Leadership Research: Vol 09, No 1. (2018)

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    Developing intercultural competence in post-secondary students participating in short-term study abroad programs
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2018) White, Ali D.
    There has been a steady increase in the number of international students studying in Canada over the last decade. As international student numbers increase, new demands for more innovative and flexible programming, including short-term language programs, have emerged to accommodate them. Aiming to respond to the demand for short-term language and culture programs, Vancouver Island University (VIU), a post-secondary institution based in Western Canada, launched the English Language and Culture Program (ELCP) in 2012 with the goal of offering quality English as a second language (ESL) and cultural programming that enhances the development of intercultural competence for participants. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to determine the degree, if any, that study participants developed intercultural competence after participating in a 3-week ELCP course at VIU in the summer of 2017, and to explore the effect that English language skills had on the participants’ respective development of intercultural competence. Study results indicated that participants developed a small degree of intercultural competence, and that although English language levels did not significantly affect the degree of development, high English levels at the beginning of the ELCP course were a predictor of higher levels of intercultural competence at both the start and end of the course. Results also highlighted there is more that could be done not only in relation to researching short term English language study abroad programs but also in how such programs could be further developed to support an increase in intercultural competence of participants.
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    Personalization Using a blended learning model in face-to-face primary classrooms
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2018) Farrell, Danica B.
    My Critical Challenge Question presents the opportunity: “How can a blended learning model be applied to facilitate personalization of writing instruction for primary students?” I have endeavored to seek contextual research and practical applications of technology and have worked towards compiling this information and sharing it with other teachers so that they have a place to start their own technology journey. Specifically, I have researched how blending a Writing program will help teachers support all of the learners in a primary classroom. This project was a joint endeavor with colleagues Carla Takach and Gina Farrell. We have each taken an aspect of learning and have created a place for teachers to find information in order to start their own journey. Our project is split into three distinct learning areas—Numeracy, Reading and Writing. I have focused on Writing and have researched practical technology applications to support Writing in a primary classroom. According to the BC Education Plan (2015), “Educators will need greater access and supports to use technology that enriches the learning process, and to connect with each other, parents, and communities” (pg.8). I see this project as a tool for educators, and a place where educators can seek, share and synthesize some understandings around implementing technology in their own classrooms. The main challenge that I am endeavouring to support is personalization in education. Students are individuals and have differing needs from each other. In a face-to-face classroom, where you often have one teacher and 24 students, how can we best use the tools that we have in order to stretch and teach each one of our students?
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    Using learning maps to foster sense of belonging in elementary students
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2018) Wilkinson, Tom
    Teachers have always known about the importance of positive adult and peer relationships in the classroom. However, time and curriculum pressures can lead some teachers to avoid developing an interconnected learning environment that enhances students' sense of belonging. The purpose of this study was to explore how to foster an elementary classroom learning environment that develops a rich sense of student belonging. The researcher was also examining their teaching experience in this process, especially related to refining their practice with academic and social collaborative learning. The researcher sought to answer two questions: 1) What is the experience of a teacher using various teaching practices including student learning maps and collaborative learning to advance their capability of fostering students' sense of belonging? and 2) To what extent can learning maps act as an indicator of change in students' sense of belonging? The researcher's three sources for data were a literature review on sense of belonging and collaborative learning, a researcher's reflective journal over five months, and action research producing a series of three student learning maps completed over the same time. Analysis of the data revealed academic and social benefits of students' sense of belonging, effective strategies for collaborative learning, and the researcher's teaching experience in fostering sense of belonging in their students. It is proposed that learning maps, while having many limitations, can be used to indicate change in students' sense of belonging through examining changes on student's maps over time in a ratio of students' areas for growth compared to students' strengths and connections. Finally, the researcher explains that their own journey as a new teacher with collaborative learning and sense of belonging mirrors the experience of his own students.
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    What is emergence and how does it relate to our educational ecology?
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2018) Swinn, Martha J.
    The basis of this project was to create a workshop using emergent pedagogy to explain the semantics and propagation of emergence to educators. The strategies used in the workshop to demonstrate being-with a subject include: dialogue, picture word index model, journal reflection, check-in, walk and talk, multi-sensory brainstorming, found poetry, Frayer vocabulary model, mime as a narrative frame, and idea-mapping. The strategies used to learn more about emergence before the workshop include: workshopping poetry, an online blog, personal reflections on previous art and writing experiences, as well as exploration of English Language Learning strategies. The overall approach was to create an experiential workshop that demonstrated the key attributes of emergence. It is a phenomenon; a system manifestation; a pocket of order; an interaction of relationships; an entanglement; and a synchronous function of thought. Emergence can, also, be created as a product. Upon completion of the workshop, it was discovered that many of the strategies in the research process could be finished pieces all on their own thus demonstrating another quality of emergence: the intertwined nature of product and process.
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    In transition: the unexpected moments of a new vice-principal
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2018) Scott, Jennifer M.
    This research project explores the transition from teacher to vice-principal, focusing on the unexpected moments of the journey. A process of auto-ethnography is used to share the emotional experiences of the first-year transition period by providing first-person and highly personal accounts through both poems and narrative. Keeping in mind current literature on vice-principal transitions, my hope is that this project will add to the current literature while being shared with other educators. My research can be used to provide an insider’s view to teachers considering transitioning to a role as vice-principal or to other new vice-principals to use to compare and reflect on their own experiences. The transition from teacher to vice-principal remains understudied and underrepresented in the literature (Searby, 2016; Best, 2016; Armstrong, 2004). The first year as a vice-principal can be more difficult than that of a first-year teacher. It is a personal and professional transition that leaves the person making the transition with a new perspective on schools and shifts one’s personal definition of their role as an educator (Hartzall, 1994). When we experience hard things, such as transitioning to a new job, our emotions often get the first chance at making sense of an unexpected moment. The process of writing something down and recording our experiences in some way gives us something to hold onto in the chaos of these emotions. We can then later take the time to reflect on, question, and analyze these moments to find meaning and truth, taking control of our own personal narrative and learning from pivotal moments (Brown, 2016). With this project, I hope to own my own personal stories as I write and reflect while I grow professionally following my first-year transition. I hope that through my project I can provide an outlet for others to do the same.