Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Literature and English teaching : a study of literature in the teaching of English at Scotch College, Melbourne
    Watkinson, Alan Redmayne ( 1991)
    The first chapter of this thesis provides a personal memoir of my teaching career, and places it in the wider historical context of developments within English teaching in England and Australia. It establishes my own position at the key points of these developments in 1966, 1975, 1980 and 1985 and introduces the main area of interest - the place of literature in the teaching of English. The second chapter concerns the vast amount of writing on the nature and teaching of literature in English. It provides an historical review of the main body of this writing and derives some of its focus from the seminal work of John Dixon in 1966, as well as the Bullock Report of 1975. The vigorous yet sometimes slightly artificial debate on the issue of literature teaching is also examined in the review of the important journal, The Use of English. Chapter Three develops the ideas propounded in some of the writings examined in the previous chapter and provides an analysis of my own experience at Melbourne Grammar School. Chapter Four shows the similarities and differences existing between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School and details a more critical view of the state of English teaching from 1980 - 1990 at Scotch College. It reviews some of the specific examples of literature teaching and shows the slow progress which has been experienced over a decade within the College. The final chapter brings together the case of Scotch College and reviews possible future progress in the light of perceived difficulties inherent in the structure of the College. The general outlook for English at the College is seen in positive terms and suggestions are provided for further research into both the reading habits of students and the processes involved in the teaching of literature within the current restraints.
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    Some determinants of students' course selection in mathematics
    Flinn, Christine ( 1984)
    In this study some determinants of students' course selection in mathematics. were investigated, with particular attention being given to those factors which may result in differential participation rates between boys and girls. The aim of the study was to assess the relative importance for student decisions of various psychological variables related to achievement attitudes. Such knowledge could then be used in the design of appropriate programs and techniques to increase the likelihood of students continuing to take maths. Questionnaires were administered to the 115 students in Year 9 and to the 107 students in Year 7 at a Melbourne inner-suburban .high school. Specific findings apply to those students in that particular school; without investigation of the effect of such variables as socioeconomic status, ethnic background., administrative structure, course-availability and class size they could not be extrapolated to other students in other schools. Students' estimates of their maths abilities and their expectations for maths performance, decreased with age, as did their perception of their parents' and teachers' beliefs about their ability and expectations for their success. Students' beliefs about the importance of success in maths and their declared interest in and liking'for the subject also decreased with age, while their estimates of the difficulty of maths increased with age. Year 9 boys had higher opinions of their maths ability and were more confident of success in future maths courses, than were Year 9 girls. These girls saw the subject as being more difficult and the cost of the effort required to do well to be higher than did their male classmates. At the Year 7 level, however, the only sex differences were in the stereotyping of the utility of maths for females and in the stereotyping of maths as a male domain. Plans to continue with maths were facilitated by high expectations, by firm beliefs in the value of maths and in one's own ability and by low estimates of the difficulty of maths. Sex differences favouring boys were found on these variables. On the basis of these findings, certain areas for intervention were identified. These areas included the encouragement of positive attitudes towards maths, the provision of career awareness programs, and the attempt to modify parents' and teachers' attitudes as to the maths, ability of girls and the importance of maths for them.