• 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.
    • A Narrative Inquiry of Women in Administration: Their Voices Heard

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

      Barr, Michelle
      Prevalence rates for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have increased dramatically, to the current estimation of 1 in 68 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014). The overall intention of this project is to develop a workshop for families, and caregivers, which will enhance awareness, the importance of evidence-based practice for individuals with ASD and provide local resources that are available. This project involves a literature review of ASDs, evidence-based practice (EBP) and how it affects both families and caregivers. The literature review attempted to answer the question, what are the most popular evidence-based practices and what are the benefits in parents understanding EBP for children with ASD that are currently being utilized today. The purpose of this project is to assist families and caregivers in making well-informed decisions involving the choice of treatments that will have the most positive impact on their children with ASD.
    • Navigating the Trajectory of Palliative Care Pedagogy Through the Relationship of Patient, Family Members, and Healthcare Professionals

      Nwaesei, Chiedu
      This study explored the challenges experienced by bereaved family members and healthcare professionals (HCPs) at the end-of life in a hospital palliative care setting. The research focused on elderly persons suffering with a life-limiting illness. The study sought to identify common conflicts as well as strategies and helpful tools to negate these challenges from occurring in the future. Strategies and practical tools were introduced in a 2-part workshop (mirroring a flipped classroom approach) designed to assist HCPs in their professional development by providing more clarity through the trajectory of palliative care. A thematic analysis of the literature revealed 4 overarching themes: (a) lack of and ineffective communication (particularly between the bereaved family members and HCPs); (b) delivering effective symptom management for persons with a life-limiting illness; (c) lack of emotional support both for families and HCPs; and (d) feeling unequipped for the care involved during palliative care. The workshop highlighted the importance of effective conversation, establishing a safe and trusting environment, and encouraging consistent discussions that ultimately dictate the care provided in palliative care. The workshop adopted Kolcaba’s theory of comfort as its theoretical framework, which comprised three forms: relief, ease, and transcendence. In addition, the workshop introduced the acronym ADD—advanced care planning, having the discussion, resulting in the delivery of appropriate care unique to the individual with the life-limiting illness—for use as a guideline in HCPs’ practice. Findings of the study can make a positive impact by improving the quality of care during the end-of-life process in palliative care.
    • A Needs Assessment: Language Instruction Stakeholders Engaging in Project Based Learning Outside the Classroom for Effective Strategic Problem Solving

      Soccio, Stephanie A. (2013-05-01)
      Abstract A noted benefit of Project Based Learning (PBL) as a teaching strategy is how it engages the student and enhances learning outcomes as a result of working through challenges intended to depict dilemmas outside the classroom. PBL has seldom been applied outside the parameters of the classroom curriculum. The current needs assessment carried out in this research project examined current practices of language instruction and International Administrative Professionals of both the private and public Language Industry. Participants responded to survey questions on their current administrative practices, strategies, and program characteristics. The study investigated the usefulness of a handbook on the procedure of assisting administrative service teams in language instruction settings to an engaged approach to PBL for student service issues. The diverse opinions, beliefs, and ideas, along with institutional policy, can provide beneficial framework ideas for future tools.
    • Negotiating Education 'Inside and Out': A Feminist Analysis of Educational Programming for Previously Incarcerated Women in Canada

      Sitnik, Valentina
      In this Major Research Paper (MRP), I report on findings from a literature review I conducted on educational programs available to women who have been incarcerated in Ontario, Canada. I use a feminist lens to analyze literature and program documents to understand the educational opportunities available to women who are facing the challenge of reintegration into communities, after incarceration. Specifically, I examine transitional programs offered by Correctional Services Canada, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (Ontario), and other key prison programs. I also review various programs offered to women upon release, through the John Howard Society (Ontario), The Elizabeth Fry Society (Ontario), the Walls to Bridges Program (Ontario), the Canadian Family Correctional Network, and the Ontario Halfway Housing Association. In this review, I explore the processes of stigmatization and criminalization that inform women’s educational programming opportunities. I also highlight various gendered challenges and barriers that influence women’s access to, and experience of, educational programming post-release. My goal is to identify the state of existing educational programs for women who have been previously incarcerated and to generate discussion for future program development.
    • Neuroscience, Health, and Well-being: A Podcast Series for Adolescents

      Lachance, Sarah Elizabeth
      This research project explored brain-based topics as they related to adolescents including diet, exercise, memory, sleep, emotions, and structures and functions of the brain. Research into these topics was used to develop a six-part mini-series of podcasts, which utilized analogical reasoning and scientific explanation, targeted at teenage audiences. The goal of the project was to develop a resource that would modify adolescent thinking on these topics. Cognitive behavioural theory suggests that how we think about the world affects our behaviors (Kelly, Melnyck, & Jacobson, 2011). Therefore, the goal of this study is that listening to the developed podcast, titled Teen Brain, may influence adolescent choices. Three Ontario Certified Teachers, who are personal acquaintances of the author, evaluated the product. Evaluators found that the product was appealing and affective for teenage audiences, and believed that it could have the potential to be valuable or even life-changing for a range of audiences.
    • An Ontario-Developed Online Special Education Teacher Course Model for China

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

      Garcia Vega, Cecilia
      This study examined three disciplines; Ontology of Language (OoL), Human Resources Development (HRD), and Transformative Learning Theories. The purpose was to find connections between the three topics in the Adult Learning process and develop a Handbook for facilitators containing tools to deliver high-quality experiences by designing competitive spaces equipped for adult learning. The other primary purpose was to share with English speakers the knowledge on the OoL that has been developed in Spanish. This Philosophy has been a powerful tool that assists people to transform learning experiences and promote a lasting change in behaviors, perspectives, and ideas, encouraging critical reflection in every dimension of a person’s life. By reading and following suggestions in the fore mentioned Handbook, the practice of teaching becomes an active exchange of conversations, reflections, and feedback that leads to environments where the learner and facilitator find transformation and growth. The adult education field can also use Ontology of Language to enrich the quality and deepness of discussions held in classrooms to ensure students are transforming their views about the world and themselves as leading participants of their learning process.