Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    The preparation and development of middle leaders in Victorian secondary schools
    Cooper, Peter Anthony Hope ( 2021)
    Middle leaders in schools provide a critical link between senior leadership and teaching staff. Employing a multi-perspective case study methodology, this study looked at the common themes facing middle leaders at three Victorian secondary schools, Catholic, government, and independent, with regard to their preparation for leadership, their professional and personal development in the role, how their role is perceived by those to whom they report and those they lead, and how they determine if they have been successful in their role. At each school, the following staff members were invited to participate in the study: senior leaders, middle leaders, and teachers. The middle leaders involved in this research were actively involved in leading pastoral, academic, and/or co-curricular departments within a Catholic, government, or independent school. Semi-structured interviewing was used for the purpose of collecting their responses. The participants’ responses were analysed, and emergent themes described. A total of 56 themes with 78 sub-themes emerged from the study, covering the dimensions of preparation, development, perception, and success in leadership. Common themes raised by middle leaders were professional learning, the support provided in their role, career progression, their ability to influence school direction, level of autonomy in the role, departmental management, professional relationships, and their support of students’ achievement. The study indicates that middle leaders’ measurement of success in the role was primarily linked to student achievement in academic and social domains. A leadership development model is offered to support aspiring and current middle leaders.
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    From court to college: the institutionalisation of judicial education during its first decade in Victoria, 2005–2015
    Mann, Trischa ( 2018)
    The direction of movement in legal education generally has been away from the apprenticeship model and informal, practice-based learning. The jury, case-based reasoning with room for judicial discretion, and the apprenticeship system have been three great strengths of the common law system. But judicial discretion in general has been steadily reduced by legislation, and control of judicial discretion in sentencing was strongly linked to the perceived need for judicial education. And while the virtues of apprenticeship and mentoring are being rediscovered in academia, both law and legal education have become increasingly standardised and institutionalized. Opportunities for informal, observational and supervised learning, the cornerstones of the apprenticeship model, are correspondingly diminished. The change began with the profession’s handing over of its gatekeeper role to universities (degrees in place of articles), and continued in the transition from voluntary to mandatory continuing education in the profession in 2004, with quantitative measures, record-keeping and attendance requirements, and domination of the process by the Law Institute and the Leo Cussen Institute, the chief providers of continuing legal education. Pre-admission Articles gave way to practical training courses, which then became graduate diplomas in legal practice. Bar mentorship at first included, then became increasingly reliant on, a formal Bar Readers’ course and increasingly complex Reading Regulations, and finally a Bar entrance exam. The impetus towards formalised education continued with the introduction of programmed education for judges, again with a published curriculum and quantitative attendance benchmarks for ‘education’ that is in reality ‘training’ on a corporate model consisting largely of programmed events. This case study covers the first decade of judicial education in Victoria. It focuses on judicial education for Supreme Court judges in the context of the broader field of legal education, tracing its progress between 2005 and 2015. A snapshot of the situation not long after its introduction is provided by original research data gathered in 2008, when members of the Bar were relatively unaware of the program for judges and the offerings were meagre. The evolution of judicial education since that point provides additional background and foundation for research which should now be undertaken: assessment of judicial education the curriculum and the program of judicial education after ten years.
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    Mapping the landscape of language learning in Victorian independent schools
    Tuckfield, John ( 2017)
    The researcher for this study was granted access to a hitherto unanalysed collection of data: the results of annual surveys on language learning of all independent schools in the state of Victoria, Australia. These surveys detailed the language learning programmes of 126,377 students in 203 primary and secondary schools in 2013. Using the methodologies of Descriptive Research and Grounded Theory, the researcher undertook quantitative analyses of the data to produce an overview of language learning across the Independent sector in Victoria, and snapshots of several languages, calculating the total number of students learning the language and schools teaching it, the location of the schools (metropolitan or regional), the average Socio-Economic Status (SES) index of the schools, the gender balance of students and the number of teachers. The next part of the study involved pursuing patterns and theories that emerged from the data. Four main issues were explored using the data from the surveys: 1. the concentration of students at primary school level in learning certain languages, and the time allocated to these languages in schools; 2. the issue of compulsory language studies, and retention rates; 3. boys and language learning; and 4. children of different socio-economic status and language learning. It was found that some languages, such as Japanese and Italian, were almost exclusively taught in primary school, but in most schools they were given considerably less than the government recommend ninety minutes per week; there was a strong correlation between the mandating of language studies and student retention, and making languages compulsory for longer was associated with higher retention rates in the final year of schooling; languages in the final year of schooling showed in general a stronger proportion of girls, but this was largely due to the strong position of French, which showed a marked imbalance between the genders; and children of low socio-economic status were more likely to learn languages in their final year of schooling than other students, but they tended to choose community languages, which had an impact on the score used to determine university entrance.
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    Young adults and post-school training opportunities in the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula region of Victoria, Australia
    Brown, Justin Patrick ( 2017)
    Youth unemployment in Australia has been described as a source of ‘capability deprivation’ (Henry, 2014). Since the late 1980s, a recurring set of policies and programs have been implemented in Australia to tackle youth unemployment by lifting rates of participation in school-based and post-school vocational education and training (VET). More recently, the introduction of policy reforms to marketise the Victorian training system has transformed the composition of VET providers in the training system and, by extension, the types and quality of courses being offered. The impact of these reforms has been documented in the media and through government reviews (e.g. Mackenzie & Coulson, 2015; Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, 2015; Mitchell, 2012). However, very little is understood about the impact of these reforms on VET ‘opportunities’ for small populations of young learners at the local level. Even less is understood from the perspective of the learners themselves. To address this gap, my research contributes a critical examination of post-school training opportunities available to young adults in the small local area of the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula region in Victoria, Australia. This particular region has a youth unemployment rate that is five percentage points higher than the greater Melbourne and Victorian state averages (ABS, 2015a). Drawing on the conceptual framework of the capabilities approach (CA) pioneered by economist Amartya Sen (1980/1984/1985/1987/1992/1993) and extended by philosopher Martha Nussbaum (1992/1995/2000/2002/2003), my study conducts a sequential explanatory mixed-method design (Creswell et al., 2003) set within critical realist (CR) ontology (Bhaskar, 1979/1975). I bring together the philosophical approach of CR and the conceptual framework of the CA to better understand how the problem is constructed. By applying these alternative lenses, I propose approaches to understanding the problem in a more meaningful way. The capabilities approach is structured around three core concepts: capabilities (what people are able to be or to do); functionings (what people, having capabilities, are doing); and agency (the ability to choose the functionings). My research builds on this framework to identify the extent of alignment between available opportunities (as espoused in policy) and accessible opportunities (as stated by young people). Through an assessment of administrative, survey and primary qualitative data, my research produces new insights into the misalignment between (1) loosely-defined policy rhetoric advocating ‘choice’ and ‘opportunity’ in training ‘markets’ and (2) the real training opportunities accessible to young adults in a disadvantaged location. It is envisaged that the findings will have application for policy makers and practitioners in similarly disadvantaged contexts, particularly where there are limited post-school opportunities available to young people. For researchers, there are lessons arising for applying the capabilities approach to the context of young people and VET in disadvantaged locations.
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    The class teaching of music in state-supported schools in Victoria, 1853-1905
    Cameron, Alexandra E ( 1956)
    While studying recent developments in the class teaching of music in schools both overseas and in Australia, I became interested in the way in which music had been introduced into the early schools of Victoria, and began to ask these questions. Who were the first teachers of music in Victoria? What methods did they use? From whom did they learn their methods and what was the content of their lessons? After some background reading and thought I decided to begin this investigation, limiting it for the present, to the content and method of teaching music in the state-controlled schools in Victoria from 1853 - 1905. In the pages which follow, I hope to show how a tradition of music teaching was established in Victorian schools, tracing through England, influences from Germany and France. So that the methods of teaching used and the content of the lessons may be revealed, a survey will be made of the life and work of those concerned with the introduction of music into the elementary schools of England and Victoria. The training; of teachers of class music in Victoria will be discussed and, in so far as it is relevent to the period being investigated, music in secondary education will be included. As far as I can discover, no other research has been carried out in this subject in Australia. I hope that what I have written will not only arouse interest, but assist in increasing among leaders in education an appreciation of the value of music in schools. I should like to thank the following people, all of whom have shown great interest and have given me help and encouragement: Mr. E.L.French and Dr. T.II.Coates, School of Education, The University of Melbourne; Mr. !1.C.Brideson, Research Service of The Public Library of South Australia; officers of The Mitchell and Public Libraries, Sydney, The Public Library of Victoria, The Library of The Australian Council of Educational Research, Melbourne, and the Library of The Royal Historical Society of Victoria, Melbourne; Mr. Geoff. H.Allan, Managing Director of Allan & Co., Melbourne, for the access to the diary of Mr. George Leavis Allan; Mr. bar' of Allan & Co., for his assistance in locating copies of early music published by Allan & Co.; Mr. J.Alex. Allan, Clifton Hill, Melbourne, author of "The Old Model School", who lent me relevent original documents; Mrs. A.L.Eastaugh, South Lyndurst, Seaford, for information about her relative Mr. August Siede; Miss Gladys Rhys Davies, Beach Street, East Malvern, author of "Music Makers of the Sunny South", for a copy of her book and access to the original notes from which it was written; and Mr. A.E.H.Nickson of the University Conservatorium, Melbourne, who gave me valuable advice.
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    Parent professional partnerships in IEP development : a case study of a MAPS process
    Morgan, Philippa Teresa ( 2007)
    The practices, language and behaviours which professionals adopt when they meet with parents prior to Individual Education Program (IEP) planning may have a significant effect on the attitudes and capabilities families bring to the educational setting. During this case study the adult family members of a child with additional needs were observed as they addressed the developmental and programming needs of their child by participating in the McGill Action Planning System (MAPS) and a subsequent Program Support Group (PSG) meeting. Themes indicating attitudes or perceptions that empowered the family towards continued participation in collaborative teams for IEP development emerged in the observational data and were defined through the methods of informant diaries and semi-structured interviews. Less dominant quantitative methods were used to verify that the participant's ongoing attitudes towards parent professional collaboration corroborated with the final themes of flexibility, unification, satisfaction and function.
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    Uneasy lies the head : the repositioning of heads of English in independent schools in Victoria in the age of new learning technologies
    Watkinson, Alan Redmayne ( 2004)
    This study explores the discursive practice of six Heads of English in Independent Schools in Victoria during a period of major cultural change. This change has been associated with huge public investment in New Learning Technologies and shifting perceptions and expectations of cultural agency in communities of practice such as English Departments in Schools. In this social milieu tensions exist between the societal rhetoric of school management and marketing of the efficacy of NLTs as educational realities and discursive practices at a departmental level, embodying and embedding academic values and attainments. In their conversations with the author, the Heads of English reveal much about themselves and the nature and distribution of their duties and responsibilities within the local moral order of their schools and with their individual communities of practice. A model is developed of the dual praxis of the Heads of the Heads of English, mediated by autobiography and historically available cultural resources in a community of practice. As agents concerned to both maintain and transform their local culture of English teaching, and consequently the whole school culture, the Heads of English account for themselves as responding to their own `sense of place' in their own community of practice, but also the `structure of feeling' of the period by which their achievements and standing are known. This study of the persons of the English co-ordinators draws upon both Positioning Theory and critical realism to reveal the dynamic nature of both their identity and the social organization of English teaching in schools.
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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.