Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Proactive aggression in children : self-preservation or cruelty
    Larkins, Geraldine Mary. (University of Melbourne, 2009)
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    Scaffolding practices in ESL writing classes in Zanzibar
    Maalim, Haroun Ayoub. (University of Melbourne, 2009)
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    More than music : freely painting in glorious sound
    Davies-Splitter, Susie (University of Melbourne, 2009)
    The study consisted of the design and implementation of a course of musical instruction based on the teachings of Carl Orff (1895-1982), specifically through an approach based on improvisation. Twenty six participants volunteered to take part in a 25 contact hour course run over seven weeks. All had at least a rudimentary knowledge of improvisation and all but one (a music therapist) were actively teaching music in a classroom or studio setting prior to the course. The main aim of the course was to instil a sense of confidence in the participants in relation to musical improvisation, a determinate of self that has been lacking in many teachers, according to anecdotal evidence. It was not a jazz or piano based course and was 'More than Music', as it aimed to teach values and life skills as well as music skills. The course consisted of a series of activities that included practical music-making in small and large groups, discussion and reflection, and special guests that culminated in a recording studio experience. Data was collected through questionnaires, both pre-course and post-course, mid-course evaluations, reflective journals, interviews, video-tapes and photographs, and analysed for themes and content. Results of the investigation showed that most participants felt their confidence in improvising had increased and that, following the completion of the course of instruction, most were using the Orff approach in their teaching. A further outcome of the course was the production of a teaching manual and three CDs that have been used in further courses of instruction.
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    Task-based learning for oral communication : a case study of Thai EFL learners
    Prasansaph, Wipada (University of Melbourne, 2009)
    This thesis reports on a study of teaching less competent Thai university students oral skills in English through Task-Based Learning (TBL). The study was guided by the following research questions: (1) whether TBL contributed to the students' speaking performance, (2) what obstacles hindered the development of speaking skill, (3) what experience the teacher researcher gained from the process of conducting TBL and (4) how TBL could be implicated in English teaching. The task-oriented approach to language teaching, gready influenced by CLT (Communicative Language Teaching), consists of three phases, namely the `Pre-task Phase', intended to prepare students' readiness before performing the task, the During-task Phase' � the time for students to perform the task and the `Post-task phase' � the language scrutiny after performing the task. Student participation in the study was on a voluntary basis. The participants were five non-English-majors, three mathematics majors and two Thai majors, of the Faculty of Education, at a university in Bangkok, Thailand, all of whom had received grade `C' or below for the first two fundamental English for communication courses. They attended totally twelve-week TBL lessons through six-task performance. Those tasks were `Pretending to be someone else', `Speaking from cards', `Speaking from pictures', `Library Tour Task', "Department Store Tour Task' and `Discussion Task'. The teacher researcher taught the lessons by herself. The data sources were 1) transcripts of classroom activities including the teacher researcher's and the students' speech, 2) transcripts of interviews: preliminary interview intended to survey students' problems in learning English, initial interview aimed to obtain the students' background of learning English and their needs in learning the language, post-task interviews asked the students' opinions towards each task after the post-task and the interview of the overall program after all tasks had been done and 3) the teacher's journals, containing field notes that the teacher researcher kept throughout the program. The data were analysed in terms of the cognitive (accuracy, fluency and complexity) and affective domains. Although there was no obvious evidence of participants' cognitive improvement, the affective side demonstrated increased risk-taking, raised self-esteem and lowed anxiety. Some supportive factors in task performance were found to be pre-task activities which provided knowledge and agreement prior to task performance, the safe environment provided through the teacher's feedback and the task conditions, which required both preparation outside class and impromptu speaking. Some obstacles were poor background of linguistic knowledge and inhibition to speak because of attitudinal factors, such as anxiety and shyness. The recommendation were made that in teaching English oral skills teachers should provide meaningful activities for students as well as speaking opportunities, arrange pre-task activities to build up students' readiness before performing tasks and provide opportunities for students to use their knowledge of other areas in practising speaking English.
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    Becoming green : the formation of environmental ethics in outdoor education
    Preston, Marylou. (University of Melbourne, 2008)
    This thesis investigates and critically analyses key social and educational discourses on environmental ethics and explores what it means to be an environmentally ethical person and to enact environmentally ethical practices. It addresses the dynamic and complex relationships between subjectivity, ethics and pedagogy, specifically investigating the formation of environmental ethics among university students who are undertaking or have undertaken a course in Outdoor and Environmental Education (OEE) in Victoria, Australia. The study is located within interpretive methodological traditions and draws on a range of resources, including a qualitative longitudinal study of tertiary OEE students and a case study of OEE graduates teaching in secondary schools. Concepts drawn from poststructuralist theories inform the analysis of interviews, case studies, curriculum materials and popular discourses related to environmentalism. Three main lines of analysis are developed. The first is an investigation of the formation of what I describe as �green subjectivity�, that is, the processes by which tertiary OEE students and graduates understand, negotiate and practise environmental ethics and become �green�. The Foucauldian concepts of�government� and �technologies of the self inform the analysis of how Outdoor Education discourse and practice, linked to wider public discourses of education and the environment, shape possibilities for being and becoming green. The term �becoming� refers to both the process of how individuals develop green subjectivities over time and the argument that green subjectivity, as with other forms of subjectivity, is not fixed and final, but instead is in-process, dynamic and unresolved. Second, the claims, dangers and limitations of current conceptions of green ethics are examined, particularly in relation to neo-liberal and individualising practices. It is argued that the formation of green subjectivity in Outdoor Education coheres with the socially-dominant moral imperative to be a self-reliant, rational and responsible citizen, and I outline the shortcomings of an environmental ethic that is largely motivated and regulated by moral prescription and obligation Third, the possibilities for alternative imaginings of green ethics are investigated. I argue for an alternative to a common conception of environmental ethics as based on moral codes and norms, and propose a view of ethics that encourages individuals to actively and self-consciously fashion and question their own ethical existence m relation to the environment. This argument develops from the qualitative empirical studies of students, and draws on the Foucauldian concept of �aesthetics of existence� to bring greater analytic attention to the emergence of, and possibilities for, new forms of green subjectivities based on resistance and self-transformation. Overall, the thesis considers the implications of these three arguments for the teaching of Outdoor and Environmental Education, and for pedagogical practice more broadly, especially in relation to the importance of�place� and the spatial dimensions of pedagogy. Throughout, methodological discussions are accompanied by metareflections. These provoke a critical and reflexive review of guiding theoretical frameworks and offer a critique of pedagogical practice. The thesis concludes with suggestions for how the proposed reconceptualized view of environmental ethics and green subjectivity could be taken up in pedagogical practice.