PhD student using film to educate receives prestigious SSHRC fellowship

In today’s video age, what better tool than film to help educators “equip” students with personal life skills. Christina Garchinski, a PhD student in Educational Studies, has created a film-making exercise as part of a psycho-educational classroom curriculum, called The EQUIP Approach.

Garchinski’s supervisor, Ann-Marie DiBiase, was one of the researchers to develop the multi-component prevention/intervention program, as a way to teach students to think and act responsibly. The components involve anger management, social skills and social decision-making/moral reasoning.

As part of her Master’s research at Brock, Garchinski added an innovative twist to the curriculum by developing a video exercise, called the EQUIP — Narrative Filmmaking program.

“The idea is to give students the opportunity to dramatize, film and edit movies that depict moral situations,” explains Garchinski.

Garchinski has received a prestigious Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to support her study. She is one of a total of 29 master’s and doctoral students from Brock who shared in $1,005,000 SSHRC funding to the University.

Garchinski’s doctoral research will further examine the effectiveness of the film-making exercise by having a Grade 9 Exploring Technologies class experience the program.

The first step for the class is to be introduced to the main components of the EQUIP curriculum. These components emphasize skills to self-regulate anger, to correct self-centred thinking, to practice pro-social behaviours and to develop more mature moral judgment.

From there, the students will progress into the role of film-makers.

“The students will write scripts, illustrate storyboards, dramatize and make movies that depict the self-centre thinking errors,” she explains. “In part one of the movie, students will be asked to illustrate negative consequences associated with reacting to an aggravating event with uncontrolled self-centred thinking and inappropriate antisocial behaviour.”

The students are then asked to rethink the story at a critical juncture.

“In the second part of the exercise, students will be required to create an alternate ending by going back to the point just before the climax so that their protagonist can implement EQUIP’s anger management and social perspective-taking strategies to achieve a more positive outcome.”

Garchinski says the study has substantive practical value for educators and clinicians. At the heart of The EQUIP Program is remediation of cognitive distortions — in other words, thinking errors. The main goal of this program is to remediate how children and adolescents think, to have sustained effects on how they behave.

“The objectives of my research reflect society’s general concern for fostering responsible, pro-social, empathic and conscientious moral reasoning in our adolescent population by taking an intentional, proactive approach,” she says “This study has the potential to benefit educators challenged with implementing a psycho-educational mental health program, as mandated by the Ministry of Education.”

2016/17 Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council of Canada Awards (SSHRC)

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships

• Christina Garchinski, Educational Studies, “The Impact of Teaching Adolescents to Think and Act Responsibly Using the EQUIP-Narrative Filmmaking Program”

• Nathalie Gauthier, Psychology, “Risk assessment and reduction in psychopathy”

• Sarah Mann, Geography, “The topographical and topological geographies of academic workers with mental illness”

Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships


• Daniella Bendo, Child & Youth Studies, “An analysis of child and youth advocacy on an international scale”

• Tabitha Jones, Psychology, “Psychopathy, Prejudice, and Victimizing: The efficacy of intervention techniques”

• Andrew McEwan, Interdisciplinary Humanities, “Writing “Inkorrect thots”: The invented languages of Claude Gauvreau, Hannah Weiner and Bill Bissett as poetic resistance to mental ableism”

• Hilary Scruton, Child & Youth Studies, “Assessing creative problem-solving in children with reading disabilities”


• Rickie Castle, Classics, “If Looks Could Kill: Medusa’s gaze”

• Katie Faust, Applied Health Sciences, “Writing Lives; Writing Loss: An autoethnography on the death of a teammate”

• Elliott Fuller, Classics, “Adorning the Elite: Textile and jewellery dedications at Early Iron Age Lefkandi”

• Alaina Interisano, Critical Sociology, “Animal experimentation pedagogy in Canadian universities”

• Tierney Kobryn-Dietrich, Critical Sociology, “Sex work in the Niagara Region”

• Kiana LaPierre, Psychology, “Cyberbullying from an evolutionary perspective”

• Elliott MacDonell, Psychology, “The effect of self-control on costly aggression”

• Julia McColl, Philosophy, “On phenomenology of schizophrenia”

• Kaitlin McKay, Applied Disability Studies, “A new approach to transition planning for transitional aged youth with intellectual disabilities”

• Kimberly Mularczyk, Child & Youth Studies, “Working with the Bullying Adaptation: Prosocial alternatives to achieving resources, reputations, and reproductive opportunities”

• Laura Murray, Psychology, “Depressive and anxiety symptoms following MHI”

• Stephanie Murray, Geography, “Sense of Place, Sense of Movement: Following America’s nomadic retirees”

• Alison O’Connor, Psychology, “The influence of social skill development on children’s antisocial lie-telling”

• Jordan Power, Psychology, “The moderating effects of maternal and paternal bonds on the expression of adult psychopathic traits”

• Elvira Prusaczyk, Psychology, “Disability and Self-objectification: The influence of socio-political ideology on the effects of internalizing an able-bodied beauty ideal”

• Ryan Racine, English, “One Planet, One Experiment: An ecological investigation into Juliana Spahr’s Poetics”

• Karly Rath, Critical Sociology, “The Social Beliefs of Comprehensive Sex Education Opponents: An analysis using the cultural theory of risk perception”

• Zachary Root, Applied Health Sciences, “Nutritional and exercises recovery strategies to improve sports performance
in young athletes”

• Cayleigh Sexton, Child & Youth Studies, “The Stress of Caregiving: The role of coping strategies in psychosocial outcomes”

• Valentina Sitnik, Education, “Negotiating opportunities ‘inside and out’: Understanding the educational programming experiences of previously incarcerated women”

• Marcus Tuttle, English, “Performing the Public Sphere: Rewriting orientalist rhetoric in contemporary Canadian politics”

• Breanne Wylie, Psychology, “Exploring children’s ability to disregard non-credible Internet sources”

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