ERA

Master of Education: Secondary Education Final Projects

Description: Course-based M.Ed. students in the Department of Secondary Education are required to complete a final inquiry project at the end of their Master's programs. M.Ed. projects are governed by three underlying principles: 1) the exploration of an inquiry question of academic and professional interest. 2) the creation of knowledge as a result of the inquiry. 3) the dissemination of knowledge to the appropriate audiences. Departmental contacts are the Graduate Coordinator and/or the Graduate Programs Administrator.
Items in this Collection
  1. Grading with Compassion: Transposing the Tensionality of Lived and Planned Assessment

    Title: Grading with Compassion: Transposing the Tensionality of Lived and Planned Assessment
    Creator: Erin Ochoa
    Description: Growing anxiety, disconnection with the environment, and the prospect of school and work as endless competition seem to characterize some of the more damaging elements of contemporary society. In an educational system that overvalues competition and compartmentalization, where are the spaces for teachers to demonstrate care? In this paper, within the local landscape of teaching as mapped out in current curriculum documents provided by Alberta Education, I consider the pedagogical and ethical obligation of tending to the student-teacher relationship as one of care. Through an autoethnographic examination of memory and curriculum towards a teaching practice of care and forgiveness, I examine past encounters with the emotional work of assessment in order to map the culture and place of assessment in the ecology of English Education, particularly as guided by the Alberta Senior High English Language Arts Program of Studies. Through this research, I have gained insight into the possibilities of care and mindfulness as a Senior High English teacher, operating within the current constraints of the contemporary educational system.
    Subjects: Mindfulness, Assessment, Ethics of Care, Autoethnography, English Language Arts, High Stakes Assessment
    Date Created: 2016/8/15
  2. Inviting the Body into the Classroom

    Title: Inviting the Body into the Classroom
    Creator: Megan Davey
    Description: This project explores the body as a way of knowing in an educational dance classroom. The purpose of this research is to demonstrate the importance of acknowledging and fostering the body in education, and to offer teachers a means for inviting the body into their classrooms through activities. This research resides in an animated paradigm, which conceives the world as organic, alive, and in flux. Here both the body and the unconscious are valued. Using C. G. Jung’s theories of analytical psychology, focusing on active imagination and the unconscious, along with the educational philosophies of Alfred N. Whitehead, where bodily feelings and experience are crucial for learning, bodily awareness is proposed as another way of knowing, and thus should be invited into and fostered within the classroom so to enhance student learning. From an educational perspective, the body is alive and so an active part of learning. The body is central to our lived experiences, connecting past to present, even future, and according to Jung, it too reveals the unconscious. The body is always apprehending and sensing the world, but it is not until one acknowledges these felt sensations, and explores them further, that awareness is developed. In using the guiding theories of Whitehead, Jung and some of Jung’s key students: Joan Chodorow, Judith Harris, Mary Starks-Whitehouse, Tina Stromsted, and Marion Woodman, I develop a teacher resource, in the form of activity cards, so to invite the body into the classroom. There are 16 cards divided into 3 categories: “Getting into the Body”, “Body Activities”, and “Grounding” cards. The cards are presented in a specific order, conducive to the process. The aim of each category of cards is to assist students in developing deep listening practices by quieting the mind and bringing awareness to the body through the “Getting into the Body” cards, to engage in a dialogue between the conscious and the unconscious with the “Body” cards, and to return awareness from the body and the inner world back into the space, grounding and rooting the individual with the “Grounding” cards. There is also an instruction manual to assist teachers in presenting the cards to their students. By selecting, creating, and presenting these cards, knowing with the body is made more accessible for teachers to support their students. What arises from my research is that the body plays a significant part in learning and when given the opportunity it can reveal one’s character, desires, hopes, and history. By acknowledging the body in the classroom students become more aware of the continual responses of the body and in turn develop a greater sense of self and even well-being. When teachers provide embodied learning opportunities for students, in the circumstances of their actual life, learning becomes meaningful and valuable for the individual. As we begin to understand ourselves as “bodily,” our relations with one another, tree, bird, vegetable, and building, may start to reflect this respect and care. Keywords: active imagination, analytical psychology, animated paradigm, bodily awareness, body as knower, dance classroom, depth psychology, education, unconscious
    Subjects: Bodily Awareness, Education, Dance Education, Analytical Psychology, Animated Paradigm, Body as Knower, Depth Psychology
    Date Created: 2016/08/16
  3. The Comparability of Standardized Paper-and-Pencil and Computer-based Mathematics Tests in Alberta

    Title: The Comparability of Standardized Paper-and-Pencil and Computer-based Mathematics Tests in Alberta
    Creator: Rolheiser, Delcy
    Description: This mixed-methods study examines the relationship between of the mode of test administration and the student test scores for a standardized mathematics exam administered in the province of Alberta. To determine how the results of the paper-and-pencil version of the 2013 Mathematics 9 Provincial Achievement Exam compare to the results of the identical computer-based version, the overall mean test scores, individual item difficulty values and item discrimination values from each version of the exam were compared. Using a significance level of .05, a two-tailed T-test for independent measures determined that the mean test score of the digital version of the standardized exam is significantly higher than the mean test score for students that completed the paper-and-pencil version. A Z-score analysis comparing the proportions of test-takers that answered each question correctly from each version of the exam determined that 21 items have significantly different item difficulties between the two test modes. Fisher’s r to z transformation calculations identified 2 items that have significantly different item discrimination values between the test modes. One item was identified as having performance differences in both the Z-score and Fisher’s r to z calculations. The number of questions identified for having significant differences between the paper-and-pencil test and the computer-based exam indicate that there may be a relationship between the mode of test administration and the difficulty of individual items. The ability of an item to discriminate between students with different ability levels in mathematics does not appear to be impacted by the mode of test administration. However, as demographic information about test participants was not collected as part of this project, definitive conclusions about the relationship between the mean test scores, item difficulty and item discrimination values and the mode of administration cannot be made. In an effort to determine patterns in the items that exhibit differences in item statistics, questions were categorized by the content domain, the cognitive domain, the structural components that may impact how test-takers view the item and the mathematical processes required to answer the question. The identified items represent all four content domains almost equally but a substantial portion of the items in the moderate complexity category (in the cognitive domain) exhibit performance differences. Items that require multiple arithmetic calculations, contain complex diagrams, or diagrams with missing measurements have been identified for having differences in item statistics more frequently than items that involve geometric manipulations or graphing on the Cartesian plane. However, more research is needed to better understand the relationship between the mode of administration and the performance of questions especially if items contain longer reading passages or combine multiple mathematical procedures. The results of the study also indicate that future comparative research studies need to examine if test-takers modify the strategies they use to solve questions on digital mathematics assessments to determine if a change in problem-solving strategies impact overall test scores or individual item statistics.
    Subjects: Comparability of test modes, computer-based testing, K-12 mathematics assessment, standardized exams
    Date Created: 2016/08/24
  4. Re-addressing High School Students’ Novel Needs: Choosing and Using Popular Young Adult Fiction in High School English Classrooms

    Title: Re-addressing High School Students’ Novel Needs: Choosing and Using Popular Young Adult Fiction in High School English Classrooms
    Creator: Amy Hough
    Description: This project offers designs for lesson plans, based on the popular young adult literature (YAL) and television series Pretty Little Liars (PLL), by Sara Shepard, in an effort to encourage grade 10 English teachers to use YAL that is popular with their students in their classrooms. The individual lesson plans—which can be used separately or mixed and matched to contribute to a unit plan—are based on positive identity formation, transactional reading, student-centered learning, multiple forms of representation and bidirectional learning between student and teacher. The lessons include: identity development as constructed in literature and high school life; analyzing character through found poetry; examining life (or lack thereof) without technology, an autobiographical challenge; comparing and contrasting literature and television; exploring fan culture and its effects on literature, television and film; and a final project in which students collaborate with the teacher to determine what their final project will be, how learning will be defined and how it will be represented. This masters’ project begins by drawing the reader’s attention to the notion that many texts chosen for study in the English classroom go unread because they fail to engage the students. A literature review follows detailing the classic English canon and studies conducted regarding its use and student engagement as well as the benefits of using YAL in the classroom. The literature review then looks at possible reasons why teachers aren’t bringing YAL into the English classroom, finally turning its focus on two areas of literacy research, silent sustained reading and the connection between literature and identity development. The literature review is followed by a description of the PLL books and the TV series, focusing on the differences between the two and the most salient factors in each medium. Reasons for choosing the PLL series for this project are explained, such as: pop culture tie-ins enabling students to take the role of experts in classroom; the plotlines offering excellent examples for a study of identity development; the (mis)use of technology; a TV counterpart; numerous allusions; insights into the opposite sex; and the idea that this series was chosen based on the psychology of the teenager rather than trying to guess what teens may find engaging. The type of teacher who may want to teach this unit is described as one who is willing to collaborate with students, is willing to let students develop their own meanings and one who is familiar with the series. It is intended the project will be disseminated via PLL fan sites.
    Subjects: English, language arts, high school, lesson plan*, YAL, young adult literature, popular fiction, Pretty Little Liars, youth culture, identity development, fan culture, student centered teaching, student centered learning
    Date Created: 2016
  5. Vocational cross-curricular program for at-risk students

    Title: Vocational cross-curricular program for at-risk students
    Creator: Stéphan De Loof
    Description: Alberta is an industrial force within Canada. Nonetheless, it is a travesty that there is still a high percentage of students who fail to complete their high school education. Despite many initiatives to improve student retention and promote high school completion within the province, there continues to be groups present in the Albertan society who remained educationally disadvantaged. These groups include individuals who may have not completed their secondary education and consequently will have difficulty finding steady employment and opportunities for future career advancement. The research for this paper focuses on the study and assessment of programs geared towards retaining high risk learners at school and discusses the possibility of developing an industrial arts program with the goal of offering opportunities for vocational students to complete their high school education. In particular, this research examines the practice of specialized industrial arts education and proposes a cross-curricular learning program that utilizes skills to allow regular and academic at-risk high school students to complete their high school education by increasing their academic ability through the development of practical vocational skills in applied programs.
    Subjects: Vocational education, At-Risk students, Cross-Curricular Learning
    Date Created: 2015/08/15
  6. Creating Space for Contemplation: Infusing Mindfulness and Awareness Activities in English Language Arts Classes

    Title: Creating Space for Contemplation: Infusing Mindfulness and Awareness Activities in English Language Arts Classes
    Creator: Karen Jacobsen
    Description: Influenced by broader societal trends, mindfulness training and movement meditation practices within disciplines such as yoga have gained rapidly growing acceptance in education. This project addresses initiatives to promote the cultivation of mindful awareness and compassion within public schools. In Part 1, the author describes the lived experience of cultivating mindfulness and other qualities important to well-being throughout over thirty years of contemplative practice in her personal and professional life as a secondary English Language Arts teacher. Part 2 provides an overview of the growing body of current research into Mindfulness Based Interventions (MBIs) involving school-age children, teachers, and college students and pre-service teachers which report promising results in a wide range of physical, emotional, and social areas. Arising from the recommendations that mindfulness training for students should be conducted by instructors who are well-established in the practice themselves, there is a perceived need for more trained professionals in the school setting. MBIs for teachers result in very high self-reports of efficacy and acceptability, leading to recommendations that this type of program should be integrated into pre-service and in-service teacher training. While a definition of mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, p. 4) is referenced by the majority of the researchers, various interpretations of this concept are discussed. The author encourages teachers to see mindfulness as a skill that is not only developed through meditative training outside of the classroom, but also as a way of being and attending within it. Part 3 of this project provides a variety of activities that expand beyond the scope of many currently popular mindfulness programs, falling into four broad categories: cultivating nature-awareness through sensory-based contemplative activities, including appreciation of indigenous ways of knowing; cultivating somatic awareness through contemplative physical activities; cultivating social, psychological, and emotional awareness through active imagination; and cultivating awareness and creativity through arts-based contemplative activities. The activities included are intended not only to promote an ability to focus attention and reduce stress, but to develop concentration through interested absorption, particularly in English Language Arts classes. These varied types of contemplative practice give permission to slow down from the usual harried pace of the classroom to create a classroom climate that fosters, more broadly, the tranquility of a contemplative life. This project encourages teachers to create space for silence, time, and inspiring subjects for contemplation. Cautioning that the current popularity of MBIs in schools is a trend that could be reduced to simply a method of more efficiently managing and regulating the behaviour and thoughts of the adults and students within the system, the author promotes infusing contemplative practices with the opposite objectives: wonder and openness to infinite possibility; a path to insights that transcend familiar reality; embracing complexity, ambiguity, and paradox; and cultivation of compassion and empathy through meaningful relationships.
    Subjects: mindfulness, contemplative education, student and teacher well-being
    Date Created: 2016/03/29
  7. Using Wisdom Traditions to Engage and Decolonize a School Community

    Title: Using Wisdom Traditions to Engage and Decolonize a School Community
    Creator: Trevor Van Someren
    Description: Using autobiographical narratives reflecting on personal growth experiences with wisdom traditions, this project examines how a school community can engage with wisdom traditions as a positive method of decolonization. The project reflects on how purposeful leadership is used to embed wisdom traditions into the day to day climate of a school community. It reflects on wisdom traditions including the use of Elders, the use of story, ceremony, and smudging. Some key findings were that since schools played a key role in colonization in particular through the use of residential schools and the denying of First Nations, Metis and Inuit cultural representation within educational institutions. As such educational institutions need to change as opposed to expecting First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people to change. Educational institutions need to reach out to families to invite involvement in their school community in relevant and meaningful ways while honouring traditional protocols when applicable. Further findings indicate that some teachers may be hesitant to teach from a First Nations perspective, and that teachers need to value learning from Elders and wisdom traditions along with their students in order for the learning opportunities to be most effective. In addition, traditional ceremonial practices are an important part of school culture and they need to be viewed as ceremony, not as performative events for student’s entertainment. Ceremony in schools provide an important opportunity for healing and growth for the school and for the surrounding First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities in light of the history of colonization and residential schooling. Involving ceremony in schools also creates powerful learning and leadership opportunities for staff and students to engage with Elders and local government leaders in the planning of the ceremonies as well as in the reflective conversations that could occur during and after the ceremonies with students. This final project focusses on building engagement within a school and speaks about acknowledging and embracing the ethical space that exists between cultures. It focusses on strengthening relationships through the use of wisdom traditions in purposeful ways through leadership. As colonization focussed on the structured denying of relationships between family, language, place ceremony, and culture; decolonization can therefore occur through the purposeful rebuilding of relationships. Overall, the project as a whole seeks to model the use of story as a teaching tool to share the author’s personal growth that occurred as a result of reflecting on his own experiences with wisdom traditions and connecting them to relevant literature and cultural practices.
    Subjects: Wisdom Traditions, Engagement, Decolonization, Wahkotowin, Relationships, School Community, Residential Schools, Story, Elders, Circle, Ceremony, Smudging, Narrative Autobiography
    Date Created: 2016/04/29
  8. Appendix C - Wahkotowin Report

    Title: Appendix C - Wahkotowin Report
    Creator: Trevor Van Someren
    Description: Using autobiographical narratives reflecting on personal growth experiences with wisdom traditions, this project examines how a school community can engage with wisdom traditions as a positive method of decolonization. The project reflects on how purposeful leadership is used to embed wisdom traditions into the day to day climate of a school community. It reflects on wisdom traditions including the use of Elders, the use of story, ceremony, and smudging. Some key findings were that since schools played a key role in colonization in particular through the use of residential schools and the denying of First Nations, Metis and Inuit cultural representation within educational institutions. As such educational institutions need to change as opposed to expecting First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people to change. Educational institutions need to reach out to families to invite involvement in their school community in relevant and meaningful ways while honouring traditional protocols when applicable. Further findings indicate that some teachers may be hesitant to teach from a First Nations perspective, and that teachers need to value learning from Elders and wisdom traditions along with their students in order for the learning opportunities to be most effective. In addition, traditional ceremonial practices are an important part of school culture and they need to be viewed as ceremony, not as performative events for student’s entertainment. Ceremony in schools provide an important opportunity for healing and growth for the school and for the surrounding First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities in light of the history of colonization and residential schooling. Involving ceremony in schools also creates powerful learning and leadership opportunities for staff and students to engage with Elders and local government leaders in the planning of the ceremonies as well as in the reflective conversations that could occur during and after the ceremonies with students. This final project focusses on building engagement within a school and speaks about acknowledging and embracing the ethical space that exists between cultures. It focusses on strengthening relationships through the use of wisdom traditions in purposeful ways through leadership. As colonization focussed on the structured denying of relationships between family, language, place ceremony, and culture; decolonization can therefore occur through the purposeful rebuilding of relationships. Overall, the project as a whole seeks to model the use of story as a teaching tool to share the author’s personal growth that occurred as a result of reflecting on his own experiences with wisdom traditions and connecting them to relevant literature and cultural practices.
    Subjects: Wisdom Traditions, Engagement, Decolonization, Wahkotowin, Relationships, School Community, Residential Schools, Story, Elders, Circle, Ceremony, Smudging, Narrative Autobiography
    Date Created: 2016/04/29
  9. Appendix E - Administrative Procedure 163 - Remembrance Day Ceremonies

    Title: Appendix E - Administrative Procedure 163 - Remembrance Day Ceremonies
    Creator: Trevor Van Someren
    Description: Using autobiographical narratives reflecting on personal growth experiences with wisdom traditions, this project examines how a school community can engage with wisdom traditions as a positive method of decolonization. The project reflects on how purposeful leadership is used to embed wisdom traditions into the day to day climate of a school community. It reflects on wisdom traditions including the use of Elders, the use of story, ceremony, and smudging. Some key findings were that since schools played a key role in colonization in particular through the use of residential schools and the denying of First Nations, Metis and Inuit cultural representation within educational institutions. As such educational institutions need to change as opposed to expecting First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people to change. Educational institutions need to reach out to families to invite involvement in their school community in relevant and meaningful ways while honouring traditional protocols when applicable. Further findings indicate that some teachers may be hesitant to teach from a First Nations perspective, and that teachers need to value learning from Elders and wisdom traditions along with their students in order for the learning opportunities to be most effective. In addition, traditional ceremonial practices are an important part of school culture and they need to be viewed as ceremony, not as performative events for student’s entertainment. Ceremony in schools provide an important opportunity for healing and growth for the school and for the surrounding First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities in light of the history of colonization and residential schooling. Involving ceremony in schools also creates powerful learning and leadership opportunities for staff and students to engage with Elders and local government leaders in the planning of the ceremonies as well as in the reflective conversations that could occur during and after the ceremonies with students. This final project focusses on building engagement within a school and speaks about acknowledging and embracing the ethical space that exists between cultures. It focusses on strengthening relationships through the use of wisdom traditions in purposeful ways through leadership. As colonization focussed on the structured denying of relationships between family, language, place ceremony, and culture; decolonization can therefore occur through the purposeful rebuilding of relationships. Overall, the project as a whole seeks to model the use of story as a teaching tool to share the author’s personal growth that occurred as a result of reflecting on his own experiences with wisdom traditions and connecting them to relevant literature and cultural practices.
    Subjects: Wisdom Traditions, Engagement, Decolonization, Wahkotowin, Relationships, School Community, Residential Schools, Story, Elders, Circle, Ceremony, Smudging, Narrative Autobiography
    Date Created: 2016/04/29
  10. An Inquiry into the Experiences of a Mathematics Teacher: As a Teacher in Canada and as a Student from East Asia

    Title: An Inquiry into the Experiences of a Mathematics Teacher: As a Teacher in Canada and as a Student from East Asia
    Creator: Ngoc Ton
    Description: East Asian students consistently rank among the best internationally in mathematics. This inquiry examined relationships between East Asian cultural values and mathematics achievement of East Asian students in international assessments. I also examined relationships between Singaporean junior high students’ mathematics achievement and their attitudes toward mathematics and mathematics learning. By writing personal responses to the findings of the international studies, I began to understand the importance of attending to my instructional practices. I was able to reflect on this by inquiring into my experiences both as a teacher in Canada who was also a student in East Asia. The findings in my inquiry have prompted me to shift my instructional practices by attending to students’ attitudes toward mathematics and mathematics learning in the classroom as well as becoming aware of my own conceptions of mathematics teaching and learning.
    Subjects: Mathematics, East Asian, Mathematics attitudes, Mathematics achievement
    Date Created: 2016/03/30