Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Leadership and successful implementation of change in Thailand
    Pinthapataya, Supatta ( 2003)
    The research aimed to investigate how leaders behaved and were perceived by their staff to behave during a period of successful change. More specifically the study examined the work of leaders who acted strategically, namely, the presidents of Rajabhat Institutes in Bangkok, when a new policy, Mass Education, was introduced and successfully implemented. The methodology used for this study was the qualitative approach. The study focused on the strategic leadership of the Presidents of two Rajabhat Institutes and used a semi-structured interview method and documentary review to collect data. The participants were the Presidents of the two Rajabhat Institutes, six administrative staff and six teachers from each Institute. Five elements of strategic leadership were used as a framework for analysis. The discussion of the findings was aided by a conceptual framework of strategic leadership, educational change and Thai culture. The findings revealed that the Presidents achieved success in the implementation of change through their actions, as classified according to the five elements in a framework of strategic leadership. It is apparent that both Presidents were very much concerned about global knowledge. Their knowledge of global and local trends gained them the trust of their colleagues. During their term as Presidents, they planned for the Institutes to enter into partnerships with international universities, with the aim of benchmarking on an international scale. Their vision was reflected in changes at the Institutes. The Presidents and their leadership teams collaborated as the key agents of change. In sharing knowledge and encouraging others, both Presidents performed the role of knowledge generators, mostly through communication in both formal and informal ways, which they considered their forte. The Presidents selected ways, appropriate for their own organisations, to share knowledge. Along with knowledge and support, the Presidents supported teachers by making resources available and by providing incentives for good work. In establishing structure, setting priorities and being key sources of expertise, the Presidents achieved their vision by aligning structures with plans and the tasks to be performed. They served as good models of hard work, dependability, and forthright action. This study revealed little about the long-term plans, which were flexible due to insufficient budgets. They effectively managed the annual governmental budgets of their Institutes to provide resources to support teachers and students. In ensuring the attention of the organisation's community was focused on important change, the Presidents worked hard to support the national reform agenda and to build human resources for community development. Their ability to provide knowledge through information technology was an appropriate way to serve the country in the implementation of the Mass Education policy. Strategic intent was apparent in the framework of the plan in its attempt to achieve desired outcomes. Strategic planning in the use of information technology contributed to achieving the goal. The use of advanced technology in learning and teaching enabled the Institutes to provide a wide range of curricula for the communities they served. The strong emphasis on community development led to cooperation between Institutes and the community. In monitoring and reviewing the implementation of policy, the Presidents informally and indirectly evaluated the programs. The purpose of evaluation was to improve the learning and teaching processes. The Presidents gave rewards and incentives to the teachers for good performance. The study revealed that the successful change that resulted from their strong strategic leadership was influenced by Thai values and Buddhist culture. The study showed that the Presidents were aware of the values and the culture of the people they were working with. Self-concept and self-esteem as well as ego-self are important when considering change. Senior status and hierarchical chain of respect are also important. The values of bun-khun (pay back) and krengjai (deference) were used on many occasions to ensure cooperation. The personal preference for "true-good-friend" (Kalayanamitr) also played a major role. The Presidents' ability to encourage staff to commit to change also reflected personal preference. In regard to Buddhist culture, the study revealed that both Presidents observed four aspects of Dhamma-oriented leadership: Wisdom Power, Effort Power, Faultlessness Power and Kindliness Power. In addition, the Buddhist culture of a middle way, and a harmonious and peaceful life led to avoidance of problems or confrontation. Persuasive talk, or looking for the next person to do the task, was the choice. Recommendations are offered for improving the practice of strategic leadership and for the conduct of research in the Thai setting.
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    Educational accountability and organisational capacity in school science departments: a material critique of management models of mandated curriculum reforms
    Bainbridge, John ( 2007)
    In Sociology, Bourdieu (1977), Giddens (1984) and Schatzki (2001) have developed theories of practice to offer an alternative to rational and normative concepts of action and to solve the problem of the relationship between agency and structure. They argue that cultural, political and economic processes are mutually constitutive of social agency, as agency can be productively read as a historically specific confluence of discursive and material processes. In applied disciplines such as organizational and management studies (Niccolini, 2001) as well as in education (Southerland, Smith, Sowell and Kittleson, 2007), practice has been adopted to redefine the concepts of knowledge and learning and to understand change in working life. In these contexts, practice-based research has become part of new research areas, such as organizational learning, knowledge management, innovation and workplace studies and this research is in this modern tradition. This is a study of the praxis of two groups of science teachers, in different countries under different policy regimes of state mandated curriculum management. It is a study towards an understanding of the pedagogy of resistance and transformation. The significance of the resistance of material entities for the objectivity of knowledge is an important theme in the sociology of knowledge. The practice theorists in science and technology studies (for example Pickering 1993,1995, Latour 2000, Miettinen, 2006) have taken this resistance manifesting itself in experimental activity as a constitutive factor in accounting for the emergence of facts and scientific concepts. Pickering (1955: 560) talks about the temporal emergence of experimental activity in research as a "real-time dialectic of resistance and accommodation". Resistance refers to the blockage in reaching a goal or realization of a hypothesis. Fleck (1981) proposes that a fact is understood as a resistance expressed in experimental work and interpreted by the practice community. The widespread notion of "constraint" is usually understood as some kind of external condition that objectively limits scientific activities and epistemologies of transformative material activity more generally. "Resistance" is to be preferred, Pickering argues, because resistances are genuinely emergent in time, as a block arising in practice to a passage of goal-oriented practice" For Latour (200) objectivity refers to the presence of things that "object to what is told about them". This study uses surveys of whole school and science department staff as well as interviews conducted over a year in each of two schools, one in England and one in Melbourne Australia. It looks at the agency of science teachers as a transformative material activity, its relationship with policies of State mandated standards, and the objectivisation of teacher knowledge. Whereas subjective identity operates here in terms of types of experience that are available, agency of these teachers has to do more with a distribution of acts. Bhaskar's (1993) Transformational Model of Social Action has been applied to the analysis of staffroom praxis and offers an informing under-theory to the study of teacher agency and practice.