Faculty of Education researchers awarded SSHRC grants

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Faculty of Education researchers awarded SSHRC grants

Published on August 10 2011

Three members of The Faculty of Education recently received prestigious and highly competitive Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grants.

Associate Professor Julian Kitchen received a one-year grant for the research project “Learning and Enacting Aboriginal Pedagogy through Nishnawbe Aski Teacher Education.” Professor Lissa Paul was awarded a three-year grant for the project “Eliza Fenwick: An Eighteenth-Century Life for the Twenty-First Century.” Through its programs and policies, SSHRC enables the highest levels of research excellence in Canada, and facilitates knowledge-sharing and collaboration across research disciplines, universities and all sectors of society.

Faculty of Education Associate Professor Michael W. O'Sullivan, along with Dr. Geraldine Balzar, PhD (PI),University of Saskatchewan and Dr. Harry Smaller, York University, was also the recipient of a SSHRC Insight Grant for the project "Does international service learning provide secondary students with a transformative learning experience?" 

Described in more detail below, these projects are examples of the exciting research initiatives underway in the Faculty of Education. For more information about research in the Faculty of Education Research Office, visit http://www.brocku.ca/education/researchers

Eliza Fenwick: An Eighteenth-Century Life for the Twenty-First Century
Professor Lissa Paul was awarded a three-year SSHRC grant in the amount of $60,860 for “Eliza Fenwick: An Eighteenth-Century Life for the Twenty-First Century.” Fenwick (1767-1840) was one of a group of extraordinary women writing for children and adults in the radical London of the late Enlightenment. Although they rarely receive much recognition now, these women had worked out the kinds of progressive pedagogies typically credited to men (Vygotsky, Dewey) writing a century later. Professor Paul’s starter book on Fenwick, The Children’s Book Business: Lessons from the Long Eighteenth Century, recently published by Routledge, deals with some of those progressive pedagogical practices. But it was interest in Fenwick’s ability to put theory into practice that initially prompted Paul’s research. After leaving London, Fenwick started schools, first in Bridgetown Barbados and later in New Haven, Connecticut and in what is now Niagara-on-the-Lark. Research during Professor Paul’s 2007-2011 SSHRC grant led her to the discovery of an unreferenced, apparently unknown cache of letters Fenwick and her granddaughter had written from Niagara and Toronto to friends in New York. With the mandate provided by the new grant, Professor Paul plans to research the life and work of Eliza Fenwick, and is planning to write a biography.
View Professor Paul’s Profile HERE.

Learning and Enacting Aboriginal Pedagogy through Nishnawbe Aski Teacher Education
The objective of this one-year project is to understand how an emergent culturally responsive Aboriginal teacher education program impacts critical segments of First Nation communities: teachers, students, parents and schools. The research is guided by three questions: How has the Nishnawbe Aski BEd program informed the practices of teacher candidates as they attempt to apply new learning in their remote community schools; how do teacher candidates negotiate the tensions (personal, professional and community) inherent in teaching through Two Ways pedagogy that prepares students to navigate between Aboriginal and Euro-Canadian worlds; and how is the Nishnawbe Aski B.Ed. program received by those within the sphere of relationships of these teacher candidates: students, colleagues, parents, and administrators?

The project recognizes that Aboriginal students need to be fluent in their own languages, cultures and ways of being to succeed academically and continue the journey to self-determination which includes developing the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in mainstream Canada. While most Ontario teacher education program fail to maintain or renew social and cultural knowledge, emergent teacher education programs are beginning to offer decolonized understandings of Indigenous language, culture, epistemologies and history (Smith, 1999). Teachers who emerge from these programs need to be studied so that Aboriginal teacher education can become a force of cultural renewal.

This study of the experiences of six Nishnawbe Aski teacher candidates enrolled in an Aboriginal Bed program, run by Brock University in partnership with the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council (NNEC) builds on previous research on the experiences of teacher candidates and teacher educators in this program. The proposed research will contribute to a deeper understanding of the impact of innovative, culturally responsive and community-based programs on teachers and their sphere of relationships: students, colleagues, administrators, parents, and community.
View Associate Professor Kitchen’s profile HERE.

Does International Service Learning Provide Secondary Students with a Transformative Learning Experience?
Geraldine Balzer, PhD, FOE, (Principal Investigator), University of Saskatchewan
Michael O’Sullivan, EdD, FOE, Brock University
Harry Smaller, FOE, York University

This study focuses on Canadian secondary school students who participate in short term study abroad programs in the global south that include a service learning component organized around a global citizenship education pedagogy. We are specifically interested in the experience of students who engage in teacher-guided credit and non-credit programs that typically last two weeks. Our research seeks to determine if participation in a short term international service learning program, despite its brevity, contributes to encouraging in students a process of personal change in the way students both see and choose to live in the world. The personal transformative element focuses on the growing curricular importance accorded to social justice issues and the realization by educators that student engagement with social justice cannot simply be an intellectual exercise, as important as this is, but it must also encourage students to consider engaging with these issues in the world beyond the classroom. This latter consideration explains the importance we attach to including a service learning component in this short term study abroad experience.
View Associate Professor Michael W. O'Sullivan's profile HERE.


Faculty of Education, Office of Research

With 58 diligent full-time faculty members, the Faculty of Education (FOE) has greatly contributed to local, national and international educational research.