In honour of SSHRC’s 40th anniversary, we wanted to share some of the our faculty research that has been supported by SSHRC, helping us to expand understandings of learning and teaching around the world.
Digital Pedagogy Institute Conference
SSHRC Connections Grant
The 2015 Digital Pedagogy Institute was support by a SSHRC Connections grant. A partnership between Brock University, the University of Guelph, the University of Toronto Scarborough, and the University of Waterloo, the annual two day conference includes keynote addresses, presentations, workshops, and digital tool training that focus on the innovative use of digital technologies to enhance and transform undergraduate and graduate teaching.
The grant helped grow the Digital Pedagogy Institute conference into an annual event. The 2017 and 2018 Digital Pedagogy Institute conferences were held at Brock University. In 2019, the conference will move to the University of Waterloo, furthering strengthening the Ontario universities partnership.
“Supporting Literacy Coaches as they Facilitate Teachers’ Professional Learning”
SSHRC Insight Grant
Tiffany Gallagher (Principal Investigator) and Arlene Grierson ( Co-Investigator)
$129,141 | April 2016 – July 2021
This study is beginning year three of five years of data collection. The central research question is: how do coaches support educators in the implementation of responsive literacy programs that foster student learning? This study will extend existing understandings by: (a) investigating conceptualizations, functions, and outcomes of coaching; and (b) documenting the experiences of coaches and the educators they coach, as coaches collaboratively construct understandings of the differentiated processes of teacher change and explore how to use these insights to optimize coaching.
Impact and Publications: Five conference presentations at Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), and Literacy Research Association (LRA).
Publication: Gallagher, T.L. & Grierson, A. (2018). Research Report for Ontario Ministry of Education, Curriculum & Assessment Policy Branch. Supporting Coaches as they Facilitate Teachers’ Professional Learning. St. Catharines, Ontario: Brock University, Faculty of Education.
“The Development of Inclusive Educational Practices for Beginning Teachers”
SSHRC Insight Grant
$448,800 | April 2015 – April 2020
Jacqui Specht (Principal Investigator)
Co-Investigators: Sheila Bennett, Tiffany Gallagher, Lynn Aylward, Kimberly Maich, Tim Loreman, Roberta Thomson, Sharon Penney, Tara Flanagan, Nancy Hutchinson, John Freeman, Elizabeth Nowicki, Kim Calder Stegeman, Angela AuCoin, Mireille LeBlanc, Jennifer Katz, Wanda Lyons, Donna McGhie-Richmond, A. Marshall, Steve Sider, Jamie Metsala, Scott Thompson, Jessica Whitley, Gabrielle Young
This study is beginning year four of five years of data collection. The aim of this study is to provide a Canada-wide perspective on the self-efficacy and beliefs about teaching of graduating teachers as they leave their respective faculties of education. Through this study, we hope to gain a better understanding of how student teachers perceive their ability to teach in the inclusive classroom as they finish their preservice teacher education program. As they graduate and move into the world of classroom teaching, we will continue to survey them during their first to third years post-program to ascertain how their knowledge and skills in teaching and self-efficacy are developing.
Impact: Four conference presentations at Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE).
“Digital Texts to Enhance Science Vocabulary and Comprehension”
SSHRC Insight Development Grant
$59,939 | April 2013 – June 2016
The focus of the Insight Development Grant from SSHRC was to utilize design-based research focused on discovering whether a multimodal instructional curriculum that integrated literacy and science positively contributed to enhanced learning outcomes with students in elementary schools. Design-based research is a genre of research involving iterative development of curricular solutions to educational challenges with teachers and researchers working collaboratively. Working with grade five teachers in two school districts, our findings found that teachers varied in their implementation of the instructional unit. This resulted in differential outcomes in students’ literacy and science outcomes. Teacher variation in implementation highlighted the need to differentiate professional learning to effectively address teachers’ pedagogical requirements for improving disciplinary literacy instruction.
Overall, our findings relate to the utility of design-based research and underscore the value in establishing a collaborative foundation for professional dialogue. Based on student learning outcomes, we have evidence of the positive impact of implementing science-based multimodal literacy curriculum in elementary classrooms.
- Gallagher, T., & Fazio, X. (2017). Design-based research: Professional learning and curricular integration. Sage Research Methods Cases Education. Sage Publications. Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781526419361
- Gallagher, T., & Fazio, X. (2017). All students can read to learn science! Resources, Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario. Online: https://www.ldatschool.ca/literacy/learn-science/
- Fazio, X., & Gallagher, T. (2018). Bridging professional teacher knowledge for science and literary integration via design-based research. Teacher Development, 22(2) 267-280.
“Hunting for Mrs. Fenwick 1766-1840: Her Life and Letters ()”
SSHRC Insight Grant
$103,548 | 2016-2021
Early in 2019 the first part of Lissa Paul’s project will be complete and a biography, Eliza Fenwick: Early Modern Feminist will be published by the University of Delaware Press. A riveting early feminist success story emerged out of her research on Eliza Fenwick (1766-1840): a portrait of literary life in London, a chronicle of slavery and rebellion in Barbados, a tale of immigrant life in Upper Canada, an unexpectedly modern take on family life, all unfolding in counterpoint to her prescient though largely forgotten novels, short stories, children’s books, and pedagogical texts. and as an immigration success story of a single, working mother and later grandmother whose networking, entrepreneurial and adaptation strategies enabled her to contribute to the social fabric of Upper Canada in the 1830s.
By revealing Eliza as a potentially iconic figure, Paul argues that her life-writing deserves recognition in Canadian literary and historical studies achieved by her more famous contemporaries, Susanna Moodie and Anna Jameson. Eliza was a much better author than either of them and her writing feels more modern to twenty-first century readers.
- The Children’s Book Business: Lessons from the Long Eighteenth Century (Routledge 2018).
SSHRC Insight Grant
SSHRC Insight funded Maker Literacies led by Jennifer Rowsell is a five-year research study in Niagara elementary and secondary schools with the overall aim of expanding notions of literacy for curricular and policy changes in ways of teaching and learning contemporary literacy. Premised on international research on makerspace approaches to learning and multimodal forms of pedagogy, teachers work and plan with professionals in the media, technology, and creative arts sectors to teach students about how to design ‘modern’ texts like documentaries, videogames, and coding. The project has three key objectives. First, to contemporize approaches to literacy, professionals will be invited into K-12 classrooms to collaborate with educators on multimodal projects and adapted forms of assessment to 21st Century learning. Second, to adopt design frameworks and processes, professionals will teach approaches to a mode (e.g., graphic design) and work with educators to create assignments that evaluate student learning. Third, to invite students to see talent in their own community, the project will feature professionals within the immediate Niagara community and connect projects with community hubs such as museums and centres for the arts.
The hoped-for impacts of the Maker Literacies research are to: (i) further research and innovation in the area of K-12 students’ digital literacy and creative design skills in order to contribute to Canada’s future competitiveness and growth; (ii) develop project participants’ skills in research and knowledge creation and thus increase research capacity and enhance career prospects; (iii) develop a network of researchers, creative industry professionals and educators who can collaborate to develop educational materials and tools to foster children’s digital literacy and design skills in Canada; and (iv) offer recommendations for research, policy and practice (in industry and education) about the ways that maker literacies pedagogy can inform teaching and learning. There is a website that features the research: https://www.makerliteracies.com.
- Pahl, K. & Rowsell, J. (In Preparation). Living Literacies. Boston, MA: MIT Press.
- Lemieux, A., & Rowsell, J. (Accepted). Taking a Wide-Angled View of Contemporary Digital Literacy. In O. Erstad, R. Flewitt, B. Kümmerling-Meibauer, Í. S. Pires Pereira (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Digital Literacies in Early Childhood. New York: Routledge.
- Lemieux, A., & Rowsell, J. (In Press). Digital literacy in Canadian secondary schools. In R. Heydon (Ed.), Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies Handbook. London, UK: Bloomsbury.
- Rowsell, J. & Lemieux, A. (submitted). Making stories and cracking codes in a Canadian elementary school.
- Rowsell, J., Lemieux, A., Swartz, L., Turcotte, M., & Burkitt, J. (Accepted). The Stuff That Heroes Are Made Of: Elastic, Sticky, Messy Literacies in Children’s Transmedial Cultures. Language Arts.
- Lemieux, A., Rowsell, J., McLean, C., & Smith, A. (Accepted). Materializing the Plan: Developing Mapping-as-Metaphor and Mapping-as-Practice. Research in the Teaching of English.
“Theory of Mind Development in Emerging Adolescence”
Sandra Bosacki (Principal Investigator) and Victoria Talwar (Co-Principal Investigator)
Emerging adolescence is a key transition period for self-identity, intellect, physical maturation, and social behaviours. Adolescents moving from elementary to secondary school face a number of challenges that include social, psychological, physiological and contextual changes. Early to mid-adolescence is a peak developmental period for boredom where children’s school motivation declines as they navigate their relationships and growing identity.Beyond childhood, little is known about the links between understanding others’ minds and the formation of relationships. Theory of Mind (ToM) is the ability to infer others’ mental states (including emotional, spiritual, and moral states) within the context of social action. Theory of Mind enables the understanding of multiple perspectives that lead to more effective communication with others. Emerging adolescents developing ToM foster their ability to reason about their own and others’ thinking during the school day. As young people experience significant life changes, their developing ToM has implications for learning. Therefore, ToM is important for adolescents negotiating the transition from elementary to secondary school. This 5-year multi-method longitudinal research project investigates adolescents’ social-cognitive ToM abilities to make meaning of human thoughts and feelings in relation to their sense of self and peer relations as they move from elementary to secondary school. Specifically, we will address the question: How do emerging adolescents use their ability to understand the inner lives or worlds (mental, emotional, moral, spiritual) of others to help them develop a sense of self and navigate peer relationships effectively during the transition from elementary to secondary school.
Educational strategies that foster the development of ToM can serve as valuable tools to help youth develop a sensitivity to social information, and to develop control and a sense of responsibility over their social lives. This ability to reason about the connections between mind and behaviour is important given the difficulties that some young people face transitioning from elementary to secondary school. Theoretically, this project will illustrate the bi-directional patterns between intra- and interpersonal features of psychological understanding concurrently and longitudinally, and provide the most comprehensive conceptual and empirical bridge to date between emerging adolescents’ psychological understanding and their social experiences. Practically, the results will provide a base to build positive youth intervention programs and curricula that encourage the use of mental state talk to promote adolescents’ socio-cognitive and emotional competencies and enhance adolescents’ social adjustment over the course of school transitions
- Bosacki, S., Sitnik, V., Dutcher, K., & Talwar, V. (2018). Gratefulness, compassion, and ToM in adolescence. Journal of Genetic Psychology. DOI: 10.1080/00221325.2018.1499607
- Smith, S., Dutcher, K., Aksar, M., Talwar, V. & Bosacki, S., (2018). Emotional competencies in emerging adolescence: Relations between teacher ratings and student self-reports. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, DOI: 10.1080/02673843.2018.1455059.
Impacts of ISL initiatives on host communities and organizations in the Global South
2014-2017 | $232,230
There is a growing interesting in study abroad including short term international service learning programs (ISP) and International Experiential Education programs (IEE). Researchers from Brock University (Michael O’Sullivan), University of Saskatchewan and York University who had engaged over the years as scholars and as ISL/IEE practitioners (e.g., leading groups on such trips) realized that there was a gap in the literature on the impact of global northern visitors on the global southern host communities that they visited. The researchers felt that if these visits were to occur within the framework of equal partnerships and not business arrangements where the northern were, in effect, ‘renting a village’ we needed in depth input from host villages in two countries we were particularly familiar with: Nicaragua and Guatemala.
SSHRC funding supported a project to conduct almost two years of face to face interview with some 200 indiviudals in 8 villages, four in Nicaragua and four in Guatemala. Interviews were conducted by local anthropologists. A culminating workship involving four delegations from each of the 8 communities was held in August, 2017 in Managua, Nicaragua. This constituted a form of triangulation.
With the exception of one village that ceased to offer such programming after visitors resisted their locally defined expectations, the reports from the other villages were positively disposed to continuing such visits but had some serous concerns and resulting recommendations to improve the experience from their perspectives.
In general, the visitors felt that the visitors, mostly senior high school students and undergraduate university students, had not been adequately prepared to take full advantage of the program and did not fully comprehend the expectations of the community when they arrived. These expectations ranged from not being willing to engage in all aspects of the program to not knowing how to treat elders and traditional authorities respectfully. They also felt that teachers and university instructors (and other community leaders and religious leaders who brought down groups) had their own program in mind and were not willing to negotiate input by the local community leaders. These leaders argue that they have a story to tell and no visit to their community should not have the telling of that story fully integrated into the program followed by their visitors.