• 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.
    • Successful Co-Teaching: A Handbook for Educators

      MacDougall, Miranda
      The purpose of this study was twofold: 1) to develop a practical co-teaching handbook for educators; and 2) to help disseminate conscious raising of co-teaching strategies and the importance of co-teaching while giving practical suggestions for how to have a successful co-teaching relationship. Successful Co-Teaching: A Handbook for Educators was developed through applying and using theoretical and empirical research, educational resources and recommendations from a needs assessment. The handbook comprises of background co-teaching information, co-teaching and co-planning resources and templates, and strategies for co-teaching partners to use to better equip themselves as co-teachers. Successful Co-Teaching: A Handbook for Educators was evaluated by four educators who reported the resource to be comprehensive and informative, and indicated they would use it in their own classroom.
    • Supporting Drama in Education: Developing a Professional Resource

      Reichheld, Susan
      This research offers an examination of the application of a resource to support Drama in Education (DiE) as a teaching tool. The scope of this small-scale, qualitative research was two-fold: i) to develop a teacher resource; and ii) to study its effectiveness in supporting teachers. My goal was to explore the experiences of professionals to see if the resource I created was effective in developing teacher confidence in integrating drama-based methodology into their regular programming. The research undergoes three phases: i) the formulation of the professional resource, ii) field-testing of the resource and data collection, and iii) data analysis with the final stage being modification of the resource. Based on the data collected from semi-open-ended interviews with two elementary teachers, and personal notes shared by the participant teachers, there appears to be clear evidence the resource is effective in developing educator confidence. The research also offers various implications for teachers and administrators, school boards, and other research in DiE.
    • Supporting social-cognitive development in the elementary years: The role of executive function and self-regulation

      Julien, Karen
      Every day we make decisions that have repercussions. Sometimes the effects are immediate and intended; other times the effects might be unintended or might not be apparent for years. As parents or educators, part of our role is to support the development of children’s decision-making skills, helping them to develop patterns of adaptive decision-making that will serve them well in their current lives and into the future. Part of successful decision-making involves self-control, a system served by the brain’s executive functions (EF). This involves the ability to put aside immediate reactions and base decisions on a variety of important considerations. Social-cognitive development, the ongoing improvement of the ability to get along with others and to understand others’ emotions, expressions, motivations, and intents, relies, to a large degree, on the same EF systems. The current paper explores the interaction of these two factors (the role of EF in social-cognitive development), explores the research to determine the most effective approaches to improving both factors, and develops a handbook providing activities for educators to use while supporting the growth of both EF and social-cognitive skills. Results of a needs assessment reveal that the majority (59%) of educators surveyed had never used a social skills improvement program in their classrooms, while a full 95% believed that social skills are important or very important for a student’s academic success.
    • Supporting Students Affected by War and Terrorism: A Comparitive Study of School Leadership in Canada and Pakistan

      Ahmed, Neelofar
      The growing incidents of war and terrorism around the globe have escalated global migration. Consequently, schools are becoming more diverse in host countries, with this diversity spanning students affected by war and terrorism, in addition to students with disabilities, students living in poverty, as well as racialized and Indigenous students. While these diverse groups of students bring cultural richness and resilience to schools, supporting their academic achievements and physical and mental well-being may challenge school leaders. In this paper, I reviewed the education policies of the United Nations, Ontario, and Pakistan that provide guidelines to enact equity and inclusion in schools. I also conducted a systematic review of Ontario’s and Pakistan’s literature to explore the role of school leaders in supporting students affected by war and terrorism in the last decade. Based on the findings, I firstly discussed the emerging role of public school leadership in supporting students affected by war and terrorism in Ontario and Pakistan. Secondly, I proposed changes to Bronfenbrenner’s (1999) bioecological model of human development, and recommended that by adopting Shield’s (2010) transformative leadership framework, school leaders can make their schools more equitable and inclusive. Thirdly, I advocated for the establishment of cross-cultural educational partnerships to connect the educational policy-makers, researchers, practitioners, and school leaders from Ontario and Pakistan through the Train-the-Trainer model. In an era of forced migration and globalization, school leaders can thereby become agents of school reform and social change by developing inclusive and just communities locally, nationally, and internationally.
    • Sustainability Through Accessibility: Evaluating the Accessibility of Toronto’s Public Transportation

      Nicholas, Bruno
      Public transportation is one of the most sustainable transportation options in terms of greenhouse gasses emitted per rider due to the high capacity of transit vehicles. Resultantly the sustainability of public transportation is dependent on high levels of ridership. Increasing accessibility, particularly through affordability and proximity, may encourage public transit ridership. A document analysis was conducted on sustainability documents published by Metrolinx, and the Toronto Transit Commission to evaluate the degree to which these agencies reflect best practices for sustainable public transportation in these documents. Both affordability and proximity were measured on the basis of total instances and proportional document coverage. Results show that these themes were not prevalent in the documents. Specifically, accessibility was found to be prominent, but through the theme of corporate social responsibility rather than affordability or proximity. Thus, this MRP highlights the need to focus on these themes in future public transit sustainability strategies.
    • Sustainability-Related Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Communications in the Canadian Grocery Industry

      Harper, Erica
      As consumers become more socially and environmentally aware, organizations provide in-depth corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports, sustainability reports, and communicate about CSR on various social media channels. This study consists of an exploratory content analysis of sustainability-related CSR social media communications from Canada’s three largest grocery retailers, including Loblaw, Metro, and Sobeys. The purpose of this study is to determine the extent to which sustainable business practices are being discussed through social media postings. The findings demonstrate that the retailers include more content related to sustainable business practices on Instagram as compared to Facebook and LinkedIn. Additionally, the results demonstrate that two out of the three retailers within the study do not communicate their CSR initiatives in alignment with previous research that provides best practices for CSR communications. These results have valuable implications for grocery managers, public policy writers, and researchers.
    • Teach, Learn, Develop: Sweat, Breathe, Yoga

      Firth, Cayley (2014-05-26)
      Teach, Lean Develop: Sweat, Breathe, Yoga is a Handbook for the Educator intended to be a practical took for educators to integrate yoga into their classrooms and for the betterment of students. The handbook offers teachers several activities and ideas to get them started using yoga in the classroom-these activities can be modified to suit different ages, abilities, and classroom levels. The project includes a look at the literature alongside my opinions and experience from what I have experiences while teaching yoga in the classroom. The handbook itself is intended to assist experiences and inexperienced educators by offering some ideas and activities that will encourage educators to explore using yoga in the classroom. After the completion of the handbook 2 educators reviewed it, and information was collected with regards to how they saw it fitting into their classrooms and the curriculum in general. They provided critiques, constructive feedback, and further recommendations for the handbook.
    • Teachers' Knowledge of, Satisfaction With, And Familiarity With Supporting Students With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

      Uttamsingh, Jason
      This study explored teachers’ knowledge of ADHD, levels of satisfaction with strategies to successfully teach students with ADHD in the classroom, and familiarity with related resources and policy. Participation was voluntary, and teachers electing to participate completed a survey designed to capture data relating to the areas noted above. The sample of teacher participants was taken from one of the largest public school boards in Ontario, and included teachers of varying years of experience, special education and non-special education teachers, and both elementary and secondary teachers. Results indicated that teachers were generally dissatisfied with their abilities to teach students with ADHD. Special education teachers seemed to be more satisfied with their abilities to use successful strategies to teach students with ADHD compared to non-special education teachers, and special education teachers also seemed to be more familiar with related resources and policies compared to non-special education teachers. In addition, special education teachers seemed to have more working knowledge of the nature of ADHD as a disorder compared to non-special education teachers. Results also indicated possible areas for a lack of knowledge about ADHD among teachers in general, including diet, age, and genetics in relation to the nature of ADHD and the propagation of symptoms indicative of the disorder. Years of teaching experience also seemed to play a part in teachers’ knowledge of certain areas. Implications include possible further training for teachers to address knowledge gaps and to enhance teachers’ abilities to better instruct students with ADHD in their classrooms.
    • Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language to English Speaking Language Learners: Teachers’ Handbook

      Li, Jinyi
      This project developed a handbook for teachers to assist in the instruction of Chinese as a foreign language. The handbook provides teachers with practical lessons for teaching Chinese to adult beginning language learners. The handbook is based on autoethnographic analyses of my own experiences or stories related to foreign language learning and teaching the Chinese language. Lessons topics were developed based on these stories. The handbook put forwards 6 lesson plans corresponding to 6 specific topics. The handbook is supported by 2 theories: the audio-lingual and communicative foreign language teaching approaches. Based on these 2 teaching approaches, the main idea embedded in the handbook is that teaching spoken language before teaching Chinese writing and grammar rules can help adult novices to learn Chinese more effectively and apply the language in practical situations. Thus, the lesson plans in the handbook are designed to develop the speaking skills of adult learners for communicative purposes. Unlike many current Chinese teaching materials in which spoken and written Chinese are taught together, this handbook creates an innovative teaching method that emphasizes spoken-Chinese language learning for beginner learners. The lesson plans, as examples, are expected to inspire more Chinese teachers to explore and promote innovative teaching lessons and methods.
    • Teaching pragmatics to newcomers to Canada

      Zeldenrust, Gwen
      The purpose of this project was to examine how ESL teachers teach pragmatics to new immigrants preparing to work in Canada, and to develop a practical resource to assist in the delivery of pragmatic linguistic material. The resource used effective approaches as outlined in the literature, specifically an explicit-inductive technique in a sequence specific manner. In addition, a needs assessment completed by teachers in the field was considered during development. Eight ESL teachers responded to a needs assessment interview guide. The data collected highlighted a need for a practical technique that allows for delivering pragmatic content in accordance with theory espoused in the pragmatic linguistic teaching literature. The resource includes a practical teaching technique intended to be flexible enough to cover a wide variety of pragmatics topics. The Awareness, Analysis, Understanding, Use, (AAUU) technique promotes learning and use of culturally conditioned language.
    • Teaching Reading to ESL Adult Literacy Learners: The Development of an Instructor’s Handbook

      Weiler, Jennifer
      The purpose of this project was to develop an instructors’ handbook that provides the declarative, procedural, and conditional knowledge associated with the interactive instructional approach, differentiated instruction, and the gradual release of responsibility framework for teaching reading to English as a second language adult literacy learners. The need for this handbook was determined by conducting a critical analysis of existing handbooks and concluding that no handbook completely addressed the 3 types of knowledge for the 3 instructional processes. A literature review was conducted to examine the nature, use, and effectiveness of the 3 instructional processes when teaching reading to ESL adult literacy learners. The literature review also examined teachers’ preferences for reading research and found that texts that were relevant, practical, and accessible were favoured. Hence, these 3 elements were incorporated as part of the handbook design. Three peer reviewers completed a 35-item 5-point Likert scale evaluation form that also included 5 open-ended questions. Their feedback about the handbook’s relevancy, practicality, accessibility, and face validity were incorporated into the final version of the handbook presented here. Reference to the handbook by ESL adult literacy instructors has the potential to support evidence-informed lesson planning which can support the ESL adult literacy learners in achieving their goals and contributing to their societies in multiple and meaningful ways.
    • Three Newly Appointed Vice-Principals’ Perceptions of Their Identity Formation and Interaction With School Culture: A Qualitative Study of the VP Role Transition

      Pereira, Sarah Jo
      This generic qualitative study explored the process of administrative identity formation from the perspective of 3 newly appointed secondary school vice-principals. It also explored participants’ perception of how vice-principals influence and are influenced by school culture. Data were collected through face-to-face semi-structured interviews. Findings suggest that in their first years of transitioning into the role of vice-principal participants faced challenges in forming new identities. With respect to their ability to influence school culture, participants found that other responsibilities of the job consumed their time and subsequent abilities to make changes. Participants revealed their duties, responsibilities, and the ways in which they both prepared for their role and were supported within them. Participants found that their VP experiences upon appointment and within the first years of transitioning largely focused on the various challenges they faced in assuming the new responsibilities, navigating the changing dynamics amongst staff, and managing the vast quantity of work in limited time restraints. Despite these challenges participants continued to work towards finding a balance in their management of the VP role, where with time and experience they might further develop their administrative identity formation, and may impact school culture as a whole.
    • Ties From My Father: Personal Narrative as a Tool for Engaging Teenagers and Social Service Practitioners

      Pozeg, Robert (2014-01-20)
      The purpose of this project is to provide social service practitioners with tools and perspectives to engage young people in a process of developing and connecting with their own personal narratives, and storytelling with others. This project extensively reviews the literature to explore Why Story, What Is Story, Future Directions of Story, and Challenges of Story. Anchoring this exploration is Freire’s (1970/2000) intentional uncovering and decoding. Taking a phenomenological approach, I draw additionally on Brookfield’s (1995) critical reflection; Delgado (1989) and McLaren (1998) for subversive narrative; and Robin (2008) and Sadik (2008) for digital storytelling. The recommendations provided within this project include a practical model built upon Baxter Magolda and King’s (2004) process towards self-authorship for engaging an exercise of storytelling that is accessible to practitioners and young people alike. A personal narrative that aims to help connect lived experience with the theoretical content underscores this project. I call for social service practitioners to engage their own personal narratives in an inclusive and purposeful storytelling method that enhances their ability to help the young people they serve develop and share their stories.
    • Two School Administrators’ Perspectives on How Intercultural Education is Promoted in Their Elementary Schools

      Gill, Harpreet Singh (2014-09-23)
      This study examined the perspectives of 2 elementary school administrators (1 principal of a faith based school, and 1 vice-principal of a public school) towards intercultural education and how it was implemented in their schools. A generic qualitative research methodology guided this study. Face-to-face interviews that used a guide with open-ended questions were used to collect data. Participants were administrators in their respective schools, had been involved in intercultural activities at their school, and were professional acquaintances of the researcher. The interviews were digitally recorded and the interview transcripts were reviewed by participants to ensure accuracy. The administrators’ understanding of intercultural education tended to be limited to learning and celebration of various cultures. The intercultural education strategies used in the respective schools focussed on developing a knowledge base and provided limited intercultural interaction. The public school had greater resources available than the private faith-based school. However, the resources were not always used to facilitate intercultural education. Teachers and administrators were provided with very few professional development opportunities focussed on intercultural education.
    • 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.