• 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.
    • Understanding Social and Emotional Learning in Elementary Schools: A Guide for Teachers, Administrators, and Parents

      Pantin Dear, Cherise
      Caring for the mental health and well-being of students in order to increase student academic success is gaining more attention from schools in recent years. Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a way educators are supporting the social and emotional well-being of students. SEL seeks to give students the tools and strategies they need to become self-aware, recognize and manage their emotions, make responsible decisions, and establish relationships with others. This research examined SEL and students’ well- being, the relation between brain-based learning and social-emotional skills, and existing SEL programs. Although the research has found that SEL is directly related to students’ academic achievement, many educators and school communities are unaware of this positive impact of SEL on student success. A handbook presented here titled A Beginner's Guide to Teaching Social and Emotional Learning: A Handbook for Teachers, Administrators, and Parents, was created with the intention of introducing the relevant classroom activities that promote a positive school environment in which students may benefit socially, emotionally, and academically.
    • 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.
    • Using a Culturally-relevant Approach to Engage South-Asian Female Adolescents in Secondary Physical Education

      Oag, Sarah
      The South-Asian (SA) population makes up the largest visible minority group in Canada. Little research in Canada has examined the interplay of gender and culture in Physical Education (PE), and strategies to increase PE participation in Canadian SA female adolescents. In addition, there is a lack of pre-service and in-service teacher training on culturally-relevant PE. This lack of exposure may cause PE teachers to perpetuate Western norms and ideals as being the most desirable, thus resulting in PE programs that have little meaning or value to SA female adolescents. If PE is not meaningful or relevant to SA female adolescents, they may be less likely to develop lifelong physical activity (PA) habits. Using the framework of Culturally-relevant Physical Education proposed by Halas, McRae, and Carpenter (2013) and an in-depth literature review, this study examined the challenges to PE participation in SA female adolescents and recommends culturally-relevant strategies. Based on the literature review, a comprehensive framework to engage SA female adolescents in PE has been created. The following strategies were found to have the potential to increase the engagement of SA female adolescents: supportive learning environment, student-centered approach, alternative teaching models, authentic assessment, family and school partnerships, and culturally-relevant pedagogy. The findings of this research have the potential to improve PE participation and the overall well-being of the SA female population. Implications of this research demonstrate that physical education teacher education (PETE) must incorporate culturally-relevant PE, school mental health programs need to target the SA population, and policy-makers must place a higher value on PE in schools.
    • Using Effective Teaching Strategies and Personality Type to Enhance the Mathematics Classroom: A Handbook for Intermediate Math Teachers

      Herbert, Connie
      This project addressed the need for more insightful, current, and applicable resources for intermediate math teachers in Canadian classrooms. A need for a handbook in this division seemed warranted by a lack of government resource support. Throughout an extensive review of the literature, themes and topics for the handbook emerged. The handbook was designed to not only provide educators with examples of effective teaching strategies within the mathematics classroom but to also inform them about the ways in which their personal characteristics and personality type could affect their students and their own pedagogical practices. Three teaching professionals who had each taught in an intermediate math class within the past year evaluated the handbook. The feedback received from these educators was directly applied to the first draft of the handbook in order to make it more accessible and applicable to other math teachers. Although the handbook was written with teachers in mind, the language and format used throughout the manual also make it accessible to parents, tutors, preservice education students, and educational administrators. Essentially, any individual who is hoping to inspire and educate intermediate math students could make use of the content within the handbook.
    • Using Ethnomathematics Principles in the Classroom: A Handbook for Mathematics Educators

      Forbes, Wendy Ann
      The alarming underperformance in mathematics of many students worldwide and the economic implication for a global society have taken residence in the highest offices across nations. This has pressed researchers, administrators, and educators to seek better pedagogical practices that fit the description of diverse classrooms and equip students with the requisite skills to advance in the global marketplace. Recent research unveiled that traditional approaches to teaching mathematics do not convey meaning making and exclude students from many cultural groups. However, such approaches still prevail in many classrooms and have proven to be perennially challenging to dismiss. Many mathematics educators, therefore, advocate for more meaningful and inclusive practices using ethnomathematics principles. Ethnomathematics, expresses the relationship between mathematics and culture (D’Ambrosio, 2001). Acknowledging the need for better practices in classrooms worldwide, this project extracted the major themes of ethnomathematics from an extensive literature review and used them to compile a teaching and learning handbook with culturally sensitive teaching strategies. The handbook was designed to provide mathematics educators with research-based information to help them to develop curriculum, activities, tasks, and instructions so that mathematics may be meaningful to all students. Since the literature reveals that tasks bridge the between teaching and learning, the handbook culminates by exemplifying how its content can be applied to create culturally rich mathematics tasks, using the backward design planning process.
    • Using First Nations Children's Literature in the Classroom: Portfolio of Learning

      Staats, Robin (2014-09-22)
      A portfolio was developed to encourage teachers of Aboriginal children to include First Nations mentor texts into their daily teaching practices. The artifacts within the portfolio have been produced in accordance with guiding beliefs about how students, specifically First Nations students, learn. The portfolio supports the notion that Aboriginal children need to encounter representations of their own culture, histories and beliefs within the literature in order to be successful in school. The use of First Nations children’s literature in the classroom was explored with an emphasis on how using this literature will assist in improving literacy levels and the self-esteem of First Nations students.
    • Using Poetry, Story, and Reflection to Understand Professional Self After Personal Loss

      Lenover, Cheryl (2014-07-21)
      This research investigated professional identity transformation after personal loss. Through autoethnographic methods, I explore how my personal experience of my sister’s breast cancer and death affected my identity as a diabetes educator in the health culture. I discover a transformation of a professional who focuses on evidence-based medicine to a professional who values connection, therapeutic alliance, and mindfulness with patients and self in the diabetes education encounter. Using a holistic perspective on transformational learning, I integrate the poem “Wild Geese” to a collection of written narratives to connect my personal loss experience to my professional life. By unpacking the generated stories and using poetry, I conduct a process of critical and self-reflection to discover how my identity as a health professional has transformed and what makes meaning in my role as a diabetes educator in the health culture. I consider concepts of a conscious self, social relations and language and discover themes of knowledge exchange, food, and empathy as forms of language expression. These language expressions are not present in my professional life as I focus on rational, logical facts of evidence-based medicine and standardized education methods. Through this reflexive process, I hope to understand how my professional practice has changed, where I place an importance on connection, therapeutic alliance, and mindfulness. I move away from always “doing” in my professional life to focus on my state of “being” in my professional world. Rather than knowledge acquisition as the only factor in professional development, this study contributes to an understanding of additional qualities health professionals may consider that focus on the patient education encounter.
    • Utilizing Chromebook in Ontario Elementary Schools: Teachers’ Perspectives

      Nie, Larry
      In-service teachers’ voices must be heard in order to understand the status of technology integration in Canadian elementary schools. In this qualitative case study, two Ontario private school teachers were invited to share their experiences and perspectives about their daily instruction with Chromebook through the lens of the TPACK theoretical framework. The study’s objectives were twofold: (a) to identify participating teachers’ attitudes, perceptions, and experiences teaching with Chromebook in a convincing narrative manner; and (b) to provide recommendations concerning the use of this type of digital technology device to other teachers and educators in practice. This research study once again affirmed the advantages of using Chromebook in the elementary classrooms in across three categories: saving funds, granting stable and durable hardware, and offering seamless and continuous learning. Additionally, the study attempted to add two new benefits: using Chromebook in teaching enables educators to keep their students on task and helps educators differentiate their teaching by providing more options and accommodating students’ different learning styles and abilities. Participants in the study also found it difficult to make sure students stayed on task and were not lured by the out-of-class digital world. The study also found that a better filtering system of apps working on Chromebook can benefit students’ and teachers’ experience alike. The study concludes with a discussion and implications for future research.
    • Visiting International Scholars and University Internationalization

      Young, Sheila
      Visiting international scholars are viewed as an important part of an institution’s internationalization goals and objectives. Meaningful learning can take place about different or other teaching, research, cultures, and communities by interacting and collaborating with academics from around the world. Despite the central role of visiting international scholars as a valued component of internationalization, research related to the experiences of these individuals is quite limited. This research study set out to add to the field of research regarding visiting international scholars by examining one university’s Visiting International Scholar programs to explore to what extent the academic activities of visiting international scholars contributed to the internationalization goals and objectives of the institution. My research study looks at the types of academic activities in which visiting international scholars engage, including in particular academic publications, conference or workshop presentations, conference or workshop attendance, course participation, guest lectures, courses taught, research projects, participation in meetings, and interactions in the local community. Informed by a review of literature, I analyzed publicly available institutional data about the Visiting International Scholar programs and hour-long interviews conducted with 5 visiting international scholars. I describe important contributions these visiting international scholars made to the university community as well as the benefits and challenges these scholars experienced. These findings provide the basis for recommendations regarding institutional internationalization practices, policies, and strategic planning intended to lead to improvements in the existing Visiting International Scholar programs.
    • What Does It Mean to Be a Teacher?: How Confucius and Socrates Facilitate Contemporary Classroom Discourse

      Nguyen, Quynh
      This project investigates the complex and divergent role of the teacher in the contemporary context, in which teaching becomes a profession and a teacher’s responsibilities are predetermined. By adopting a philosophical lens, I explore what it means to be a teacher by analyzing and comparing the two great teachers Confucius (Kong Fuzi or Kongzi) and Socrates. Although there has been no shortage of studies comparing and contrasting these two thinkers’ pedagogy, little research examines the similarities and differences between their approaches in a specific context of contemporary education. By facilitating discourse among Confucius, Socrates, and contemporary teachers, I outline what a teacher means according to the two thinkers and which factors might impede present-day teachers from being Confucian and Socratic teachers. I will propose an integrated approach that can help bring the values of both Confucian and Socratic teachings to contemporary classrooms.
    • What It Means to Be Super: Diversity and the Prevailing Discourses in Superhero Comic Books

      Galliera, Matthew
      This study examined how themes of diversity influence the superhero genre of comic books and sought to identify the broader societal discourses that shape the representation of diversity in these narratives. The study’s review of related literature encompassed works exploring comic books as a genre, their history, and their relationship with discourse and popular culture, and revealed 5 significant themes related to diversity: race, gender, sexuality, age, and ability. The study employed a qualitative methodology and was designed as a thematic discourse analysis. Nine superhero comics under the Marvel and DC umbrella were accessed online and then narrowed down as the study’s data set. Each comic was coded by taking note of the main plot points and larger findings and the information was grouped into larger themes that became the basis of the data. Results of this study showed that although some elements of diversity existed in the data set, it did not play a significant role in shaping the narratives’ respective stories. Results also indicated that the primary feature in the data set comprised a Caucasian, male, straight, European, or American discourse; however, there is evidence that diversity is beginning to become more of a priority in the creation of these superhero comics. Lastly, the study considered educational implications of bringing superhero comics into the classroom including improved reading engagement, diversified text selection within classrooms, and getting students to think about diversity through a new lens by challenging what a superhero should look like or is supposed to be.
    • Who Am I? Unpacking My Identity as a Physical Education Teacher

      Dierick, Jenna
      Abstract This research project presents a narrative inquiry and autoethnographic stories that make up my identity that in turn informs my teaching practice. By writing a collection of narratives from my life and analyzing their meaning, I have been able to answer the research question: Do I teach who I am? This has allowed me to demonstrate the impact of teaching who we are. I begin by debriefing the importance of teaching who we are and how this fits into this narrative inquiry. I provide the theoretical framework through the work of Parker J. Palmer (1997) that led me to take this research journey. Then I provide a literature review of identity theory, identity in the school system, and identity as a physical educator, so that I am able to understand and incorporate them into my narrative reflections. In the methodology of the narrative inquiry, I provide justification for the research and display the benefits of being vulnerable in qualitative research. The narratives are then presented and provide a flowing connection of how the story grew and unfolded throughout my life. The emergent themes—perfectionism, people-pleasing, holistic health, and masculine and feminine energies—are unpacked to show my identity and why I teach the way I do.
    • 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.
    • Working Conditions of Front-Line Poverty-Reduction Staff at Non-profit Agencies

      Morningstar, Sarah
      Over the past three to four decades in Ontario, neoliberalization and new public management have restructured the non-profit social services (NPSS) sector by reducing core funding and introducing a competitive proposal system with increased managerial accountability. These changes have generated immense workplace pressures for frontline staff. Frontline staff in the NPSS have seen an increase in standardization accompanied by the degradation of their skills. Through in-depth interviews with five frontline staff at two similar non-profit agencies serving people experiencing poverty in the Niagara Region, this paper explores the question: How do frontline staff in the non-profit social services sector describe their working conditions? And how resonant are the narratives of compassion fatigue and burnout. In contrast to the narrative of "compassion fatigue" that often describes the experiences of professional frontline workers, I found that burnout among frontline poverty-reduction staff stems primarily from encountering structural barriers, such as a lack of affordable housing, that limit what they can do to help their service users. Furthermore, I found a general lack of organizational supports for frontline staff as workers, including supports to prevent or lessen burnout. This research brings to light new perspectives regarding poverty-reduction work and ultimately points to needed supports for frontline staff that may improve their work lives, well-being and poverty-reduction effectiveness.
    • Working Memory in the Junior/Intermediate Classroom

      Haynes, Kathryn
      This research project explored the connection between working memory and children’s learning. The project created a resource titled Working Memory Strategies for the Junior/ Intermediate Educator: A Handbook based on a literature review, the deconstruction of theoretical and empirical studies, teacher resources, and findings from a needs assessment completed by teachers that together show there is insufficient support for teachers working with students who have deficits in working memory along with other common classroom learning disabilities. As learning disabilities become more common in the classroom that increasingly affect working memory in a majority of cases, teachers must be prepared not only to address specific symptoms of the conditions, but also to help students learn how to navigate and become aware of their working memory ability. The handbook thus was developed as a useful resource for teachers looking to expand their knowledge about how learning occurs. A needs assessment completed by junior and intermediate division teachers in Ontario helped determine what educators found most important for inclusion in the handbook, and the same teachers were offered the opportunity to review the completed handbook. Teacher participants provided constructive feedback and indicated that the handbook would be a valuable resource for them and their colleagues when working with students who have working memory issues. It was suggested that the handbook would be useful when creating students’ Individual Education Plans and that the assessment checklist included in the handbook would be an excellent resource for teachers collecting data regarding students’ working memory and ability to learn.
    • Yugoslavian Refugee Children in Canadian Schools: The Role of Transformative Leadership in Overcoming the Social, Psychological, and Academic Barriers to Successful Integration

      Kovacevic, Dragana
      In Canada, there have been limited studies focusing on refugee children from war-torn countries and their transition to Canadian schools. Even less documentation exists about refugee children from the former Yugoslavia. Using a transformative cross-cultural leadership lens, this study explores the barriers and challenges refugee children from former Yugoslavia faced as they transitioned to the Canadian educational system, as well as strategies children and their teachers used to ease this transition. This study is a systematic literature review that is also informed by the researcher’s refugee narrative. In this paper, I argue that there is limited literature concerning former Yugoslavian (e.g. Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Serbian, and Slovenian) refugee children who migrated to Canada between 1995 and 2015. Exploring the challenges and effective strategies used in easing this transition for former Yugoslavian refugee youth can facilitate the integration of Syrian refugee children currently entering Canadian schools. While cultural backgrounds and experiences of Syrian and former Yugoslavian refugee children differ, language barriers, lack of support, and lack of refugee children-related policies in the Canadian schools remain universal challenges for all refugee students. Based on this literature review, I identified the challenges encountered by Yugoslavian refugee children in the Canadian classroom and presented individual strategies teachers used while working with this group of children. This paper contributes to the debates on how to effectively address the ‘sink or swim’ phenomenon many former Yugoslavian children experienced while demonstrating that the transformative cross-cultural leadership approach can be a powerful strategy in integrating refugee students’ in schools and societies.