Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Student views of talk interactions in learning: a case study of year 8 girls
    RYAN, JOANNE ( 2013)
    The aim of this study is to identify student attitudes to classroom talk interactions, specifically class discussion, to ascertain whether students view these contexts as opportunities for learning. The study also sought to isolate the ways students recognise talk as helping them to learn. Further, it is aimed to inform the pedagogical practice of teachers to assist them to co-construct, with students, class discussions that are more productive. Data was collected for the study from two cohorts of Year 8 girls over consecutive years, interview data from students and also interviews with four Year 8 learning area teachers. In the embedded sequential mixed-method design employed in this research, each data set gave rise to the next which sought to explicate and expand the themes emerging from the previous data set. Relationships of significance were found between enjoyment, learning, participation, teacher style (questioning and timing) and classroom culture and a conceptual model was developed which attempted to diagrammatically represent those relationships. The results also indicate the essential role of responsibility as key to class discussion. Responsibility for the success of a class discussion, one in which learning takes place, was found to be shared jointly by students and teachers. The findings for the study recommend a whole school approach to articulating and consistently and consciously applying mechanisms identified to generate more effective class discussions.
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    Introducing instrumental students to improvisation
    Dipnall, Mark Fairlie ( 2012)
    Improvisation has been an integral component of music practice throughout a variety of world musics, such as the Indonesian Gamelan, Japanese Kabuki Theatre, African drumming, Australian Indigenous music, Klezmer music, the Indian Raga, Jazz and Popular music. Instrumental tuition, within the present system of Western Education, on the other hand, tends to emphasise an early and ongoing commitment to the reading of notated music. Some of the literature in the area suggests that the emphasis for instrumental tuition should be concerned with improvisation thus producing opportunities to achieve a more personalised and independent result with music expression. By including improvisation within regular tuition the student instrumentalist could feel more at one with his or her own voice and imagination, rather than attempting to take on the role of reproducing the character and style of another person's notation. This thesis focussed on the development and provision of improvised music activities with high school students from Years 10 and 11. Consideration was given to how these improvised music activities might have impacted not only their improvisational skills but also broader attitudes to music. The study included a specifically designed curriculum emphasising improvisational techniques. It was constructed and implemented over a ten-week period with accompanying interviews, questionnaire and video. The aim of the study was to assess the impact of the implementation of this curriculum and how it could assist the learning and teaching of improvisation. The study's performance-ensemble consisted of rhythm and lead instrumentalists where all participants had the opportunity to engage with specific instrumental techniques that assisted the expression of improvisation. Simultaneously, all participants had the liberty of managing the lesson-content with original extemporised melody and composition. The results showed the participants experienced increased confidence with improvisation. The conclusion suggests that improvisation be viewed as an integral component within the teaching and learning of instrumental music.
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    Teacher perceptions of using immersive virtual environment (IVE) in a second language class
    SURESH, RATHIKA ( 2011)
    This study examines a teacher’s perception on the use of Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE) in a second language class. It is proposed that understanding teacher perception has a significant role in the adoption of any technology. Very little research has been conducted in this area that is specifically aimed at IVE adoption. This paper reveals that even if positive pedagogical outcomes and student experience are realised and acknowledged by the teachers in the use of IVE, the practical and technical difficulties perceived and experienced prior to and during its use eludes its continued adoption in teaching contexts. This study revealed that when using IVE for second language teaching, the affordance of communicating in the language being learnt is vital for second language learning and should be incorporated in the design of an educational IVE tool. Additionally this study revealed that the instant gratification offered by recent technologies like text messaging and social media overcasts the user experience offered by an IVE due to the inherent lack of spontaneity offered in the IVE medium. This is an important consideration during the evaluation of IVE tools. The findings make the case of recognition for time for experimentation and professional development for the teachers if they are to embrace new technologies including IVE. The importance of technical support and building technical confidence in teachers is highlighted in this study. Finally the lack of a comprehensive framework for the integration of IVE is revealed as an impediment for uptake of IVE in formal teaching contexts. As an outcome of this study it is recommended that the already existing Four dimensions framework (de Freitas, 2008) for evaluating IVE be modified to include practical considerations as the Fifth dimension for the selection process and new framework be developed as a guide for teachers with emphasis on the practical considerations to be addressed while using IVE in teaching contexts.
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    Students learn best when assessed for learning
    KHALLOUF, RIMA ( 2012)
    Perceptions related to student learning have altered. Independent learning has become the focus, encouraging today’s learners to think critically, laterally and creatively. The change is inevitable, but how do we monitor and record such changes? Crucial to the advancement in education and its pedagogy, is the understanding that all learning is dependent on a number of factors, the most important being the willingness of the student to learn and the practices of the classroom teacher. An important element of any research conducted in an attempt to understand the phenomenon of classroom practice and learning is observation. For this research, a two-month study was undertaken, using a case study class from an inner city private boy’s school. Lessons were observed and videotaped in order to provide the researcher with an authentic view of what went on in the classroom. The key research questions were: 1. How do the students and the teacher perceive and act out their roles within a classroom, attempting to develop learner awareness? 2. How does assessment feedback manifest within the classroom learning dynamic and contribute to student learning? 3. Can an extended ethnographic observation of a one semester-length class contribute to knowledge about teaching, learning and formative assessment? Assessment for learning is a recommended element in teaching, given that the intention of any practitioner is to enhance student learning. It is difficult to know if the intended learning is taking place in any given classroom. We can assume that students are learning if the output of information meets the expectation of the teacher in concurrence with the teaching (input). The assessment undertaken should identify the level of student understanding and learning however; this depends on the individual teacher and their objectives as an educator. Some learning cannot be seen. The ability to think critically or understand concepts is not easily measured or monitored. In order to identify such ambiguous learning, various forms of analysis must take place. Participatory observation although passive, provides an opportunity to evaluate the relationship and dynamics, which exist between teacher and student. Different strategies were used to enhance student learning by the subject teacher, imparting his own philosophies on teaching and placing importance on the use of criteria sheets and note taking. Whilst the information gathered in the classroom was used to meet curriculum and reporting requirements, the ultimate intention of this teacher in his lessons was to ensure that the students took responsibility for their own learning, hence assisting them in meeting their own goals. The results of this study were reported as interpretations of the data, which emerged from the classroom lessons observed. The findings focused on the relationship between the teacher, students and learning. The value in videotaping classes was established and is recommended for use in the reflection process. The opportunity to discuss and share ideas, emanating from the classroom with colleagues in a casual and supportive manner is encouraged. Feedback is an essential component of learning. The purpose of this study is to build on current research in the area of formative assessment, improve classroom practice and revisit the intended purpose of formative assessment.
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    Cultural others: a new conception of cross-cultural management
    Le Lievre, Kathleen M. ( 2011)
    Organisations have increasingly become stages for cultural pluralism through engaging in workforce diversity, cross-border expansion and international cooperative arrangements. This thesis argues that much of the cross-cultural management literature has portrayed cultural differences as potentially damaging to organisational effectiveness. In emphasising culture-as-difference, this literature has marginalised a view of culture as differentiated perspectives in ways of ‘seeing’ and ‘doing’. This thesis contends that culture is a unique form of knowledge that can make a valuable contribution to the organisational learning practices of organisations and argues that this can be facilitated through better understanding of the impact of the organisational environment on ‘cultural others’. The argument is advanced through exploring traditional conceptions of culture and organisational culture that within organisations encourage management practices that mitigate individual cultural differences and promote cultural homogeneity based on unifying organisational values, beliefs and goals. As a result, organisational learning is confined to a subset of what is known by cultural others, filtered by the organisation’s own actions. It is argued that a new conception of culture is needed that considers an individual’s cognition as basic to the formation of knowledge as cultural and therefore as more than the de-contextualised accumulation of information in the ‘black box’ of the individual mind. As such, a framework of cognitive science, and in particular connectionist theory of learning and distributed cognition, are used to provide a more holistic account of knowledge as the meaning and actions that arise from situated learning and experiences that are contextually bound. At the individual level this thesis seeks to explain how individuals come to share in the ‘knowing’ and the ‘doing’ required in their activities. This view is expanded to the practice of workgroups where individual knowledge is combined, revealing the nature of cognition as socially distributed and regulating the group’s activities. Approaching the argument from the organisational context, this thesis draws attention to the factors that influence an organisation’s structure and culture, which in turn influence their perception of the value of knowledge and the learning strategies they employ. In particular, it focuses on ‘organisational culture’ as setting the context for the organisation’s activities which workgroups interpret to frame their practice. In bringing individual cognition and organisational context together, the discontinuity between the two is exposed as inhibiting both the effectiveness of ‘cultural others’ in deploying their knowledge and the organisation’s opportunity for realising value in differing perspectives and practices. To redress this failure, this thesis proposes a new framework as connection to practice that guides organisations to reconceptualise culture as knowledge to support their organisational learning ambitions.
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    Learning through simulation: powerful, purposeful and personal
    Huggins, Christopher Thomas ( 2011)
    Simulation has been in use for many years in the education of health professionals. The value of this as an educational pedagogy is under-researched. While there have been some valuable studies, these mostly focus on the technical aspects of simulation. The aim of this research was to examine simulation beyond the development of technical skills, to determine the validity of simulation in the development of higher-order thinking and clinical judgement. Simulation has been in use in one form or another in the development of health care professionals for many years. Until recently simulation was generally seen as an adjunct to the education and training process, and not part of the overall development of the professional. However in more recent times with the reduction in the availability of clinical practicums and the increased demand for these placements, simulation has become a more important part of the educational process. Yet the research into the effectiveness of simulation in the development of the health care professional is currently under researched as discussed above. For this reason it is an area requiring further research. This is a qualitative study involving educators and students from nursing, medicine, paramedicine and the fire brigade. Eighteen educators and eighteen students were interviewed through semistructured interviews. The observations were restricted to the pseudo-authentic workplace and consisted of seven educators, forty-six students from paramedicine and the non-emergency patient transport sectors. A review of curriculum documents was also undertaken to locate and assess the espoused views of the teaching organisation on simulation in the education of their students. The findings were triangulated to provide reliability to the results. This research has shown that simulation is a pedagogy that can assist in the development of higher-order thinking and judgement-making during “hot action”. This study has identified that the development of higher-order thinking and judgement-making through public reflection occurs best in the third phase of a simulation. In conclusion, simulation is a powerful learning and teaching pedagogy, and can be considered as one of the active learning pedagogies. Furthermore, if the simulation is well constructed and executed, it can provide valid experiences for the participants. These experiences can provide for the development of an epistemology of practice with highly developed higher-order thinking and clinical judgement capabilities.