• A Handbook for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Best Practices for Educators and Community Partners

      McCorriston, Stephanie
      Students with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) present a unique and intensifying challenge and learning opportunity for practitioners in educational settings. Many educators and community partners feel ill-equipped to handle the increasing demand to support these students’ unique mental health needs. Therefore, the purpose of this project was threefold: a) to augment practitioner knowledge regarding generalized anxiety; b) to enhance practitioner ability and confidence to identify anxiety symptomatology; and c) to develop a practical resource that provides evidence-based strategies and lesson plans for practitioners to support school-age children with generalized anxiety. Five practitioners with experience working in educational settings voluntarily participated in a need assessment. Based on practitioner identified gaps and a literature review, A Handbook for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Best Practices for Educators and Community Partners 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 complex interplay of personal, environmental and behavioural factors which contribute to the development of anxiety disorders. Once the handbook was complete, an Evaluative Questionnaire was circulated among the same practitioners to determine its efficacy, relevance and practicality. Implications for future research were considered and the limitations of this study were examined.
    • 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.
    • A Handbook on Anxiety Disorders: Mindfulness as a Therapeutic Intervention for Adolescents

      Seminara, Maria
      Adolescents with anxiety disorders is a rising concern in the field of mental health and education. Due to the large percentages of people who endure anxiety, this present project focuses on providing individuals with a practical and comprehensive resource tool that revolves around implementing mindfulness as a therapeutic intervention for adolescents with anxiety disorders. The handbook was developed from the empirical research and the Needs Assessment questionnaire data from four participants’ feedback on mindfulness-based interventions in relation to anxiety disorders. The same four participants were asked to fill out an Evaluative questionnaire and submitted their feedback. The participants’ feedback was taken into consideration in the final evaluation of the handbook. The data collected in this study provided further evidence on how mindfulness-based interventions are still in their preliminary stages of awareness as most participants allotted to not having adequate knowledge about mindfulness and the potential benefits mindfulness can have on adolescents with anxiety. The potential benefits of mindfulness-based interventions were theoretically framed in this handbook using Bandura’s (1986) Triadic Theory of Reciprocity. Bandura’s theory assists in explaining the benefits mindfulness could have on individual’s with anxiety disorders due to how Bandura allotted to the reciprocal connection between cognition, behaviour, and the environment and how mindfulness-based practices emphasize the mind-body connection. Recommendations for further research and the limitations were examined.
    • Helping Youth Venture Into Volunteerism: A Resource for Ontario Secondary School Educators

      Benko, Katherine (2014-12-23)
      This study sought to create a curriculum resource for Ontario secondary school educators that addresses the inadequate preparation of students prior to their involvement in community service. Specifically, Helping Youth Venture Into Volunteerism: A Resource for Ontario Secondary School Educators was designed to help grade 10 Civics and Citizenship teachers prepare students for the 40 hours of community service that are a prerequisite for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The resource discusses problems with the current unstructured program, outlines researchers’ recommendations to address such problems, and provides comprehensive unit and lesson plans to help educators meet curriculum expectations for grade 10 Civics and Citizenship. In addition, the study examined the rationale and development of the community service program and reviewed related literature corresponding both to Ontario’s community service program as well as service-learning programs in schools. Study results and the accompanying resource will help improve the community service program’s effectiveness by integrating it into school practices and curriculum and making it more relevant, structured, and meaningful to students. By improving the community service program, students will be more engaged in community service and more likely will become lifelong volunteers and active members of their community.
    • 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.
    • A Holistic Approach to Makerspaces and Pedagogy: Linking 20th Century Pedagogy with the 21st Century Makerspace Classroom

      Branigan-Pipe, Zoe
      This major research paper is a narrative account of Makerspaces and my experiences as a teacher who has embraced this pedagogy. Educational reformers are calling for a dramatic shift in educational practice to meet the needs of the 21st Century learner. A Makerspace is an innovative 21st Century concept and describes a space where people can meet to share ideas, collaborate, invent and use hands-on approaches. It is a do-it-yourself movement that often involves technology, such as a 3-D printer, but also may involve knitting needles and a sewing machine. I examine the content, processes and guiding pedagogies within Makerspaces in education. Alternative forms of education such as Reggio Emilia, Waldorf and Montessori are explored to make connections to the Maker Culture. Chapter 4 offers an e-book that is intended as an educator resource. This resource may help educators and school leaders to implement a Makerspace in their own contexts.
    • 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.
    • How Immigrant Mothers Contribute to Their Children’s Learning Inside and Outside of School

      Sejmenovic El Werfalli, Mejra (2014-11-10)
      Abstract The main focus of this qualitative research was to explore how parents from different national backgrounds see their role in their children’s education inside and outside of school. Although greater recruitment was described and sought after, this qualitative research gathered data from two immigrant female parents from a community parents’ group located in Ontario, Canada. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews with each participant using open-ended questions asking about the different ways these mothers, along with their spouses, were involved in their children’s education. Moreover, questions were designed to find out what alternatives parents use to support their children’s learning. The main question driving this research was “How are immigrant families currently involved with their children’s education inside and outside of school?” NVivo, 10 was used to code the transcripts giving rise to themes which could then be utilized to explain and explore the research question. The findings of this research are congruent with past research and demonstrate that immigrant mothers are more involved than the fathers are in their children’s education (Grolnick & Slowiaczek 1994; Peters, Seeds, Goldstein, & Coleman, 2008). A specifically important finding in this research is that schools are perceived by the immigrant mothers in this study as not doing enough to actively engage immigrant parents in their children’s education. On the other hand, findings also show that parents are eager to find different avenues to get involved and help their children succeed.
    • Humour and Learning: A Self-Study of My Practice as an Adult Educator

      Samuels, Joanna (2013-09-12)
      This study examined my lived experiences as a frontline practitioner and adult educator in a local nonprofit community organization. Using self-study research methodology, I explored my professional practice as a facilitator of job search skills training with newcomers to Canada and the impact of humour on their learning, a topic for which I have a particular passion. To better inform my practice, I designed and delivered job search skills workshops on resume writing and cold-calling/networking. I used a variety of data sources including a literature review, personal observations, and reflections as well as secondary data sources from workshop evaluations and unsolicited feedback emails from participants. Findings from the self-study indicated that adult learners who experience entertaining and fun-filled lessons that use appropriate humour have better learning results, are more confident, and are better prepared to apply skills required for achieving career goals. Further, I learned in my practice that my challenge as an adult educator is to ensure humour is appropriately used and adds value to the learning rather than being the focus of the teaching.
    • Identifying, Engaging, and Supporting 21st Century Reluctant Readers

      Thompson, Mathew Ryan David
      Reading is becoming nearly inseparable from life in the 21st century. Moore, Bean, Birdyshaw, and Rycik (1999) suggest that “adolescents entering the adult world in the 21st century will read and write printed text or alphabetical text more than at any other time in human history” (p. 99). However, engaging with text and reading activities is unappealing to many students in today’s classrooms. This major research paper analyzed contemporary research on reading reluctance and the factors that contribute to this reluctance. Additionally, the study examined previous research to better understand the characteristics of students reluctant to read in grades 4-6. This information has provided the foundation for a handbook designed to help educators identify and engage students who experience a reluctance to read.
    • The Impact of Mindfulness Meditation on Educator Growth and Professional Development: A Personal Account

      Patton, Nicole (2014-12-21)
      This study examined the use of mindfulness meditation in educator growth and professional development. The purpose was to create recommendations for an effective mindfulness meditation practice for educators. To this end, as the researcher is an educator as well as an experienced mindfulness meditation practitioner, the research methodology was self-study through narrative inquiry. The exploration of mindfulness meditation on the researcher’s personal and professional development was viewed through the lenses of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and Mezirow’s transformational learning theory. These theories provided an analytical framework that guided this research. Themes were drawn from the exploration and connected with academic literature. The results were a mindfulness meditation framework for educators that is based on the Socratic Method, and utilizes the conceptual frameworks of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and Mezirow’s transformational learning theory.
    • The Implementation of Jenkins’s 21st-Century Skills in the Curriculum: A Cross-National Policy Analysis

      Tse, Judy (2014-09-10)
      This meta-analytic study sought to determine if cross-national curricula are aligned with burgeoning digital learning environments in order to help policy makers develop curriculum that incorporates 21st-century skills instruction. The study juxtaposed cross- national curricula in Ontario (Canada), Australia, and Finland against Jenkins’s (2009) framework of 11 crucial 21st-century skills that include: play, performance, simulation, appropriation, multitasking, distributed cognition, collective intelligence, judgment, transmedia navigation, networking, and negotiation. Results from qualitative data collection and analysis revealed that Finland implements all of Jenkins’s 21st-century skills. Recommendations are made to implement sound 21st-century skills in other jurisdictions.
    • The Implementations of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in Beijing and Ontario Schools

      Chen, Yi (2014-09-15)
      Since the knowledge-based economy has become a fashion over the last few decades, the concept of the professional learning community (PLC) has started being accepted by educational institutions and governments as an effective framework to improve teachers’ collective work and collaboration. The purpose of this research was to compare and contrast the implementations of PLCs between Beijing schools and Ontario schools from principals’ personal narratives. In order to discover the lessons and widen the scope to understand the PLC, this research applied qualitative design to collect the data from two principal participants in each location by semistructured interviews. Four themes emerged: (a) structure and technology, (b) identity and climate, (c) task and support, and (d) change and challenge. This research found that the root of the characteristics of the PLCs in Beijing and Ontario was the different existing teaching and learning systems as well as the test systems. Teaching Research Groups (TRGs) is one of the systems that help Chinese to organize routine time and input resources to improve teachers’ professional development. However, Canadian schools lack a similar system that guarantees the time and resources. Moreover, standardized test plays different roles in China and Canada. In China, standardized tests, such as the college entrance examination, are regarded as the important purpose of education, whereas Ontario principals saw the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) as a tool rather than a primary purpose. These two main differences influenced principals’ beliefs, attitudes, strategies, and practices. The implications based on this discovery provide new perspectives for principals, teachers, policy makers, and scholars to widen and deepen the research and practice of the PLC.
    • Improving English as a Second Language (ESL) Pedagogy in One University in Ontario

      Luo, Le (2013-03-21)
      In this paper, theoretical pedagogical approaches and practical pedagogical approaches are investigated by drawing on English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers’ pedagogical principles and practices, and ESL Chinese students’ second language acquisition and learning needs as they related to improving ESL pedagogy in one university ELP in Ontario. Three experienced ESL teachers were inquired by interviews and 30 ESL Chinese students were surveyed by questionnaires. Based on the mix-method exploratory research design, communicative, task-based, and content-based language teaching approaches are identified and discussed in the light of the interview and questionnaire data.
    • Integrating Children with Emotional and Behavioural Disabilities into Community Recreation Programs: A Handbook for Staff

      Meyer-MacLeod, Robin (2013-05-01)
      This study examined the process of integrating children with Emotional Behavioural Disorders (EBDs) with their peers into recreation programs. The purpose was to develop a set of recommendations for the development of a handbook to help workers in recreation with the integration process. To this end, a needs assessment was conducted with experienced recreation workers in the form of semistructured interviews. Participants were recruited from two community centers in a large southern Ontario city. Themes were drawn from the analysis of the interview transcripts and combined with findings from the research literature. The results were a set of recommendations on the content and format of a handbook for integrating children with EBDs into recreation programs.
    • 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.
    • Investigation of Theories Supporting Engagement of Resistant Learners in Formal Academic Settings and Curriculum

      Lehn, Sherilyn
      This study sought to explore ways to work with a group of young people through an arts-based approach to the teaching of literacy. Through the research, the author integrated her own reflexivity applying arts methods over the past decade. The author’s past experiences were strongly informed by theories such as caring theory and maternal pedagogy, which also informed the research design. The study incorporated qualitative data collection instruments comprising interviews, journals, sketches, artifacts, and teacher field notes. Data were collected by 3 student participants for the duration of the research. Study results provide educators with data on the impact of creating informal and alternative ways to teach literacy and maintain student engagement with resistant learners.
    • A Junior Educator’s Guide to Proactively Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being Through Resilience

      McCartie, Laura
      This project explored existing research on the mental health and well-being of Ontario’s children and youth, and the perceived role of educators and the education system in supporting student mental health and well-being. Current research and policy implications indicate an unbalanced focus on mental illnesses and treatment, yet the need for support is paramount. Because educators play a crucial role in both proactive and reactive care, this study adopted the Positive Psychology framework to develop a handbook titled Promoting Resilience: A Junior-Level Educator’s Guide to Proactively Supporting Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Well-Being (the Guide), a resource for Ontario educators that is targeted for the junior grades (grades 4 to 6; ages 9 to 12). The Guide encompasses preventative strategies aligned with the Positive Psychology framework that focuses on proactively building resilience. Each subsection of the Guide aims to inform educators of the necessity for mental health and well-being initiatives, their role in preventatively supporting student mental health and well-being, various strategies to adapt into their teaching practice to cultivate resilience, and avenues for influencing students’ positive mental health and well-being.
    • Learning and Experiential Outcomes of Face-to-Face Versus Online Communications Courses

      Woolsey, Shantal (2013-04-17)
      Higher education is rapidly trending toward the implementation of online (OL) courses and a blended facilitation style that incorporates both OL and face-to-face (FTF) classes. Though previous studies have explored the benefits and pitfalls of OL and blended learning formats from institutional, teacher, and student perspectives, scant research has examined learning outcomes for OL and FTF courses sharing identical content. This study used an explanatory mixed methods design—including pre- and post-test assessments, a questionnaire, and interviews—to explore similarities and differences in participant and teacher perceptions and outcomes (gain scores and final grades) of OL versus traditional FTF Communications courses, and to examine effects of students’ age and gender on learning preference and performance. Data collection occurred over a 4-month period and involved 183 student and 2 professor participants. The study used an SPSS program for data analysis and created a Microsoft Excel document to record themes derived from the questionnaire and interviews. Quantitative findings suggest there are no significant differences in gain scores, final grades, or other learning outcomes when comparing OL and FTF versions of identical Communications courses; however, qualitative findings indicate differences between facilitation styles based on student and professor perception. The study sheds light on student and faculty perceptions of facilitation styles and suggests areas for potential improvements in FTF- and OL-facilitated courses. The study ultimately recommends that students and faculty should have options when it comes to preferred delivery of course material.
    • Lingering in the Threshold: A Faculty Development Initiative to Support Writing Instruction

      Brook, Adriana
      While academic writing is a ubiquitous university requirement, writing is seldom explicitly taught due to structural, attitudinal, and pragmatic constraints. In this paper, I propose a means of supporting writing instruction through faculty development, drawing on threshold concept theory, the strategies that have evolved to support Writing Across the Curriculum and Writing in the Disciplines initiatives, and adult learning theory. Taken together, this scholarship suggests that both faculty development offerings and writing instruction are most successful when a balance is achieved between linear progression toward conceptual understanding and cyclical, recursive thinking, allowing learners to linger in troublesome and incomplete understanding. On this theoretical foundation, I propose a model for a writing workshop series to support faculty in writing instruction. I conclude by suggesting ways in which this model could be modified for different institutions and discuss the implications for research and practice as well as the limitations of my work.