Dr. Robyn Long receives Dean's Convocation Medal

June 15, 2018

As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of Education, Dr. Robyn Long is being recognized with the award of the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Dr. Long on her outstanding achievements.

For her doctoral research, Prosocial Activity in a Montessori Classroom: A Case Study, Dr. Long investigated young children’s prosocial activity development in a Montessori classroom by conducting a 3-year longitudinal case study.

She found that the teachers modeling concentration and precision while demonstrating use of the Montessori curricular materials led to students reproducing this activity, establishing a classroom work ethos that grew along with students’ increased mastery of material work. The students also reproduced prosocial actions modeled by the teachers, becoming integral, effective, and caring contributors to classroom management. The relationship between the children’s increasing curricular mastery and their prosocial activity is explained using a community of practice model.

Her supervisor, Dr. Margaret MacDonald, praises Long’s research, “Overall, supervising this dissertation was a pleasure given Robyn’s commitment to detail and the ethical care and respect she demonstrated throughout the observation and interview process. Her commitment to evidence based research and the qualitative analysis in this dissertation makes her work meritorious.”

Long’s research has led to collaborations with teacher training centers and she aims to use her research to develop instructional materials for Montessori teachers and to further develop a Montessori community of practice model for young children. In addition to winning the Dean’s Convocation Medal, Robyn’s dissertation also won the 2018 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award from the American Montessori Society.

Long acknowledges that her supervisor, Dr. Margaret MacDonald, was central to this work. From the earliest stages of development to completion, she demonstrated commitment to and trust in Long’s ambitions, providing timely and patient support, honest feedback, and expert guidance. Long compares some of her research findings to her supervisor relationship: “Just as the students from my case study learned new ways of helping others based on the way their teachers helped them, the way I help student writers now is partly modeled after how Margaret helped me, which means that her care and advice for me has benefitted dozens if not hundreds of other SFU graduate students and their research across disciplines, with hopefully even more to come. I am grateful to have had Margaret as a supervisor, as she was the difference in making my graduate experience at SFU productive, meaningful, and joyful.”

Long currently works as a Writing Facilitator with the Student Learning Commons and Research Commons, where she enjoys learning about student research across disciplines and helping graduate students with their theses.

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