Faculty of Education - Theses

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    Survivors : a theatre in education project
    Heywood, Suzanne Carole (University of Melbourne, 1991)
    The function of this kit is to accompany the performance of the play "Survivors" with follow up material for classroom use. It is designed for senior secondary students, between the ages of fifteen and eighteen years. The purpose of this material is : 1) To provide historical information about the Holocaust which will give the students a factual context with which to consider the events of the play. 2) To provide exploratory dramatic experiences which will enhance their understanding of the issues raised in the play. The specific aim of the kit is to extend the experience of the play "Survivors" so that the students have the opportunity to consider the content of the play in more depth. The material and dramatic experiences included in the kit aim 1) to build empathy and identification by working from the students own feelings. 2) to encourage further research and documentation in the area of Holocaust studies. 3) to encourage the examination of prejudice in contemporary society in the context of the play. 4) to further develop the students understanding of dramatic process.
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    Equity of access to higher education in Australia : discussion and analysis of issues
    Meyenn, Andrew James ( 1991)
    This thesis is concerned with examining policies that have been advocated by successive governments in Australia from 1974-1990 in relation to promoting equity of access to higher education. The thesis outlines the theoretical aspects of equity and reviews the relevant research conducted in Australia and overseas. There have been several attempts to promote equity of access to higher education in Australia: fees were abolished in 1974, TEAS was introduced to replace existing scholarships, AUSTUDY replaced TEAS in 1987, retention rate to year 12 increased from 30% to over 60% in 1990, certain groups were targeted as disadvantaged groups and were afforded special entry, and finally the "White Paper" saw the introduction of the HECS or Graduate Tax in 1988. Research in Australia carried out during the late 1970s and early 1980s suggested that there was a considerable under-representation in higher education of children from the lower SES groups. This pattern appears to have continued despite efforts to promote equity. The analysis carried out in this thesis suggests that there are still many concerns related to equity. It is likely that the HECS will have the effect of increasing the price of higher education and will therefore act as a deterrent to students from less affluent backgrounds, and it may significantly effect part-time and external study. Whilst there appears to be considerable funding for AUSTUDY it may well be not sufficient to encourage students to enter higher education. Of the students entering higher education recent research has suggested that the social mix has remained unaltered. What is certainly not known is the social mix of graduates. If policy has been effective one would expect the social mix to be more balanced. Research needs to be conducted to monitor the impact of HECS to see whether higher education is becoming less available or more equitably available.
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    Attendant lords : the role of the chief executives of education in Australia
    Stone, Barbara Jean ( 1991)
    This thesis attempts to determine the condition of role change during the period 1979 to 1985 within the chief executives of education in the Australian States. Extant writings of these chief executives were analysed to see what picture of role and role change emerged, then a selection of the interviews and commentaries gathered by Wirt, Harman and Beare in their unpublished Study of Chief Education Executives in Australian States in 1985 was examined. During this period, although the broad picture of the chief executive of education as adviser to government and administrative head of department or system was sustained, the role was clearly becoming increasingly complex and political. General movements such as increasing Commonwealth involvement and the increasing influence of Treasury had an obvious impact on each of the chief executives studied. Within these parameters, however, there is considerable evidence of difference, confirming the diversity masked by reference to the role of the chief executive of education. Their experience, particularly since 1979, highlights significant differences in role between thechief executives of the different sectors of education. if analysts of educational policy making neglect these differences, they obscure rather than enhance insight into the policy making process. This thesis shows that interplay between social and political context, structures and personality can create very different situations despite prevailing trends.
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    An analysis of the structures and contexts underlying adolescent speech in the secondary school : the implications for developing a language policy in the secondary school
    Pinge, Ian ( 1991)
    The purpose of the study was to investigate the extent of speech variation across different school contexts and explore the implications for policies on spoken language in secondary schools. In order to measure changes of speech resulting from different contexts, it was necessary to identify a form of analysis sensitive to speech variation. A number of approaches were examined including syntactic and functional analysis. The units of speech used by various studies included the speech act, the exchange and the episode. A review of the literature regarding the contextual variation of speech and the concept of 'communicative competence' was carried out as well as an examination of a number of studies of language in schools. Attention was also given to policy statements on spoken language in secondary schools. A functional analysis at the level of the speech act was identified and modified to match the study. Analysis of interrogative and assertive exchanges was also carried out, the latter being identified in the course of the study. Samples of student speech over a variety of contexts were collected and analysed. The study identified links between school context and pupil speech. A profile of school context, functional outcomes, and the speech forms used, was then compiled. The formal classroom was found capable of inducing abstract levels of speech involving evaluative and speculative activity. Other forms of speech such as verbal planning, reflection, the interaction of ideas and the negotiation of meaning, require careful planning if they are to become part of the linguistic experiences of pupils in secondary schools. A number of implications for a policy on spoken language in secondary schools have been raised and directions for further research put forward.
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    From the industrial to the convivial ethos : Ivan Illich on needs, commodities, education and the politics of change
    Pantas, Ignatios Jack ( 1991)
    The appearance of the soul-stirring views of Ivan Illich in the early seventies made for an iconoclastic campaign against current claims and definitions of objective social progress in our industrial-computer-technology age. His controversial message expressed serious concern about the consumerist ethos of modern societies and the pathogenic nature of our institutions. Today, the radical literature boom, of which Illich was part, appears to have gone quiet. Additionally, aspects of his writings have been superseded by new radical discourses. Yet still, for all that, Illich has produced an imposing and provocative critique of modern industrial society that goes a long way to demythologize our world view of "what is" of the sociocultural reality around us. In this sense, Illich has posed problems and offered positions that remain relevant to radical politics, and that are likely to concern us for a very long time. Throughout this thesis, I will attempt to contextualize and present the matrix of Illich's thought. In view of the ample critical responses to Illich's work, I do not intend to present a comprehensive critical appraisal, though I will concentrate on an assessment of his proposed strategy for the transition to a more humane society. I will begin, in chapter one, by mapping out Illich's critique of the increased importance of commodity culture within both the production and social reproduction - the ways in which advanced industrial society reproduces itself in individual thought and behaviour. Illich's investigation of the consumer society points to how institutions and a wide variety of cultural phenomena within social life are becoming forms of commodification and consumption, thus engendering deleterious and dehumanizing consequences. Chapter two takes Illich's objections to the consumerist ethos and investigates the role of compulsory public schooling within the logic of the commodification process. On the whole, Illich illustrates that the school, by packaging knowledge as a consumer commodity, distorts the meaning of education for its own vested interests. While the first two chapters attempt to contextualize Illich's writings, chapter three explores his conceptualization of the "ideal society" and his proposals for social and educational transformation. In chapter four, I will critically appraise Mich's thinking on radical social reconstruction in contradistinction to his Marxist critics and their proposed strategies. Out of this debate, the relevance of Illich's political concerns to current radical politics will be further clarified. My purpose in chapter five will be to confront the dilemma posed by Mich: should a radical policy be directed to reform or to deschool? I will attempt to present and appraise some of the prominent critical views levelled against Illich's politics for social change. In the final chapter, an attempt will be made to reveal what the deschooling analysis does not take into account. Attention will be given to how "resistance" theories, in particular the work of Paul Willis, provide an alternative view of how school reproduces the social order. New possibilities for schools acting as agents of social change are presented. The efforts of "empowerment" theorists build up these possibilities and call for "transformative" pedagogies to be developed within the schools. The major concern here will be to ascertain whether there is a role for the school, as we know it, to play in radically transforming society, and whether some middle ground can be charted with respect to Illich's project for deschooling society.
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    Students' early understanding in calculus
    Ryan, Julie ( 1991)
    Students' Early Understanding of Calculus The study undertaken here looked at difficulties associated with the first principles approach to the derivative of a function and concentrated in particular on the first five lessons in calculus as experienced by a typical group of nineteen year 10 students who were preparing to take calculus at year 11. A traditional teaching approach was contrasted with an alternative computer teaching approach and both approaches were analysed for success in terms of conceptual understanding, skill acquisition and student perceptions of whether the work was easy to understand. As calculus has served as a critical filter for further study in mathematics, teaching methodology and student attitudes to the topic were a focus of the study. It was found that the students in the study had a limited concept image for gradient ('measure rise/run') and that a greater development of the global ideas associated with the gradient of a straight line needed to be a focus of learning before the idea of gradient of a curve should be introduced in beginning calculus. It was found that the use of a tangent to a curve at a point to measure gradient of the curve was not a spontaneous intuition and it is recommended that more time be given to this notion in the first principles approach to differentiation. The traditional first principles approach was found to be too cognitively demanding for the students who demonstrated a 'rush to the rule' for meaning. Students undergoing the computer treatment also demonstrated this 'rush to rule' and therefore very gradual development is recommended for students in their first encounters with calculus.
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    Tradition and change in the establishment of Mount St Joseph Girls' College 1964-1970
    Traina, Maria ( 1991)
    Social, political and economic influences invariably have bearing on the development of a school's philosophy, policies and practices, and must be considered integral to any school history. This is most evident in the post-war period, when the 'explosion' in numbers in post-primary schooling resulted not only in an expansion of schools but also, in a restructuring of traditional secondary school organisation and practice. For the first time post-primary schooling came to be recognised as a distinct and essential sphere of education. The establishment of Mt St Joseph Girls' College in 1964 by the Institute of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart was in direct response to changes in Australian society during the 1950s and 1960s. The Sisters of St Joseph, an Australian teaching Order, was established in the 1860s by Father Julian Tenison-Woods and Mary McKillop to provide Catholic primary education to the poor. However, in the 1960s, the Institute was prepared to adapt and meet the demand for secondary education by establishing secondary colleges. This thesis traces the establishment and development of the first secondary Josephite school in Victoria - Mt St Joseph Girls' College between the period 1964 and 1970. The recollections of students reveal that despite the Josephites' efforts to widen educational and occupational opportunities for working-class girls, school organisation, curriculum and practices, implicitly and explicitly directed girls to gender-specific educational and occupational paths; and to the notion that culturally valued womanhood was intrinsically related to marriage and motherhood. The study also indicates that it was not until 1969 that the Josephites introduced curriculum reform by replacing the multilateral form of school organisation (professional, commercial and domestic sciences), with a more integrated and comprehensive curriculum which cut across these divisions and catered for the needs and interests of a wide range of students. Although the benefits of this were not evident until the following decade, it must be emphasized that the Josephites had taken the first steps to remove the limitations placed on girls' aspirations, abilities and opportunities. v
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    The educative role of a parish school and community
    O'Brien, Anne (1932-) ( 1991)
    Catholic parishes are undergoing radical changes today. Their mission of education is holistic and embraces a birth to death span. This study focused on the changes which had taken place in families from the time of the initiation of their eldest child into the community until nine years later when that child shared in the first meal ritual of the community. Multiple case studies and the outcomes of interviews were analysed using grounded theory. Interviews were conducted with a population of school families; conclusions were reached and an emergent theory proposed. As expected, the articulation of concepts proved difficult for parents. Growth is related to realms of meaning through which the educative process takes place; to cultural consciousness and to the respective life cycle of parents and their children. Overall, a degree of growth was reported by most respondents especially in terms of self-esteem, positive changes in attitudes towards the church, and access to support systems. The insights revealed by this study indicate that the parish primary school acts as a catalyst for the re-entry of parents into the community; that the climate of the community, the style of leadership, the participative decision-making processes and the pedagogical processes of the parish and the school are determining factors both in the effectiveness of the educational enterprise and in the ultimate survival of the community.
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    An evaluation of fleximode as a mode of provision for the VCE to adult students
    McMaster, Amanda ( 1991)
    Fleximode is the combination of study on-campus(i.e. attending classes) and off campus (i.e. private study using structured study materials). It is designed for people who cannot attend regular classes, but who prefer more support than is available through off-campus, or correspondence study alone. The study examines literature relating to similar modes of provision overseas and in Victoria. It reveals divergent views about the comparative merits of faceto- face and distance learning. The study reviews the provision of the VCE to adults by Fleximode across Victoria in 1987. Key players identified advantages: flexibility for students in pacing their studies, cost-effectiveness, and providing access to VCE studies for a group of adults who would otherwise not be able to return to study. On the other hand, many commented on the difficulties arising from the small size of groups and the lack of stable class composition in establishing a group identity and support system. Questionnaires from students showed that most chose Fleximode because it was seen as better than correspondence, and that employment prevented more frequent class attendance. Most found on-campus and off-campus components of Fleximode equally valuable. A case-study demonstrated that Fleximode students all achieved less than they would have in a regular VCE class. Small class sizes were valuable for addressing specific needs, but meant that less class discussion was possible, and the mode allowed less time for exam preparation and practice. The evidence suggests that Fleximode is a better option than correspondence in terms of student retention, learning outcomes, and successful course completion. Students have the best chance for success in face-to-face programs, but Fleximode should be developed to replace correspondence study for the new VCE for adults, and for carefully targetted groups who cannot participate in on campus programs.
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    A context-based evaluation of the Australian overseas student policy
    MacKinnon, Valerie J ( 1991)
    In this thesis, the implications of "exporting" Australian higher educational services to overseas countries are explored. Since the introduction of the Overseas Student Program (OSP) in 1985, courses have been "marketed", often quite aggressively, by Australian colleges and universities. In most cases, overseas students have responded by coming to study in Australia in existing courses. The cultural implications of the policy are evaluated using a hypothetical case - Hong Kong Registered Nurses undertaking a post-graduate Public Health Nursing course in an Australian higher education institution to prepare for work with the Vietnamese in Hong Kong's refugee camps. The evaluation is based on an application of Dunn's jurisprudential metaphor and transactional model of argument to a consideration of the contextual and cultural issues which arise from a consideration of the impact of the course. Following an examination of the relevant policies in Australia and Hong Kong as applied to three pertinent contexts, several shortcomings of the OSP are identified. Based on a study of the refugee context, comparative education issues including cross-cultural cognition, and the experiences of overseas students studying in Australia, it is concluded that an existing course would not be appropriate; students could have serious difficulties coping with a second language, and with living and studying in a foreign country. More importantly, however, it was shown that an Australian curriculum would not equip the nurses for their roles in the camps. Arguments developed from the hypothetical case were found to be generalizable to the export of other professional courses, and the relevance of many other course offerings was questioned. It was concluded that Australian institutions needed to be aware of the cultural difficulties experienced by students while studying, and the relevance of the course offerings, if their courses were to be viable in the new international climate of aggressive marketing of education overseas. Failure to do so could have far reaching implications for Australian higher education and Australia's relations with countries in the Asian region.