Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    The educational theory of G.H. Bantock in the context of British educational thought 1965-1975
    Pear, David Adrian ( 1990)
    The 1960s and early 1970s witnessed changes in many social values in Britain; the educational world was not immune to the turbulence of these years. The classifications of `traditionalist', `conservative', `progressive' and 'radical' were attributed indiscriminately to the wide spectrum of party affiliations. As a result, the characteristics of these `parties' became difficult to isolate amid the vague condemnatory generalisations and intense criticism of personalities which characterized the period. G.H. Bantock (b. 1914) was considered a prominent traditionalist of these times, and as such, attempted to swim against the tide of what he believed was an increasing, uncultured progressivism. This study attempts to present a summary of Bantock's principal concerns, and to offer a profile of the main thrusts of the arguments which he advanced in over eighty major publications. As a subsidiary theme, it considers the nomenclature of the period, particularly from the perspective of the traditionalist, and seeks to isolate the foundations of that philosophical stance. Part 1 is a summary of the main concerns which consumed Bantock's attention during his career. Part 2 considers the means by which Bantock believed the problems of contemporary education could be solved, and Part 3 presents the author's evaluation of the ideas outlined in the previous sections.
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    The confused Frenchman : some considerations of 'freedom' in Rousseau's writings and its educational implications
    Sands, Caroline Ann ( 1987)
    The focus in this thesis is the concept of 'freedom' and, more specifically, how this concept is used by Rousseau. An attempt will first be made to clarify the meaning of 'freedom' and then Rousseau's discussions about it will be examined. Particular emphasis will be placed on an analysis of educational freedom and what Rousseau writes about it, especially in Emile. It will also be argued that the ideal political freedom that Rousseau proposes in The Social Contract is an extension of the freedom he talks about in Emile. Some critics have levelled the charge that Rousseau is not consistent in his definitions of what constitutes freedom and Max Rafferty has even referred to him as 'the confused Frenchman'. In this thesis it will be argued that this confusion is only apparent and not real. In this respect, the critical literature about Rousseau's theories on freedom will be analysed in an attempt to show that there is indeed an internal consistency of definition in Rousseau's works and that his view is of positive, rather than negative, freedom.
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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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    Yoga and education
    Taylor, David P ( 1982)
    This expository thesis looks at the relationship between the principles of Classical Yoga and the Prospectus of the School of Total Education conducted by the Helen Vale Foundation in Melbourne. A brief overview of the nature of. Classical Yoga is given. This is followed by an examination of the two basic tenets of the school, viz.,the concept of total education and the need for the school students to be given a philosophy of life. The examination presents these two factors in the light of their origins in Yoga philosophy. This is followed by an investigation of the major aims and objectives of the school and their relationship to the principles of Yoga. In particular, moral education, the control of the ego and the emotions, detachment, spirituality, the physical and psychosomatic practices and the role, function and methods of the teacher are discussed. The conclusion attempts to suggest the possible relevance of the yogic and educational aims, methods and practices of the School of Toil Education for education generally.
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    A philosophical analysis of the concept of education
    Ozolins, John Talivaldis ( 1989)
    The thesis critically examines some of the concepts involved In the elucidation of the concept of education developed by R.S. Peters who says that education Is a family of processes whose purposes are the development of desirable states of mind. In particular, it critically examines the concept of mind built into Peters' conception of education and argues that Peters is correct to imply that the mind cannot be reduced to brain states. Education, I .claim is a telological concept primarily concerned with the transmission of cultural values. The thesis begins by briefly looking at behaviourist views of mind, and introduces the Identity Theory as an attempt to provide a better explication of the nature of mind. Feigl's views on the nature of mind are examined, in particular, his attempted reduction of the mental to the physical. His rejection of the concept of emergence is challenged and what is meant by the reduction of one theory to another is elucidated. It is concluded that the mental cannot be reduced to the physical. The features of scientific explanation in general are explored. It Is found that scientific explanation is applicable largely in physical science contexts, and so is of limited use in explaining the concept of mind, and so the concept of education. Teleological explanations are examined, since it is apparent that education is a teleological explanation. The question of whether teleological explanations can be reduced to non-teleological explanations is considered. It is found that there are at least three forms of teleological explanation, (i) functional explanation, (ii) goal-directed explanation and (iii) purposive explanation. It is clear from an examination of these that education is explained in terms of purpose. An examination of the concept of intention and its relationship to action forms a major portion of the thesis. The problem of whether there can be several descriptions of one action is considered, as well as whether Intentions are entailed by desires. The relationship between actions and events is considered, discussing in particular the concept of cause. Five uses of the term "cause" are outlined. It is postulated that the causal power In agent causation is the "act of will", which forms part of the intention to act. The concept of a process, and some of the ways in which it may be defined, is examined. The concept of development is briefly considered in the light of the analysis of the concept of a process. It is concluded that education may be termed a super-process. As a process, education can never be completed, but continues throughout an Individual's life. The purposes of education and what might be meant by desirable states of mind are discussed. The primary purpose of education, it is asserted, is the imparting of values. The question of who decides what states of mind might be termed desirable is considered and it is concluded that it is society, or the community who decide what values are to be imparted.
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    From the industrial to the convivial ethos : Ivan Illich on needs, commodities, education and the politics of change
    Pantas, Ignatios Jack ( 1991)
    The appearance of the soul-stirring views of Ivan Illich in the early seventies made for an iconoclastic campaign against current claims and definitions of objective social progress in our industrial-computer-technology age. His controversial message expressed serious concern about the consumerist ethos of modern societies and the pathogenic nature of our institutions. Today, the radical literature boom, of which Illich was part, appears to have gone quiet. Additionally, aspects of his writings have been superseded by new radical discourses. Yet still, for all that, Illich has produced an imposing and provocative critique of modern industrial society that goes a long way to demythologize our world view of "what is" of the sociocultural reality around us. In this sense, Illich has posed problems and offered positions that remain relevant to radical politics, and that are likely to concern us for a very long time. Throughout this thesis, I will attempt to contextualize and present the matrix of Illich's thought. In view of the ample critical responses to Illich's work, I do not intend to present a comprehensive critical appraisal, though I will concentrate on an assessment of his proposed strategy for the transition to a more humane society. I will begin, in chapter one, by mapping out Illich's critique of the increased importance of commodity culture within both the production and social reproduction - the ways in which advanced industrial society reproduces itself in individual thought and behaviour. Illich's investigation of the consumer society points to how institutions and a wide variety of cultural phenomena within social life are becoming forms of commodification and consumption, thus engendering deleterious and dehumanizing consequences. Chapter two takes Illich's objections to the consumerist ethos and investigates the role of compulsory public schooling within the logic of the commodification process. On the whole, Illich illustrates that the school, by packaging knowledge as a consumer commodity, distorts the meaning of education for its own vested interests. While the first two chapters attempt to contextualize Illich's writings, chapter three explores his conceptualization of the "ideal society" and his proposals for social and educational transformation. In chapter four, I will critically appraise Mich's thinking on radical social reconstruction in contradistinction to his Marxist critics and their proposed strategies. Out of this debate, the relevance of Illich's political concerns to current radical politics will be further clarified. My purpose in chapter five will be to confront the dilemma posed by Mich: should a radical policy be directed to reform or to deschool? I will attempt to present and appraise some of the prominent critical views levelled against Illich's politics for social change. In the final chapter, an attempt will be made to reveal what the deschooling analysis does not take into account. Attention will be given to how "resistance" theories, in particular the work of Paul Willis, provide an alternative view of how school reproduces the social order. New possibilities for schools acting as agents of social change are presented. The efforts of "empowerment" theorists build up these possibilities and call for "transformative" pedagogies to be developed within the schools. The major concern here will be to ascertain whether there is a role for the school, as we know it, to play in radically transforming society, and whether some middle ground can be charted with respect to Illich's project for deschooling society.
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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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    D.H. Lawrence, fulfilment and education : a presentation, interpretation and evaluation of his educational views, with specific reference to his core ideas of individual and social fulfilment
    Michel, Jacques E. Max ( 1981)
    Lawrence despaired of civilisation, which he considered to have left the rails and become profoundly dehumanising. It was all the more demoralising because he harboured what to him must have appeared a viable vision of 'fullness', of human fulfilment, which, he thought, it would be possible to articulate and realize through education. Man he saw as potentially spontaneous, integrated, vital, creative, authentic, flexible, possessed of every strength and virtue, once he would have fully recovered his birthright in a world permeated creatively by the Life-Force he assumed was active in the universe. He envisioned reconstructed Society as a projection, not as in contemporary Society, of distorting national ambitions or economic imperialism, or yet of purposes unconnected with human fulfilment, but of the regenerated individual's hopes, needs and achievements. The schools of his own day, however, Lawrence saw as conniving in the decay and drift of civilisation and in the dehumanisation of man. They failed to challenge the ambient decay and inertia, and instead sought to indoctrinate, to intellectualise all experience and to promote unreal hopes of social mobility. They imprisoned and frustrated; they stifled human energy and destroyed human integrity. They were instruments of 'nullity'. However, this scathing view of schools is counter-balanced by their potential instrumentality in human regeneration. In this context, Lawrence emphasised responsible leadership, flexible institutions, fulfilment-centred methods and programmes, a closer relationship between school and life, the fostering of intrinsic values, the need for strong ethical and spiritual purpose and for educating the whole individual. Cumulatively, he hoped, these emphases would enable individuals, and thereby, society, to attain to 'fullness', to be fulfilled. It is my contention, though, that Lawrence, while having a perfectly coherent if incomplete educational blueprint for human renewal, mistook, to some extent, formal and substantive requirements; that he had serious temperamental and philosophical limitations which hamstrung his social and educational views; and that, even if his package was successful enough to improve appreciably the climate of schools and the capacity of individuals for self-realization in many ways, it was unlikely to lead society as a whole to change positively to the degree he envisioned. For one thing, his view of individual fulfilment left out women and the handicapped, and his attempt at liberating individuals politically must be seen as potentially enslaving; for another, while having a most generous and formally liberal view of education, he overestimated its power to bring about radical cultural change. While concentrating,like Freud, on the psychic and psychological bases of the reality of individual and social life, he ignored its other dimensions, especially the material and the economic, and underestimated the will and the power of entrenched social forces to resist change. It is fair to say that despite the marginal gains his efforts at securing the millenium may have ensured, the latter remains as elusive as ever.
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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.