• An Exploration into Effective Practices for Implementing Project-Based Learning (PJBL) in an Integrated, Elementary Mathematics Curriculum

      Varga, Jessica
      This qualitative study explored how elementary school teachers negotiate common challenges associated with the implementation of project-based learning (PJBL) when enacting this strategy in an integrated, mathematics and science project. Based on an extensive literature review, 6 challenges associated with PJBL were identified. These include transforming teacher and student roles, learner readiness, motivation and engagement, group dynamics and collaboration, authenticity, and assessment. A case study methodology was used in which qualitative data were collected from an interview with 1 elementary school teacher who facilitates PJBL in an integrated, mathematics curriculum. Based on the data analysis of this study, the strategies discussed can be divided into 3 major themes: providing general facilitation guidelines for PJBL, promoting a growth mindset, and facilitating the development of process skills. The results of this case study offer insight and recommendations for elementary teachers who are implementing PJBL in their context and provide elementary and novice teachers with a number of suggestions and strategies to optimize their success when implementing PJBL in an integrated, mathematics curriculum for the first time.
    • Exploration of how Medicaid has limited access to healthcare services for transgender individuals in the United States of America

      Bonsu, Appiah
      When laws are enacted, the state paints the picture that it is for the betterment of everyone. Before now, advocates clamored for laws to protect the rights of gender non-conforming people. When these laws were finally made, the states were applauded for having these people in mind. People do not realize that the supposedly 'best' laws, when further analyzed and scrutinized, show that they tend to favor some people more than others. This paper exposes the inequities in the health system by analyzing how the Medicaid program in the United States of America has limited trans individuals from accessing health care services and how the woes of some individuals are further deepened because of their race, age, sex and income. The paper also proposes some recommendations on how the Medicaid program can widen its scope of support.
    • The Exploration of Research Practices in the Field of Gamification

      Sutter, Kyle
      The current state of gamification research is under criticism for a variety of reasons including the lack of structure, lack of rigour, and confusion of terms occurring in the field (Hamari, 2015; Hamari & Koivisto, 2015; Hamari, Koivisto, & Sarsa, 2014; Mekler, Brühlmann, Tuch, & Opwis, 2015; Seaborn & Fels, 2015). This study investigated these criticisms by exploring the perspectives of gamification researchers who conduct or have conducted gamification research at Canadian Universities. Four professors at Canadian Universities were interviewed for their perspective of the current state of gamification research. The professors garnered ideas on how to improve the field of gamification research. This study utilized criteria for gamification developed by Hamari et al. (2014) that requires research to a) be peer-reviewed, b) have empirical evidence, c) explicate research methods, d) identify motivational affordances, e) provides an outcome (Psychological or Behavioural), and f) be on gamification (Hamari et al., 2014). Using Hamari’s conceptual framework and a collective case study methodology, this study used semi-structured interviews to develop suggestions from gamification researchers to identify methods on how to improve research practices. The improvements included the need for more a) arm-length studies, b) detail concerning the methodology and methods used, c) longitudinal studies, d) use of cross-curricular teams, and e) theoretical frameworks that are developed from the field of gamification research. This study revealed a distinct tone of optimism and provides recommendations for future research studies and advice for novice gamification researchers.
    • An Exploration of Teachers’ Approaches to Positive Education and Character Development: Curriculum Implementation, Assessment, and Outcomes

      Pissoto Moreira, Flavia
      Adolescence is highly influenced by significant physical, biological, and psychological changes, as well as by one’s environment; in turn, negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, and violent behaviour can arise if these influences are not constructive. Additionally, not all children have family support or are raised in an environment that fosters their positive development. In this context, schools may play a vital role, especially through the implementation of positive education and character development programs. Although the current literature presents several studies in this area, there is no consensus in the scholarship regarding the most appropriate practice for implementing positive education and character development initiatives; moreover, there is scarce literature on assessment measurements in this domain. Based on this premise, I explored how an elementary and a secondary teacher at a private boarding school in Southern Ontario implement and assess positive education in the curriculum. Further, I examined the outcomes achieved through positive education by these teachers, as well as the related impact on students’ character development. Using a qualitative thematic analysis, I was provided with substantial data through in-depth interviews with the participants. Findings indicate that teachers are the main individuals responsible for the development of positive education initiatives, and their preparedness and motivation to teach promotes positive outcomes. Furthermore, although no formal strategies to measure their outcomes were reported, the study findings reveal that participants’ approaches to positive education – either through character strengths or the promotion of positive states, such as positive relationships, engagement, and positive emotions – have constructively influenced the development of students’ characters.
    • An Exploration of the Impact of Ontario Integrated Secondary Programs Through the Perceptions of their Graduates

      Carmichael, Warren
      The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of participating in an integrated program at the secondary level on students’ lives based on their postsecondary perceptions. A basic interpretive qualitative design was employed in this study. Ten semistructured interviews were conducted with graduates of integrated program as the means of data collection. It was found that the integrated programs accomplished objectives in close alignment with the mandated curriculum expectations regarding integrated programs. Some of the most powerful impacts related to students' learning skills, such as collaboration and social skills, and how to create as well as participate in community. A strong connection between participating in integrated programs and vocational guidance was also identified. The results led to the recommendation that integrated programs be explored as a platform for delivering 21st century education as they closely paralleled the objectives prescribed by a number of authors who detailed the role of education in the 21st century.
    • An Exploration of the Motivation of Chinese Students for Studying in a Master of Education Degree in Canada

      Wang, Shimeng; Wang, Shimeng
      China has become the largest source of international students moving to western countries including the USA, the UK, Australia, and Canada (OECD, 2016). Research on international students’ motivation to study abroad provided insights into the benefits of overseas study and categorized potential factors under the “push and pull” model which divided these motivators into aspects of both the home and host countries. However, few studies focused on Chinese international postgraduates’ decision-making process. Using a basic interpretative qualitative research method, this study explored the motivations of Chinese students pursuing a Master degree in an Ontario university. Data was collected by open-ended in-depth interviews. Participants were eight Chinese international students from a Master program specialized for international students. The narratives provided information as to why they chose to study in Canada, with the themes summarizing this information under the push and pull factors. The findings indicate that of the various reasons cited for deciding to study abroad among the students surveyed, immigration was the primary motivation. The reasons given by the students for wanting to emigrate from China can be explained by a number of push and pull factors, as can their decision to study abroad.
    • Exploring Governance in Canadian Ramsar Sites to Ensure their Sustainability

      Baker, Jocelyn
      The Ramsar Convention came into effect in 1975, in response to global losses of wetland habitats and their ecological services. Canada joined the Convention in 1981. As essential elements of sustainability, this research examined the types of governance and management activities used in the 37 Canadian Ramsar sites. How ecosystem governance could further support environmental sustainability was also explored. Ramsar sites were assessed using sustainability indicators, looking at the Ramsar Convention 14 priority areas of focus such as presence of co-management structures, management plans, and monitoring programs under the three commitment criteria (wise use, management, cooperation). The results showed a large variation in terms of management plans, governance structures and reporting procedures with some sites, such as Old Crow Flats, having high sustainability scores while others, such as Southern James Bay, with low scores. Reasons for variation related to the lack of updated management plans and inadequate monitoring and reporting programs. Sustainability science provides linkages between ecological and social systems, underpinned by participatory and collaborative governance structures. Canadian Ramsar sites provide a living example of how social-ecological characteristics should be integrated to ensure sustainability.
    • Exploring Ontario Universities’ Strategic Mandate Agreements’ New Performance-Based Model in Relation to SMA’s Original Differentiation Goals

      Clare, Matt
      Efforts have been underway for over a decade to define and differentiate Ontario’s postsecondary education (PSE) system by creating differentiation clusters out of the 21 universities and 24 colleges, the primary tool being strategic mandate agreements (SMAs). In 2019 through 2020, the third iterations of SMAs (SMA3) were negotiated. This research discusses SMA3’s 10 new Performance-Based Funding (PBF) metrics that will govern up to 60% of provincial transfers. SMA3 also introduces an institutionally allocated metric weighing scheme. A summary of PBF literature and Ontario’s SMA policy is followed by descriptions of each metric accompanied by relevant experience with similar PBF programs in other jurisdictions, and a discussion of each metric’s implementation. Metrics created for SMA3 are justified only by their adherence to neoliberal new public management objectives; not PBF literature. SMA3 fails to incorporate established mitigations against access bias while introducing the risk of untested and ideologically motivated metrics.
    • Exploring the Design Process and Components of an Elementary Literacy Guide in an Ontario School Board Initiative

      Donahue, Krissa
      The skill to identify and use best practices in literacy to promote achievement for students of all abilities cannot be underestimated by elementary educators. This qualitative case study investigates 1 year of a literacy initiative for primary and junior educators organized by a southern Ontario school board. The goals of the initiative were to design a literacy guide for teachers while building teacher capacity with literacy practices. Data were culled and analyzed from an examination of the guide, the meetings’ field notes and artifacts, as well as interviews with the educators at the end of the year. Several themes from the results emerged. The educators perceived the design process as unclear but the collaborative components were deemed valuable. The guide’s incompletion led to mixed reactions from the educators about the guide and its structure. Overall, the first year of the 3-year initiative acted as a catalyst for professional learning on literacy. The findings of this study accentuated the value of training educators to use empirical research to support their practices and professional knowledge. Also, the significance of promoting strong leadership with a comprehensive layout consisting of coherent tangible goals for professional development is highlighted.
    • 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.
    • Faculty Perspectives on E-Learning Policy in a Canadian University

      Oake, Sharon
      This qualitative multi-method study investigated faculty member perspectives on e-learning policy, and its influence on their use of e-learning. The research was conducted at one medium sized comprehensive university in Ontario, Canada. Data were collected from interviews with 12 full-time faculty members, eight of whom had taught at least one online undergraduate university course. Data were also collected from institutional and government documents. Respondents noted e-learning increased flexibility and/or convenience with respect to both their engagement with students, and student engagement with course material. E-learning was identified positively for its ability to save time by some respondents, and negatively as being time intensive by others. Increased student and government demand for on-line courses, as well as the opportunity to use technology for instructional purposes, increased respondents’ use of e-learning. Additionally, the university’s pedagogical centre, which provided direct support to respondents, was considered key in supporting their transition to e-learning. Respondents were generally unable to identify specific university policy related to e-learning, and some noted the lack of specific policy had hampered e-learning course development in their departments. The documents reviewed tended to view e-learning in favourable terms, highlighting it as a response to changing political, economic, and societal conditions, and promoting it for its ability to reduce costs to the university, increase student enrolment, and provide more equitable access to university programs, particularly for under-represented groups such as new Canadians, Indigenous peoples, and first-generations students. Whereas government documents tended to focus on mandates (e.g. the intent to change the university system based on each university’s strengths), institutional documents focused on teaching, learning, and e-learning, both in response to government mandates, and in alignment with the University’s strategic direction. Collectively, the documents shared the respondents’ perceptions regarding flexibility, time, and demand. However, while government documents focused on issues of cost, changing conditions, enrolment and equitable access, institutional documents explained e-learning, the differences with face-to-face teaching and learning, and how best to integrate e-learning into practice.
    • Feedback on Academic Writing: ESL Instructors' and ESL Students' Perspectives

      Li, Yue
      Most international students strive to meet writing requirements at the postsecondary level, and they are a group that need additional instructions and help on academic writing. Feedback has been widely used as a pedagogical intervention to help language learners with their writing, but effective feedback has not always been achieved. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore teaching pedagogies related to feedback strategies by analyzing students’ and instructors’ perceptions in the ESL context. From a sociocultural perspective, this study analyzed participants’ perceptions of the effectiveness of feedback and students’ engagement with instructors’ feedback. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, a focus group, and email questionnaires. Key findings of this research include students’ reliance on written feedback, the value of feedback conferences and dialogues, and the need to generate more feedback engagements and interactions. The study also discusses the pedagogical implications of findings and makes suggestions for future practice and research.
    • #FemEdTech Cartography: Shifting Academic Culture Through Collaborative Policy Creation

      Forsythe, Giulia
      Recognizing the need to equip and empower individuals and societies, intergovernmental organizations like the United Nations have created policy recommendations for member countries. Many of these recommendations include promoting open practices, such as creating and using open educational resources and publishing in open access platforms (UNESCO, 2012, 2019). Policy frameworks at the intergovernmental level are far removed from levels of implementation. This distance can hinder policy success (Ansell et al., 2017). Another barrier to open scholarship policy implementation lies in the traditional, dominant academic culture strongly influenced by the prestige economy (Blackmore & Kandiko, 2011; Fitzpatrick, 2019; Jhiangiani, 2017). Public engagement and collaboration through networked practices—known as networked participatory scholarship (NPS)—may influence academic culture to “support, amplify, and transform scholarship” (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012b, p. 768). This study examined the open online scholarly community #FemEdTech as it engages in NPS to create, collect, and curate value statements to generate iterative codes of conduct. Contents of tweets that include the Twitter hashtags #FemEdTech and #FemEdTechValues were thematized and categorized in alignment with the principles of a feminist Internet (Association for Progressive Communications, 2020a−2020q). The findings are represented as a visual metaphor of a map charting the fluid nature between policy design and implementation, described as the #FemEdTech Cartography. This collaborative policy creation can serve as a model to shift academic culture towards more socially just practices using open scholarship to address the pressing issues of our time.
    • The FinTech Skills Gap: Identifying Skills Desired by Bank Employers and Skills Taught in Undergraduate Business/Accounting Programs in Ontario

      Bott, Joyce
      This study examined the FinTech skills gap in Ontario with the goal of identifying opportunities for developing FinTech talent in undergraduate business/accounting programs offered at Ontario universities. A literature review revealed a global phenomenon of technology-related skills shortages in the finance industry from the perspective of employers. Although educators do incorporate technology and data analysis tools in the classroom, students are not perceived as being fully proficient in them (Boulianne, 2016; Pan & Seow, 2016; Rackliffe and Ragland, 2016; Sledgianowski, Hirsch, & Gomaa, 2016; Wymbs, 2016). The methodology used in this research involved using text analytics to look at FinTech job postings data from Indeed.com compared against undergraduate program data from the official academic calendars posted on the websites of 19 universities in Ontario. Results reveal with statistical significance that business/accounting educators have a weak level of agreement with bank employers on the hard skills that are most relevant in the industry.
    • First aid: A Critical Component of School Health Education

      Cursio, Daniel
      There exists a paucity of evidence pertaining to first aid education in Canadian schools. With personal safety being an important component of health education, first aid is positioned less prominently within provincial school health curricula or programming in Canada. Normally performed by laypeople, first aid refers to the urgent and initial assistance given to anyone suffering a sudden illness or injury in order to preserve life, prevent rapid health deterioration, and promote recovery (Canadian Red Cross, 2017a). This study examines first aid education (FAE) in Canada’s provincial health education curricula. It also analyzes and discusses the taxonomy of first aid core content and outcomes within these curricula. Further, the study examines what FAE incorporates, while also analyzing why and how it is integral with health education. The findings in this study may provide scholars and practitioners with a deeper understanding of school-based FAE. Suggestions for future revisions in health education curriculum and future research directions are provided.
    • The Forest and its Trees: A Critical Inquiry into the Use of Nature-based Solutions in Canada’s A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy Plan

      Esdale, Gavin
      Nature-based solutions (NbS) and natural climate solutions (NCS) have emerged as promising options to address the challenges of the global climate and biodiversity crises. However, confusion persists about the meaning and practical implications of these relatively new approaches in the public, private, and political spheres. This research paper explores how the Government of Canada conceptualizes NbS and NCS, first through a scoping review of literature regarding the conceptual definitions and limits of NbS and NCS, and then through a directed content analysis of their 2020 climate plan, titled A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy (HEHE). This research determines that the NbS and NCS concepts are frequently confused or treated as interchangeable by the Government of Canada to the detriment of the HEHE plan’s strategies. The implications of these findings are discussed. The paper concludes with recommendations for improved design and deployment of NbS and NCS in Canada.
    • 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.
    • From Academic to Personal: Addressing Asianness in Ontario Education

      Louie, Monica
      This study explored the complexities of Asian Canadian experiences in educational spaces. In particular, I considered how various stereotypes and discourses of Asianness contribute to an environment in which Asian students are rendered both privileged and marginalized, seen and unseen, supported and excluded. Current research on Asian Canadians reveals a limited understanding of the intricacies of Asian experiences in educational settings. Moreover, attention to the particular needs of this group is often not considered in policies designed to address racial and ethnic equity in schools. Using an autobiographical approach, I explored and analyzed four personal vignettes to gain perspective into my experience of racial stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination. I framed this project using Asian Critical Theory to discuss how my identity developed as a female Chinese Canadian student and teacher in Ontario. I used these stories, alongside theory and literature, to interrogate the relevance, applicability, and utility of equity and inclusive practices in teaching. Throughout, I ask how the racialized discourses and stereotypes around Asianness inform my identity as an Asian Canadian.
    • Fulfilling Dreams Through Education: An Immigrant Mother’s Sociocultural Narrative

      Brown-Bell, Denese
      There are bodies of literature that exist on motherhood; however, the focus of these studies is on mothering in a European context. This sociocultural study focuses on my lived experiences as a mother navigating through Jamaica’s hegemonic educational structures, and managing the challenges faced by my son. Additionally, it recounts the disorienting dilemmas I experienced with my child falling seriously ill at 11 months old, and critical incidents relating to him not being able to fulfill his educational potential in Jamaica. I have looked at my experiences through Mezirow’s (1992) transformative learning theory to connect them to my journey “fulfilling dreams through education” – as an immigrant mother all in an effort to ensure a better future for my son. Also, Tripp’s (1993) critical incident theory and turning point theory is used to narrate stories of my experiences with Jamaica’s K-12 educational system, which provides little or no support for students outside the ‘edges,’ or those who do not fall within the normative standard. Further, in this study, I have incorporated a storytelling approach, a method used in narrative inquiry (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990), by telling my life stories in order to relate my experiences with the Jamaican education system to make meaningful connections. Telling these stories will facilitate a sense of awareness and help me to understand several engagements with the cultural system of education in Jamaica (Fresco, 2008). Connelly and Clandinin (1990) use the word narrative to mean “both the phenomenon (people lead storied lives and tell stories of these lives) and the method (researchers describe these lives, collect and tell stories of them, and write narratives of experience)” (p. 2). I have undertaken to do this by writing about my life experiences from recollection, and it is envisioned that the stories contained herein will serve as a source of inspiration and strength to those who read it.
    • 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.