Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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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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    Thinking about historical thinking in the Australian Curriculum: History
    Martin, Gerard Francis ( 2012)
    This study analyses and evaluates the approach to historical thinking in the Australian Curriculum: History. This research study adopts interpretative discipline based pedagogy, with a document content analysis method. The study draws upon the research of Peter Lee (1983) on historical substantive and procedural concepts which have influenced the models of historical thinking by Wineburg (2000), Seixas (2006), Lévesque (2008) and historical reasoning by Van Drie and Van Boxtel (2008). These models provide a theoretical frame to critically evaluate the relationship and application of the disciplinary structures in the Australian Curriculum: History. Historical methods and procedures engage students in the process of historical construction through active historical thinking and reasoning. Research judgments are made on the effectiveness of the curriculum and its design in understanding and communicating the relationship between the substantive and procedural concepts of history as a discipline. The research findings indicate that the curriculum fails to recognize the importance and distinctiveness of substantive concepts as the building blocks of historical knowledge that make historical inquiry meaningful and intelligible. The analysis of substantive concepts in the Australian Curriculum: History using unique, organizational and thematic concepts reflects a curriculum that does not always pay attention to historical context. The study revealed that the curriculum fails to make explicit the interrelationship between substantive and procedural concepts in the Historical Knowledge and Understanding strand and the Historical Skills strand. This has resulted in a curriculum that does not enact the analytical and evaluative nature of procedural concepts such as historical significance, continuity and change, etc. Also, there is limited understanding of the method of application of procedural concepts like historical perspectives, contestability and empathy in the curriculum and as a result this undermines the role of these concepts in facilitating historical thinking. From this analysis a new pedagogical model, “Framework for Historical Reasoning” emerges which relates the historical substantive and procedural concepts and historical skills as a unified pedagogical approach. This model provides a framework which teachers can use to engage with the enacted curriculum and facilitate student historical inquiry and understanding.
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    The role of science in the design and impact of sustainability projects and curricula within a selected primary and secondary school: a Melbourne case study
    MOHANDOSS, MANJU ( 2011)
    As far as education is concerned, it remains our responsibility to educate students by providing leadership, knowledge and experiences to ensure we are building a sustainable future. Our students envisage a sustainable future and we are in a unique position to educate them to build infrastructure to provide long-term responsibilities and opportunities for sustainability towards our nation as well as our planet. The main aim of this study was to examine current views on the issue of sustainability held by teachers and curriculum designers within specific local educational and school contexts. This research project aims to enable two schools to begin a curriculum review and reform process to develop and support a local school culture. As a result, I decided to address these challenges by undertaking research studies to find out developments made under current knowledge of sustainable management programs across a local primary school and adjacent secondary school. I wanted teachers to share their ideas, their concerns and solutions to ensure implementation of effective programs. The purpose of the interviews was to get a detailed picture of their understanding and how this issue relates to school curriculum within the Victorian educational context. Qualitative research methodology was used with data collection based on semi-structured interviews. Qualitative methods with documents and interview data were analysed against the specific research questions as well as other consistent emergent themes. Interviewing and examining views of current knowledge of sustainable management programs by local primary and secondary school teachers showed that there is a need to interconnect learning areas from primary to secondary studies. Sustainability learning areas need to be linked for further specialised pre-service and teacher training programmes at the secondary school level.