Academic journal article McGill Journal of Education (Online)


Academic journal article McGill Journal of Education (Online)


Article excerpt

The nine articles in this general issue provide fodder for sustained meditation on creating environments supportive of student - and teacher - learning, as seen from various levels, perspectives, and contexts. These are followed by a timely and provocative MJE Forum on the subject of sexual harassment in the academic workplace / environment, to which submission of responses are encouraged for publication in future issues. We conclude with two Notes from the Field, one from the Australian context, and the second one Carter's portrait of the teaching of theatre and drama in classrooms across Canada: a French translation (by popular demand) of an English Note originally published in the MJE in 2014.

With increasing attention to creating environments in education characterized by health and wellness, Jean-Pierre and Parris-Drummond's literature review is timely. They searched for scholarly and professional publications published in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada between 1996 and 2016 that presented alternative, non-punitive school practices. Selecting 72 publications, they were especially interested in articles that drew on theoretical frameworks emphasizing empowerment or opportunities-to-learn, and that could offer practical implications for the classroom and school. The review provides a highly useful thematic and critical analysis of the selected articles.

Also on the subject of health and wellness, here in higher education, MeunierDubé and Marcotte surveyed 211 college students to measure the occurrence of cognitive vulnerabilities and depressive symptoms manifested before and during their transition from secondary school to college. As of the first year, 6,2% of surveyed students reported moderate to severe depression symptoms. Although a higher number of female students reported signs of depression, there does not seem to be any significant gender-related differences in terms of academic and social adaptation. The authors discuss how cognitive vulnerabilities may predict adaptation in this context.

In a somewhat related vein, Leduc, Kozanitis, and Lepage are interested in the cognitive involvement of postsecondary students. This involvement is defined as the use of studying and learning strategies that aim for a relatively good understanding of notions addressed in the classroom. The authors translate, adapt, and seek to validate the Cognitive engagement scale survey, widely used in anglophone settings. Their questionnaire, adapted with a countertranslation method, received responses from 647 college and university students from Quebec. The research examines the quality of the survey translated and transposed to a francophone setting.

For their part, administrators, policy-makers, and educators working in the Ontarian context may be interested to read Segedin's evaluation of the impact of the Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) program on student outcomes. Comprising the third phase of the Student Success Strategy, the initiative was intended to provide students with flexible alternatives in developing their career pathways. Segedin's interest stemmed from her work in schools with students who were at risk of dropping out. The article describes the study that Segedin conducted, which involved analysis across student achievement data, school visits, and interviews with teachers and administrators at selected schools. Segedin concludes that the program is beginning to make a difference, even as she also flags areas for improvement.

The Myara article provides a historical portrait of pedagogical intervention plans used to support students with disabilities or with adaptation or learning difficulties in Quebec. By drawing from a literature review, she discusses the elaboration, the implementation, and the revision of an intervention plan in order to guide new practices using this tool. Indeed, practices remain varied and far from being optimal due to time and cost-related constraints related to the development, acquisition, and use of an intervention plan as well as the training and collaboration of different actors. …

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