Faculty of Education - Theses

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    Transforming policy into practice : the implementation of the Curriculum and Standards Framework in primary schools in Victoria
    Meyer, Heather ( 1997)
    This thesis examines individual school use of a newly introduced curriculum policy, the Curriculum and Standards Framework (CSF). Its purpose was to explore how a central policy impacted on individual schools and the processes that occurred within the school to transform CSF policy into classroom practice. It examines the way knowledge relating to CSF policy and other knowledge was transferred and used within schools and the factors that affected this process. The context in which this innovation occurred was examined before considering the determinants and outcomes of policy use. Recent knowledge utilisation theory in the area of policy innovation was used to refine ideas further. It was argued that a major determinant of CSF use was the characteristics of the CSF itself. From this a tentative three level conceptual model for CSF policy use was constructed. Variation in. use, it was reasoned, depended on local capacity to utilise curriculum knowledge. These arguments formed the basis of the research questions. A multiple case study approach was used to determine both the general pattern for CSF use and variations in use. An exploratory approach, gaining data from many sources within each of the sites over time, was utilised. Analysis of the data showed that the conceptual model was appropriate and a single factor, defined as "culture of change", accounted for most of the variation between sites. This factor was a conglomerate of sub-factors concerning structures, knowledge, processes and capabilities within individual school sites. In line with other similar studies, the thesis demonstrated the importance of local factors in policy use. The thesis goes further than other studies of this type by identifying the particular structures, practices and expertise that resulted in informed curriculum policy implementation through effective knowledge utilisation. In particular, the study demonstrated the importance of intensive structured professional interaction to maximise knowledge utilisation.
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    The attitudes and concerns of Catholic parish primary school principals and teachers toward the integration of students with disabilities into regular schools
    Riley, Elizabeth A ( 1997)
    This study was undertaken to identify' and compare the attitudes of Catholic Parish Primary School principals and teachers toward the integration of students with disabilities. The study also investigated variations in attitude toward integration for sub-groups of the principals and teachers. In addition, this study ascertained the concerns these educators have about the implementation of integration in their schools. A three part questionnaire was used to collect the data. It consisted of items relating to the background characteristics of the respondents and their schools, a modified version of the Attitude Toward Mainstreaming Scale (Berryman & Neal, 1980) and an open ended question eliciting educators' concerns about integration. Fifty five principals and 145 full time classroom teachers in the Northern Area of the Archdiocese of Melbourne responded to the questionnaire. T-tests were employed to compare the attitudes of the principals and teachers toward integration., Thematic analysis was used to examine the concerns of educators. Several major findings emerged from the study. Principals were found to hold more positive attitudes toward integration than classroom teachers. Principals were also significantly more positive than teachers toward the integration of students with severe disabilities. Younger principals held significantly more positive attitudes toward integration than older principals. No significant differences were identified for sub groups of the teacher sample. Similarity existed between the two groups of educators in terms of their expressed major concerns about integration. Lack of school based support personnel, funding and training, in that order, were recorded most frequently by both groups of educators.
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    The effectiveness of the Auditory Skills Program in developing auditory skills in severe to profoundly hearing impaired children
    Paatsch, Louise E ( 1997)
    This study assessed the effectiveness of the Auditory Skills Program (Romanik, 1990) in developing the auditory skills of a group of severe to profound hearing impaired school aged children. It also measured speech perception and speech production skills during and following participation in the program. The Auditory Skills Program is a comprehensive graded program which aims to develop the hearing impaired child's speech and linguistic skills through audition. In this study 18 severe to profound hearing impaired children ranging in age from 6 to 12 years received twice weekly sessions based on the Auditory Skills Program for a period of three months. Auditory skill development was measured at monthly intervals using the assessment tool within the program, the Placement test. The PLOTT test ( Plant and Westcott, 1983) was used to measure speech perception skills. Speech production skills were measured using the 108 single word articulation test (Paatsch, 1992) and conversational speech samples using phonological process analysis. The subjects were tested at the commencement of during, and following the cessation of, participation in the Auditory Skills Program. They were also tested 5 months post participation in the program. The Auditory Skills Program was effective in developing auditory skills in this group of severe to profoundly hearing impaired subjects. There was a significant improvement in auditory skills in the group of subjects during participation in the program. A deterioration in these skills occurred following cessation of participation in the Auditory Skills Program. Speech perception skills also improved significantly during participation in the Auditory Skills Program. Speech production skills significantly improved when measured using the 108 single word articulation test. No change occurred in speech production skills as measured by spontaneous conversational speech samples during participation in the Auditory Skills Program. This study found the Auditory Skills Program to be an effective tool for developing auditory skills and enhancing the development of speech perception and speech production skills in this group of severe to profound hearing impaired children.
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    Health perceptions of the elderly, a qualitative study
    Vucic, Nina I ( 1997)
    The study used a qualitative approach in determining elderly people's perception of health, that is, those 75 years of age and over. Of the 14 subjects included in the study, four were Australian-born (one male and three females), six Greek females and four Chinese people (one male and three females). Both individual in-depth interviews and focus group interviews were utilized in gathering data The results revealed that of the 14 subjects, twelve were consistent in their perception, that health was that state in which there was an absence of disease or illness. This view while coinciding with the pre 1947 concept of health, was not congruent with that put forward by the Better Health Commission in 1986 and adopted by the Australian Federal Government. The finding crossed barriers of socio-economic aspects, education and ethnicity within this small-scale study. The results also revealed that subjects had certain expectations of the healthcare profession and in the provision of healthcare services. These included a reallocation of healthcare funds, ensuring a more equitable spread; acceptance of alternate health models by professionals; and an increase in public hospital beds, commensurate with the increase in the Aged population. Further, regardless of country of origin, subjects expressed a strong desire to remain independent for as long as possible. In order to do so, five areas of need were cited, which would provide the elderly with peace of mind, security and a better quality of life. The areas outlined were: better communication with healthcare providers; better public transport system; affordable housing options; increase in pension; and more information disseminated to the Aged regarding services and programmes available. This study, while of small scale, identified and opened up several agendas for much needed research and further study.
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    A study in archetypal theory : alcohol and adolescent rites of passage
    Peake, Martin ( 1997)
    The study is an archetypal approach to adolescent male alcohol use in contemporary Australia. The study deals with four families (case-studies) and their stories about the period of adolescent development, especially the often problematic process of negotiating alcohol use. The study will examine the developmental process in pre-modern rites of passage and compare it with contemporary adolescent development in the four case-studies to identify whether there are similar archetypal patterns between them. It will also examine intra-family dynamics from an archetypal perspective, especially in relation to communication and projection. Finally, the study will examine whether there are similarities between pre-modern rites of passage, in terms of transferring power and responsibility from father to son, and how this affects the son's alcohol use and maturation.
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    Effects of teaching and learning atomic structure concepts through the use of constructivist influenced multimedia
    Wong, Norman Kwong-kai ( 1997)
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of female students toward multimedia learning and the way in which they accessed information from an interactive CD-ROM. The CD was an award winning educational software aimed at improving students' understanding of the periodic table and atomic structure. Twenty year-10 (14-15 year old) female students from a girls school in Melbourne, Victoria, participated in the project. An ethnographic approach was adopted which included a pre and post questionnaire and some videotaped laboratory observations. Results indicated that female students were generally aware of the value of multimedia learning programs and showed strong interest toward multimedia learning though they did not register a special preference toward multimedia learning in comparison with traditional ways of teaching (teacher talking and using textbooks). After working with the CD-ROM, no significant change was noticed in students' interest toward multimedia learning, their confidence in ability to learn and use multimedia software packages, and personal preference of instruction mode. Direct observation of students' interaction with the CD-ROM revealed that there was a strong tendency by the students not to access unfamiliar topics/areas. They tended to choose aspects of the CD-ROM that offered little learning difficulty or presented quick responses to short term goals. They spent most (60%) of their available time on the quiz section and ignored the tutoring aspects of the CD-ROM. According to the result of an opinion poll, students stated that the quiz game aspect of the CD was the most interesting area. Overall, students were unable or unwilling to explore the contents of the CD-ROM in a judicious way when teacher instruction or guidance was absent.
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    Principal expertise and problem-solving processes
    McKeand, Robin ( 1997)
    This case study is an exploration of Principal expertise and problem-solving in a large, co-educational, independent school in the eastern metropolitan area of Melbourne. Cognitive science perspectives are adopted to develop the nature of expert administrative practice, in order to highlight Principals' internal mental processes and their direct relationship to Principals' practices. Four characteristics or dimensions of expertise are examined, including a strong commitment to shared goals, cognitive flexibility, the Principal's contribution to the long-term development of staff and his or her use of the capacity of the staff to obtain solutions. The literature review involves an analysis of both expert, as opposed to typical Principals, since they vary in the processes they adopt to solve problems in group settings. Fourteen themes related to Principal expertise and problem-solving emerged from the findings of this particular case study. These include vision, communication of the vision and goals to the staff and decision making. This Principal demonstrated creative, future thinking; knowledge and information gathering; delegation; cognitive flexibility; strong values, especially when problems were non-routine and challenging together with a concentration on the change process. Also, the affect or feelings, mood and self-confidence that the Principal experiences when involved in problem-solving was studied. Finally, the possible relationship between expert problem-solving and transformational leadership, followed by the desirable features of school leadership expertise training programs, were examined. The findings from this study recommend a combination of strong theoretical knowledge, practical experience together with training in the human resource area and personnel management to include sound decision making processes and effective delegation. Further research is recommended concerning both the nature of educational expertise and problems encountered by school Principals as well as the identification of features for school leadership training programs.
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    The effects of ability grouping on the achievement and self-esteem of year 7, rural students
    Hildebrand, Janet A. ( 1997)
    This study investigated the achievement and self-esteem effects of ability grouping of a cohort of Year 7 students in a small country secondary school. Intelligence was used as a control variable to determine whether ability grouping enhanced the academic performance of students. Results indicated that no inequitable spread of achievement benefit between high aptitude and mid-low aptitude groups occurred during the project. After eight months the differences between the groups on academic, general, home and social self-esteem subscales remained the same as at the beginning, although there was some non-significant evidence of a decrease in academic self-esteem in the mid-low aptitude groups. The academic self-esteem decrease was reflected in the general self-esteem of one of the mid-low aptitude groups but not in the other. The results were rather ambiguous with regard to academic self-esteem, with considerable variation occurring across the groups across different times.
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    Opening the door of the 6th form chemistry laboratory: a study of professional collaboration between a science teacher and an English as a second language (ESL) teacher in senior chemistry
    Acevedo, Margaret Claire ( 1997)
    True professional teacher collaboration has been limited by the institutional roles which are constructed for us and through which we view ourselves. This thesis is a narrative case study of teacher collaboration for the purpose of addressing the language learning needs of English as a Second Language students in Year 12 Chemistry classes. It explores the issues involved in the professional working relationship through the voices of a Science teacher and an ESL teacher over a two year period. This was done through transcripts of classroom teaching, analysis of teaching and learning materials produced, interviews and reflective journal writing. The study looked at the groundwork which took place to establish a school climate conducive to the collaboration in terms of the Habermasian interests; technical, practical and emancipatory. The emancipatory nature of the collaboration is explained in terms of the repositioning of the teachers with regard to each other, the students, the scientific and linguistic subject matter. By exercising power in their respective fields the collaborating teachers achieved a professional parity which allowed them to reflect on their practice and move beyond the static and ritualised institutional roles of a Chemistry and an ESL teacher. Through the interaction they established language as legitimate content in the science classroom and together explored new practices afforded by the adoption of a social constructivist epistemology. This research points to the emergence of a new more empowering professional development role for ESL teachers in the future. At the heart of this collaboration is a commitment to conversations about issues of fundamental importance in classroom practice which reconcile boundaries of differing departmental cultures and discourses.