Faculty of Education -- Graduate Theses

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Graduate theses completed in the department of Education as part of:
  • Master of Education (Concentrations in: Lifelong Learning, Curriculum Studies, Educational Foundations, Educational Psychology, Elementary and Middle School Education, Literacy Education, School Psychology)
  • Master of Arts in Education (Research)
  • Master of Arts in Education
  • Master of Arts in School Psychology


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 298
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    Parenting and Temperament: Actions in the Microsystem and Children's Anxiety at School
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2022-06) McCay, Tianna
    School presents multiple common stressors for anxious children which regularly disrupts their ability to engage in school and develop academically and socially. The current study aimed to explore predictors of anxiety at school utilising Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory. The current study scaffolded off past research studies to contextualise ways that individual and environmental vulnerability might inform the identification and treatment of anxiety at school for school psychologists. Specifically, high negative affect, as well as authoritarian parenting, have been separately associated with increased anxiety. The current study hypothesized that the inclusion of these two variables in a regression model would significantly predict increased anxiety within the school context. Participants consisted of caregivers to children aged between 7 and 12 years old who responded to surveys via an online platform. Parents responded about their own parenting style, as well as reported observations of their child’s temperament (negative affect), and the degree to which anxiety negatively impacts their child at school. Correlations were conducted to observe associations between anxiety and parenting styles as well as negative affect and anxiety. Correlations corroborate past research which identifies a positive relationship between anxiety and negative affect (r = .513, p = .003). However, the current study did not replicate a negative association between anxiety and permissive parenting (r = .453, p = .009) or anxiety and authoritative parenting (r = .056, p = .759). Neither did the current study replicate a positive association between authoritarian parenting and anxiety (r = .282, p = .117). Regression analyses were used to assess the predictive relationship between anxiety at school utilising both high negative affect and an authoritarian parenting style. The findings indicate that when a student has high negative affect and a parent who uses an authoritarian parenting style, they are likely to experience increased anxiety (F=5.84, p<.01, rsq adj=.24). These findings support the identification of anxious students via the observation of behaviors associated with negative affect at school, as well as informs treatment to include parental education and support when applicable.
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    Promoting Early Literacy Through Play-based Learning: Supporting the Foundations of Early Literacy Through Child-Directed Play
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2023) Mohamed, Dina
    Learning literacy in the pre-school years is dominated by play-based practices, but as children enter the formal school system literacy instruction takes a more systematic and explicit form. There is a significant body of literature that acknowledges the numerous benefits of child- directed play that outweigh teacher-directed instruction, but despite the proven evidence of the benefits of play, there remains a tendency towards explicit teacher-directed instruction in the early years. Moreover, play is often regarded as spontaneous, chaotic, and an environment where learning is accidental and unplanned. This research study will investigate how intentional, purposeful literacy learning through child-directed play can support the foundations of early literacy. The research uses secondary qualitative data analysis guided by a constructivist approach to investigate the following research questions: 1. How can intentional, purposeful literacy learning through play support the foundations of early literacy? 2. How does the educators’ role influence the intentionality and purposefulness of play? The investigation involved reflexive thematic analysis of data, that consisted of images and discussions. Key findings highlight the foundational literacy building blocks that occur in a play-based environment, as well as underscore intentional practices of educators in the pre-primary program. Thus, drawing attention to the use of intentional purposeful play to promote the foundations of literacy which can have far reaching impact on literacy learning practices.
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    Supporting EAL Students with Learning Disabilities: An Exploration Through Self- Evaluation of the Ability of Teachers to Organically Implement Targeted Learning Strategy Supports into the General Classroom
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2023-08) Lopez Valerio, Joanne L.
    Literature reveals that supporting English as additional language students is complex on its own. However, there is a sub-population, English as an additional language students with learning disabilities, that can slip through the cracks. The co-existence of the language challenges and the neurological challenges in this population make supporting this population a unique challenge. This thesis is based on qualitative research and aimed to investigate how teachers perceive their ability to naturally apply learning strategies to assist students with special needs in regular classrooms. A total of 6 teacher participants took part in this qualitative research project and explored their participation in three self-reflective questionnaires and one online training. Through a reflexive thematic analysis, the research yielded 4 culminating themes that impact the participants’ potential ability to support English as additional language students with learning disabilities through targeted learning strategies in the general education classroom. The study found that the problem of not having enough time, freedom and expectations in the profession of teaching, teachers’ own personal and professional capabilities, and their beliefs regarding the general educator’s role in supporting these students are the greatest commonalities impacting teachers’ ability to use specific learning strategies to support English as an additional language students with learning disabilities in the general education classroom. In conclusion, the researcher identified that while 6 participants might not be ideal, the diversity of the 6 participants lends to an intriguing picture of internal and external variables that might ultimately be affecting many teachers’ ability to support this unique population in the general education classroom.
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    Perceived Social Support and Academic Motivation: Exploring the Moderating Role of Extraversion in Post-Secondary Students
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2023-08) Hunter, Hannah
    The purpose of this study was to assess the interaction of social and individual factors that influence academic motivation in Canadian post-secondary students. Specifically, the current study examined perceived social support from three sources: family, friends, and significant others, and students’ self reported levels of extraversion as predictors of the subscales of academic motivation. The subscales of academic motivation measured were intrinsic motivation (based on individual enjoyment and interest), extrinsic motivation (based on an external reward), and amotivation (the lack or absence of motivation). Canadian post-secondary students were recruited through Mount Saint Vincent’s online bonus point system, SONA, and through the primary researcher’s social media platforms. 70 students from first year of study to graduate studies participated in the current study and completed demographic items, the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, the Big Five Personality Inventory (Extraversion items only), and the Academic Motivation Scale – College Version. Descriptive statistics, correlation analyses, and multiple regressions were used to examine the data. Analysis showed that perceived social support was significant in positively predicting intrinsic motivation and negatively predicting amotivation for students low in extraversion. The relationships between perceived social support and intrinsic motivation, and between perceived social support and amotivation were moderated by extraversion. The interaction between perceived social support and extraversion was non-significant in predicting extrinsic motivation. Results from this study suggest that social support can be effective for promoting intrinsic motivation and preventing against amotivation in post-secondary students, especially those who are less extraverted. The current findings add to the literature identifying social support as an important precursor to academic motivation that must continue to be examined and considered when developing strategies to increase motivation and prevent amotivation at the post-secondary level.
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    Exploring perceptions of digital literacy in a LINC curriculum
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2023-08) Remedios, Jordan
    This thesis examines the perceptions of instructors and students in the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia's (ISANS) Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program regarding the incorporation of digital literacy practices in their curriculum, specifically focusing on Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) classes six, seven and eight. The study investigates digital literacy in the context of adult newcomers, using Nixon and Kerin's (2012) model which encompasses the operational, cultural, and critical dimensions of digital literacy. Using a qualitative approach, data was collected through student focus groups, follow-up interviews with students, and interviews with instructors. Thematic analysis was conducted to identify patterns and trends in the perceptions of instructors and students. The findings from this study reveal that while there are diverse perspectives on the perceived need for digital literacy training and skills development within the ISANS EAL curriculum, there are also clear areas for improvement within the operational, cultural, and critical dimensions of digital literacy. This differs from much of the recent literature on the subject which focuses on the need for digital literacy education, without necessarily considering the specific perceptions of both students and instructors. In general, instructors participating in this study expressed a belief that a greater emphasis and inclusion of discussions on digital literacy would improve the curriculum. Both instructors and students acknowledged the importance of developing skills such as email communication, finding and evaluating online information, and understanding online scams and fraud. Despite this, some students conveyed a lack of interest incorporating more digital literacy in into their classes, specifically in areas such as online safety and personal data management. Conversely, others voiced a strong need for increased digital literacy learning, especially in developing professional online networks, discussing scams and fraud, and managing personal data. Recommendations for improving the curriculum include a coordinated approach, gamification, creation of a Digital Literacy Committee, implementation of a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach, and the introduction of translanguaging spaces. Finally, there are also suggestions and implications for future research in this area.