Faculty of Education - Theses

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    The origins and early history of the State secondary school teachers in Victoria, 1872-1926
    Reid, G. A ( 1968)
    In tracing the history of state secondary school teachers in Victoria from their origins in the primary teaching service until 1926, this study covers the areas relevant to teacher status - viz., teacher training, conditions and associations - and an attempt has been made to evaluate the progress made towards professional status. The Diploma of education course, initially a two-year University course aimed to train teachers of academic subjects, was instrumental in raising the academic and pedagogical qualifications of secondary teachers. It was, however, inadequate in that it did not train teachers in sufficient numbers, and it was always starved of finance and essential resources. The Diploma was supplemented by the post- Intermediate Trained Teacher's Certificate courses in manual and Domestic Arts and Commercial subjects. Because the education Department played a significant role in both systems of training and the teachers had no control of training standards, the progress that was made was achieved without reference to the teachers, and was offset by the increasing numbers of temporary teachers employed in the secondary schools. No significant progress was made by secondary teachers in determining their professional conditions. These were almost entirely decided by the centralized administration which widened and tightened its influence. Professional freedom in areas such as curricula was further limited by the uniformity imposed by the public examination system. State secondary teachers were willing conformists to these pressures restricting their professional activity, and directed most of their energy towards regularizing their position within the public service. Even in this sphere, they achieved little: their salaries were relatively poorer in 1926 than they had been in 1912, it took thirteen years to gain a Classification Board, and they rarely succeeded in gaining concessions even on minor matters. Hence state secondary teachers were enthusiastic supporters of the movement towards the uniting of all teachers within the one Union which culminated in 1926. By 1926, then, the greatest gain that state secondary teachers had made was in their training and qualifications. For the rest, their steps towards professional status were faltering and often retrograde.
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    Attitudes of teachers to the objectives of mathematics education in the junior secondary school
    McNaughton, Allen E. ( 1976)
    At the same time as "New Maths" was being gradually introduced, secondary schools in Victoria became largely responsible for their own curriculum. This devolution of responsibility was coupled with a serious questioning of the meaning and purpose of secondary education itself, and an increasing awareness of other relevant factors such as how children learn, but secondary mathematics teachers have been so occupied with the new mathematical content demanded of them that other considerations have tended to be disregarded until very recently. The pressures that have increasingly been acting on secondary mathematics teachers have created confusion about the aims of the subject at the junior secondary level. Some teachers have retained the narrow academic aims of the past, while others have rejected these completely. Most, however, have reached a compromise. Five "innovative" and five "conservative" high schools in the Melbourne Metropolitan area were chosen subjectively by an informed panel. From each of these ten schools, two "junior level" and two "senior level" mathematics teachers were selected. Each of these forty teachers completed a Likert-type attitude questionnaire designed to establish their attitude towards narrow academic objectives at the junior secondary level. It was found that there was no significant difference in attitude between teachers of senior and junior levels, nor between teachers at conservative or innovative schools. There were, however, differences in attitude to the aims of junior secondary mathematics within each school of relatively large proportions. The lack of significant differences in attitude between schools indicates that they may be more alike than their reputation suggests, at least as far as mathematics education is concerned. Perhaps of greater concern is the effect on pupils of teachers with different attitudes towards their teaching. The fear that autonomy of schools has tended to become freedom for individual teachers to act alone in curriculum matters is reinforced by these results.