Faculty of Education Graduate Projects

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Self-Study projects submitted to the Faculty of Education in conformity with the requirements of the degree of Master of Education (MEd).

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    A Month of Queer Thriving: Practical Suggestions for Fostering Queer Thriving via Teaching Practice
    (2024-05-16) Lewis, Tristan M.
    This Master’s project provides teachers with a resource to foster queer thriving via teaching practice in the form of twenty cards which offer daily suggestions to promote a culture of queerness in the classroom. The marginalization of queer and trans students in schools is primarily being addressed through anti-homophobia efforts and “safe spaces” such as Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs). This paper moves away from deficit discourses surrounding 2SLGBTQIA+ students and envisions a departure from reactive responses to homophobia and bullying as a way to aid queer and trans students in schools, while also inviting students who have not openly declared themselves to be part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to engage in queerness on their own terms. The initial portion of the paper serves as a scholarly foundation for the project and provides a conceptual framework built on conceptions of thriving, desire, hospitality, and queer pedagogies. The latter portion of the project is the resource for teachers, which draws on the conceptual framework in the paper to create guiding and reflection questions for the teacher-user, as well as twenty suggestions to foster queer thriving via one’s teacher practice in the form of double-sided cards. The resource presents teachers with an alternative pedagogical practice that imagines instruction beyond cisheteropatriarchal norms.
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    Eating Disorder Stigma in Schools: Equipping Ontario Teachers to Better Support Student Mental Health
    (2024-05) Raab, Alyssa
    Eating Disorders (EDs) are serious mental health disorders that involve a disturbance in eating and eating-related behaviours (American Psychiatric Association, 2022); however, research finds that teachers and other educators report concerning lacks in knowledge, training, and confidence related to EDs in their schools (Harshbarger et al., 2011; Knightsmith et al., 2013; Knightsmith et al., 2014). In a study on school pupils, students referenced fear of stigma as a barrier to seeking support from a teacher regarding EDs (Knightsmith et al., 2014a). This finding is unsurprising given the research that demonstrates the prevalence of eating disorder (ED) stigma and the harmful consequences it has on individuals affected by EDs (Doley et al., 2017; Foran et al., 2020; Griffiths et al., 2018). Therefore, the purpose of this major research project is to increase teachers’ knowledge and understanding of EDs and ED stigma by creating a teacher resource on EDs and ED stigma. This major research project is guided by a created conceptual framework informed by a review of relevant literature that outlines teachers’ current roles related to EDs in schools, including identifying behaviours, supporting students, and preventing ED onset, as well as the restricting factors to effectively partaking in these roles, such as ED stigma and a lack of knowledge and training. Further, to inform the development and creation of a teacher resource on EDs, an environmental scan was completed that systematically searched for and analyzed publicly available global grey literature on EDs and the school setting. The environmental scan located 119 resources on EDs and the school setting, which have been translated into a resource list for teacher and other education partners. The environmental scan additionally provided insight into the landscape of resources on EDs and the school setting, and allowed for an evaluation of the extent to which resources include information regarding teachers’ roles and restrictions related to EDs in schools, as outlined in the conceptual framework. From these insights, a teacher toolkit on EDs and stigma-free support was created for Ontario teachers. This toolkit will be shared with various education partners, such as teachers, schools and school boards, education faculties, student mental health organizations, and ED organizations with the goal of increasing Ontario teacher’s knowledge and confidence in supporting students affected by EDs.
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    Curriculum for Three Plays by Indigenous Writers to Use in NBE Classes: The Unplugging by Yvette Nolan, Where the Blood Mixes by Kevin Loring, and bug by Yolanda Bonnell
    (2024-01) Pinney-Rodger, Jennifer J.
    This project provides curriculum ideas for three plays by Indigenous writers for use in NBE high school courses at the workplace-preparation (E), college-preparation (C), and university-preparation (U) levels. Almost twenty plays by Indigenous writers were read before narrowing down the selections to three plays: The Unplugging by Yvette Nolan to be used within NBE3E, Where the Blood Mixes by Kevin Loring to be used within NBE3C, and bug by Yolanda Bonnell to be used within NBE3U. As recommended by The Ontario curriculum grades 9 to 12 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies (2019), a variety of before-reading, during-reading, and after-reading activities are included for each play to enable teachers to meaningfully support student learning about Indigenous histories, cultures, and worldviews.
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    Nurturing Creativity in Music Education: A Conceptual Framework and Practical Applications for Secondary Music Classrooms
    (2024-01-28) Medina, Paul Jay
    Creativity has recently been increasing in importance with many organizations around the world recognizing the need for creative individuals. Indeed, many believe that creativity should be taught in educational systems to prepare students to be flexible and adaptable in our rapidly changing world. Despite this, pedagogies, and educational strategies, for nurturing creativity in classrooms remain limited. The goal for my project, then, is to respond to this need by contributing to current efforts into developing a framework for creativity in education. This is done through this project in two parts. The first section of this project is a synthesis of literature where I distill creativity research in a way that is meaningful for workers in education by emphasizing essential concepts in teaching and learning. The relevant ideas and theories from the literature are categorized into four pillars: establishing a creativity conducive environment, designing tasks for nurturing creativity, developing success criteria for creativity, and assessing creativity in the classroom. The sections are presented sequentially beginning with the most foundational ideas that can be implemented into classroom teaching. The second section is composed of my conceptualizations of classroom activities for secondary music classrooms that target creativity by making use of the ideas described in the synthesis of literature. Each activity targets a different area of music that would typically be learning goals in school curricula: reflecting, analyzing & responding, improvisation, composing/arranging, and performing. My hope is that this work may guide music teachers, pre-service and in-service, to enhance their ability to foster creativity in their own classroom teaching. While this project is targeted towards secondary music education, I believe that this work will also be a step towards developing pedagogies for creativity in all subject areas and grade levels.
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    Creating a Toolkit for the Youth Imagine the Future Arts Festival
    (2023) Rush-Rhodes, Alice
    This project is structured in two main parts: my exploration of the academic literature around eco-anxiety and mental health and a brief overview of my process to create the toolkit, and the toolkit itself. The toolkit follows the reference section and has its own multiple appendices. Most users of the toolkit will access it through a shared Google doc where hyperlinks provide easy access to the appendices and external resources (e.g., slideshow template and workback calendar). The toolkit will continue to evolve and what is captured here is a snapshot of the toolkit at the moment. For anyone interested in accessing the most up-to-date toolkit, please visit youthimaginethefuture.com.