Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    A comparative study of primary school social studies in three Australian states : Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia, 1952-1975
    Reed, R. L (1943-) ( 1976)
    This study is concerned with the way in which Primary school Social Studies curricula have been revised, organized and developed from 1952 to 1975 in three Australian States - Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia. As few commercially produced Social Studies courses, or indeed Social Studies units, have been forthcoming in these States, coverage in this thesis concentrates on those syllabus revisions which have been produced by Revision Committees organized by the respective Education Departments in these States. Underlying factors which have been instrumental in Social Studies revisions and their final outcome - a Social Studies Syllabus - have been analyzed by considering those constraints which form a part of the Curriculum Materials Analysis System (1967). The constituent six part cluster questions have been used in horizontal analysis to highlight features of Social Studies courses in the 1950's as compared to those of the 1960's, and the most significant changes which have occurred in the most current revisions. From courses which presented a high degree of uniformity in their emphasis on facts, social living and citizenship, have emerged State revisions which, though differing in format and degree of inclusiveness, reflect attributes commonly associated with 'new' Social Studies.
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    What are the objectives of the State College of Victoria at Frankston courses as perceived by students, lecturing staff (education), and teachers in the field
    Mutimer, Kevin H ( 1975)
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the Objectives of the State College of Victoria at Frankston as perceived by students, lecturing staff (in Education) and teachers in the field. The number of cases used was 227, including 25 first year private students, 40 first year studentship holders, 25 third year studentship holders, as well as 23 College education staff and 114 supervising teachers, of which only 61 replies were of value. The subjects were required to complete an open ended questionnaire on what they believed 'are' the objectives of the S.C.V. and what 'should be' the objectives. An inspection of the responses was made by using Content Analysis. It appeared that the responses fell into three fairly clearly defined areas of Objectives, viz. Professional, Academic and Personal Development. Further examination of the data indicated that an item had a positive or negative valence, i.e., the respondent indicated approval or disapproval of the item as an Objective. The Objectives were raw scored, and the frequency of mention was converted to percentages of the whole group being scored. This was done for both +ve and -ve valence, thus indicating whether a respondent was critical of or favourable to the perceived College Objectives. Further data was obtained by asking College lecturers and teachers in the field to rate on a scale +5 to -5 whether the College was doing what it should be doing in achieving College Objectives. The findings indicate that there is general agreement about the current levels of professional objectives as perceived by the different groups. there is consistent demand for more professional studies, except from college lecturers in Education. Colleges are seen by all groups as having an academic content which should be decreased markedly at all levels. Colleges are recognised as having a low personal development level which all but critical teachers agree needs to be significantly increased.
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    Professional registration and advice in state education: a comparative study of the origins and roles of statutory bodies connected with registration and advice in the administration of education in New South Wales and Victoria
    Dunbar, Allan ( 1974)
    The provision of educational services is a major task of Australian state political systems. At various times, in efforts to moderate the bureaucratic tendencies of centralised administrations by bringing a wider range of opinion to bear on the administration of public education, bodies to advise the responsible minister, and Parliament in some cases, have been established. An examination of the work of the Council of Public Education in Victoria, established ostensibly for this purpose, reveals that there is a confusion over the role and influence of advise within a state political administrative structure. This inquiry postulates that there are two basic, but disparate, functions of advice: a political function where representatives of interest groups can put their views to the Minister, and an evaluative function where the policies and practices of the public sector are evaluated. The formation of the Council of Public Education was justified to the public in terms of the latter function, but other features of the Council, such as its representative membership, are more like those of a body with political functions. This disjunction between structure and function, together with a confusion over the extent and use of its powers, have rendered the Council ant: ineffectual evaluative advisory body. The attitudes of administrators and other interested parties towards. educational advisory bodies are illuminated' by an investigation of the origins of these bodies in Victoria and New South Wales. The comparison of developments in the two states indicates that the concept of an evaluative advisory body, operating free of administrative and political interference, is incompatible with the present system of centralised control of public education in these states.
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    Origins and development of general science in Victoria 1942-1962
    Boyd, Lawrence Charles ( 1976)
    This thesis is a detailed study of the teaching of General Science in Victorian secondary schools during the period, 1942-1962. The beginnings of the General Science movement can be traced to investigations into science education in England in 1918. However, many ideals of the subject date back to the nineteenth century. Hence some time has been spent in researching the aims and practice of science teaching in England during these earlier stages. Similarly, it has been necessary to study early science curricula in Australia. This background allowed an analysis of effects that Nature Study courses, university science subjects and any unique aspects of Australian education may have had on the origins and implementation of General Science. Syllabuses, courses of study, examination papers and examiners' reports have been thoroughly studied to determine the nature and direction of teaching that took place. In particular, the effect of subject content, examinations, text books and teaching methods has been researched. Hence it has been possible to analyse critically the origins and evolution of General Science. This retrospective study has not only allowed close scrutiny of the ideals and actual classroom practice of the time; it has also afforded valuable insight into essential guidelines that are necessary for general curriculum evaluation and development. Many of these guidelines remain relevant today, even though some thirty years have elapsed since the first General Science course was adapted in Victoria.
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    A comparative survey of the teaching of mathematics in primary schools in South Australia and Victoria
    Angus, Alan Grant ( 1976)
    During the last two decades the teaching of mathematics in Australian primary schools has experienced widespread changes in content and method. These changes were introduced, mainly, in an attempt to overcome certain problems associated with the teaching of the subject. The views of psychologists and mathematicians influenced the new approaches to a greater extent than on any previous occasion. At the outset this thesis discusses some of the problems encountered in the teaching of mathematics and outlines three areas.requiring attention. An overview is given of the place of mathematics in the primary school curriculum in South Australia and Victoria since the middle of the nineteenth century. In tracing this development, an historical setting is given for the current controversies in the teaching of mathematics. A number of important changes in the teaching of mathematics emerge. In particular the changes which have occurred during the last twenty years are considered in some detail. An attempt is made to compare these recent developments and special attention is given to the period since the Australian conference on primary school mathematics in 1964, when a major restructuring of courses was proposed. Finally, it is shown that in attempting to overcome the problems associated with the teaching of mathematics, other factors have emerged which have implications for future developments. The current claim that the 3 R's have been neglected is likely to bring about a change in emphasis.
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    The educational ideas and influence on Victorian education of Dr. John Smyth: principal of the Melbourne Teachers' College, 1902-1927 and the first professor of education in the University of Melbourne, 1918-1927
    Edgar, D. E. ( 1967)
    Second in authority and influence only to Frank Tate, Dr. John Smyth was uniquely qualified to interpret the ideas of the "New Education" movement for Victorian schools at the turn of the century. Instead of using a biographical approach, this thesis outlines the diverse intellectual backgrounds which together formed the basis of Smyth's ideas. His New Zealand teaching experience coincided with the beginnings of reform there and his understanding of the "New Education" was deepened through study in Germany and Scotland from 1895 to 1901. German demands for realism in education; kindergartens and the theories of Froebel and Pestalozzi; the new techniques of Herbart and Rein; the establishment of teacher-training as a legitimate function of the university; and the beginnings of experimental psychology at Leipsic, were experienced by Smyth at first hand. The philosophy of Neo-Idealism which he espoused explains his ability to synthesize conflicting elements of the complex "New Education" movement. These major influences can be seen as the thesis examines Smyth's impact on Victorian education as Principal of the Melbourne Teachers' College (1902-27) and as the first Professor of Education at the University of Melbourne (1918-27). Separate chapters develop Smyth's attitudes to teacher-training and the College's growth under his control; his direct responsibility for the creation of the Free Kindergarten Union of Victoria and the improvement of Infant Schools; his idealistic philosophy translated into practice in the rural schools; and the significant contributions he made to the development of a School of Education at the University of Melbourne. A final assessment of Smyth the man reveals him as an intensely religious, dedicated educationist who had a lasting impact on the pattern of Victorian education. His relationship with Frank Tate emerges as that of an idealistic reformer unable to accept happily the limitations of compromise forced on Tate, the shrewd administrator, by a political and economic climate hostile to any but utilitarian educational reforms. Whilst Smyth’s educational ideas were not always fully implemented, the part he played in a period of educational history hitherto dominated by the name of Tate cannot be ignored. His intellectual stature and his actual accomplishments mark him as a key figure in our understanding of the development of Victorian education.