Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    An analysis of John Dewey's philosophy on 'education as growth'
    Stent, Gregory R ( 1989)
    This thesis' approach to John Dewey's philosophy, specifically his ideas on 'education as growth', while aiming to provide a critical analysis, is also sympathetic. Hence it is not entirely committed to another school of thought. Rather it leads to the criticisms which are set forward in two ways. First in attempting to state his thought clearly, we are forced to note that, at times, there are crucial ambiguities in Dewey's use of key terms. These ambiguities are of special importance in considering what Dewey has to say about the empirical method and what he has to say about the nature of events. Second, and more important, in attempting to state the relationship between his views on fundamental topics, we find conflicting 'intellectual tendencies which are not resolved by Dewey. John Dewey's educational writing has been analyzed with a view to determining his views about the aims and general character of education. This thesis has examined whether Dewey's basic recommendations about educational. aims and methods are logically connected with his technical philosophical formulations or are 'rendered more likely by them. At almost every point, the upshot of this analysis has been to suggest that the logical or philosophical links that Dewey claimed or assumed between his technical philosophical formulations and educational recommendations do not in fact exist.
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    A description and explanation of the differences in teacher culture in state secondary schools in Victoria
    Stewart, Alison ( 1993)
    The Victorian state secondary education system has had, for many years, two divisions: the Technical School Division and the High School Division. Teachers operating in one system in most cases had very little to do with those in the other system and it has seemed that two distinct " teaching cultures" had developed. During the eighties and early nineties, substantial structural changes occurred within the state system which allowed teacher movement between the previous divisions and thus created the potential for conflict. Teachers from each division have been confronted with a teaching culture in many cases different from their own experiences. Each system historically existed for a different reason, offered different curricula and trained its teachers differently. Its raisond'etre changed as social conditions changed but the differences persisted. Its teaching staff seemed to develop ways of operating which marked them as distinctly "technical" or "high". A hypothesis was proposed which suggested that a teaching culture comprised two broad factors which then determined the sorts of school operations teachers were likely to be involved in. Thus it might be possible to group people with similar backgrounds and experiences into a technical school culture and others into a high school culture. To understand if a difference existed between technical and high school teachers, qualitative research was undertaken using interviews with six people who equally represented each division, who were varied in their teaching subjects and who had recently come to a new school where a new teaching culture had not yet been established. The data collected was verified by the interviewees and recorded on a data chart. It was found that the cultures were not clearly technical or high school, but rather based more around practical and non-practical teaching subject orientation. In this sense it would see that there might be as much difference in the culture of teaching groups within a school as in the culture between the two types of school. It could be proposed that the apparent differences between the two systems may well have depended more on the different nature of the teaching, in that one system valued practicality more than the other.
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    Three visions of Utopia : the educational and social theories of Plato, Bellamy and Morris
    Mitchell, Noelene F ( 1985)
    The evidence of early Western literature such as the written version of Homer's oral epic poems and Hesiod's Works and Days suggests that the impulse to speculate about a better time and place in human social experience than a given present is not a recent phenomenon. The early chapters of this thesis postulate a link between recent and ancient examples of the genre of Utopianism and speculate on sociological significance in relevant mythology from Ancient Greece. Reference is made to the conclusions of Carl Jung about the significance of dream and symbol in human psychology and Sir Thomas More's contribution to Ui-opianism. The main part of the thesis incorporates an eximinatiori of the khree selected works compatible with these observations, as a result of which the following contentions are posited and explored: 1 the genre has its genesis in dissatisfaction with a social and political environment, 2 the general concept of Utopia first becomes a specific genre In Western literature as a process involving the exposition of political social, moral, economic and educational philosophies in the hands of Plato in his Republic, 3 exponents of the concept and genre since Plato implicitly acknowledge a debt to him in subject matter, areas of concern, style and technique, 4 a clear educational philosophy is patently central to each social philosophy presented in the three examples under discussion. In each case, analysis of the text is preceded by a summary of relevant contemporary historical and philosophical data and a brief biographical background of the author. Some speculation has been offered about the intentions and aims of the authors and attention has been focused on particular influences which may have affected them. The Conclusion is a summary of the similarities which have corne to light as a result of comparison of the texts, and a comment on the value and importance of the genre. It will be apparent to the reader that this writer could not remain impervious to the literary impact of the texts themselves and, although spasmodic attempts have been made at objectivity, no apology is offered for any residual traces of self-indulgent delight in the study of the primary sources i hold it as a self-evident truth that the richness of the ideas explored is correlative to the quality of the medium in which they are expressed. Note on the spelling of Greek words in translation Since there is some disagreement over the spelling of Greek words in translation 1 have chosen the commonly-used "c" in preference to "k" where applicable and retained it for the sake of consistency except only in the case of references to Lattimore's translation of the Odyssey, where the spelling of some words is central to the argument.
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    Paulo Freire : the implementation of his theory
    Smith, Jan ( 1989)
    Paulo Freire achieved mythic stature in many educational and theological circles in the 1970s after the publication of his work in the Western world. He was welcomed by many for his philosophy of compassion and social change. His philosophy stems from his personal experience of struggle for survival in the Depression, and his theory of education was derived from his practice of teaching adult illiterates in north-east Brazil. Freire regarded literacy as the means by which oppressed people could become aware of and actively control and change their historical and social conditions. Literacy, for Freire, could thus never be a neutral activity. His early political aims were to educate people for the practice of democracy. However personal experience in Brazil led him to advocate revolution. For Freire literacy underpins revolution. Freire refuted traditional methods of teaching and learning, and so found much acceptance by Marxist educators and the youth of the 1970s anxious to change the world. They embraced his work for its view of human possibilities and for its revolutionary demeanour. Many supporters bestowed on him a god-like status for his radical views. Most of his supporters, however, applaud aspects of his theory but do not fully embrace it. Many conservative adult educators criticised Freire for his language and his view of human nature and society. Some contend that Freire has nothing new to say and that his theory is based on contradictions. They deplore the lack of academic rigour in his books. Many critics concede that Freire adds some valuable insights to the debate on literacy but claim that his hidden political agenda obscures these. He is also criticised for not offering people specific advice on how to utilise his theories in other contexts. Freire does not satisfactorily answer his critics, nor does he explain the discrepancy between his evaluation of his programme in Guinea-Bissau and that of the Guinea-Bissau government in 1980. However in self-defence he claims that he never wanted the adulation he received in the 1970s and that he never claimed universality for his work as a whole. He reiterates constantly that his theory must be re-interpreted in every situation. Some of his ideas are indisputable but no evidence is provided of a successful total implementation of his theory.
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    The role of tradition in the educational ideas of Michael Oakeshott
    Smyth, Julie ( 1986)
    Michael Oakeshott's writings provide a comprehensive support for traditional education. As such, they are in stark contrast to the direction of many modern, educational writers. Oakeshott's vision of the ideal school has probably never been realized by any actual educational institutions. The purity of thought achieved by his ideal scholar may not have ever been matched by any real person. Nevertheless, the idealism and integrity of his writings demand the reader give a fair consideration to traditional techniques of education. The negative aspects of traditional school systems are more widely known than their- strengths. Oakeshott supplies a proud review of the strengths as he sees them. This thesis traces the important role tradition plays in the educational ideas of Michael Oakeshott. The central task has been to demonstrate Oakeshott's strong commitment to conservatism and the preservation of tradition, and to analyse to what extent his central position is enhanced and limited by his 'philosophy of life'.
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    Egan's stage theory : an exploratory study of its use in the analysis of science textbooks
    Valmadre, Christopher Charles ( 1985)
    Kieran Egan (1979) has challenged educationists to consider the need for a Theory of Development which is specifically Educational. Such a need is discussed and examined in the context of science teaching. Egan's Theory was applied to the selection of science text material for a group of eleven and twelve year old students. The students' responses to the materials were compared with Egan's descriptions of certain developmental stages, particularly of his Romantic Stage. The author concluded that Egan's theoretical proposition assisted in interpeting certain student behaviour and preferences. Possible classroom uses of Egan's theory are discussed, implications for text usage and design are outlined, and some areas of research are suggested.
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    Towards redressing the neglect of "dispositional knowledge"
    Wyatt, Scott A ( 1991)
    Dispositional knowledge has been long neglected (with only few exceptions) by philosophers even though this topic should be of particular interest to philosophers of Education. All dispositional knowledge can be expressed in the grammatical form 'x knows how to 0'. So, in examining dispositional knowledge statements, we need only consider statements which are expressible in this form. Kyle's work on dispositional knowledge (or knowing how to) was misleading in that he assimilated cases of human dispositional knowledge with cases of physical dispositions. More recently David. Carr has proposed an alternative view of knowing how to which culminates in three criteria for the application of physical know how to an agent; these criteria are parallel to the widely acknowledged tri-partite account of propositional knowledge. Carr neglects an account of mental know how on the grounds that mental know how cannot be distinguished from mental ability. Carr's account of physical know how is flawed. And an analysis of mental know how is required. An examination of mental know how reveals criteria for mental know how which are parallel to the criteria for physical know how.
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    Knowledge and vital piety: John Wesley's ideas on education - sources, theories and practice
    Klan, Julian Stanley ( 1990)
    Education was an essential element in the Wesleyan Revival of eighteenth century England. John Wesley sought not only to save souls but also to nurture them in the Christian life: literacy was a pre-requisite for this. He could not rely on the schools of his day to provide an acceptable education, so he established his own school at Kingswood, Bristol, in 1748. For Wesley, the basic aim of education was "to overcome the principle of evil with the principle of Grace", or to set right the "natural bias" of humanity. The daily programme, the rules and the curriculum at Kingswood School were geared to achieving this educational aim. By avoiding all negative influences and enforcing positive ones, he sought to overcome the principle of evil with God's grace. Constant supervision was crucial. The students (all boarders) were awake from 4a.m. to 8p.m. and constantly at their lessons, spiritual exercises or physical exercise - no "playing". There were no holidays or home visits until a child's education was completed. Only children under the age of twelve were admitted. The curriculum was an extension of the same principle. The traditional Classics Course was revised to exclude any un-Scriptural values and to include works of religious biography and ethics. In developing his educational theories, Wesley was truly eclectic. His own religious experience and Arminian theology, and the influence of his mother were seminal. He drew upon other educational systems, particularly the Dissenting Academies in England, the French Port Royal Schools and the German Moravian schools. The writings of Plato, Law, Locke, Milton, Comenius, Fleury and Poiret were also most influential in forming his ideas. These influences, tempered by Wesley's own experiences and failures in three earlier schools, shaped Kingswood School, the definitive expression of his educational philosophy.
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    Maritain on education and moral education
    Goodwin, Colin ( 1983)
    Jacques Maritain (1382-1973) is.one of'the most important fioures in twentieth century philosophical and. cultural life. No attempt to produce a serious history of intellectual life in the twentieth century would be complete without reference to Maritain's work. In the course of a long and extremely active academic career Maritain published more than fifty books and lengthy monographs dealing with philosophical questions. He also published a wide range of articles on social and political matters.1 He held chairs of philosophy in France and the United States at different periods of his career, and visited a number of other countries (including Canada and England) at the invitation of universities to lecture in philosophy. Maritain is widely regarded as the foremost modern inter - preter of the thought of the thirteenth century philosopher and theologian, Thomas Aquinas, and as a profoundly creative and original thinker in his own right. While those familiar with Maritain's work know that he made substantial contributions to metaphysics, philosophy of nature, epistemology, philosophy of religion, moral philosophy, political philosophy, and aesthetics, many are unaware of the range of his contributions to education. Maritain in fact made valuable contributions to educational theory in published works spaced out over more than forty years, � beginning in 1927. In order to convey an idea of the extent of Maritain's contribution to educational theory and thus to provide a framework within which to set out, and evaluate his ideas on education and, more specifically, on moral education, the first chapter of this study will consist of a chronologically arranged synopsis of Maritain's principal published statements on education - a straightforward enough task, but one which has been totally neglected. by commentators on Maritain's educational writings.2 The second chapter will attempt to set out the central elements of Maritain's reflections on education, while chapter three will focus attention on Maritain's observations concerning moral education. The final chapter of the study will be an appraisal of his views on education in general and on moral education.
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    Paulo Freire: oppression, liberation and education
    Gibson, Andrew N. ( 1989)
    This paper deals with the life, work and influence of Paulo Freire. Chapter One contains a brief description of Freire's life and career. It also looks at some aspects of Brazilian history which have led to the creation of an oppressed class in that country. Chapter Two takes up the theme of oppression and analyses Freire's explanation of the creation of oppression, how education has contributed to that oppression and what is wrong with traditional education so that it has become an agent of oppression. Chapter Three deals with the theme of liberation and examines Freire's philosophy of education as a means of liberation. In particular the role of dialogue, curriculum creation, the role of teacher and learner and the movement of- liberation theology are examined and analysed. Finally Chapter Four examines the range, and applicability of Freire's educational theory in both the Third World and in Western, developed countries. In each section there is an exposition of the criticism which has been levelled at Freire with regard to his work on the particular area and where appropriate, the criticism has been, in its turn, critically evaluated.