Graduate Theses

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    A cross-cultural assessment of the feeding environment and maternal-child interactions during breastfeeding in the first 6 months
    (2022-06-22) Hillary Fry
    Human milk is the sole recommended food for infants for the first 6 months of life. Despite this, little is known about whether breastfeeding practices, such as feeding responsiveness, differ across cultures. Responsive feeding practices are based on the cues and responses of a caregiver and infant and are associated with more intuitive eating patterns later in life. However, economic, cultural, and sociodemographic differences between high- and lowand middle-income countries may result in differing responsiveness of caregivers. However, there is a lack of cross-cultural research on responsiveness, particularly among infants under six months.
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    The Role of Home Literacy Environment and Parental Education in Reading Skill Development Among Grade Two and Three Children
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2021) Comeau, Faith
    Home Literacy Environment (HLE) includes all aspects of the child’s environment provided by the parents/guardians that would facilitate the child’s acquisition of reading skills. Despite knowing that children with enriched HLEs achieve greater levels of reading proficiency, the potential influence of HLE remains overlooked. Another factor that is thought to influence the reading skills of children is their parent’s level of educational attainment and occupational status. This study examined whether HLE, and parental education and occupation levels were predictive of various reading skills. Additionally, this study examined these predictive variables in relation to students having received extra help in reading. Sixty-seven children enrolled in grades two and three in the Nova Scotia education system were tested across 13 standardized reading measures. Moreover, parents of participants filled out a demographic questionnaire which informed researchers of their child’s HLE and their own level of qualification. Findings of this study were consistent with theoretical expectations. HLE was found to be significantly predictive of measures of phonological awareness, phonological retrieval, word reading, non-word reading, and vocabulary skills. Parental education level was found to be significantly predictive of measures of phonological working memory, non-word reading, and vocabulary. Parental occupation level was found to be significantly predictive of measures of phonological awareness, phonological working memory, non-word reading, and vocabulary. HLE, and parental education and occupation levels were not predictive of students having received extra help in reading. These findings confirmed that HLE, and parental education and occupation levels are important factors influencing the early development of reading skills among young children.
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    The Discursive Construction of ISIS Identity: A Critical Discourse Analytic Study of ISIS Textbooks
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2022) Kharbach, Mohamed
    Over the last few years, ISIS terrorism has been the subject of a growing interdisciplinary scholarship, one that was disproportionately focused on the group‘s media discourse covering topics such as ISIS propaganda, its recruitment and communication strategies, the group’s use of digital technologies and social media, among others. However, unlike its media discourse, ISIS textbook discourse received scant research attention. The present study seeks to address this gap by shifting the analytic focus to the group’s curricular materials. The purpose was to explore the ‘pedagogic’ dimension of ISIS terrorism through the study of ISIS textbooks using an identitybased critical discourse analytic framework. To this end, five ISIS textbooks were analyzed. Analysis was conducted at two levels: the narrative level and the discursive level. Findings highlighted three main identity models embedded in ISIS textbook discourse: the collective identity model, the religious identity model, and the jihadi identity model. Drawing on the interpretative framework of social identity theory, these models were found to be at the core of a divisive social categorization process used the by the terrorist group to create an antagonistic and dichotomous worldview, one in which the Other is demonized and vilified. ISIS terrorism, this study concluded, is identity-based and draws on the canonical power of a highly religious curricular discourse to indoctrinate young learners and to manufacture future jihadist.
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    Remix + Praxis: A Rapademic Approach to Critical and Culturally Relevant Education
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2022) McGuire, Michael Douglas
    A decade ago, the province of Nova Scotia identified what it designated as achievement gaps—a significant disparity in scholastic performance for Black and Indigenous students relative to those of European descent as a result of longstanding Euro-centrism in educational spaces. This led to a number of calls for culturally relevant pedagogical approaches to be adopted as a means of combatting the negative trend. In the intervening years, however, educators have struggled to find ways to make this a reality. This dissertation makes use of a combined autoethnographic and songwriting-based method to detail the author’s efforts to bring his educational practices in line with culturally relevant and responsive pedagogies. Through a critical hip hop lens, a praxis-based method for curriculum development takes shape, presenting a pathway toward liberatory educational experiences that can be adapted to virtually any cultural context to the benefit of both teachers and students. Borrowing from the hip hop practice of remixing, the author outlines a method that gives educators an opportunity to continually reimagine and realign their curricula in a way that encourages student-centered critical education and adaptable curricular planning. While this dissertation outlines the author’s journey in coming to develop a hip hop-based pedagogy, it presents a praxis-based method that can be achieved through any number of approaches. While this is not presented as the definitive model for culturally relevant and responsive education, it offers an autoethnographic look at one way of attaining those goals.
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    Bridge or Barrier: an Examination of the Accessibility of Ontario University Accessibility Services Offices Webpages
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2022) Walker, Paige
    Research examining the web accessibility of postsecondary institutions has primarily focused on the homepage of the website, with few examining Canadian institutions. This study explored how easy it is to locate the homepage of each Ontario University Accessibility Services Office and evaluated the compliance of each homepage with the most recent version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1). Using qualitative methodology and an automated accessibility tool (Total Validator), 21 Ontario University Accessibility Services Offices homepages were analyzed. Each homepage was located, and all failed to comply with WCAG 2.1 standards. Across homepages, 100% had at least one WCAG 2.1 Level A error, and 71% had at least one WCAG Level AA error. The most common WCAG 2.1 error was improperly nesting headings. Implications and recommendations for Ontario University Accessibility Services Offices are discussed, along with considerations for future research.