Faculty of Education Graduate Theses

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    Exploring the attitudes of preservice secondary science teachers towards implementing equity, diversity and inclusion in science education
    (2024-05-16) Hodges, Ethan; Education; Ahn, Claire
    School boards throughout Ontario have a documented history of instances where both educators and students from historically marginalized communities have encountered discrimination, racism, homophobia, and/or transphobia. Over the past two decades, the ideas of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) have been formally articulated as primary objectives within elementary, intermediate, and secondary classrooms in the province. Given the demographic disparities between larger urban cities and smaller cities within Ontario, focusing on pre-service science teachers (PSSTs) in smaller settings is essential to highlight the unique challenges PSSTs may face in navigating homogenous environments most often found in smaller cities. The hope them is to empower personalized strategies to address potential biases and ensure equitable teaching practices, thereby fostering a more EDI driven science education landscape in smaller cities and schoolboards. This thesis aims to disseminate findings that delved into the attitudes of seven secondary pre-service science teachers (PSST) towards learning about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) within the Bachelor of Education program in a Southeastern city in Ontario. This study was grounded in critical pedagogy and culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy and was guided by the following research questions: (1) What attitudes do secondary PSSTs hold regarding learning about EDI in their content area? (2) How do secondary PSSTs conceptualize EDI within the contexts of science classrooms? Implementing a case study, the two research questions were explored through focus groups. Findings highlight PSSTs awareness of EDI and the factors that influence PSSTs attitudes towards EDI in their content area but struggle to understand the relevance and importance of EDI. This study is important as it sheds light on the critical need to address EDI in science teacher education to establish critical teaching for safe, EDI focused classrooms.
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    Journeying Towards Decolonization and Allyship Through Un-Learning and Re-Learning
    (2024-05-16) Blancher, Karen Randall; Education; McGregor, Heather
    This study’s purpose is to document and share my learning journey in the process of decolonization, as a non-Indigenous administrator pursuing un-learning and re-learning, while working in a high school that has a dormitory for Indigenous students to reside. This self-study is shaped by the work of Marie Battiste (2010) who speaks to decolonizing the mind. I share my experiences primarily for an audience of non-Indigenous educators and administrators who may view my pursuit of allyship and relational living, in a Northern community. This study reflects the many feelings and insights I gained as I sought connections and relationships in a school that is working to actively support, facilitate, promote, and make space for Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Through a process of reflecting on storied moments over the course of one year, the educational problem being addressed here is: How does a non-Indigenous educator inhabit a leadership role in a school dormitory for Indigenous students that meets the needs of students, such as protecting them and keeping them safe, while not reproducing the overreach of the residential schools’ approach to relating to children and youth? My research questions focused on what I needed to learn, and how I experienced that learning, in relation to 1) the students; 2) the staff; and 3) the greater community surrounding the school. My findings include the following themes: facilitating student opportunities to create and develop their cultural identity; advocating for students’ safety and well-being, while confronting racism; supporting students by creating opportunities for them to “see themselves” in the dorms; it is a continuous journey in personal decolonization to be good ally; listening to hear – the dormitory staff as my guide; staff support through mental health “triggers”; developing relationships I was unaware I would need; acting to shift power and avoid perpetuating the colonial legacies of residential schools; and, the importance of community relationships to ground myself (and my family) in the North.
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    A Historical Analysis on the Implementation of the Brandon University Northern Teacher Education Program (BUNTEP) in 1975
    (2024-05-14) Uzoruo, Bonita; Education; Bruno-Jofré, Rosa
    The Brandon University Northern Teacher Education Program (BUNTEP), initiated in 1975, played a critical role in expanding teacher education throughout northern Manitoba for over three decades. The program emerged in response to the social and political movements of the 1970s, particularly from the demands by local and national First Nations organizations for a more decentralized education system and the transfer of administrative control to individual First Nations bands. This shift was part of a broader push during the 1970s for educational autonomy and affirming Indigenous cultural identity through schooling. BUNTEP’s establishment was a significant stride toward increasing the presence of First Nations teachers in band-operated schools. These teachers were believed to be the key to improving First Nations education and aligning education with self-determination goals. Over the years, the program contributed substantially to the professionalization of First Nations educators. This thesis delves into the history of Indigenous teacher education programs in Manitoba, specifically focusing on the formative years and influence of BUNTEP amidst the educational and political changes of the 1960s and 1970s. Employing historical analysis, this study aims to uncover the challenges, achievements, and complexities encountered by BUNTEP. It explores how the program responded to the immediate educational needs of the Indigenous communities in northern Manitoba and served as a vital framework for the revitalization and transformation of First Nations education in Canada.
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    Voices of the Unheard: A Retrospective Examination of Young Adult Females’ Cyberbullying Victimization in Secondary School
    (2024-05-08) Curtas, Lauren; Education; Colgan, Lynda
    Using the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping (TMSC) (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984, 1987) to explore resilience of adolescent victims of cyberbullying, this qualitative study offered an in depth look into the lives of young adult females who experienced cyberbullying attacks during their time in secondary school as adolescents. Through a standard qualitative descriptive study approach, four young adult females were asked to reflect upon their experiences as victims of cyberbullying in secondary school. In addition, participants were asked to identify the strategies and resources they employed in which they perceive allowed them to thrive and achieve a sense of overall wellness. Data was collected in the form of open-ended, semi-structured interviews which were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a thematic analysis and inductive process. This research may assist with the development of positive strategies that cyberbullying victims can use to ameliorate the negative effects of cyberbully attacks. In addition, such information may expand upon existing interventions as well as educate school officials and parents about ways to respond to and possibly prevent cyberbullying in the future.
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    Improving Use Through Evaluation Participant Engagement
    Hughes, Jennifer; Education; Searle, Michelle
    When conducted with relevant participants evaluation has the potential to contribute to improved programs. By prioritizing learning, reflection, and growth in evaluation, not simply focussing on determining the value of a program, evaluation can contribute to social change. Evaluation participants are people who participate in and contribute to the programs being evaluated, many becoming key evaluation collaborators. To facilitate social change, understanding the influence of evaluation participant engagement (EPE) on use is critical. This study examined the beliefs, strategies, and practices that evaluation scholars, practitioners, and students affiliated with the ECN hold regarding EPE and its contribution to evaluation use. These research questions guided the study: (1) How do evaluators describe the influence of evaluation participant engagement on use? (2) What strategies of evaluation participant engagement do evaluators identify to increase use? (3) How can study participants benefit from the strategies of evaluation participant engagement identified to influence use? An exploratory qualitative bounded case study was conducted across three phases. Phase one consisted of focus groups with scholars, practitioners, and students of evaluation (N= 14). Phase two involved a nested case study of an in-progress program evaluation (N= 14). Phase three consisted of a data party with participants from phases one and two (N= 11). The first two phases included two cycles of inductive and deductive analysis. Phase three involved deductive analysis. Data from each phase was analyzed on its own and then merged to a final data set. Throughout the study, participants emphasized EPE and use as positively influenced by purposeful, front-end embedded acts of relationship building. Relationship building corresponds with the themes of contextual understanding and enhanced capacity to participate in evaluation activities, and to think evaluatively. Findings highlight the connection between effort placed on relationships and the extent of use. Results support evaluators seeking deeper understanding about how to build contextually responsive and inclusive evaluation relationships through purposeful and ongoing relationship building. Delving into emergence of evaluation practice partnerships will provide the field with new perspectives on EPE and use. Finally, building reflection into the evaluation process can support capacity building and facilitate both EPE and use.