Faculty of Education - Theses

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    Toward a competent society : a critical analysis of H.G. Well's conceptions of social change and the education programme he designed to effect that change
    Wilson, Barbara Vance ( 1989)
    This thesis developed out of initial research on Raymond Williams's conceptions of culture, society and education. Williams had argued that 'a long revolution' was evident in human affairs, from which a common culture must finally emerge. It was a matter of survival for it to do so. Williams saw culture as 'our common life' and argued that it was the proper field in which criticism and selection of what was of value to the common life should take place. It must eventually be organized on a global basis and deliberately constructed by means of participatory democracy. To achieve these ends, Williams demanded an education that would promote a competent society governed by human needs and not by inherited models. (See particularly, Raymond Williams, The Long Revolution (London, 1961; Penguin edition, 1965), esp. p.174, and Raymond Williams, Towards 2000 (Penguin Books, 1986). It seemed that in the social and political writings of H.G.Wells, there were many antecedents to Williams's ideas. Wells was engaged in promoting a deliberate revolution in human affairs akin to Williams's idea of a 'long revolution'. It was meant to effect profound social change, culminating in the formation of a global society and thereby rescuing the human species from impending disaster, even extinction. It seemed worthwhile to explore some of these antecedent ideas in Wells's writings and to examine the claims he made for them. This thesis accordingly examines the ideas of H.G.Wells on social change with particular reference to his models for world order and the means by which this change was to be achieved - revolution and education. It is argued that Wells posited a competent society as the ultimate goal of human endeavour and effective social change, a society distinguished by full control over its destiny and the ability to extend a life of complete satisfaction to all of its members, yet there are a number of contradictions that would operate to frustrate that realisation.
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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 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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    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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    Greek educational system : 1900-1987
    Theodosakis, Christine K ( 1989)
    Examining the history of the Greek Educational System in the twentieth century, we discover widespread and constant demands for reform in order to meet the challenges of a modernizing nation-state. Politicians, administrators, parents and students at every period expressed the need for educational reform although fundamental differences in the. proposed remedies-can be observed. Yet, for a variety of reasons - political, economic, ideological, and social - most reforming proposals had very limited success, even though in some cases the related measures were legislated for. Generally, the educational reform impetus in every. period reflected the theoretical and ideological -perspectives and practical concerns of the governments in' power, as well as the 'conflicts ' and contradictions of a rapidly developing society with deeply rooted historical traditions. From its foundation to the present reforms, although it appeared that great efforts had been made to reform the structure and content of the Greek education system, because of circumstances or because of successful counter-reforms following changes in the ruling party, things remained basically unaltered. The movement for educational reform in Greece can be examined in terms of six historical periods when major attempts were made by the government to change the structure and content, of the educational system: (a) 1913 and 1917, under the administration of Eleftherios Venizelos' government; (b) 1929, under the administration of the Liberal Party headed by E. Venizelos; (c) 1957-63, under the first administration of Premier C. Karamanles; (d) 1964-65, under the government of G. Papandreou; (e) 1974-77, under the administration of Premier C. Karamanles and the "New Democracy" political party; (f) 1981-86, under the recent administration of the PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) government headed by A. Papandreou. Throughout the twentieth century educational reform has been considered imperative for the country's social and economic development. It is significant to note that the major thrust of educational reform has been to bring changes in the elementary and secondary sectors of the school system. Since 1974, however, there has been considerable pressure for the reform of university and other tertiary level institutions. An overview of the reform movement during the twentieth century will provide the necessary historical background and conceptual framework against which the contemporary educational reforms can be analysed and assessed.
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    Skilling the Australian community: futures for public education: a public sector perspective
    Holmes-Smith, Philip ( 1989)
    On November 4th, 1987 a group of public sector representatives met at the University of Melbourne to consider the skills that those entering the public sector required from the public education system. However, the initial debate centred on what was perceived as a fundamental difference between private sector and public sector purposes. After an introductory chapter and the study methodology chapter, the essence of this initial debate is outlined in Chapter Three. This is followed in Chapter Four by the representative group's list of skills and requirements for those entering the public sector. The curriculum and contextual implications associated with this list are then discussed in Chapter Five. Chapter Six is a scenario about the impact on the public education system and youth policy that any resulting changes may have had by the year 1998. Chapter Seven concludes this study with some comments about the possible future problems facing education as the twenty-first century approaches.
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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.
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    The provision of English as a second language programs in Victorian Catholic primary schools, 1970-1988
    Fisher, Mary C. ( 1989)
    This thesis examines the programs in English as a second language provided by the Catholic Education Office of Victoria to its primary schools between 1970 to 1988. The CEOV response to Government policies and funding for English as a second language programs for immigrant children is described and analysed. Data concerning these programs is analysed for ten selected Catholic primary schools, who submitted proposals in 1985, and for twenty selected Catholic primary schools who submitted proposals in 1988. The results show that despite good intentions and committed efforts, the teaching of English as a second language in Victorian Catholic primary schools remains a poor relation.
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    Private schools, impact assessment and the regulatory regime of federal state aid
    Davies, Merryn ( 1989)
    This work addresses a particular aspect of Commonwealth Government education funding policy emergent in the post-Kamel era -- the attitude of successive governments in the .1970s and 1980s to the funding of new non-government schools and to the expansion of the non-government schools sector. It traces in particular the emergence of the notion of "impact", which entailed a concession that the establishment of a new non-government school could adversely affect education services offered by neighbouring schools. Incorporation of impact provisions into formal government guidelines for funding of new non-government schools after 1983 represented one of the more important differences between Hawke Government education policies and those of the former Coalition Government. It is my contention that a focus on this relatively limited policy area maps out a site of intersection of government and non-government school sectors that is comparatively rare in recent documentation of education policy development. The impact policy serves to illustrate the potential friction and abrasiveness involved in the relations between the two sectors; at the same time it can be shown to have contributed itself to the construction of a relationship between the sectors which has gone largely under-scrutinised in past studies of dual sector education provision in Australia.(From Introduction)
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    Bolshevism to perestroika: some indications of the experience of women in Soviet society and education 1917-1987
    Bransgrove, Evelyn T. J. ( 1989)
    This thesis considers aspects of gender equality in the U.S.S.R. Initially methodological difficulties are noted and several definitions of equality are investigated, resulting in a selected definition of gender equality which is conducive to a Marxist framework. Emphasis remains on the educational domain. The perceived level of gender equality evident in the U.S.S.R. is then determined by a comprehensive analysis of appointed indices of equality. These indices include an examination of Soviet legislation and educational systems. In addition many facets of the Soviet workforce are reviewed with consideration of the proportion of females in social production, remuneration differentials, status ascriptions, occupational segregation, vertical mobility and the respective levels of physical and psychological welfare based on gender. The established level of gender equality in the U.S.S.R. is then placed in its historical context, with due regard to the relevance of rural and ethnic factors. In response various causes are proposed, attempting to reveal the cultural and social forces in the Soviet Union which construct the noted gender inequities. In conclusion, the differences between stated policy and daily realities arc highlighted. Some final comments attempt to predict the future level of gender equality for the Soviet Union.