Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    The dawn of the thousand year reich : the ascendancy of didactic and neo-classical architecture during the Third Reich
    Kapaufs, Norman R. R ( 1978)
    In the past, Nazi architecture has been a much maligned subject which most commentators, historians and writers have carefully neglected. This legacy has left a deplorable lack of information, especially in the English language. This laudable position becomes more absurd for the copious amount of books, art journals, articles that flourished under the Third Reich are today virtually non-existent. Often when cited, the architecture is used in a hysterical fashion, usually in association with some alleged atrocity, thus pushing even further into the background the original concepts for the architecture's being. Had it not been for recent publications and research, carried out in West Germany, this thesis would have not been possible.
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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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    Geelong High School 1909-16 : a study of local response
    White, David Llewellyn ( 1978)
    The years 1909-16 saw the expansion of public secondary education within Victoria. It represents the working out of certain aims and policies for secondary schools between a centralised Education Department in Melbourne and the local communities that were financially involved in the provision of these facilities. This thesis will attempt to identify the forces shaping the development of Geelong High School. It will outline the aims and values of this community and evaluate the significance of their perception of what secondary education should be about. The study will look at the role of the Education Department - its director, its administrative philosophy and the attitude of the State Government towards the expansion of secondary education. The study will examine the interplay of these factors with the significant contribution of the school's educational leadership and philosophy. The main argument of the thesis is that the success of Geelong High School was to a large extent due to its support from a middle class. They saw in the school opportunities for their children resulting from an education that was financially beyond them at the prestigious fee-paying public schools. In responding to these needs the school would survive in spite of almost overwhelming odds in its early years. A comparative study with Colac Agricultural High School will be made to clarify the point that it was community support, and not legislation and regulations from the Department, that was to be the main reason for the success of Geelong High School.
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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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    School in the middle years : four Melbourne independent boys middle schools
    Miles, Gregory McLennan ( 1978)
    This study revolves around the proposition that there is sound reason for the formation of an identifiable new stage for the schooling of children in the middle-years. Firstly, on the grounds that the transfer from primary to secondary school creates unnecessarily dramatic changes. Such changes not only involve adjustments to different teaching styles, different objectives and different organization patterns, but also to new people and strange surroundings. They also involve a choice of secondary school which, in spite of comprehensive trends, still narrows vocational opportunities. The provision of middle schools would enable the delaying of such choices with two less significant transfers. Secondly, on the ground that the grouping of children in the 10-13 age range would promote a closer examination of their special development needs, it would, encourage, if not force teachers to think outside traditional structures about the combination of the best in primary and secondary approaches, about the characteristic needs and important teaching principles, and about subject priorities and organizational patterns most appropriate to this stage. The following questions therefore provide the basis for the compilation of the material that follows. 1. (a) How are primary and secondary schools different? (b) What primary and secondary ideals and methods may be combined to best cater for the middle-years group? 2. (a) What are the special characteristics of the middle-years group? (b) What may the principle objectives for middle-years schooling be? 3. (a) How may the middle school be conceptualized? (b) What curriculum structures and organizational patterns may be most appropriate? These three general themes have been developed in sequence in each of the four sections of the thesis so that some of the problems are introduced in the first section, and in conjunction with this an attempt is made to introduce the boys themselves. The literature review on the other hand, establishes a basis for clarifying main propositions and the three research reports reviewed in this section come from Victoria, Scotland and New Zealand. The Victorian study was part of a dissertation completed in 1976 by the author. The choice of this work with the Scottish and New Zealand studies was not made with a comparative analysis in mind. Rather, these studies are included because they represent, as far as we can ascertain, the only major studies in this field. Although it is not possible at this stage to formulate specific hypotheses, in the third section there is an attempt to bring to light priorities for the schooling of children in the middle-years. Then the comparison of the four independent boys' middle schools follows and as far as possible, the three themes are developed here also. The thesis is titled "School in the Middle Years: Four Melbourne Independent Boys Middle Schools". It is a new field and these preliminary wanderings, although too general at times, seek to bring some of the problems into focus. The comparison of the four middle schools (Camberwell Grammar, Caulfield Grammar - Malvern House, Xavier College - Kostka Hall and Melbourne Grammar - Grimwade House) becomes in one sense a preliminary survey on which decisions about the development of this as an experimental study may be considered. In the final chapter this is taken up briefly, and one would hope to have the opportunity to take the study further at a later stage. This dissertation originally grew out of an examination of the primary to secondary school transition and some quite general but important conclusions emerged. These are here summarized. Strong links need to be established between teachers and students involved with the primary and secondary school transition. These links need to be formed between teachers at the Grade 6 and Form 1 levels, particularly in Education Department schools. During the year prior to transition, students require careful counselling and guidance with regard to selection of schools and in matters relating to the day-to-day organization and geographic layout of the secondary school to which they will go. Matters specifically relating to secondary school: time table, specialist rooms, methods of teaching, general expectations and the secondary school life style, all need emphasis. The possibility of special new-student orientation days and the careful use of counsellors and guidance officers is here highlighted. The teaching atmosphere in the first year of the secondary school needs to be carefully considered. It is desirable that the one teacher/one class relationships common to primary schools be continued as far as possible in order to provide security for students in an otherwise strange secondary school atmosphere. The clear differences between the primary and secondary schools, their different approaches to teaching and general philosophy need to be understood by teachers involved with students at the pre- and post-transitional stages. An understanding of these similarities and differences is fundamental to an understanding of the problems students face. Children will develop best when education is a continuing and an uninterrupted experience. This ideal has the best chance of being achieved in the one-campus school where divisions within the school can be established to match the growth stages of students and provide new challenges at all levels. The departmentalized approach in the secondary school is vastly different to the self-contained classroom approach in the primary school. Wherever possible these differences need to be understood and minimized by making adjustments to teaching methods and organization at the senior-primary and the junior-secondary levels. There is evidence to suggest that some students regard transition as an exciting new adventure with inbuilt growth opportunities. Teachers and parents need to present the opportunities in the secondary school in these terms. There is a liking amongst many students for the challenge of the new and an eagerness to experience those things that are different. There need not be a shrinking from added pressures. It is important that parents should be kept in close touch with teachers and Headmasters as decisions are made about the most appropriate secondary school, and as information is disseminated about the beginning-of-year procedures for enrolling students. Personal discussions and school visits are strongly recommended. There is not one age considered to be most appropriate for the primary-to-secondary-school transition. There is, however, some evidence to indicate that students of poorer ability from working-class type homes are likely to be more successful at the age of 12 or 13. It is asserted that given one to two more years of development these praticular students will make a more successful transfer to their new school. More advanced students from homes that provide educationally stimulating support are most likely to make satisfactory progress as they transfer to their new secondary school. These are the students who are likely to approach the challenge and the responsibility of their new school with plenty of confidence and a certain amount of adventure. The concept of a middle school, providing for children between the ages of 9 and 13 is promoted as an educationally and psychologically sound solution to the problems of transition as they are known in the present two-school system. Two less disturbing changes, from primary to middle and middle to secondary school, should provide for more effective sequencing of learning experiences over the twelve or thirteen years of schooling. The following conclusions which more particularly relate to the nature of schooling for the middle-years group, provided a basis for examining and comparing the four selected middle schools. It is not suggested that the comparison of these schools necessarily validates the conclusions, but it should help to clarify them. It is felt that the middle school should be a place that provides for the integration of experience through the continuance of a home-room system and for the specialization of experience through the use of subject teachers. If the primary school's preoccupation with the present and the secondary school's increasing concern for the future can be borne in mind, then the middle-school may be able to achieve a useful blend: security with enrichment, a grounding in basics with diversity and adventure, a ready response to the immediate and present with a sensible view of life to be faced in the future, a main concern for the process with certain realism about the importance of the end product. It is considered that the middle-school should aim firstly at fostering the intellectural growth of its students, including the development of critical faculties, inventiveness and creativity. Then secondly, at psychological health, promoting self esteem in interested, optimistic, active and expressive individuals. And finally the middle-school should aim to produce in its students a social sense, concern for the good of others and a desire to serve for the betterment of community. It is also concluded that the middle school curriculum will best cater for youngsters at this intensely personal, vulnerable but expansive stage if the creative arts can be structured near to the centre of things. What is being considered here is a school where the main medium for fulfilling student needs and for their exercising within the basic skills, is the creative and expressive aspects of curriculum. Thus we provide the means whereby activities in English, maths or social studies may be explored and where these experiences may be enriched. Chapter VIII begins with a general description of the four schools; Camberwell Grammar Junior School, Melbourne Grammar - Grimwade House, Xavier College - Kostka Hall and Caulfield Grammar - Malvern House. This is followed with an account of survey procedures including the design of questionnaires and methods for compiling and presenting data. Material here is again presented within the three themes of the thesis and then there is a description of the "fifth school", an interpretation of the sum of staffs' opinions about the life and style of the four schools. This is not an ideal school and the three main propositions stated above cannot be validated in this way. However, the survey enables a reflective commentary providing support and raising questions where necessary. The final Chapter of the thesis deals with the question of how this study may be taken up experimentally. There is a sense in which it is only possible at this early stage to declare the issues and provoke the search for clearer definitions. The multiple regression model is presented as one possible means for analysing the success of middle-schools in terms of their unique objectives; it is presented as one method suitable for comparing the four middle-schools with each other or with alternative schools.
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    Anton Semyonovich Makarenko and collective education
    Robinson, Jeffrey Travers ( 1978)
    The disruptions of war, civil war and famine hampered the optimistic reform program of the Bolshevik government in the decade after 1917. Often absorbed in protracted philosophical debate, they offered no firm policies to revitalize Russia's peasant-based agriculture or to stimulate the industrial growth necessary for national advancement. In education, an enthusiasm for the peasantry as the material out of which the new Soviet citizen would be created, promoted a diversity of experimental schools, including communes; while schemes for the eradication of illiteracy or the education of the hordes of homeless children were frequently supported by organizations like the secret police. However, when Stalin came to power, a sternly centralized policy relentlessly implemented nationally the necessary re-organization of agriculture through collectivization to foster industrial growth.Education, reverting to an academic bias, emphasised such desired virtues as obedience, enthusiasm for work and the subservience of the individual to the collective. Makarenko spent some years developing a collective education system for homeless children during the 1920's. As he records in The Road to Life, he was certain only of his aim - the Creation of the new man. As a pragmatist, he held his contemporary theoreticians in contempt, preferring to be guided in his experiment by intuition and expedient means in evolving a methodology. His romanticism attracted him into a lifelong friendship with Maxim Gorky, who later visited Makarenko's collective. There,agricultural labour eventually allowed industrial growth; and respect for authority, the subservience of individual interests to the collective will and an enthusiasm for work, were reinforced by its quasi-military environment. These elements understandably appealed to the secret police who supported Makarenko' s subsequent work at the Dzerzhinsky Colony after 1923. This sponsorship, his patronage by Gorky and the fortunate coincidence of his principles with the stated policies of Stalin brought Anton Semyonovich Makarenko from comparative obscurity to pre-eminence by 1935.
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    Teacher accountability in relation to the school councils legislation, 1975
    Watson, Michael ( 1978)
    In December 1975, an Amendment to the Victorian Education Act 1958 granted to state employed teachers, for the first time, full voting rights on their respective school councils. The opportunity therefore presented itself to examine, first, the relationships that teachers on council now had with their fellow council members, secondly, their interpretations of school council powers and their opinions as to whether the legislation provided any momentum towards furthering local school autonomy and thirdly, teacher accountability within the framework of the School Councils legislation. The methodology of this study consisted of semi-structured interviews with teachers elected to councils in five Ballarat post primary schools. Ballarat schools were chosen for field work because of their location, because there had been recent reports on community attitudes in that area towards secondary education, and because interested parties in all five schools had agreed to opt for a "D". type membership structure for their councils, which allowed teachers an opportunity to share in-school governance. Care should be taken in interpreting the results of this study because the re-structured councils are very new and it is difficult to generalise from such a limited sample. However, certain conclusions can be noted. First, the teachers elected to council did not anticipate a change in the relationships they have had in the past with principals, students, parents and members of the public because of their election to council. They offered few strategies to suggest that the traditional relationships would, or should, change. If the relationships do change markedly, the teachers concerned gave no evidence of their being ready to meet such change. Secondly, the majority of teachers had not read the Amendment, though copies were available to them. Questions directed at interpretations of council powers were therefore meaningless to them. Yet despite their ignorance of the School Councils legislation most teachers felt that the new school councils would not lead to increased local school autonomy. Thirdly, with regard to teacher accountability this study shows that when the term "accountability" is viewed as' being part of a communications system some measure can be made of whether a teacher on council will "stand to account" for his actions. The teachers interviewed gave little evidence to suggest that they had skills to develop communications with their fellow council members or that they thought it their responsibility to do so. In conclusion, it can be said that the teachers interviewed had adopted a "wait and see" attitude to council matters. The study revealed that they were ignorant of the School. Councils legislation, had not thought about the role they were to play on council, and had little understanding of their accountability as council members in developing communications with their fellow council members. For reasons advanced in the thesis, it would seem that, as councils evolve, teacher members will need a much clearer perception of their role.
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    The sociohistorical approach to science teaching : theory and practice
    Robottom, Ian M (1949-) ( 1978)
    A conception of scientific methodology is regarded as an important objective in science education. There exists an identifiable popular view of science which is expressed both explicitly and implicitly in science curriculum design, and in the evaluation of students' progress. This popular view of science includes such elements as objectivity, open-mindedness, logicality and rationality. It can be found in explicit statements of scientific methodology in science texts, and can be discerned in the actual structure of curricule,as well as in tests on students' understanding of science. The currently dominant behavioural objectives model of curriculum design, with its emphasis on the use of rational, logical means-end reasoning, is a facilitative agent in the propagation of the popular view. There is, however, considerable equivocation concerning the nature of scientific methodology. The existence of a number of different conceptions of science, for example those articulated by Popper, Kuhn, and Schwab, is incompatible with the singularity of the popular view. The prespecification of outcomes, as demanded by the behavioural objectives model of curriculum design, seems inappropriate in light of the fact that these outcomes (relating to scientific methodology) have such an equivocal base. The suitability of an alternative model of curriculum design, that articulated by Stenhouse, is explored. There has recently been a rise in interest in the Sociohistorical Approach to science teaching. This approach, which involves the setting of episodes of scientific inquiry in their social and historical context, may constitute a practical manifestation of Stenhouse's theory. An attempt is made to outline the marriage of the process model and the use of sociohistorical materials.
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    The status of physical education in a sample of Geelong primary schools and analysis of the constraints affecting its teaching
    Tinning, Richard (1946-) ( 1978)
    272 teachers from 30 Geelong primary schools responded to the survey (74 percent response rate) which sought information concerning teacher attitude towards physical education, the extent and nature of physical education teaching and teacher perceptions of factors which inhibited physical education teaching. Schools in the study were all in the Geelong Metropolitan area with an enrolment of 200 or more pupils. Data from the questionnaires were analysed to determine the basic statistics such as the mean, mode and standard deviation for each item and data from a select number of items were factor analysed to discover any underlying patterns of association between variables. Results revealed that 30 - 60 minutes per week was the average time devoted to physical education although most teachers indicated a desire to teach more. Ball handling and Games were taught most often because teachers felt confident with these areas. The Education Department Curriculum Guides were considered a valuable aid by 86 percent of teachers yet only 37 percent admitted using them as a major source of curriculum ideas. 86 percent of teachers considered their physical education teaching to be effective and enthusiasm and planning were revealed by teachers as the most important contributions to effective teaching. The main reasons identified for teaching physical education were 'to release built up energy' and 'to develop physical skills and physical abilities'. Physical education was ranked as the 3rd. most important school subject and as a group the teachers expressed a favourable attitude towards physical education. Although the positive attitude toward physical education was encouraging, using time spent teaching physical education as the criterion, the status of physical education in the sample schools was considered to be low. Teachers identified human type constraints as more inhibiting to physical education teaching than material type constraints. The factor analysis revealed seven interpretable factors. Two of the factors further supported the notion of two groups of constraints and the main factor identified variables associated with the time spent on teaching physical education and the effectiveness of such teaching.
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    High schools with technical components: the first decade, 1969-1978
    Johnston, Christopher Terence ( 1978)
    Historically, state post-primary education in Victoria has been shared between the Technical Schools Divsion and the Secondary Schools Division, with each establishing separate schools in proximity to the other. However, by the late 1960's, country centres without technical schools were seen to have potential student populations too small to justify a technical school in addition to the existing high school. Yet in certain of these small centres a vocal demand existed for technical education, this demand originating from a variety of sources. The response was to place technical studies in existing high schools. The schools developed integrated courses over all levels, and significant educational advantages were claimed from this. However, the location of technical components was determined not so much by educational ideas, as by a reaction to community stimulus. This was illustrated in the development of policy concerning technical components, for it was aggregative in nature, adapting to changing pressures and circumstances. The technical component innovation did not occur in isolation. Curriculum developments which occurred in both Divisions, facilitated it, and the associated reduction in external control of schools was but one of a number of other factors which provided encouragement. Both the development and some current features of high schools with technical components are examined, as is their future. It appears that their numbers will not expand significantly, particularly as alternative responses to demands for technical education have been implemented. The future of high schools with existing technical components is also unclear, in part due to the possibility of restructuring in the Education Department.