Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 2177
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Elite Sports Coaching and Feedback: The use of communication and metacognitive strategies in sport
    Jackson, Brendan Craig ( 2020)
    The similarities in skills of coaches and teachers have been of particular interest to researchers for half a century. Within coaching research, the emphasis has been on coach observation studies, whereas in education research the evaluation of the effectiveness of interventions on student outcomes has been the focus. Furthermore, most coaching literature explores coaches at the sub-elite level. Crucially, to develop coaching practice, more information is needed regarding the impacts feedback, pedagogical techniques and instructional interventions employed by coaches have on athlete outcomes in the elite sporting environment. A mixed-methods approach was used in this thesis to explore the impact of coaches’ actions and behaviours on elite teams. In Part A, communication between the senior coach, three assistant coaches and 45 players from the VFLW competition were explored across a six-week period; during meetings, training sessions and competition. Feedback was predominantly descriptive in nature, with the exception of in-competition settings, where prescriptive feedback was predominant. Coaches and players asked minimal questions of one another regardless of the format of the interactions. In Part B, nine VFLW players were interviewed about their feedback preferences. Players preferred individual, specific and prescriptive feedback. Players acknowledged the benefits of video review feedback yet suggested playing an active role in the review process would improve learning. In Part C, a metacognitive strategy (Think Aloud) was introduced into the player review process for 14 AFLW players. This occurred across an entire pre-season and season of the AFLW competition to assess the impact it had on the understanding and performance of a tactical concept. The results showed an effect size of 0.68 for the introduction of a metacognitive strategy on athlete understanding and performance outcomes, compared to 0.37 for no metacognitive strategy. Major conclusions relate to coach feedback not always reflecting player preferences for how feedback is communicated, with feedback tending to be descriptive in nature. Players and coaches evaluate understanding and performance differently, however the implementation of metacognitive strategies into coaching practice led to a higher impact on athlete learning and was similar to the effects reported in prior educational research with students. Further exploration of the overlap of effective teaching pedagogies and their applicability to sports coaching practice would be useful.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Relationships between innovative learning environments, teacher mind frames and deep learning
    Murphy, Daniel James ( 2020)
    The opening decades of the 21st century have seen a shift in school architecture in favour of open and flexible learning spaces. Driving this trend has been the view, held widely among education providers and policy makers, that learning spaces with these features, commonly labelled ‘innovative,’ are conducive to the development of so called 21st century learning skills, including collaboration, creativity and deep learning. This study tests whether the adoption of deep learning is greater among students taught in innovative learning spaces. It also investigates how teaching moderates the relationship between learning environment design and deep learning. This is done via the concept of teacher mind frames, identified by Hattie as ways of thinking about and approaching teaching that are more likely to have major positive impact on student learning. A theoretical and evidentiary basis is advanced for a hypothesised model of intervariable relationships that predicts greater levels of deep learning among students taught in innovative learning spaces by teachers who report greater holding of the mind frames. Students in 23 Australian and New Zealand secondary schools comprising predominantly traditional or innovative learning spaces, completed a questionnaire measuring the degree to which they adopt surface and deep learning approaches. Teachers completed a survey gauging the degree to which they hold the mind frames. Both measurement instruments were validated as part of this PhD. Reporting of a deep approach to learning was significantly higher among students taught in innovative learning environments. Holding of the teacher mind frames varied significantly by learning space type, with levels of seven of eight mind frames greater among teachers in innovative space-predominant schools. Hierarchical linear modelling of an interaction effect between innovative space and holding of the mind frames on deep learning did not identify a significant relationship. The results lend support to the policies of education authorities that endorse an innovative learning space-21st century skills link. Non-identification of a relationship between holding of teacher mind frames and greater deep learning, despite both being greater within innovative learning spaces, is noteworthy. This result is discussed as a possible artefact of the research design. A model for further investigation of these relationships is proposed. This incorporates a broader array of environmental variables and more targeted investigation of the possible moderating effect of teaching through a focus on the mind frames that exhibited the greatest variation by learning space type, the use of dialogue and differentiation of instruction.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Languages and Learning amongst Orang Asli Students in Malaysia
    Angit, Suria Selasih ( 2020)
    This thesis reports a research project conducted with and for the Orang Asli (OA) of Malaysia by an OA researcher. The OA (literally means original people) are the Indigenous peoples of Peninsular Malaysia. Among many other struggles faced by the OA of Malaysia, two educational issues that have constantly been highlighted in the literature are the high dropout rates and the low educational attainment amongst OA students. Across the subjects, English language is one of the weakest areas of learning for the students despite the language being a key requirement to maximize employability in the local and global workforce. This highlights the complex multilingual challenge that many OA students are facing in order to succeed in their formal education and subsequently navigate the globalised workforce. This study aimed to understand the English language learning of OA students in Malaysia by looking into the complex interplay of the main languages (OA languages, Malay and English) that coexist in the language ecology of OA students in Malaysia. It also aimed to explore the attitudes of OA students and parents towards these languages and their formal language learning in school. In addition, beliefs of teachers of OA students were also explored for a comprehensive picture of the subject. This mixed-methods study has been framed within a transformative framework that is embedded with elements of Indigenous methodologies. To ensure a comprehensive understanding of the subject under investigation, voices of OA students, OA parents and their teachers were foregrounded using multiple data collection strategies such as survey, interview, classroom observation, photovoice and an Indigenous method called sharing circle. To analyse and interpret the data, the works of various notable scholars such as the affordance theory (Gibson, 1979; Aronin & Singleton, 2012), the Dominant Language Constellation theory (Aronin, 2014) as well as the notions of symbolic power (Bourdieu, 1991) have been used to frame the discussion of findings. Several significant findings resulted from the data analysis. First, new insights into the complex linguistic repertoires of OA students, highlighting limitations around fixed notions of local, national and international languages have been found in this study. Secondly, the participating OA students and their parents demonstrated mixed attitudes towards the languages in their language ecology reflecting issues of both OA identity and global aspirations. Thirdly, in terms of the use of OA students’ linguistic and cultural knowledge, it was found that only the linguistic knowledge is used to support their language learning in the classrooms while their cultural knowledge receives no major emphasis in their formal learning. It was also found that teachers hold mixed beliefs about their OA students, and many of these teachers view their OA students through a deficit lens. Finally, findings of this study also highlight the emergence of a group of high achieving OA students, which should be further explored in future research. This research proposes innovative ways of conceptualising OA students that will inform current and future policy development for the OA in Malaysia.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The Right to Education Act (2009) and school enactments of inclusion in India
    Mattoo, Ajita ( 2020)
    This thesis is concerned with the landmark right to education legislation, which was included as a fundamental right in the Indian constitution, in 2002, and enacted as law as the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act, 2009). This Act makes free and compulsory elementary education of children between 6 and 14 years of age a fundamental constitutional right. It also details conditions for provision of education, specifying minimum standards of school infrastructure, teacher qualifications, teaching norms, assessment, and curriculum. Importantly, it includes a provision for the reservation of entry-level seats for children from underprivileged backgrounds in private schools, to create more inclusive school communities. At a time when policy focus is on learning outcomes and the issue of quality of education, this research instead draws attention to the objectives of inclusion and social justice implied by the constitutional mandate for the right to education and is concerned with the ways in which schools have responded to and enacted this provision for inclusion in classrooms. Using theoretical resources drawn from recent literature on policy enactment approaches, this thesis focuses on the materializing practices that enact the right to education in two school settings in India. School leaders’ and teachers’ readings of policy discourses, and teachers’ negotiations of multiple ideas and policy objects encountered in the post-RTE classroom settings, are explored. Concepts from new materialism are used to analyse interview and ethnographic observation data by mapping the meanings, discourses and affects assembled in practices of schooling. The role of affect in learning, and the ways in which it produces new capacities to teach, and learn, in school settings are explored. Pedagogies that include and exclude become visible at the confluence of policy discourses, practices of educational reform and institutional histories. The potential of ethical pedagogies of affect to enact inclusion in the context of the right to education in India is shown.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Principles, practices and priorities of teaching reading in the early years of schooling
    Gawne, Linda ( 2020)
    The teaching of literacy (particularly reading) in the early years of schooling remains an ongoing area of interest and evokes media attention (Adoniou, 2017; Hall, 2010; Torgerson, Brooks, Gascoine & Higgins, 2019). This is particularly the case in Victoria since a retreat there from systematically supported (even mandated) practices associated with the Early Years Literacy Research Project (EYLRP) of the 1990s and early 2000s. This PhD thesis reports on a qualitative case study (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2018; Miles, Huberman & Saldana, 2014; Schwandt & Gates, 2018) that investigates how contemporary primary teachers make pedagogic decisions that inform their planning and teaching of early reading. Through data collected via an online questionnaire, lesson observation, document and artefact analysis, and teacher interviews, the underpinning principles, practices and priorities of 16 Foundation to Year Two teachers of early reading were examined. Dewey’s model of reflective thought (1933) provided the framework to analyse the nexus between these principles, practices and priorities and determine how each element influenced and contributed to pedagogic decision-making about the teaching of reading. Findings from this study revealed the influence of reflective thought on teacher practice, regardless of what principles and priorities teachers tacitly or consciously endorsed. This outcome has future implications for system-wide and school-based leadership and teacher professional development and support.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Social emotional learning (SEL) in practice in early childhood: translating and applying the COPE-resilience program in Taiwan
    Wu, Marissa Yi-Hsuan ( 2020)
    Social emotional learning (SEL) has become a significant priority to policy makers and education providers around the globe. It refers to essential skills needed for individuals to function well in the 21st century, and directly impacts how well individuals adapt to change, handle interpersonal issues, and cope with challenges in life (OECD, 2018). A recent development in educational focus has placed a strong emphasis on SEL during the preschool years in Taiwan; however, there is a shortage of SEL training and resources available to support teachers in this endeavour. Preschool teachers in Taiwan are struggling to find effective strategies to teach social and emotional skills in intentional and evidence-based ways. Nonetheless, to date, limited research has been carried out in Taiwan to explore the effect of preschool SEL programs on both teachers and children. This doctoral thesis investigates the processes and considerations for translating a specific evidence-based SEL program, such as the six-week COPE-Resilience program in preschool settings in Taiwan to increase children's social and emotional competencies (SEC) and teachers’ SEL practices. A multiphase mixed methods approach is used in determining the practicability, translatability, effectiveness, sustainability, perception and understanding of the COPE-Resilience program and SEL practices in Taiwan. Findings across four sequential study phases provided preliminary support for the use of the Chinese COPE-Resilience program in preschools and kindergartens in Taiwan. The program demonstrated its cross-cultural utility by positively increasing children's SEC (i.e., emotional knowledge, empathetic responses, empathy and inhibitory control) in six weeks, sustained its effect for six months, buffered negative behaviour, increased school readiness and successfully prompted teachers to reflect on their own SEL practices. Teachers reported an increase in their levels of self-efficacy and change in their overall teaching techniques, including a greater focus on children's emotions and intentional preventive teaching of SEL skills. These results indicate that teachers' understanding of SEL and their own SEC could be enhanced through short workshops and training in the implementation of child-focused SEL programs.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The Happiness Externality: Exploring the Social Role and Responsibilities of Business
    Chia, Austin ( 2020)
    Happiness refers to the way people feel and function in their lives and is something that is highly valued by most nations and their citizenry. Over the past two decades, happiness has been a topical area of interest in policy circles around the world. Today, various intergovernmental agencies and over 40 countries around the world are routinely collecting and publishing data on the subjective wellbeing of citizens. However, while much attention has been given to the role of governments in preserving and enhancing societal happiness, there has been minimal focus on the role and contributions of business in societal happiness. Businesses, in their various forms, are inseparable features of modern societies, and their activities bear far reaching consequences on all aspects of social life, including the subjective experiences of societal constituents. Given the systemic social connectedness of business in society and the importance of happiness to governments and their people, this dissertation draws on positive psychology and corporate social responsibility (CSR) concepts to frame happiness as an externality of business and examines the social roles and responsibilities of businesses for societal happiness. In the absence of specific theories and frameworks in the extant literature, my research first proposes a new humanist and normative concept termed ‘CSR for Happiness’, which contends that businesses have a social responsibility to respect, preserve, and advance people’s right to, and experience of, happiness. As a new concept, subsequent empirical work was undertaken and interpreted through the lens of social contracts, to clarify the conceptual boundary conditions of CSR for Happiness. The empirical contributions of this dissertation comprise two studies that examined lay perspectives regarding CSR for Happiness using a single large survey dataset. Study 1 was a quantitative study that analysed Likert-style responses of 1,319 participants. Study 2 was a mixed-method study that analysed open-text responses from over 1,000 participants. In undertaking Study 2, a novel mixed method was developed that used a combination of natural language processing and thematic analysis techniques to process and analyse large volumes of textual survey data, thus also contributing a method to the extant literature. Collectively, both studies found that the study participants were supportive of the notion that businesses hold some degree of social responsibility for happiness. Findings from exploratory analyses in Study 1 indicates that there is stronger support among less privileged respondents in the public and that the perceived degree of social responsibility for happiness tends to be greater for high-proximity stakeholders such as customers and employees, compared to low-proximity stakeholders such as suppliers. Study 1 also found that business activities that enhance happiness of societal constituents corresponds with stakeholder behavioural intentions that may enhance business performance outcomes. In Study 2, analysis of the textual data revealed that lay construals of happiness were defined in terms of socioeconomic conditions and psychoemotional experiences. Further, although the public believed that businesses have some social responsibilities for happiness, their expectations were tempered by a number of caveats: (1) responsibility not to harm happiness, (2) responsibility to enable happiness, (3) responsibility to exercise awareness of happiness in decision making, (4) responsibility for happiness is greatest for stakeholder that are spatially near, and (5) responsibility to act within scope of their purpose and capability. Interpreted through a contractarian lens of CSR, Study 2 clarifies the conceptual boundaries of CSR for Happiness by identifying the perceived nature and extent of businesses’ social responsibilities for societal happiness.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Assessment of mathematical problem solving: addition and subtraction in arithmetic word problem solving
    Azim, Farhan ( 2020)
    Researchers consider mathematical problem solving (MPS) to be a vehicle for teaching and reinforcing mathematical knowledge, solving real life problems, and helping to meet everyday challenges. Like many other countries in the world, Bangladesh has given great importance to MPS in its primary curriculum. The country has achieved well in quantitative parameters of primary education (e.g., net enrolment rate, completion rate, etc.) but there are concerns about the quality of learning. This is particularly the case for primary mathematics, as exhibited in different examinations. One of the issues with mathematics teaching and learning is the lack of formative assessment materials that teachers can utilise to diagnose students’ learning deficiencies and use as a basis for designing appropriate remedial teaching. Furthermore, there is a paucity of research on mathematics assessment at the primary level in Bangladesh that has addressed the issues related to quality of learning. It is the aim of this research to develop and validate assessment materials using the latest developments in psychometrics that can (a) be used for this purpose, and (b) serve as a model for further relevant work. Arithmetic word problem solving (AWPS) is an area within MPS that is often used to help children learn how to apply the formal mathematical knowledge and skills they acquire at school in real-life situations. Although AWPS plays an important role in understanding mathematics, it is an area where students experience great difficulty. It is a complex activity that requires a series of cognitive processes, but current assessment of AWPS in Bangladesh relies exclusively on giving a single score based on the solution being correct or incorrect. There is limited opportunity for understanding students’ difficulties in the component cognitive processes. In the global context, empirical studies exploring the cognitive processes involved in solving arithmetic word problems are scarce. In the Bangladeshi education context, no studies were found that focused on AWPS. This research endeavoured to develop assessment materials that will enable teachers to identify specific difficulties students face while solving AWPS. The research objectives were to (a) develop a theoretical framework for arithmetic word problem solving using an iterative process (as discussed by Wilson, 2005) by (b) constructing tasks aligned with the framework, (c) trying them out in both small- and large-scale studies, (d) investigating the results using qualitative and quantitative methods, and (e) evaluating the success of the process by investigating the validity and reliability of the results. Only addition and subtraction operations for AWPS were considered to limit the scope of the study. Based on review of existing literature, a framework for assessing AWPS was developed. This framework theorises five cognitive elements/strands of AWPS: comprehension of the problem, mapping conceptual relations to a numerical representation, selecting an appropriate strategy for solution, performing the calculations, and verifying the solution and communicating the results. The validity and reliability of the framework were investigated by developing and administering a test (with items representing the different processes). The test was administered in two phases in Bangladesh: a pilot study with 62 students (from one school) and a final study with 808 students (from nine schools). Grade 4 and grade 5 students were selected through convenience sampling for both iterations of data collection. Four different types of validity evidence (based on test content, response processes, internal structure, and relations with other variables) were collected and analysed. In addition to using test design and specification, an expert opinionnaire was used to collect validity evidence based on test content. Analysis of this data showed that overall, the experts’ association of strands with items agreed with what was hypothesised, that is, they nominated items for strands they were hypothesised to be representing in this research. Cognitive interviews were conducted with 20 respondents from three schools to collect validity evidence based on the response processes. Data from these cognitive interviews were analysed using a qualitative method called ‘reduction and synthesis’ (Miller et al., 2014) and showed that the items were mostly working as intended. An Item Response Theory (IRT) approach was adopted to evaluate the internal structure of the test. A dichotomous Rasch analysis was used. The analysis showed that the item difficulties were appropriately distributed, and that the item fit statistics suggested that almost all the items were within a reasonable range (weighted MNSQ 0.88 to 1.14) and did not show any extreme over-fit or under-fit. The fit t statistics for the items also indicated a good fit. Overall, the data showed good adherence to the Rasch model and can be considered to be demonstrating reasonably good evidence of validity in terms of internal structure of the test. Two types of data were collected with the aim of establishing validity arguments based on the AWPS test’s relation with other variables: (a) scores from six textbook items included in the test that was administered and (b) students’ test scores for Bangla and Mathematics from their schools. These scores were positively correlated with students’ performance on the test conducted in this study, and hence showed good evidence of validity in relation to other variables. Test reliability was calculated using both IRT and CTT measures. The WLE person separation reliability was 0.81 and the EAP/PV reliability was 0.82. The Cronbach’s Alpha value was 0.82. The findings of this study can inform the inclusion of appropriate assessment techniques in the primary mathematics curriculum in Bangladesh, and the development of professional development materials for teachers using the assessments. Teachers of mathematics could utilise the framework to design their own tests that would help them to diagnose students’ learning deficiencies and design appropriate remedial teaching. In addition, future research can replicate this study in different settings to refine the AWPS framework and use it in different contexts. Furthermore, the methodology used in this study could be used in future research to develop assessment materials for other areas of mathematics including other areas of problem solving (e.g., arithmetic word problem solving where other operations like multiplication or division are used).
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Literacy assessment in the early years: teachers at work in a changing policy paradigm
    Tassone, Martina Mairee ( 2020)
    This thesis reports on a mixed-methods, two-phase study, which focused on the literacy assessment practices of early years teachers and literacy leaders in Catholic schools in the Melbourne archdiocese in a period following the devolution of assessment responsibility to schools. Phase 1 of the data collection resulted in 76 literacy leaders’ responses to a questionnaire on literacy assessment practices in their schools. In Phase 2, semistructured interviews with 23 early years teachers and seven literacy leaders were conducted to investigate their literacy assessment beliefs and practices. Importantly, the thesis reports on the participants’ interrogation, innovation on, resistance to, or acceptance of both previously mandated and current options around literacy assessment priorities and practices. Additionally, the thesis explores assessment in the early years within the contemporary high-stakes assessment environment which is characterised by heightened levels of teacher accountability. Bernstein’s (1990, 1996, 2000) pedagogic device is used as a theoretical framework to examine the complexities and tensions of policy enactments at the school and classroom level. Findings from this study illustrate that early years teachers’ literacy assessment work is complex due to working in a “boundary zone” of tension and compromise where, on one hand, they are encouraged to engage in age-appropriate, child-centred early years pedagogies yet, on the other, are mandated to assess and report against system-wide primary curriculum standards.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The impact of testing on students: Australian students' perspectives on NAPLAN and internal assessments
    Dowley, Mark William ( 2019)
    National and state testing policies have become an increasingly common feature of the policy landscape in education, both in developed and developing countries. Testing policies can generate a range of emotional responses among students, including high levels of stress. Alternatively, students’ emotional responses may not be discretely associated with large-scale standardised tests, but instead generalise to any testing situation. This study aimed to compare student responses and perceptions of assessment in both NAPLAN and internal tests. This study used an anonymous survey to gather data from 206 Year 7 and Year 9 Australian students on their perceptions of the importance their parents and teachers placed on doing well in tests, and their own self-reported responses to both NAPLAN and their internal tests. We found that the students in this study placed more value on internal tests than NAPLAN and students were also more likely to be confident in internal tests and bored for NAPLAN. A small percentage of students reported negative physical responses, such as crying or feeling sick to both types of tests, however, there were no significant differences between NAPLAN and internal tests in the number of students reporting negative physical responses. Furthermore, individuals who placed a high value on a given assessment and have greater emotional stability were more likely to experience positive responses to assessment. The findings suggest that NAPLAN does not cause significant negative responses in the majority of students. Implications for schools and policymakers are discussed.