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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    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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    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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    John Holt : radical romantic : a study of his educational writings
    Thornton-Smith, Marie-Louise ( 1988)
    It is the purpose of this study to examine the contributions of John Holt to American theories of 'child-centred' education. In particular, this study explores the extent to which Holt's notions on education can be termed both radical and romantic. Asserting that children were 'naturally' motivated and capable of making a responsible use of freedom of choice, Holt aimed in his writings to present what he felt were the optimum conditions under which that choice could be exercised. His work is significant in that while retaining the familiar educational theories present in Rousseau, Froebel, A.S. Neill and other key figures in the progressive tradition, it still embodies the profound changes that have taken place in American thought on education over the last three decades. In all, Holt's writings on education can be seen to fall into three main phases: the reformist, the deschooling and the homeschooling phases, each of which is examined in the light of the social and political movements that helped to inspire it. In the sixties, Holt was largely concerned with investigating new ways of thinking about how children learn and the role of the teacher within the context of the classroom. In the seventies, he increasingly rejected what he saw as the authoritarian role of institutional schooling, and identified with the radical ideology of the deschoolers. By the eighties, Holt had become the leading American spokesman for the homeschooling movement, which remains the most radical and romantic of his alternatives for 'child-centred' education. Throughout these various phases, there is a prevailing sense of mission, a persistent belief that he had found the solution for the so called 'crisis' in the schools. His main concern was always with the welfare of the child, whose interests he saw as ultimately being best served in the homeschooling situation. In the mid-eighties, he considered that even conventional schools could benefit from co-operation with the homeschoolers. It is the argument of this thesis that John Holt's own brand of radical romanticism was ultimately to lead him away from the social and political realities that impinged upon his writings. By largely opting out of the very pressures that beset public schooling in the United States, Holt's homeschooling movement seems destined to remain on the fringe. However, for all the romantic limitations and idiosyncrasies of his thought, it is argued that Holt has offered a valuable contribution to Dewey's fundamental question of 'what education is'.
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    R.S. Peters, education and value
    Hughes, David John Malcolm ( 1984)
    R. S. Peters is recognized as the founder of the recent and more respectable approach to philosophizing about education known as "the philosophy of education". Following his appointment to the Chair of Philosophy of Education at the University of London Institute of Education in 1962, the influence of his work and his approach to the philosophical treatment of educational problems grew enormously. Since the mid 1960's he has been pro�eminent as the champion of the study, with no rival who has threatened seriously to eclipse his importance or displace his fundamental approach with a more effective one. Philosophizing about education is still done largely in conscious appreciation of the relation it bears to Peters' work, whether it be "pro", "anti" or connected by some other tangent to Peters. Even those who have decided more recently to "start afresh" without him and his approach, and conduct their philosophical business elsewhere, are arguably part of a post�Peters phenomenon. There may be some sound reasons at the moment for seeking new philosophical pastures, or asking very seriously "Where do we go from here ?", but those who choose to forsake rather than to refute continue to testify to the imposing dominance of Peters' work. There is a sense in which Peters' very pre�eminence tends to attract anyone who wishes to make their own mark in philosophizing about education: whether it is merely to make it clear where they stand in relation to him, or to add to or subtract from aspects of his position and work. That is one motive for engaging with what he has written. The present thesis was conceived from the viewpoint of having been initially very impressed with Peters' singular and distinctive contribution to educational philosophy, but of having come over a period of time � through teaching it and working through its implications � to believe that, while it encompasses much that is important and worthwhile, it lacks something fundamental in the area of values and value connections. As is often the case, convictions like these are formed before one is able to specify what, if anything, is wrong. So, the work on the thesis itself provided the means of testing the conviction, by investigating seriously and at some length the relation between 'education' and 'value' in Peters' work. The work of examining the adequacy of Peters' value claims in relation to education � which occupies the larger portion of the thesis� may seem initially to be more negative than positive in import, but is an indication of the depth to which it was necessary to go to unravel the complex and often elusive threads of his value assumptions. A large number of criticisms of Peters, including many made or implied initially by other writers, are noted and incorporated into a sustained treatment, which is independently structured and given as much coherence as it seemed possible to achieve with Peters' work in this area. On the positive side, a case is made during the course of the critical review in the first three chapters for a single non valuative necessary condition for "education". An original suggestion about how value is related to education is proposed towards the end of the fourth chapter, where an alternative way of understanding the higher valuation Peters calls "intrinsic" is recommended to overcome the various problems that beset his case. The fifth chapter is devoted to explaining this new notion � that value is intrinsic to educated individuals rather than to education itself � and there is an assessment of its significance in the conclusion. It provides a viable alternative to Peters' account of value, and is the major positive contribution of the thesis.
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    Literacy, thinking and engagement in a middle years classroom community of philosophical inquiry: a reflection on practice
    Harvey, Gordon P. ( 2006)
    I present the introduction and concluding chapter in the first person in an ontological acknowledgement of self as one who practised my profession and reformed my practice, and who has reflected on my practice as a teacher, as a researcher, and as teacher-researcher. I wrote the other chapters in the formal language of the third person to assist me in developing some degree of objectivity about my practice; it served as a constant reminder to me that I was writing about something that could be considered, to some degree, as other than myself. I was investigating a teacher's practice, my past practice, and as such I strove for a non-egocentric assessment, yet acknowledge that it was my practice at a unique time in my career, a period through which my practice has now grown. This reflection on- practice was not easy, either intellectually or emotionally, and I needed to constantly remind myself that I could be simultaneously a merciless critic, and an empathic one. I moved from the role of teacher to researcher and into teacher-researcher as the moment required and used the third person to present my experience from these perspectives as seemed most appropriate and for presenting the narrative elements of the lived moment. I concluded by uniting those three perspectives into the one, whole self and so wrote the conclusion in the first person.
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    Artistic knowledge, meaning, and truth in educational theory
    Goodrich, R. A. ( 1983)
    On both sides of the Atlantic, there has emerged a number of influential defences since the early 'sixties of liberal or general education. Several of these may be characterised by the way in which those activities said to be educational are ultimately tied to the concept of knowledge. For all the variations in their conception of knowledge, both philosophers of education and curriculum theorists alike have constantly acknowledged this connexion, as respectively exemplified by R.K. Elliott ...my chief concern is with the justification of education as the pursuit of knowledge and understanding1 and R.A. Pring in educating we are concerned with the development, indeed enrichment, of mental life, and...central to such development is the growth of knowledge.2 Furthermore, when analysing the concept of knowledge, such philosophers and theorists have investigated possible ways of dividing or categorising it in order to rationalise or justify the place of such disciplines as the various arts and sciences within the curriculum of liberal or general education. Within this trend, two figures, notable for stressing knowledge and mind, meaning and truth as the crucial determinants in curriculum planning, have proved amongst the most influential. They are P.H. Hirst and P.H. Phenix whose views are popularly associated with the epistemological frames of reference respectively known as "forms of knowledge" and "realms of meaning" (originally entitled "generic classes of knowledge"). (From Introduction)