• 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.