• 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.
    • Oral French Communication in French Immersion Canadian and World Studies Classrooms: A Primer for Educators

      Salvas, Kristen S.
      This project presents a primer for secondary French Immersion teachers that facilitates the use of French oral communicative activities in secondary Canadian and World Studies courses. The primer supports collaborative and inclusive teaching strategies that invite students to speak and develop their oral French communication skills. The primer is divided into 2 main components: (a) Rationale for the Primer, and (b) the Strategies themselves, comprising succinct descriptions as well as potential uses and suggestions. A critical content analysis of various Ontario Ministry of Education documents was undertaken in order to explore the importance of oral communication in second-language learning in Ontario secondary schools. Furthermore, holistic and invitational education perspectives were examined in order to define the advantages of collaborative learning. Moreover, research in the stream of French Immersion studies was also referenced to frame the relevance of second-language learning and the significant role the French Immersion teacher plays. The aforementioned research contributes to the advancement of theory and practice regarding the importance of opportunities for oral French communication in secondary Canadian and World Studies courses.
    • Parental Engagement in Leadership at School: A Function of Community

      Heemskerk, Jason
      This qualitative study sought to explore the impact on parental engagement with schools when parents have the leadership positions in a school. A review of the literature revealed that parental engagement is considered important by many as a means of improving student achievement. The parental engagement that takes place in most schools is something that schools actively promote through various additional programs, such as administrators visiting parents in the community, or special after school programs that parents may attend. These programs were often spearheaded by one or more individuals from the school, and they were often controlled by the school and parents were asked to opt in. Most of the studies conducted took place in publicly funded schools, but little has been done to understand parental engagement with their children’s education in private schools. Private schools in Ontario provide a unique opportunity to study the choices parents make for their children’s education, and how, once they have made that choice it affects their engagement with the children in the school. Two private Christian schools located in southern Ontario and affiliated with the Canadian Reformed Church Federation, participated in this study. One was an elementary school and the other was a high school. Nine people participated in the interviews, which were between 40 and 65 minutes each. Seven participants were parents, and two were Principals. They were asked questions about parental leadership in the school and the impact it has on parental engagement with their children’s education. Findings show that the parents involved in leadership are highly engaged with the school. They also show the importance belonging to a well-defined community when it comes to running and supporting a parent-run school.
    • Parents of the Gifted in Ontario: An Investigation of Parental Satisfaction with the Education of their Gifted Children

      Bernat, Ethna (2014-04-11)
      The opinions of parents in relation to the education of their gifted child were examined, with particular attention paid to their satisfaction and the type and amount of programming their child is receiving. This study employed a mixed methods research design that focused on parents’ experiences with gifted education programming and their perceptions and level of satisfaction with these programs. A survey was used to gather the perceptions and opinions of parents of gifted children in Ontario. The data were quantified and used to make observations in relation to differences in parental satisfaction and to provide a more thorough understanding of the experiences of parents in Ontario in regards to the education of gifted children. Information was also gathered regarding the recommendations that parents have for the improvement of education for their gifted child. The results of the study found that parents of gifted children were satisfied with the connections their child made within a gifted placement with like-minded peers and with opportunities for their children to learn in a more individualized and in-depth manner. However, parents expressed dissatisfaction with the timing of the initial gifted identification and the lack of knowledge that teachers, in both regular and specialized classrooms, have about gifted children and the types of programming best suited to these children. The results of the study also showed parental dissatisfaction with the lack of funding allocated to gifted education programs by district school boards and the lack of involvement they were allowed with respect to the education of their child.
    • Part-Time Pedagogy?: Examining the Role of Occasional Teachers in Ontario's Classrooms

      Agostinelli, Gianluca
      This study examines the peripherality and precarity of occasional teaching, and explores how the instructional practice of daily substitute teachers in Ontario can be made more meaningful for both themselves and their students. Using an autoethnographic approach informed by my own experiences as an Occasional Teacher (OT), I consider, critically, the ongoing challenges and issues that impede OTs at both the elementary and secondary levels from belonging to a school's culture, and from perceiving their work as enriching and rewarding. Since the number of and demand for OTs in Ontario continue to rise steadily, this Major Research Project (MRP) helps to provide current and prospective OTs with a contemporary perspective from an active member in the teaching profession. While most of the literature on occasional teaching centers on classroom management—in itself, a fundamental component to successful instruction—such an established and rigid focus, I contend, precludes the prospect of considering if and how OTs can shape and apply efficacious pedagogies in the classroom. Working with theories from the fields of legitimate peripheral participation and critical pedagogy, I present, herein, some of the prominent issues that affect both the practice and personal positionality of OTs. More importantly, I offer suggestions, through a series of self-reflexive vignettes, about how substitute teachers can, precisely because of their marginality, perceive their nomadism as an advantageous source of opportunity that affords increased possibility for the construction and dissemination of knowledge, which ultimately contributes toward participatory, liberatory learning and the democratization of the classroom. What this project seeks to express, therefore, is that educators cannot afford to let critical pedagogy be an occasional effort.
    • Perceptions and Strategies for Developing Social Competence in Children With ASD and Down Syndrome

      Nakajima, Sayaka
      This qualitative research project sought to explore discrepancies between research-informed ideal strategies recommended by resource teachers (RTs) and actual strategies used by early childhood educators (ECEs) in a classroom in the Niagara region in Ontario. The exploratory research involved semi-structured individual interviews with 3 RTs and 1 ECE from the Niagara region childcare centres and organizations who participated in semi-structured individual interviews. This study identified strategies recommended by RTs and ECEs to improve social competency in children with ASD and Down syndrome. The finding of this study revealed that although the RTs’ recommended strategies were very similar to research-informed strategies found in the literature, the ECEs’ strategies differed from the ideal strategies. Some of the reasons reported by the ECEs as to why they used different strategies included teacher–child ratio, lack of professional training, and lack of relevant courses taken in college. Although it is essential that children with ASD and children with Down syndrome work on their peerrelationship skills (as it is their major impairment), it is equally important to address joint attention, communication, and emotion recognition skills, and to learn to follow classroom rules and a routine in order for school readiness. Developing these skills in early childhood is closely related to developing peer-relationship skills later on.