• Improving English as a Second Language (ESL) Pedagogy in One University in Ontario

      Luo, Le (2013-03-21)
      In this paper, theoretical pedagogical approaches and practical pedagogical approaches are investigated by drawing on English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers’ pedagogical principles and practices, and ESL Chinese students’ second language acquisition and learning needs as they related to improving ESL pedagogy in one university ELP in Ontario. Three experienced ESL teachers were inquired by interviews and 30 ESL Chinese students were surveyed by questionnaires. Based on the mix-method exploratory research design, communicative, task-based, and content-based language teaching approaches are identified and discussed in the light of the interview and questionnaire data.
    • Development of a New Assessment System to Evaluate Students' English Communicative Capacities in China

      Pan, Xiaomin (2013-04-03)
      The purpose of this study was to develop a new English assessment system to evaluate Chinese students' English communicative capacities. Since there is more interaction with people from English-speaking countries, Chinese people attach more importance to English oral skills, and a lot of Western English teaching methods were introduced into China to improve students' English communicative capacities. However, traditional paper-written examinations, like the English test of higher education entry examination, cannot evaluate it effectively. This study explored the perceptions of two Chinese English-language teachers and two Chinese students about English assessment system. A qualitative research method using telephone interviews was conducted in this study. The findings showed that the most possible ways to assess Chinese students' English communicative capacities were paper-written examination and person-machine conversations, although measures should be taken to improve these two models. On the other hand, the model of person-person conversation was the ideal assessment tool but was hard to achieve at the current stage.
    • Learning and Experiential Outcomes of Face-to-Face Versus Online Communications Courses

      Woolsey, Shantal (2013-04-17)
      Higher education is rapidly trending toward the implementation of online (OL) courses and a blended facilitation style that incorporates both OL and face-to-face (FTF) classes. Though previous studies have explored the benefits and pitfalls of OL and blended learning formats from institutional, teacher, and student perspectives, scant research has examined learning outcomes for OL and FTF courses sharing identical content. This study used an explanatory mixed methods design—including pre- and post-test assessments, a questionnaire, and interviews—to explore similarities and differences in participant and teacher perceptions and outcomes (gain scores and final grades) of OL versus traditional FTF Communications courses, and to examine effects of students’ age and gender on learning preference and performance. Data collection occurred over a 4-month period and involved 183 student and 2 professor participants. The study used an SPSS program for data analysis and created a Microsoft Excel document to record themes derived from the questionnaire and interviews. Quantitative findings suggest there are no significant differences in gain scores, final grades, or other learning outcomes when comparing OL and FTF versions of identical Communications courses; however, qualitative findings indicate differences between facilitation styles based on student and professor perception. The study sheds light on student and faculty perceptions of facilitation styles and suggests areas for potential improvements in FTF- and OL-facilitated courses. The study ultimately recommends that students and faculty should have options when it comes to preferred delivery of course material.
    • Students’ Use and Perceptions of Social Networking Technologies: Connections to Reading, Reading Ability, and Self-Perception

      Bishop, Sarah (2013-04-23)
      Abstract This study was undertaken to examine traditional forms of literacy and the newest form of literacy: technology. Students who have trouble reading traditional forms of literacy tend to have lower self-esteem. This research intended to explore if students with reading difficulties and, therefore, lower self-esteem, could use Social Networking Technologies including text messaging, Facebook, email, blogging, MySpace, or Twitter to help improve their self-esteem, in a field where spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are commonplace, if not encouraged. A collective case study was undertaken based on surveys, individual interviews, and gathered documents from 3 students 9-13 years old. The data collected in this study were analyzed and interpreted using qualitative methods. These cases were individually examined for themes, which were then analyzed across the cases to examine points of convergence and divergence in the data. The research found that students with reading difficulties do not necessarily have poor self-esteem, as prior research has suggested (Carr, Borkowski, & Maxwell, 1991; Feiler, & Logan, 2007; Meece, Wigfield, & Eccles, 1990; Pintirch & DeGroot, 1990; Pintrich & Garcia, 1991). All of the participants who had reading difficulties, were found both through interviews and the CFSEI-3 self-esteem test (Battle, 2002) to have average self-esteem, although their parents all stated that their child felt poorly about their academic abilities. The research also found that using Social Networking Technologies helped improve the self-esteem of the majority of the participants both socially and academically.
    • Daily Physical Activity as an Intervention Strategy for Anxious Elementary Students

      Benner, Julie Anne (2013-04-23)
      The focus of this project was twofold: a comprehensive examination of provincially mandated, school-based physical activity programming beyond physical education, as well as an exploration of the potential relationship between school-based physical activity and student anxiety. The data were collected using a descriptive research methodology consisting of a qualitative document analysis of provincial government publications pertaining to school-based physical activity programming and the literature on the relationship between physical activity and student anxiety. The findings revealed inconsistencies between the Canadian provinces and territories in providing mandated school-based physical activity beyond physical education. It was also revealed that regular school-based physical activity has the potential to make a positive impact on students’ lives in many ways. Students are living more sedentary lives, and evidence shows that regular physical activity could prevent and treat student anxiety.
    • Empowering Nursing Leaders to Facilitate Healthy Work Environments: First Steps

      Barbato, Beverly (2013-04-24)
      The purpose of this project was to examine the literature for perspectives on healthy work environments (HWE). HWEs have been identified as important factors in the nursing profession to enhance recruitment, retention, job satisfaction, and accountability. This paper identifies that the front line manager is an essential role within organizations, and directly impacts work environments. Within this paper it has been pointed out that professional organizations have provided some general recommendations for improving work environments which include increasing nurses’ accountability and teamwork, providing opportunities for shared decision making, having supportive leadership, providing recognition, educational support, and adequate staffing. However, enacting them all can be difficult due to front line manager capacity, the impending nursing shortage, organizational resources and barriers. Based on the literature, conclusions have been drawn and recommendations for future research have been identified. HWE strategies have been developed with implementation plans for my practice area.
    • Poverty and Education: Preparing Teacher Candidates for Economically Diverse Classroom Environments

      Robinson, Nicole (2013-04-25)
      The poverty rate in Ontario affects approximately 1 in 6 children. Consequently, many classrooms in the province include students who come from poverty, and teachers are faced with the challenge of providing an equitable education to students who come from economically diverse backgrounds. Because student poverty in our education system is so prevalent, this challenge exists also for teacher candidates who enter the education system and complete their practicums in classrooms that often include students from impoverished backgrounds. This project examined issues of poverty and education and developed a workshop to assist teacher candidates to develop knowledge in this area. The project combined existing pedagogical approaches with participants’ recommendations and developed a workshop that could be delivered to Faculty of Education students. The workshop addresses poverty, the relationship between poverty and education, student academic achievement and well-being, and the relationship between school and home. The goal and hope of the workshop is that teacher candidates will be better prepared when working in economically diverse school environments.
    • A Living Educational Theory of Knowledge Translation: Improving Practice, Influencing Learners, and Contributing to the Professional Knowledge Base

      Vickers-Manzin, Jen; Johnston, Jan (2013-04-28)
      This paper captured our joint journey to create a living educational theory of knowledge translation (KT). The failure to translate research knowledge to practice is identified as a significant issue in the nursing profession. Our research story takes a critical view of KT related to the philosophical inconsistency between what is espoused in the knowledge related to the discipline of nursing and what is done in practice. Our inquiry revealed “us” as “living contradictions” as our practice was not aligned with our values. In this study, we specifically explored our unique personal KT process in order to understand the many challenges and barriers to KT we encountered in our professional practice as nurse educators. Our unique collaborative action research approach involved cycles of action, reflection, and revision which used our values as standards of judgment in an effort to practice authentically. Our data analysis revealed key elements of collaborative reflective dialogue that evoke multiple ways of knowing, inspire authenticity, and improve learning as the basis of improving practice related to KT. We validated our findings through personal and social validation procedures. Our contribution to a culture of inquiry allowed for co-construction of knowledge to reframe our understanding of KT as a holistic, active process which reflects the essence of who we are and what we do.
    • Undergraduate Student Anxiety-Management in Academia: Appraising the Value of Services and Strategies

      Curtis, Kenneth W (2013-04-29)
      This study explored strategies that Brock University undergraduate students value the most for managing anxiety in academia. Although previous literature indicates services and techniques such as academic advising, physical activity, and educator engagement help students, few if any have ranked students’ perceived value of anxiety-management strategies. The researcher recruited 54 undergraduate student participants (primarily from the Department of Community Health Sciences) through online invitation. Participants completed an online survey to rate their previous experience with anxiety-management strategies discussed in the literature. Survey findings identified the 4 most valuable resources students used to manage anxiety in academia: (a) educators who post academic material posted online (e.g., on Sakai) early in the term, (b) physical activity, (c) socialization, and (d) breaking large assignments into smaller portions. Conversely, student participants found disability services, counseling, and medication to be the least valuable resources. Results suggest higher-education facilities should ensure that the most valuable services are readily available to students seeking them. The study contributes to the field by identifying a broad set of strategies that students find highly valuable in their management of academic related anxiety.
    • Integrating Children with Emotional and Behavioural Disabilities into Community Recreation Programs: A Handbook for Staff

      Meyer-MacLeod, Robin (2013-05-01)
      This study examined the process of integrating children with Emotional Behavioural Disorders (EBDs) with their peers into recreation programs. The purpose was to develop a set of recommendations for the development of a handbook to help workers in recreation with the integration process. To this end, a needs assessment was conducted with experienced recreation workers in the form of semistructured interviews. Participants were recruited from two community centers in a large southern Ontario city. Themes were drawn from the analysis of the interview transcripts and combined with findings from the research literature. The results were a set of recommendations on the content and format of a handbook for integrating children with EBDs into recreation programs.
    • Creating a Generation of Upstanders: Curriculum Resource to Help Ontario Educators Build Safe Schools

      Dirks, Kate-Lynn (2013-05-01)
      This project focuses on the bullying found in the 21st century elementary classrooms, more specifically in grades 4-8. These grades were found to have high levels of bullying because of major shifts in a student’s life that may place a student of this age at risk for problems with their peer relationships (Totura et al., 2009). Supporting the findings in the literature review, this handbook was created for Ontario grade 4-8 classroom teachers. The resource educates teachers on current knowledge of classroom bullying, and provides them with information and resources to share with their students so that they can create a culture of upstanders. Upstanders are students who stand up for the victims of bullying, and have the self-esteem and strategies to stand up to classroom bullies. These upstanders, with the support of their classroom teachers and their peers, will be a force strong enough to build the government-mandated Safe School environment.
    • A Needs Assessment: Language Instruction Stakeholders Engaging in Project Based Learning Outside the Classroom for Effective Strategic Problem Solving

      Soccio, Stephanie A. (2013-05-01)
      Abstract A noted benefit of Project Based Learning (PBL) as a teaching strategy is how it engages the student and enhances learning outcomes as a result of working through challenges intended to depict dilemmas outside the classroom. PBL has seldom been applied outside the parameters of the classroom curriculum. The current needs assessment carried out in this research project examined current practices of language instruction and International Administrative Professionals of both the private and public Language Industry. Participants responded to survey questions on their current administrative practices, strategies, and program characteristics. The study investigated the usefulness of a handbook on the procedure of assisting administrative service teams in language instruction settings to an engaged approach to PBL for student service issues. The diverse opinions, beliefs, and ideas, along with institutional policy, can provide beneficial framework ideas for future tools.
    • Creating a Generation of Upstanders: Curriculum Resource to Help Ontario Educators Build Safe Schools

      Dirks, Kate-Lynn (2013-05-01)
      This project focuses on the bullying found in the 21st century elementary classrooms, more specifically in grades 4-8. These grades were found to have high levels of bullying because of major shifts in a student’s life that may place a student of this age at risk for problems with their peer relationships (Totura et al., 2009). Supporting the findings in the literature review, this handbook was created for an Ontario grade 4-8 classroom teachers. The resource educates teachers on current knowledge of classroom bullying, and provides them with information and resources to share with their students so that they can create a culture of upstanders. Upstanders are students who stand up for the victims of bullying, and have the self-esteem and strategies to stand up to classroom bullies. These upstanders, with the support of their classroom teachers and their peers, will be a force strong enough to build the government-mandated Safe School environment.
    • Understanding the Cultural Health Beliefs in Diabetes Education Amongst the Aboriginal Population within a City in the Southern Region of Ontario

      Chetty, Ashen Asoduri (2013-05-06)
      This study examined the cultural health beliefs in diabetes education amongst the Aboriginal population within a city in Southern Ontario. The purpose was to contribute to the development of a culturally relevant diabetes handbook as well as to delivery styles within current diabetes education programs. To this end, a focus group was conducted with Aboriginal men and women between the ages of 18-70 years with type 2 diabetes. Participants were recruited from 2 Aboriginal community centres and an Aboriginal health centre in a city in Southern Ontario. Themes were drawn from the analysis of the focus group transcripts and combined with the findings from the research literature. The major themes that merged were drawn from Eurocentric and Aboriginal theories. The results were a set of recommendations on the type of format for diabetes educational programs such as traditional group activities, variety of electronic format, and culture specific educational resources. The emergent results appear to provide some important insights into program planning for diabetes education centres within Aboriginal communities.
    • Male and Female Perspectives on Female Principals in South Africa

      Giroux, Kira Elyse (2013-05-06)
      In South Africa, women are at a high risk of discrimination and opposition to authority when they obtain leadership positions, especially in education (Gouws & Kotze, 2007). The purpose of this study was to inquire into 10 secondary school educators’ perceptions of female principals’ effectiveness in two South African schools. Qualitative case study research methodology included interviews, as well as participant observations and semi-structured interviews. These interviews were conducted within two school settings in South Africa. The participants were teachers, department heads, and deputy principals. When the data were analyzed, it was found that all participants wanted a leader who was transformational and there was a strong preference for those who had feminine traits. This research showed the strong desire for transformational leaders as well as how feminine characteristics are not only starting to become more accepted, but also are now becoming preferred.
    • Service Learning in Higher Education: A Road Map

      Allan, Emily (2013-08-26)
      As institutions of higher education struggle to stay relevant, competitive, accessible, and flexible, they are scrambling to attend to a shift in focus for new students. This shift involves experiential learning. The purpose of this major research paper was to examine the existing structures, to seek gaps in the experiential learning programs, and to devise a framework to move forward. The specific focus was on experiential learning at Brock University in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. The methodology was underscored with cognitive constructivism and appreciative theory. Data collection involved content analysis steps established by Krippendorff (2004) and Weber (1985). Data analysis involved the four dimensions of reflection designed by LaBoskey, including the purpose, context, content, and procedures. The results developed understandings on the state of formal processes and pathways within service learning. A tool kit was generated that defines service learning and offers an overview of the types of service learning typically employed. The tool kit acts as a reference guide for those interested in implementing experiential learning courses. Importantly, the results also provided 10 key points in experiential learning courses by Emily Allan. A flow chart illustrates the connections among each of the 10 points, and then they are described in full to establish a strategy for the way forward in experiential learning.
    • Globalization and Its Impact on Assessment: Moving Toward a New Story

      Rigas, Bob (2013-09-04)
      Globalization has resulted in large-scale international and local assessments closely tied to notions of accountability and competitiveness in a globalized economy. Although policy makers seek to ensure citizens meet the demands of a global knowledge-based economy, such assessments may also impede the development of requisite 21st century skills. While standardization currently is viewed as the most effective measurement of student achievement, several Canadian and international jurisdictions are moving toward assessment for learning (AfL). This conceptual study sought to identify whether AfL or standardized assessment most effectively meets 21st century learning goals in the wake of rapid global change. It applies a Story Model theoretical framework to understand the current, the new emerging, and the future ideal story of education from a personal, cultural, and global lens. The study examines the main critiques and/or challenges of standardized testing, the benefits of AfL for student learning, and new teaching and assessment approaches to the development of 21st century learning goals. The study applies the Story Model’s inside-outside/past-future approach to determine the future direction of assessment. Results show that the new story of assessment will most likely entail a model that integrates both standardized testing and in-class assessments in the form of AfL and PBL.
    • Anxiety in the Primary Classroom: A Handbook for Elementary Educators

      Ismailos, Linda (2013-09-04)
      This project presents a literature review of pediatric anxiety including the prevalence, etiology, and treatment of anxiety disorders in children, presented along with evidence indicating the short- and long-term effects of anxiety in young children, and the important role of the school in first response regarding the early identification and intervention for these children. A needs assessment was conducted using primary elementary school teachers to identify their level of confidence in their ability to identify and support children suffering with anxiety disorders in their classrooms. Results of the assessment indicated a strong need for a resource that provides both information and support for teachers in their interactions with children with anxiety disorders. The assessment results were used to guide the development of a handbook for elementary educators providing current empirical research detailing information about various forms of anxiety disorders commonly affecting young children in primary grades, as well as a list of available resources, and a series of six sequential lesson plans to be implemented for the entire class. Lesson plans are designed to facilitate increased levels of understanding toward the issues confronted by children suffering from anxiety, and fostering strong peer relations and character-building opportunities. Participants were provided with the handbook for evaluation, which indicated a strong support for the effectiveness and usefulness of the resource.
    • Whose Voice Is Present?: An Examination of Power and Privilege in Service-Learning in Ontario Universities

      Glenn, Suzanne (2013-09-10)
      This research paper examines themes of power and privilege that occur within service-learning as described by 3 Ontario universities on their service-learning websites. Due to size and time restrictions, this paper was able to examine only 3 Ontario universities: Brock, Wilfrid Laurier, and Lakehead. The purpose of this study is geared towards service-learning practitioners in order for the universities and students to become more self-aware of their immense place of privilege within the service-learning context. Qualitative narrative analysis research methods were employed in this purposeful sample to examine how each university’s story of service-learning reflected themes of power and privilege. The research found that each university posed a unique narrative of service-learning representing various stakeholders’ voices and presence in different ways on their website. Brock largely focuses on faculty and student voices. Laurier intentionally attempts to include all three stakeholder voices, although still favours students and the university as an audience over the community. Lakehead’s unique program includes a plethora of voices and intends much of their information for the community members, students, and the university. The implications of this research demonstrate that universities have a large amount of power and privilege, which is carried through to the students within the service-learning partnership.
    • Humour and Learning: A Self-Study of My Practice as an Adult Educator

      Samuels, Joanna (2013-09-12)
      This study examined my lived experiences as a frontline practitioner and adult educator in a local nonprofit community organization. Using self-study research methodology, I explored my professional practice as a facilitator of job search skills training with newcomers to Canada and the impact of humour on their learning, a topic for which I have a particular passion. To better inform my practice, I designed and delivered job search skills workshops on resume writing and cold-calling/networking. I used a variety of data sources including a literature review, personal observations, and reflections as well as secondary data sources from workshop evaluations and unsolicited feedback emails from participants. Findings from the self-study indicated that adult learners who experience entertaining and fun-filled lessons that use appropriate humour have better learning results, are more confident, and are better prepared to apply skills required for achieving career goals. Further, I learned in my practice that my challenge as an adult educator is to ensure humour is appropriately used and adds value to the learning rather than being the focus of the teaching.