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ItemSpiritual health: its nature and place in the school curriculumFisher, John W. ( 1998-04)As spirituality first appeared in Australian curriculum documents in 1994, it was important to establish how educators thought it related to student well- being. In this research a description and four accounts of spirituality - spiritual rationalism, monism, dualism, and multidimensional unity - were developed from available literature. The literature also revealed four sets of relationships important to spiritual well-being. These were the relationships of a person with themself, others, environment, and Transcendent Other. The model of spiritual health proposed here claims that these four sets of relationships can be developed in corresponding Personal, Communal, Environmental and Global domains of human existence, each of which has two aspects - knowledge and inspiration. Progressive synergism describes the inter-relationship between the four domains. The quality of relationships in the four domains constitutes , spiritual well-being in each domain. Spiritual health is indicated by the combined effect of spiritual well-being in each of the domains embraced by a person. The principles of grounded theory qualitative research methodology were used to investigate the views of 98 teachers from a variety of schools near Melbourne. Feedback from 23 Australian experts, on the researcher’s definitions, is discussed. To encompass all the teachers’ views of spiritual health, to the initial categories of Personalist, Communalist, Environmentalist and Globalist, a fifth category was added for the small group Rationalists, who embraced the knowledge, but not the inspiration/transcendent aspects, of the first three domains of spiritual well-being. All the teachers believed spiritual health should be included in the school curriculum, most rating it of high importance, two-thirds believing it should be integral to the curriculum. The teachers’ major curriculum concerns focussed on Self, Others, the Transcendent, or Wholeness. Investigation of those teacher characteristics seen as important for promoting spiritual health, with associated hindrances and ideals, showed variation by gender, personal view of spiritual health, major curriculum concern, teacher and school type. Greatest variation was noticed when comparing school type. State school teachers emphasised care for the individual student from a humanistic perspective. Catholic school teachers were concerned for the individual, with religious activities being implemented by dedicated teachers. Other Christian school teachers focussed on corporate, not individualistic, activities, and emphasised relationship with God. Other non-government school teachers emphasised tradition, with attendant moral values. Implications of these variations on school choice are discussed. Principals’ behaviour, speech and attitude were considered by the teachers to be vital in providing opportunities for spiritual development in schools. A 30-item Spiritual Health Measure (of Humanistic and Religious Aspects of Spiritual Health) was developed using the researcher’s model of spiritual health and data from 300 UK teachers. The SHM should be useful as a diagnostic for individuals or groups to provide base data from which to plan enhancement of their spiritual health. This thesis contains an analysis of how well the Victorian Curriculum & Standards Framework provides guidelines for promoting spiritual health. A position of responsibility, called Spiritual Facilitator, is proposed to help ensure that the rhetoric about spiritual well-being is put into practice in schools.
ItemPolicy, theory and practice in early childhood curriculum design and implementation: a study of one Australian state: VictoriaREYNOLDS, BRONWYN ( 2003)This thesis seeks to identify how and who informs the state-funded preschool curriculum program for four-year-old children in Victoria, Australia. The study took place over a one year period, and involved interviewing nine officials, eight academics and twenty seven preschool teachers regarding their beliefs and espoused theories about the preschool curriculum in relation to policy, theory and practice. Twelve of the teachers interviewed were invited to participate further in the study, so that the relationship between their espoused theories and practices could be determined. This part of the study involved field visits and this provided a means of collecting data through direct observation using the Framework of Perspectives and Descriptions of Practice (Raban et aI., 2003a, 2003b), a tool designed by the Early Childhood Consortium at The University of Melbourne. Other means of data collection included informal discussions with teachers, and collecting and analysing different documents. The paradigm for this research study was predominantly qualitative but combined some quantitative data. This approach was incorporated into the design of the study because the nature of the investigation demanded a holistic and naturalistic approach. Multiple sources of data collection also helped to improve the reliability and validity of the findings, by converging lines of enquiry. This comprehensive approach meant that appropriate comparisons and contrasts could be made using numerical data, and this required the inclusion of some quantitative techniques. The findings of this study reveal a strong need for curriculum guidelines to be reconceptualised to reflect current understandings about young children's learning and development. The need for greater depth in a curriculum framework was evident, not only in relation to how children learn but regarding content and guidelines for appropriate goals for children. These views were also consistent with beliefs and understandings about the two existing curriculum documents for four-year-old children in funded preschool programs, in the year before compulsory schooling. These two documents are the Early Childhood Curriculum Guidelines 3 - 5 Year Olds (Department of Health and Community Services, 1991), and the Preschool Quality Assessment Checklist (Department of Human Services, 1996b). The overwhelming consensus was that both documents had little or no influence on preschool practices in Victoria. This study also found that stakeholders held similar views and understandings about the importance for preschool teachers to know about curriculum theories and pedagogical practices. However, the findings revealed that 83% of preschool teachers' practices were not congruent with their espoused theories. This study concludes by addressing further research issues and recommendations for policy-makers, academics and preschool teachers, in order to foster high quality preschool programs for children in Victoria.
ItemPathways to work: a micro-study of young people through post-compulsory education to workTrembath, Frances Antoinette ( 2009)Social background and gender have long been recognised as factors which shape the quality of post-school outcomes. The children of professional families and girls have stayed longer in school and achieved better than the children of non-professional families and boys. Governments, both in Australia and around the world, use policy to counter this persistent problem. The focus of these policies on preventing school dropout presumes that the longer a young person is engaged in school the better the post-school outcome. This is still not always the case. One such policy was the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) which, amongst other things, increased the breadth of post-compulsory school curriculum to address the needs of an increasingly diverse student body and act as a conductor of relevant learning through these years. The aim of this work is threefold - A better understanding of both the pathways, including curriculum, taken through school taken by each of the members of the Class of ’95 and the work outcomes of the school experience, including academic achievement, of each of them. - A better understanding of the connection, if any, of these pathways and outcome with individual family background and gender. - An appraisal of the contribution of the school in neutralising social origin as a factor determining the quality of post-school outcomes. In order to explore the quality of post-school outcomes this research follows the pathways through secondary school to work of one hundred and sixty-three young people who commenced their secondary school journey in Year 7 together at the same college. A longitudinal case study, this work explores the journey of these students for thirteen years by which time all were established in work. The secondary education of this cohort was provided by a non-selective co-educational Catholic Regional College located in the outer urban fringe of Melbourne. The cohort was socially diverse and dominated by children from the families of non-professional white-collar workers. This dominance increased over time since students from this social background were the least likely to drop-out of school for work. It was found that social background permeated all aspects of school experience from Year 7 to Year 12 academic achievement to the decision to stay on in school and choice of subjects in the post-compulsory secondary school years. The latter influenced competitiveness for university and TAFE course places. All in the cohort who stayed in school passed the VCE. But competitiveness for university and TAFE course places was again aligned on social and gender grounds which favoured the traditional users of education who studied the traditional VCE. This meant that school policy of providing a broad based curriculum aimed at meeting needs of the very diverse student population was in tension with the limiting policy of university course selectors.
ItemPolitics and prescription: an analysis of reading texts in Victorian government primary schools 1872-1970Edwards, Kelvin ( 2007)For a period of almost one hundred years - from the 1872 Education Act until 1970 the Victorian Education Department prescribed the reading curriculum of children in government primary schools, using texts from Ireland and Britain, followed by three sets published by the Department. This thesis describes the procedures undertaken in the selection of these texts, and analyses their contents in the light of the educational thinking of the times and the prevailing political, social and economic conditions. The Irish Books of Lessons were components of a national system of education in Ireland designed to provide a non-denominational religious education for all children. Emphasis was placed on literary and moral values, Old Testament history and political economy. Transplanted to the colony of New South Wales, the Irish ideal of a common education failed because of intractable religious disputes between Anglican and Roman Catholic clerics. In Victoria there was discord in parliament relating to the contents of the books and the secular provision in the 1872 Education Act. In 1877 these books were replaced by the British Royal Readers, containing informational matter, English literature, and history related in terms of battles won and deeds of service for the Empire. Alterations to some items in the Royal Readers on the order of the Minister of Public Instruction because of their religious content caused further contention in parliament. Action from Roman Catholic sources succeeded in the banning of other books from schools on sectarian grounds, an outcome that had important ramifications for the administration of education in Victoria. Religious sensibilities were appeased with the Minister's decision to replace imported texts with the locally-produced School Papers in 1896. These monthly publications contained literature, informational items, stories for enjoyment and others of a moralistic bent. The Anglophile nature of the Royal Readers was maintained with material promoting loyalty to Britain and the Empire. Wide coverage of the Boer War and World War I was included. The inter-war period saw a growing emergence of an Australian identity in the School Papers, with fewer items calling for fealty to Crown and Empire, and local writers increasingly featured. The Victorian Readers, introduced in 1928, were the repository of the literature that remained an important element of the reading curriculum, much of it from Australian authors. Articles promoting peace in the reading material at this time foreshadowed the muted coverage of World War II in the School Papers. The new set of reading books published in the 1950s and 1960s continued in the literary style of their predecessors, with writing by current Australian and international authors. The capacity of the School Papers to respond to events as they unfolded enabled the readers to be kept informed of Australia's increasing involvement with Asia, the decline of old affiliations and the formation of new geopolitical alliances.