Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Paulo Freire : conscientization. the road to freedom
    Sabto, Gina (1938-) ( 1978)
    Freire's chief concern with regard to the oppressed in Brazil involved a view of education as a tool for social and political change. Conscientization is the - method by which he aimed to achieve change. His programme however, should be seen, not as an isolated effort to liberate the oppressed; it should be viewed in the context of other programmes that emerged in Brazil at the time. These were mainly inspired by radical Catholic action groups and characterised by the need to achieve the process of self-realisation along populist lines, that is without interference and indoctrination. Freire's programme came after exploring the traditional methods of adult literacy and rejecting them as bankrupt. His method involved a problematisation of the themes of the life of the oppressed and a representation of that problematic to them for their identification and critical analysis. This was achieved by means of dialogue and in the course of group meetings where co-ordinators and students held equal. status. Concurrently with dialogue, ABC literacy took place; words arising out of discussions of themes formed the basic material for the ABC course. Much depends on the co-ordinator for the success of the method. Generally Freire's critics focus their attention on him as a potentially manipulative agent and as such, no better than the cruel masters from whom he is attempting to rescue the oppressed. Freire's principles governing his theory and method however, are so clearly enunciated, so tightly knit together, that an internal unity emerges from the programme as a. whole, which in itself, acts as a deterrent to abuse and distortion. Finally, two questions arise from the study of Freire's conscientization: one is whether revolutionary action would naturally follow from it; the other is whether Freire's adherence to absolute authenticity is emphasised to the detriment of an essential aspect of the task, which is the mobilisation of the oppressed into an effective task force to bring about revolutionary change, Both questions are closely linked together. It may be more realistic to view Freirets programme, not as a task achieving revolutionary action itself, but as an effective preparation for it and as such an honest and therefore necessary part of it,
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    The effect of evolutionary thought upon selected English and American philosophers who influenced educational thought, 1850-1916
    Phillips, D. C (1938-) ( 1963)
    This thesis has a twofold aim. First, I wish to show that the theory of evolution, especially in its Darwinian form, influenced the development of the philosophies of Herbert Spencer in England, and C.S.Peirce, William James and John Dewey in America. Secondly, I wish to examine critically those portions of these particular philosophies that have been of importance to education. It will be seen that one of these aims is essentially historical, while the other is philosophical. As these two aspects of the task are apt to become confused, they have been treated in separate chapters. The basic chapter is the first, for in it the connection between science and other disciplines is investigated. In some of the later chapters it will be shown that thinkers such as Spencer and Dewey pre-supposed that such connections exist. Chapter one is thus devoted to the discussion of key terms such as "scientific laws", "theory of evolution" and "mechanism", whilst Chapter two deals with Herbert Spencer and his place in the history of education, and Chapter three contains a critical examination of Spencer's ideas in the light of points raised in the first chapter. There is a similar arrangement in the chapters on the pragmatists. The period 1850 to 1916 was chosen for investigation because these two dates mark the years of publication of Herbert Spencer's "Social Statics" and John Dewey's "Democracy and Education" respectively. During the intervening years the theory of evolution had remarkable influence on many facets of intellectual life, and it would be surprising to find that education remained unaffected.
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    Factors relating to the school performance of ten year old and fourteen year old students from non English speaking backgrounds
    Hewitt, Roger D ( 1978)
    This study sought to examine factors relating to the school performance of students from non English speaking backgrounds residing in Australia. Groups of ten year old and fourteen year old migrant students were selected from students surveyed in the 'Australian Studies in School Performance' (A.C.E.R., 1975). These subsamples represented thirteen per cent of ten year old and ten per cent of fourteen year old Australian students, many of whom were found to encounter educational difficulties. Eight per cent of migrant students were identified as not understanding English sufficiently well to cope with normal classroom lessons and one third needed remedial assistance with reading or number work. Migrant students experiencing difficulties were not restricted to those born overseas, as the majority of the migrant subsamples were students born in Australia. Several factors appeared to relate to the lower level of performance of migrant students with the most important being an environmental press for the use of English. At 10 year of age this press for the use of English was predominantly centred in the home, where a number of factors appeared to contribute, such as the English language skills of the parents and the frequency of receiving an English newspaper in the home. At 14 years of age the press for the use of English appeared to shift toward the use of English by the peer group. Other influences in performance were the ethnic origin of the family and the birth!, ace of the student, whilst surprisingly the length of residence in Australia did not appear to influence performance. Not all migrant students however were disadvantaged. Students from Northern European backgrounds performed as well as, and sometimes better than Australian students, whilst on the other hand, students from Southern European backgrounds appeared more seriously disadvantaged. This highlights the problem of investigating the performance of the migrant group as a whole.
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    Matthew Arnold's perception of culture and the implications of that perception for his educational writing
    Palmer, Kathleen Imelda ( 1976)
    The first chapter centres around an analysis of the concept of culture and, in particular, three uses of the concept which recur consistently throughout Arnold's works: culture as a pursuit of our total perfection, as a means of social transformation, and as an inward operation. The question is raised: Why, according to Arnold, did men need to be transformed, and in what ways could culture effect this transformation? Chapter two is concerned with answering the first part of the question; chapter three the second. An exploration of the need for men to be transformed involves an analysis of Victorian society as Arnold perceived it. How, on the Arnoldian analysis, could culture transform society? Culture is concerned with the pursuit of perfection by man's coming to know 'the best which has been thought and said in the world'. Though it begins as an inward operation, it never rests there. The man who seeks perfection comes to see that 'totality' entails social commitment. Hence the importance of culture for Arnold's social theory. The agents of social transformation are thought to be, in particular, the 'aliens', those 'generous and humane souls' whose concern is the development not of their 'ordinary self' but of their 'best self'. These 'men of culture', acting through their 'collective best self', are seen as instruments of social transformation. The weaknesses of Arnold's social theory are now explored. What are the implications of Arnold's perception of culture for his educational theory? He never really sees the elementary schools as centres of 'culture'. They are, at best, centres of 'light' and 'civilization'. This attitude reflects not only Arnold's realism, but also his unconscious acceptance of a middle class view which sees culture, specifically, as 'literary culture'. It is in his approach to the question of middle class education that the close link between Arnold's social theory and his educational theory can best be seen. The transformation of the middle class through culture is a pre-condition of the transformation of society. And it is through education that 'general liberal culture' is to be fostered. Thus, Arnold's commitment to middle class education is not only compatible with his commitment to culture, but also an important aspect of that commitment.
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    Education in a general sense
    Northrop, Joan Moore ( 1976)
    R. S. Peters, in his article, The Justification of Education, refers to a specific sense and a general sense of education. Peters elaborates, and justifies, education in the specific sense. In this thesis, I examine the general sense of education, which is that referred to when people, generally, believe it is true that education is needed. I assume, also, that it. is true that education involves learning. By examining what it means to say that something is needed, I determine that statements of need embody judgements as to what is necessary for the achievement of an objective. Before people can make veridical judgements of need, then, they need knowledge both of the authorizing criteria of the objective to be achieved, and of the law-like statements which express the relationships between the criteria and significant factors in their realization. They must be able to determine which of these significant factors is relevant to the person or object judged to need them - they must, in fact, be able to reason. All these things must be learned, or developed, as part of education. I see this as education in the specific sense. The basis for my explication of the "general sense" of education is that there is general agreement that education is needed. Since statements of need have been shown to embody judgements as to what is necessary for the achievement of an objective, agreement that education is needed is most likely to exist when there is agreement as to the objective which is to be achieved as a consequence of education. I suggest, as a common objective to be achieved by education, that people generally should satisfy the criteria for inclusion in the social group. Education in the general sense, then, includes all that should be learned that this objective might be achieved. Although I indicate, in the Appendix, how a traditional account of value would support the thesis that education in this sense has value, I deny that the judgement education is needed entails that either the objective, or the means of achieving it, has value. Overall, I see education in the general sense as including education in the specific sense, and I ask if the two concepts of education, the specific and the general, should share the name "education".
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    The origins and early history of the State secondary school teachers in Victoria, 1872-1926
    Reid, G. A ( 1968)
    In tracing the history of state secondary school teachers in Victoria from their origins in the primary teaching service until 1926, this study covers the areas relevant to teacher status - viz., teacher training, conditions and associations - and an attempt has been made to evaluate the progress made towards professional status. The Diploma of education course, initially a two-year University course aimed to train teachers of academic subjects, was instrumental in raising the academic and pedagogical qualifications of secondary teachers. It was, however, inadequate in that it did not train teachers in sufficient numbers, and it was always starved of finance and essential resources. The Diploma was supplemented by the post- Intermediate Trained Teacher's Certificate courses in manual and Domestic Arts and Commercial subjects. Because the education Department played a significant role in both systems of training and the teachers had no control of training standards, the progress that was made was achieved without reference to the teachers, and was offset by the increasing numbers of temporary teachers employed in the secondary schools. No significant progress was made by secondary teachers in determining their professional conditions. These were almost entirely decided by the centralized administration which widened and tightened its influence. Professional freedom in areas such as curricula was further limited by the uniformity imposed by the public examination system. State secondary teachers were willing conformists to these pressures restricting their professional activity, and directed most of their energy towards regularizing their position within the public service. Even in this sphere, they achieved little: their salaries were relatively poorer in 1926 than they had been in 1912, it took thirteen years to gain a Classification Board, and they rarely succeeded in gaining concessions even on minor matters. Hence state secondary teachers were enthusiastic supporters of the movement towards the uniting of all teachers within the one Union which culminated in 1926. By 1926, then, the greatest gain that state secondary teachers had made was in their training and qualifications. For the rest, their steps towards professional status were faltering and often retrograde.
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    Statistics of public expenditure on education in Australia : requirements for the formation of national policy
    Segall, Patsy (1942-) ( 1976)
    In Australia's federal system the provision of educational services is the responsibility of the state governments. However, the federal government has also acquired responsibilities for. education. Since the second world war, the state governments have been dependent on the federal government for a large proportion of the funds needed to discharge their responsibilities. More directly, the federal government has greatly extended the scope of its activities in education, mainly through the use of specific. purpose grants to the states. By 1970 these grants affected all levels of education in the states. To be effective, national 'educational policies should take account of differences between the states as well as of 'national needs. Necessary information includes national statistics which are compiled on the same basis for each of . the states. The coverage and quality of national educational statistics has improved considerably, but there are still deficiencies. In particular, the statistics of public expenditure on education do not provide an adequate account of the states individually, or of national trends. Unpublished records of the Australian Bureau of Statistics provide the basis for a set of figures of public expenditure on education which are both more comprehensive and more detailed than those published. Analysis of these figures for the period 1963-64 to 1973-74 shows large differences in the patterns of educational expenditure in each of the states. Nationally there have been considerable changes in the composition of total public outlay on education, the rapid growth of the tertiary sector outside universities being particularly noteworthy. Official statistics of this kind are needed to make possible an effective assessment of the priorities and directions of Australian education.
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    Church and state relations as they affected the Lutheran Church and its schools in South Australia, 1838-1900
    Zweck, John E ( 1971)
    Basically there were three stages in the development of the Lutheran attitude to, and relationship with, the State in nineteenth century South Australia. Education was the main issue involved. 1. Fear of State Interference, 1838-c.1865 The first Lutherans migrated to South Australia after suffering religious persecution at the hands of the Prussian State. They immediately established denominational schools, the first in the colony, and thereby gave effect to two principles of continuing importance for the Lutheran Synods. According to these education was primarily a parental responsibility and schools were nurseries of the Church. The Synods declined State aid for churches and schools between 1846 and 1852. 2. Desire for Cooperation, c.1865-c.1890 Although aid to denominational schools was abolished in 1852, various congregations in two of the three Synods accepted government grants for their schools between c.1865 and 1875. Independent Lutherans, who had no synodical connections, did likewise. To qualify for assistance these schools gave denominational instruction outside normal hours. In 1871 and 1873 synodical Lutherans campaigned for the retention of such an arrangement. However, the 1875 Act introduced a 'secular' solution. Consequently, independent Lutheran schools were ceded to the State and synodical schools had to compete with a much-improved State system. Synodical leaders continued to press for aid to Lutheran schools,. particularly between 1878 and 1884 when attention was focussed on the inspection of private schools, capitation grants and free education. 3. Independence, c.1890 After firmly opposing free education in 1890-1, the Synods adopted a policy of complete independence from the State in education. While the Lutherans had little influence on legislation concerning education, both they and their schools were strongly affected by the various Acts. Before 1875 the grant system led to some bitter controversies. The 1875 Act induced the Synods to introduce teacher training schemes. After 1878 fear of State inspection prompted increased concern about the efficiency of Lutheran schools., The introduction of free education in 1892 adversely affected Lutheran enrolments. It also led to significant curriculum improvements. However, the basic weakness of Lutheran schools, their lack of cohesion, persisted despite attempts at reform.