• 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.
    • A Living Educational Theory of Knowledge Translation: Improving Practice, Influencing Learners, and Contributing to the Professional Knowledge Base

      Vickers-Manzin, Jen; Johnston, Jan (2013-04-28)
      This paper captured our joint journey to create a living educational theory of knowledge translation (KT). The failure to translate research knowledge to practice is identified as a significant issue in the nursing profession. Our research story takes a critical view of KT related to the philosophical inconsistency between what is espoused in the knowledge related to the discipline of nursing and what is done in practice. Our inquiry revealed “us” as “living contradictions” as our practice was not aligned with our values. In this study, we specifically explored our unique personal KT process in order to understand the many challenges and barriers to KT we encountered in our professional practice as nurse educators. Our unique collaborative action research approach involved cycles of action, reflection, and revision which used our values as standards of judgment in an effort to practice authentically. Our data analysis revealed key elements of collaborative reflective dialogue that evoke multiple ways of knowing, inspire authenticity, and improve learning as the basis of improving practice related to KT. We validated our findings through personal and social validation procedures. Our contribution to a culture of inquiry allowed for co-construction of knowledge to reframe our understanding of KT as a holistic, active process which reflects the essence of who we are and what we do.
    • Living in the Skin That I Am: An Organizational Autoethnography of an Adult Educator's Plight to Survive the Stigma of Invisible and Episodic Disability in an Academy of Administritiva

      Docherty-Skippen, Susan Maureen (2014-09-22)
      Through the reflective lens of an adult educator with invisible and episodic disabilities, this paper has been written as an organizational autoethnography. Through a process of autoethnographical sensemaking, it is intended to illuminate important gaps in organizational theory. Feminist/relational care ethics, critical reflection, and transformative learning serve as the educational theories that comprise its framework. In telling my story, embodied writing and performance narrative are used to convey the felt existence of a body exposed through words—where my “abled” and “disabled” professional teaching and learning identities may be studied against the backdrop of organizational policies and procedures. Words used to describe unfamiliar experiences and situations shape meaning for which new meaning may emerge. At the conclusion of this paper, an alternative frame of reference—a view from the margins—may be offered to articulate authenticity in the expectancy of workplace equity for adult educators with disabilities. Taken collectively on a larger level, it is hoped that this research may provide a source of inspiration for systemic organizational change in adult learning environments.
    • The Making of a Makerspace: A Handbook on Getting Started

      Welbourn, Shannon
      This research project sought to develop a makerspace handbook that is useful in supporting pre-service teacher candidates to integrate makerspace and maker mindset in their classrooms. As makerspaces have become more common in our schools and classrooms, the handbook was created to provide a practical, hands-on guide for getting started with designing and implementing makerspaces in K-12 classrooms and schools. This project investigated the knowledge needed to design and facilitate makerspace learning environments, developed the handbook The Making of a Makerspace: A Handbook on Getting Started, and collected expert feedback from reviewers of the handbook to contribute to teachersʼ knowledge about makerspace technologies. Emergent themes from data analysis included how the handbook supported three areas of makerspaces: (a) stations and activities, (b) the maker culture, and (c) future ready skill development. A resource such as this can grow and evolve but was designed to provide a foundation for pre-service teacher candidates getting started with makerspace design and maker mindset in their own teaching practice.
    • Male and Female Perspectives on Female Principals in South Africa

      Giroux, Kira Elyse (2013-05-06)
      In South Africa, women are at a high risk of discrimination and opposition to authority when they obtain leadership positions, especially in education (Gouws & Kotze, 2007). The purpose of this study was to inquire into 10 secondary school educators’ perceptions of female principals’ effectiveness in two South African schools. Qualitative case study research methodology included interviews, as well as participant observations and semi-structured interviews. These interviews were conducted within two school settings in South Africa. The participants were teachers, department heads, and deputy principals. When the data were analyzed, it was found that all participants wanted a leader who was transformational and there was a strong preference for those who had feminine traits. This research showed the strong desire for transformational leaders as well as how feminine characteristics are not only starting to become more accepted, but also are now becoming preferred.
    • Memoir Writing as an Education Tool: Implications for Student Voice and Identity

      Pearson, Emily
      Memoir is a genre of writing often overlooked as a valuable pedagogical tool. Through employing qualitative research and methods, this study explored the potential benefits of teachers introducing memoir in their classrooms. Research questions included: How can memoir writing serve as a pedagogical tool to encourage students to write and care about their writing? In what ways does the memoir writing process support students in exploring their identities? How are students encouraged to discover their voices when writing a memoir? By implementing an eight-week memoir-writing unit in a seventh-grade classroom, the teacher-researcher collected data as students read, listened to, wrote, and shared memoirs to learn about and practice the genre. Data collection methods included open-ended in-depth interviews, student questionnaires, artifacts, participant observations, student journals, and the researcher’s journal. Analysis of these multiple data sources illustrated how students wrote memoirs to learn about themselves and their worlds, and appeared motivated when doing so. The findings also drew attention to the importance of teachers being writers, too, and instituting routines and rituals to help students see their lives as full of invitations to write. Not only did using “I” in their writing make writing enjoyable for the students in this study, but it also engaged even the most struggling of writers. Implications for teacher-researchers and teachers of memoir writing are discussed.
    • Mindfulness for Student Mental Health in Schools

      Hayward, Lindsay
      Studies have shown an increase in mental illness among school-aged children, and schools do not provide adequate programming to meet the emotional needs of children and youth. Mindfulness is defined as present moment thinking with individuals focused on the current task at hand instead of past experiences or future desires. Research on the benefits of mindfulness within therapeutic and medical settings has been prominent; however, little research has connected the health benefits of mindfulness for school-aged children. Evidence shows that mindfulness has tremendous benefits in regards to stress management, self-efficacy, emotional regulation, academic achievement, and overall emotional wellbeing. This paper addresses the growing need for mindfulness as a form of prevention and intervention within schools. It provides the background and benefits of mindfulness, meeting all 3 learning domains and building a positive classroom culture. It also highlights a variety of approaches to mental health including the newly created REAL model for classroom teachers.
    • Mindfulness Practices and Children’s Emotional and Mental Well-Being: Activities to Build and Strengthen Everyday Resilience Adapted for Primary School Teachers

      Peacock, Jennifer (2014-11-12)
      This project reviewed current research on mental health and Canadian children, and then examined the practice of mindfulness as a means of supporting well-being and circumventing the potential detrimental effects of mental health problems. By contextualizing these findings within the recently released educational vision of the Ontario Ministry of Education (2014), which identifies well-being as one of the core principles of education in Ontario, this project investigated how mindfulness-based practices can be brought into the primary grade classroom. The ultimate purpose of this project is the development of a handbook for Ontario teachers of students in grades 1 to 3 (ages 6 to 8). This resource was developed from a comprehensive literature review and provides educators with easy-to-follow activities to use in the classroom to encourage the development of resilience and emotional well-being through mindfulness. The handbook also includes additional information and resources regarding both mindfulness and mental health that may be helpful to teachers, students, and parents.
    • 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.
    • Minding the Gap: A Discourse Analysis on Corporate and Adolescent Users on Snapchat

      Chin Pang, Tyler
      This MRP investigates popular discourses within commercial social media. Through examining Snapchat, this MRP suggests that there are two main influences that dictate the cultural language used within the Snapchat community – the adolescent user and the corporate user. By applying Gee’s Discourse Analysis Tools (Gee, 2014), this MRP seeks to understand how both users demonstrate their co-constructed cultural language proficiencies by constructing multimodal texts and provide discussion that explains for what purposes that language is used. This MRP has found that there are clear neoliberal influences that may shape adolescent identity formation. However, adolescents also demonstrate that they are just as influential towards the larger meaning making of cultural language within their community. Understanding the adolescent perspective is important, because they are the group who have grown up with social media. (Joosten, 2012) Therefore, the insights that they have may have are valuable when attempting to understand the impact that social media has on their process of meaning making. Juxtaposing both the adolescent and corporate user, this MRP intends to show effective uses of social media and how each user uses their competency to construct and re-construct meaning based on their goals. Providing this perspective will in turn allow educators to reflect upon their practice, and hopefully gain insights to using the innate abilities of adolescents, in addition to re-appropriating techniques currently used by neoliberal influences to conversely benefit adolescent learning.