Now showing items 1-20 of 67

    • Positive Experiences, Dreams, and Expectations of International Master’s Students at a Southern Ontario University: An Appreciative Inquiry

      Ankomah, William Sarfo; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      This study used appreciative inquiry (AI) as a methodological and theoretical framework and positive psychology theory to investigate international master’s students’ positive experiences, dreams, and expectations in their programs and institution to inform policies, programs, and practices. Although the literature describes international students’ mixed experiences in Canada, including developing critical thinking skills, making friends with other nationals, culture shock, and financial challenges, previous studies seldom focus on life-affirming conditions that enrich and improve such students’ schooling experiences. The first three stages of AI’s 4-D cycle—discovery, dream, and design—informed the study’s data collection methods (14 semi-structured individual interviews and three focus group discussions) to generate strength-based data for analysis, resulting in five key themes: (a) personal well-being and sense of belonging, (b) instructors’ pedagogical practices, (c) financial constraints and employment opportunities, (d) career development, and (e) policies. Based on its findings, the study makes six recommendations to inform international graduate student policy and practice: (a) allow international master’s students to study with their domestic counterparts, (b) increase international student diversity, (c) regularize socializing events for students and community members, (d) bridge the gap between theory and practice (hands-on experience), (e) work with all stakeholders to make international master’s students’ tuition fees more affordable, and (f) create on- and off-campus employment opportunities. Participants’ first-person accounts emphasize the need to include student voices in their own education and also shift the conversation from a deficit lens to a more positive discourse to balance the narratives around international students’ experiences.
    • Looking in the Mirror of Authenticity: A Self-Study of Teacher Education Practice

      Huizenga, Jack; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      This study explored the notion of authenticity within the context of teacher education. A qualitative research approach was chosen employing methods associated with self-study in order to explore the dissonance I experienced as a relatively new teacher educator. The purpose of the study was to explore the significance and potential of authenticity in teacher education. The study involved teacher candidates in an elementary science curriculum and instruction course that I was teaching. Teacher candidates reflected on their learning experiences in a course in which I intentionally applied the concept of authenticity. The study also involved experienced teacher educators whom I engaged in conversations as critical friends. Analysis of the teacher candidates’ reflections revealed that the notion of authentic learning resonated with these soon to be teachers. Analysis of the conversations with teacher educators revealed an important distinction between teaching the subject authentically and teaching the student authentically.
    • South Asian Immigrant Women Conceptualizing Gender Roles in the Context of Family and Society in Southwestern Ontario

      Ahmed, Ghazala; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      Perceptions of gender roles vary in different cultures, influenced by social location and time. Migration to countries that promote liberal values can impact how men and women perceive their gender roles, their interpersonal relationships with family members, and their day to day activities. Informed by a postcolonial-feminist theoretical perspective, this qualitative study aimed to understand South Asian immigrant women’s perceptions about gender roles in the context of family and society, prior to migration, and after immigration to Canada. A unique aspect of this study is that it explored how participants negotiated their gender roles and identity and exercised their agency prior to migration and post immigration. Four major themes emerged in response to the interview questions: 1) immigration and resettlement challenges; 2) gender roles and a patriarchal society in the native country; 3) perceptions of gender role/women’s role in the Canadian society; and 4) negotiating of gender roles, agency and empowerment. The results of the study indicate that immigration experiences were diverse and should be analyzed through many intersecting lenses including gender, class, social status, and education level to highlight unique challenges experienced by women as opposed to a monolithic representation of women from the East. The study contributes to the literature on South Asian immigrant women by using an interpretation that is based on the knowledge produced by the participants, and by acknowledging their voices as a central focus. Women in this study show that they are agents of change and are not weak and voiceless as depicted through Western discourses.
    • Trends Shaping Education and Innovative Learning Environments: A Discourse Analysis of OECD CERI Projects

      Rigas, Bob; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was created in 1960 to advance economic expansion and world trade. Although it lacks a specific mandate for education, it has shaped national educational policy through the dissemination of ideas and transnational research. The Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI), a branch of the OECD, was created in 1968. Its potential influence on the educational policy of nation states suggests a need to investigate its vision for K-12 education. The purpose of this research was to critically analyse two major projects undertaken by CERI: Trends Shaping Education and Innovative Learning Environments, with respect to the nature of their embedded political discourse, as well as their constructions of K-12 schooling, teachers, and learners. Additionally, it critically explored how the discourse of innovation, accountability, and governance shapes education in particular ways. Drawing from Fairclough’s methods of critical discourse analysis (CDA), as adapted by Grewal, it examined the ideological and discursive nature of the CERI projects. Texts were interpreted through a liberal theoretical framework. Findings suggest the CERI Projects frame a neoliberal vision for K-12 education focussed primarily on economic ends. Although the social dimension of education is recognized with respect to its need to foster equity, equality and social cohesion, its discourse is best characterized as a form of flanking and roll-out neoliberalism. Both Projects embrace a human capital approach to education and advance a neoliberal subjectivity in which learners are defined by their economic utility and are framed as future workers who are flexible, adaptable, resilient, responsible, innovative, entrepreneurial, and good problem solvers. The ILE Project’s promotion of networks and partnerships with other sectors and business reflects a transition away from government to governance as promoted by New Public Governance, which also reflects a neoliberal orientation. In both Projects, innovation, accountability, and governance are nominalizations that reinforce a neoliberal policy perspective of education.  
    • Exploring the Factors That African Refugee-Background Students Identify as Being Helpful to Their Academic Success

      Laryea, Edwin W. D.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      African refugee-background (ARB) students achieve high standards of success, yet their lived experiences are frequently absent from educational literature in Canada. Current and past research has focused on their academic deficits, their vulnerabilities, and their maladjusted behaviour, neglecting the positive attributes they bring to their host countries. Using specific data collected from semi-structured interviews with eight male and female ARB high school graduates between the ages of 18-25, this qualitative study employed a critical race paradigm to explore factors that ARB high school graduates identified as being helpful in their academic success. The study sought to challenge the deficit views on ARB students’ education by highlighting the perspectives of academically successful ARB students in a secondary school setting. The findings from the ARB students’ narratives highlighted three major themes: (a) success extends beyond the classroom and it cannot be normalized, (b) success is multifaceted and attainable by all, and (c) intrinsic motivation and resilience is a coping strategy for academic success. Additionally, the findings indicated that ARB students used a variety of coping strategies to overcome the negative and stressful environments in their high schools. Disseminating their narratives of success provides real-life examples for other refugee-background students to emulate, in pursuit of their own academic success, amidst the educational and societal barriers that they encounter. These findings add to the limited amount of research on ARB students’ academic success and may provide alternative strategies on refugee education for
    • A Mixed-Methods Efficacy Study of Teaching Adolescents to Think and Act Responsibly–The EQUIP Approach: A Narrative Filmmaking Pedagogy

      Garchinski, Christina; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      Ontario’s Ministry of Education requires Character Development to be integrated into regular subject curricula (OME, 2008), yet the initiative is devoid of clearly defined research-based strategies for implementation (Bajovic, Rizzo & Engemann, 2009). The purpose of this mixed-methods (QUAN + qual) study was to examine the effectiveness of an evidence-based multicomponent psycho-educational program: The EQUIP Approach: Teaching Adolescents to Think and Act Responsibly (DiBiase, Gibbs, Potter & Blount, 2012) as it was implemented through the pedagogical tool of Narrative filmmaking in a Technological Education course. A 2 x 2 Repeated Measures MANOVA was conducted in a sample of 102 students, aged 14-18 years (M = 16.12), to address the research questions: 1) Is there a relationship between the three dependent psychometric measures, the How I Think (HIT) questionnaire, the Social Skills Improvement System - Rating Scale (SSIS-RS), and the Socio-moral Reflection Measure–Short Form (SRM-SF); and 2) Do the groups (i.e., the group receiving The EQUIP Approach (DiBiase et al., 2012) through the narrative filmmaking pedagogy (referred to as the EQUIP-NF Group) versus the group receiving the regular method of Character Education (referred to as the Control Group) differ across the HIT, the SSIS, and the SRM-SF from pre to post-test? Qualitative interviews were analyzed to address the supporting qualitative research question: How do the thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and insights of both groups (the EQUIP-NF Group and the Control Group) explain and/or expand on the experimental results? It was found that when delivered through the narrative filmmaking pedagogy, The EQUIP Approach (DiBiase et al., 2012) was an effective psychoeducational intervention, impacting the multi-component constructs of EQUIP (i.e., reducing students’ anger inducing cognitive distortions, developing students’ moral reasoning skills, and improving social skills), while concurrently satisfying Ontario’s mandate to integrate Character Development into regular subject curriculum.
    • Perceptions of Change in Self-Efficacy to Pursue Postsecondary Education for Students with Exceptionalities Participating in a Postsecondary Transition Program

      Ismailos, Linda; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      This mixed-methods study explored a postsecondary transition program’s effect on the development of self-efficacy for post-secondary studies and the likelihood to apply to post-secondary studies among students with exceptionalities. The study also examined how their perceptions of change in self-efficacy compared to their non-exceptional peers in the program. Participants included Grade 11 and 12 students with and without exceptionalities who were at risk of non-completion of their secondary school diploma from 2 participating boards of education at a college in Ontario, Canada. Students participated in a series of pre- and post-program completion surveys and were further invited to participate in a personal follow-up interview to explore the impact of their experience in the program on their plans for postsecondary education. Secondary school teachers working in a supportive role with students in this program were also interviewed to explore their perceptions of change in the students over the duration of the program. Findings demonstrated that students both with and without exceptionalities benefitted from the program through a number of elements that resulted in increased self-efficacy to succeed in postsecondary education, and an increased likelihood to apply to a postsecondary program in the future. Findings, however, indicated that the two groups of students did not share the same perceptions of how the program might have contributed to their increased self-efficacy. Following program completion, students with exceptionalities were more likely to describe their personal mastery experiences in a postsecondary academic program and their process of metacognitive skill development, whereas their peers without exceptionalities were more likely to describe a positive experience on a college campus as the primary contributing factor for their increased academic self-efficacy. The study further discusses the elements that contributed to the change experienced by the students with exceptionalities and offers a visual framework for the elements involved in the development of academic self-efficacy for students with exceptionalities. Interpretations and suggestions as to how these insights could inform future policy and practice are discussed.
    • Self-Care as a Pedagogical Ontology in the Professional Care Practice of Others and with Others: A Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Self-Care in Nursing Education

      Docherty-Skippen, Susan Maureen; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      Healthcare practitioners work in reciprocally dynamic roles in which their health and well-being directly impact their professional competence. This interplay is often understated in ways that regulatory colleges influence training and education programs. In Ontario, for example, we see this in nursing. Although the College of Nurses of Ontario stipulates nursing professional competencies, it does not provide explicit performance expectations related to nursing self-care (i.e., the intentional way one takes care of one’s self). Accordingly, not all Ontario nursing education programs teach self-care. Different from research that deliberates nursing as a discipline or body of knowledge, this research examined how self-care is articulated, prioritized, taught, and assessed in nursing education. As such, the scholarly contribution it offers in the context of education is a pedagogy supporting self-care as a professional competency. Eight nursing faculty shared their lived experiences (through one-on-one interviews) surrounding the notion and phenomenon of self-care in nursing. Through a reiterative hermeneutic interchange that focused on whose voice is missing, an art-informed method that paralleled knowledge creation metaphorically according to the depth and breadth of “delving beneath the surface,” transformed participants spoken words into interpretive texts. Study conclusions suggest that self-care in nursing may be understood and taught through emotionally engaged self-reflection, not as a prescribed set of behaviours or individual task-based activities, but instead, as a pedagogical ontology in the professional care practice of others and with others. To foster successful self-care practice in nursing, educators should consider using arts-based methods to help learners enter and navigate spaces for emotionally engaged self-reflection. Given the urgent need for innovative and rigorous curriculum to support successful self-care practices as part of a healthcare practitioner’s professional role, this research is both timely and relevant.
    • Negotiating a Gendered Neo-Calvinist Pillar: Immigrant Loss, Transformation, and Lifelong Learning

      VanderVliet, Catharina F.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      Employing a critical feminist perspective, I conducted a sociocultural analysis of the lifelong learning of Dutch neo-Calvinist women who immigrated to Canada shortly after World War II. The purpose of the research was a critique of the institutional ruling relations (schooling, religion, family, workplace) that shaped and influenced the trajectory of these women’s lifelong learning. More specifically, the inquiry included an interrogation of their Canadian schooling experience, in the context of an immigrant family life, their pillarized Dutch culture, and Calvinist religiosity. In choosing a life history methodology, the scope of the research broadened where one’s life story was juxtaposed to a theory of context. Applying this methodology, I critically analyzed structures, operations, and contestations of power in lifelong learning institutions through an exploration of the multiple contexts that shaped the lives of immigrant women. It is within that relationship that the critical feminist was possible. The life histories were not a description of the mainstream but rather were positioned to dialectically interrogate the meaning and significance of the past as it influenced the present and future. Applying a dialectic method to the participants’ life histories, 7 tensions were raised that made visible ruling relations relevant to the participants’ everyday experiences and brought awareness to the underlying contextual and ideological assumptions related to their trajectory of lifelong learning. Employing a critical feminist perspective, I examined how 3 neo-Calvinist immigrant women interpreted and negotiated the ambiguity created by cultural contradictions experienced in a Canadian context. As a researcher who herself has been shaped by this specific immigrant experience, a key attribute of life history methodology was its capacity for the researcher self to be visible in the research.
    • Utilizing ESL Learners’ Socio-Cognitive Resources to Enhance General Academic Vocabulary Acquisition

      Makulloluwa, Enoka; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      This study examined the extent to which English as a Second Language Learner (ESL) graduate students’ socio-cognitive resources (the combination of culturally relevant imagery and first language (L1) facilitate their Second Language (L2) general academic vocabulary acquisition in a social learning setting. The study investigated whether the use of culturally relevant imagery and L1 translation equivalents facilitate retrieval of new general academic vocabulary. The study was informed by the following theories: Levels of Processing Theory (Craik & Lockhart, 1972), Vocabulary Learning Strategy Taxonomy (Gu & Johnson, 1996), Social Constructivist Theory (Vygotsky, 1978) and the Bilingual Dual Coding Theory (Paivio & Desrochers, 1980)—which assumes that bilinguals’ cognitive activity is mediated by their two verbal systems and the image system representing their knowledge of the world. Utilizing a sequential explanatory mixed method strategy, the study first explored the general vocabulary learning strategy (VLS) preferences of 41 ESL graduate students with a survey. Then with a sub-sample of nine ESL graduate students, in a collaborative setting. the study used a case study approach to determine the extent to which a VLS that utilizes the socio-cognitive resources of the bilingual might activate the connections in the verbal systems and image system that lead to deep processing and retrieval of new vocabulary. The findings of the study indicate that the ESL learners’ socio-cognitive resources have a positive impact on their general academic vocabulary acquisition. Outcomes of the study inform students and educators alike on how a VLS honouring ESL learners’ socio-cognitive resources can be utilized to enhance general academic vocabulary acquisition. It also contributes to a domain of teaching and learning where there is a dearth of literature
    • Investigating the Impact of Lessons Based on Marzanoʼs Theory of Learning on Student Attitude, Engagement, and Achievement in Grade 10 Academic Mathematics

      IRVINE, JEFF; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      Motivation is an important construct in education, both for its links to student learning and in its own right as a factor in student development. The relationship between motivation and student learning is particularly important in mathematics since numerous studies have demonstrated that motivation in mathematics is linked to student achievement, and that student achievement and student attitudes toward mathematics are reciprocally related. This study investigated the impact of an instructional intervention that specifically addressed two dimensions of motivation: engagement and student attitudes. Based on Marzano’s (1998, 2007) New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives©, a unit of study in Grade 10 Academic Mathematics was developed that utilized targeted activities and complete lessons to positively influence student engagement and attitudes. This mixed methods study used pre–post comparisons as well as treatment-control comparisons of 70 students in 3 classes of Grade 10 mathematics to investigate the impact of the instructional intervention on student engagement, attitude, and achievement in order to determine whether such an intervention could function as an exemplar for development of similar interventions that positively impacted student learning. The results of the study showed statistically significant changes in student engagement and student attitudes, but not for student achievement. Implications of these results pointed to directions for future research in this area.
    • Facebooking for Feminism: Social Network Sites as Feminist Learning Spaces

      Lane, Laura; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      Social media such as Facebook have become a significant space where social interactions increasingly take place. Within these spaces, users construct and engage with information that may facilitate social movements such as feminism. This study explored ways feminists learn, challenge, and reproduce discourses related to gender and feminism through Facebook. This research is positioned within current literature and theory related to gendered contexts of social media engagement and feminist social movement learning. Using qualitative interviews and a digital focus group, I investigated the experiences of 9 women who either learn about or engage with feminism through Facebook. Using critical feminist discourse analysis, I coded and analyzed themes that related to ways feminism is represented, constructed, navigated, and limited through Facebook. Specifically, I considered ways in which feminism can be learned, ways Facebook can be used as a learning platform, and ways gendered power relations can influence feminist engagement online. I advocate for continued exploration of and engagement with feminist uses of Facebook.
    • Investigating the Emotional Impact of Narrative Dialogue on Struggling Readers’ Discovery of Learning Potential

      Moukperian, Sharon; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      I investigated the cognitive, emotional and embodied responses to reading of four children/youth who experienced struggles with reading using phenomenology of embodiment (Husserl, 1913/2012; Taipale, 2014) as a theoretical framework and taking the role of an interpretive phenomenological approach (IPA) researcher (Smith & Osborne, 2007; Van Manen, 1997). Narrative theory (Bal, 2009; Chase, 2005; Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Denison, 2016; White, 2007) supported the primary methodological and research approach complemented by the use of arts-based inquiry (Campbell, 1949/2008; Doherty, 1990; Gladwin, 2014; O’Donoghue, 2006) to probe stories about how participants thought and felt about their reading struggles and through dialogue individual learning strengths were discovered. The narrative approach provided an opportunity to ask how emotions and embodiment played a role in the reading process. I explored children and youths’ embodied experiences through narratives around reading and reading challenges, as they experienced reading difficulties and discovered learning strength during interview conversations about a reading challenge. Life narratives can change as emotions are evoked and described (Angus & Greenberg, 2011; White, 2007, 2011). As a listener, questioner, and recorder of these stories, I was not neutral and my own reflexivity played a role in the data collection [i.e., I was aware that I needed to evaluate my relationship with my participants because I had an influence on them by the observations and dialogues we had (Goldstein, 2017)]. This research focused on: (a) the emotional impact of reading deficits and children/youths’ discovery of cognitive learning strengths; (b) the influence of emotions on the children/youths’ and parents’ perceptions of the struggling reader lived experience; and (c) children/youths’ awareness of their own emotional experiences and cognitive processes when reading leading to connections between the embodied reaction and cognitive processes signaling that this phenomenon related to realizing a learning strength. Implications for future research involve exploring further the dialogic approach to discovering learning strengths and how to apply them to reading challenges that trigger a visceral emotional response. This research contributes to a theory that emotional meta-awareness maybe necessary to guide metacognitive reading strategies. There is a connection between embodied-emotional responses, reading challenges, and the discovery of learning strengths. Metacognitive awareness is heightened by being able to interpret the visceral emotional responses possibly leading children/youth to be aware when they have a learning strength that they can apply independently by listening to their body while completing a challenging reading task.
    • Exploring the Implications of White Teacher Identity in a Critical Participatory Action Research Study

      Radersma, Kimberly; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      I am convinced that there is an urgent need for transformative work among white teachers in North America in general, and in southern Ontario specifically, that engages them in a critical understanding of their racial identity. This dissertation research project undertakes a possible way to invite teachers into such dialogue. Using critical participatory action research (CPAR) as a methodology, this project focused on developing race consciousness among six white teachers from an independent school in southern Ontario. I led these teachers in a series of workshops that attempted to guide them through an understanding of their white identity in order to observe the possibility of increasing their “race cognizance” (Frankenberg, 1993). I explain the findings by uncovering and analyzing narrative themes that emerged from the data. Throughout this work, I have attempted to honour the words of W.E.B. DuBois (1903), who claimed long ago that “the hands of none of us are clean if we bend not our energies to righting these great wrongs.” The great wrongs he spoke—the wrongs of racism, of white supremacy, of dismissing the import of racial justice work—though long ago, are ongoing, shifting and being perpetuated most notably in places where our youth are being nurtured. The urgency of the work of challenging the complicity and lack of awareness among white teachers is work that I have taken up in this project.
    • Exploring Adolescent Student Perceptions and Experiences of Educational Care

      Schat, Sean; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      Despite the presence of teacher caring intentions, too many students in North American schools do not experience successfully communicated care from their teachers. This study explores adolescent student perceptions and experiences of their teachers’ intended communication of care, seeking to better understand and explain educational care. The results of this study provide insights that could help teachers more successfully communicate their intended care to their students, leading to the development of caring teacher-student relationships. This study is a qualitative research design that used a constructivist grounded theory research methodology (Charmaz, 2006, 2014). The study employed unstructured interviews, working with young adult participants who reflected on their perceptions and experiences of educational care while they were in middle school and high school. The study drew on constructivist grounded theory analysis approaches and processes in order to analyze the data, resulting in important descriptions and explanations. The study generated six primary results, (1) a rearticulation of the problem of care in education as the disconnect between teacher caring intentions and student experiences of educational care; (2) a recognition that the problem of educational care is the failure to differentiate between communicating intended care and completing of successfully communicating care (a process that includes the response of the cared-for); (3) a description of the successful communication of care, which includes three distinct categories or dimensions and a number of related sub-categories, or elements; (4) a grounded theory of the intended communication of educational care; (5) a description of the student’s role in the development of a caring teacher-student relationship; and (6) a theoretical explanation of the development of a caring teacher-student relationship. The results of the study provide important insights into how educational care is successfully communicated and how caring teacher-student relationships can be developed. These results have implications for in-service and pre-service teachers, providing them with knowledge about the nature and communication of educational care. The results also provide guidelines and resources that can help teachers to communicate care more effectively and successfully.
    • A Qualitative Study of Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Awareness, Readiness, and Response to Discrepancy in Student Outcomes in a Greater Toronto Area School District

      Nezavdal, Frank; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      This qualitative study explored principals’ access, use, and response to discrepancies in student outcomes that reflect systemic inequities. Discovering how principals access, use, and respond to complementary school climate data to attend to issues of disproportionality is an important step toward making schools more equitable and more inviting. Principals’ behaviours with various data sources were explored in relation to Gorski’s (2015) framework of equity literacy by examining principal knowledge and skills in recognizing, responding to, and redressing inequity. Historically, the focus of school improvement has been primarily on student achievement although some school districts—such as this GTA school board—have developed more robust systems of data collection employing greater disaggregating factors revealing inequities in various populations of students. Systemic inequities have been seen in data about school context, student assets, and well-being factors such that measurement of inequity has become possible. This study began with questionnaire data that exposed significant variations with regard to principals’ equity literacy and beliefs. Selection criteria were used to focus on principals who articulated their commitment to equity and demonstrated higher awareness of discrepancy in order to identify promising practices. The purposive sample of school principals was interviewed, again revealing substantial variance in equity literacy. Unexpectedly, almost one-third of principals did not recognize patterns of social inequity in their data. Although participants reported a commitment to equity, interviews revealed much variance between individuals and therefore an inconsistency in capacity to redress inequity. Some principals revealed strategies that could be transformational in creating more equitable schools yet the knowledge and skills required were far from universal. Key threats to using data for equitable purposes were also brought to light including “not seeing” inequity, and underdeveloped data and equity literacy skills. These threats suggest there is a need to employ more consistent techniques to redress inequity and that stronger policies may facilitate better monitoring of equity outcomes.
    • Impact And Effects Of Learning Outcome-Oriented Program Review Policy Changes in Ontario Universities

      Borin, Paola; Borin, Paola; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      This multiple-case, mixed methods study characterized the effects, and outcomes perceived by key participants involved in the program review process at four universities, five years after the introduction of a common learning-outcomes oriented quality assurance review process across the province of Ontario in 2011. Purposeful and criterion sampling was applied to identify key informants from four universities, with specialized knowledge and experience from five levels of involvement in recently conducted cyclical program reviews employing the new framework. This included, faculty members, department chairs, teaching and learning centre support staff, quality assurance support staff, and senior administrators. Data were collected using in-depth interviews comprised of structured and unstructured questions. Analysis applied variable and case oriented strategies, thematic and content analysis, and matrix displays. This research found three orientations to the review influenced perceptions and outcomes, including a standard accountability, control and compliance, and an enhancement orientation. Nearly half the changes participants identified as triggered by the review process are likely to have a long-term impact. Perceived negative changes included increased oversight, bureaucracy, and workload. Objectives and accountability of the cyclical review were confounded with ongoing budgetary reviews, institutional goal setting, and measures of the fiscal sustainability. Perceived positive changes included longer-term effects such as increased alignment of curriculum to student outcomes, increased departmental discussion about curriculum, and more consistent provision of program relevant data across the university. Participants described a shift from a focus on teaching students, to a focus on bringing about learning.
    • Informal Teacher Leaders: Secondary School Teachers’ Perceptions of How They Collaboratively Construct and Implement Classroom Assessment Policy and Practice

      Clarke, Kristen A; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      Secondary school teachers enact informal teacher leadership to move their instructional and assessment practices forward by leveraging existing structures and navigating micropolitical contexts. Leadership cannot be oversimplified as the work of an individual because of the complex and interwoven nature of schools and the current political climate of educational settings. Informal teacher leaders (ITLs) co-create roles based on needs that focus on supporting learning for students, for colleagues, and for themselves. This study used a constructivist lens and inquiry methodology to explore perceptions of informal secondary school teacher leaders as they collaboratively construct and implement classroom assessment policy and practice. The study highlights the perceived purpose and nature of informal teacher leadership; organizational factors and conditions that ITLs face when working collaboratively to improve assessment practices; and strategies that these teachers leverage to navigate changes in assessment practice and policy. (Note: a provincial review of assessment was conducted during completion of this dissertation.) This qualitative study explored informal teacher leadership and assessment practice and policy through semi-structured interviews, focus groups, document analysis, and memoing. The research encompassed 28 participants, 11 of whom are ITLs in a suburban school district in Ontario. Findings reveal how ITLs structure their roles to be responsive, reciprocal, reflective, and results oriented. Recommendations are provided to inform educators and policy developers at the provincial, district, and school level for both supporting informal teacher leadership and developing assessment literacy.
    • “Because It Breaks Your Heart”: A Study of Transformational Learning Among Adults With Cancer

      Boyko, Susan; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      Despite provincial improvement efforts, quantitative patient satisfaction survey results for adults with cancer consistently indicate lower satisfaction with how healthcare professionals address their emotional and information, education, and communication needs. These emotional and cognitive needs greatly influence how adults perceive their care experience. More information is needed about adult cancer patients’ cognitive and emotional needs to understand how to improve their experience and satisfaction with their cancer treatment and care. Qualitative methods such as narrative inquiry have the potential to provide greater insight into adults’ personal experience. This qualitative, arts-informed narrative inquiry examined how illness narratives and arts-based artifacts can deepen understanding of the cognitive and emotional needs of a cohort of adult women with cancer. Purposeful sampling was used to select 6 adult women with cancer who had experienced diagnosis, treatment and were living with cancer. Data collection methods included semi-structured interviews and the researcher’s journal notes. Data analysis revealed additional connections between themes derived from the women’s illness narratives and their arts-based artifacts. These findings were further illustrated by creating a collective body-map. Results demonstrate how arts-based methods expand what is known about the cognitive and emotional needs of adult women with cancer and provide adult educators with direction for planning transformative education. The study discusses implications for transformational adult education practice and educational research, and offers some initial thoughts on the use of arts-based methods to foster perspective transformation. The study will be of particular interest to adult educators who are interested in promoting transformational learning for doctors, other healthcare professionals, and adults with cancer.
    • Leading Restorative Change: A Case Study of Implementing and Sustaining Restorative Culture in an Ontario Middle School

      Webb, Owen D.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      In February of 2008, the Government of Ontario released legislation for Progressive Discipline in Ontario schools. As a means of fulfilling this legislation, some school districts in Ontario implemented the use of restorative practices. Restorative practices are viewed as a positive means for transforming the culture of a school, yet literature suggests some concerns with restorative approaches. While the practice has been used intermittently across the province of Ontario, seen in some districts or in individual schools, there has not been widespread implementation. Literature suggests that the theoretical foundations of restorative practices are not strong. To enrich literature on restorative culture change, there needs to be ongoing assessment of restorative paradigm shifts in schools. The research addresses the need for studying the leading of restorative culture change from a relational perspective. This research undertook a qualitative case study methodology of a middle school in southern Ontario, examining the school’s journey to implement and sustain a restorative culture. The study looked at the role of leadership in pursuing a restorative vision, the response to the vision by the school community, and how restorative practices are employed by the school. The research revealed the value of restorative practices in establishing space, processes, attitudes, and key questions for initiating dialogue, each critical to establishing a strong relational culture. The need for leadership to continually model restorative practices in order that they are established throughout the organization is necessary for sustaining a restorative culture. Finally, the study showed that evaluating the effectiveness of restorative practices using a relational and dialogic paradigm is critical for founding and sustaining a restorative vision, thereby establishing a strong foundation for effective student learning.