Faculty of Education - Theses

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    Policies in primary teacher training in Victoria 1850-1950
    Biddington, Ralph ( 1978)
    During the nineteenth century, Victoria adopted the British method of educating and training primary teachers for schools of the state. This apprenticeship based system lasted under a variety of guises (pupil teacher system, junior teacher system and student teacher system) until 1951, when it was replaced by a course of previous training at several state teachers' colleges. Most aspects of the system adopted from Britain were introduced in 1852, but they soon underwent a number of changes which made them more suitable for local needs. The supply aspect of the system dominated training because of re-occurring state financial crises. This was despite the vigorous criticisms of many professionals who emerged during and after several teachers' associations were formed between 1873 and 1886. Their criticisms gradually became much less superficial and much more directed at the system's underlying theoretical base. A significant element in the original pupil teacher system was the training institution (normal school) where the young apprentices received more advanced general and professional preparation. The training institutions in Victoria also offered previous training courses for students with some secondary education but with no experience as pupil teachers. Up to 1870, the institutions were affected by shortages of funds and serious denominational disputes, but then, a state funded secular training establishment developed and became the forerunner of the residential teachers' college erected near the University of Melbourne in 1888. These institutions contributed to the growth of a sense of professionalism amongst the colony's primary teachers. After 1900, successive ministers, faced with the opportunity of abolishing the apprenticeship based system, chose short term reforms rather than a system of previous training. However, after a long series of educational misjudgements and frustrations, due mainly to government economies, the moribund apprenticeship system of preparing primary teachers was concluded in 1951, and previous training introduced. Amongst the reasons for the abolition of the student teacher system were the strong political activities of such groups as the Education Reform Association, and the absence after 1948 of the cheap supply advantages the student teacher system and its predecessors had offered. For one hundred years the education authorities had maintained rigid control over the supply and training of its primary teachers. Hence, whenever one of the frequent supply or financial problems occurred, it was usually overcome by a government decision to increase the proportion of apprentices or by other temporary measures which paid little heed to any damage to the quality of the Service.
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    Childbirth and childbirth education: a study of critical factors in psychological adaptation among primigravidae
    Astbury, Jill Anne ( 1978)
    Factors which facilitate or retard psychological adaptation in the stressful period of childbearing have been the focus of a continuing theoretical controversy, begun by Grantly Dick-Read (1944) and Helene Deutsch (1945). Their disagreement centred on the effectiveness of ante-natal education in reducing maternal anxiety through the provision of information about the reproductive process, as well as the advisability of attempting to reduce anxiety. For Dick-Read and subsequent childbirth educators, anxiety in pregnancy was predictive of physical and psychological maladjustment. Consequently, the elimination of anxiety and the production of self-esteem have been fundamental aims for ante-natal education programs. Deutsch argued that Dick-Read had ignored important primal anxieties which neither could nor should be removed through ante-natal education, because of the crucial role they played in preparing women for the stresses of labour. The theoretical disagreement between these two writers provided a context within which subsequent empirical research findings were evaluated, and informed the experimental hypotheses of the present study. Ninety primigravidae, of whom 45 attended ante-natal education classes and 45 did not, took part in the investigation carried out between May 1976 and May 1977. Subjects were tested late in pregnancy, during labour and early in the post partum, on a variety of questionnaire measures concerning attitudes towards various aspects of reproduction, state and trait anxiety, and attitudes towards self and significant others. Subjects were also interviewed individually about their labour experience in the early post partum. During labour, subjects were randomly assigned to a no treatment group, a group which listened to popular music, and one which listened to a tape giving information on coping with labour. Only state anxiety level was ascertained during labour. Contrary to prediction, women who had attended ante-natal education classes did not have significantly lower levels of state or trait anxiety on any of the testing occasions than did untrained women. Similarly, there was no significant difference in state anxiety depending on an interaction between group membership and treatment level during labour. There were no significant differences favouring trained women over untrained women on any of the obstetrical indices of labour. Of the significant results which were obtained, most favoured untrained women. Thus, in the post partum, untrained women perceived greater congruence between current self-concepts and those relating to 'doctors', 'pleasant and good things', 'nurses', 'childbirth' and 'the ideal mother', contrary to prediction. There were also highly significant changes in state and trait anxiety over the testing occasions regardless of group membership. It was concluded that the significant changes in state and trait anxiety supported the notion of childbearing as a crisis which ante-natal education did little to ameliorate. The possibility that anxiety played a useful role in preparing women for labour was considered. Ways of improving antenatal education, based on the findings of the current study and those from the research literature on coping with stress, were discussed.