Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    The vertical curriculum meeting the needs of students of high intellectual potential
    Ryan, Maree J ( 2000)
    This pilot project investigated one Victorian Independent School's implementation of the vertical curriculum in Grades Five and Six in over a one-year period in 1998. The study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of the vertical curriculum model for students identified as intellectually Gifted, High (Gifted and Bright) and Mainstream (Average, Low Average and Low) students by reviewing the students' progress in mathematics. Using Progressive Achievement Tests in Mathematics at the beginning and end of the year the identified Gifted, Bright and Mainstream students' progress was monitored to track their mathematical development, consisting of - achievement or progress made. The cohort reviewed consisted of eighty eight students incorporating eleven identified intellectually Gifted students, thirty three Bright students and forty four Mainstream students, as identified by the Raven's Progressive Matrices. The findings indicated firstly that an advanced level of mathematical achievement was found for the identified Gifted students. Secondly, it was found that the vertical curriculum assisted the Mainstream students as they showed significant mathematical progress. The findings indicated that the vertical curriculum provided an equitable educational option for the identified intellectually Gifted, Bright and Mainstream students.
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    A study of teachers' experiences of six years of laptop computers in the classrooms of a senior secondary school
    Nicholson, J. A ( 2000)
    This is the report of a study based on a Melbourne Secondary School looking at the use of laptop computers made by the staff in their teaching. Questionnaires were the instrument used to find a measure of the level of penetration and overall acceptance of laptop computers and computer technology by the Teaching Staff. The questionnaire was administered in 1997 and again in 1999. This study looks, with regard to the use of laptop computers by staff, at aspects of the teaching curriculum, administrative tasks and teaching at the classroom level over the two-year period 1997 to 1999. The questionnaire used is a `census' of all staff teaching at Years 9-12 where the laptop program is mandatory in a variety of study areas. The finding of this report is that the program at Goodlands Grammar has, at least in the short term, created a teaching environment that is still working within the traditional curriculum, using computers to achieve traditional outcomes. The computer has not, as yet, become integrated into the classroom program; rather it remains a complicated overlay to the existing curriculum.
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    Leadership and management in three exemplar non-government Australian Christian schools
    Twelves, James Bertrand ( 2000)
    The aim of this study was to identify some of the keys to the success of three non-government Protestant Christian schools, two parent controlled and one church sponsored. An expert panel nominated successful schools. Those with the greatest number of nominations were invited to become case studies. Qualitative methods of in-depth interviewing and document study were employed in each of the three schools. Eleven interviews were conducted, three chairpersons, three principals, three deputies, one school general manager and one sponsoring church general manager. The two research questions focused on a description of the current leadership and management practices and an understanding of the outcomes of the leadership and management in the lives of the students. These questions were developed into a conceptual framework that underpinned the study, namely that the leadership and management styles create distinctive structures in effective schools that in turn lead to the key attributes of success in the three Christian schools. The most significant findings of the research were that a collaborative leadership style dominated the organisations and that the school boards were now concentrating on governance and the implementation of a modified CEO model for their principals. Distinctive enrolment policies were being carefully implemented by committed Christian teachers whose contribution was regarded as the single most important factor that has led to the success of the schools. The teachers' primary objective was to see the lives of the students transformed, which was the central feature of the schools' dynamic vision. It is hoped that this study will be of value to anyone who wishes to see Christian schooling in Australia continue to succeed.
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    Vision and practice in Catholic schools
    Purdey, Carmel M ( 2000)
    This research examined the way in which a group of principals, teachers and parents from three Catholic primary schools in the Archdiocese of Melbourne perceive the translation of vision into practice in their schools. This paper provides an account of the background literature examined, the methodology used, the data collected and conclusions drawn.
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    Principal leadership and accountability
    Smith, Gregory Peter ( 2000)
    This thesis focuses on Primary School Principal leadership and accountability within the restructured Government education system. It proposes a model of accountability that incorporates the many influences that impact on the leadership role of the Principal in the Primary School. The study includes a critical review of international and Australian literature in relation to leadership and accountability in schools, as well as the analysis of data collected from fifteen Primary School Principals. The literature review draws together the two components of leadership and accountability within the role of. the Primary School Principal. A critical analysis and discussion of data collected from focus groups and interviews in a holistic phemonological study of fifteen Primary School Principals in the Northern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne examines how leadership and accountability influence their role. The thesis proposes a model of accountability that takes into account the influences that are placed upon Principals and makes recommendations for further study.
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    A cross-age comparative investigation of students' attitudes towards computers as a tool to support learning in years 7-12 science classes
    Waddington, Carolyn ( 2000)
    This thesis documents a cross-age comparative investigation of students' attitudes towards computers as a tool to support learning in Years 7 - 12 science classes. The study was set at the secondary school campus of an independent girls' school in Victoria. The secondary school is broken into three relatively autonomous groups, the Junior Secondary School (JSS), the Middle School (MS) and the Senior School (SS). Data was collected by a survey administered to 1215 students in Years 7 -12 science classes. Results of the survey were analysed using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and post hoc Bonferonni analyses. This study aimed to investigate the ways computers are used in science classes. Word processing and the internet were the most common computer uses across the school. A comparison of students in JSS, MS and SS's preferred frequency of use of computers in science classes was undertaken. JSS students preferred to use their computers more frequently in science classes when compared to MS and SS students. An investigation of the uses of computers in science classes that students found beneficial to their learning of science concepts was undertaken and compared across the three school groups. Students' attitudes towards computers as tools to support learning in the science classroom was investigated. The majority of students in all school groups felt the computer was a beneficial support for learning when completing assignment work and was a beneficial tool for presentation. However, it depended on the number of years of computer experience in science classes as to whether students felt the computer was of benefit to their learning of theory or practical work. Aspects of computer use at school in general, that students liked or disliked was determined. The stage of the curriculum that students were currently in, was the major determinant for the students' attitudes towards the use of computers as a support for learning.
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    Vietnamese readers and English reading : a survey of students' beliefs about and attitudes towards English reading
    Nguyen, Thi Thanh Thuy ( 2000)
    This thesis deals with the beliefs about, and attitudes to, English reading of Vietnamese students in their first year at Australian universities. Data were collected using a questionnaire, based on a review of research on second language reading in relation to affective factors, and on the concept of attitudes as a multidimensional construct. Attitude in general or attitudes to English reading in particular cannot be directly observed or measured but can only be inferred from the manner in which a reader responds to questions related to beliefs, feelings and attention regarding English reading. The theoretical background on which this study was based regards second language (L2) reading as a socially situated process. Regarding the students in this study, their English may have been influenced (i) by the first language reading instruction they had received, (ii) by their own social and cultural background, (iii) by their attitudes to the target language, its culture and its native speakers, and (iv) by previous experiences of learning to read in a new language. The findings of the questionnaire reveal that most of the 27 respondents to the questionnaire chose the culture of the target language (English) as the main factor making them want to read in it. Three other hypothesized factors - Vietnamese language reading experiences, previous experiences of learning English in Vietnam, the target language and its native speakers - did not appear as important factors in their beliefs about English reading and attitudes to it. The most interesting findings were about their attention to English reading. Although on the whole they possessed positive attitudes regarding the English academic reading process, they showed only a low level of endeavor to improve their English reading. The fact that the number of participants was so small was one of the main drawbacks with the study. However, since affective factors have not gained as much attention as other areas in L2 reading, in a way this study was a first experience. From its results some recommendations have been made regarding current practices of English teaching and learning in Vietnam in the EFL context. Further research could be built on this study.
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    An exploration of the preparation and training of Samoan secondary school principals for leadership
    Quinn, Paul Francis ( 2000)
    This study is an exploration of the preparation and training of Samoan Senior Secondary Principals for leadership in school. The study utilised a qualitative methodology as the perspective of the principals was sought. The particular research instrument used were semi-structured interviews. These interviews were audio taped and fully transcribed. This raw data was complemented by a form which was used to establish background material on each principal. The themes that were identified, with the aid of a grid which displayed the data, raised a number of issues facing Samoan leaders. The literature review set the context for current Samoan education, by giving an historical view of the development of education since the arrival of Europeans in Samoa in the 1830s. This historical perspective revealed that many of the issues that affect Samoan Education today have had a long standing impact in Samoa. The context in which principals exercise their leadership is both complex and problematic. The analysis of results used the verbatim quotes of participants to highlight the issues. A key issue is the appropriateness of the transfer of models of leadership training from a Western perspective in Samoa. The conclusion reached in this study is that the range of issues that face a leader in a Samoan Secondary school, require an approach to preparation and training for leadership that is not currently occurring. Samoan principals in this study have not received a level of training for leadership that specifically addresses the concerns faced as leaders in their schools.
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    What happens to liberal arts graduates? : an examination of their preparation for and experiences of the labour market
    Waugh, Toni ( 2000)
    This study investigates the career progress of graduates from a liberal arts degree over an extended period of time. It explores the employment preparation undertaken by these graduates or provided through their education, their early labour market experiences, and the extent to which they develop satisfactory careers. This information is significant because of the continuing pressure on universities to improve the employability of graduates to meet workforce demands, and an increasing 'supply of graduates who expect positive outcomes as a result of their tertiary education. The report provides useful information to arts students so they can make informed decisions about preparing for post-university work and their career development. The data collected may also contribute in different ways to the practices of Arts faculties and employers of graduates. The study found that a considerable proportion of arts graduates experienced uncertainty and a less than straightforward transition to post-university employment. Not all of the graduates believed that the arts degree had assisted them in securing work, however, many were happy they had studied the course. Whilst approximately seventy per cent eventually attained higher level positions, twenty per cent remained in lower level work. Further study was the main source of career development. No differences were found between males and females regarding occupational attainment although males earned higher salaries. In comparison with other studies, arts graduates in the present study were more likely to be in non-graduate work than graduates from other fields.
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    Introducing a computer corner in an early intervention setting for young children with speech-language concerns
    Rahmani, Michele ( 2000)
    This study investigates a process for introducing a computer corner, as an innovation, in an Early Intervention Centre catering for children with speech-language concerns. Parents attend the Centre with their children and play a major part in the teaching/learning process. This study documented the process of introducing the computer corner as one of the learning areas available to the children, and the parents were invited to participate in the research. As the process evolved through the stages of planning, initiation, implementation and reflection, parents were involved in ongoing recording of their observations of the children. It was facilitated for the parents to express their feelings and positions regarding the innovation through formal and informal discussions. The parents were asked to complete a set of questionnaires early in the initiation phase of the process and these were repeated towards the end of the implementation stage in order to note changes in the parents' perspectives and use of the innovation. Seventeen parent participants completed the questionnaires and the implementation process. The Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM), (Hall, Wallace and Dossett, 1973) was used to assess progress that participants made as they implemented the innovation. The process investigated was found to be successful as a model for introducing an innovation. All participants showed changes in their acceptance of the computer corner, and in the way that they progressed through stages of concern about and their levels of use of the computer. The computer corner was very popular with the children. Over fifty percent of the parents and children together accessed the computer with a medium to high frequency. Computer literacy levels were well enhanced as both parents and children contributed to the process.