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

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Embodied curiosity in the mathematics classroom through the affordance of the geometer's sketchpad

Date created: 
2021-08-26
Abstract: 

This dissertation examines the role of curiosity in understanding the process of mathematical meaning-making. I argue that human curious behaviour coupled with the affordances of digital technology are instrumental in the way students construct mathematical meanings and that the body plays an important role in this curiosity-technology relationship. I use data collected from two secondary schools in Jamaica to examine how curiosity could be exploited in the mathematics classroom. The students who participated in this study were between thirteen and fifteen years old and followed the Jamaican Grade 9 curriculum. The data analysis is qualitative in nature and is based on selected pairs of students’ interactions involving digital technology and circle geometry theorems. To frame this research, I designed a theoretical framework, which I named Embodied Curiosity, that is grounded in theories of embodied cognition and draws on Andrew Pickering’s (1995) conception of agency. The main idea around this framework is the reconceptualization of curiosity (trait-curiosity), to relational-curiosity (the agential relationship between the students’ curiosity and digital technology). The broader aim of this study is to respond to the limited research in the mathematics education field around the affective dimension of learning and the integration of digital technology in the mathematics classroom. However, the specific goal is to identify the physical markers of curiosity and to investigate the extent to which Embodied Curiosity fosters the construction of mathematical meanings. In addition, this research seeks to find out how the potentialities and affordances of The Geometer’s Sketchpad contribute to the Embodied Curiosity process. This study accentuates the significance of considering Dynamic Geometry Environments (DGEs) as essential tools for stimulating curiosity. It also presents pedagogical implications for teaching circle theorems and fostering deeper understandings about how the attributes of a circle connect to each other. Furthermore, this research allows me to understand that mathematics teaching and learning should not be concerned solely with the nature of mathematics but also the nature of human beings.

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

Mathematics as the science of material assemblage: Enactivist, quantum theoretical, and educational perspectives

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-09-15
Abstract: 

This dissertation explores implications of reconsidering the nature of mathematics from a conjoined enactivist/quantum theoretical perspective. The research is motivated by the view that reinterpreting the nature of mathematics through more inclusive materialisms has the potential to reinforce the fundamental relationship between mathematics and the material world, and to deepen our collective understanding of the ways in which our models of mathematics ultimately take on the meanings that they do. Four core themes underpin the overall research trajectory (i.e., new materialisms and issues of dualism, epistemological uncertainty, matters of agency, and complexity associated with emergent systems); however, only the initial two will be directly addressed within this particular document. Both yield insights into how specific facets of quantum theory and enactivism might supplement the more traditional discourse surrounding the nature of mathematics, and, in so doing, set conceptual groundwork for a broader mathematical (or rather material–mathematical) worldview. In light of these diverse themes, the program of research is necessarily interdisciplinary in scope, synthesizing literature from the interconnected domains of physics, mathematics, educational psychology, and philosophy more generally. Considering this literature alongside works from the established discourse of mathematics education, and reading it through a conjoined enactivist/quantum theoretical perspective, the dissertation elaborates points of disciplinary confluence, whilst expressing how such confluence might inform or reshape the sense of what mathematics is. By drawing upon the assemblage theory of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Elizabeth de Freitas and Nathalie Sinclair’s characterization of the body in/of mathematics, and the concept of quantum entanglement, the research also articulates a perspective regarding the mathematical structure of reality, and levies a view in which mathematics itself may be perceived as the science of material assemblage. A driving tenet of the research is the notion that a changed view of the material also changes one’s view of the mathematical.

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

Ecocentric science education: More-than-human ethics, Goethean science, and poetic pedagogy

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-06
Abstract: 

This thesis includes an introduction, an extended narrative, and eight essays integrating philosophies on science education, poetic inquiry, and place-based learning. This collection explores a range of questions and philosophical concepts, including environmental ethics, contemplative practice, Goethean science, arts-based learning, and reflective pedagogy. The introduction first reveals my personal motivation and contextual milieu, and then identifies the thematic relationship—ecological literacy for undergraduate students fostered through ecocentric theory and practice—across the essays. My research is positioned within the germane literature, and I clarify the relational provocation that poetry and other arts-based scholarship afford. Part I (Ground) includes an extended narrative that serves to situate my lived experience and place-based connection, a personal journey in the North Cascades that led me to question anthropocentric science education. Carl Leggo’s “Living poetically” is discussed as a methodology that cultivates more-than-human connection that promotes contemplative practice and a reciprocal relationship with life phenomena. Part II (Roots) explores human exceptionalism and self-interest towards other-than-humans. The aesthetic, holistic and moral qualities of Romanticism are considered in regards to science education. Goethean science, where students understand nature inwardly, offers an alternative to Newtonian science by incorporating the intentionality of phenomenological learning. Part III (Trunk) examines what we mean by “science education” and the reduction of nature to the order of the inanimate. Incorporating Goethean science in today’s natural sciences classrooms steps us away from conventional reductionist science methodology and moves us toward a conscious-process-participation epistemology. Part IV (Branches and Leaves) uses Leopold’s land ethic as a philosophical framework for relational education, and outlines the practical application of the GPS ecocache, and its integration with Kolb’s model of experiential education. Reflections on KPU’s Amazon Interdisciplinary Field School through narrative, journal entries, and photography elucidate the importance of teacher adaptability, confident mentorship, contemplative education, and nature as teacher. Part V (Fruit and Seeds) considers being a wild researcher, positionality of the natural world, embedded anthropocentrism in animal experimentation, and provides examples for ecocentric teaching and research in science.

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

Adaawgm Ts’msyen int suwilaay’magm: Teachings from our Ts’msyen narratives

Date created: 
2022-01-21
Abstract: 

Abstract For Indigenous communities everywhere, the passing of valued Knowledge Holders is resulting in the loss of history, language and culture on a daily basis. This is the case for our Ts’msyen Nation. In our Ts’msyen territories on the Northwest Coast of British Columbia, our Sm’algyax language is taught in three of our surrounding Ts’msyen community schools and in all the schools within the Prince Rupert School District (SD #52) through the Indigenous Education Department. Over the last ten years, we have lost many of our program’s Ts’msyen Knowledge Holders and team-teachers. It is therefore a critical time to support the learning of our younger Sm’algyax team members, who work with our Sm’algyax program. Our Ts’msyen language strongly connects us to our territory, to each other, and to our environment − plants, animals, lands and waterways. The foundational teachings of who we are as Ts’msyen Peoples are embedded in our Sm’algyax language and in our traditional Ts’msyen adaawx (traditional narratives), as well as in the lived experience of our Ts’msyen Knowledge Holders. The purpose of this Ts’msyen inquiry was to bring our Sm’algyax language team together with our Ts’msyen Knowledge Holders to develop a relationship with and an understanding of selected Ts’msyen adaawx (traditional narratives), in the hope of developing the team’s understanding of our Ts’msyen history, language and culture. We drew on the knowledge embedded in our traditional Ts’msyen adaawx and our Sm’algyax language as well as from the lived experience of our knowledge Holders. We used our “Wila Loom Ts’msyen” (Ts’msyen ways of being) to guide our theoretical inquiry and methodological process. I drew on the processes and protocols of our Ts’msyen Feast planning process and ceremony to guide and frame our learning journey. It was critical that we followed our Ts’msyen protocols while working with our traditional knowledge. Throughout our adaawx inquiry we identified key Ts’msyen pedagogical principles of teaching and learning. We are confident that the teachings embedded in our Ts’msyen adaawx and in our Sm’algyax language, as well as in the teachings shared by our Knowledge Holders, are critical to knowing who we are and where we come from as Ts’msyen. We believe that these teachings will serve as the foundation of our Sm’algyax program.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Vicki Kelly
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Représentations et rapports à l'identité et à la langue bretonne d'élèves de secondaires scolarisés à Diwan

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-09-16
Abstract: 

This doctoral thesis in educational leadership focuses on the Breton language, on its revitalization and its transmission. Primarily spoken in Brittany, this Celtic language has faced a dramatic drop in the number of speakers after the 1950s, due to a rupture in intergenerational transmission. In a minority context, family transmission is an essential element of the preservation of a language. Currently, there is almost no transmission within families and today, Breton is mostly taught in schools such as the Diwan network in Brittany that offers an immersive educational program in Breton, an alternative to the traditional program of the French Ministry of Education taught in French. In addition to being an empirical analysis of Breton immersion and the challenges the Diwan schools face, this study examines the representations of the Breton language from the perspectives of students and their families, as well as leaders in education (teachers and principals) in Diwan secondary schools. It seeks to understand the role of these representations in the choice to enroll children in a Breton immersion program and their motivations to study in Breton and perhaps one day pass on this language. This qualitative research adopts a constructivist and interpretative epistemology, and is based on the findings of 22 individual and group interviews. While studying the social, historical, and cultural context in which this discourse takes place, the analysis of these interviews also allowed to make an inventory of the participants' representations about the Breton language, and to identify family politics and reasons to follow the Diwan program. The interviews granted further insight on the role of the Breton language as a marker of identity and cultural affiliation for students enrolled in Diwan. This study highlights the challenges faced by schools like Diwan with the French educational and legal system and how the participants of this study imagine the future of the Diwan network and the Breton language. It concludes with a reflection on the implications and responsibilities that rest on political and educational leadership in the face of the urgent matters of teaching, transmission and revitalization of the Breton language.

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

It’s Hard to be a Diamond in a Rhinestone World: Counselling Needs and Experiences of Nonbinary Clients

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-23
Abstract: 

This critical qualitative study centers the counselling experiences, needs and desires of eight people with gender identities outside the binary. Thematic analysis of firsthand accounts shows a skeptical yet savvy engagement with the mental health establishment, beset by the spectre of stigma and by a lack of basic competency on the part of many counsellors that participants can access. Participants ask for more oversight for safety and aptitude in the field and for programs to better prepare therapists to meaningfully engage, not only with queer and trans people and subcultures, but with clients from structurally marginalized social locations more broadly. Reports from participants highlight major access inequities, particularly around cost and crisis care and they question norms around mental health and its service provision. This thesis is guided by and grounded in Spade’s framework of the three modes of transphobia (2011), those that occur with regard to: perpetrator/victim practices, disciplinary norms, and population-management. Findings can guide practitioners, trainee supervisors and policy makers in providing more accessible, appropriate, and effective care.

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

Through the teachings of the local marine life: A case study of students’, student-teachers’, teachers' and leaders’ perceptions of Ocean Wise selected programming

Date created: 
2022-01-24
Abstract: 

Recently, the concept of ocean literacy (OL) has been described as a way forward to help communities and individuals develop a more holistic understanding of their influences on the ocean and the ocean’s influences on their lives. Still, OL has not yet been fully enacted in the K-12 curricula in Canada and many environmental education programs are taking the lead to provide participants with this type of broader understanding. In this study, I provide a broad overview of OL initiatives as enacted by the Ocean Wise NGO (OW) and how these have influenced the diffusion of ocean literacy in British Columbia (BC). I selected a range of education programs for data collection including school visits to the Vancouver Aquarium, offsite mobile programming (with AquaVan), and teacher professional development programs, both onsite and with an online learning platform. Through an instrumental case study design, I combine qualitative approaches with observations, together with focus groups and interviews, and questionnaires to provide a broad view of activities from the perspective of program participants. In addition, I explore how the programs’ approaches influence participants in becoming ocean literate. The results revealed that by providing locally referenced experiences with hands-on, the programs have positive impact in participants experiences and connection to the ocean. Although there are limitations in the delivery of ocean literacy, the selected OW programs play an important role on introducing key concepts of our relationship with the ocean and advancing ocean literacy in BC.

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

Earth dance and fire song: A journey towards transformative reconciliation in nursing education

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-01-18
Abstract: 

G̱ilakas'la, Nugwa’a̱m Joanna Elizabeth Fraser. I was born in East Africa to parents of European ancestry. I have been an inhabitant of the West Coast of Canada since I was two years old. This inquiry offers a vision for co-creating healing learning spaces for transformative reconciliation in nursing education. Oriented by Indigenous research methodologies, I draw from métissage and, portraiture to share the story of finding ya'xa̱n yiyaḵ̓wima (my gifts from the Creator). Starting with finding ya'xa̱n dłig̱a̱m (my name), I ask who I am in relation to the places and people who I have learned from. In finding ya'xa̱n ḵ̓a̱ngex̱tola (my blanket), I ask where I am from as I weave, unweave and reweave understandings of what I have learned as a nurse and as an educator. In finding ya'xa̱n ya̱xw'a̱nye' (my dance), I ask where I am going and share my experiences from over 13 years of co-facilitating immersion learning field schools in remote First Nations communities. Finally, I share the learnings of my inquiry for educators more generally as I find ya'xa̱n ḵ̓a̱mda̱m (my song) and ask myself why I am here. My learnings from the field schools are about following the lead of Indigenous people, orienting myself to relationships and always seeking out wellness. These learnings are applied to nursing education more generally as my inquiry leads me through three landscapes: bearing witness, being an inhabitant and becoming Indigenist. Transformative reconciliation happens when we naḵi'stamas (make things right) and tlaxwalapa (lift each other up with love). We can do this through living in relationally accountable and ecologically reciprocal ways. My lessons are of the Sisiutl, seeing everything in complexity, and of the he’istalis (world around us) experiencing everything as relationship. Ultimately, my vision is to reimagine nursing and nursing education so that we can heal ourselves, each other, and the land to become synala (whole).

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Vicki Kelly
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

What do we mean when we talk about “safe space”? A philosophical exploration of a contentious metaphor in education

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-11-18
Abstract: 

Educators have described their classes and institutions as “safe spaces” with increasing frequency and certainty since the 1990s. However, philosophers of education such as Eamon Callan, Cris Mayo, and Sigal Ben-Porath have found “safe space” to be conceptually and pedagogically lacking when interpreted from intersectional positionalities operating within the hegemonic white, masculine, and consumerist discourses permeating a modern educational system that strives for greater equity, diversity, and inclusion. This work operationalizes “safe space” by recognizing it as what linguists Max Black, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, and philosopher Paul Ricoeur would term a conceptual metaphor, which structures thinking about education. Critical pedagogues such as Michael Apple, Raymond Callahan, Paulo Freire, Ivan Illich, Herbert Kliebard, and Peter McLaren have argued how this type of structured thinking can influence pedagogical practices; but to date, no in-depth philosophical analysis of “safe space” exists in the literature. Interrogating modern debates about the nature of “space” inherited from Isaac Newton (who viewed it as an absolute container filled with independent subjects/objects), and Gottfried Leibniz (who viewed space as an infinite set of relations between subjects/objects), the implications for any educationally worthwhile understanding and practice of “safety” or “safe space” are shown to be suspect due to the Newtonian inheritances. Ultimately, I posit that “safe space” is unavoidably Newtonian – assumed to be capable of formulation a priori such that students are entitled to a guarantee that a class space will be safe in some sense that can be unambiguously stated, irrespective of who is taking the class, what the class is about, and what is going on in the world. This a priori safe space is then one that institutions feel responsible for guaranteeing, teachers feel responsible for creating and maintaining, with students feeling no responsibility other than reaping its benefits. Linking this work’s conceptual analysis of the Leibnizian inheritances to “space” and “safety” (understood as infinitely relational) to that of critical pedagogues such as bell hooks, I argue for a more philosophically grounded and educationally worthwhile understanding of “safe space”.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Kevin O’Neill
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

What types of feedback enhance the effectiveness of self-explanation in a simulation-based learning environment?

Date created: 
2021-11-25
Abstract: 

In this research, self-explanation was prompted and feedback was supplied to help learners activate prior knowledge, detect misconceptions, and replace unscientific mental models with correct scientific models. The research investigated the effects of two types of tutor feedback on learning and conceptual change in a simulation inquiry environment: Elaborative feedback incorporated tutor explanation and knowledge of results feedback provided only confirmation or disconfirmation of learners’ statements. Sixty-eight undergraduate students, with low prior knowledge in the physics of waves, were randomly assigned to receive either (a) self-explanation prompts with no feedback (NF), (b) self-explanation prompts with knowledge of results feedback (KRF), and (c) self-explanation prompts with elaborative feedback (EF). A pretest-posttest design was used to investigate participants’ knowledge gain and conceptual change resulting from learning tasks they performed by interacting with a physics simulation and explaining what they observed. The simulation, learning tasks, and knowledge tests focused on five fundamental principles of wave physics, four of which are often subject to misconceptions. Chi-square tests of association followed by pairwise Fisher’s exact test comparisons revealed elaborative feedback was advantageous, but only for two of the four concepts prone to persistent misconception – the mechanism of sound propagation and the medium-speed relationship. The findings suggest that prompting learners to self-explain can be sufficient for learning, but only for concepts whose acquisition is not hindered by persistent misconceptions. For concepts prone to such misconceptions, elaborative feedback may be necessary for understanding phenomena at deep structural levels. It is proposed that self-explanation combined with elaborative feedback may be a highly effective instructional strategy across many scientific domains, especially in the context of simulation-based inquiry learning.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
John C. Nesbit
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.