Doctor in Education (Ed.D.)

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    Understanding how experienced male early childhood teachers navigate the early childhood classroom in Singapore
    (2024)
    Lum, Grace Weng May

    For the longest time, the early childhood industry in Singapore has been struggling with hiring and retention issues. The dismal number of male early childhood teachers teaching children in preschools, which has repercussions on children’s development and beyond, compounds the issue. The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) argues that male teachers add value to the profession with their multitude of strengths and varied perspectives. Working towards gender diversity in early childhood teaching will help children rethink gender-based professions. Comparative studies found that male teachers were more effective in gaining and sustaining the attention of children during teaching activities while female teachers were found to exercise greater flexibility in choosing suitable instructional approaches. Yet, there remains a discouragingly small number of male early childhood teachers in Singapore, which may be attributed to toxic masculinities. While there have been studies understanding how the imposition of masculinity assumptions shaped male early childhood teachers’ experiences, these studies have been commonly conducted in North American and Scandinavian contexts, hence the need for a more nuanced understanding of how masculinity is perceived in the Asian context. Concurrently, studies involving male early childhood teachers have tended to document the reasons for their departure, with few investigating the experiences of those who remain in service. Thus, this study proposed an investigation into how experienced male early childhood teachers navigate the early childhood setting to continue as classroom teachers and probed into how they negotiated conceptions of masculinity. Similar studies have frequently focused on interviewing male preschool teachers as their principal data collection method. This study differentiates itself from similar studies with its use of classroom observations as the primary data collection procedure.

    This qualitative study utilised a case study research design. Three male early childhood teachers with three or more years of practice were experienced teachers from three different preschools. The data sources included semi-structured interviews and classroom observations. A cross-case analysis was deployed as a data analysis method. Connell’s (2005) hegemonic masculinity framework was chosen as a lens to understand the reasons why male early childhood teachers continue to stay gainfully employed in Singapore. The revelation of intersections between ethnicity and masculinity, the soldier identity, academic merit, and gender-based pedagogical beliefs informed us that the hegemonic masculinity framework was more context-dependent than it was portrayed. Connell’s trait-based approach of dominant versus subordinate masculinities and masculine ideals and complicit masculinity thus gains culturally sensitive extensions from this study. The findings have the potential to lend perspectives to neighbouring Asian societies. In multi-ethnic Singapore, contextual nuances speak to how the theoretical framework plays out or departs from hegemonic masculinity. Most importantly, the findings reveal that male early childhood teachers adopted a 6R approach: reinventing responses, reframing mindset, rebalancing relationships, reconciling identities, remaking masculinities, and rethinking policies to stay gainfully employed despite the challenges that transpire.

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    Effect of extensive reading and listening on L2 students' speaking performance : a mixed-methods study
    (2024)
    Maria Hidayati

    Research has provided evidence supporting the effects of input-based learning on learners’ language learning through Extensive Reading (ER), Extensive Listening (EL), and bimodal input (e.g., reading while listening, listening passage previewing). Less studied, however, is how input-based learning impacts learners’ language use, particularly speaking proficiency. This is important as the learners’ competence in producing the language either written or oral becomes the success parameter in learning a foreign or second language. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the potential effects of input-based learning through ER, EL, and the combination of ER and EL (EREL) on second language (L2) learners’ spoken performance.

    Employing an embedded mixed-methods design, this study investigated the impact of different input-based language learning programmes on participants’ speaking skills and their perceptions of these programmes. Quantitative data were collected from students taking a Speaking for Academic Purposes (SAP) course at an English department, in a public university, Indonesia. These participants were assigned to four groups: Extensive Reading Only (ERO; n = 38), Extensive Listening Only (ELO; n = 41), Extensive Reading-Extensive Listening (EREL; n = 51), and a control group (n = 53). The extensive learning groups had access to Xreading, an online library, and each group received different language instructions. The ERO group received written texts; the ELO group received oral texts, and the EREL group received language input from both written and oral texts. The control group, however, was not exposed to Xreading platform. The study adopted a quasi-experimental design to assess learners’ language skills (listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and vocabulary knowledge), and their speaking performances. Prior to conducting statistical analysis, the Rasch model was conducted to prepare learners’ language skills, and the many - facet Rasch measurement was applied to validate their speaking skills. Furthermore, the qualitative data were gathered from the questionnaires, learning logs, and focus group interviews to investigate the participants’ perceptions about the extensive learning programmes. The data were analysed using MaxQDA, a qualitative analysis application, to augment the quantitative findings.

    The results of this study, as suggested from repeated-measures MANOVA and oneway ANOVA, indicate significant progress in language skills and speaking performance across each experimental group. In terms of gains from their pre and post -test, the EREL group performs better in listening and speaking compared to the control group. In addition, from the qualitative data results of the questionnaires and focus group interviews, the participants in both EREL and control groups believe that engaging with written and oral texts is important for their language development (e.g., vocabulary, listening, reading, and speaking) as they believe this helps them learn new vocabulary and improve the pronunciation of these words in language production. However, the students in the experimental group showed little interest to record their experiences in learning logs as post activities. They perceived these tasks as potentially discouraging further engagement in reading and listening activities. Despite this, the study offers valuable suggestions for future implementation regarding input-based learning, directed towards teachers and practitioners in classroom settings.

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  • Publication
    Open Access
    Exploring instructors' considerations in crafting online courses for professional development
    (2024)
    Lili Mutiary

    Online teaching and learning for the professional development of workers in service is ever pervasive and continually growing. Yet, studies of teaching and learning with technology are mostly conducted in K-12, pre-service, or higher education contexts resulting in a lack of attention given to the in-service or professional development field. This study aims to alleviate the issue by investigating online courses in a professional development context, particularly in a government institution such as the Financial Education and Training Agency (FETA) under the Indonesian Ministry of Finance. By conducting a study in the institution providing online professional development courses, this study focuses on adult learners.

    There are also more studies investigating learners compared to instructors, even though the latter are reportedly struggling in conducting online courses. One of the struggles instructor faces includes choosing relevant technologically enhanced andragogy that are in line with the learning contents and intents. This happened amidst the growth of online professional development courses due to increasing demand accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Online learning needs to be improved not only in terms of quantity but also quality.

    By analysing 148 curriculum documents known as the course syllabi, followed by interviewing three gatekeepers and seven instructors conducting online courses at FETA, and informed by prevailing theories of education and educational technology adoption, the present study aimed to uncover practice-based considerations in crafting online course curricula for professional development. Frameworks used in this study include the adult learning principles of andragogy, the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, and the Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition (SAMR) model.

    The study found the distinction between various types of online courses for professional development: distance learning, webinars, and web-based learning courses. Distance learning can be supplemented with prerequisite and/or action learning. Web-based learning can be limited to specific learners or opened to the general population of learners depending on the learning content. The study also found connections between learning objectives and the use of technology in online courses. The considerations in choosing internet-assisted course types and relevant technologies for online courses include learning content. Characteristics of learning content are considered, such as range, specificity, and confidentiality. These characters correspond to the specification of learners which are adult learners. Both content and audience are considered in crafting online course curricula.

    The findings gathered through this study may not only sharpen the crafting of online course curricula but also assist in providing effective support for online teaching and learning. It provides a better understanding of the connection between learning content and the use of technology for online courses in a professional development context meant for adult learners. Such a better understanding of instructors’ considerations helped explain why online course curricula are crafted with certain approaches. It is hoped that the considerations borne by this study can be useful in guiding the practice of designing the curricula for online courses in professional development contexts for adult learners while assisting in providing relevant support for instructors.

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    The effects of augmented feedback on skills acquisition and retention of a series of motor tasks in fencing in an immersive virtual reality learning environment
    (2023)
    Foo, Jonathan Jon-Chung

    An increased interest in Immersive Virtual Reality Learning Environments (IVRLE) necessitates understanding how augmented feedback can be used effectively to improve motor skills learning in such an environment. In this study, a motor task in the context of sports fencing was designed within an IVRE to study the effects of the types of augmented feedback, Knowledge of Performance (KP) and Knowledge of Results (KR), and the modes of augmented feedback; unimodal auditory augmented feedback and multimodal auditory-visual augmented feedback, on learning motor skills.

    All 58 participants experienced the VR Fencing Coach Simulator IVRLE, where they each learnt to perform three fencing motor skill tasks in three different augmented feedback conditions. The participants were divided into two groups: one experiencing no feedback and unimodal KP and KR augmented feedback. In contrast, the second group experienced no feedback and multimodal KP and KR augmented feedback. The order of the KP and KR simulation sessions was randomised to ensure no carryover effects. All participants also took part in a retention test and a post-experiment interview.

    The experimental design approach was used, deploying appropriate statistical tests, such as paired-sample t-tests and ANOVA and an embedded qualitative survey. The study's results affirm the IVRLE's ability to provide automated augmented feedback during virtual training, improving participant performance and enabling retention and transfer of the learnt skills. However, further examination of the types and modes of feedback found no significant difference in either condition, leading the researcher to propose that effective augmented feedback types and modes in the IVRLE could better be provided in combination rather than in isolation. This research advances the role of the IVRLE from one of novelty to a serious learning solution and informs upon the further development of IVRLEs for learning across different disciplines.

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    Enhancing speaker credibility in business communication using critical visual literacy
    (2023)
    Tan, Daisy Li Na
    The impetus for this study came from the absence of theory for the feedback component of the communication model used in a Business Communication module at a public university in Singapore. To address this gap, the theory of critical literacy and an adapted critical visual literacy framework synthesized from two theories, informed the design of two self-assessment tools which were proposed as self-feedback to enhance students’ speaker credibility. Forty-eight English as a Second Language (ESL) undergraduate business students were assigned to three groups: Group 1 served as a control group, Group 2 received Critical Visual Literacy Checklist (CVLC) Part 1 containing 5 non-verbal cues, while Group 3 received CVLC Part 1 and Part 2, containing 5 reflective questions. Six participants from each group were later interviewed in focus groups. After treatments, all three groups’ presentations were peer and instructor-assessed using a Speaker Credibility Survey containing 7 items on a 1-7 semantic differential scale. Although results show no significant effect on the use of the self-assessment tools on participants’ enhanced speaker credibility, qualitative findings indicate the usefulness of CVLC Part 1. Results also show that there were gender differences in terms of how the participants positioned themselves for “power” and through “presentation skills”. Lastly, results from focus group interviews indicate that participants showed awareness of redesign and were aware of their own speaker credibility, issues of confidence and anxiety, and gender differences in public speaking.
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