Alberta Advisory Committee for Educational Studies grant


The Alberta Advisory Committee for Educational Studies (AACES) is a partnership between the ATA, the University of Lethbridge, the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.

AACES was founded in 1953, with the University of Lethbridge joining in 1970.


Grants of up to $6,000 are awarded for projects designed to improve teacher preparation or benefit elementary and secondary education. Preference is given to projects investigating educational issues or questions.

To be eligible, you must be affiliated with one of the partner organizations and be

  • an ATA member (certificated teacher) or
  • a faculty of education sessional instructor, member, professor emeritus, adjunct or postdoctoral fellow.

How to apply

  1. See the guidelines for AACES grant applications 
  2. Fill out the application form

Deadline: 4:30 pm on October 15 or June 1 annually

Additional information

AACES guidelines for grant applications (PDF)

Read more

Past AACES-funded projects


Cell Phone Use Among Today’s Pre-Teens

David Chorney, Professor, Secondary Education, University of Alberta

A digital native is someone who has grown up in a culture that significantly uses and depends on technology. It has been well documented that the most vital years of brain development occur between 0 and 6 years of age. The next time of rapid brain development occurs between the ages of 11 and 13, during which time the brain is “fundamentally wired for the rest of a person’s life” (Herman 2012). A growing proportion of children’s and adolescents’ leisure time is consumed by looking at screens and being connected to the Internet. Of particular concern is the amount of time pre-adolescents (aged 9–12) spend on cell phones.

This usage raises questions about possible adverse health effects, such as inactivity, changing social interactions, anxiety, and other physical and mental concerns. The literature and previous studies focus on screen time and cell phone usage during the teenage years or on the adverse use of technology among adults. Our research inquiry targets the use of cell phones and general cell phone habits of pre-adolescents—specifically, students attending Grade 5 in various Edmonton, Alberta, schools. This age group has been minimally studied, and the findings may reveal data that is both thought-provoking and troubling for parents and educators.


Examining the Scope of Intergenerational Programs Involving Kindergarten Students

Michelle Drefs, Associate Professor, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary

Across the lifespan, people who lack strong social support are more likely to experience poorer quality of life and well-being. For young children and adolescents, their primary social relations are with family, friends and school personnel. However, often overlooked are the benefits to both physical and mental health of social connectedness between younger and older generations. Several researchers point to the growing physical and emotional disconnection between these generations, owing to such factors as increased family breakdown and geographical distance between extended family members. Schools can play an important role in fostering intergenerational relations through offering intergenerational (IG) programming that brings students and older adults together to engage in purposeful, mutually beneficial activities.

Such programs are particularly important in kindergarten, given what is known about the criticality of healthy relationships in the early years for establishing brain pathways that affect a person’s mental health and well-being throughout their lifetime. In this study, we will survey kindergarten teachers to identify the prevalence of IG programs, as well as the benefits and barriers related to using IG programs with kindergarten students. This study will additionally create a database that can be used in future studies examining the long-term impact of IG programs on students’ well-being and citizenship development (for example, increased volunteerism and a sense of community responsibility). Overall, this work is intended to advance knowledge and best practice in using IG programs with young children.


ESL Writing Instruction in Alberta Schools: Teacher Preparedness and Pedagogical Challenges

Subrata Bhowmik, Senior Instructor, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary

Writing is an important literacy skill for academic success, which underlines the importance of effective English as a second language (ESL) writing instruction in K–12. However, there has not been any research on this topic in the context of Alberta schools, leaving a significant gap in our understanding of effective classroom practices for ESL writing instruction.

The goal of this study is to fill this gap by investigating the factors that influence teacher preparedness for teaching ESL writing in K–12 contexts in Alberta, the challenges teachers encounter in teaching ESL writing and what can be done to help teachers overcome those challenges. Ultimately, the goal of this study is to help make ESL writing instruction more effective for teachers in Alberta. Based on the findings of the study, implications and evidence-based recommendations will be provided.

Understanding Practicum Supervision: Utilizing the Supervision Dimensions as a Reflective Tool for Improved Feedback Practices
Dawn Burleigh, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Lethbridge

As field experiences are an integral component of any teacher education program, efforts have been made to address the potentially limiting, normative influence of practical experiences by enhancing relationships between universities and schools. Involvement from university supervisors enhances this relationship while also preparing student teachers for success in a variety of educational contexts.

This research will explore, through a case study approach, the experiences of university supervisors as they engage in a process of learning about their teaching and supervision while using a reflective tool called the supervision dimensions. Audio-recorded debrief sessions between university supervisors and student teachers will be used to elicit reflective dialogue with the researcher about the use of the supervision dimensions. Co-constructed meaning, feedback and reflections will generate a deeper understanding of the supervision process and use of the supervision dimensions, with an aim of improving the experience of student teachers.


Kevin Wood (chair)
Philip McRae (board member)

Sudeep Dua (administrative officer)