Faculty of Education - Theses

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 37
  • Item
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Teams at work : an action research based case study of an integrated approach
    Murphy, Paul ( 2002)
    Team approaches are increasingly common in workplaces globally. The shifting emphasis from individual to team production has inspired research to identify key workteam success factors. Some approaches have focussed on structural, task and procedural aspects of team performance, while others have focussed on interpersonal aspects. This study aimed to focus on both aspects, using a broad analysis of the factors responsible for organisational effectiveness and team success. It linked an integrated approach to team development within the organisational context to these factors. The study used an Action Research approach, aiming to implement organisational improvements as well as gathering research data and addressing research questions through instruments that identified organisational development priorities and gave insights into team effectiveness and satisfaction. The "Organisational Effectiveness Project" produced improvements in the targeted areas of communication, respect for management, and organisational competence including team performance. The project had limited impact in improving general awareness of organisational vision. The team development elements focussed on a management team and a cross-functional planning team. Using the MBTI, the study demonstrated the substantial influence of personality type on team performance. The MBTI is an effective predictive and development tool, although its impact can be diminished if respondents misrepresent their personality preferences. The management team achieved a significant improvement in measured team 'fitness', but qualitative feedback indicated that satisfactory change was not sustained. Changes in membership and the lack of continued team development work diminished early achievements. Contributing factors may have included the limiting impact of local government structures on management team functioning, personality issues, individual capabilities, or facilitator skill level. A genuine team approach is more complex at management level than for a crossfunctional team. The cross-functional team reached its primary objective efficiently while achieving improvements in team performance and member satisfaction. A major setback might have been avoided through more attention to weaknesses within both teams. Senior management commitment is fundamental amongst the key success factors for all organisational teams. An ongoing focus on team development and strategy might have improved outcomes, but this requires substantial commitment. The range of instruments and approaches used during this study are relevant to an integrated ongoing approach to team and organisational development process, matching development activities directly to specific team issues. Managing the transfer of learning into the workplace is essential for sustained deep change. Like personal fitness, team fitness is not a 'quick fix', but requires constant steady application, particularly in ensuring that change is deep and sustained. The range of instruments and approaches used during this study have the potential to be used in an integrated approach to team and organisational development process, which should be continuous and ongoing. Like personal fitness, team fitness is not a 'quick fix' that can be maintained without constant steady focus.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Predictors of performance in arithmetic in the middle years of primary school
    Pincott, Rhonda Marie ( 2002)
    While the amount of research into difficulties in mathematics has increased markedly over recent years there continues to be a need for more research into mathematics in the middle years of Primary School. The present study examined the extent to which performance on various maths related processing tasks (e.g. reading numbers, reading number statements, mental arithmetic) and measures of maths understanding (e.g. numeration and counting) predicted maths computation ability as determined by performance on typical Year 3-5 un-timed pen and paper arithmetic tasks. Analysis consisted of a stepwise regression for each of the three year levels. Some of these tasks were found to be highly predictive of achievement in arithmetic. The multiple regression was not only significant at each of the three year levels but accounted for a substantial proportion of achievement criterion variance: Year 3: 61%, Year 4: 59.8% and Year 5: 61.5%. Achievement in arithmetic was best predicted by a combination of factors at each year level with some similarities occurring across levels. The most striking of these is Mental Arithmetic: multiplication which was found to be a predictive factor at all three levels. Other significant predictive factors included Mental Arithmetic: subtraction (Year 3), Numeration: tens of thousands (Years 3 & 4), Processing of 4-digit numerals (Years 4 & 5), and Mental Arithmetic: addition (Year 5).
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Teaching children to use metalanguage : what they say they know
    Quinn, Marie ( 2002)
    What should be explicitly taught to primary school children in writing has been hotly debated over a number of decades in Australia. At the heart of this debate are questions of how much knowledge about their language children can learn and how much is really useful in order to use language effectively. This study, a case study from one Year Six classroom, proposes that teaching students some overt knowledge of their language, and developing a metalanguage in the Systemic Functional Grammar tradition with which to define this knowledge, is possible and assists children to write more successfully. The study analysed the students' progress in writing texts across factual and fictional genres as well as tracking the reflections students made on their own knowledge. The students not only identified how they had been able to improve their writing, but express satisfaction in possessing such knowledge about language.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    How appropriate is appropriation : what understanding do students have of appropriation in the visual arts
    Taylor, Sandra Lizbeth ( 2002)
    This thesis explores how secondary students use and make meaning out of artworks using the technique of appropriation. Appropriation is compared to earlier modernist theories that advocated the new and unique and denigrated simple copying. Modernist theories are then compared to postmodern attitudes where appropriation is considered to be the visual expression of a pluralist society; a society in which imagery can be reworked and adapted to varied purposes. In contemporary society new technologies have also increased the ease and speed of access to and manipulation of imagery. However, in education this technique is often criticised for promoting the reworking of the past at the expense of creative, forward-looking development. A case study was undertaken to investigate the meanings a group of Year 10 students made of this technique. Video recordings and other observations were taken during a series of classes where the students had computer and Internet access. A variety of data was then collected and transcribed from these lessons. This was later analysed in terms of how the students had used appropriation, what results they had achieved and how they felt about related issues. These students provided a number of responses that were sorted into five separate categories. These groupings suggested that most students demonstrated a good understanding of appropriation and used a variety of techniques to obtain imagery. Although some students were critical of their own lack of originality, most students showed a strong interest in imagery that had personal significance. This suggests that appropriation had a role in assisting with development and allowing more inclusive curricula in this visual arts class.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Do parents matter? : a study of the attitudes and experiences of parents whose children are studying instrumental music by the Suzuki method
    Todner, Phyllis ( 2002)
    This study explores the role of the parent in instrumental music study by the suzuki method. twelve parents of young, suzuki-trained musicians were interviewed. the experience of their children's instrumental music learning varied from two years to eleven years, and the instruments represented were flute, violin, piano, guitar and 'cello. The interview questions ranged from the parents' earliest memories of their childrens first introduction to music and the first lessons, to parents' thoughts of the place that music will take their children's adult lives. Information was also sought on the parents' thoughts on the intrinsic features of the suzuki method including home practice, the listening program, rapport with the teacher in individual lessons and the impact of group lessons, graduations and solo performances. Recent research into the factors governing the learning area of instrumental music has shown the significance of parental support in aiding the enthusiastic stimulation of children's learning ability. These features were found to be of significance in successful Suzuki parenting. The interviews yielded 228 responses from which the results were extrapolated. A happy environment proved to be the most dominant factor in the development of optimal musical ability with special mention made to the games played in early lessons on the enjoyment of other Suzuki activities. Parental attitudes were also important. the child's interests were paramount and the parents appeared committed to a long-term period of study with their children. It was shown that both parents and children developed perseverance, patience and persistence through the program. Interactions between child, parent and teacher were also recognized as important. Many parents expressed appreciation for the support given by teachers, some requesting more help, either directly or indirectly. Many parents noted the development of self-discipline and the growth of self-esteem in their children. It was clear that an early beginning with music studies (before school age) was an advantage to the development of acute aural awareness, finger dexterity and memorizing ability, as well as other qualities such as confidence. The Suzuki philosophy appears to have had great influence on the attitudes of the parents of this study in regard to music learning and its effect on the development of character.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Investigating written English skills self-efficacy of adolescent students
    Spicer, Claire D ( 2002)
    This study examined the general perceived self-efficacy and written English self-efficacy of adolescent students classified as learning disabled, gifted and mainstream. A written English performance sample was obtained to provide a measure of the students' actual ability. A comparison was made between the performance sample and the students' perception of their ability in written English. The participants were 24 year 9 students. Three groups of 8 students each, were included in the research. Group one consisted of learning disabled students, group two consisted of gifted students, and group three consisted of students not identified as exceptional in any way (mainstream). The study used a combined quantitative and survey method design with systematic sampling. Students first completed a 10-minute essay on their 'favourite day' then a self-efficacy questionnaire. The results demonstrated that students in the learning disabled group had the lowest levels of general perceived and written English self-efficacy, with students in the mainstream group recording the highest levels of both general perceived and written English self-efficacy. The comparison between the students' scores on their written English performance sample and on their written English self-efficacy, showed no significant results.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    A long distance call on hold : managers' perceptions of organisational learning in a telecommunications organisation
    O'Connor, Peter ( 2002)
    This qualitative study aims to understanding better, managers' perceptions of organisational learning in a field-based department, within a telecommunications organisation. The research provides adult educators with insights into managers' perceptions of how learning is diffused throughout an organisation and the impact on the learning process. Seven team managers within a telecommunications organisation participated in semi-structured interviews exploring to what extent they perceived organisational learning as a significant workplace experience for them. The theoretical basis for the interviews included areas of individual and collective learning, factors affecting organisational learning, the role of organisational memory, and roles in the process of collective learning. Conclusions from the study may assist educators and others in designing more effective organisational learning programs.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Taking social capital into account when implementing educational policy : implications of the Kirby report for social capital in Ironbark
    Tinkler, Jacqueline A ( 2002)
    There is a growing body of research around the concept of social capital that suggests that there are connections evident in relation to successful educational achievement and employment, and high rates of social capital. Social connectedness - one of the outcomes of having social capital - is held to be very important for young people of post-compulsory school age, particularly in the current economic climate. This exploratory study will examine the problem: What can social capital mean in post-compulsory education policy, and in the manifestation of that policy?' This study examines The Ministerial Review of Post Compulsory Education and Training Pathways in Victoria, commonly referred to as The Kirby Report. Kirby takes the view that the links are strong between community and social values, the economic future of the state, and educational outcomes for young people. Within this report and its recommendations, the concept of social capital and its contribution to building community values is deemed to be one of the broad requirements of the community in relation to young people and their experiences in education and training. The concept of social capital and the effects of the growth or reduction of social capital within rural communities is also examined, and it is the links between social capital, the implementation of the recommendations of a report such as Kirby, and the ramifications of these links for a rural town in North-East Victoria of 2,500 residents, that provide the framework for this study.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Learning technologies and enhanced learning : an evaluation of the learning technologies policy and implementation strategies of the Victorian government 1994-2001
    Wilson, Mark William ( 2002)
    The Victorian government has embarked on a major initiative to introduce computers (New Learning Technologies) into state education system over the past eight years. This initiative has involved the commitment of expenditure from the education budget to the purchase of computers for use in schools and has been undertaken on the premise that the use of new learning technologies in schools will enhance student learning. It is the contention of this thesis that the manner in which the new learning technologies policy has been implemented is at cross purposes with the stated goal of enhancing learning. The thesis will develop this contention through an exploration of the stated goals of four Victorian government reports released in the past seven years. This exploration reveals that key elements in the Victorian government's policy on the use of new learning technologies was centred on a notion that these technologies would support enhanced learning through a constructivist teaching and learning approach. The initiatives that were implemented in response to these policies are reviewed and are found to focus predominantly on the installation of various network and computer technologies but are lacking in the attention they pay to the key teaching and learning issues associated with the stated policy of supporting the initiatives by encouraging a shift to constructivist teaching and learning practices. Constructivism, as a key condition to the realisation of the Victorian government's new learning technology policy, is a far broader concept than is indicated in the descriptions provided in the Victorian government documents referred to in this thesis. The breadth of Constructivism and the philosophical links it has with post-modernist thought are contrasted to the behaviourist practices that still predominate in teaching practice. These philosophical links make change from behaviourist to constructivist strategies more than just a methodological change, being cultural in nature. As such they are harder to make than is indicated in the Victorian government documents, which fail to acknowledge the cultural dimension of the change that they are suggesting. The implementation strategies that have been adopted from these policies also fail to address the requirement for a cultural shift to a more constructivist approach. The failure to address the need for a change in the culture of teaching has meant that school based cultural issues continue to stand in the way of the successful adoption of new learning technologies. The thesis concludes with a number of recommendations, key amongst them, the adoption of situated, authentic professional development of teachers in the use of new learning technologies in a constructivist manner.