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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    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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    Christian socialism and education: an analysis of Christian socialist thought with particular reference to education as represented in their journals Politics for the people, The Christian socialist and The Journal of association, 1848-1852
    Brick, John Michael (1947-) ( 1977)
    This thesis examines the theological, social and economic theories of Christian Socialism as expressed in the journals Politics for the People, The Christian Socialist, and The Journal of Association. Particular attention is paid to the type of education for which these theories formed the basis. To set the more detailed study in perspective, the thesis suggests some reasons for the appearance of Christian Socialism in mid nineteenth century England, and gives a brief history of the personalities and programmes in the movement. In his theology of hope, Frederick Denison Maurice, the acknowledged leader of the Christian Socialists, produced an idea which was fundamentally optimistic: the existence of a loving caring God gave man the courage to believe that he was not condemned to a mean and meaningless existence. The relationship of all men to God the Father was the basis of their views on economic reorganization which can only be described as socialist in a very loose sense of that word. The Christian Socialists brought to the questions of economic misery, crime and education a specific theological perspective. The idea that the actions of an individual may be attributable in part to his upbringing, his identification with a social class and its expectations, and the lack of hope which characterized so many of the English 'working-class of the time was not new to radicals such as Robert Owen but it was not an accepted attitude of the establishment whether legal or clerical. Nor was Maurice's theology generally accepted, even in the Church of England, of which he was a prominent member. The Christian Socialists advocated political and social reform. For enduring and basic improvement however, they looked to the improvement of the individual citizen through the development of his inherent physical, intellectual and spiritual qualities. Such an education they believed would create a society based on the principles of mutual respect and love, and as a consequence of that change, the contemporary society based upon destructive competition would be replaced by one based on constructive cooperative production. Their expectations of education, however praiseworthy, were largely unrealistic.
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    An evaluation of aspects of the proposition by Professor G.H. Bantock that "ultimately education both formal and informal is concerned with cultural transmission"
    Blackler, Stuart Edward ( 1976)
    This thesis explores both the meaning and the application of. Bantock's assertion. Firstly, the notion of 'culture' is examined. I3antock identifies two common interpretations of the word: the anthropological and the Arnoldian 'pursuit of excellence.' He claims that his understanding is somewhere between the two. However, an analysis of his works shows that his thinking for education is far more identifiable with the Arnoldian idea of culture as what people should do, than it is with the anthropological notion that culture is what the people do. The meaning of I3antock's assertion about education's 'ultimate concern' is then examined with respect to his recommendations on curriculum. Bantock usefully distinguishes between 'cognitive' and 'affective' learning. Yet this distinction is not as sharp as one might expect: the criterion of the rational - or cognitive - as the arbiter limits his recommendations affecting curricula. If education is to be transmitted, this entails a discussion of how the transmission is to take place. �3sntack rejects 'discovery methods' as a mesas to transmit cultural values. The validity of his rejection is disputed both on the grounds of his failure to perceive the structure underlying discovery methods and the motivation of these methods. Transmission has to be undertaken by someone: thus, the role of school and not - school is examined, and the role of the teacher is explored. The former is affected by the whole area of the responsibility of the educator to his society; the latter is complicated by the fact, not explored by Bantock in any depth, that the teacher himself is necessarily involved in the wider community. lf cultural transmission is to be seen as the ultimate concern of education, then other claimants need to be described and assessed. The thesis examines the claims of self-realization, social improvement and social .usefulness, and proceeds to examine what claim cultural transmission knight have against other claims. The thesis examines the contribution which cultural transmission has over and against other claimants: its complementary nature, its sense of continuity with the past and for the future, and its dynamic spirit are explored. Finally, the thesis seeks to assess the contribution of G. H. Bantock to educational thinking. Negatively. there is a criticism of his failure to recognise the pluralistic nature of modern society, and his tendency to over-simplify the attitudes of those with whom he disagrees. But, positively, he does draw attention to the need for educational discourse to identify aims, his open-ness to a changing society, and his identification that the decisions affecting education are less and less in the hands of educators.
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    The educational ideas of Walter Lippmann
    Barns, Ian James ( 1973)
    Walter Lippmann was primarily not an educationalist but a political commentator and a writer of books on questions of political philosophy raised by the processes of American and international politics. His thought on education emerged from his deliberations and must be seen in their context. His writing career of over fifty years may be seen in terms of an evolving response to what he called "the acids of modernity". By this he meant the dissolution of the old traditional order, the rejection of the ideas of social and political hierarchy, the sacred authority of institutions, and out of this the development of more democratic, secular and human institutions and relationships. Prior to World War I he enthusiastically endorsed this process, but the experience of the War deeply affected his assumptions about the nature of man and ease with which society could be reshaped for the better. At first he attributed the malaise he saw to the inability of the people to gain access to the facts necessary for effective government. He moved on from this, in A Preface to Morals, to examine the basis for a morality which would enable the orderly functioning of a democratic society. During the 1930s he was mainly concerned with the economic issues of the New Deal, but in The Good Society he articulated what he saw to be the foundation stone of a democratic order - the rule of law based upon an appreciation of the essential dignity and inviolability of man. It seems clear from his writings that the fundamental issues which he raised were ontological in nature. However, because Lippmann was primarily concerned with sustaining the conditions of civility and freedom without returning to the belief systems which inspired them, he did not face the issue squarely. He developed a "civic theology" in The Public Philosophy having the show of truth necessary to sustain a political order rather than answers to the questions of the nature of truth and reality. The same evolution from optimistic progressivism to apprehensive conservatism is evident in Lippmann' s educational thought. Initially he argued that there were no fixed bodies of knowledge which should be passed on. Instead the curriculum should be shaped by the child's own needs and interests. But as he became pessimistic concerning the essential goodness of man and saw that the traditions of freedom and civility were being threatened, he trenchantly criticised the progressive movement for its failure to pass on the essential western culture through the assumptions, ideas, values and methods of the academic disciplines. Lippmann' s chief contribution was that he raised the central issues, but the value of his answers was weakened by his failure to face squarely the questions of the nature of reality and truth and how a free society could be based on that truth.