• 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.
    • A Phenomenologically Sensitized Analysis of Images Depicting Stressed Embodiment in an Adolescent Male with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

      Boyd, Chris (2014-12-18)
      Each person with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) comes with unique characteristics (idiosyncratic) that give clues to the world they know (Connolly, 2008). It is through their body that they (a) know the world they are experiencing, (b) make meaning, and (c) express certain behaviours. I used Laban’s Movement Analysis (LMA) to practice an attuned and appreciative approach to describing and understanding the body movement in one severe manifestation of autism in an adolescent male. LMA observes human movement across many disciplines and can be applied in many contexts providing a body honoring discourse for description (Connolly, 2008). The framework examines movement in body, space, quality, and relation. Each theme provides a detailed description of the individual’s movement, thus, giving us a richer understanding of patterns and possible triggers to self-injurious behaviours (SIB). During the summer of August 2013, I participated in Brock University’s annual Autism Camp and worked with a 15 year old male named “Aaron” who manifests with low functioning autism. The purpose of my research project was to code and analyze a series of photos taken to help gain insight into movement patterns associated with stressed embodiment and self-injury in “Aaron”. As I understood more about these embodied expressions, I uncovered valuable information on how to read patterns and discover what triggers these events, thus providing strategies on how to help people do more refined observations and make meaning of the behaviour. Laban’s movement analysis provided a sensitized discourse appropriate to the embodied expressions depicted in the photos.
    • Playbuilding for Environmental Literacy: A Guidebook Resource for Secondary Educators

      Taylor, Monica Lyne
      This MRP presents a guidebook resource for secondary educators who wish to use the method of Playbuilding (PB) in the classroom to investigate the environmental literacy (EL) of their students. EL is a set of skills that enables people to read, write, and interpret information and opinions about the environment and translate them into personal, contextual meaning that impacts people’s ability to take action and agency with environmental issues in their lives. This research project first presents a literature review of all relevant PB and EL research and resources for secondary educators. Then, this study collects and analyses data to inform a new Ontario-based resource for using PB to explore EL that includes the planning, facilitating, and evaluating components of implementing a learning lesson with secondary students.
    • Popular Pedagogy in Canadian Television: A Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis of Trailer Park Boys

      Haddow, Andrew
      This major research paper studied the representations of masculinity in the Canadian television program Trailer Park Boys from the perspective of public pedagogy and education. Motivated by a desire to expose how patriarchal discourses are learned through everyday practices and texts, a methodology of feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) was formulated. Trailer Park Boys is a long-running mockumentary series set in a fictional trailer park near Halifax, Nova Scotia. It focuses on a cast of male characters with exaggerated personalities, and is satirical in tone. Prior to the main analysis of this paper, a collection of relevant literature was conducted and an opportunity to address a lack of gender-focused studies of Canadian television, including Trailer Park Boys, was noted. This study used the feminist CDA method to analyze what masculinities were reinforced as normal or abnormal in Seasons 3 and 9 of the program, based on the understanding that popular culture is a site of everyday learning. After the data was collected episode-by-episode, it became apparent that the themes of family, authority, and sexuality were helpful in understanding what relationship Trailer Park Boys had with traditional representations of heteronormative masculinity. It was found that despite the presence of some non-traditional forms of masculinity, the show ultimately reproduced stereotypical, and often harmful, discourses of masculinity. A final explanation of the connection between the results of the study and Canadian pedagogy and everyday learning was offered, and directions for future research were identified.
    • Post Post-Trip Follow-Up With Postsecondary Students After Short-Term Study Abroad: Transformational Learning and International Experiential Education

      Bright, Devin
      Postsecondary students are increasingly participating in short-term study-abroad experiences organized by educational institutions in Canada. There are relatively fewer long-term studies of participants from a variety of international contexts after they have returned home for a year or more. From the view of transformative learning theory, this study investigated if/how the passage of time allows people to reflect on the personal impact of these experiences and if/how other factors that require more time (e.g., subsequent experiences, further education) influence such change. Drawing from one-on-one interviews with 8 participants, this study found that a short-term experience abroad can be the necessarily disorienting experience needed to initiate a transformative trajectory. Experiences during and post-travel that provide evidence of transformative learning are discussed. This research is intended to serve as a guide for those interested in social justice oriented outcomes for their students through international experiential education.
    • Poverty and Education: Preparing Teacher Candidates for Economically Diverse Classroom Environments

      Robinson, Nicole (2013-04-25)
      The poverty rate in Ontario affects approximately 1 in 6 children. Consequently, many classrooms in the province include students who come from poverty, and teachers are faced with the challenge of providing an equitable education to students who come from economically diverse backgrounds. Because student poverty in our education system is so prevalent, this challenge exists also for teacher candidates who enter the education system and complete their practicums in classrooms that often include students from impoverished backgrounds. This project examined issues of poverty and education and developed a workshop to assist teacher candidates to develop knowledge in this area. The project combined existing pedagogical approaches with participants’ recommendations and developed a workshop that could be delivered to Faculty of Education students. The workshop addresses poverty, the relationship between poverty and education, student academic achievement and well-being, and the relationship between school and home. The goal and hope of the workshop is that teacher candidates will be better prepared when working in economically diverse school environments.
    • Private Coaching Centres in India: A Document Analysis of JEE-Advanced Preparation Centres on the Lives of Students in Kota

      Kaur, Gurbinder
      Gone are the days when tuition or coaching classes were meant for academically weak students. With the Economic Reforms of 1991 (ER91), the Indian education system went through a series of changes, the most prominent being the growth of private educational institutions across the country. This led to creation of a billion-dollar coaching industry in India. Due to the ease of setting up private institutions and the absence of any regulatory body to vouch for them, the private institutions became immensely commercialized. The purpose of this study is to investigate the organizational structure of such coaching centres and analyze the various aspects of the organizational framework within which they operate. As the coaching industry is widespread, the study focuses on one of the popular coaching sectors that prepares aspiring engineers for the national level JEE- Advanced examination in a small town (Kota, in the northern state of Rajasthan) that has garnered a significant reputation as the coaching capital of the country.
    • Producing Strong and Effective Writers Using the Peer Feedback Process

      Stayzer, Danielle
      The peer feedback process is an effective and engaging literacy activity used to support student writers learning from each other. This study used qualitative research methods to investigate the potential impact of the peer feedback process on students providing the feedback. The study focused on peer feedback’s impact on reviewers’ development of stronger writing skills. Research questions included: How does peer reviewers’ training on the peer review process for writing impact their writing skills? How does such training impact their ability to be effective peer reviewers? How does the experience as peer reviewers impact reviewers’ own writing skills? Communicating with the research participants over a 3-month period provided opportunities for them to reflect upon their experience as peer reviewers and offered insights about the impacts it had on their development as writers. Data collection methods included a student questionnaire, a focus group, and an in-depth interview, all of which encouraged students to offer detailed thoughts and ideas. Additionally, the researcher kept a journal of thoughts, questions, and ideas that contributed to the understanding of the student data. Data analysis revealed that training provided reviewers with foundational skills and knowledge that helped prepare them to be more effective reviewers and was useful when applied to their own writing process. Findings also revealed the experience of reviewing helped reviewers develop critical thinking, analysis, and synthesizing skills that assisted their own development as writers. Over time, student reviewers began to internalize the lessons they were teaching to their peers and apply them to their own writing, acting as an expert and providing support to their own process. Implications for practice are also discussed.
    • Project-Based Learning in Mathematics: A Middle School Curriculum Unit

      Stubbs, Samantha
      The purpose of this study was to develop a mathematics-focused project-based learning curriculum unit for educators to utilize with their own classes. Based on literature review and resources, an integrated unit was created using a backwards design method of curriculum development, with the intent of assisting teachers who are unfamiliar with the principles of project-based learning. The unit covered grade 7 Ontario Ministry of Education expectations from the mathematics, science, and language curriculums and also aided in students’ development of several 21st century competencies including effective communication, collaboration, and problem solving. The unit was created to act as a guide for educators to assist them in learning how to implement project-based learning effectively, so as to make learning meaningful, relevant, and enjoyable for students.
    • Promoting Early Reading: A Parent Handbook for Developing Children's Phonological Awareness Using Authentic Activities

      Dunn, Stephanie (2013-09-16)
      The purpose of this project was to create a handbook for parents to develop their children's phonological awareness using authentic activities that parents and children can complete together. The handbook aims to provide parents with fundamental background information regarding phonological awareness as well as effective instruction practices, followed by authentic activities that are clearly laid out and easy to implement. Through a comprehensive study of the literature it became evident that parents should be the target audience for the handbook as they have the greatest influence on the development of their young children. Phonological awareness was also found to be an important contributor to early literacy development including oral language skills and reading. The handbook was reviewed by 2 teaching professionals in order to claim face validity of the document. The results of the project indicate that the handbook which was produced meets its goals of creating a product that is easy to use, practical, and effective for both parents and children. The implementation of the handbook in the home environment can benefit children's phonological awareness and in turn improve their oral language and reading abilities.
    • Promoting the Success of Indigenous Students in High School Mathematics: A Handbook for Educators

      Safieh, Danielle
      There is a significant gap in the number of Indigenous students enrolled and successful in secondary school mathematics, which is partially due to the lack of cultural pedagogy and critical pedagogy in mathematics education (Nielsen et al., 2008). This is significant, because as Doolittle and Glanfield (2007) argue, mathematics education in mainstream society is an enabler (or disabler) of many opportunities. Many researchers and educators have worked toward the goal of improving Indigenous students’ success in mainstream education, however there is significantly less research focusing specifically on Indigenous students’ success in secondary mathematics education. This project explored major themes of Indigenous ways of knowing, two-eyed seeing and growth, and mathematical mindsets from an extensive literature review with the purpose of developing a handbook and strategies and sample activities for Intermediate and Senior mathematics teachers to implement in their professional practices. The handbook was designed to provide mathematics educators with research-based knowledge to aid them in developing inclusive strategies pedagogy and assignments that promote Indigenous student success as well as make mathematics education meaningful. Included in these strategies are project-based learning, place-based learning, and critical and social justice mathematics.
    • Quality Training Programs in Early Childhood Education

      Cuffe, Leah
      The effect that higher education has on the quality of a childcare setting is currently unknown. Early et al. (2007) suggest that higher education may not be affecting the quality of care in a childcare setting because the educators are not being provided with practical training or support within their Early Childhood Education (ECE) preparation courses. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to examine the 16 mandatory courses within the Brock University Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (BECE) program to determine if, in fact, the courses align with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) (2009) Program Standards. The researcher conducted a qualitative content analysis to ascertain the results of the study. To begin, course outlines were obtained from previous courses the researcher engaged in. Each course outline was reviewed in detail so that the researcher could become familiar with the assignments, lecture topics, and learning objectives within each course. Once each course outline was reviewed, the researcher created a list of the topics that were used to establish categories for coding. The themes that emerged from this process included theorists, program models, families, and knowledge of the ECE field. In addition, life-long learning, teaching specific subjects, and inclusion were also themes that were derived from the data. Within each category, the topics were scrutinized to determine the specific NAEYC Program Standard that the topic supported. A frequency chart was then created for each course to identify how many times each topic adhered to a specific standard. The results of the study concluded that the BECE program at Brock University aligned with all of the NAEYC program Standards. Consequently, Early Childhood Educators can have confidence in the quality of Brock University’s BECE program.
    • The Relationship Between Administration and Inclusive Education: Perspectives From One Ontario School Board

      White, Rebecca
      For the past two decades, school boards around the world have transitioned to more inclusive service delivery for students with exceptionalities. Derived from a larger study (Bennett, Gallagher, Somma, & White, 2021), this research focuses on one school board in the Province of Ontario that transitioned from segregated special education classes to full inclusive service delivery and programming for students with exceptionalities through a board-wide policy. The current major research project utilizes qualitative methods and analyzes 10 semi-structured interviews with administrators from this school board. This project aimed to cull findings to better understand how administrators understand inclusion and make sense of their role within an inclusive education policy and was guided by three research questions: (a) How do administrators define inclusion? (b) How do administrators perceive their role in facilitating an inclusive school culture? (c) What staff and personnel supports do administrators believe are integral to the implementation of inclusive policy? Interview data derived from 10 school administrators were examined using thematic analysis. Findings indicate administrators play a key role in the implementation of inclusive policy by maintaining a positive school culture regarding inclusion, creating a shared school vision, taking ownership over the inclusive policy in their school, and gaining buy-in from all members of the school team. Implications describe steps administrators can take in this role and suggest that a policy shift toward inclusion can be an effective way to positively transition toward inclusion.
    • The Relationship Between Chinese EFL Learners’ Reading Self-Efficacy and Use of Metacognitive Reading Strategies

      Jiang, Ying
      The promotion of self-efficacy and metacognitive strategies plays a decisive role in EFL learners’ foreign language reading performance. This study investigated the relationship between Chinese adolescent EFL learners’ current level of reading self-efficacy and their use of metacognitive reading strategies, and more specifically the differences in use of such strategies among learners with high, medium, and low self-efficacy. Findings indicated that the frequency of participants’ use of metacognitive reading strategies was high, and participants felt confident in their English reading ability. Findings also revealed that the use of metacognitive reading strategies had a significantly positive correlation with English reading self-efficacy. Results suggest that self-efficacy is an influential factor that impacts learners’ use of metacognitive reading strategies. Conclusions and implications drawn from the study emphasize the importance of Chinese EFL learners’ use of metacognitive reading strategies and the reinforcement of selfefficacy in their reading performance.
    • Respect and Obedience in the Culture of Education: A Narrative of Transformative Journey in Viewing a Lifelong Practice in Indonesia.

      Sukmantari, Putri
      This self-narrative retells stories that attempt to make sense of my cultural practice called salim—kissing the hand of teachers, the elderly, and powerful people to show respect. The evident purpose is to instill respect, however, I come to an understanding that respect should be a choice, and if there is no choice, it serves the purpose of implanting obedience. In Indonesian schools, students line up every morning to do salim to teachers, much like an assembly line. Clandinin and Connelly (2000) elucidated how narrative inquiries are always strongly autobiographical and unique. These stories are those I have experienced, witnessed, told, and reflected to achieve transformative learning. I narrated how I was the oppressed, the oppressor and in most times, both. The intent of this paper is not to eliminate the practice, but to awaken awareness of educators to see whether they have earned such respect.
    • Retired School Administrators’ Perspectives on the Effectiveness of Ontario’s Teacher Performance Appraisal System

      Gajula, Gopikiran
      This study aims to gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of the Teacher Performance Appraisal (TPA) system in Ontario by examining the perspectives of four retired administrators: three retired Principals, and one retired Vice-Principal. The study employed a basic qualitative methodology. Data were collected from the participants through semi-structured one-on-one in-person interviews. Data were then analyzed manually by coding and identifying major themes. Findings indicate that the TPA process has evolved from being viewed as a negatively conceived process to now being perceived as an integral part of the teaching profession. Conclusively, TPA, in its current form, is not very effective in facilitating teachers’ professional learning and development, but it has the potential to be more effective if it is conducted as a continuous process rather than as a one-time event every five years.
    • The Role of Community Partnerships in the Support of Postsecondary Students From Refugee Contexts

      Simon, Drew
      This qualitative study sought to identify how postsecondary institutions and non-profit organizations can work together to best support the needs of students from refugee contexts, particularly at a time when global refugee migration is high (UNICEF, 2016). A review of literature revealed that refugee and international students may face many challenges when transitioning to a new country and educational environment, and that postsecondary institutions can take steps to help ensure such students’ success. The study took place in two geographical areas in Southern Ontario in close proximity to one another. Fifteen individual interviews were conducted, each lasting an average of approximately 35 minutes, with staff and administrators from postsecondary institutions and non-profit organizations to develop an understanding of the services they have in place to support the needs of students from refugee contexts and what they feel would help them better support this group. Findings indicate that although there is a lack of services specific to students from refugee contexts being offered in the postsecondary sector, many services are offered for newcomers more generally. It was found that there is some collaboration between postsecondary institutions and non-profit organizations in support of newcomers, but there is also a desire for more. Participants in this study shared insights about how they can be supported in their goal to deliver effective programming to newcomers. The study concludes by offering a series of recommendations on how postsecondary institutions can work with non-profit organizations to better support students from refugee contexts.
    • The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Ontario University Educational Policies for International Graduate Students: A Conceptual, Institutional and Auto-Ethnographic Analysis

      Zabin, Rakha
      This study explored the role of emotional intelligence (EI) among international students adjusting to life in different universities in Ontario and the institutional support provided to them to develop their EI. The study included an in-depth review of literature based on different frameworks of cultural adjustments and EI, as well as a comprehensive analysis of the policy documents (e.g., policy management guide or handbook) available online of 3 similar-sized, student-focused, research-based universities in Ontario with significant international programs. The study also includes an auto-ethnographic account of the experiences I dealt with during my university years. I reflected on the hurdles and challenges I experienced in making my social and emotional adjustments here in Ontario. Overall, the data from the conceptual analysis and auto-ethnography afforded a cross-comparison of the 3 university policies and helped me establish a set of recommendations for universities to incorporate multiple components of EI into their international university policies services to develop components like mindfulness, self-regulation, and stress management for the future international graduate students.