Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Shame and Stigma: Investigating Teacher Awareness, Understanding and Response
    Maguire, Alanna Kate ( 2023-07)
    This research has taken an interdisciplinary approach to exploring teachers’ awareness, understanding and response to shame and stigma occurring in the classroom. Shame is an affective experience of failure by comparison, where the research suggests stigma causes shame (Lewis, 1998). A review of the research literature showed that teacher perspectives of students’ shame and stigma was an under researched phenomenon. Situated within Social Constructivism, and making use of qualitative methods, specifically semi-structured interviews, this research has made four contributions to knowledge on shame and stigma in schools. First, that teacher understanding of shame can be narrow, and that sometimes teachers unknowingly use language that can minimise their students' experience of shame and stigma. Second, while possessing limitations, the Compass of Shame could be used as a tool to ameliorate this issue by helping teachers to identify and name their students’ affective experience through their behaviour. Third, the data showed that teachers were blocked from acting in support of their students due to performativity pressures related to neoliberal education. Finally, drawing on the Positioning Theory framework, this study revealed that students’ experience can be analysed to understand how shame and stigma were circulated and reproduced to the detriment of equity of access to the classroom environment.
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    20 Days of 2020: Moving through the institutional body language of Melbourne museums in lockdown
    Walker, Yvette Lauren ( 2023-07)
    This visual digital a/r/tographic inquiry uses trace and the in-between as method to speculate upon posthuman visual languages and future museum education pedagogies in a combined visual and written exegesis. This research harnesses the remote disruptions of pandemic conditions for responsive research creation while critically analysing the digital traces of five Melbourne museum Instagram archives from 2020. The study seeks to unfold and reimagine with the visual languages, codes, architectures and frames that contribute to a museum’s institutional body language in a time of forced physical closure, it asks; What can we learn about the changing nature of museum education from exploring Melbourne museums through Instagram posts in 2020? Underpinned by a/r/tography and connectivist concepts this exegesis applies feminist new materialist methods in data-led, iterative, generative visual cycles to speculate with social networks, virtual encounters and the influence of new technologies upon visual digital a/r/tographic praxis. Emergent visual questions arising from the archived data, were fed through an embedded Instagram feedback loop to the museum industry. These dialogic visual questions between digital collaborators, museum industry and a/r/tographic ‘selves’ formed provocations about what feeds and shapes our ways of visually knowing the world. A triggering event led to rethinking trained research methods and the development of an alternative museum narrative set, instigating new lines of inquiry. Readers move between text and image to experience the entangled meaning making processes of this inquiry and are invited into the virtual visual exegesis as avatar for a disembodied encounter with/in the metaverse research ‘world’. Working as architect, curator, artist, participant and builder in the metaverse of Spoke Mozilla, opened pedagogic imaginings and sensorial wonderment for the possible multiple narratives that future museum’s might welcome. A recorded walk through and still screen shots are also provided. All (d)a/r/ta work is stored in figshare depository and is accessible from chapter links within the text.
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    Unveiling the Third Teacher in the Early Years: Investigating early childhood teachers’ conceptual understandings of learning environments in International Baccalaureate World Schools
    Zinn, Fiona Clarke ( 2023-04)
    Since the 1960’s, educators in the municipal pre-schools and infant-toddler centres of Reggio Emilia have described the environment as the “third teacher”. This declaration has prompted early childhood educators around the globe to re-consider the role of learning spaces in a quest to understand its pedagogic, cognitive and affective impacts on young children’s learning. Contemporary learning environments research highlights the relationship between teachers’ spatial analysis competencies, the iterative design/construction of learning environments and the resulting impact on learning/experience. Much good work has already been done in this field; however, little empirical research exists to guide early childhood teachers’ conceptual spatial analysis processes, particularly those in International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools. This study examines data from IB early childhood teachers undertaking a conceptual approach, to interrogate their learning environments, unveiling them as the third teacher. The conceptual framework for this investigation is derived from the IB Primary Years Program (PYP) framework and is based on the seven PYP key concepts: form, function, change, causation, connection, perspective and responsibility. Through collaborative and conceptual analysis of learning environments, this study addresses the following research questions: a) How do IB Early Years Teachers’ understandings of the term environment as the third teacher change through a process of collaborative concept-based analysis? b) How do the seven key concepts of the PYP support educators to unpack and expand their understandings of the structure, function, purpose and impact of their learning environments? c) What are the benefits, limitations and possible applications of using concept-based analysis processes to explore teachers’ co-constructed professional learning about the learning environment? This research draws on an interpretivist approach through a multi-site case study and rhizomatic analysis; it produces contextual descriptions of the educational potential of early childhood learning environments. It examines a sample of four early childhood teams across three IB Schools, that draw upon the educational approach of Reggio Emilia to extend implementation of the PYP. Adopting the PYP concepts as tools for constructivist investigation, participants engaged collaboratively over a five-month period to extend their understandings of the design, assemblage, influence and aesthetic vibrations of their learning environments. Discussions with participants, across three phases of participatory action research (PAR), identified four lenses for data analysis: purpose, structure, function and impact. Findings assert two arguments: advocacy for the creation of professional learning experiences that target the development of spatial competency skills, and validation of the concept as method approach as a suitable and relevant scaffold for learning within the IB education community. This study contributes to the field of early childhood education and learning environment design in three specific ways: to increase understanding of the pedagogical role and educational potential of learning environments in the early years; to heighten educator awareness of the applicability of the PYP curricular concepts in professional learning; and to propose a strategy for constructing and applying informed understandings to iterative learning environment re/design.
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    An investigation of principals’ views on the factors that influence the place and provision of music in primary schools
    Perry, David John ( 2023-03)
    Though music remains an historically strong part of Australian school life, it is vulnerable to low resourcing and lack of status. Much of the literature specifically references the barriers to achieving a level of music provision that meets the needs of students in each individual school community. Research indicates that the principal is a significant influence on music provision in schools compared to other factors, although this is often overlooked in the literature. While the principal as change agent is well documented in certain music education literature, it is unusual to see their views explored in great depth. To investigate this gap, three primary principals from state schools in Melbourne’s northern suburbs in Victoria, Australia, were recruited for an interview-based study that sought to explore the question: What are the perspectives and ideas that shape principals’ views of music education? The study design used semi-structured interviews following a pre-interview survey and used an interpretivist paradigm due to the study’s emphasis on observation and interpretation. Interview data was categorised by theme, and language use was analysed using Conversational Analysis and Discourse Analysis methods. Critical theory, with its emphasis on social and power structures, was chosen as a theoretical framework. Findings suggested that the constraints on principals in Victorian schools, that had been identified in other, non-music education literature, could impact their capacity for provision of music. Principals are identified as possibly the strongest factor in the level and quality of provision, and as provision has been shown to be inconsistent, it is reasonable to assume that the capacity of individual principals is also inconsistent. While many principals value music and will endeavour to resource it in spite of barriers, it is suggested that the benefits of having music in schools be more broadly communicated to all stakeholders to elevate its status. All participants demonstrated a commitment to prioritising music provision at their school, and a willingness to learn more about its benefits. Furthermore, they also articulated the broader concept of needing to extend the knowledge about music’s benefits at a system and / or principal network level, in order to better support principals’ capacity to ensure music provision.
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    Fostering students’ dialogic imagination: the potential of CLIL to promote cosmopolitan learning
    Fompudie, Celine Elizabeth ( 2023-02)
    In the context of global connections, there has been a widespread recognition of the potential of language learning to promote intercultural skills. However, current language teaching practices seem to promote a fixed notion of culture by focussing on teaching cultural achievements and celebrations. In order to recognise the complexity of cultural practices engendered by globalisation, this thesis argues that the teaching of intercultural skills in language education might be best conceived within a cosmopolitan paradigm. This thesis adopts a view of cosmopolitanism as a cultural attitude towards others based on our dialogic imagination. What makes a cosmopolitan attitude possible is our imagination, our capacity to explore and incorporate other ways of living and thinking. The thesis develops a view of cosmopolitan learning as a teaching approach aimed at fostering students’ dialogic imagination by providing them with the necessary conditions to develop a cosmopolitan attitude. The thesis articulates the idea that to be cosmopolitan, learning needs to be dialogic, transformative and ethical. To explore how intercultural competence and understanding might be better developed from a cosmopolitan lens, this study examines the potential of the Content and Language Integrated Leaning (CLIL) approach to foster students’ dialogic imagination. CLIL emerged in transnational Europe in the mid-1990s as an innovative approach to language learning whose key principle is to teach content in an additional language. A case study of a year 9 class studying history in French was conducted and data was generated from classroom discourse and students’ interviews. Findings shows that by creating transnational and translingual spaces, CLIL promotes an interactive learning space where students critically engage and dialogue with a multiplicity of voices, suggesting that the CLIL approach has the potential to promote cosmopolitan ideals. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that adopting a cosmopolitan lens to the teaching of intercultural understanding and competence allows us to articulate a dynamic view of culture that recognises the cultural complexity brought about by globalisation.
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    Inverting the Past: The Flipped Pedagogical Model and Historical Understanding
    Landvogt, Charlene Louise ( 2022)
    This thesis explores how a flipped pedagogical approach can foster historical understanding. The study adopts the model of historical thinking advanced by Seixas (2017) and the Historical Thinking Project (2015). Historical thinking encompasses substantive and procedural knowledge: the former is concerned with the content of the past, the latter with the method of history. They are interrelated concepts that are equally important to historical thinking. Effective historical thinking enables students to demonstrate historical understanding. The flipped pedagogical model requires teachers to invert the teaching and learning process. Work traditionally learnt in class is completed prior to class as preparatory activities. Class time is subsequently devoted to in class activities that facilitate higher-order thinking. The flipped pedagogical model advanced in this study contains four interrelated components: required preparation, consolidation activities, in class activities, and summative assessment. This model can be applied to history curricular in order to facilitate historical understanding. Substantive knowledge is learnt prior to class as required preparation and reviewed during consolidation activities. Procedural knowledge is then learnt during in class activities as historical thinking concepts are applied to substantive matter. In the final component, students complete summative assessment to showcase historical understanding. There is a dearth of study evaluating the flipped pedagogical approach in history education generally, and the flipped pedagogical approach in Australian history classrooms specifically. This study is therefore concerned with examining the four components of the approach and the extent to which they can foster historical understanding. An action research strategy was used within a teacher research framework to investigate students’ perception of the flipped pedagogical approach in a Year 10 History classroom. Three forms of data were collected: student work samples, surveys, and focus groups. The project provides recommendations, in the form of a model of flipped pedagogy, that can assist teachers to deliver curricula that promotes historical understanding. This model addresses the role of the teacher, the role of the student, the interconnectedness of the four components of the flipped pedagogical model, criteria for resources or activities used and suggested teaching and learning activities.
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    How Makerspaces Encourage Deep Learning in Young Children: A Case Study
    Ross, Emma Natalie ( 2022)
    Globalisation and rapid technological change have created an ever-changing workforce with more importance being placed on the ability to think creatively and strategically problem solve than ever before. If we want today’s learners to thrive now and in the future by rising to meet new challenges then learning and schooling must be reimagined. The Maker Movement is making an increasingly significant impact on the educational landscape around the world and school makerspaces are an example of a pioneering change education organisations are adopting as they rethink traditional classrooms and pedagogies to better equip students with skills required for a successful future. Research indicates that makerspaces have the potential to generate significant contributions to student learning; however, there is little information about how a dedicated makerspace contributes to the teaching and learning in early years settings. This thesis aims to provide insights into and suggestions for education systems and schools in implementing a school makerspace by: 1. Identifying connections between the teaching and learning of creativity, collaboration and critical thinking and the physical makerspace 2. Outlining the benefits and challenges of teaching and learning in a makerspace and connections that can be made to the curriculum. 3. Creating a case study of a primary school makerspace, including detailed vignettes of makerspace lessons, which will act as an exemplar for widespread inspiration and transformative pedagogies. The overall research design of the study was an Exploratory Case Study (Yin, 1994). The research site was a makerspace in a metropolitan Victorian government primary school, involving teachers and children in the early years of school. Subsequent data collection involved makerspace lesson observations, teacher semi-structured interviews and the collection of learning artefacts in the form of photographs and student work samples. This thesis seeks to make a contribution to the discourse around new imaginings for the future of schooling by exploring the pedagogies and learning experiences in a school makerspace and examining the impact that they have on the development of Deep Learning Capabilities (Fullan, 2012) required for a successful future, exploring the potential they have to revolutionise education.
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    Fit for purpose: the extent to which perceptions of effective curriculum leadership align with the AITSL Lead Standards
    Lamont, Caitlin Victoria ( 2022)
    The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership is responsible for professional standards for teachers in Australia. This study examined the Lead level Standards to ascertain possible alignment with practices of middle curriculum leaders in secondary schools in Melbourne, Australia. Ten middle curriculum leaders with various curriculum responsibilities were interviewed from across six Catholic and independent school settings in Melbourne, Australia. Curriculum leadership practices were found to align closely to Standard 2; ‘Know the content and how to teach it’, Standard 3; ‘Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning’, and Standard 6; ‘Engage in professional learning’, as these Standards broadly detail curriculum development activities. Practices discussed by participants which did not align closely with the Standards were collaboration and management of staff, suggesting that there are gaps within Standards. Gaps between practice and the Standards are apparent as leadership actions are not addressed specifically, but rather the Standards aim to describe actions that promote quality teaching. As middle leaders can simultaneously be understood as teachers and as leaders, this gap demonstrates that the Lead Standards are not completely fit for purpose. The middle leadership work was shown to be context sensitive and context responsive, with significant possibility to impact on student learning.
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    Reading their stories: Year Four students describe and reflect on learning to read
    Sear, Rachael Louise ( 2022)
    Reading engagement is a growing area of research as the connection to reading achievement is explored and documented (Cullinan, 2000; Guthrie, 2008). This qualitative research explores reading engagement in a primary school setting by using case study and narrative inquiry methodology to connect theoretical research with the lived experience of six Year Four students. Using data collected through individual interviews and a reading attitude survey, six individual narratives trace the students' memories of learning to read from preschool to their current classroom. These narratives offer some insights into the diversity of student experiences of learning to read and how experiences can shape reading engagement.
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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.