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Class Size and Teacher Work: Research Provided to the BCTF in their Struggle to Negotiate Teacher Working Conditions

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2021-05-31
Abstract: 

This paper presents an update of a 2010-literature review on class size research completed as background in preparation of an affidavit on class size provided by the lead author in the case of British Columbia Teachers’ Federation v. British Columbia, argued before the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 2010, appealed ultimately to the Supreme Court of Canada and ruled on November 10, 2016.  We find that smaller classes can improve teacher-student interactions and individualized instruction, decreasing time spent on discipline issues, leading to better student behaviour, attitude, and efforts. Smaller classes generally have greater advantages for younger students, and effects are more observable in class sizes of less than 20. Small classes may shrink achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, and increase high school graduation rates, and appear to enhance academic outcomes, particularly for marginalized groups. Researchers have detected class size effects many years later. Small classes have been found to boost teachers’ morale and job satisfaction. While some studies have found effects at the secondary and post-secondary level, results are generally inconclusive at this level. Finally, some researchers have argued that class size reductions are an inefficient use of funds which might be better spent elsewhere in the system. The paper concludes with a brief reflection on the process of providing this research for Supreme Court case.

Document type: 
Article
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Achieving Holistic Care for Refugees: the Experiences of Educators and Other Stakeholders in Surrey and Greater Vancouver, Canada

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2021-05-14
Abstract: 

In 2020, the global number of refugees reached record levels, pressuring asylum countries to determine more effective methods for facilitating integration.  This paper explores an array of stakeholder practices towards refugees in Surrey and Greater Vancouver, Canada.  It is based on questionnaires and interviews that elicit the perceptions and struggles of 40 settlement workers, health and mental health professionals, members of parliament, educators, librarians, scholars and grassroots organizations, who work with refugees. The findings show that stakeholders often feel isolated, ‘working in silos’ and wasting time and money due to uncoordinated services and a lack of interagency communication.  They feel it is also unreasonable to expect Government-Assisted Refugees (GARs) to learn English and complete job training in preparation for independent living within one year of support.  Both refugee adults and children suffer from high levels of trauma, often compounded by interrupted or no schooling.  Since education is essential to refugee success, I argue that teachers play a role in filling the gap, often uniquely positioned to form ongoing, safe and trusting relationships with refugee students, and their families.  For many teachers, it is an ethos of care, compassion and social justice acquired in teacher education programmes that increases refugee resilience, sense of belonging and wellbeing.  This paper identifies what new collaborations between teachers and other stakeholders might accomplish, including communication back to government policymakers.  Recommendations encompass initiating online registries of services and low-cost housing in neighbourhoods where community schools and services are interlinked, possibly achieving holistic care for all refugees.

 

Document type: 
Article

Achieving Holistic Care for Refugees: The Experiences of Educators and Other Stakeholders in Surrey and Greater Vancouver, Canada

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2021-05-14
Abstract: 

In 2020, the global number of refugees reached record levels, pressuring asylum countries to determine more effective methods for facilitating integration. This article explores an array of stakeholder practices towards refugees in Surrey and Greater Vancouver, Canada. It is based on questionnaires and interviews that elicit the perceptions and struggles of 40 settlement workers, health and mental health professionals, Members of Parliament, educators, librarians, scholars and grassroots organisations, who work with refugees. The findings show that stakeholders often feel isolated, ‘working in silos’ and wasting time and money due to uncoordinated services and a lack of interagency communication. They feel it is also unreasonable to expect Government-Assisted Refugees (GARs) to learn English and complete job training in preparation for independent living within 1 year of support. Both refugee adults and children suffer from high levels of trauma, often compounded by interrupted or no schooling. Since education is essential to refugee success, I argue that teachers play a role in filling the gap, often uniquely positioned to form ongoing, safe and trusting relationships with refugee students and their families. For many teachers, it is an ethos of care, compassion and social justice acquired in teacher education programmes that increases refugee resilience, sense of belonging and wellbeing. This article identifies what new collaborations between teachers and other stakeholders might accomplish, including communication back to government policymakers. Recommendations encompass initiating online registries of services and low-cost housing in neighbourhoods where community schools and services are interlinked, possibly achieving holistic care for all refugees.

Document type: 
Article

Assessing the Utility of Deep Learning: Using Learner-System Interaction Data from BioWorld

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-06-24
Abstract: 

In recent years, deep learning (LeCun, Bengio, & Hinton, 2015) has drawn interest in many fields. As optimism for deep learning grows, a better understanding of the efficacy of deep learning is imperative, especially in analyzing and making sense of educational data. This study addresses this issue by establishing a benchmark for a common prediction task – student proficiency in diagnosing patient diseases in a system called BioWorld (Lajoie, 2009). To do so, we compared deep learning to existing solutions, including traditional machine learning algorithms that are commonly used in educational data mining. The dataset consists of log interaction data collected from 30 medical students solving 3 different cases. A 10-fold cross-validation method was used to evaluate the predictive accuracy of each model. Interestingly, our results indicate that deep learning does not outperform traditional machine learning algorithms in predicting diagnosis correctness. We discuss the implications in terms of understanding the proper conditions for its use in educational research.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Situative Perspective and Determinants of Technology Acceptance in Educational Technology

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-06-14
Document type: 
Book chapter
File(s): 

Enhancing Scientific Discovery Learning by Just-in-Time Prompts in a Simulation-Assisted Inquiry Environment

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2021-04-15
Abstract: 

We investigated the effects of just-in-time guidance at various stages of inquiry learning by novice learners. Thirteen participants, randomly assigned to an intervention (n = 8) or control (n = 5) group, were observed as they learned about DC electric circuits using a web-based simulation. Just-in-time instructional prompts to observe, predict, explain, systematically test, collect evidence, and generate rules were strongly associated with diagnosing and correcting misconceptions, and constructing correct scientific concepts. Students’ repeated use of predictions, systematic testing, and evidence-coordinated reasoning often led to formulating new principles, generalizing from observed patterns, verifying comprehension, and experiencing “Aha!” moments. Just-in-time prompts helped learners manage embedded cognitive challenges in inquiry tasks, achieve a comprehensive understanding of the model represented in the simulation, and show significantly higher knowledge gain. Just-in-time prompts also promoted rejection of incorrect models of inquiry and construction of robust scientific mental models. The results suggest ways of customizing guidance to promote scientific learning within simulation environments.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

The Analysis of a Model–Task Dyad in Two Settings: Zaplify and Pencil and Paper

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2021-03-09
Abstract: 

This paper examines the added value of a digital tool that constitutes a new model to introduce students to multiplication. Drawing on the theory of semiotic mediation, the semiotic potential of this new model is analysed with respect to the same task that can be solved in two different settings (the digital tool and pencil and paper). The analysis shows that the task solutions undergo significant changes depending on to the technological settings. Even though the end product of the model–task dyads might look the same in both settings, the product emerges from the different processes that would mediate quite different meanings for multiplication. This suggests that while designing tasks that involve mathematical models, rather than focusing only on the end product, considering the whole process would reveal the extensive potential meanings the model–task dyad can mediate.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Music as a Manifestation of Life: Exploring Enactivism and the ‘Eastern Perspective’ for Music Education

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-03-27
Abstract: 

The enactive approach to cognition is developed in the context of music and music education. I discuss how this embodied point of view affords a relational and bio-cultural perspective on music that decentres the Western focus on language, symbol and representation as the fundamental arbiters of meaning. I then explore how this ‘life-based’ approach to cognition and meaning-making offers a welcome alternative to standard Western academic approaches to music education. More specifically, I consider how the enactive perspective may aid in developing deeper ecological understandings of the transformative, extended and interpenetrative nature of the embodied musical mind; and thus help (re)connect students and teachers to the lived experience of their own learning and teaching. Following this, I examine related concepts associated with Buddhist psychology in order to develop possibilities for a contemplative music pedagogy. To conclude, I consider how an enactive-contemplative perspective may help students and teachers awaken to the possibilities of music education as ‘ontological education.’ That is, through a deeper understanding of ‘music as a manifestation of life’ rediscover their primordial nature as autopoietic and world-making creatures and thus engage more deeply with musicality as a means of forming richer and more compassionate relationships with their peers, their communities and the ‘natural’ and cultural worlds they inhabit.

Document type: 
Article
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Learning Ethnography Through Doing Ethnography: Two Student—Researchers’ Insights

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-09-24
Abstract: 

In this article, we present the accounts of the field experiences and challenges of two graduate student-researchers practising ethnographic methodology, conducting fieldwork, and writing up “post-modern” ethnographies that are both creative and “integrative”. We describe the complexities and tensions when two student-researchers negotiated many issues in the field and “behind the desk” as they transformed the texts: epistemology and ontology, reflexivity and auto-ethnography, and writing researchers and participants in and out of accounts. We conclude with a discussion on pedagogical implications, and consider the value of learning ethnography through doing ethnography.

Document type: 
Article
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Getting to “Yes”: Overcoming Client Reluctance to Engage in Chair Work

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-10-06
Abstract: 

Goals: Securing clients’ active and enthusiastic collaboration to participate in activities therapists would like to implement in therapy (e.g., free association, in vivo exposure, or the engagement in chair work) is a core mission in therapy. However, from the clients’ perspective, these tasks frequently represent novel challenges that can trigger anxiety and reluctance. Thus, a key element in therapy is the negotiation between therapist and client to move beyond such reluctance to potentially effective therapy activities and, at the same time, maintain positive relational affiliation between therapist and client. In this research we examined (1) a collection of therapist proposal/client response sequences that were geared toward recruiting participation in chair work and (2) sequences containing hesitation or instances where decisions to engage in chair work were deferred and related relational disaffiliation. Our goal was to identify the conversational resources (both verbal and non-verbal) that worked to reject a proposed activity (or convey impending rejection) and examine the interactional practices directed at resolving client reluctance.

Method: We used the conceptual and methodological resources of Conversation Analysis to examine a corpus of proposal/response sequences that targeted chair work entry in Emotion-focused Therapy.

Results: The resulting data set included some smooth and successful engagements and others more challenging, involving clients delaying or resisting engagement with chair work. Clients were found to defer or refuse engagement through a range of resources such as withholding a response (silence), questioning the authenticity of the task, or directly refusing. We identified specific therapist practices that facilitated engagement in “refusal-implicative” contexts such as proffering “or” alternatives, offering extended rationales for the activity (accounting), and elaborating on the proposals. We observed that the therapists’ deontic stance (mitigated and reduced claims to authority) and moderated epistemic positioning (deference to the client’s primacy of knowledge and information) played an important role in facilitating engagement.

Conclusion: Our research highlights the kinds of interactional sequences in which clients and therapists are able to achieve alignment in mutually working toward chair work entry. Based on these observations, we offer some practical advice to therapists in formulating proposals to engage clients during in-therapy work.

Document type: 
Article
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