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

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An exploration of British Columbia's TVET instructors' perceptions that influence their curriculum choices

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-01-16
Abstract: 

Instructors’ perceptions, values, and belief structures influence their curriculum decisions and may fundamentally overlap, contradict, and/or conflict, leading to a confluence of curricula cultures within the classroom. This study investigated Trades and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) instructors’ perceptions to gain a better understanding of how those perceptions give rise to cultures of curriculum, particularly those that inhabit postsecondary TVET in British Columbia (BC). A total of 37 TVET instructors from BC participated in this study. Collectively, the participants represented a total of 10 Red Seal trades. Joseph’s (2000) conceptualization of curriculum as culture was used as the theoretical lens to investigate vocational instructors’ general perceptions regarding (a) their role as a teacher, (b) the intellectual capacities of their students, and (c) the purpose and future needs of vocational education. Q Methodology (Stephenson, 1935) was selected as the optimal research approach. Q factor analysis resulted in a four-factor solution, revealing the correlation of participants’ shared curricular beliefs and values as four statistically distinct perspectives. Factor array tables and interview transcripts were reviewed to interpret and name the viewpoints as expressed by the participants grouping together in each factor: Factor 1 – the constructivist crew, Factor 2 – the canonical cluster, Factor 3 – the experiential team, and Factor 4 – the 21st century progressives. Two major findings were gleaned from this study. First, tensions exist between the theoretical underpinnings of competency based education and training (CBET) and the curricular beliefs held by Factors 1, 2 and 4. Factor 3, however, is found to be in broad agreement with the goals and pedagogies associated with CBET. Second, distinct views held by each factor are theoretically opposed to those of other groupings, creating incompatibilities and divisions within the education system. The findings from this study have implications for future research, practice, policy, and theory and lend support to other curriculum studies in both mainstream education and TVET. My intention is for these findings to bring forth awareness of the largely unexamined theoretical confusion that I found to exist within the BC TVET system and to provide a reference point for stakeholders’ discussions and future curricular decisions.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Michelle Pidgeon
Natalia Gajdamaschko
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

A politics of disgust: Selfhood, world-making, and ethics

Date created: 
2018-04-20
Abstract: 

Disgust is an “everyday” experience as it appears in everyday, ordinary moments. Yet, disgust has remained challenging to address both theoretically and in our personal interpretations of disgust experiences. Current accounts in education, psychology and the humanities have minimized how disgust can play a role in meaning-making at personal, interpersonal, and social levels. In other words, they have focused on trying to answer what disgust is, rather than what it does. My research will show that disgust has an impact on processes of selfhood, world-making, and ethics. I will argue that disgust encounters are not a residue or by-product of experiences, but rather, work to create structures of meaning about selfhood, interpersonal relationships, and the worlds we inhabit. These structures allow subjects to organize and understand their experiences. In short, disgust is about “meaning-making.” My analysis will use feminist intersubjective perspectives to examine disgust as they provide a useful way to understand the relational aspects of disgust and the ways in which disgust impacts processes and forms of understanding. In particular, I apply Jessica Benjamin’s approach to recognition to draw out disgust’s relevance to meaning-making. I will argue that disgust is an affective moment in which the struggle for recognition plays out. Through the lens of recognition, disgust’s significance to processes of selfhood, interpersonal relations, and ethics becomes evident. My analysis includes a case study of Ashley Smith’s incarceration and the circumstances leading to her death in 2007 to demonstrate the significance of disgust encounters as struggles for recognition.

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

Early bilingual development in preschool and kindergarten: An ethnographic study of three Punjabi-speaking emergent bilingual learners in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-10
Abstract: 

Canada’s population has been multicultural and multilingual for many years, and recently there have been changes to official language education policies, programs, and practices in public schools across the country. Unfortunately, education through the medium of an official language (often the language of schooling) has not served young bilingual children as well as it might, and many such children, especially those who come from minority language backgrounds, encounter schooling difficulties. In response to this situation, provincial and territorial Ministries of Education in Canada, along with local school districts, have invested considerable resources to support elementary teachers in adapting their instructional practices for bilingual children and their families. The purpose of this ethnographic study is to examine the language practices of three bilingual children from Punjabi language backgrounds in one school district in the province of British Columbia, Canada. I employed a variety of ethnographic methods including classroom observations, fieldnotes, and audio and video recordings of the focal children’s language practices during free play. In addition, at the end of the study, I conducted semi-structured interviews with the children’s parents, grandparents, and teachers about their literacy beliefs and how these beliefs influenced their literacy instruction. My findings revealed that the children were able to creatively use their language repertoires to actively participate in classroom activities with their parents, grandparents, teachers, and peers in two different classrooms (an early learning program and a full day Kindergarten classroom). The findings of this study highlight the opportunities for teaching and learning with bilingual children in Early Childhood Education settings.

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

Incorporating computational thinking and coding in BC secondary mathematics classrooms

Date created: 
2020-03-10
Abstract: 

There has been considerable attention on the term “computational thinking” (CT) over the past decade in the education community. With a global movement to include coding in the school curriculum, British Columbia (BC) also introduced coding to the K-12 curriculum in 2016. There have been on-going discussions about what CT is, why we should teach CT (and coding), and how we should teach it. However, there has been little research on the current state of affairs in BC with respect to teacher practices related to CT. By surveying, observing and interviewing BC secondary mathematics teachers, this study focuses on teachers’ perspectives on how to incorporate CT and involve coding in classrooms. Results showed that most teachers understood CT as being about problem-solving skills. CT and coding have not been taught frequently but are incorporated in various ways, primarily using block-based programming. Despite challenges, teachers found that these CT and coding activities elicited a high-level engagement and were accessible to a wide range of students.

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

A way towards an education for the communal self

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-12-16
Abstract: 

Educators have spent 130 years, from Dewey to Pinar, developing curricula in North America that have contributed to the development of the idea of an “individual self”. Such emphasis on individuality has inadvertently resulted in a narcissistic self, i.e., an individualized, consumeristic type of self that is much in line with the neoliberal agenda. We humans, have reached a point in which a new structure for the self is needed. This dissertation demonstrates that we are more interconnected and interdependent than we previously admitted and, ultimately, aims to prove that we are in fact communal selves, routinely influenced and constructed by the people, animals, and environment that surround us. Ultimately, this dissertation aims to offer teachers a framework for community development and wholesome inclusion, by means of developing curricula with the idea of “communal selves” as a point of departure. In the realm of dreaming and imagining, our communal selfhood could reach the minds and hearts of every human being and shift the way we relate to each other.

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

Teachers’ experiences with disruptive student behaviour: A grounded theory study

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-22
Abstract: 

For both new and veteran teachers disruptive student behaviour is consistently reported as the most demanding aspect of the teaching experience and is often cited as one of the reasons teachers leave the profession. Using grounded theory as a guiding methodological framework in this study I explored the interview data from 13 general elementary teachers collected over a three-year period from Fall 2015 to Fall 2018 asking, “How do experienced elementary school teachers perceive and manage disruptive student behaviour? And what are the relationships among their perceptions of disruptive classroom behaviour, teaching philosophy and strategies?” This study took place, in British Columbia, Canada, at a time when the province underwent changes in class size legislation subsequently 10 of the 13 teachers interviewed provided data about these changes to their class size and their management of disruptive student behaviour. Findings from this study showed that teachers considered behaviour to be disruptive when they did not understand its underlying purpose, it was unexpected and it required the teacher to make substantial and unplanned changes involving the whole class. In this process, the teacher was found to consider and weigh the impact of the behaviour on the student and the other students in the class. Finally, the teachers considered the behaviour’s impact on their own ability to teach and meet the needs of all their students, and its impact on the other students’ ability to learn. Findings also showed that class size and composition influenced teachers’ perceptions and management of disruptive student behaviour. Overall smaller class sizes were viewed as beneficial, however, teachers noted that the loss of the Educational Assistant (EA) in the classroom to support all students was an unexpected consequence of the class size reduction. This loss of an additional trained adult was profound when dealing with one or several disruptive students. Overall findings from this study, including those on class size and composition, highlighted the importance of relationality and community building as part of what “good teachers” do to support positive learning behaviour. The findings suggest that disruptive student behaviour can be understood theoretically within a two petal relational model where tactical strategies integrated with relationship building can support positive behaviours and prevent a relational disconnect with students.

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

The interdependence of technology, pedagogy, and epistemology: A self-study of my pedagogy of technology teacher education

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-10-16
Abstract: 

This research investigates teacher candidates’ theories of knowledge in a technological environment and a post-secondary teacher educator’s pedagogy of technology teacher education. This dissertation attends to the pedagogical interdependence of purposeful technological environments with a view to narrowing the epistemic gap between students and teachers through the design of educational technology within an undergraduate course. The research uses self-study methodology to investigate and improve my pedagogy of technology teacher education and simultaneously advance the fields of educational technology and learning design and technology teacher education. Self-study of teaching and teacher education practices (S-STTEP) is a type of educational research methodology that is concerned with the understanding and improvement of one’s practice and the relationship between teaching and learning in teacher education. A four-part analytical framework in this self-study is used to provide an account of my practice as a technology teacher educator through an analysis of my espoused theories (Argyris & Schön, 1974) (the explicit reasons we give for our actions) and my theories-in-use (Argyris & Schön, 1974) (implicit theories that explain how we behave). The analytical framework coalescences my professional knowledge in an epistemology of practice to help me articulate my assertions for actions as a technology teacher educator using maker pedagogy and experiential learning as technological and educative learning environments. The study of practice as an epistemic source of knowledge supports accesses to one’s authority of practice, which is an ontological lens used to study what resides in knowing-in-action. An authority of practice is the warrant that leads to an understanding of professional identity and professional knowledge, and how it develops and is reframed. The epistemic study of practice in this research makes contributions to educational research in the professional development of the teacher educator through the self-study of educational practices and actions.

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

Teachers’ understanding of peace and citizenship education and ways of integrating data literacy in Colombia’s Cátedra de la Paz

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-09-25
Abstract: 

Following the end of a long-lasting armed conflict, Colombia created a peace and citizenship education course called Cátedra de la Paz, looking to promote a culture of peace in all schools in the country. However, teachers’ views about, practices in and responses to challenges of implementing the course remain unknown, as well as how they integrate data into their teaching practices. This study is focused on secondary school teachers’ understanding of Cátedra de la Paz, their instructional approaches and their views of the role of data in the course. To achieve this, 45 teachers participated in an online survey, from which 10 were selected for an interview. Findings show that teachers have complex views of the course, face several challenges to implement it and have a limited vision of data integration. These results highlight the need to provide context-oriented support that consider teachers way of understanding the course.

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

Mathematics teaching and social media: An emergent space for resilient professional activity

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-19
Abstract: 

Professional activity around mathematics teaching is considered vital in the improvement of mathematics education at all levels. Research in mathematics education has identified aspects of teacher professional development that are effective, but there has been a recent push for better understanding how mathematics teacher professional development can also be sustainable. To this end, informal professional activity around mathematics teaching has become of particular interest in the field. Since many education professionals are turning to resources that are becoming increasingly available beyond the confines of institutional boundaries, such as via social media, many of the constraints of traditional forms of professional activity are being bypassed, allowing for informal professional activity to flourish. In some cases, collectives of professionals have formed in such contexts. One such collective, referred to as the Math Twitter Blogosphere (MTBoS), has remained resilient for almost ten years with ongoing activity around mathematics teaching occurring daily. Although this self-organized, bottom-up, emergent collective thrives with engagement around mathematics teaching, it has received very little empirical attention within mathematics education. As such, this study investigates the inner workings of this collective by drawing on tenets of complexity thinking to develop a more comprehensive description of its nature and how it thrives. Informed by an ethnographic journey of becoming a MTBoS participant, I select and analyze data in innovative ways to uncover both the ideational network in MTBoS and the social network that drives its existence. Analysis of these networks illuminates the influence not only of social capital, but also of ideational capital, both of which are necessary for determining ideational resilience within the collective. The results of this research indicate not only the popular topics within MTBoS, but also more importantly, features that drive ongoing and often generative activity around mathematics teaching within this online, unprompted, unfunded and unmandated professional setting.

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

The river carries that which the mountains cannot hold: A series of geophilosophical experiments with the Fraser River

Date created: 
2019-07-05
Abstract: 

This dissertation is divided into two parts. In part I the argument is put forward that the ideas and practices informing life and work (with a special focus upon work within the human services industries, including education) must emerge from and find ways to return to the specific relational and ecological assemblages that include the land, air, and water with which we live and work. The term geophilosophy is explored to help unpack such an assemblage of land and thought, ecology and history. In Part II of this thesis the reader is invited into a succession of explorations with a geophilosophy. These explorations involve a kind of pilgrimage with a river, in particular with the Fraser River – a geological entity with which the author has close personal ties. In articulating the concept of geophilosophy, the author takes guidance from a diverse group of thinkers, such as: Deleuze and Guattari, Gregory Bateson, Lynn Hoffman, Jacques Derrida, Tompson Highway, John Kelley, Isabelle Stengers, Bruno Latour, Dianne Chisholm, Brian Massumi, Eduardo Galeano, and Bruce Alexander. Part II of this geophilosophical journey involves two forms of chapters. First, there is what the author calls the Dérive-Prayer, a process which requires travel with the river accompanied by a series of reflective essays focusing upon the relations that emerge between a specific location along the river and spiritual, political, and ecological realities that also come to life within the same area of the river. Secondly, there is a series of essays that the author describes as Experiments – these are geophilosophical experiments. Significant philosophical concepts are tied to the geographies connected with the river. This pilgrimage with the Fraser River watershed follows a particular path -- beginning at Sts’ailes First Nation and moving upstream along the Fraser’s watershed, through Kamloops, the Thompson and the North Thompson Rivers, all the way to the Fraser’s headwaters at the continental divide. The Fraser is then followed downstream through its Eastern reaches, past the Cariboo, past the town of Lillooet, through the Fraser Canyon and the Fraser Valley, rolling on through Vancouver and into the Salish Sea. This pilgrimage ends in the same place the river begins, far out in the cold waters of the Pacific. This study is seen as having an ontological focus in that it attempts to open-up possible worlds in which those who recognize their relations with these geographies can learn to live and take action. Such ontological unfoldings hold much diverse relevance for the assortments of living beings who reside with the river, and it holds particular relevance for those of us who work within the various human service industries connected with these lands. The author offers this work as a form of contemplative inquiry placed philosophically before the creation of ethical imperatives, yet after, or in the midst of, its ontological unfolding.

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