Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum Studies (PhD)
Experiences implementing a school garden program
Health Literacy; Food Literacy; Teacher Education: Curriculum Development; Educational Policy
G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.
These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a potential thesis supervisor.
Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.
Utilizing the Health Promoting Schools (HPS) framework (WHO, 1996), this qualitative case study explored participants’ experiences implementing a hydroponic shipping container farm (HSCF) food literacy education program at a middle school in British Columbia, Canada. The school was attempting to integrate the program using a whole school approach, which recognizes that formal learning, school environment, and community connections all contribute to student learning (Shallcross, 2006). The research questions aimed to identify barriers and opportunities that arose during program implementation as well as how a food literacy program is affected when commonly identified barriers to program success were absent. This research included the voices of many individuals including teachers, administrators, students, and community members.Despite substantial initial funding for program implementation and support, the presence of the HSCF at the school placed significant financial and human capital burdens on the school, which puts the long-term sustainability of the program into question. Findings highlighted considerable excitement and support for the program but also conflicting program expectations among participants. The HSCF sparked a renewed interest in sustainability within the school. Teachers and administrators within the school became vocal about the presence of the HSCF leading to media exposure within the community. Due in part to this exposure, as well as the help of a local community champion, the school was able to develop several community connections that led to learning experiences for students as well as aided the school in overcoming barriers they faced when implementing the program. Adult participants viewed teaching business skills and the future of farming as important learning goals for the farm. Less emphasis was placed on connecting students to food systems or promoting the development of an engaged citizenry. A lack of specific learning objectives related to food in the BC curriculum, as well the absence of clear learning objectives surrounding the program itself, made it difficult to effectively incorporate these topics into the program. Although there was strong support for the program, the research concluded that HSCFs as a tool for food literacy education may not be a sustainable model for schools in the long run.
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.
Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.
This study critically analyzes how and why women’s work in the home matters, and how women make sense and meaning of their domestic identities. Feminist discourse has often favoured the public sphere as a site of inquiry, overlooking the value of the private sphere and resulting in a tension between ‘the feminist’ and ‘the housewife.’ This research explores the ways that women have negotiated their domestic identities in the spaces between, and how domestic work can foster empowerment and community for women.This study uses feminist research and analysis methods to give insight into women’s relationship to domesticity, exploring and acknowledging the value of domestic work. To honour the subjective realities and narratives of the participants, data was gathered from three qualitative sources: participant observation through online cooking sessions, semi-structured interviews, and participant documentation. Analysis methods included content, narrative, and discourse analysis to generate meaning for the study.The focus of this study is on domestic foodwork, reflective of women’s responsibility for planning, procuring, preparing, and managing the tasks of feeding the family. The results indicate that domesticity is experienced differently throughout a woman’s life, and that domestic work is inherently relational. The emotional labour of domestic foodwork was identified as the most difficult and stressful element of the task, and despite feeling the burden of responsibility for domestic foodwork, the women in this study are invested in their domestic identities, for the key role they play in sustaining familial relationships. Additionally, the kitchen is indicated as an important space of connection and empowerment for the participants, and should be noted as a valid site of inquiry. To deny the value of domestic skills dismisses the transformative potential of everyday spaces and acts. Essentializing as ‘women’s work’ the caring and relational tasks that women do through work in the home sustains the gendered division of labour, and limits the expectation that men participate in both domestic work and emotional labour to an equal degree. Domestic skills, especially the associated emotional labour tasks, should be understood as a learned knowledge system that everyone can participate in.
As emerging professionals, students require opportunities to explore aspects of their identity and engage with praxis and phronesis in order to think purposefully about the moral implications of their actions. Biochemistry students learn advanced technical skills that have the potential to change the human and natural world in novel ways, and many of these practices, like gene editing, have unknown long-term consequences. These technical skills are not value neutral, and as emerging professionals, students ought to engage in praxis in order to examine how to act for the greater social good with the skills and knowledge they attain during their degree. Each day in the classroom is an opportunity for praxis where students consider who they are, who they becoming, and how their disciplinary learning informs their professional identity. Praxis combines theoretical and technical understanding with lived experience as a professional and incorporates principled-actions in service of a better world. Phronesis, is a mindset oriented towards the moral and ethical implications of one’s actions as a professional, and it originates from sustained praxis. This research explores the professional identity third-year biochemistry students developed through strengths-based reflection in a laboratory course. The students in this study submitted a reflection about their experiences and learning associated with Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment. Critical discourse analysis was applied to interpret their reflections and to identify influences on the development of professional identity. Each student’s submission provided an example of the narratives student’s internalized from their observations and experiences up until this point in their degree. When analyzed together, broader social narratives emerged that depict the importance of student’s sense of agency as emerging professionals. When students name their strengths, they take power of their role in learning and developing their professional identity. Preparing career ready graduates with praxis as professionals transcends skills and job training. It prepares students to be purposeful in their lives and to act with a sense of what is morally right. For this type of career learning to take place, instructors must make intentional choices to include and prioritize professional development in conjunction with disciplinary-content.
A common conception is that the singular focus of home economics educators and home economics education is the development of a technical perspective (technê) in students with the goal of producing a product through reasoned, instrumental action (poïesis). However, taking such a curricular and pedagogical focus reduces the opportunity for interaction with praxis and phronesis. By excluding thoughtful engagement with the topics in this subject area, teachers may unknowingly facilitate mindlessness in themselves and their students regarding everyday life actions, which has the potential to unintentionally propagate harmful ideas and actions. This research is positioned on the idea that attaining a mindful disposition can help educators develop curriculum and pedagogy that challenges students to think critically and, as a result, make thoughtful decisions about their actions in their everyday lives. The home economics curriculum engages with everyday life actions. While they are ‘small’, everyday life actions have the potential to be emancipatory. The purpose of this study is to investigate what non-meditative mindfulness looks like in the practice of a mindful home economics educator and to uncover connections between education, home economics, and mindfulness. Through the use of case study and action research methodology, the research investigates how a home economics teacher engages with and employs mindfulness in her curriculum and pedagogy. Data collected throughout the semester delivery of secondary school courses include a reflective personal journal on classroom activity; lessons and classroom documents; and feedback from students within the course. Four themes identified from the data that appeared to reduce mindless tendencies in my teaching practice were: i) having an intentionally evolving curriculum and pedagogy, ii) the inclusion of place-based learning opportunities, (iii) the inclusion of inquiry based learning opportunities, and iv) the importance of external validation. This research indicates that engaging with non-meditative mindfulness has an impact on both an educator’s thinking about his or her pedagogy and also on his or her practice. Employing non-meditative mindfulness may appeal to educators because it offers the opportunity for individuals to experience empowering, transformative ways of thinking without demanding that individuals commit significant amounts of time to modifying their practice.