An Autobiographical Narrative Inquiry into the lived tensions between Familial and School Curriculum-Making Worlds (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

This autobiographical narrative inquiry explores my lived experiences in both the familial curriculum-making and school curriculum-making worlds. Drawing on Huber, Murphy & Clandinin’s (2011) reconceptualization of curriculum-making as occurring in two worlds, I inquire into my own tensions and bumping places as I travelled between home and school, both as student and teacher. The research puzzle explores the importance of remaining attentive to the familial curriculum-making worlds children live in. My field texts include conversational transcripts and handwritten notes alongside my granny, photographs, and written stories of lived experience, as granddaughter, student and teacher. Using the methodology of narrative inquiry, I was able focus on how the tensions and bumping places shaped, and continue to shape, tensions in my stories to live by as teacher. Using a paper format, this thesis includes two papers for publication with a beginning and closing chapter. The first paper inquired into the lived experiences alongside my granny where I wonder of the costs to my familial curriculum-making world when the school curriculum-making world is privileged. The second paper inquired into my tensions and bumping places as a teacher as I continued to privilege the dominant school curriculum and explored how I learned to attend to children’s lives in their familial and school curriculum-making worlds. The findings in my autobiographical narrative inquiry have allowed me to shift my curriculum making practices by awakening to my lived tensions, and by highlighting the importance of attending to children’s familial curriculum-making worlds in classroom settings as ways to imagine new possibilities, together.

The benefits and costs of accreditation of undergraduate medical education programs leading to the MD degree in the United States and its territories (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

This study assessed the value of accreditation of all 126 fully-accredited four-year undergraduate Medical education programs leading to the MD degree in the US through two lenses, ‘perceived benefits and costs’ from the perspective of the leadership of internal stakeholders of the aforementioned programs. The online survey was sent to a random cluster sample of 1,096 department chairs/assistant/associate, faculty members and other lead administrators in the programs. With a response rate of 8%, a total of 87 usable responses were received and analyzed. The descriptive statistic results of the survey indicated that approximately 74% of participants were ‘department chairs, assistants or associates’, 77% held only ‘one position’, 51% worked in ‘public’ programs and 78% worked in programs that graduated ‘more than 100 students’ in the last academic year. Participants worked in programs that were located in ‘all five regions’ of the continental US and approximately 72% of them ‘participated’ in the accreditation process of their programs. Inferential statistical analyses including univariate and multivariate logistical regression were performed for the dependent variables of benefits, costs, costs vs. benefits (cost-benefits) and five independent variables (participation in the accreditation process, number of positions per participant, program type, region and number of graduates in last academic year). At a 95% confidence limit and Type I error of 0.05, the reliability coefficient (Cornbach’s alpha) had a high value of 0.913 for benefits and 0.758 for costs and a high magnitude of effect (odds ratio). For benefits, results indicated that respondents who ‘did not participate’ in the accreditation process were approximately 2.4 times (141%) more likely to report ‘high benefit’ than people who ‘participated’ in the process after adjusting for all variables in the model. By ‘program type’, participants who worked in ‘private’ programs were approximately 2.3 times (130%) more likely to report ‘high benefit’ than those who worked in ‘public’ programs. For costs, participants who worked in ‘private’ programs were approximately 2.2 times (120%) more likely to report a ‘low’ cost of accreditation after adjusting for all variables in the model. Upon being asked to rate ‘overall level’ of costs vs. benefits (cost-benefits), results indicated that participants who ‘did not participate’ in the accreditation process were approximately 50% less likely to report ‘benefits exceed or equal costs’ than participants who ‘participated’ in the process. Furthermore, a statistically-significant correlation (p < 0.001) was found between the ‘overall benefits score’ and ‘cost-benefit’. Approximately 78% of participants who reported ‘costs exceeded benefits’ also reported the ‘overall benefit score’ to be ‘low.’ Finally, in ranking 11 benefits of specialized accreditation, participants rated the ‘provision of a structured mechanism to assess the Medical education programs’ as the ‘highest’ benefit of accreditation followed by the role of accreditation as ‘a stimulus for program improvement.’ ‘Improved overall quality of program’ and ‘benchmarking’ were both in third place. For five costs of specialized accreditation, participants ranked the ‘total amount of time’ spent by internal stakeholders on accreditation as the ‘highest’ cost followed by ‘total amount of effort’ in second and third places. Based on participants’ opinions/perceptions (actual needs), this study offered significant recommendations to improve the approach, process and outcome of accreditation. They included: continuity of quality control and improvement, fostering innovation, use of technology, enhancing leadership, improving horizontal and vertical collaboration as well as provision of clear information, proper guidance, focus on outcomes vs. standards and flexibility by the accrediting agency. In a culture of trust, mutual respect, collaboration and open communication, these recommendations can enhance the value of accreditation by the LCME, promote excellence in the quality of medical education/programs and their ultimate mission of extending high standards of patient care nationally and globally.

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An investigation of a theoretical model of health-related outcomes of resilience in middle adolescents (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

The purpose of this study was to develop a theory-based just-identified model to better understand resilience and its direct and indirect effects on theorized Health outcomes in middle adolescents. The study empirically tested the direct effects of resilience on a) hope, b) well-being, and c) Health-promoting lifestyles, and the direct effects of hope on d) well-being and e) health promoting lifestyles. The indirect effects of resilience on a) well-being, and b) health-promoting lifestyle through hope were also examined. The final sample of 311 of middle-adolescents, aged 15 to 17, was recruited at a northern New Jersey public high school. Participants completed the demographic data sheet and four instruments measuring the study variables during their regularly scheduled health classes. The structural equation model was tested with the LISREL 8.80 software program. Results indicated that resilience had a direct effect on hope Gamma = .66, p < .001), well-being Gamma = .44, p < .001), and health-promoting lifestyles Gamma = .56, p < .001). Hope also had a direct effect on well-being Beta = .42, p < .001), and health-promoting lifestyle Beta =.26, p < .001). Resilience had an indirect effect on both well-being and health-promoting lifestyle through hope. The unhypothesized correlated error term between well-being and health-promoting lifestyle, the two dependent variables, was psi = 0.13, p < .001. All of the seven hypotheses in this study were derived from theory and were supported empirically, providing evidence of the predictive power of the theoretical propositions tested. Therefore, IT can be concluded that resilience has direct positive effects on hope, well-being, and health-promoting lifestyle in middle adolescents, and that hope had direct positive effects on well-being and health-promoting lifestyle. Additionally, resilience has an indirect effect on well-being and health-promoting lifestyle through hope in middle adolescents. Finally, IT can be concluded that resilience is a strong predictor of hope and that resilience is a better predictor than hope for the two health-related outcomes, well-being and health-promoting lifestyle.

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From TPACK-in-Action workshops to English classrooms: CALL competencies developed and adopted into classroom teaching (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

As researchers in the CALL teacher education field noted, teachers play the pivotal role in the language learning classrooms because they are the gate keepers who decide whether technology or CALL has a place in their teaching, and they select technology to support their teaching, which determines what CALL activities language learners are exposed to and how learners use them Hubbard 2008). While a considerable amount of research related to CALL teacher education has focused on teachers attitudes, beliefs, and confidence regarding CALL e.g., Kamhi-Stein, 2000; Kassen & Higgins, 1997; Lam, 2000; Peters, 2006; van Olphen, 2007), there are very few studies that have investigated the impact of CALL teacher education programs Desjardins & Peters, 2007; Hegelheimer, 2006; Kessler, 2007; Kilickaya, 2009). These studies reported that teachers confirmed their learning and adoption of CALL into their classroom teaching; however, the findings are based on self-report data, which are insufficient for capturing actual classrooms CALL integration. Moreover, the Call for Papers in the January 2013 issue of the Language Learning and Technology Journal calls for research in CALL teacher education to “address another crucial factor affecting the degree and quality of implementation: teachers CALL competencies and knowledge base” p. 145). In view of the need to bridge the gap and to develop a fuller picture of how teachers integrate CALL in the classrooms, the present study used an observation instrument based on the TPACK framework Mishra & Koehler, 2006) to investigate the impact of TPACK-in-Action workshops had on English teachers in Taiwan from four different perspectives: whether the CALL workshops 1) met participants expectations in helping them integrate CALL; 2) contributed to participants perception change toward CALL and CALL integration; 3) helped participants develop their TPACK competencies; and 4) helped participants adopt the learned CALL competencies into their classrooms. The 15-hour TPACK-in-Action CALL workshops were conducted as part of the teacher professional development for 24 elementary English Teachers in Taiwan. The TPACK-in-Action model Tai & Chuang, 2012), developed specifically to help English teachers integrate CALL, was employed to guide the design of the workshops. Situated in the mixed methods research design with the guidance of the TPACK framework, qualitative data through reflections, interviews, and observations, and quantitative data through surveys and reflections, were collected before, during, and after the CALL workshops to help identify the impact of the TPACK-in-Action workshops. Findings of the present study showed that the TPACK-in-Action CALL workshops had a strong and positive impact on elementary English teachers in Taiwan. In addition to helping them showing positive perception changes toward CALL integration, IT was observed that the workshops helped participants develop CALL competencies, such as integrating online materials, using cloud computing for student interaction, selecting appropriate technology for content teaching, and matching the affordance of technology to their instructional goals and pedagogy as well as adopt the learned competencies into classroom teaching. Findings indicated that observations were found to be effective in investigating the impact of the TPACK-in-Action CALL workshops. Not only were observation data triangulated with self-report data to prevent potential discrepancies from happening, they helped identify teachers CALL competencies and visualize their CALL integration. In sum, this dissertation contributed to providing empirical evidence on the effect of using observation as a measure to understand how teachers integrate CALL in their classrooms and adding a new perspective while investigating CALL teacher education. IT also has theoretical implication for CALL teacher education research and pedagogical implications for CALL teacher education practice.

The cognitive, social, and affective dilemmas of Generation 1.5 English language learners: 1990–2011 (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

This study examines the academic, Social, and personal challenges of Generation 1.5 linguistic minority students who were born and raised in Canada but spoke a language other than English in the home. Specifically, a cohort of six Generation 1.5 respondents were interviewed and discussed their experiences of facing challenges because of discrepancies between their values, beliefs, and home traditions and the expectations of educators, which hindered not only academic process, but also precipitated personal losses, including identity confusion. Additionally, this project explores how the Ministry of Education’s policy regarding the support of this demographic group within the publically funded educational system has evolved over the last 21 years, examining the types of responses that have been generated to foster the academic development of Generation 1.5 linguistic minority students.

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“If It Matters… Measure It” — The Fraser Institute, Socioeconomics and School Performance (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

Isn’t the report card just a way to distinguish the “have” schools from the “have not” schools? This is the ninth in a series of frequently asked questions that can be found on the school performance section of the Fraser Institute’s website. Importantly, the report cards in question are both produced and published by the Fraser Institute, an independent public policy research group that ranks Canadian elementary schools on a set of indicators gleaned from the results of provincial standardized testing. While the Fraser Institute answers this question with a simple No, the thesis research presented here uses a mixed methods approach to examine the accuracy of this simplistic answer. Using socioeconomic data and regression analysis, this research endeavors to uncover if standardized test results can indeed stand independently of class and other demographic factors to produce a valid point of school comparison. This research also provides an in depth exploration of the Fraser Institute’s annual elementary school report card from the perspective of current elementary teachers in Ontario. Lastly, this research presents findings regarding the ways that parents of elementary school children use and understand the Fraser Institute’s school ratings.

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The Use of the ENNI to Assess Narrative Abilities of Young Korean Children (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

The present research was a pilot study to determine the feasibility of using the Edmonton Narrative Norms Instrument (ENNI) to assess Korean children’s narrative abilities. In this study inclusion of Story Grammar (SG) units (i.e., total number and type) in Korean children’s narratives was examined. Participants comprised 60 typically developing Korean children aged 4, 5, and 6. Each child produced two stories from sets of pictures from the ENNI: a simple story (A1) and a complex story (A3). The results revealed that inclusion of SG units increased with age and showed significant linear trends for both the simple and complex stories. Additionally Korean children more frequently included core SG units than noncore SG units. These findings suggest that the ENNI has the potential to be adapted and used to assess Korean children’s narrative abilities.

Parent Perceptions of Early Intervention for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in South Korea (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

Using an online survey, this study investigated when South Korean parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) recognize their child’s first symptoms of ASD, receive a diagnosis and begin intervention, as well as parents’ perceptions and needs for early intervention. One hundred and sixteen parents completed the online survey. Findings revealed that South Korean parents have a high level of recognition of the need for identification and early intervention. On average, parents recognized their child’s symptoms of ASD at a median age of 29 months; received diagnosis at 43.3 months; and began intervention at 39.7 months. In contrast to Western reports, 25.9% parents received intervention prior to diagnosis. Implications for South Korea in regard to services for young children with ASD are presented.

Case Study of E-book Use in an Academic Library: A Communication Perspective (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

This research examines the integration of electronic book (e-book) technology within an academic library. The University of Ottawa library is explored as a qualitative case study. The perceptions of use and communication pertaining to e-book adoption from the perspectives of students, faculty members, and librarians are combined with other documentation to provide a comprehensive examination of the case. Rogers (1962; 2003) Diffusion of Innovations provides the theoretical framework to guide the study and structure its analysis. Main findings revealed the following: (1) participants preferred print books, (2) inadequate communication occurred between students, faculty members, and librarians, and (3) information literacy training initiatives were insufficiently standardized. This study contributes to communication research by examining adoption of e-book technology and the spread of ideas within a Social environment. IT also furthers Diffusion of Innovations by confirming that even when individuals acknowledge advantages of a communication technology, IT is not necessarily adopted.

Investigating mainstream teachers’ beliefs and experiences with English language learners (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

Due to the rapidly evolving global demographics, the student population in Canada has become increasingly diverse, a transformation that has created extraordinary challenges for mainstream teachers with whom English language learners (ELLs) spend the majority of their instructional time. This qualitative study investigated mainstream teachers’ experiences, perceptions, and attitudes towards ELLs and the challenges associated with teaching ELLs. Through semi-structured interviews with 4 secondary school teachers, the study captured the situated experiences and stories of mainstream teachers who work with ELLs. While the findings indicate that most teachers have very positive attitudes and high levels of awareness of the learning needs of ELLs, the study also found that participants felt inadequately prepared to teach ELLs effectively in mainstream settings and that most teachers needed to move beyond the narrow perceptions of vocabulary as the only difficulty that ELLs experience to include the broader political, socio-cultural, and historical contexts of learning. This study could significantly add to our understanding of ELLs’ unique needs in mainstream classes and should be helpful to many educators, especially those who have an interest in instruction that is responsive to individuals and groups within our school system.