Category: Research and Funding

Student Spotlight | Kamogelo Amanda Matebekwane


In December, our Faculty received news that six of our graduate students have been chosen for the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships/Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) Competition. We saw this news as an opportunity to highlight some of our extraordinary graduate students and their research.

Our spotlight today is shining on PhD student Kamogelo Amanda Matebekwane, one of the six competitors. Amanda currently works as a research assistant in the Faculty’s research unit (CERCD.ca).

Born and raised in beautiful Botswana, in the southern part of Africa, Amanda carries with her the Botswana values of humility, kindness, compassion, unity, and selflessness. Amanda says, “I bring these values to Canada to learn and appreciate the co-existence of human and non-human beings on treaty lands.”

A passion for working with young children initially led Amanda to do her B.Ed.(’06) in Early Childhood Education (ECE) at the University of Botswana. This same passion brought her back to the University of Botswana to do her M.Ed.(’15). Amanda’s experience while working in Botswana, inspecting early childhood education centres for the local government, had opened her eyes to the gaps and challenges that existed in the well-being and education of children. For her master’s research, then, she focused her study on the well-being of orphans and vulnerable children and the extent to which support services met their basic and educational needs. Her findings confirmed that indeed, there was a significant gap between what children needed and what children were offered by both government and guardians. Amanda presented her master’s paper, “Determining Latent Factor Structure of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Wellbeing Tool (OWT) Based on Botswana Sample,”  at the 88th Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago. After completing her master’s, Amanda decided to immigrate to Canada to join her husband and begin their life journey together.

On a cold night in early March 2017, Amanda arrived in Regina and experienced snow and subzero temperatures for the first time. She says, “The YQR airport doors opened to embrace me with a gulp of freezing air. I turned back and looked at my husband and said, ‘Oh no! I’m going back home!’ He laughed and said, ‘Welcome to Canada!'”

When she first arrived in Canada, Amanda had no interest in returning to university for her PhD. She had struggled financially with tuition and books attending the University of Botswana. However, when she learned about student loan opportunities in Canada, her passion for continuing her studies was rekindled. She says, “I took some time and searched for programs and institutions that offered outstanding programs at a reasonable price. The University of Regina stood out because of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The other thing that caught my attention with U of R was the fact that it was offering relevant programs that address current issues affecting people living in Regina. Such programs include anti-oppressive education, anti-racism education as well as Indigeneity and decolonizing education. The support offered at the Faculty of Education has been absolutely amazing! The scholarships offered every term always motivate and inspire me to do my best.”

For her PhD research, Amanda is exploring the experiences of Black immigrant children, their families, and teachers within the Regina elementary public school system in the context of anti-Black racism education. She says, “I am so keen to engage young children in early childhood education settings to understand their lived experiences and at the same time magnify their voices.” Rather than considering children subjects in the research process, Amanda says, “I will be co-researching with them to understand how the education system can refuse the normativity and Eurocentric worldviews and integrate the children’s values and beliefs that they bring from their home countries. I strongly believe that in an increasingly multicultural society, we need to affirm racialized identities, find joy in human diversity, and be confident, collaborative, and caring in standing up for social justice.” Amanda’s research is supervised by Dr. Emily Ashton. Her committee members are Dr. Christine Massing, Dr. Donna Swapp, and Dr. Florence Luhanga (Faculty of Nursing).

Amanda recently published a personal essay:

Matebekwane, K. A. (2022). Counter-storytelling: A form of resistance and tool to reimagine more inclusive early childhood education spaces. in education, 28(1b), 116 – 125. https://doi.org/10.37119/ojs2022.v28i1b.661

 

 

Student Spotlight | Shannon Fayant

In December, our Faculty received news that six of our graduate students have been chosen for the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships/Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) Competition. Our spotlight today is shining on PhD student Shannon Fayant (M.Ed.’06; B.Ed.’96, SUNTEP-Regina), one of the six competitors.

Shannon is a Métis woman and is currently the principal at F. W. Johnson Collegiate in Regina.

With 17 years of experience in administration with Regina Public Schools and a 26-year career in education, Shannon brings a wealth of knowledge and experiences to her research. A highlight for Shannon in her career journey was at Scott Collegiate, where she was principal for 5 years: “I was privileged to work on the community build of the mâmawêyatitân centre.”  The mâmawêyatitân centre is a shared-use facility that houses multiple community partners, thus named “mâmawêyatitân,” which is Cree for “let’s all be together.”

Another meaningful experience was co-producing and co-hosting “The Four” through Access Communications with co-hosts Dr. Shauneen Pete, Bevann Fox, and Robyn Morin.

In the fall 2020, Shannon decided to return to the University of Regina for her PhD. Her research study is focused on theorizing a Métis educational leadership model with Métis women’s voices at the heart of the research, entitled Educational Leadership Stories of Métis Iskwêwak (Women). Shannon says, “I began my journey with the intent to contribute to theorizing of Indigenous Educational leadership through the perspective of an Indigenous Iskwêw leader. I quickly realized there was very little literature that gave Indigenous women an opportunity to share their experiences in education and the public education experience in leadership. Therefore, I decided to embrace the journey of providing Métis women the opportunity to share their experiences as leaders in education, to contribute to Métis leadership and this new knowledge, to assist in the leadership development of leading within reconciliation times.”

Dr. Michael Cappello is supervising Shannon’s research and her committee members are Dr. Melanie Brice, Dr. Pamela Osmond-Johnson and Dr. Sherry Farrell-Racette.

Student Spotlight | Tammy Ratt

In December, our Faculty received news that six of our graduate students have been chosen for the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships/Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) Competition. Our spotlight today is shining on PhD student Tammy Ratt, one of the six competitors.

Tammy is currently a lecturer with the language department at First Nations University of Canada.

Since she was young, Tammy wanted to get her PhD. “I wanted to write self-help books…I don’t know why.” In pursuit of her dream, Tammy completed her B.Ed. degree (with a major in Indigenous Studies and minor in Cree) at First Nations University of Canada in 2007.  She completed her first master’s in education (curriculum and instruction) from the University of Regina in 2016 but did the course-work route. She then registered in a Master’s in Indigenous Language Education (MILED, thesis-route) in 2020 at the First Nations University of Canada.  “But then,” Tammy says, “I was so inspired by the MILED, I applied for a Phd in Education at the University of Regina.” Tammy will finish her course work this term and will start her comprehensive exams in the spring. Tammy jokes saying, “This University can’t get rid of me.”

Tammy’s doctoral research, supervised by Dr. Andrea Sterzuk, examines Indigenous language education using art as a method of transmission. Tammy says, “I chose my research topic because learning my language has been an uplifting journey. All these years and I am still finding myself. Learning my language makes me feel better about myself.” Tammy hopes that Indigenous youth will also have the opportunity to feel this way.  She hopes to create language learning opportunities through the use of Indigenous art. “I love Indigenous art. It is soothing and healing. I think this research is the perfect way to do something challenging: learning language through art,” says Tammy.

Tammy’s published articles include the following:

Ratt, T., Daniels, B., Stevenson, R., & Sterzuk, A. (in press). “When I Chose to Become a Teacher, I was Agreeing to Perpetuating Colonialism”: Experiences of Colonialism in Saskatchewan Educational Systems. In N. Limerick, J. Schissel, M. López Gopar, & V. Huerta (Eds.), Colonialism, Language, and Education Across the Americas . Teachers College Press.

Ratt, T. (2022). Miskasowin asîhk (Finding Oneself on the Land). in education, 27(2b), 37-51.

 

Student Spotlight – Trudy Keil

In December, our Faculty received news that six of our graduate students have been chosen for the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships/Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) Competition. Our spotlight today is shining on 3rd-year PhD student Trudy Keil (BHK ’98, UBC; BEAD’05, MEd’15, UofR), one of the six competitors.

Trudy has been teaching with Regina Public Schools for 15 years. She currently teaches English as an Additional Language at Campbell Collegiate. Through her teaching experiences Trudy developed “an intense desire to improve teaching and learning conditions in Saskatchewan” which led her to pursuing a doctoral program in education.

“As an EAL teacher, advocating for students has long been an essential part of my job. Amidst education budget cuts and policy decisions that have harmed teachers and students, it was apparent that I needed to expand my advocacy beyond the school walls.” says Trudy.

Further, a successful experience with her master’s thesis, defended in 2015 entitled, “An Action Research Study: EAL and Content Teachers Collaborating to Support All Students at a Secondary School,” strengthened Trudy’s interest in doing more research: “I developed respectful and productive relationships with colleagues, learned a great deal about how to best support all students, and came to realize how much I enjoyed the research process,” says Trudy.

For her PhD dissertation, Trudy is exploring teacher activism within formal professional associations and through grassroots efforts. Inspired by her teaching experiences and teacher activism within and beyond the union, Trudy hopes “to inspire and empower Saskatchewan and Canadian teachers to view themselves as impactful political actors and, at the same time, draw widespread attention to the value of democratic, public education. It is important to conduct research on how teachers challenge dominant discourses because their successes can offer leadership and hope.”

Trudy’s dissertation research is supervised by Dr. Pamela Osmond-Johnson and committee members Dr. Christine Massing, Dr. Michele Sorensen, and Dr. Andrea Sterzuk. “I am extremely grateful to have such an amazing team of strong, female leaders supporting me in this journey,” says Trudy.

Autumn 2022 issue of [in education] now available

Our Autumn 2022 regular issue of [in education] is now available! A special issue will be published soon.

Articles
»Syrian Newcomer Students’ Feelings and Attitudes Regarding Their Education in Canada by Mohamad Ayoub & George Zhou pp. 2-22
»Practice-Based Research Policy in the Light of Indigenous Methodologies: The EU and Swedish Education by Eva Lindgren & Kristina Sehlin MacNeil pp. 23-38
»Confronting Partial Knowledge Through a Pedagogy of Discomfort: Notes on Anti-Oppressive Teaching by Michael Cappello & Claire Kreuger pp. 39-59
»Feminist Resistance Through the Lense of Everyday Lived Experiences of Young Women in India by Nabila Kazmi (she/her) pp. 60-76
»Overcoming the Challenges of Family Day Home Educators: A Family Ecological Theory Approach by Laura Woodman pp. 77-93

Read the issue at https://ineducation.ca

Physical Education: 2SLGBTQ+ inclusionary or exclusionary?

Niya St. Amant is a Ph.D. Candidate at Queen’s University in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies in the discipline of sociocultural studies of sport, health and the body. She got into this field because she is interested in exploring the way that sport, health and physical activity work to empower and disempower certain groups of people and to work to bring to the foreground the experiences of these groups.
Dr. Alexandra Stoddart is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. She chose to become an educator (and a teacher educator) in the Health, Outdoor, and Physical Education subject area because of the way movement has changed her life. She believes everyone should have the opportunity to engage in quality physical education that will grow their love for movement.

Researchers Niya St. Amant (Queen’s University) and Dr. Alexandra Stoddart (University of Regina) have been exploring the experiences of current 2SLGBTQ+ preservice teachers and/or students who have completed their degrees and taken at least one physical education (PE) course at the University of Regina. Before discussing the project, first and foremost, the researchers want to acknowledge and thank all participants for sharing their experiences.

What led to this research topic was the traditional Eurocentric PE subject area. Alexandra says, “Traditionally, PE has been a Eurocentric subject that celebrates heteronormativity and masculinity. At the K-12 level, sex-segregated classes and a requirement to change out can cause 2SLGBTQ+ students to feel unsafe. As preservice teachers, students once again encounter this subject. It is critical that teaching at the post-secondary level is disrupting the problematic discourse of PE and not continuing to perpetuate the status quo.”

The project was based around the following two research questions: What it is like for 2SLGBTQ+ students to learn and be in a PE environment in 1) K-12 programs and 2) a teacher education program, and how PE instructors and professors can better support their 2SLGBTQ+ preservice teachers through their pedagogy, content, and beyond.

Niya explains that the reason it is important to understand student experiences in PE and physical activity is that, “PE and activity can be both empowering and disempowering for people, and it’s important to understand what about it disempowers people from participating and in bringing about other negative consequences, such as feelings of exclusion and alienation. Exploring how PE can be disempowering and exclusionary for 2SLGBTQ+ students is particularly relevant due to the way PE has historically treated sex and gender as binary categories and privileges heterosexual sexualities while marginalizing others. If we want people to continue to take up and enjoy PE in both grade school and postsecondary school, then we need to discover how PE can exclude and alienate 2SLGBTQ+ students in order to intervene and transform these spaces to be inclusive and welcoming.”

The study used an explanatory sequential design with two phases. Phase 1 included a cross-sectional web-based survey exploring 2SLGBTQ+ students’ lived experiences of PE both at the K-12 and post-secondary contexts. Phase 2 included 45-minute semi-structured individual interviews with a subset of participants from Phase 1. Additionally, interviews occurred with professors and instructors who had taught a PE course in the last few years. Student participation permitted the researchers to learn about the students’ lived experiences in PE courses, while faculty participation gave insight into what was occurring with PE pedagogy at the post-secondary level.

Initially the researchers struggled to recruit participants, especially with the study occurring during the pandemic. They got creative and used multiple methods of recruitment. In the end, Niya notes that “the 2SLGBTQ+ students who agreed to be interviewed were very receptive and grateful for the experience of being interviewed. They thoroughly enjoyed sharing their experiences (both good and bad). We had very fruitful discussions that were both instructive to the research and beneficial for them to share their experiences and to know others have shared similar experiences.”

Though the analysis has not been completed yet, the preliminary quantitative results indicate to the researchers that “especially at the K-12 level, we have a lot of work to do to ensure those in the queer community feel safe and comfortable in the PE space.”

Niya says, “A couple of things jumped out at me after doing the interviews. One was the fact that the students who appeared to have the most negative experience in grade school PE were the students not in the Physical Education Teaching program, and the ones with positive experiences were the ones who went on to seek careers as PE teachers. So, this potentially demonstrates how negative experiences in PE in grade school can lead to long-term negative thoughts and avoidance of PE. Second, the students all spoke about the importance of teachers introducing pronoun usage to demonstrate an inclusive classroom as one small thing teachers and professors can do to ensure 2SLGBTQ+ students feel welcomed and included in the space. For instance, teachers sharing their pronouns and inviting others to do the same on the first day of class. So, this demonstrates that 2SLGBTQ+ students are seeking more inclusive environments that stretch beyond just the PE environment and to classrooms in general, but are perhaps, most important in the PE environment where 2SLGBTQ+ students have faced particular discrimination and negative experiences.”

The researchers intend to use the findings of this research to help them change the way they do things in PE spaces and to promote and enhance 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion at the University of Regina, specifically in the Faculty of Education and beyond. “It is our responsibility in the Faculty to enact change and not put the onus and burden on students,” says Alexandra.

Funding for this project was acquired through the University of Regina’s Humanities Research Institute 2SLGBTQ+ Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity Research Microgrant.

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship Award | Esther Maeers


Congratulations to 4-th year PhD candidate Esther Maeers on receiving a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Award (Doctoral Fellowships) of $40,000 (2022-2024) for her project: Unpacking a Child’s School Backpack: A Narrative Inquiry Into Object Stories and the Implications for Parent Engagement Within Early Childhood Programs. Esther has also been a recipient of FGSR Thesis only scholarships, totaling $3,672 since 2021.

Using new materialism as a theoretical framework, Esther’s doctoral research will explore how children and their teenage parents “intra-act with objects,”  by mapping the journey of a child’s school backpack as it travels from home to school and back each day. Esther says, “There are established programs to assist teenage parents in advancing in their own schooling; however, supports for teenage parents to facilitate engagement in their child’s schooling are lacking. Meshing both parent engagement philosophy and new materialist theory, while looking to objects as storytellers and as conduits of parent knowledge, teenage parents can become integral to curriculum and pedagogy through material objects.”  Esther hopes this research “will move educators away from solely humancentric engagement, and towards seeing the value of objects as bridges between home and school, thus generating new approaches for educators and traditionally marginalized parents to partner and support children in their learning.”

As a teen mom in high school, Esther’s experience of being pushed to the margins in the school system motivated her to this research focus. “I am passionate about working with young parents and educators to find ways to create counter-narratives of teenage parents that highlight their parent knowledge and experience,” she says.

While Esther is working on her PhD, she is also working as a sessional instructor at the University of Regina, and as a research assistant on two SSHRC-funded projects: Sketching Narratives of Movement Towards Comprehensive and Competent Early Childhood Educational Systems Across Canada, with Dr. Christine Massing (her PhD supervisor) and Systematic Parent Engagement in Teaching and Learning: Creating a Prototype to Enhance Academic and Social Outcomes for Children and Parents, with Dr. Debbie Pushor (University of Saskatchewan and a member of Esther’s PhD committee).

Esther’s co-authored chapters include the following:

Ricketts, K., Maeers, E. & Munro, R. (2021). Bitter toughness meets fierce love: Reflections on a project with teen mothers. In E. Lyle (Ed.), Rehumanizing education (pp. 95-108). Brill Publications.

Pushor, D. & Maeers, E. (2022). Re/centring families: Principal as school landscape architect. In E. Lyle (Ed.), Re/centring lives and lived experience in education (pp. 152-164). Brill Publications.

SSHRC Doctoral Award recipient | Erica Houde

Congratulations to first-year PhD student Erica Houde on receiving a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Award (Doctoral Fellowships) of $80,000 for her project: The gift of neurodiversity: Learning from the reflective experiences of gifted adults with ADHD.

For her doctoral research, Erica is focusing on “Twice Exceptionality.” An example of Twice Exceptionality is “Neurosdiversity, wherein a person is gifted and also has a second diagnosis such as ADHD or Autism,” says Erica.

Erica chose this topic for her research after having diagnosed several individuals as Twice Exceptional in her current work as a Registered Psychologist for Chinook School Division and Brunswick Creek Psychology Services. Erica says, “In meeting with these individuals, I was incredibly moved by their histories and stories. Each individual shared a similar experience of frustration in knowing they were capable individuals but felt incapable of accessing or fully reaching their potential. The hope of this research is to better support Twice Exceptional learners in and out of education, to ensure they are better equipped to tap into their gifts and talents.” Dr. Jenn de Lugt is supervising Erica’s dissertation research.

 

 

New open access book published | Emily Ashton

Dr. Emily Ashton has published a new open access book: Anthropocene Childhoods Speculative Fiction, Racialization, and Climate Crisis
 
 
This open access book brings together the disciplines of childhood studies, literary studies, and the environmental humanities to focus on the figure of the child as it appears in popular culture and theory. Drawing on theoretical works by Clare Colebrook, Elizabeth Povinelli, Kathryn Yusoff, Donna Haraway and Bruno Latour the book offers creative readings of sci-fi novels, short stories and films including Frankenstein, Handmaid’s Tale, The Girl with All the Gifts, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and The Broken Earth trilogy. Emily Ashton raises important questions about the theorization of child development, the ontology of children, racialization and parenting and care, and how those intersect with questions of colonialism, climate, and indigeneity. The book contributes to the growing scholarship within childhood studies that is reconceptualizing the child within the Anthropocene era and argues for child-climate futures that renounce white supremacy and support Black and Indigenous futurities.

Project that exposes and interrogates racial disparities in the lived experiences of Black principals awarded $75K

Congratulations to Dr. Donna Swapp and team who have been awarded $75,000 (USD) from the Spencer Foundation’s Racial Equity Special Grants Program for their research project: “Decolonizing School Leadership across Transnational Spaces: Exposing, Disrupting, and Transforming Inequitable Colonial Regimes in the Work and Wellbeing of Black School Principals in Canada, Grenada, and Jamaica.” Dr. Swapp is the Lead Principal Investigator. Co-Principal Investigators are Dr. Katina Pollock (Western University), Dr. Fei Wang (University of British Columbia), and Dr. Annette Walker (Health and Wellness Coach and Educational Leadership Consultant).

The $75,000 represents the maximum amount dispersed under this highly competitive grant. Projects selected for this funding must reach beyond documenting conditions and paradigms of persistent racial inequalities to disrupting the reproduction and deepening of inequality in education. Dr. Swapp and her team will apply a decolonizing, transnational lens to expose and interrogate racial disparities in the lived experiences of Black school principals across the different sites and co-construct with research participants anti-racist and equity-focused understandings, strategies, and recommendations for fostering more equitable arrangements of work and ameliorating wellbeing for racialized school leaders.

This project aligns well with the Faculty of Education’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan, Transformative Education Transformed, which documents our strategic commitment to “work collectively to identify and change the causes of inequitable systems of power and privilege” and our commitment to “develop and engage in a diversity of research and scholarly output that has local, national, and global impact” as well as the broader University of Regina’s Strategic Plan, All our Relations, and the attendant five areas of focus.