Brandon University student takes her ‘Three-Minute Thesis’ to virtual competition

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A Brandon University student is delivering a positive message about classroom behaviour as she aims to take her research to the national stage.

Natashalee Thompson recently completed her Master’s of Education at BU and her research shows that positive reinforcement is a better option than punitive discipline for managing student behaviour in schools. Tomorrow, she’s showcasing those results in a Three-Minute Thesis competition where she’ll face off against other student-researchers from across western Canada.

In the Three-Minute Thesis (or 3MT) format, presenters have just 180 seconds to present the story of their research to a general audience, using only a single slide. They are judged on their ability to deliver a compelling presentation that is understandable for non-experts, as well as on the content of their research.

“We are all extremely proud of Natashalee for the work, energy and enthusiasm she has brought to her research and to this competition,” said BU Dean of Education Heather Duncan. “She has a special combination of skills and commitment to first conduct this research with care, compassion and conscientiousness, then to translate her results into an easy-to-understand presentation, and finally to deliver that presentation with passion and polish on stage.”

Back in March, Thompson’s presentation at BU took top place at the local 3MT competition, which featured a dozen BU Master’s students competing for cash prizes and the opportunity to represent BU at the Western Regional Finals to be hosted by the University of Alberta. It was one of the final in-person events to be held at BU before the pandemic shutdown, which also put the regional finals on hold.

Now, Thompson will have the opportunity to present her research in a digital competition, as she competes against winners from other universities in western Canada for the honour of heading to the 3MT National competition.

Thompson’s presentation is called “Punitive: Dismiss It. Positive: Believe It!” and it shows how different approaches to managing classroom behaviour can have dramatically different outcomes.

“Negative behaviour is an indication that students are trying to meet a need,” Thompson explains. “Punitive measures, such as suspension, do not support the needs of students. However, positive approaches, such as restitution and the Seven Teachings, are better able to meet the needs of students and contribute to a safe and caring learning environment.”

Her presentation, which was pre-recorded for the regional competition, details what that looks like through student-focused examples.

The Western Regional 3MT Finals are scheduled to be held online this Wednesday, Sept. 23, from 2–4 p.m. Central Time. Anyone can register for the event and receive a free ticket through Eventbrite.

Watch it live at:

A robust BU audience will help Thompson compete for the People’s Choice award.

Thompson wasn’t the only great presentation from BU. Here are the winners from the March competition:

Brandon winners

Faculty Winners
Education Natashalee Thompson $100
Arts Grace Masse $100
Science Courtney Harris $100
Health Studies Monica Forsyth $100
Top Three Presentations
1st prize Natashalee Thompson $500
2nd prize Courtney Harris $150
3rd prize Alexia Walters $100



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