Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses
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ItemBuilding teacher capacity and the dynamics of professional learning teamsBegg, Beverley J. ( 2009)This research investigated the operation of facilitated professional learning teams (PLT) in secondary school settings in building teacher capacity through continuing professional learning in a community of practice. In this study I tracked the development and dynamics of three PLTs as the teachers met to discuss strategies to build strong teacher-student relationships in a sequence of PLT learning meetings with myself, the external facilitator. I explored the participants' perspectives on the impact of the PLT and identified the internal and external factors and conditions that influenced their operation, using a narrative inquiry approach. Using an analytic auto-ethnographical approach I explored my role as the external facilitator in development of the professional learning team as a community of practice. This research study used a multiple embedded case study design to facilitate comparison of evidence between teachers within each PLT, as well as between the three PLTs. Qualitative data were collected through a number of methods: transcripts of PLT meetings, PLT minutes and notes, a PLT evaluation questionnaire, teacher interviews, focus group interviews and researcher field observations. Relational communication within meetings was analysed. The PLT was perceived to be effective in building teacher capacity. The development of deeper collegial relationships enabled teachers to "deprivatise" their classroom practice, engage in reflective dialogue and learn from each other, thus improving their capacity in implementing strategies for developing positive relationships with their students. Teachers generally reported a positive impact upon their classroom practice, their sense of efficacy and student outcomes, in terms of improved teacher-student relationships. The ecological factors that impacted on the operation of the PLT were mapped using a bioecological systems model. The findings suggest that the facilitator's role is vital in the development of the PLT and in its operation and effectiveness.
ItemThe implementation of a personal development curriculum program in a boys' secondary schoolBegg, Beverley J. ( 2000)his research project is investigating the implementation of a personal development curriculum program that has a cognitive-behavioural basis in a year 8 Pastoral/Personal Development (PPD) subject in a boys' secondary school. The Gatehouse Project curriculum program was used as a framework for the PPD program. This curriculum approach is designed to be integrated into other curriculum contexts. It is based on helping young people deal with difficult emotions by teaching them the key skill of reframing negative, unhelpful self-talk so that they can think, feel and act more optimistically. This project explores the factors that influence the effectiveness of the implementation of this personal development program in the masculine dominant culture of a boys' school through qualitative research methods: field observations, questionnaires and interviews. A commonly held perception of boys is that they are uncomfortable talking about feelings and consider any setting in which they do so to be 'sissy' and effeminate, and therefore not acceptable. The factors identified in this research are described under the themes of the boys' culture, the classroom climate, the teacher factor and the school culture. The macho culture in this boys-only setting influenced the ability of the boys to discuss feelings and sensitive issues in the classroom and the acceptance of the curriculum approach and curriculum context. These insights enable some recommendations to be made for the future development of the Pastoral/Personal Development program in the school and for the rewriting of the Gatehouse Project materials for use in a boys only setting.