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. 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
  2. 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
  3. Flipping Biology Classes

    Title: Flipping Biology Classes
    Creator: Alkhatam, Amira H.
    Description: In 21st century classrooms, labs and technology play a crucial role in understanding biological structures, functions, and processes related to human anatomy and physiology. However, the lack of scientific and technological tools in many high schools in Saudi Arabia has an adverse impact on both the teaching and learning processes. The flipped classroom is a new and alternative model of instruction that moves the lecture out of the formal environment in the class, assigning it instead as homework, and uses the class time to do activities attempting to promote students’ learning. The integration of the flipping method into the instructional system can contribute to solving problems that most educators encounter in their teaching, facilitate teaching and learning topics that seem invisible to the learners, and activate the learning environment in the classroom. The purpose of my project is to explore what is involved in creating a flipped environment. I develop an example unit plan, which consists of the specific learning outcomes of this unit, the online materials, and the classroom activities, and accompanying resources to design flipped lessons on the digestive system. The literature on constructivist approaches and flipped classes is used to guide my unit plan and creation of online resources. In addition, I share my experience of developing these resources to help other teachers who are interested in doing the same. While the development of these resources is time consuming, the outcomes of this investment are worthwhile for both teachers and their students.
    Subjects: Biology, Education
    Date Created: 2016/2/13
  4. 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
  5. Dance Simulation Games in Physical Education

    Title: Dance Simulation Games in Physical Education
    Creator: Barron, Brett N.
    Description: Recently, a new wave of gaming known as active gaming or exergaming has shown it can be an educationally functional and enjoyable method of learning within areas of the curriculum which highlight dance or other individual activities. This study aimed to better understand the impact dance and rhythm exergames had on students within a physical education setting and whether or not these devices should be a consideration for practitioners within the field of physical education to aid in curricular instruction. This concurrent mixed methods study rotated the dance and rhythm exergame, Dance Dance Revolution Classroom Edition, among six participating schools within an urban school district in Alberta, Canada. Cooperating schools used the exergaming tool for approximately three weeks. During this time students came into contact with the dance and rhythm exergame due to its insertion into regularly scheduled physical education classes. Each of the participating schools designated a lead teacher responsible for the use and maintenance of the equipment. After participants had used the equipment for approximately three weeks, lead teachers administered a five point Likert-type scale survey, allowing students to rate their motivation and attitude levels towards the device. In an effort to triangulate the data, two group interviews were conducted with three students within each of the respective age demographics: one group to represent the elementary sites, and another group of junior high students. A total of 121 students participated in the study, 64 females and 57 males. Data from the surveys was analyzed in four separate categories then analyzed with the qualitative group interview data. First, each individual site was examined, next elementary students were compared to secondary students, then male survey results were compared to female, and finally the results of all the surveys were looked at as a whole. Overall, the use of a multiplayer dance and rhythm exergame within a physical education setting was a safe and enjoyable experience for the majority of participants. This study noted high levels of intrinsic motivation towards the use of dance and rhythm exergames within a physical education dance unit. In particular, female and elementary aged participants showcased the highest efficacy levels towards the multiplayer dance and rhythm exergame intervention. Additionally, despite how interested students were in the game a high rate of student participation was sustained throughout the intervention period. Overall, large-scale multiplayer exergaming devices are still in their infancy and more time is required to better understand the long-term sustainability of these devices before jumping to spend large sums of money to purchase the equipment. However, based on the results of this study it is clear that participants viewed the multiplayer dance and rhythm exergames as a natural component within a PE program, both now and in the future. Therefore, future research should focus on and continue to develop the topics highlighted in this study.
    Subjects: Children or Youth, Physical Activity, Health, Physical Education, Dance Simulation, Exergame, Active Game, Dance
    Date Created: 2014/12/11
  6. Environmental Outdoor Education and Exposure to Nature: The Positive Effects on Student Wellness and Academic Achievement

    Title: Environmental Outdoor Education and Exposure to Nature: The Positive Effects on Student Wellness and Academic Achievement
    Creator: Bagshaw, William B.
    Description: The purpose of my final project is to evaluate the research literature that examines how Environmental Outdoor Education (EOE), and similar type activities, can improve student wellness and academic achievement through exposure to nature and the outdoors. This evaluation takes the form of an annotated bibliography, which I feel will not only satisfy my goal to know more about this topic, but will also be useful for future reference by other interested parties. I am not aware of any other such annotated bibliography at the University of Alberta or in Alberta in general. If I expect to advance EOE I thought it would be best to create a resource that others with similar interest can use and possibly add to the progress of EOE. I also include in my capping project a script of the possible presentation I hope to give to the Edmonton Public School Board elected trustees. My presentation would focus on how EOE can improve the academic achievement, as well as the mental and emotional well-being, of the students in Edmonton Public Schools. It is my goal that Edmonton Public School Board will take the necessary steps to promote and advance EOE across the school board, so that it will become a highly valued and respected option that is taught by experts in the schools within which it is offered. Research suggests that when adolescents participate in activities inherent in Environmental Outdoor Education, not only do they increase their physical well-being, but there also are measurable improvements in self-esteem, self-worth, confidence, and social well-being, as well as reductions in stress levels (Davidson, 2001; Hattie, Marsh, Neill, & Richards, 1997; McLeod & Allen-Craig, 2007). There are also studies that show how exposure to nature improves mental ability which can translate into improved academic success ( Berman, Jonides & Kaplan, 2008). The terms: Outdoor Education, Adventure Education, Wilderness Education, Outdoor Pursuits and Experiential Education are a part of Environmental Outdoor Education. In the following paper they all will be referred to by the term Environmental Outdoor Education.
    Subjects: Nature and student wellness, Outdoor Education, Environmental Outdoor Education and student wellness, Environmental Outdoor Education and student achivement, Nature and student achivement
    Date Created: March 27, 2014
  7. Climate Change Resources for Today’s Alberta Classroom

    Title: Climate Change Resources for Today’s Alberta Classroom
    Creator: Stan Bissell
    Description: Climate change is an important issue and educators have a responsibility to prepare students to face the challenges and future changes that climate change presents. Unfortunately, public uncertainty about the extent and causes of climate change and the interdisciplinary nature of the climate change topic present significant barriers to effectively teaching this topic. In spite of the Alberta Science 10 Program of Studies including climate change, Science 10 teachers in Alberta tend to de-emphasize, or even omit, the teaching of the climate unit. Authorized Science 10 teaching resources are outdated, do not address some major misconceptions about climate change, present limited actions to address climate change, and in one case, even perpetuate uncertainty about some aspects of climate change that are considered very certain by the scientific community. This Master’s project aims to detail the strengths and limitations of the current authorized climate change resources, and to identify teaching and learning resources that are able to supplement these resources. By finding flexible, accessible, and engaging climate change resources, teachers in Alberta may be better equipped to address misconceptions and will hopefully be more encouraged to give the topic of climate change the emphasis that it deserves.
    Subjects: climate change, teaching resources, uncertainty, Alberta, misconceptions, interdisciplinary
    Date Created: 2015/08/15
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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