Anthony Clarke


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Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

The experience of home economics teachers in Saudi Arabian classrooms (2021)

The national curriculum of Saudi Arabia aims to provide young people with the capabilities to participate in society that are framed around the values expressed in the Qur’an and through Islamic rules. The provision of public education for Saudi girls and young women has been developing since the 1960’s and includes home economics as one of the subjects. Offered at the elementary, intermediate, and high school levels the home economics curriculum has a specific focus on improving family life, hygiene, and nutrition. There is limited research about home economics teachers and their work. Guided by a centralised curriculum, teachers enact curriculum through teaching strategies and the learning activities. The focus of this study is to explore teachers' experiences within the classroom and drawing upon a funds of knowledge approach, to understand the curricula decisions teachers make.Following a phenomenological case study design, eight teachers from Mecca city, a major urban city in the western region of Saudi Arabia were interviewed and observed in their classrooms. Of particular interest was how these teachers perceived the impact on their student’s food practices, healthy diet and eating habits. By using funds of knowledge as a lens it was possible to see how teachers made decisions about enacting the curriculum based on their personal and professional knowledges; and to see how students responded based on their funds of knowledge. The findings have implications for future research about the interplay between a teacher’s funds of knowledge with that of their students within the home economics classroom. The findings point to the need for closer alignment between the food and nutrition education offered within the classroom and the food choices available at the school canteen. This study is significant in that it is the first time that a qualitative phenomenological case study exploring teachers’ funds of knowledge has been employed as a research approach in Saudi Arabia context.

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Estranging information: media art's pedagogical potential in the age of information capitalism (2020)

This research is a concept-based cultural analysis of media art that engages with the socio-political issues of information and communication technology (ICT) assemblages in today’s information society through media studies, philosophy of technology, and art theory, theorized in conjunction with the pedagogical and critical capacity of visual art, and explored through a close reading of eight case studies of media artworks. The research begins by articulating the socio-political landscape within which it is situated, one that recognizes the problem of algorithm-facilitated data-mining practices that encode the everyday and exploit the users in the big data economy for further entrenchment of decentralized control. It asserts that media art needs to address digital media by examining the underpinning logic of information within the wider landscape of information capitalism. Guided by a framework that pulls together theories of media and technology and theories of art pedagogy, my research argues that visual art engaged with digital media polemics has the capacity to subvert the normalized and entrenched information-based way of knowing through the tactic of estrangement and its potential to foster ways of knowing otherwise in relation to ICT. To substantiate the argument, my research interrogates the concept of information and positions it as an epistemic model through which one comes to make sense of the world, one that sustains the operation of information capitalism, and precisely that which visual/media art should tackle and question. The research argues against the binary of the knowing subject dominating and abstracting knowable objects inherent in informatics, against the claim that information is capable of adequately and neutrally representing the phenomena of the material world. Instead, it insists on the ‘other’ of information, the embodied contexts and performative materials of noise. Entwined with the theoretical analyses are the examination of several artworks from a diverse group of artists. These are used to explore how the selected artworks – such as hacked search engines, data-blocking devices, performances based on algorithmically-derived user profiles, hand-crafted infographics, 3D models of hidden data farms, and peer-supported exclusive networks – cultivate ways of knowing differently in relation to ICT operations and the epistemic model of information.

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Faculty members who prefer teaching first-year courses: an exploratory case study (2019)

This exploratory case study delves into the experience of faculty members who indicate a preference for teaching first-year students at the University of British Columbia-Vancouver (UBC), a large-scale, research-intensive, public Canadian university. An in-depth analysis of three faculty members’ narratives contributes to the broader case study of the phenomenon of teaching first-year students. The study attempts to present the capacities of first-year students through the eyes of teachers who believe deeply in the students’ capacity to join the scholarly community. Additionally, the study contributes to the body of research exploring faculty members’ teaching experiences in Canadian, research-intensive universities. The study interprets participants’ descriptions and my observations of pedagogical processes in teaching first-year students by drawing on qualitative data including: interviews, journals, reflective writing and statements of teaching philosophy. The researcher drew upon a set of sensitizing concepts to guide the data analysis but remained open at all times to the other evolving possibilities. Three emergent themes (phrased as action statements and indicated in italics) emerged: Invite students into the scholarly community; Enter with an expectation to mutually benefit from one’s interactions with first-year student; Develop a personal approach to pedagogy. In addition to being a graduate student, the researcher is a current staff member and former sessional instructor, and she explores her own position as a university educator and administrator through personal narrative throughout the dissertation. The results present an analysis that broadens the scope of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) research in the context of teaching first-year students. This study contributes to our understanding of teaching in higher education by responding to an emerging thread in higher education teaching and learning literature: the stories of faculty who indicate a preference for working with first-year students in the Canadian research-intensive university context.

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Moving pleasure in secondary school physical education (2018)

There is a dearth of research investigating the emotional experiences of students (Pope, 2005) in secondary school physical education and a “deafening silence” (Booth, 2009) regarding the essential role pleasure may play in physical education. Pringle (2010) underscores the potential educational value of “movement pleasure” and this hermeneutic inquiry responds to his call for educators to better understand the way pleasure is socially constructed and managed in their practices. To further understanding of pleasure I draw upon Epicurean philosophy (a practical way of living Life) and apply it to my practice as a secondary school physical education teacher. I create an alternative open framework through which to view events and the experience of curriculum posing the question, “In what ways might a pursuit of pleasure influence curriculum and pedagogy in secondary school physical education?”Epicurean hermeneutic inquiry is the means used to understand student experiences of secondary school physical education. On a weekly basis students share journal entries of their experiences of physical education subsequently unfolding conversations which inform and lead my practice. I concomitantly write my own field notes during and after each physical education class that I later rewrite after reading the students journals and talking with them about their feelings. While studying and drawing from Epicurean philosophy a way of living curriculum in relation to pleasure and happiness (Eudaimonia) I attempt to deepen my understanding of the emotional experiences students encounter in physical education. For example, in one Grade 9 class, I keep close track of and respond to a conversation with one student who is interested in easing the suffering of students who have negative experiences in physical education.The inquiry highlights the influence an embodied and scholarly pursuit of pleasure has on the way curriculum is lived and the tension that exists between natural desires that young people have to move for pleasure (freedom, joy, exultation, and delight) and the developmental lens through which I, as a physical educator, tend to view movement. It provides an alternative and emergent curricular pathway for educators who are interested in investigating the value of “pleasure based physical education.”

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Imagining student teacher identities through photo elicitation interview and Lacan's psychoanalytic concepts (2017)

This research utilizes photo elicitation interviews to examine the professional identities of student teachers as it is performed during a Teacher Education Program (TEP). Teacher identity research suggests that positive identification is associated with less teacher burnout and increased commitment to and performance of teaching responsibilities (Day, 2002; Day, Elliot, & Kington, 2005). In addition, the use of visual metaphors in conjunction with narratives is considered to be a productive way of encouraging student teachers to seriously reflect on their identities (Sumsion, 2002; Weber & Mitchell, 1996). Six student teachers from a Canadian university TEP created photographs prior to each interview. I recommended that participants take pictures of objects and places that they associate with feeling and acting like a teacher or, conversely, a student. Using their photos as a starting point, I interviewed each participant between three and six times. The image, Lacan’s Imaginary register, is critical to this work despite the usual dependence on words, the Symbolic. Significantly, it is the photo that covers up the Real—what the participant and researcher are incapable of saying in the Symbolic. The image functions like a dream, a manifestation of the unconscious, and, as such, it triggers an opportunity to formulate new interpretations. The structure of the dissertation is atypical and intends to illustrate Lacan’s theories using data. Juxtaposing elements of psychoanalysis with data analysis demonstrates a method of studying the subtle and uneven shifts in the identifications of student teachers while applying Lacan’s (2007) discourse of the Analyst as a lens. Following Jackson and Mazzei (2012), “plugging data into theory into data” (p. 13) is intentionally disruptive and this method is used in this dissertation to progressively introduce and then develop Lacanian concepts, such as mirror stage theory, the ego, the punctum, the gaze, and the Theory of Four Discourses, all of which are central to the research. The photos elicit discussions provoking the participants and researcher to say more than they intended. Consequently, we learn that identities are relatively stable, students and teachers experience school spaces differently, and there are culturally significant tokens that constitute a teacher subject.

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The matter of experience: Understanding good teaching in an international field placement (2016)

Many teacher education programs, like those in BC, depict good teaching as an epistemological concern, one that can be addressed by acquiring propositional and procedural knowledge during on-campus teacher education courses and, in turn, applying this knowledge in field settings (e.g., the practicum). Such a perspective marginalizes the knowledge and insights gained from the direct experience of teaching and depicts good teaching as an application activity situated in a theory-into-practice paradigm. In an attempt to better understand the contribution of direct experience to good teaching, this study explores the international field placement component of a Bachelor of Education program for six pre-service teachers. Specifically, it examines how the pre-service teachers understand and act on their ideas about what it means to be a good teacher as a result of a four week placement in BC Offshore Schools in Asia. This hermeneutic qualitative study draws upon Hans-Georg Gadamer’s (2004) notion of Erfahrung – an experience that interrupts understandings. An analysis of the pre-service teachers’ experiences suggests that international field placements, such as those at BC Offshore Schools, can be a distinctive form of direct experience where the context provides both familiarity and strangeness – a relationship that both challenges and contributes to the participants’ thinking about the practice of good teaching in ways that may not be possible in regular BC field placements. Specifically, this study demonstrates that the pre-service teachers problematized three important dimensions of teaching: embedded Western values; universal applications of “good” pedagogy/“best practice”; and the pre-service teacher position within the field placement. These results have implications for the purpose and value of international field placement in teacher education.

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School gardening, teaching, and a pedagogy of enclosures: Threads of an arts-based metissage (2015)

In conversation with a growing school gardening movement (Williams & Brown, 2012), this arts-based research draws on material feminist and posthumanist (Alaimo & Hekman, 2008; Barad, 2003; Haraway, 2004, 2008) scholarship to reconfigure what it means to become a teacher. In particular, I explore ‘becoming teachers together’ with a garden as a way to reimagine alternatives for the persistent and familiar figure of the teacher as a rational, autonomous individual working within the closed doors of the traditional classroom (Britzman, 2003; Jackson, 1990). Indigenous scholarship, particularly around gift giving (Kuokkanen, 2007) and decolonization (Gaztambide-Fernández, 2012), offers unsettling insights into human and nonhuman entanglements such as the ‘garden-as-teacher.’ In this work, I linger beside (Sedgwick, 2003) both the possibilities and impossibilities of teaching with gardens, compelled to respond (Simon, 2006) to the difficult history of school gardens, particularly during Nazi Germany and in the Canadian residential school system, and the etymological knots that link gardens with material and discursive practices of enclosure.The art theory and practices that shape this research are site-specific installation art (Augaitis & Ritter, 2008; Bishop, 2005, 2012; Bourriaud, 2002; Függe & Fleck, 2006; Kester, 2011), especially collaborations with Vancouver artist Sharon Kallis (Kallis, 2014) and an interview with Ron Benner (Benner, 2008). Responding to O’Donoghue’s (2010) provocation to consider classrooms as installations, I developed the installation series Threads sown, grown & given from April 2012 until August 2014 at The UBC Orchard Garden (a teaching and learning garden at the University of British Columbia) and in the teacher education building. The resulting métissage (Hasebe-Ludt, Chambers & Leggo, 2009) of narratives includes (a) the garden becoming a teacher, (b) student teachers becoming teachers during three research events related to the installation series, and (c) my own personal of becoming a teacher, scholar, and teacher educator. By attending to failure (Halberstam, 2011), this arts-based research creates conditions for what I term a ‘pedagogy of enclosures’ to engage with the ethical responsibilities and limitations of becoming teachers together, particularly in teacher education and garden-based education within the context of settler colonialism and the neoliberalization of the academy. Supplementary video material is available at:

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Fostering artistry and pedagogy: conversations with artist-teachers Frederick Hemke, Eugene Rousseau and Donald Sinta (2012)

This research presents three case studies that explore university teachers in the private music studio and in the master class setting, framed by one central question: how do artist-teachers articulate, negotiate, and give shape to their pedagogical practices about artistry and interpretation within the context of private music education? The cases focus on saxophone artist-teachers Frederick Hemke at Northwestern University, Eugene Rousseau at the University of Minnesota, and Donald Sinta at the University of Michigan.I analyzed instrumental music performance teaching and learning from the perspective of the three artist-teachers. The data collected from interviews, observations, and my personal narratives provide a rich resource for the analysis of the professional lives of master musicians, their pedagogies, and their thoughts about artistry in music performance and instruction. Interviews with many of the artist-teachers’ students also informed my analysis.More important, this study connects present and future saxophonists by capturing the voices of recognized artist-teachers about artistry and pedagogy. Central to this thesis are the discovery of how little has changed in the concepts of artistry and pedagogy over time and across the evolution of musical styles, and recognition of the power of the strong bonds that connect generations of students with their teachers and their teachers’ teachers.Understanding and insight gained through data analysis and reflection on the outcomes illustrate a need for further research in the area of music performance with artist-teachers in the performance world, and a need to collect narratives from master musicians who incorporate teaching and performance experiences.Research into the setting for private music instruction is burgeoning. I provide a particular viewpoint into the lives and pedagogies of three North American artist-teachers of saxophone from my perspective as a performer, teacher, and researcher, as a model to encourage further research that contributes to knowledge in the academy about music performance and private music instruction.

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Connecting the Dots of a Moving Image: Future Teachers' Undergraduate Experiences with Science (2011)

Elementary students are taught science by teachers from social sciences and humanities backgrounds, begging the question about when and how these elementary teachers learn science content. This study explores the experiences of four future teachers in Bachelor of Arts (BA) science elective courses. More specifically, in terms of their perspectives as non-science majors learning science, their conceptions about the nature of science, and their views about how activities in their university classroom might apply to their future careers. The methodological framework borrows from Giorgi’s phenomenological inquiry as one way to interrogate students’ experiences in a university science course. Aikenhead’s Border Crossing perspective emerged as an interpretive frame to understand student’s experiences as lived. Data collected from interviews and personal journal testimonies led to individual stories about four future teachers, represented by unique metaphors from the natural world. The stories are not the same, nor is there an intention to represent universal generalizations about all future teachers. The analysis resulted in the generation of a Structures Table that locates particular characteristics or traits of aspiring teachers across a spectrum of possibilities that might be informative for science education instructors responsible for similar programs or courses. In addition, interpretation of Aikenhead’s Border Crossing perspective prompted the creation of a Border Crossing map that might also be of use to science educators. Further, the analysis illustrated that the participants: held preconceptions that learning science was hard, complex, and boring; perceptions of science varied between something independent of human perception to something that was embedded in the culture in which it was constructed; social science backgrounds and their interest in environmental issues influenced how they viewed the usefulness of scientific knowledge; felt that learning science is most effective through direct, hands-on activities; and were most engaged when they could make direct connections between the content of the courses and their future career as classroom teachers. Attention to improving science learning for future teachers during the earliest phase of their university experiences may facilitate developing teachers of science who pass on their vision of science as a tentative, subjective, creative and socio-cultural pursuit.

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The meaning of an education: lifelong learning and the blues (2010)

All knowledge is individually constructed and contextually situated. Simply stated, different things mean different things to different people, under different circumstances, in different places, and at different times. What then is the meaning of an education? Pragmatic philosophy holds the meaning of something to be intrinsically associated with its functional purpose or effect. Accordingly, it "is" what it "does." Education is thus commonly viewed as a way of instructing children and young persons in preparation for their making informed career choices leading to positive and productive participation in mainstream society as responsible adults. Current definitions include the upgrading, retraining and re-certification of mature workers. Long considered a pipeline to social and material prosperity, education is generally programmed to succeed. But no two learners are the same, and everyone’s experience is unique. What about the less well served, the ones that don’t fit in — the ones flushed out the system’s other end? What meaning does education hold for them? This exercise examines one such experience — my own.

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Knowing "knowledge": explorations with youth and other thinking friends (2009)

This thesis sketches my foray into an inquiry with youth; an inquiry which aimed to inquire into beliefs about “knowledge” while simultaneously inquiring into how I enacted knowledge in my research practices. Inquiry into beliefs about knowledge – what knowledge means, where knowledge comes from, who knows (and who doesn’t) – was undertaken to gain insight into how knowledge is known and the effects of conceptions of knowledge on daily living. Beginning with the assumption that beliefs about abstract concepts, such as knowledge, tend to be held implicitly and therefore elude critique and revision, I created an experimental inquiry process to explore the possibility of surfacing beliefs about knowledge with youth through the use of interactive activities. The interactive activities were designed to reduce the abstraction of “knowledge” and facilitate thinking about knowledge as situated concretely in day-to-day life. Feminist pragmatism supported the impetus for the inquiry and the interactive imperative for the inquiry explorations, and also informed the interpretation of texts generated in the inquiry. Through bringing together the voices of youth with the voices of other thinking friends, the relevance and significance of youth’s insights into how knowledge is known is made apparent, and is also foregrounded in proposed considerations for teaching-learning encounters. The inquiry also served to transform how I think about and respond to the enduring challenges associated with the knowledge work of my research practice.

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Restor(y)ing Relational Identities Through (Per)formative Reflections on Nursing Education: A Textual Exhibitionists Tale of Living Inquiry (2009)

No abstract available.

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Contextual Factors in Unsuccessful Teaching Practica: The Perspective of the Teacher Candidate (2016)

Failure, or the need to repeat a practicum, in the Teacher Education program occurs for approximately 10% of teacher candidates (Clarke, 2015). This study examined ways in which the practicum context served or hindered teacher candidates who were required to repeat their practicum. Data were collected by an anonymous online survey of teachers who repeated and subsequently completed their practicum [to determine the factors believed to have contributed to their need to repeat their practicum], followed by interviews of three survey participants. Experiences of the researcher are also included in the data set. Five themes emerged from the data as contributing factors to needing to repeat a practicum. They are: excessive workload, inappropriate feedback, poor relationships with mentors, role models who could not demonstrate best practice, and personal limitations. The results of this study confirm the importance of attending to contexts of the practicum setting. In particular, there is a need for mentoring practices to be refined. The results also support the need for a more integrated approach to teacher education.

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Teacher Empowerment and China's Curriculum Reform: To What Extent Do Teachers Feel Empowered by Chinese Curriculum Reform? - A Case Study Based on Dalian No. 24 Senior High School (2013)

This study examines the enactment of teacher empowerment in Dalian No. 24 Senior High School within the context of the current Chinese Curriculum Reform Movement (CRM). A review of current Chinese and American literature on teacher empowerment was given to provide a background to better understand specific issues that impact teacher empowerment. Additionally, a qualitative case study on this leading Chinese high school is presented with the aim of raising awareness of teacher empowerment involving Chinese curricular reform. Data collection included a literature review, semi-structured open-ended interviews and surveys. Face-to-face interviews and questionnaire surveys were conducted at Dalian No. 24 Senior High School. Accordingly, this study aims to provide practical insights on issues affecting teacher empowerment as applicable to Dalian No. 24 Senior High School. Two additional purposes of the study are to build on the existing, but limited, research knowledge in this area and to provide avenues for future inquiry.Results from this study highlight the benefits of teacher empowerment, including increased performance and productivity, improved teacher morale, and increased knowledge of subject matter and pedagogy. At Dalian No. 24 Senior High School, three key issues were discovered: first, most of the teacher participants hold a positive attitude towards teacher empowerment and the latest National Curriculum Reform (NCR); second, this school holds a supportive environment to teacher empowerment and teachers’ professional development; and third, there are still drawbacks to implementing teacher empowerment and the changes required by the NCR that the teachers and the school need to address.

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