Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Abraham Isaac (Alf) Salkin (1923-2005): An Investigation of his Contributions and Legacy in the Fields of Botany, Conservation and Environmental Education
    Price, Garry George ( 2022)
    This historical narrative explores Alf Salkin's salient contributions to the fields of botany, conservation and environmental education from the 1960s until his death in 2005. The thesis is not intended to be a chronology of events nor a biography of Alf Salkin, but rather an historical narrative focusing on Salkin's endeavours and the global, local and personal circumstances that might have influenced his activities. Alf Salkin contributed to botany through his academic articles and through his writings for a wider non-specialist audience, particularly with his focus on Banksias. He participated extensively in the Society for Growing Australian Plants (SGAP) and he established the Special Collections Area at Cranbourne Gardens. He was extremely generous with his sharing of botanical knowledge and materials and he inspired many people to further grow and research Australian plants. Salkin's contributions to conservation included initiating a program of student planting of Australian plants at Mount Waverley High School, establishing the 'Friends of Valley Reserve' in Mount Waverley and playing a leading role in the development of the concept of the importance of plant provenance in regeneration projects. Salkin based his teaching on the theories of learning that emphasised the need to align learning with real-life social and physical settings and he subscribed passionately to the viewpoint that art is an important element of environmental education. Consequently, he acquainted his students with the works and lifestyles of some relevant Australian artists in his attempts to create greater environmental awareness among the student cohort. Furthermore, he attempted to increase environmental awareness in his art students by discussing the distribution and variation of Banksias and by having students make leaf prints of various Banksia species. He contributed to environmental education outside formal education settings by increasing popular knowledge of Banksias through SGAP publications and through articles on the history of their European discovery and naming. This thesis contributes to knowledge through an analysis of Alf Salkin's accomplishments. It has the potential to be influential with regard to botany, conservation and environmental education by demonstrating what can be achieved by a modest individual imbued with passion, commitment and generosity.
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    Community environmental attitudes and the Victorian school curriculum: An historical narrative of their connections from 1835 to 2000
    Price, Garry George ( 2019)
    This historical narrative explores the connections between community environmental attitudes and the Victorian school curriculum from 1835, the year of the first official communication about education in the Port Phillip District (now Victoria), to 2000, the year of the implementation of Curriculum and Standards Framework II, the revised version of the first comprehensive curriculum for Victorian primary and secondary schools. The thesis is divided into three major time periods based on political developments in Victoria, viz, the Colonial Era from 1835 to 1900, from Federation in 1901 to the end of the 1950s and from 1960 to 2000. During the Colonial Era the prevailing view was that of anthropocentrism with the natural environment being there for exploitation by humans. This view was both reflected and promoted in the Victorian school curriculum as shown, inter alia, by the contents of The Irish National Readers, The Royal Readers and the early copies of The School Paper. The period from Federation until the end of the 1950s was characterised by an expansion of exploitation of the natural environment and by a relatively inert Victorian school curriculum, albeit with increasing emphasis on Australian content especially in The School Paper and The Victorian Readers. Teaching was usually didactic and learning was largely mimetic. The period from 1960 to 2000 saw continued exploitation of the natural environment but it also saw significant dissonance in much of the Western world, contributing to a rise in environmental consciousness and consequent environmentalism. The changes in community environmental attitudes were recognised in the Victorian school curriculum with the development of 'environmental' content to be taught in a constructivist manner, albeit less successfully than was initially expected because of, inter alia, the lack of resources and inadequate appropriate training of teachers.