their behavioural and academic competence. Boys and girls who were more concerned with getting “likes” on their photos had more negative perceptions of their appearance, behaviour, and overall self-worth. Students who reported negative impacts of Instagram use tended to have less favourable self-perceptions, an effect that was more pervasive in girls than boys. Among girls only, frequency of viewing Instagram was associated with greater perceived negative effects of Instagram. Results are discussed in relation to implications for parents, teachers, and counsellors, as well as suggestions for future research.

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

Pedagogy of Distance: Touch in Education

Date created: 
2015-12-02
Abstract: 

Pedagogical touch is becoming an endangered species in the learning environments we create with our students. Many school districts are adopting no-touch policies without considering the social and emotional implications for students. Through ethnodramatic, performative and autoethnographic writing, difficult questions are posed. Are interpersonal physical connections between students and educators an important and valuable expression in the pedagogical relationship? What personal, experiential and/or institutional considerations influence the pedagogical choices that teachers make in using touch? Does fear play a role in making these pedagogical decisions? Does gender matter? This body of work is divided into two sections. The first piece consists of an ethnodrama titled “You Were Warned.” The play deals with the complexities of touch and teacher’s lives in the politicized school environment, drawn from interviews with educators. The second piece contextualizes the ethnodrama and work as a whole. This section also explores the methodological underpinnings that gave me permission to engage with the data through ethnodrama, performative writing, autoethnography and how these methodologies mediated my struggle with finding voice.

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

Beyond disclosure: A human rights approach to understanding queer women's interactions with healthcare providers when seeking sexual healthcare

Date created: 
2015-12-15
Abstract: 

This study explores interactions between queer women and healthcare providers within the context of sexual health and identifies barriers to and facilitators of equitable healthcare delivery. Constructivist grounded theory supplemented with situational mapping guided secondary analysis of nine participant interview transcripts from an original study on queer women’s health. The current study situates queer women’s sexual healthcare seeking within the broader social processes of heteronormativity and heterosexism. Through data analysis and interpretation, a three-tiered contextual framework for queer women’s sexual healthcare seeking was identified. The healthcare space is the broadest level of the framework and the first material context queer women encounter when seeking sexual healthcare. The context of relational healthcare dynamics is the second tier of the framework and includes interactions between queer women as patients seeking healthcare from healthcare providers. The sexual healthcare interactions context is the third tier and specifically focuses on interactions related sexual healthcare. Different issues enabling or constraining queer women’s health equity permeate these three contexts. Implications of the study findings are discussed at both the systemic and interactional levels of healthcare delivery.

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