Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Towards a model for colleague support : matching support to needs and contexts
    Rogers, William A (1947-) ( 1999)
    This thesis explores the issue of colleague support in schools observed in five case site schools over several years. The study sought to ascertain how colleagues perceive, rate, utilise and value colleague support and the effect of colleague support across a school culture. The research study is predominantly qualitative using participant observation and interviews, over several years. The interviews are based on an earlier pilot study (conducted in 1995-96) and a later survey of each of the five case site schools that make up this research study. The thesis outlines how colleagues describe, value, and utilise colleague support and proposes a typology of support based in grounded theory. This typology asserts that schools have definable `colleague-shape; based in characteristics and protocols of support that have an increasing degree of school-wide consciousness. The typology, and emerging protocols, it is hoped, have both a descriptive and diagnostic facility and an adaptive utility. This thesis concludes with a chapter on adaptive facility proposing suggestions, arising from this study, that might increase a school's conscious awareness and use of colleague support.
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    Conversational or instructional discourse : the opportunity for production of language by high school age students in English conversation classes in Japan
    Pollard, William James ( 1999)
    Some recent views on English language teaching suggest that one of the goals should be to use natural or genuine conversation in the classroom in preference to more traditional classroom communication. This study set out to find if naturalistic conversation used by the teacher was able to promote more active production of language by learners in a classroom of Japanese high school learners of English in Japan than in comparison to instructional classroom discourse. The length of responses to both referential and display questions were measured in terms of the mean length of utterance of the responses of the students to teacher questions in order to gauge the relationship between the type of language used and the potential for production of language. It was assumed that referential questions were characteristic of more naturalistic language and that display were characteristic of more 'traditional' classroom language. Opportunities for the negotiation of meaning were also sought by measuring the frequency of occurrence of echoic questions, associated with negotiation of meaning for both conversational discourse and for instructional discourse. The results for this particular study initially showed that in terms of the length of response and opportunities for the negotiation of meaning, both display questions and referential questions produced longer responses in instructional discourse than in comparison to conversational discourse. This suggests that in the case of the students studied, traditional classroom language or instructional discourse showed more potential for production of language than did naturalistic conversation, regardless of the question type. The results also showed that display questions promoted longer segments of classroom talk and negotiation of meaning than did referential questions suggesting that classroom conversation, as characterised by display questions, holds more potential for the negotiation of meaning than natural conversation. The results also showed, however, that there may be difficulties in producing conversational discourse and instructional discourse in a lesson in this context suggesting that the research questions and design of this particular study may be in need of reconceptualisation.
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    Rater consistency and judgment in the direct assessment of second language writing ability within the certificates in spoken and written English
    Smith, David R ( 1998)
    The introduction of competency-based models of language and literacy education in Australia has, to a large degree, coincided with an increased emphasis on direct assessment as the most common means of evaluating second language writing ability within the Adult Migrant English Program. The key problem in directly assessing writing ability is having two or more raters arrive at a similar judgment or rating for the same piece of writing. While there is a long tradition of research on rater consistency and judgment in the holistic assessment of writing ability, similar research on the direct assessment of second language writing ability within the context of competency-based language and literacy education is almost non-existent. This study aims to determine the degree to which the performance criteria designed to assess second language writing ability within the Certificates in Spoken and Written English can ensure acceptable levels of rater consistency, and to describe the decision-making behaviours and strategies used by raters when reading for the purposes of assessment. The think-aloud verbal reports of six experienced ESL raters assessing three texts written by intermediate level adult ESL learners were transcribed and subjected to a rigorous interpretive analysis. In terms of rater consistency, analysis of raters verbal reports indicated that while there was generally a high degree of rater consistency at the overall performance or text level there was considerably tess agreement at the level of individual performance criteria. Analysis of the data revealed that raters adopted distinctive styles or approaches to reading for the purposes of assessment and that raters interpreted and applied the performance criteria statements in a range of different ways. These findings have significant implications not only for the development of competency-based assessment procedures but also for the training of raters. v11
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    Defining the characteristics of a good middle school teacher in an Australian setting
    Douglas, Linda Jane ( 1995)
    The purpose of this study is to. identify the characteristics of a middle school teacher that define that teacher as a good teacher in the eyes of their Australian colleagues. A model of the good middle school teacher was developed from the North American literature. This formed the basis for interviews with Australian teachers who have been identified as good middle school teachers by their school community. This has led to the establishment of a model based on the responses from the Australian teachers. The focus centred on the characteristics of the teacher but at times has included reference to curriculum and other structures within the school. The report's results reflect the Australian teacher's approval for child centred teaching but with a subject focus. The teachers feel a need for teachers to retain a passion for a subject area in order to inspire and enthuse their students, but doing this within a context of a curriculum focussed on young people and their needs. This study clearly suggests the strong link between teaching philosophy and curriculum and the need to cater towards the needs of both the staff and students in order to educate successfully.
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    The value of library advisory committees
    Salisbury, Fiona Anne ( 1996)
    The study reported in this thesis investigated the value of Victorian university library advisory committees to committee members, with particular reference to their liaison function. A review of the literature gave some indication of their value. It also indicated that their liaison function was wide ranging and successful to varying degrees. However, the literature focused on these aspects from the point of view of librarians. There is a paucity of literature that articulated the views of non-librarian committee members, or investigated the value of library advisory committees from their perspective. It was the aim of the present study to redress this imbalance and investigate the value of library advisory committees, thus highlighting their benefits and disadvantages, for both librarians and non-librarians alike. The methodology used in the study was a survey using a self-administered questionnaire. The sample consisted of all members of all library advisory committees in four major Victorian universities. In addition to closed questions, the questionnaire used many open questions in order to draw out members' attitudes to and perceptions of their committee. The results of the survey indicated that on many aspects of committee operations and functions, committee members have parallel views regardless of whether they are librarians or non-librarians; consequently a profile of the typical committee member emerged. These results suggested that committees are functioning successfully and are valuable to their members, particularly as a means of liaison. However, it was notable that, in relation to policy issues, the views and priorities of librarians and non-librarians differed significantly. Unlike librarians, non-librarians were more likely to be of the opinion that their committee should offer more opportunity for policy input and involvement. The present study also revealed that more work needs to be done to determine the value of library advisory committee for students.
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    The rapid characterisation of pulpwood quality of plantation eucalypts using near-infrared spectroscopy
    Schimleck, Laurence R ( 1996)
    Chemical pulp yield is a tree breeding trait of great importance to the pulp and paper industry. Small improvements in pulp yield can provide large economic benefits for forest owners with a successful breeding program. Laborious and expensive methods of direct measurement for pulp yield presently limit the number of trees that are tested and therefore hinder potential improvement. A method that provides a rapid, cheap measure of yield is required. Attempts to do so through correlating easily measured parameters such as hot water extractives and basic density with yield have been unsuccessful. Recent studies have indicated that vibrational spectroscopic methods such as near- and mid-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS and MIRS) have the potential to predict pulp yield. The major objective of this study is to determine whether near-infrared spectroscopy could be used to predict the pulpwood quality, specifically pulp yield, of plantation eucalypts with sufficient accuracy to be of use in evaluating woods from tree improvement programs. Analysis of any product by NIRS is subject to several sources of error. A review of the agricultural industry literature identifies several important sources of error in NIRS analysis. Important factors include: the particle size distribution and mean particle size of the sample; the type of mill used for grinding; the moisture content of the sample; the sample temperature at the time of testing; the basic density of the sample and the species. In this thesis, the influence of a number of these factors on the NIRS analysis of wood is examined and a protocol for the analysis of wood using NIRS developed. Initially, NIRS is used to model and predict pulp yield in thirty samples of native forest E. globulus woods that gave a very wide range of pulp yields (37.6 % to 60.2 %). Regions of the second derivative NIR spectra display variation that could be directly related to variations in pulp yield. Calibration models are developed using simple linear regression and partial least squares (PLS) regression on data from both normal NIR spectra and second derivative NIR spectra. The model developed by using PLS regression with second derivative NIR spectra demonstrates the best predictive ability (R-value = 0.983, standard error of calibration (SEC) = 1.34 and standard error of prediction (SEP) = 1.65). However, the SEP is too high for practical purposes. The errors are high because insufficient samples were available to represent the extreme variation. Calibration models are also developed with regions of the NIR spectrum removed. Removal of the water bands (1350-1450 and 1848-1968 nm) improves the SEP only marginally. It was decided that future models would be developed with full spectrum second derivative spectra and PLS regression. Twelve models for the prediction of kraft pulp yield are developed using plantation grown E. globulus and E. nitens from sites in Tasmania and Victoria. R-values range from 0.892 to 0.963, SEC values range from 0.32 to 0.92 and SEP values range from 0.63 to 1.46. Seven models have SEP values of less than one. The low SEP values of several of the models indicate that NIRS could be used as a practical alternative to laboratory pulping. The improvement is attributed to having larger sample sets and samples that were able to better represent the narrower range of environmental and genetic variation found in plantation forests. The chemical components of eucalypt woods that influence pulp yield are modelled and predicted using NIRS analysis. Eleven E. globulus and twenty-one E. nitens samples are used. The chemical components modelled include: cellulose, glucan, hemicellulose and xylan. Models for E. globulus have R-values ranging from 0.995 to 0.731 and SEC values ranging from 0.04 to 1.64. The qualities of the models were judged by cross validation procedures as there were too few samples to reserve a separate test set. Models for E. nitens have R-values ranging from 0.988 to 0.894, SEC values that range from 0.19 to 0.93 and SEP values that range from 0.78 to 1.85. The use of larger sample sets should improve the models and reduce errors. Principal component analysis (PCA) is used to classify samples based on their NIR spectra. PCA is a data decomposition technique that can be used to extract the systematic variation that exists in a single data set. Two-dimensional PCA scores plots can be used to examine how a number of samples relate to each other. Such plots are used to distinguish between woods of high and low pulp yield; between hardwoods and softwoods; between eucalypt species (E. globulus, E. grandis and E. nitens) and between sites the trees of specific species were grown on (Tasmania and Victoria). PCA could be a very useful tool for breeding programs, perhaps providing a simple means of eliminating poor performing trees. The within-tree variation of pulp yield is also examined using NIRS. If trees are to be sampled non-destructively, ie. by cores, an understanding of within-tree variation is necessary for the identification of representative sampling points. Individual ring samples have different NIR spectra. The spectra of rings 5 and 6 (where the heartwood-sapwood boundary is located) demonstrate the greatest differences. Patterns of radial and longitudinal variation are different for each tree. Radial variation of pulp yield at 5, 20 and 60 % of total tree height is basically linear (average of 15 trees). Longitudinal variation (average of 3 trees) of pulp yield is not linear, the model used to describe it is of the form y = a + bx + cxA. Maps of withintree variation demonstrate that yield is variable within trees and that each tree has a different pattern of variation. The outer region of the tree between 15 and 40 % of total tree height has wood giving the highest pulp yield. Samples from 10 % of total tree height (2.2 m) gives the best correlation with whole tree pulp yield. The north and south hemispheres of a single tree are examined. Within this tree the yield variation is found to be symmetrical. The heritability (h2) of pulp yield for 7 year old E. nitens is estimated using 588 samples whose yield has been estimated using NIRS. Heritability estimates of 0.34 and 0.31 are obtained for the inner and outer rings respectively. The estimates are lower than expected based on previous estimates. PCA is used to examine the variation present in the calibration and the unknown data sets. It is found that the calibration data derived from whole-tree average samples do not contain all the variation present in the unknown data obtained from within the inner and outer rings. Improved heritability estimates are expected to be obtained by adding data to the calibration obtained from within the rings. It is demonstrated that NIRS can successfully predict pulp yield and a number of other chemical components of wood. The success of several models indicates that NIRS has the potential to be a very important tool for tree breeding programs. Consistency in sample preparation and presentation is important. Care must be taken that the proper samples are selected for calibration.
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    Pre-anthesis development in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) : evaluation of factors affecting apical development and spikelet number per spike on the main culm
    Kernich, Graeme ( 1995)
    The influence of a number of environmental factors and cultivar differences on the pre-anthesis period of development in barley were investigated in this thesis. Preanthesis development in barley was examined by dividing this period into three phases, namely the leaf initiation, spikelet initiation and spikelet growth phases. The lengths of the latter two phases showed substantial variation between cultivars, which indicates that it may be feasible to manipulate the durations of these phases, while maintaining a constant time to anthesis. In particular, there was a negative association between durations of the spikelet initiation and spikelet growth phases, making it possible to maintain a constant time to anthesis despite variation in the duration of these phases. The number of spikelet primordia formed in the developing spike of the main culm exhibited little variation between cultivars. The rate and duration of spikelet initiation were negatively correlated and both had no association with either maximum spikelet primordia number or final spikelet number. Variation in spikelet number per spike appeared to be maintained more because of a varying level of spikelet abortion rather than differences in the number of spikelet primordia formed in the developing spike of the main culm. A separate study examining the related species Hordeum spontaneum, confirmed variation for the durations of the three phases, combinations of which indicated the feasibility that such variation could provide genotypes wherein a constant time to anthesis could be maintained. Investigations of the effects of four environmental factors, photoperiod, temperature, irradiance and fertilizer addition, on pre-anthesis development in barley were also undertaken. Increased photoperiod was shown to reduce the durations of the three phases in photoperiod-sensitive barley cultivars. Differences between the three phases in their sensitivity to photoperiod were observed, with the spikelet initiation phase proportionately the most sensitive phase and the leaf initation phase the least sensitive. This difference in sensitivity between phases also differed in magnitude between cultivars. That is, in one study, the spring cultivar Galleon showed a greater sensitivity to photoperiod in the spikelet initiation than the leaf initiation phase in contrast to Bandulla, where the difference between photoperiod sensitivities of each phase was small. Both of these cultivars exhibited satisfaction of the photoperiod response at a similar photoperiod (ca. 14-15 h). That is, no further changes in durations of the leaf initiation and spikelet initiation phases occurred under longer photoperiods. Transfer of cultivars between different photoperiods indicated that the duration of a particular development phase was determined by both the influence of prior photoperiod as well as current photoperiod, indicating the presence of a 'memorized photoperiod effect'. This effect was present from the beginning of spikelet primordia production to anthesis. The 'memory effect' of photoperiod on development appears to be interactive with current photoperiod, rather than additive, because the effects of the direct influence of photoperiod and those of prior photoperiods were smaller when they were coincident compared with independently. The duration of the pre-anthesis period of photoperiod-sensitive cultivars grown at similar levels of irradiance, but different photoperiods was found to respond more to variation in photoperiod than irradiance. High irradiance levels reduced the duration of the pre-anthesis period slightly, and increased both final leaf and spikelet numbers. The rate of change of photoperiod has been found in other cereal crops to influence the time to anthesis. The present study indicated that the rate of change of photoperiod had no effect on the durations of the leaf and spikelet initation phases independent of that of mean photoperiod. There were also no effects on leaf or spikelet number per spike, or the rate of leaf appearance, in contrast to earlier reports. Increasing the mean daily temperature within the range of 11-27C was found to reduce the duration of the spikelet growth phase (expressed in calendar time) in barley, although this was dependent on photoperiod. However, in terms of thermal time, increased temperature lengthened the amount of thermal time taken to complete the spikelet growth phase, which is in agreement with several wheat studies (Pirasteh & Walsh, 1980; Rawson, 1993). The relationship between temperature and rate of development did not appear to be linear at supra-optimal temperatures (above X19C, Ellis et al., 1988) although this was not conclusively tested. Further research is required to fully understand the relationship between the rate of development in barley and temperature. The proportion of spikelet abortion in the developing spike of the main culm was found to be increase with high temperatures and this was dependent upon cultivar, but longer durations of the spikelet growth phase were not associated with increased spikelet numbers. The application of fertilizer nitrogen and phosphorus had no significantly consistent effects on time from sowing to anthesis in barley, or the durations of the three individual developmental phases, suggesting that models of phenological development need not incorporate fertilizer parameters. Irradiance level was shown to influence the level of spikelet abortion of the main culm spike and occurred in barley 11-15 days before anthesis when the spike and culm were rapidly accumulating dry matter. Spikelets found to abort were later-developing and smaller in size than those which survived. The coincidence of abortion of spikelets with maximum accumulation of dry matter in the culm and spike indicates the possibility that the level of abortion in barley may be associated with culm-spike assimilate competition. Spikelet number and grain number per spike, and tiller number increased with increasing nitrogen application. It is proposed that breeding to achieve lower levels of abortion of spikelet primordia could possibly lead to an increased yield potential of the barley spike. The thesis contains a seven chapters; a review, five experimental chapters and a concluding chapter.
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    Television viewing and dramatic play behaviour of pre-schoolers
    O'Neill, Carole ( 1995)
    The main purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between television and dramatic play by exploring the impact of television viewing upon the play content and play behaviour of pre-school children. This research extends the findings of previous research which assumed that there was a direct causal link between television viewing and the themes, roles and content of children's dramatic play. The results of this research suggest that this view is far too simplistic. They suggest that the outcomes of dramatic play may be modified by a number of factors including: the situational context, the role of adults, and the role of other children. This thesis advances three major findings. Firstly, that others such as parents, peers and teachers have significant influence over pre-schoolers' dramatic play decisions such as in roles, themes and content. Secondly, that the physical environment within which play occurs must be taken into consideration as the situational context can influence and modify the nature of dramatic play. Thirdly, that the child is an active, reasoning participant in dramatic play as the child can choose from the resources available from television and 'replay' only a selection of what was viewed. It is suggested that each child must be considered as a 'selector' exerting control over his/her role in dramatic play.
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    A taxonomy of community intervention practice
    WARNER, IAN N.C ( 1982)
    This thesis identifies an overall heuristic taxonomy of Community Intervention Practice, which is intended for use by students, lecturers and field staff. The taxonomy is divided into five approaches, namely the Organisational Approach; the Extension Approach; the Developmental Approach; the Action Approach and the Control Approach. The taxonomy is iconic in natures and is a simplification of the complex reality observed in community intervention practice. The thesis is divided into three sections. Part I seeks to explore the nature and complexity of the concept of "cornmunity", and the nature of community intervention practice. Part II, which forms the bulk of this study, defines and describes the five approaches which make up the heuristic taxonomy. Part III applies the taxonomy to two differing agencies, one being a government Community Development Office project for squatter resettlement in West New Britain; the other applying the taxonomy to various projects run by an Australian Community Health Centre. Throughout, use is made of tables and figures to illustrate the concepts described. In particular, concise summary tables are provided for the taxonomy. itself. These tables are printed on coloured paper, to assist. in easy location and reference, and are intended - to be a summary to facilitate conceptualisation in the hands of a student or field worker.
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    The link between secondary education and the chemical industry in Victoria
    Rushbrook, Leonie ( 1994)
    This study investigates the existing links between the chemical industry and secondary education in Victoria. The current views of the chemical industry towards their involvement with secondary schools and secondary teachers' perceptions of industry are examined. The authors' personal perspective based on professional participation in industry and in education forms an integral part of the study. The major factors that currently impact on the link between education and industry are outlined. The effectiveness of recent initiatives, both national and international for the development of closer links are examined. Key personnel in schools. and industry were interviewed in order to examine the current relationship between secondary schools and industry. The extent to which each party takes responsibility for incorporating this relationship as an important factor contributing to the chemical industry's future is also examined. This study reveals that the number of initiatives aimed at securing a closer link between secondary schools and industry within Victoria are limited and the overall coordination and direction of this link is inadequate. Recommendations are therefore put forward to improve this situation.