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    • Access, Participation and Sustainable Development Goal 4: A Systematic Literature Review of Technical and Vocational Education and Training

      Plance, Reuben
      Recent technological advancements, demographical changes, and international migrations have compounded the social, political, and economic challenges confronting most nations. These global changes demand the education and formation of youths with specific skill sets who can work and adapt to the challenges of the 21st-century workplace. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is recognized for its pivotal role in addressing the concerns emanating from these 21st-century developments. Research has suggested that TVET contributes to sustained economic growth and development, reduces societal inequalities, and enables a sustainable future. Within the context of the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), TVET occupies an increasingly prominent place. This review of the scholarly and grey literature explored the rationale behind the resurgence of TVET globally and examined the present state of, and issues and concerns with, the expansion of TVET within the global and Canadian contexts. Findings show that economic, social justice and sustainability rationales account for the renaissance of TVET. Also, both the Canadian and global literature suggest a continued stratification of access to and participation in TVET for students from different sociodemographic groups (e.g., socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, geography). The study found that cultural, religious, institutional, and historical factors affect the participation of students from diverse social backgrounds to TVET. My research also identified attractiveness (status) and funding as the primary issues hindering the utilization of TVET potential in addressing societal challenges from a global as well as the Canadian context.
    • The Acculturation Process and Strategies of First-Generation Chinese Students in Canadian Higher Education

      Xu, Fangqing
      The acculturation attitudes, processes, and strategies of international students in the transitioning stage (i.e., between temporary residents with a study permit and landed immigrants) serve as key predictors of their acculturation experiences in the future. This paper reviewed and drew from the leading theories and previous empirical studies. In-depth interviews were conducted to examine the predominant stressors, attitudes, and strategies in the acculturation processes among 6 first-generation Chinese students with specific emphases on their multiple identities within the context of heterogeneity in Canada, and students’ appraisal of the acculturation strategy adopted by the larger society. The findings revealed 4 major aspects: pre-acculturation moderating factors, acculturation attitudes and strategies, identity formation within the multicultural context, and individuals’ appraisal of policies and practices at all levels. The results of this study may provide implications for university programs and counseling services to improve the retention and well-being of international students.
    • Administrator's Perceptions of Student Success and its Impact on School and School Board Strategic Plans

      Mitchell, Alex
      Strategic planning is a contentious term that is used by many but understood by few. The words ‘strategic planning’ can mean a variety of differing purposes, processes, and outcomes. This study will draw upon literature in the field of educational strategic planning to propose a framework that can be used to analyze and sort strategic plans based on the underlying purposes, processes, and outcomes. The preliminary Mitchell Educational Strategic Planning Framework identifies educational strategic plans as either a rational plan or a futures plan, while accounting for the political climate in which the plan is created and carried out. This research study focuses on the creation and use of School Improvement Plans (SIPs) by one non-practicing elementary school principal in a southern-Ontario school board. The data is collected through a semi-structured interview, where the participant discusses his philosophy of education, how he uses SIPs to achieve his goals, and how his beliefs about student success and strategic planning differ from those of his supervisory officer. The data reveals a gap in the preliminary Framework. The participant was able to successfully use elements of both rational and futures planning when creating his SIPs. He identified that doing so was difficult, and requires a skill that few principals have. This ‘skill’, informed by data from this research and supplementary literature, has been defined as “the skill of alignment of school and non- school factors”. To incorporate this new information, the Mitchell Educational Strategic Planning Framework has been modified and updated. Future research will apply the Mitchell Educational Strategic Planning Framework to existing educational strategic plans. The skill of alignment will also be further investigated.
    • Anxiety in the Primary Classroom: A Handbook for Elementary Educators

      Ismailos, Linda (2013-09-04)
      This project presents a literature review of pediatric anxiety including the prevalence, etiology, and treatment of anxiety disorders in children, presented along with evidence indicating the short- and long-term effects of anxiety in young children, and the important role of the school in first response regarding the early identification and intervention for these children. A needs assessment was conducted using primary elementary school teachers to identify their level of confidence in their ability to identify and support children suffering with anxiety disorders in their classrooms. Results of the assessment indicated a strong need for a resource that provides both information and support for teachers in their interactions with children with anxiety disorders. The assessment results were used to guide the development of a handbook for elementary educators providing current empirical research detailing information about various forms of anxiety disorders commonly affecting young children in primary grades, as well as a list of available resources, and a series of six sequential lesson plans to be implemented for the entire class. Lesson plans are designed to facilitate increased levels of understanding toward the issues confronted by children suffering from anxiety, and fostering strong peer relations and character-building opportunities. Participants were provided with the handbook for evaluation, which indicated a strong support for the effectiveness and usefulness of the resource.
    • 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.
    • Are Secondary School Students Adequately Prepared for University?: A Comparative Research on Jamaican and Ontarian Education Systems

      McCaulsky, Peta-Ann
      University readiness is a crucial issue in 21st-century education, and it is the responsibility of the secondary school curricula to lay the foundation that thoroughly equips students with the knowledge and skills to be successful at tertiary institutions. The recent demands for countries to align their curriculum with international standards have not, unfortunately, made the pathway to university studies for secondary school students any easier. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to explore how well the secondary school curricular standards and policies relate to university success in Jamaica and Ontario, and how these policies affect student preparedness for university education. More exclusively, this study compared the curriculum documents of Jamaica and Ontario to uncover their alignment with Conley’s (2003) university preparation standards, and their similarities and differences, focusing specifically on content knowledge, core academic skills, and depth of learning. This comparative study concentrated on 11 subject areas for analysis from both jurisdictions. While the findings of this study suggest that students are adequately prepared for university education in certain subject areas, several preparation gaps and discrepancies significantly affect the skill competencies and content knowledge of the secondary school graduate. From the findings of this research, recommendations were made for educational policy-makers to critically assess both the effect of the syllabus and the ability of curriculum documents to thoroughly prepare secondary school graduates for university success. Keywords: university readiness, content knowledge, core academic skills, depth of learning
    • Barriers to Success in Postsecondary Studies for Students With Disabilities: An Analysis of Current Policies and Practices

      Carroll, Cyndi
      Students with disabilities who wish to pursue education at the postsecondary level are impacted by various factors, including: differences between practices and policies at the secondary and postsecondary level, transition supports, and available accommodations. A comprehensive literature review was conducted in order to determine current barriers and effective supports in place for students with disabilities transitioning to postsecondary education. It was found that, in Ontario, students with a disability are nearly 24% less likely to attend university when compared to students without a disability, and those who do attend are more likely to attend college (Brown & Parekh, 2010; Finnie et al., 2011). Students with learning disabilities and ADHD report being unprepared and overwhelmed by the increase in responsibility and the workload, miss academic support from their parents, and experience more problems academically (Arscott, 2013; Tsagris & Muirhead, 2012). Currently, there are transition programs which have been identified as supportive by students with disabilities; however, these programs are not consistently delivered across the province. This study compared Ontario Ministry of Education (OME) documents and policies around supporting students with disabilities, the funding available, and the supports available between elementary/secondary and postsecondary education. The study focused on the transition supports for students with disabilities as well as the effectiveness of the programs available. Students with disabilities need support to develop academic coping strategies in order to meet the academic demands of postsecondary education, and, as stated by the OME (2013a), it is crucial for schools in Ontario to provide opportunities and support for all students to make a successful transition to postsecondary education.
    • Best Practices for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Resource Guide for Community Partners

      Fast, Maureen
      Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) present a unique challenge, and learning opportunity for professionals. The purpose of this study was to create a comprehensive and accessible handbook to empower those who work with children and youth with ASD in a community setting. The best practices and effective intervention programs for students with ASD were researched and evaluated. Four individuals from various community agencies voluntarily participated in a Needs Assessment Questionnaire and, based on their information, a Handbook on Best Practices for Children with ASD, including a resource section was created. The theoretical framework examined for this project was based on social-cognitive theory, specifically Bandura's (1986) theory of triadic reciprocity and reciprocal determinism. This theory places emphasis on the fact that behaviour must be evaluated in the course of normal development, and that what may be appropriate for an individual at one age or point in time, may not be at another. Once the handbook was complete, an Evaluative Questionnaire was circulated to determine its effectiveness and overall benefits in practice for community partners in the field. The results of this questionnaire contributed to a final copy of the handbook. Implications for future research were considered and the limitations of this study were examined.
    • 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.
    • Branding Higher Education in the Face of Controversy: A Document Analysis on Institutional Branding and Sexual Violence Policies at Brock University

      Webster, Courtney
      This study examines the relationship between institutional branding and reports of on-campus sexual violence at Ontario Higher Education (HE) institutions with a focus on Brock University. Using a document analysis of 3 documents available via the Brock University website, I consider how institutional branding informs and is reflected in HE policies and specifically, how Brock’s brand reflected in those policies contributes to how on-campus sexual violence is understood and addressed. Working within the framework of Feminist Critical Policy Analysis, I present key themes that emerge through the document analysis and critically analyze what those themes indicate about the relationship between institutional branding and reports of on-campus sexual violence at Brock University. This project seeks to encourage HE institutions, and the stakeholders within and around them, to prioritize putting documents into action over prioritizing the act of creating the document. Documents that are not in action are documents that are not of use to those they are meant to inform and protect. Moreover, this research can be used to (a) inspire advocacy, (b) promote a feminist approach in institutional branding and policy development, and (c) assist survivors of sexual violence in seeking support.
    • The Check Engine Light is on. Diagnosing and Repairing Mathematics Education in Ontario: Portfolio of Learning

      Enns, Edward
      This portfolio of learning was created to provide suggestions for improving student learning and achievement in elementary mathematics in the province of Ontario. The ideas and conclusions provided came from the combination of two different perspectives, theory and practice. Theory is shared through a review of the literature and artifacts selected from Master of Education course work. Practice is shared through student, teacher, and consultant experiences in mathematics. As a result of these combined perspectives, a comprehensive pedagogy, professional learning for educators, and effective teacher assessment and feedback were determined to be fundamental in improving mathematics learning. These suggestions are analyzed and discussed, resulting in practical implications for teachers, coaches, consultants, and administrators to improve the future learning of elementary mathematics.
    • Children’s Peer Relations and Theory of Mind (ToM) Abilities: Role of Empathy, Self-Concept and Coping Style During Middle Childhood

      Hai, Tasmia
      Theory of Mind (ToM) is the ability to attribute mental states, such as beliefs and desires, of oneself and others, and plays an important role in our everyday social behaviour (Astington, 1993, Wellman, 1990). Past research suggests that children’s perceptions of their peer relations, such as being accepted or rejected by fellow peers have significant associations with ToM abilities (Slaughter, Dennis, & Pritchard, 2002; Slaughter, Imuta, Peterson, & Henry, 2015). To date, few studies have explored how ToM affects children’s perceptions of peer relations (peer acceptance and rejection) during middle childhood (ages of 8-13 years). To address this gap in research, the current study investigated Canadian children’s (70, g=39, b-31, 9-12 years old) perceptions of peer relations and ToM abilities. Results focused on individual differences and correlations among children’s peer perceptions, self-perceptions, coping skills, and ToM abilities. Educational implications of the present findings will be discussed.
    • Christian Education and the Ethics of Authenticity

      Huizenga, Jack
      A qualitative study was undertaken to explore the concept of authenticity in Christian education. The study was situated in the context of Christian schools in Ontario. Some of these schools have experienced declining enrolment and all of these schools face the challenge of being distinctive in a secular culture. To investigate the potential of the concept of authenticity for reclaiming the vision of Christian education, interviews were conducted with 3 experienced principals of Christian schools. Data analysis yielded an emergent conceptual framework of authenticity consisting of 5 concepts: authorship, relatedness, reflection, autonomy, and excellence. Authenticity was found to be a useful tool for school analysis of both the deep structures and the surface structures within Christian schools. To offset unauthentic tendencies that can arise within these schools, this study calls for an intentional use of the lens of authenticity to expose these tendencies and revitalize core expectations. Through the narratives shared by the Christian school principals, the study also develops a picture of the role of authentic Christian education in the development of the authentic Christian person.
    • 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.
    • Conduct Disorder: A Handbook for Elementary School Educators

      Chiasson, Presley (2014-11-03)
      This research project examined the behavioural, social, and emotional issues affecting children and youth with conduct disorder. Based on the literature review, the deconstruction of theoretical and empirical studies, and findings from the needs assessment, Conduct Disorder: A Handbook for Elementary School Educators was created. This handbook was developed based on the evidence that conduct problems can most effectively be improved when multiple systems are included in the prevention and intervention of the disorder. Educators, related service providers, and the child all play an important role in designing and implementing effective interventions. Therefore, it is imperative to provide educators with the information necessary to begin this emerging collaborative process. The handbook was created as a tool for educators intending to enhance their knowledge when working with students with conduct disorder. A Needs Assessment was conducted to determine what educators wanted the handbook to contain to assist them in working with students displaying conduct problems. The educators evaluated the handbook, providing constructive feedback and confirming the potential value and practicality of this handbook for elementary school educators. The educators reported an increase in their understanding of conduct disorder, as well as a heightened awareness of the causal factors that contribute to the disorder. The list of community resources and agencies was thought to be a good starting point for educators looking for supplementary aids. The educators indicated that the handbook is a good reference tool to use when teaching students with conduct problems. The educators concluded with the hope that this handbook will be shared with others.
    • Connecting Digital Environments to Additional Language Learning in Schools

      Crawford, Keith Andrew
      Despite digital environments’ proven effectiveness in supporting additional language acquisition, there is a gap in knowledge about how technology is integrated in Kindergarten–Grade 12 (K–12) additional language classrooms. This study examined situations in which additional language learning classes integrated digital environments in elementary and secondary language classrooms and sought to highlight how young learners interact with such environments for additional language learning purposes. A review of the literature revealed that digital learning environments offer corrective feedback for additional language learners who have traditionally been a focus of computer-assisted language learning (CALL); however, more recently computermeditated communication (CMC) has taken hold. Importantly, digital environments that offer multimodality provide comprehensible input that supports the language learning process. The utilization of digital environments with traditional additional language resources is discussed. This study has significant implications for additional language learning and teaching strategies while applying digital learning theories into the additional language classroom.
    • 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.
    • Creating a Generation of Upstanders: Curriculum Resource to Help Ontario Educators Build Safe Schools

      Dirks, Kate-Lynn (2013-05-01)
      This project focuses on the bullying found in the 21st century elementary classrooms, more specifically in grades 4-8. These grades were found to have high levels of bullying because of major shifts in a student’s life that may place a student of this age at risk for problems with their peer relationships (Totura et al., 2009). Supporting the findings in the literature review, this handbook was created for an Ontario grade 4-8 classroom teachers. The resource educates teachers on current knowledge of classroom bullying, and provides them with information and resources to share with their students so that they can create a culture of upstanders. Upstanders are students who stand up for the victims of bullying, and have the self-esteem and strategies to stand up to classroom bullies. These upstanders, with the support of their classroom teachers and their peers, will be a force strong enough to build the government-mandated Safe School environment.
    • Creating a Generation of Upstanders: Curriculum Resource to Help Ontario Educators Build Safe Schools

      Dirks, Kate-Lynn (2013-05-01)
      This project focuses on the bullying found in the 21st century elementary classrooms, more specifically in grades 4-8. These grades were found to have high levels of bullying because of major shifts in a student’s life that may place a student of this age at risk for problems with their peer relationships (Totura et al., 2009). Supporting the findings in the literature review, this handbook was created for Ontario grade 4-8 classroom teachers. The resource educates teachers on current knowledge of classroom bullying, and provides them with information and resources to share with their students so that they can create a culture of upstanders. Upstanders are students who stand up for the victims of bullying, and have the self-esteem and strategies to stand up to classroom bullies. These upstanders, with the support of their classroom teachers and their peers, will be a force strong enough to build the government-mandated Safe School environment.
    • Curriculum Unit on Risk Literacy Using Case Study and Probability to Teach Risk to Post-Secondary Students in Non-STEM Programs

      Kenton, Dianne J.
      This study was designed as a resource to develop risk literacy for students enrolled in non-STEM programs at the post-secondary level using case studies, context analysis, basic mathematics, geometry and statistics. Risks are an outcome of human activity that impact individuals personally, professionally, politically and globally. Numerous issues influence risk literacy education such as adult literacy and numeracy, mathematics curriculum, socio-political and equity issues in mathematics education, teacher education and access to education. The study consists of eleven lessons in varied contexts. Review of the curriculum unit was conducted and confirmed that risk literacy education requires contextual material, deconstruction of language used to express probability, greater attention to language use, and visual representation of data to facilitate comprehension. Review of the unit also revealed that risk literacy can be achieved by learners from different occupational backgrounds who do not have detailed prior working knowledge of risk. Reviewer feedback was used to guide unit development. Participants were provided with lessons for evaluation and agreed that risk literacy was a relevant and practical skill.