• Equitable and Inclusive Education for All? Public Funding for Denominational Schools in Ontario

      Medway, James (2014-09-19)
      Roman Catholic separate schools’ denominational right to receive public funding is a contentious issue in Ontario’s educational system. Ontario’s publicly funded denominational schools historically served a purpose at Confederation; however, in light of Ontario’s evolving demographics, publicly funding denominational schools today may no longer serve the needs of Ontario. The research problem in this study is expressed through growing problems reconciling Roman Catholic schools with diversity and current public views. Additionally, recent tensions, public views, and political consensus suggest it is time to revisit the existing policy. In order to understand both the history of denominational schools and the present context, this study conducted II policy analyses as its research design by completing 2 policy cycles. The first policy cycle determined that based upon Upper and Lower Canada’s pre-Confederation diversity, extending public funding to denominational schools at Confederation was an effective way of protecting minority rights; however, the analysis in the second policy cycle; which examined how equitable and inclusive denominational schools are today, concluded that the denominational school system no longer serves the diversity and equity needs of contemporary Ontario. Building on these findings, this study then explored two viable alternative educational arrangements for Ontario’s future educational system: publicly funding all faith-based schools, or publicly financing a one-school-system. To address the diversity issue in Ontario, transitioning toward publicly funding a one-school-system is found to be the most viable option.
    • Establishing a Youth Council in a Local Art Gallery or Art Museum

      Manfreda, Metka
      This Major Research Paper focused on the need for youth arts councils in the Niagara Region. Participation in youth councils offers adolescents a wealth of enriching experiences that can alter both their worldview as well as their understanding of themselves. On a youth arts council, adolescents can discover a new world of art and its cultural value. They can express themselves through their own art while sharing the experience with other teenagers who are doing the same. They can connect with these like-minded teens as they achieve personal goals and contribute to the welfare of the community. Therefore, in an era in which people are concerned about teens’ over-reliance on mobile devices and other so-called screen addictions, getting adolescents off of the couch or cell phone and onto a more participatory, productive path is important. This study illustrates how Niagara’s art galleries and art museums are cultural and historical ambassadors that can and must play a major role in helping students connect possibilities with engaging purpose while having fun.
    • Evaluating and Integrating Educational Technology in the Elementary Mathematics Classroom

      Bunz, Rebecca
      This study used a meta-analysis to analyze several studies examining the impact of technology in the mathematics classroom in order to investigate the functionality of digital tools, and the integration of those digital tools, that most positively impact student achievement and student engagement. Through a keyword search and exclusion criteria, a systematic collection of relevant articles was compiled and analyzed through a two-tier coding scheme. The analysis determined that professional development opportunities need to be provided before, during, and after integration of technology. In addition, educators and students need time prior to the lesson or unit to become familiar with the digital tool and its available functions. Furthermore, educators need to put pedagogy first in order to align strategies with the appropriate digital tools. Finally, digital tools should be introduced in a blended format, with the teacher as a facilitator and the digital activities connected to the curriculum.
    • The Evolving Mind-Body Alliance: A Handbook for Educators

      Spratt, Brianna (2014-09-09)
      This study examined anatomical and physiological connections between brain and body in relation to academic, physical, social, emotional, and behavioural benefits of physical activity in elementary schools. A handbook titled The Evolving Mind-Body Alliance: Physical Activities Incorporated Into the Ontario Science Curriculum—A Handbook for Educators, Schools, and School Boards was developed based on evidence that physical activity can benefit students academically, physically, and emotionally. Handbook activities were created for implementation into science lessons, with direct connections to the Ontario Science Curriculum (OSC), based on curriculum expectation goals and vision for science, including a majority of experiential learning and application knowledge, and because of students’ difficulty relating to science’s abstract concepts and terms. A review of literature about brain-body connection and benefits of movement in the classroom revealed that the defining features of the handbook should be (a) incorporation of physical activities that directly relate to the OSC, (b) require minimal resources to implement, and (c) provide a direct link to the OSC. Needs assessments were performed to gather the data from professionals in the field on the OSC and on the mandated daily physical activity. The handbook was reviewed by 3 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 educators and children in promoting the awareness of the brain-body connection and importance of learning through movement.
    • An Examination of the Development of Online Higher Education in Canada and China: Keeping Pace and Making Space

      Li, Bingqin (2014-09-19)
      This study examined the similarities and differences that currently exist between Chinese and Canadian online higher education, and explored the economic, political, and sociocultural environments that have shaped online education in these two jurisdictions. Furthermore, this paper discussed the efficacy of, and potential for, future development of online learning in higher education in both Canada and China. The research employed a collective case study design to gather information and data on the development of online higher education. The analysis on Contact North in Canada and the One-Man University in China provide a comparative perspective on the development of 2 typical online higher educational institutions in these two countries. The study revealed that the development of online higher education is influenced by the economic, political, and sociocultural factors of environment. Contact North and the One-Man University share similarities in many aspects, but are characteristically different. The Contact North can set an example for establishing and operating a self-regulated MOOCs platform. The study also generated implications for both organizations.
    • Examination of Training for Individuals Using ABA With Students Diagnosed With ASD

      Dontoh, Edna
      Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the social communication and behaviours of individuals diagnosed; Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based treatment for individuals with ASD and a teaching strategy that breaks down skills into smaller steps by using prompting and reinforcement (Mayer, Sulzer-Azaroff, & Wallace, 2014). Although the Ontario Ministry of Educationʼs (OME, 2007) Policy/Program Memorandum 140 (PPM-140) identifies ABA as a teaching method for educators, some parents are concerned that educational assistants who work one-on-one with students with ASD are not skilled enough (Nanowski, 2017). For the 2017-2018 school year in Ontario, a pilot project was conducted to increase the training of educational assistants through online learning programs (OME, 2017). The project focused on ABA-based professional development (PD) and sought to identify most effective types of PD and if experiential learning occurs. This paper examined the types of policies/PD opportunities offered within Canada and specific parts of the United States. Data analysis revealed each region had a different way of explaining its respective policy on teaching students with ASD; some clearly identified ABA as an evidence-based practice, some used tools based on ABA, while others focused only on inclusive education. Experiential Learning Theoryʼs 4 steps—experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting (Yeganeh & Kolb, 2009)—were fully implemented within the PD of teaching staff concerning ABA and ASD in a few regions. To improve outcomes, each region can focus on integrating PD that completes the experiential learning cycle.
    • Examining the Nature of Published Research About Mentoring in Higher Education

      Beres, Jacqueline (2014-06-18)
      The various forms of mentoring relationships in higher education have all proven to be valuable, offering numerous benefits to mentors and protégés. Research into mentoring provides critical insight into aspects of these relationships, which can be used to advance theoretical and practical understandings of the topic. However, little is known about the methodological characteristics of the mentoring research itself. Using descriptive quantitative content analysis, I examined five years of articles published in five scholarly journals to determine the prevalence of research about mentoring in higher education. Not surprisingly, the prevalence of these articles differed significantly among journals in higher education (1.07% to 3.13%) compared to the considerably higher prevalence rate of 53.15% for the mentoring journal, Mentoring & Tutoring [χ2 (4, N = 82) = 143.98, p < .01]. I also report findings related to the prevalence of different empirical research traditions, research designs, and data sources, as well as various populations, such as faculty members or graduate students who serve as mentors or protégés. Given the limited number of mentoring articles published in higher education journals, I was unable to compare methodological characteristics across journals. Implications for theory, research, and practice in the area of mentoring in higher education are also suggested. Understanding the methodological characteristics of the current literature allows researchers to tailor their current studies by either continuing with existing trends in methodological approaches or seeking opportunities to incorporate under-utilized research traditions, designs, or data sources, with the aim of continuing to improve mentoring knowledge and outcomes.
    • The Experience of (In)Accessibility at University: What Disabled Graduate Students Reveal

      Baker, Sarah
      Although the number of disabled students entering graduate school has increased in recent years, research pertaining to graduate students with disabilities remains underdeveloped. The purpose of this generic qualitative study is to better understand the experiences of (in)accessibility from the perspectives of three graduate students who self-identify as disabled or as having a disability(s) at one mid-sized university in Southern Ontario. The theoretical orientation was shaped by a social model of disability. The study was focused around the following major research question: What have been the experiences of (in)accessibility for three graduate students who self-identify as disabled or as having a disability(s) at one mid-sized university in Southern Ontario? Subquestions were organized around subcategories, such as (a) experiences related to accessibility, (b) experiences related to inaccessibility, and (c) insights related to future recommendations to enhance accessibility. The study found that (in)accessibility at university was related to (a) specific places on campus, (b) specific people on campus, and (c) the culture of awareness. A variety of educational initiatives were recommended to foster accessible practices and to develop a more accepting and disability-friendly culture on campus. Based on these findings, the Trickledown Effect Model was proposed as a means for promoting accessibility at university.
    • The Experiential Embodied Feminist Antimilitarist Learning Hack: A Learning Journey Through Niagara’s War of 1812 Museological Sites

      Drenth, Monica
      In this Major Research Paper, I examine gendered representations of the War of 1812 at four significant cultural sites: the Niagara Falls History Museum, Lundy’s Lane Battlefield, Drummond Hill Cemetery, and Queenston Heights. I employed an experiential embodied feminist antimilitarist learning hack to view exhibits, sites, displays, and epitaphs. The overarching question that guided my research was: How does embodied feminist experiential learning intersect with the ways that gender and militarism are remembered and represented in War of 1812 museums and heritage sites in Niagara, Ontario? My research concluded that the way that the stories of the War of 1812 are told at these sites serves to perpetuate the hegemonic portrayals of war, including the celebration of violent and bloody combat, war as a male-dominated condition, and the conventional roles of men and women in wartime. My research demonstrates the need for change at these sites so visitors might understand the problematic ways in which gender and violence is presented with regards to the War of 1812.  
    • Experiential Learning: Creating Meaningful Opportunities

      Ou, Michael (2014-12-16)
      This study examined the practice and implementation of undergraduate student internships in Ontario, Canada. A literature review revealed that implementation of internships at the undergraduate level in Ontario varies within campuses by faculty and department and also across the university spectrum, partly due to a lack of consistency and structure guiding internship practice in Ontario. Moreover, a lack of general consensus among participating stakeholders concerning the philosophy and approach to internship further complicates and varies its practice. While some departments and universities have started to embrace and implement more experiential learning opportunities into their curriculum, the practice of undergraduate internships is struggling to gain acceptance and validity in others. Using the theory of experiential learning as presented by Dewey (1938) and Kolb (1984) as theoretical frameworks, this research project developed an internship implementation strategy to provide structure and guidance to the practice of internships in Ontario’s undergraduate university curriculum.
    • An Exploration into Effective Practices for Implementing Project-Based Learning (PJBL) in an Integrated, Elementary Mathematics Curriculum

      Varga, Jessica
      This qualitative study explored how elementary school teachers negotiate common challenges associated with the implementation of project-based learning (PJBL) when enacting this strategy in an integrated, mathematics and science project. Based on an extensive literature review, 6 challenges associated with PJBL were identified. These include transforming teacher and student roles, learner readiness, motivation and engagement, group dynamics and collaboration, authenticity, and assessment. A case study methodology was used in which qualitative data were collected from an interview with 1 elementary school teacher who facilitates PJBL in an integrated, mathematics curriculum. Based on the data analysis of this study, the strategies discussed can be divided into 3 major themes: providing general facilitation guidelines for PJBL, promoting a growth mindset, and facilitating the development of process skills. The results of this case study offer insight and recommendations for elementary teachers who are implementing PJBL in their context and provide elementary and novice teachers with a number of suggestions and strategies to optimize their success when implementing PJBL in an integrated, mathematics curriculum for the first time.
    • The Exploration of Research Practices in the Field of Gamification

      Sutter, Kyle
      The current state of gamification research is under criticism for a variety of reasons including the lack of structure, lack of rigour, and confusion of terms occurring in the field (Hamari, 2015; Hamari & Koivisto, 2015; Hamari, Koivisto, & Sarsa, 2014; Mekler, Brühlmann, Tuch, & Opwis, 2015; Seaborn & Fels, 2015). This study investigated these criticisms by exploring the perspectives of gamification researchers who conduct or have conducted gamification research at Canadian Universities. Four professors at Canadian Universities were interviewed for their perspective of the current state of gamification research. The professors garnered ideas on how to improve the field of gamification research. This study utilized criteria for gamification developed by Hamari et al. (2014) that requires research to a) be peer-reviewed, b) have empirical evidence, c) explicate research methods, d) identify motivational affordances, e) provides an outcome (Psychological or Behavioural), and f) be on gamification (Hamari et al., 2014). Using Hamari’s conceptual framework and a collective case study methodology, this study used semi-structured interviews to develop suggestions from gamification researchers to identify methods on how to improve research practices. The improvements included the need for more a) arm-length studies, b) detail concerning the methodology and methods used, c) longitudinal studies, d) use of cross-curricular teams, and e) theoretical frameworks that are developed from the field of gamification research. This study revealed a distinct tone of optimism and provides recommendations for future research studies and advice for novice gamification researchers.
    • An Exploration of Teachers’ Approaches to Positive Education and Character Development: Curriculum Implementation, Assessment, and Outcomes

      Pissoto Moreira, Flavia
      Adolescence is highly influenced by significant physical, biological, and psychological changes, as well as by one’s environment; in turn, negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, and violent behaviour can arise if these influences are not constructive. Additionally, not all children have family support or are raised in an environment that fosters their positive development. In this context, schools may play a vital role, especially through the implementation of positive education and character development programs. Although the current literature presents several studies in this area, there is no consensus in the scholarship regarding the most appropriate practice for implementing positive education and character development initiatives; moreover, there is scarce literature on assessment measurements in this domain. Based on this premise, I explored how an elementary and a secondary teacher at a private boarding school in Southern Ontario implement and assess positive education in the curriculum. Further, I examined the outcomes achieved through positive education by these teachers, as well as the related impact on students’ character development. Using a qualitative thematic analysis, I was provided with substantial data through in-depth interviews with the participants. Findings indicate that teachers are the main individuals responsible for the development of positive education initiatives, and their preparedness and motivation to teach promotes positive outcomes. Furthermore, although no formal strategies to measure their outcomes were reported, the study findings reveal that participants’ approaches to positive education – either through character strengths or the promotion of positive states, such as positive relationships, engagement, and positive emotions – have constructively influenced the development of students’ characters.
    • An Exploration of the Impact of Ontario Integrated Secondary Programs Through the Perceptions of their Graduates

      Carmichael, Warren
      The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of participating in an integrated program at the secondary level on students’ lives based on their postsecondary perceptions. A basic interpretive qualitative design was employed in this study. Ten semistructured interviews were conducted with graduates of integrated program as the means of data collection. It was found that the integrated programs accomplished objectives in close alignment with the mandated curriculum expectations regarding integrated programs. Some of the most powerful impacts related to students' learning skills, such as collaboration and social skills, and how to create as well as participate in community. A strong connection between participating in integrated programs and vocational guidance was also identified. The results led to the recommendation that integrated programs be explored as a platform for delivering 21st century education as they closely paralleled the objectives prescribed by a number of authors who detailed the role of education in the 21st century.
    • An Exploration of the Motivation of Chinese Students for Studying in a Master of Education Degree in Canada

      Wang, Shimeng; Wang, Shimeng
      China has become the largest source of international students moving to western countries including the USA, the UK, Australia, and Canada (OECD, 2016). Research on international students’ motivation to study abroad provided insights into the benefits of overseas study and categorized potential factors under the “push and pull” model which divided these motivators into aspects of both the home and host countries. However, few studies focused on Chinese international postgraduates’ decision-making process. Using a basic interpretative qualitative research method, this study explored the motivations of Chinese students pursuing a Master degree in an Ontario university. Data was collected by open-ended in-depth interviews. Participants were eight Chinese international students from a Master program specialized for international students. The narratives provided information as to why they chose to study in Canada, with the themes summarizing this information under the push and pull factors. The findings indicate that of the various reasons cited for deciding to study abroad among the students surveyed, immigration was the primary motivation. The reasons given by the students for wanting to emigrate from China can be explained by a number of push and pull factors, as can their decision to study abroad.
    • Exploring Ontario Universities’ Strategic Mandate Agreements’ New Performance-Based Model in Relation to SMA’s Original Differentiation Goals

      Clare, Matt
      Efforts have been underway for over a decade to define and differentiate Ontario’s postsecondary education (PSE) system by creating differentiation clusters out of the 21 universities and 24 colleges, the primary tool being strategic mandate agreements (SMAs). In 2019 through 2020, the third iterations of SMAs (SMA3) were negotiated. This research discusses SMA3’s 10 new Performance-Based Funding (PBF) metrics that will govern up to 60% of provincial transfers. SMA3 also introduces an institutionally allocated metric weighing scheme. A summary of PBF literature and Ontario’s SMA policy is followed by descriptions of each metric accompanied by relevant experience with similar PBF programs in other jurisdictions, and a discussion of each metric’s implementation. Metrics created for SMA3 are justified only by their adherence to neoliberal new public management objectives; not PBF literature. SMA3 fails to incorporate established mitigations against access bias while introducing the risk of untested and ideologically motivated metrics.
    • Exploring the Design Process and Components of an Elementary Literacy Guide in an Ontario School Board Initiative

      Donahue, Krissa
      The skill to identify and use best practices in literacy to promote achievement for students of all abilities cannot be underestimated by elementary educators. This qualitative case study investigates 1 year of a literacy initiative for primary and junior educators organized by a southern Ontario school board. The goals of the initiative were to design a literacy guide for teachers while building teacher capacity with literacy practices. Data were culled and analyzed from an examination of the guide, the meetings’ field notes and artifacts, as well as interviews with the educators at the end of the year. Several themes from the results emerged. The educators perceived the design process as unclear but the collaborative components were deemed valuable. The guide’s incompletion led to mixed reactions from the educators about the guide and its structure. Overall, the first year of the 3-year initiative acted as a catalyst for professional learning on literacy. The findings of this study accentuated the value of training educators to use empirical research to support their practices and professional knowledge. Also, the significance of promoting strong leadership with a comprehensive layout consisting of coherent tangible goals for professional development is highlighted.
    • Factors Contributing to Reading Performance: An In-Depth Analysis of the “Boy Crisis”

      Sanci, Dina (2013-09-26)
      This research used a quantitative study approach to investigate the “boy crisis” in Canada. Boy crisis advocates suggest that boys are being surpassed by girls on reading assessments and promote strategies to assist male students. A feminist framework was used in this study that allowed for an investigation and discussion of the factors that mediate between gender and success at reading comprehension, interpretation, and response to text without ignoring female students. Reading scores and questionnaire data compiled by the Pan-Canadian Assessment Program were used in this research, specifically the PCAP-13 2007 assessment of approximately 30,000 13-year-old students from all Canadian provinces and Yukon Territory (CMEC, 2008). Approximately 20,000 participants wrote the reading assessment, while 30,000 students completed the questionnaire responses. Predictor variables were tested using parametric tests such as independent samples t-test, one-way ANOVA, chi-square analysis, and Pearson r. Findings from this study indicate that although boys scored lower than girls on the PCAP-13 2007 reading assessment, factors were found to influence the reading scores of both male and female students to varying degrees. Socioeconomic status, perceptions of the reading material used in language arts classrooms, reading preference, reading interest, parental involvement, parental encouragement for reading, and self-efficacy were all found to affect the reading performance of boys and girls. Relationships between variables were also found and are discussed in this research. The analysis presented in this study allows parents, educators, and policy makers to begin to critically examine and re-evaluate boy crisis literature and offers suggestions on how to improve reading performance for all students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
    • Faculty Perspectives on E-Learning Policy in a Canadian University

      Oake, Sharon
      This qualitative multi-method study investigated faculty member perspectives on e-learning policy, and its influence on their use of e-learning. The research was conducted at one medium sized comprehensive university in Ontario, Canada. Data were collected from interviews with 12 full-time faculty members, eight of whom had taught at least one online undergraduate university course. Data were also collected from institutional and government documents. Respondents noted e-learning increased flexibility and/or convenience with respect to both their engagement with students, and student engagement with course material. E-learning was identified positively for its ability to save time by some respondents, and negatively as being time intensive by others. Increased student and government demand for on-line courses, as well as the opportunity to use technology for instructional purposes, increased respondents’ use of e-learning. Additionally, the university’s pedagogical centre, which provided direct support to respondents, was considered key in supporting their transition to e-learning. Respondents were generally unable to identify specific university policy related to e-learning, and some noted the lack of specific policy had hampered e-learning course development in their departments. The documents reviewed tended to view e-learning in favourable terms, highlighting it as a response to changing political, economic, and societal conditions, and promoting it for its ability to reduce costs to the university, increase student enrolment, and provide more equitable access to university programs, particularly for under-represented groups such as new Canadians, Indigenous peoples, and first-generations students. Whereas government documents tended to focus on mandates (e.g. the intent to change the university system based on each university’s strengths), institutional documents focused on teaching, learning, and e-learning, both in response to government mandates, and in alignment with the University’s strategic direction. Collectively, the documents shared the respondents’ perceptions regarding flexibility, time, and demand. However, while government documents focused on issues of cost, changing conditions, enrolment and equitable access, institutional documents explained e-learning, the differences with face-to-face teaching and learning, and how best to integrate e-learning into practice.
    • Feedback on Academic Writing: ESL Instructors' and ESL Students' Perspectives

      Li, Yue
      Most international students strive to meet writing requirements at the postsecondary level, and they are a group that need additional instructions and help on academic writing. Feedback has been widely used as a pedagogical intervention to help language learners with their writing, but effective feedback has not always been achieved. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore teaching pedagogies related to feedback strategies by analyzing students’ and instructors’ perceptions in the ESL context. From a sociocultural perspective, this study analyzed participants’ perceptions of the effectiveness of feedback and students’ engagement with instructors’ feedback. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, a focus group, and email questionnaires. Key findings of this research include students’ reliance on written feedback, the value of feedback conferences and dialogues, and the need to generate more feedback engagements and interactions. The study also discusses the pedagogical implications of findings and makes suggestions for future practice and research.