Our Autumn 2022 regular issue of [in education] is now available! A special issue will be published soon.
»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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Congratulations to Heather Carter, who has been chosen as one of the University of Regina’s candidates for Vanier’s Canada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral Awards 2022-23 competition.
Heather (B.Ed.’08 SUNTEP-PA, M.Ed.’19 UofR) is a Métis woman from Prince Albert, SK, and is now living and working on Treaty 4 territory, the territories of the nêhiyawak, Anihšināpēk, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda, and the homeland of the Métis/Michif Nation. Before moving to Regina, Heather worked as a middle years teacher for 8 years and then in adult education at Dumont Technical Institute for 2 years. She also earned her M.Ed. (C&I with a focus on Indigenous Leadership and Pedagogy) in our community-based master’s of education program offered in partnership with Gabriel Dumont Institute in Prince Albert.
Currently, Heather works as an Indigenous Student Success Facilitator and runs the nitôncipâmin omâ Student Success Program at the University of Regina. About her work, Heather says, “Through this first-year program, I support a cohort of Indigenous undergraduate students as they transition to university and provide mentorship as they move into the second year of their degree. By working in partnership with my colleagues in the ta-tawâw Student Centre, I am proud to lead a program that provides a culturally focused, community-centered approach to post-secondary education.”
While Heather is working toward a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Leadership, she says, “My research focus is anti-oppressive leadership in higher education, and understanding the impact that ubiquitous racism and oppression has on the identity of Indigenous and racialized learners in post-secondary institutions.”
Congratulations to Kelsey Mooney (M.Ed.’22), one of two recipients of the fall 2022 Faculty of Education Associate Dean’s Graduate Student Thesis Award and also the Faculty of Education’s nominee for the President’s Distinguished Graduate Student award at the fall 2022 convocation.
The Faculty of Education Associate Dean’s Graduate Student Thesis Award was established in 2021 to recognize outstanding academic performance of thesis-based graduate students (Master’s and PhD) in Education. This $2,000 award is granted to a student in a graduate program in the Faculty of Education who has exemplified academic excellence and research ability, demonstrated leadership ability and/or university/community involvement, and whose thesis/dissertation was deemed meritorious by the Examining Committee.
Mooney successfully defended her thesis titled, “A Community-Based and Mixed-Methods Approach to Exploring the Dove Confident Me Five Session Body Image Intervention in a Holistic School Classroom on July 19, 2022. Her Supervisor was Dr. JoLee Sasakamoose and Committee Members were Dr. Twyla Salm and Dr. Mamata Pandey (Sask Health Authority). The External Reviewer was Dr. Caroline Pukall (Queens University) and Chair was Dr. Amber Fletcher (Dept. of Sociology & Social Studies).
From a young age, Kelsey Mooney has dreamed of becoming a psychologist. To this end, after graduating from high school in her home town of Watrous, she completed her undergraduate degree, an Honours Bachelor of Science (with a Psychology Specialist, Criminology Major and a Sociology Minor), at the University of Toronto.
With a desire to return home to be closer to family and friends, Mooney moved back to Saskatchewan to continue her educational journey. However, Mooney felt some uncertainty about which route she should take to further her education: “I was uncertain on whether clinical or educational psychology was the right route for me, so I applied to both clinical and educational psychology programs and was admitted to the Educational Psychology program at the University of Regina in 2020. I chose the thesis route specifically because I wanted the option to potentially pursue a doctorate degree in the future and knew that completing a master’s thesis would prepare me well for doctoral research,” says Mooney.
The idea for the topic for her thesis took root in the first year of Mooney’s M.Ed. program. Growing up heavily involved in the world of dance as a competitive dancer and dance teacher, Mooney says, “I have witnessed many ways that an individual’s feelings about their body and self-esteem can influence their mental well-being. Because of these experiences, I have had a longstanding interest in promoting body confidence and self-esteem.”
In a Counselling Girls and Women course taught by Dr. Bree Fiissell, Mooney says, “We often discussed topics such as self-esteem, body confidence, body image, and the impact of the current societal emphasis on appearance on how women and girls feel about themselves. Through these discussions, I became further interested in how body confidence could be promoted to prevent the development of mental illnesses such as eating disorders, depression, or anxiety. Because of my longstanding interest in body image and confidence, I began to look into how I could transition these interests into my own research and that is how I landed on my own thesis project where I explored the effects of the Dove Confident Me program aimed at improving body confidence in adolescents.”
Through her research on the effects of the Dove Confident Me program, Mooney discovered “a gap in gender inclusivity, which may limit the ability for the program to improve self-esteem and body confidence. These findings were unexpected, but they identified an important gap in body-based education programs that needs to be addressed to ensure these programs are actually meeting the needs of adolescents struggling with body confidence today.”
This unexpected finding changed the course of her entire thesis. Mooney says, “I think this goes to show that even when research doesn’t go as planned, there is a lot of value in exploring where the research takes you to ensure meaningful results to this field of research.” Identifying this lack in the program ended up being the high point of the research process. Mooney says, “The highlight for me came at the end of my data analysis phase when I was able to recognize that even though the project did not go as planned, we were able to identify a really important issue and gap that is currently not being pursued in research in this area.”
As a recommendation from her findings, Mooney says, “If researchers or educators wish to improve body confidence in their classrooms and adolescents today, we have to pay close attention to the gender dynamics of these classrooms and ensure the material being taught is not promoting the exclusion of any individual’s gender identities.” Mooney hopes that her research will “prompt a larger discussion on how teachers, researchers, and intervention developers can promote inclusivity and create a positive environment for adolescents in their classrooms.”
As for future plans, Mooney recently began her first year at the University of Saskatchewan as a student in their 5-year Clinical Psychology MA/PhD Transfer program. She says, “My plan for the future is to obtain my doctorate degree and practice as a clinical psychologist.”
Congratulations to Dr. Yueming Liu, one of two recipients of the fall 2022 Faculty of Education Associate Dean’s Graduate Student Thesis Award. The Faculty of Education Associate Dean’s Graduate Student Thesis Award was established in 2021 to recognize outstanding academic performance of thesis-based graduate students (Masters and PhD) in Education. This $2,000 award is granted to a student in a graduate program in the Faculty of Education who has exemplified academic excellence and research ability, demonstrated leadership ability and/or university/community involvement, and whose thesis/dissertation was deemed meritorious by the Examining Committee.
Dr. Liu successfully defended her dissertation, “Exploring Chinese Instructors’ Perceptions and Practices of Integrating Culture into Tertiary-Level English Education: A Case Study,” on July 15, 2022. Dr. Liu’s supervisors were Dr. Abu Bockarie and Dr. Dongyan Blachford (Dept. of International Languages). Her committee included Dr. Andrea Sterzuk, Dr. Douglas Brown, & Dr. Philip Charrier (Dept. of History). The External Reviewer was Dr. Rahat Zaidi (University of Calgary), and Dr. Chris Oriet (Dept. of Psychology) was chair.
Yueming Liu first visited the University of Regina, Faculty of Education as a visiting scholar between 2011 and 2012, sponsored by the China Scholarship Council. The experience influenced her decision to return to the University of Regina for her PhD program in Education. Liu says, “I observed quite a few classes during that year, including Dr. Paul Hart’s methodology, three of Dr. Andrea Sterzuk’s classes related to second language acquisition, and Dr. Douglas Brown’s sociology class and some others. These classes brought me into the academic field and planted a seed in my heart. The emotional bond that I’ve developed with the faculty and the respectable professors brought me back here to do my PhD degree.”
Lui was born and raised in the capital city of a northeastern province in China where she did her undergraduate degree in a Top 20 university, majoring in British and American Literature. After graduating, Liu became an English instructor in the university where she had studied. Because the city is not an international metropolis, Liu says, “Learning about a different language and culture here, like in many other inland cities in China, means that one has limited access to native English speakers and real-life intercultural encounters. Textbooks and the Internet are the primary sites where English learners encounter the target language culture. Addressing the intercultural dynamic is a challenging pedagogical endeavor here when students do not enjoy exposure to real-life culture of English-speaking countries, requiring creativity on the instructors’ part.”
Liu’s interest in her research topic, “Exploring Chinese Instructors’ Perceptions and Practices of Integrating Culture into Tertiary-Level English Education: A Case Study,” was sparked by her own intercultural experiences. She says, “Five years of living and studying in Canada was a transformative journey for me. I was able to be truly involved in communications with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. These experiences caused me to rediscover the complexity of intercultural communication and cultural teaching. I found truth in what Sewell (1999) concluded: Intercultural communication is ‘shot through with willful actions, power relations, struggle, contradiction and change.’ By then, I had started to question the common practice of teaching the generalized culture as bounded by geographic borders. Although a generalized cultural sketch is usually the starting point of one’s journey towards intercultural understanding, it should by no means be the end point. Efforts need to be made to help learners to transcend it. A generalized sum-up of any culture can be incomplete, unfair, destructive, and condescending. A transpired generalized inclination tends to jeopardize, rather than facilitate, intercultural communication. These realizations made me want to see how today’s English instructors in Chinese higher educational institutions conceptualize and approach culture and what efforts they are making to prepare their students for complicated and unpredictable intercultural encounters. As a language instructor myself, I realize how essential it is for us to reflect on and have a clear understanding of our own pedagogical philosophy. Language instructors’ pedagogical conceptualization of culture influences how language learners construct intercultural knowledge, develop intercultural attitudes, adjust intercultural behaviors, and perform intercultural roles.”
Through her research, Liu found that “instructors’ pedagogical conceptualizations of culture significantly influence how language instructors identify cultural points, contextualize culture for pedagogical purposes, and scaffold student meaning-making. The participants conceived culture more as a noun, with its referential meaning ready to be transmitted to the learner in form of objective knowledge, than as a verb (Street, 1991), with its meaning to be explored and interpreted in dynamic social interactions. Further, they perceived culture more as social constraints, in the form of cultural norms that demanded conformity, than as public resources that could be drawn on strategically and creatively to serve purposes. In addition, they viewed culture more as value-free, something that could be grasped at the denotative level, than as value-laden with its barely known face hidden under the veil of cultural myth (Barthes, 1957). This way of conceptualizing culture has limiting effects on classroom meaning-making: the referential, normative (conventionalized), and generalized meaning of culture were highlighted and the personalized, symbolic, and ideological meaning of culture were largely underexplored.”
What impressed Liu most about her findings is that “most participants contextualized culture in self-sanctioned ‘purified’ ways to block off cultural dissonances and there was a general resistance towards problematizing cultural meaning and engaging learners in ‘struggles over meaning.’ I pondered on the possible consequences of portraying smooth cultural landscape and papering over the complexity and ambiguity of culture and how this practice will influence which meanings get inactivated in the classrooms. As I see it, the inadequacy is obvious and profound and this issue deserves more attention from language instructors.”
The research project was memorable for Liu because, she says, it “gave me opportunities to talk to my fellow colleagues, listening to their experiences of teaching culture and observing their practices in the classrooms. This was an exciting and discovering process, during which I reflected on the insights provided by the participants and developed an in-depth understanding of the complexities and challenges involved in culture teaching.”
As recommendations for future research, Liu says, “The meaning-making potentials of the current culture instruction could be expanded through exploring poststructuralist perspectives on culture and reorienting culture pedagogies towards individual-level culture, problematized cultural meanings, and more agentive cultural competence.”
Liu says, “I hope that more practicing language instructors could interrogate their pedagogical philosophy before making attempts to address culture within language classroom. I hope that the inadequacy of tourist-like culture teaching could be widely recognized and dealt with. The increasingly complicated nature of transnational communications poses new challenges for intercultural language education and I hope practicing instructors could take the initiative and seek ways to expand the meaning-making potentials of classroom activities.
Following the completion of her Phd, Liu returned to her university in China to teach undergraduate students English as a foreign Language. “I feel thrilled at the thought of being able to continue working in the field of intercultural language education. I’m looking forward to working with both teachers and students to conduct action research to practice some of my pedagogical ideas concerning culture teaching. Creating opportunities for students to carry out ethnographical project on culture and applying discourse analysis in culture learning, these are but a few possibilities that are waiting for me to try my hands on,” says Liu.
Liu feels grateful for her experiences at the University of Regina, which she says, “helped me to transform from an instructor to a researcher. The classes I observed during 2011 and 2012 led me into the academic world. For the first time, I got to study educational research methodology in a systematic way. I learned how to design and carry out a sound research project. My supervisors, Dr. Abu Bockarie and Dr. Dongyan Blachford guided me in the field of my research area and supported me all the way when I felt overwhelmed by the complexity of culture and culture teaching. I am filled with gratitude for the professors I met here in Regina.”
Curating hopeful responses to climate trauma
Incorporating the Nato’ we ho win (healing through culture) Recovery Model to reduce overdoses and harms among unsheltered, Pregnant Indigenous Women who use Drugs (PWUD)
Community-engaged Research Fund:
Ehsan Akbari and Cristyne Hébert
Robots for Inclusivity: Engaging underrepresented groups in STEM education.
Knowledge Mobilization Fund:
Decolonizing Educational Leadership: Knowledge Mobilization as an Avenue for Equity, Diversity, and Belonging
Melanie Brice and Russell Fayant
World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education 2022