Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies (PhD)
Negotiating identity and belonging in the age of the "war on terror": Muslim youths’ lived experiences in British Columbian high schools
The purpose of this study was to document, critically analyze and understand both my experiences as the supervisor of the support service workers (SSWs) and the experiences of the SSWs in the context of privatization at a care home. The conceptual framework for this study was developed using chiefly the literature on workplace alienation, identity development and moral leadership. Qualitative research methodology was used to collect data. One source of data was from my self-reflection on my own practice and a second source was from the SSWs through focus group and individual interviews.The process of privatization of the SSWs jobs and the subsequent significant reduction in wages and benefits was highly alienating. The educational interventions that I developed to involve the SSWs in the care planning process brought significant positive shifts in the SSWs’ attitude towards their jobs and their workplace identity, diminishing their sense of alienation at the care home. I also experienced significant positive shifts in my engagement, identity and leadership at the care home.The findings of this study demonstrates that educational interventions supported the transition of a group of women alienated at work, considered low-status with minimal influence and outside the care planning process to become a team of women who developed a strong sense of belonging and influence at the care home and are now considered insiders and important contributors to the care planning process. The study also demonstrates my own de-alienation and the shift in my workplace identity from an alienated manager with little influence to an involved leader-educator with significant influence and a healthcare professional who makes a difference in the lives of both residents and the SSWs.The dissertation concludes with a discussion of implications for future research, for leadership practice in care homes, and for my own leadership practice.
This study examined experiences of teachers working in extended physical spaces (those added to an existing school building such as built additions or modular classrooms) in the case of a growing British Columbia elementary school in which there was a perceived lack of physical space. Specifically, I looked at the intersections of spatiality, teacher constructions of collegiality, and power relations with regards to working in extended spaces, and how these concepts affected teacher work lives and professional interactions. In this study, spatiality refers to human constructions of space and place that occur through our social interactions with others within the physical environment, and collegiality is defined as teachers’ involvement with peers on a variety of levels. Through use of a critical symbolic interactionist lens and a conceptualization of power from a feminist empowerment (power-with) model, I sought to understand how these teachers interpreted symbols representing organizational values and norms within the broad school culture, the meanings they derived from the extended physical spaces, and how socio-spatial relations were produced. Data obtained through observation, document analysis, and interviews suggested teachers derive meaning from extended physical spaces based upon how their workspace allows them to carry out their work role. These spaces were symbolized as being separate from the original building. Generally, teachers believed inhabiting extended physical spaces had the potential to contribute to a lessening quality and quantity of interactions with other teachers, and to make resources less accessible. Teachers constructed six broad categories of collegial interactions which were largely based upon their ability to interact with colleagues through space and took the form of socio-spatial enactments that were reflections of negotiated organizational culture. Findings indicated teachers inhabiting extended physical spaces had the potential to feel tension as they attempted to enact the organizational values that characterized the school while simultaneously experiencing a new spatiality. However, through strategies of empowerment and a distributed-leadership model, teachers and administrators were able to mitigate much of the potential disadvantage that could occur through inhabiting extended spaces, thereby producing new, inclusive spatialities and opportunities for socio-spatial dialogue and community growth.
This qualitative research study aimed to explore teachers’ in-service multicultural education and the nature of teachers’ professional development in one urban school district in the province of British Columbia.This study focused on the perspectives of five participants; four participants from the School District and one participant from the Teacher Association. All participants were involved in teachers’ in-service professional development. From a critical lens and using semi–structured interviews and document analysis the study explored the participants’ understanding of multiculturalism and the theoretical frameworks that may have shaped the participants’ choices and actions concerning how they educate and support teachers to handle the complexities of diversity and multiculturalism within the current changing demographics of the school district.The study revealed that despite four decades of official multicultural policy, and the abundant academic research in the field of multiculturalism, teachers’ multicultural education in the school district is still limited to the “celebratory” tokenistic approach and doesn’t move beyond “festivals, food and dance”. It also revealed that critical discourses that link multicultural education to equity and social justice are absent and feared. The study highlights the need to rethink teachers’ in-service multicultural education from critical perspectives that embrace critical and transformative stance and that reject the fallacy of apolitical education and neutral educators.