Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Selfoverestimation and scholastic success
    Claughton, Warren G ( 1977)
    Three weeks before the end of year final assessments at school, 133 boys from forms one, three and five at a Victorian secondary school produced a self rating (SR) in six areas, general academic ability, industriousness in maths and in English, friendliness, and predicted final mark in maths and in English. Each student also rated all other members of his class in these six areas. The composite of these scores produced a group rating (GR) of each student in each of the six areas. The SR was then compared with the GR. If the SR>GR the student was defined as overestimating himself. The other two possible outcomes of this comparison were SR=GR (realistic) or SR
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    Immigration, the media and student understandings
    Terry, Les (1955-) ( 1986)
    This study investigates the issue of Asian immigration as it was treated by two newspapers in a three month period in 1984 and also examines the attitudes of three groups of adolescents to the messages conveyed by the media representations. This study is divided into three main parts. In the first chapter there is a selective review of the material in the area of racism and the media, in particular those studies carried out from an ideological consensus point of view. In addition, there is a review of relevant studies carried out in the youth culture/politics area. The second part of the study provides a detailed examination of the strategies employed by two newspapers The Herald and The Sun News- Pictorial for the construction of the 'Immigration Debate' in the period March to June 1984. The third and final part of the study examines the extent to which the students accepted or rejected the ideological framework established by the two newspapers in their treatment of the immigration issue. As a result of this three-stage analysis, it is argued that the strategies employed by the two newspapers in helping to construct the debate on immigration ensured that the ideological framework for this debate was essentially racist. It is also argued that at the level of discourse many of the students involved in the study were shown to be not directly aware of the 'Blainey Debate'. However, it is also apparent that when they examined the media representations they displayed little ability to reject the ideological boundaries established for debate. The media representations legitimised and transmitted what could be called the 'new racism'. This study found that the students were not able to critically question this new racism.
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    Developing an educational vision : fusing primary and secondary horizons
    Redford, Dianne ( 1998)
    The middle school has been the focus of considerable policy scrutiny at national and state levels in education in the last decade. As students move through school, attitudes to their educational environment and school management change particularly in the middle years - years 5-8. A number of large scale studies imply the benefits that would flow in transferring primary pedagogy and institutional practices to secondary classes in overcoming what has been seen as an early alienation of secondary schooling. This longitudinal case study seeks to explore changes in the various components of the quality of school life between primary and secondary school which exist in a primary school year 6 and secondary school year 7. In this collaborative research, data is gathered from the students' perspectives about their views on transition for their common primary school in year 6 to three secondary schools in year 7. The 'real world' of students, in their school context, is explored through the use of survey and direct contact in the form of interviews and discussion with students and teachers. The research, unlike some larger sample statistical surveys, suggests that improvement in the quality of middle school life in years 6 and 7 would be facilitated by a two way flow of ideas, experiences and enthusiasm.
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    Students' participation, motivation and commitment to extra-curricular music
    Todd, Wendy Gwendolyne Frances ( 1994)
    Students involved in the major extra-curricular activities of sport, music, drama and debating, the staff co-ordinators of these activities and the Principal, Vice-principal or Director of Studies at three Independent girls' schools of similar socio-economic standing, size and proximity in Victoria, were surveyed in 1992 to identify practices and influences on participation, motivation and commitment. Weiner's (1974) Attribution Theory was the initial basis on which the study was derived and Professor Edward P. Asmus's studies on motivation in music in the curriculum in American schools provided .a foundation on which to commence the research. 272 female students encompassing Years 7 to 12 were selected from the groups which the co-ordinators of each extra-curricular area ranked as having the highest, second highest, third highest and lowest status within each school. The data observes the overall responses of the three schools and also the schools' individual responses, thus allowing a comparison between them. Intrinsic and external determinants were identified as the student's perception of her own ability, the effort the student makes in an activity, the enjoyment the student gets from an activity, recognition and awards, the duration of an activity, the performance opportunities available, the achievement and success of a group, the role of the staff leader, student leadership, the difficulty of a task, the workload at Years 11 and 12, the means of travelling to and from practices and when practices are held. The outcomes of the research indicate that the participation in an extra-curricular music activity requires a much greater level of commitment than does commitment to the other extracurricular areas and that extra-curricular music introduces students to adult concepts. The findings also stress the importance of the role of the conductor not only in working directly with the ensemble but in the promotion of it. The enjoyment of an extra-curricular activity was strongly cited by students as their reason for joining and staying in the particular activity. Implications of these results and recommendations for further research were then discussed.
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    Absenteeism amongst international students
    McCracken, Rowena M ( 2000)
    International students are a significant factor in contemporary Australian education. However, despite the good efforts of the many stakeholders, a number of these students do not succeed. One major element common among many who fail is absenteeism. While there have been attempts to remedy the problem, most have not succeeded. One reason for this has been the lack of information sought on how students viewed their own experience and behaviour. The present study attempts to redress this lack by investigating the views and experience of a group of long-term absentee students from Indonesia and Thailand who were enrolled in a Diploma of Business at a private commercial provider of TAFE. The findings reveal a habit of absenteeism in the majority of participants which preceded their entry to Australia. Indeed, this pattern was not infrequently the catalyst for parents to send the student abroad in the hope that it would develop self-reliance and ensure academic achievement. In reality, the move not only did little to change old habits, but actually exacerbated feelings of low self esteem which, coupled with the loneliness and difficulties with study in a foreign city, tended to turn participants more and more to socialising with compatriot groups, increasing their alienation from local society and study, even to the point of turning to substance abuse. The study concludes that, as with all students with social difficulties, help in developing the attitude and skills needed to engender self-esteem and self-reliance, as well as open and frequent communication between students, parents, support staff and significant peers, are essential if any improvement is to be made in the situation.
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    Students' attitudes concerning mathematics: a study of the opinions and views concerning mathematics and mathematics teaching held by students in the upper primary and lower secondary schools of New South Wales and Victoria
    Keeves, J. P. ( 1966)
    From an examination of the relevant courses of study in mathematics and the associated published writings hypotheses were proposed to examine the influence of an emphasis on an inquiry and discovery approach to the teaching of mathematics on the attitudes concerning mathematics of students in the upper primary and lower secondary schools of New South Wales and Victoria (each N = 1000). Emphasis on the use of inquiry methods at the lower secondary school level was found to be associated with students' views that mathematics teaching involved more inquiry and discovery, with students' opinions that mathematics was an open and creative process and with the students' greater interest in mathematics. At the upper primary school level a strong influence of curricular factors was not detected, however, the evidence suggested that the classroom teacher played an important part in the development of attitudes concerning mathematics. The data collected was examined for the influence of several non-curricular factors including the sex of the pupil, and the occupation and the place of residence of the students' father. The sex of the student and differences in the scientific nature and the socio-economic status of the father's occupation were found to be linked with some differences in the opinions expressed by the students concerning mathematics.
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    "They think it's girl's stuff": gender issues surrounding playing the violin at lower primary and lower secondary levels
    Kaleski, Catherine ( 1995)
    Recent research in Arts education has focussed on the influence that gender has in terms of boys' and girls' participation. This study, drawing from Post-structuralist feminist theories, looks specifically at students' beliefs about playing the violin, and the subsequent restrictions to participation, particularly by boys, that may be influenced by gendered attitudes. Students from lower primary and lower secondary levels were interviewed. The results confirmed previous research that identifies two significant areas: school subject hierarchy, and the labelling of the Arts as 'feminine'. Music, and specifically violin, held a very low position in the hierarchy of subjects. While this did not influence a student's involvement in lower primary years, students in lower secondary years favoured subjects that they felt had specific career relevance. Furthermore, playing the violin was identified by students from Year Three to Year Eight as being associated with the 'feminine'. This association directly confronted the gender identity of boys who chose to play the violin. However, a number of contradictory findings arose, where students' involvement in playing the violin, irrespective of their gender, was positively celebrated. Firstly, this seemed to occur where students showed clear talent at playing, supporting the idea that a 'genius culture' exists. Students were proud to receive recognition from peers, teachers and family for both the hard work, and perhaps natural talent that achieved satisfying musical results. Secondly, a student's popularity was inversely related.to the amount and nature of teasing they suffered for participation in a subject that was labelled 'feminine'. Students who were popular, received much less teasing.
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    Adopting portfolios: a tool for ongoing explicit collaborative reflective learning and teaching
    Johnson, Rachel Ann ( 2000)
    This thesis explores, analyses and evaluates the use of portfolios in improving learning through enhanced reflection and, in particular, improving students' responsibility for, and control of their learning through explicit discussion and reflection. The researcher has critically reviewed the research literature relevant to the area. Many conference papers, journal articles and books relating to portfolio assessment have been critically viewed and various issues noted. Whilst experiencing the process of reading, examining, reviewing and reflecting, the researcher's goal was to cultivate some of the issues and questions underpinning this research study. The research study involved a group of six middle primary students who had varying capabilities and knowledge of portfolios. A comprehensive case study was chosen primarily because of the indepth descriptive and qualitative methodological nature of the information needed from students, parents and the teacher. There was a need to understand and explain the meaning of social phenomena with as little disruption to the natural setting as possible. This study examines what portfolios are and how they can be used to link children and teachers with different ways of knowing and thinking. For students, the emphasis was on the potential learning power of them becoming more reflective; and for teachers the emphasis was on informing them of the effectiveness of the arrangements they are making to support student learning. The study employed observation, discussion and interviews to investigate student and teacher reflective practices as the students used portfolios over a duration of six months. In addition to this, parent observation and comments regarding the impact of portfolios on their children's ability to reflectively discuss their learning were obtained through the use of a structured questionnaire. Final analysis of the data provided understandings of the nature of the portfolio process by revealing a number of significant findings upon which effective teaching and learning was dependent. It demonstrated how measures to increase student self-reflection and assessment takes time and effort by all stakeholders. Of specific interest was the nature of the relationship between the stakeholders as revealed through discussion of the findings.
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    The implementation of a personal development curriculum program in a boys' secondary school
    Begg, Beverley J. ( 2000)
    his research project is investigating the implementation of a personal development curriculum program that has a cognitive-behavioural basis in a year 8 Pastoral/Personal Development (PPD) subject in a boys' secondary school. The Gatehouse Project curriculum program was used as a framework for the PPD program. This curriculum approach is designed to be integrated into other curriculum contexts. It is based on helping young people deal with difficult emotions by teaching them the key skill of reframing negative, unhelpful self-talk so that they can think, feel and act more optimistically. This project explores the factors that influence the effectiveness of the implementation of this personal development program in the masculine dominant culture of a boys' school through qualitative research methods: field observations, questionnaires and interviews. A commonly held perception of boys is that they are uncomfortable talking about feelings and consider any setting in which they do so to be 'sissy' and effeminate, and therefore not acceptable. The factors identified in this research are described under the themes of the boys' culture, the classroom climate, the teacher factor and the school culture. The macho culture in this boys-only setting influenced the ability of the boys to discuss feelings and sensitive issues in the classroom and the acceptance of the curriculum approach and curriculum context. These insights enable some recommendations to be made for the future development of the Pastoral/Personal Development program in the school and for the rewriting of the Gatehouse Project materials for use in a boys only setting.