• A Home Literacy Handbook for Parents With Preschool Children

      Robinson, Jessica (2013-09-12)
      The purpose of this project was to provide parents with an awareness of the role that they play in their preschool children's literacy and reading development and to create a practical handbook that parents can use to teach early literacy and reading skills to their preschool children in their home environment. The handbook was created in response to the literature that confirmed that the children benefit from developing emergent literacy skills before they enter school in kindergarten or grade 1. In addition to the information gathered from the academic literature, needs assessments were conducted in order to hear perspectives from multiple stakeholders involved in the context of this project. The needs assessment questionnaires were conducted with 4 Ontario certified grade 1 and 2 teachers, and 4 parents with preschool children or children in kindergarten or grade 1. Data collected from these participants highlighted the needs of parents and were used to create a comprehensive handbook that will hopefully be accessible and useful to a wide parent audience. The results of the research project indicated that parents would, in fact, benefit from having access to a resource such as this handbook to assist in teaching the 4 components of emergent literacy to their preschool children––oral language, alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, and print awareness––to their preschool children.
    • Promoting Early Reading: A Parent Handbook for Developing Children's Phonological Awareness Using Authentic Activities

      Dunn, Stephanie (2013-09-16)
      The purpose of this project was to create a handbook for parents to develop their children's phonological awareness using authentic activities that parents and children can complete together. The handbook aims to provide parents with fundamental background information regarding phonological awareness as well as effective instruction practices, followed by authentic activities that are clearly laid out and easy to implement. Through a comprehensive study of the literature it became evident that parents should be the target audience for the handbook as they have the greatest influence on the development of their young children. Phonological awareness was also found to be an important contributor to early literacy development including oral language skills and reading. The handbook was reviewed by 2 teaching professionals in order to claim face validity of the document. The results of the project indicate that the handbook which was produced meets its goals of creating a product that is easy to use, practical, and effective for both parents and children. The implementation of the handbook in the home environment can benefit children's phonological awareness and in turn improve their oral language and reading abilities.
    • Anxiety-Related Disorders in Primary-Junior Grades (K-3): Teacher Perceptions and Knowledge

      Lancia, Gabriella (2013-09-25)
      This study used a descriptive case study design to analyze teachers’ experiences of anxiety-related conditions and emotions in the primary-junior grades (K-3). The study sought to examine (a) educators’ perceptions of anxiety conditions and how such interpretations influence their teaching practice; (b) teachers’ knowledge of the diagnostic processes, symptomology, and emotions related to anxiety disorders; (c) primary teachers’ knowledge of and experience with emotional regulation strategies and therapeutic approaches for anxiety; and (d) additional strategies and knowledge that should be available to help students. The study adopted Bronfenbrenner’s (1986) Ecological Model to frame participants’ experiences and perspectives, as well as the impact of several factors (e.g., school, home) and individuals (e.g. teachers, parents, students) on students’ anxiety and the participants’ perspectives. Through in-person interviews, participants shared their experiences with and knowledge about students in their teaching practice who had experienced anxiety-related conditions and emotions. Four major themes emerged from the data: symptoms and situational contexts; knowledge of strategies and interventions; understanding and perspectives of students; anxious emotional responses; and challenges. The study contributes to the literature by providing the real-life perspectives and experiences of primary-junior teachers (K-3) related to students experiencing anxiety. The study provides further information for educators, administrators, and research regarding any additional support and knowledge that should be implemented to further assist educators and students in regards to anxiety.
    • Factors Contributing to Reading Performance: An In-Depth Analysis of the “Boy Crisis”

      Sanci, Dina (2013-09-26)
      This research used a quantitative study approach to investigate the “boy crisis” in Canada. Boy crisis advocates suggest that boys are being surpassed by girls on reading assessments and promote strategies to assist male students. A feminist framework was used in this study that allowed for an investigation and discussion of the factors that mediate between gender and success at reading comprehension, interpretation, and response to text without ignoring female students. Reading scores and questionnaire data compiled by the Pan-Canadian Assessment Program were used in this research, specifically the PCAP-13 2007 assessment of approximately 30,000 13-year-old students from all Canadian provinces and Yukon Territory (CMEC, 2008). Approximately 20,000 participants wrote the reading assessment, while 30,000 students completed the questionnaire responses. Predictor variables were tested using parametric tests such as independent samples t-test, one-way ANOVA, chi-square analysis, and Pearson r. Findings from this study indicate that although boys scored lower than girls on the PCAP-13 2007 reading assessment, factors were found to influence the reading scores of both male and female students to varying degrees. Socioeconomic status, perceptions of the reading material used in language arts classrooms, reading preference, reading interest, parental involvement, parental encouragement for reading, and self-efficacy were all found to affect the reading performance of boys and girls. Relationships between variables were also found and are discussed in this research. The analysis presented in this study allows parents, educators, and policy makers to begin to critically examine and re-evaluate boy crisis literature and offers suggestions on how to improve reading performance for all students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
    • Integrating Media Education Into the Curriculum: What Chinese Educators Can Learn from Ontario Education

      Liang, Jiaen (2013-09-26)
      This study sought to determine if and how the Ontario approach to integrating media education into the curriculum can be applied to Chinese education. The study used thematic analyses to identify the Ontario curriculum‘s attributes and approach to teaching media literacy, and to investigate relevant policies and national curriculum standards in Chinese compulsory education to reveal the status quo of Chinese media education. Finally, the study explored the feasibility of applying the Ontario media education model in China. Findings indicate that the Ontario model can be employed in the Chinese context, but only partly so, because current Chinese media education is limited by protectionism and restrictive policies corresponding to the use of media merely as research tools.
    • Conceptual Analysis of Web 2.0 Technology Use to Enhance Parent–School Relationships

      ZHAO, YAO (2013-09-30)
      Parent–school relationships contribute significantly to the quality of students’ education. The Internet, in turn, has started to influence individuals’ way social communication and most school boards in Ontario now use the Internet to communicate with parents, which helps build parent–school relationships. This project comprised a conceptual analysis of how the Internet enhances parent–school relationships to support Ontario school board administrators seeking to implement such technology. The study’s literature review identified the links between Web 2.0 technology, parent–school relationships, and effective parent engagement. A conceptual framework of the features of Web 2.0 tools that promote social interaction was developed and used to analyze websites of three Ontario school boards. The analysis revealed that school board websites used static features such as email, newsletters, and announcements for communication and did not provide access to parents for providing feedback through Web 2.0 features such as instant messaging. General recommendations were made so that school board administrators have the opportunity to implement changes in their school community with feasible modifications. Overall, Web 2.0-based technologies such as interactive communication tools and social media hold the most promise for enhancing parent–school relationships because they can help not only overcome barriers of time and distance, but also improve the parents’ desire to be engaged in children’s education experiences.
    • An Ontario-Developed Online Special Education Teacher Course Model for China

      GAO, HEKUN (2013-10-01)
      This study investigated the effectiveness of an Ontario-developed online Special Education teacher training course as a model for in-service teacher professional development in China. The study employed a mixed method approach encompassing both a quantitative survey and a qualitative research component to gather perceptions of Chinese and Canadian teachers, educational administrators, and teacher-educators who have intensive experience with online education, Special Education, and teacher preparation programs both in China and Canada. The study revealed insufficient understanding of Special Education among the general Chinese population, underdevelopment of Special Education teacher preparation in China, and potential benefits of using a Canadian online teacher training course as a model for Special Education in China. Based on the literature review and the results of this study, it is concluded that online Canadian Special Education teacher in-service courses can set an example for Chinese Special Education teacher training. A caveat is that such courses would require localized modifications, support of educational authorities, and pilot testing.
    • Developing Physical Activity Habit in Schools for Active Lifestyle Among Children and Adolescents

      Douglas, Deanna (2013-10-01)
      This study sought to identify and suggest ways to develop physical activity habits in school-aged children and adolescents that could help them continue healthy active practices throughout their lifespan. A systematic review of the literature identified 4 key factors that may influence school-based physical activity habit formation—motivation, enjoyment, commitment, and sustainment—and how each may be achieved in schools. The research paper begins by exploring the definitions and meaning of a habit, how it is developed, and its effect on a healthy active lifestyle. The study proposes a framework comprising 3 major components (i.e., programs, teachers, students) and offers practical strategies that support and nurture the development of students’ physical activity habits in schools. The study concludes by making recommendations for further study.
    • Global Education in the Shifting Classroom: Refocusing the Teacher Lens Through Study Abroad

      Sperduti, Vanessa R. (2014-01-07)
      Academic exchange programmes provide opportunities for teacher candidates to study at educational institutions abroad wherein they are able to learn more about different cultures, teaching practices, and build cross-cultural relationships. This paper is an exploration into my teacher candidate experience abroad. The relevant research on this topic indicates that teacher certification should take an active role in creating opportunities for teacher candidates to participate in educational experiences abroad because of their benefits. The knowledge that a teacher gains through abroad experiences is one of the strongest factors in helping to build authentic global classrooms. In addition, these programmes allow for fuller understanding of a global context and the chance to understand someone else’s story. This review and synthesis of literature and research findings prepares a foundation for how teacher candidates, and hopefully, how policy makers can work toward creating a more inclusive global classroom for students.
    • Foster Children in Education: Resource Handbook for Elementary Educators

      Zmiyiwsky, Mira Anna (2014-01-13)
      This project is aligned with examining the role of the education system and the foster care context on the learning experiences of young children in the classroom. This project is a study of the literature and research conducted on the life experiences, adverse effects of these experiences (such as attachment disorder), socioemotional development, and resiliency of foster care children. Furthermore, the project explores the literature on how the experiences of these foster children traverse contexts and impact the education setting. This study also outlines specific strategies and practices for teachers and school staff in order to promote students’ resiliency, competency, behaviour management, and overall educational success and positive academic experience. These strategies resulted from a critical review of the literature and translated into the development of an informative handbook intended for teachers. The handbook developed in this study focuses on the understanding of the lives of foster care children, their histories, adverse experiences, socioemotional development, strategies to manage behaviour, unique needs, and encouraging their resiliency and success in school. To ensure the soundness of the handbook, 2 education liaisons at a Family and Child Services agency within Ontario and a former child and service social worker from Manitoba reviewed the first draft and provided comments on the validity of the content and the potential usability of the handbook for educators. Suggestions and comments provided by these experts were used to enhance the final product of the handbook.
    • 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.
    • A Handbook for Ontario J/I Pre-Service Teachers Developing Inclusive Pedagogy: Understanding Pre-Service Teachers' Thoughts and Feelings About Diversity

      Pierce, Andrew (2014-04-08)
      This project presents a handbook for Ontario Junior/Intermediate (J/I) pre-service teachers, Ontario J/I teacher education instructors, and J/I associate teachers that facilitates the identification, analysis, and reorganization of J/I pre-service teachers’ thoughts and feelings about diversity characteristics to develop inclusive teaching pedagogy. The handbook outlines collaborative and independent learning activities designed for integration into compulsory J/I Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) program courses, practicum placements, and independent reflective situations. The handbook is composed of 5 sections: (a) Rationale for Importance; (b) Cross-Curricular Activities for J/I B.Ed. Courses; (c) Course-Specific Activities; (d) Practicum Placement Activities; and (e) Resources for Inclusive Educators. A critical content analysis of a 2011-2012 J/I B.Ed. program in Ontario enabled the creation of the handbook to address specific teacher education programming focused on helping pre-service teachers understand their thoughts and feelings about diversity for the development of inclusive teaching pedagogy. This research contributes to the advancement of theory and practice regarding development of teacher education programming that promotes J/I pre-service teachers’ inclusive pedagogy.
    • Parents of the Gifted in Ontario: An Investigation of Parental Satisfaction with the Education of their Gifted Children

      Bernat, Ethna (2014-04-11)
      The opinions of parents in relation to the education of their gifted child were examined, with particular attention paid to their satisfaction and the type and amount of programming their child is receiving. This study employed a mixed methods research design that focused on parents’ experiences with gifted education programming and their perceptions and level of satisfaction with these programs. A survey was used to gather the perceptions and opinions of parents of gifted children in Ontario. The data were quantified and used to make observations in relation to differences in parental satisfaction and to provide a more thorough understanding of the experiences of parents in Ontario in regards to the education of gifted children. Information was also gathered regarding the recommendations that parents have for the improvement of education for their gifted child. The results of the study found that parents of gifted children were satisfied with the connections their child made within a gifted placement with like-minded peers and with opportunities for their children to learn in a more individualized and in-depth manner. However, parents expressed dissatisfaction with the timing of the initial gifted identification and the lack of knowledge that teachers, in both regular and specialized classrooms, have about gifted children and the types of programming best suited to these children. The results of the study also showed parental dissatisfaction with the lack of funding allocated to gifted education programs by district school boards and the lack of involvement they were allowed with respect to the education of their child.
    • Enhancing Student Learning: Study of a Motivational Resource for Educators

      Potts, David Anthony (2014-04-13)
      This study surveyed practicing classroom teacher’s perceptions of a proposed educational resource “Avatar Academy” designed to enhance students’, particularly young boys, motivation and general attitude towards learning. The Avatar Academy resource is an instructional guide for implementing a classroom reward system based on common game mechanics. The resource emphasizes the modification of current pedagogies to exploit the use of game design to engage boys. A survey of recent literature indicated an opportunity to study teachers’ perceptions of the possible applications of game design mechanics to support the enhancement of student motivation and learning in the classroom. As a result the Avatar Academy handbook and blog resource were developed to assist teachers with the integration and administration of a program designed to enhance student motivation, especially boys, using avatars and a point based reward system. The resources were initially distributed to several practicing teachers for their review, and their feedback formed the basis for revisions of the Avatar Academy resource. After implementing changes to the resource based on initial teacher feedback, an updated Avatar Academy was redistributed and teacher opinions and perceptions of the tool’s possible impacts on classroom learning were collected.
    • Hidden Motives: An Analysis of Online ESL Teacher Hiring Practices in Japan and Hong Kong

      Law, Winnie W. (2014-04-13)
      Hidden Motives: An Analysis of Online English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Hiring Practices in Japan and Hong Kong is a qualitative research paper examines and compares two large-scale Asian English language teaching programs: Japan’s Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme (JET Programme, 2010) and Hong Kong’s Native-speaking English Teacher (NET) Scheme (NET Scheme, 2013). Both government sponsored programs recruit internationally and invite participants to work within each country’s public schools while living amongst local communities and both programs utilize their online presence to attract, inform, and recruit individuals. The purpose of this research is to investigate whether the JET and NET websites are transparent with their governmental motives aside from improving their students’ English language abilities. While JET and NET websites were interrogated, the research questions were regularly revisited to determine if the two sites made any underlying motives clear to the candidates. The research, supported by academic literature, exposed the JET Programme website to be a branch of the Japanese government’s soft power campaign, whereby JET teachers were hired firstly as potential advocates for Japan and Japanese culture rather than English teachers. Conversely, the NET Scheme appeared to be solely commissioned for English language improvement as reflected by their website. Findings from the research can provide insight to applicants to help them decide if they want to participant in these programs. Without clearly understanding the background that motivates these programs, participants may unknowingly be used to support the host government’s agendas.
    • Correlation Among Math Anxiety, Attitudes Toward Math, and Math Achievement in Grade 9 Students: Relationships Across Gender

      Sanci, Rosemary (2014-04-21)
      This research evaluated (a) the correlation between math anxiety, math attitudes, and achievement in math and (b) comparison among these variables in terms of gender among grade 9 students in a high school located in southern Ontario. Data were compiled from participant responses to the Attitudes Toward Math Inventory (ATMI) and the Math Anxiety Rating Scale for Adolescents (MARS-A), and achievement data were gathered from participants’ grade 9 academic math course marks and the EQAO Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics. Nonparametric tests were conducted to determine whether there were relationships between the variables and to explore whether gender differences in anxiety, attitudes, and achievement existed for this sample. Results indicated that math anxiety was not related to math achievement but was a strong correlate of attitudes toward math. A strong positive relationship was found between math attitudes and achievement in math. Specifically, self-confidence in math, enjoyment of math, value of math, and motivation were all positive correlates of achievement in math. Also, results for gender comparisons were nonsignificant, indicating that gender differences in math anxiety, math attitudes, and math achievement scores were not prevalent in this group of grade 9 students. Therefore, attitudes toward math were considered to be a stronger predictor of performance than math anxiety or gender for this group.
    • Mindfulness: An Ancient Wisdom for the Reconceptualisation of Modern Education in the Complex World

      Blom, Rob (2014-04-25)
      Exploring the new science of emergence allows us to create a very different classroom than how the modern classroom has been conceptualised under the mentality of efficiency and output. Working on the whole person, and not just the mind, we see a shift from the epistemic pillars of truth to more ontological concerns as regards student achievement in our post-Modern and critical discourses. It is important to understand these shifts and how we are to transition our own perception and mentality not only in our research methodologies but also our approach to conceptualisations of issues in education and sustainability. We can no longer think linearly to approach complex problems or advocate for education and disregard our interconnectedness insofar as it enhances our children’s education. We must, therefore, contemplate and transition to a world that is ecological and not mechanical, complex and not complicated—in essence, we must work to link mind-body with self-environment and transcend these in order to bring about an integration toward a sustainable future. A fundamental shift in consciousness and perception may implicate our nature of creating dichotomous entities in our own microcosms, yet postmodern theorists assume, a priori, that these dualities can be bridged in naturalism alone. I, on the other hand, embrace metaphysics to understand the implicated modern classroom in a hierarchical context and ask: is not the very omission of metaphysics in postmodern discourse a symptom from an education whose foundation was built in its absence? The very dereliction of ancient wisdom in education is very peculiar indeed. Western mindfulness may play a vital component in consummating pragmatic idealism, but only under circumstances admitting metaphysics can we truly transcend our limitations, thereby placing Eastern Mindfulness not as an ecological component, but as an ecological and metaphysical foundation.
    • A Narrative Inquiry of Women in Administration: Their Voices Heard

      Stewart, Jennifer (2014-04-29)
      This narrative study examined women’s experiences in leadership positions in an educational setting in Southern Ontario. Semi-structured interviews with 4 women (2 principals and 2 vice principals) revealed 4 key themes: (a) considerations prior to entering into leadership and confidence instilled by others to continue on that path; (b) ongoing challenge of maintaining work−life balance; (c) others’ perceptions of women in leadership positions; and (d) increasing number of women in leadership positions. The researcher used feminist standpoint theory to analyze data collected during interviews, which gave voice to the study’s participants and shed some light on women’s gendered experiences in leadership positions. Findings suggest that historical roots significantly influence society to continue with stereotypical gender roles, though some participants have overcome certain stereotypes. The literature review and participants’ experiences suggest that women have made some progress throughout history yet society needs to remain vigilant while striving for gender equality.
    • Beyond the Books: Understanding Connections Between Teachers and Pupils From the Perspective of the Student

      McCreary, W. Randy (2014-04-30)
      Using a narrative inquiry approach from the perspective of the researcher’s own experiences, this paper explores the connections that developed with several teachers that facilitated and impacted his own academic and cognitive, affective, and behavioural personal development. Viewed through the analytical lens of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, this narrative investigates the potential effectiveness of this model in understanding the lasting and life- altering changes that may be experienced by a student through his or her interactions with memorable teachers. Last, in educational environments today, character and value based curricula are experiencing a resurgence in popularity due to their theoretical applicability for helping students to optimally develop academically, socially, and culturally. With this in mind, a student-based perspective of memorable student–teacher connections may provide a framework for developing more effective means of effectively implementing a character development curriculum.
    • 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.