Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Globalisation and cultural management : leading from the margins
    Nadarajah, Yasothara ( 2004)
    This thesis commenced with the purpose of examining a case study of cultural management within an institution of higher education and questioning whether the manner in which we negotiate our identity, reflect a sense of belonging and create a responsibility within a labyrinth of impersonal spaces with this local/global dilemma will be the premises upon which new answers to old questions, as well as a whole set of new questions about cultural management within higher educational institutions, will be asked. The development of the Intercultural Projects and Resources Unit (IPRU) was examined as a reflective case study analysis, whilst drawing on the researcher's biography as a key component of this thesis, operating at several different but interconnected levels, negotiating simultaneously the space between mainstream Western academic concerns, the researcher's intellectual and geographical/spatial dislocation and working with a diverse range of students, university staff, community groups and places in the world. This thesis contends that when there are 'spaces' that enable all voices to be heard and considered, then the outcome is always far better than anticipated. Such 'spaces' or 'structures' will always start with, and privilege, the perspectives (and participation) of those with the least power and those who are most disadvantaged (margins). Any decision needs to involve a deep consideration of effects in a range of domains, grounded in an appreciation of the layered cultural contexts in which choices are made and implemented. This thesis has proposed that it is in the linking of current debates about difference, identity and marginality with the management of 'culture', ,and in facilitating a space within which these issues can be negotiated, that meaningful work and outcomes as educational administrators within a global knowledge economy becomes possible..
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    Values and the teaching of history to junior secondary school students
    Treidel, Vicki ( 2006)
    Entitled 'Values and the teaching of history to junior secondary school students' this thesis aims to explore the value of history as a subject for study by junior secondary school students and the role of values in the teaching of history. A focus on the types of knowledge that teachers bring to their professional practice forms part of the groundwork for the study. Professional knowledge is considered as pedagogical knowledge and content knowledge (Darling-Hammond, 1999; Shulman, 1986, 1987). These branches of a teacher's knowledge are discussed in relation to the teaching of history. History is broadly identified as a field of knowledge (Carr, 1961; Hexter, 1971; Leinhardt, 1994; Marwick, 1983), a discipline for study (Ang, 2001; Collingwood, 1946; Leinhardt, 1994; Levstik, 2000; Marwick, 1983; Rogers, 1984; Skilbeck, 1979) and a subject within the school curriculum (Board of Studies, 2000; Foshay, 2000; Macintrye, 1997; Mays, 1974; Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), 2004, 2005). The value of teaching history to junior secondary school students is broadly considered in terms of the knowledge and understanding that can be developed through the study of history as a school subject. The embedded nature of values within teaching is acknowledged and distinctions drawn between social/community values, general educational values taught through history and more specific values associated with the study of history. The research is situated within the qualitative paradigm (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000, 2005; Flick, 2002; Strauss & Corbin, 1990) and involved a case study (Bassey, 1999; Denzin & Lincoln, 2000; Merriam, 1988; Stake, 1995, 2000, 2005; Stenhouse, 1985; Yin, 2003a, 2003b) conducted at the junior secondary level that included the participation of the researcher, three other history teachers and students from Year 7 and Year 8 history classes. The methods used to collect data included an initial session with the teacher-participants and, at the conclusion of the study, a debriefing focus group with the teacher-participants, lesson observation and post lesson small-scale student discussions. The data gathered from this investigation is presented as a number of narratives (Bage, 1999; Bruner, 1986; Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Freebody, 2003; Mishler, 1986; Stake, 2000). The researcher contributes to these narratives as a teacher of history. The study affirms the value of teaching history to junior secondary students, recognizing an association with broad educational values (Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST), 2005; Gilbert & Hoepper, 1996, 2004) and subject specific values, such as, sharing knowledge about the past (Fitzgerald, 1977). Values that are imparted through the study of history are categorized as general and specific and are closely linked to skills. The study is premised on the beliefs that thinking about practice (the past and the present) may enlighten future history teaching and learning (Schtin, 1996) and that 'mindfulness' (Leinhardt, 1994) is an essential characteristic of history teaching that engages both the teacher and student in the learning process.
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    Helping academics to help themselves : investigating appropriate professional support strategies for academics with no formal teaching qualifications
    Osborn, Monique Yvette ( 2001)
    Currently, tertiary education is undergoing a major review of teaching and learning, to support the needs of a now culturally, socially and economically diverse student clientele. Consequently, the notion of professional development for academics has become a priority. Quite commonly, academics have been educated in their particular field of expertise with little emphasis on learning and teaching styles. Furthermore, little or inappropriate professional development focussing on teaching and learning practices, has been the style of support offered to date. It appears that these ad hoc off campus short courses have not adequately met the professional development needs of many academics with no formal teaching qualifications. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of a work-embedded approach to professional development using a case study methodology.
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    Laying the foundations for surgical excellence: strategic alignment of questions in program evaluation
    Martin, Jenepher Ann ( 2006)
    The question of how to prioritise program evaluation questions in the best way is an important issue for evaluation practice. This is because the prioritisation of evaluation questions can determine how resources are allocated to the program evaluation effort. Obviously, if critical questions are not addressed, then the information obtained may not be the most useful in terms of program improvement. In the area of Program Theory Evaluation (PTE), prioritisation of questions, emerging from a program theory, has been highlighted as a need. This thesis used case study methodology to investigate a novel method of prioritising evaluation questions in a program theory evaluation, with the intention of creating a strategically-aligned evaluation plan. The case study concerned the Basic Surgical Training (BST) program of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeon (RACS). The thesis set out first to develop the program theory for the BST program, and to construct a balanced score card (BSC) with respect to education within the RACS. Subsequently, the aim was to develop a strategically aligned evaluation plan for BST using the BSC as a quality framework of reference. Multiple data collection methods were used including document analysis, focus group interviews, and individual interviews. The findings from the data analysis were used as a basis for both the BST program theory and the BSC, termed the "RACS Education Quality Framework". The application of the BSC to the program theory then resulted in an evaluation plan for an aspect of the BST program, which was considered to be a priority by the RACS. The outcomes of this thesis illustrate the utility of this approach in prioritising evaluation questions in program theory evaluation. There are, however, a number of caveats that relate primarily to the commitment needed to develop the BSC and the complex program theory. Despite this, a number of recommendations relating to evaluation within the RACS, evaluation practice in medical education settings, and evaluation practice more widely have been made. Finally, the processes and outcomes described in the thesis provide the basis for further exploration of prioritisation of questions in program theory evaluation, and the concepts explored should have wider applicability to evaluation practice. Further work in other case settings would assist in defining the utility of this approach.
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    New cars, new work, new learning: productive workplace learning at a lean manufacturing site
    Johnston, Shane ( 2007)
    This study investigates the construction of knowledge through action, teamwork and problem-solving. Within the context of a competitive global industry, the vehicle manufacturing industry, production workers and font-line supervisors from a component manufacturing company, Toyota-Boshoku, were interviewed about their work. Workers in a production environment are active and participative and the fieldwork indicates that they learn most effectively from the practical performance of tasks. Clearly, the embodied actions of workers are epistemologically significant because it is the doing of the task that their learning, knowledge and understanding are expressed. Therefore, learning practices that emerge from the performative nature of the work are most likely to present workers with opportunities to display their skills, knowledge and understanding. The whole person is involved in such learning - the cognitive, social, psychomotor and affective domains - and helps to shape knowledge for workers as expressive bodies. Knowledge is constructed in the social and atmosphere of the workplace as workers learn from one another in their everyday work practices. The thesis concludes that there is significant epistemological value in the embodied actions of the workers and in this respect the thinking and the doing are intertwined and interdependent, rather than separate entities.
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    A working knowledge program within a project-funded professional development environment
    Hogan, Maree Anastasia ( 1998)
    This study was designed to achieve two research aims: The first was to engage the researcher in a journey of discovery that provided her with the knowledge and ability to question the merits and limitations of project-funded professional development. The second was to extend the researcher's understanding of project-funded learning and professional development by developing and implementing a working knowledge program within an actual project-funded environment. The research question was consistent with these aims as it asked "What facilitated or inhibited learning in the participants of a project-funded professional development program developed from the concept of working knowledge?". Project-funded professional development programs have become a popular method of targeting specific disciplines and subjects within the primary and community health care sectors. This source of professional development brings with it unique learning environments that have strengths and limitations. This study addresses what is arguably a challenge for facilitators employed in this industry, having knowledge of models of professional development that enhance practitioner learning and address the limitations associated with project-funded programs. It is hoped that this study contributes to our knowledge of the concept of working knowledge, and clarifies its potential role in project-funded programs. A qualitative research approach was used to analyse the research data and this produced a rich description of the type of knowledge valued and accessed by the study's participants. The knowledge that was sought and acquired by the GPs participants during the working knowledge program was more consistent with the perception they had of their role as independent practitioners, even though the program was designed using a cross-discipline approach and based within a holistic framework. A somewhat surprising factor was the depth and breadth of influence that the practitioner's own 'culture' had on every stage of this study.
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    The clinical learning of pre-registration student nurses: challenges for clinicians' practice
    Havard, Margaret Elaine ( 2005)
    This research investigated to what extent does workplace supervision of undergraduate nursing students by registered nurse clinicians confront clinical practice in the acute care hospital setting. Significant aspects of this are clinical education of nursing students mainly in Australia, the persisting difficulties of access to clinical placements, educational preparation of clinical supervisors and the clinical learning environment. This contextual study was an iterative case study, which was undertaken in five stages, each stage prerequisite to, and informing the next. The findings revealed the extent of collaboration between four participating universities and a major metropolitan teaching hospital. Perceptions of the educational role of the registered nurse clinician were explored as seen by nurse unit managers, the undergraduate student nurses, clinical teachers and the clinicians themselves. Also factors were identified in the clinical environment which the participants thought could influence undergraduate students' learning. The study concludes with recommendations to increase accessibility to clinical places, and the preparation, support, and recognition of the clinicians for their clinical education role.
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    Competency-based training: a study of the meaning of change in vocational education practice
    Harper, Graeme ( 1998)
    This is a Doctorate (D. Ed.) thesis on the meaning given to a particular change (the introduction of an 'official' NTB/ANTA version of competency-based training in Australia) in vocational education by some of its practitioners. Its original contribution to the field of vocational education lies in reporting the practitioner view of change. The formal definition of the NTB/ANTA 'official' version CBT and those of its subsidiary components was used as a research tool to measure practitioner response to change. Responses to the change proposal were classified using the typologies of fidelity, mutual adaptation co-option and non-implementation. The work starts by discussing the origins of CBT including the historic and political events, which have shaped this teaching innovation. It then describes how a naturalistic paradigm was used to hear the voices of the practitioner and examine the attitudes and knowledge of the 'official' version of CBT held by those of various status involved in the introduction of this innovation in a number TAFE and industry sites. The study examined three research questions: 1. What meaning is given to the 'official' version of CBT by different stakeholders in different organisations? 2. How do different people at different levels in an educational hierarchy react to the implementation of the 'official' version of CBT, what was important in implementation, and what were the processes? 3. Is there a resulting grounded theory of implementation of current change, and what impact and possible consequences does it have for the implementation of future changes in vocational education? The research reports that the change has not been implemented in the way its promoters would have wished and that the meaning given to the concept of CBT by teachers and trainers has, understandably, led to widely different responses and practices within the fidelity to non-implementation range of typologies. It has been found that what was implemented was of general benefit to students and there were some unintended outcomes, which it is argued, were also valuable. The work concludes with some cautionary advice to initiators and implementers of other innovations in the same field.
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    Reconstruction of leadership in a situation of significant organizational change
    Haddad, Albert P. ( 2006)
    Leadership and Change are two diverse and yet intertwined complex fields. Leaders in many organizations continually undergo, lead and introduce change to their workplace. These individuals and others reconstruct their leadership differently according to the situation and the group of which they are a part. Some organizations are changing their leadership practices to include managing teams in remote locations using a virtual organization model rather than a face to face approach. This change invites organizational leadership to develop new perspectives to meet new challenges. This thesis is concerned with this question, "How do middle and senior managers implementing this kind of change reconstruct their leadership as they manage their roles, departments and the transition?" The research investigated the above question in relation to eight middle/senior managers at an Australian national public health provider going through a major restructure process. Some survived the restructure and stayed in the organization. Others did not survive and had to leave the organization because they no longer identified with the new organization or the people in the organizational leadership. The study was an interpretivist inquiry that documented the perceptions, meanings and interpretations of the changing organizational situation by the participants through two semi-structured interviews conducted with each manager about ten months apart. Significant changes were experienced by the participants in this study. These changes were at organizational, relational and personal levels. The middle managers reported feeling a great deal of pressure. Their organizational relationships were changed, disrupted and to some of them were damaged. The participants rethought their skills, roles, functions and their emotional investment in the organization due to the change process. The length of the transitional period became burdensome. A matrix of interaction between six research factors identified from the literature and seven emergent themes was constructed and tested against the empirical data. The matrix successfully accommodated the data categories of the study, establishing its validity as an informative and useful Change Management Framework. The Framework was used to compare and contrast the perceptions, feelings, and ideas of the different individuals to understand how they reconstructed their leadership in a change situation. Furthermore, a model for the reconstruction of leadership in a significant organizational change was developed based on the grounded research. The researcher believes that the work presented in this thesis adds to the richness of the tapestry of perspectives in the arena of leadership and change research. It is also hoped that the framework and model developed in this study will contribute to the practice of change leaders in many circumstances.
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    Computerised accounting systems, curriculum and business needs
    Goode, Maureen Louise ( 2007)
    Globalisation, information technology, and in particular the development of sophisticated Computerised Accounting Systems (CAS) software, have become driving forces that continue to enhance and transform business needs and practices. A review of the literature suggests that the design of current accounting curricula does not sufficiently expose students to the concepts of globalisation and technology. This study aimed to discover the extent to which existing Australian CAS curriculum models did reflect business needs. Guidance was sought from the literature and from academics' accounts of how they develop the CAS curriculum, and the perceptions of business needs of business professionals, (key knowledgeables and young gun managers), and current students with business experience were explored. The study also considered the match between the CAS curriculum offered at the university where the researcher is employed as a lecturer and business needs, through an exploration of what the cohort of current students with business experience perceived the subject to offer. A mixed-method research strategy of enquiry, using two separate methods of data collection, was used, to better understand the relationship between curricula and business needs. This approach provided numeric trends from the quantitative research and detail from the qualitative research. The study was conducted in three phases: a survey gathered data relevant to the current students with business experience and the young guns, an Internet search for appropriate subject descriptions was made and an analysis was undertaken, and interviews provided rich data as the perceptions of academics, key knowledgeables, young guns and current students with business experience were explored.. Rogers' (2003) adoption-diffusion study influenced the analysis of data gathered from the Internet search for Australian relevant subject descriptions. Academics were classified into adopter categories on the basis of innovativeness of curriculum content, and thus provided a basis for understanding the aims of their CAS curriculum, their perceived importance of business needs to the curriculum, and why a particular software became a feature of the curriculum. The data was analysed thematically and the key findings were drawn from the participants' experiences in business and at university. All participants were aware of the increasingly dominant role of CAS in business but a variety of different opinions and beliefs were presented as to the value of CAS as a part of university curricula. However, the overall view was that the academic's response must prepare students to participate in the business world, by ensuring curriculum content included learning processes, teaching practices and software offerings that would provide appropriate business solutions. The findings showed a number of impediments to future curriculum design that need to be addressed. These include academic inadequacies, pedagogical beliefs and practices related to the place of software applications in curriculum design, the need for different software solutions for different business problems, and cost factors related to the decision to introduce new technologies. Recommendations were made as to appropriate topics to include in future curriculum design. All cohorts agreed that enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions will be the future business software solution of choice to both large and small to medium enterprise (SME) businesses, and a solution was proposed for innovative curriculum design in order to master the complexity of such applications.