Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    The Experience of School Participation for Professional Women
    Henriksen, Joanne Lisa ( 2022)
    A significant body of contemporary education research and policy literature conveys connection between forms of parent participation and educational outcomes for children. Yet, the experience of professional women of participation in their child’s schooling remains relatively under-researched. This study focusses specifically on the nature of these women’s experiences, the factors that influence them to participate and schools’ treatment of professional women with regard to the contributions they might make. Attending to experience, the study used phenomenology to guide the investigation. The principal purpose of the study was to illuminate the lived experience of a group of professional women as participants in their child’s school. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with a group of professional women with school-aged children. Moustakas’ (1994) approach to phenomenological reduction and van Manen’s (1997) existential lifeworlds framework were used to guide the data analysis and determine the nature of the experience. The following themes emerged from the participants' stories: the experience of limited participation; the values of school participation; tensions around advocacy, expertise and power, the gendering of participation, and the perceived incompatibility of roles - the good mother and the good professional. Professional women sit at the nexus of competing demands and ideologies around motherhood alongside ideologies rooted in being a professional. The study found that the gendered nature of participatory practices marginalises the role that professional women can play in schools. These women also have knowledge and skills that could greatly benefit schools, however schools are not currently utilising this knowledge. In understanding what professional women with school-aged children experience, schools, teachers and policy makers may be better equipped to enhance the experience of participation and the value it could add to schools. Furthermore, they may become more fully aware of the ethico-politicial issues that attach to parent participation.
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    Marketing in Private Vocational Schools in Indonesia
    Setiawan, Ruben Sebastian ( 2022)
    There is a general lack of research into marketing and market orientation in schools, especially regarding Indonesian schools. Private vocational schools in Indonesia provide an important employment focussed pathway for students in the upper secondary years. It is a very competitive environment for student enrolment, yet little is known about how these schools market themselves. This study aimed to examine how and to what extent private vocational schools in Indonesia had implemented the principles and practices of marketing (marketing management) and adopted a market orientation (market philosophy). Three private vocational schools were chosen from one geographical area in Indonesia. Forming separate case studies, between six to ten participants representing the school management and teachers were individually interviewed in each school. Using a semi-structured interview schedule, questions were asked about attitudes, understanding, and the role of marketing in the organisation. In addition, school documents were analysed, and observation of the school was conducted to help inform the case studies. Document collection included policy manuals, promotional material, marketing plans, reports, market research, and perceived school offerings. Observation focussed on the tangible evidence of marketing associated with such aspects as style, image and brand. The findings of this study revealed the extent to which three schools responded to the changing environment by utilising marketing principles and practices and the degree to which they adopted market orientation. The study showed that marketing and market orientation were underdeveloped in the three schools and that the schools had been slow to accept marketing as a management strategy in response to changes in the environment. The attitude of the school principal was shown to be critical in determining the adoption of marketing. Importantly, there was evidence of a positive association between market orientation and school performance. Although the study is limited in scope, the findings have applicability beyond Indonesian private vocational schools and provide insights that all schools may benefit from. The study supports previous research that is suggestive of a link between market orientation and school success, with several suggestions for future research indicated.
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    Exploring Music Teachers’ Experiences and Perceptions of Professional Learning
    Arney, Susan Elizabeth ( 2022)
    Professional learning plays an essential role in promoting student engagement and learning outcomes by actively engaging teachers in extending, strengthening, and updating their professional knowledge and practice during the course of their career. Whilst a significant body of research has examined the effectiveness and impact of professional learning on teaching practices, very little research has considered the specific needs of music teachers. This phenomenological study used a mixed methods approach to explore the experiences of music teachers in classroom, instrumental, and ensemble positions in Victorian primary and secondary schools. Research was carried out using an online Scoping Survey (297 respondents) and a deeper investigation of emerging themes through a second online Main Survey with 50 volunteer participants. Data were analysed around the themes of (1) engagement with professional learning, (2) motivation for choices of professional learning, and (3) perceptions of the elements of effective professional learning for music teachers. The findings highlight the challenges for school-based music teachers in accessing professional learning that enhances their practice and in interpreting whole-school professional learning to their contexts. The findings were evaluated against existing literature and research into the characteristics of effective professional learning, and new knowledge emerged suggesting opportunities to strengthen professional learning tailored to the needs of music teachers. The study proposes a set of seven principles for professional learning in music education to inform school leaders, professional associations, and professional learning providers.
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    Educating the next generation of communication designers: Addressing environmentally sustainable design principles and practices in Australian undergraduate communication design curriculum.
    Miceli, Maria Luisa ( 2021)
    Mitigating the impacts of anthropocentric environmental degradation is both an individual and collective responsibility. This research considered the role of higher education in advancing environmental sustainability (ES). The purpose of this study was to specifically investigate the way environmentally sustainable design principles and practices (EDSPP) were being addressed in undergraduate communication design (CD) courses in Australia. This multi-case study comprised of five Australian universities, each representing a single case. Each case was divided into two communities. Community One – represented the executive and senior leaders who set the strategic direction of the university, this strategic direction was identified through publicly available documentation. The second community, Community Two – represented teachers within the communication design faculty. These teachers were interviewed to understand: their philosophy in relation to ESDPP; what influenced their pedagogical decisions and how these values were implemented in their teaching practice. The findings demonstrated that ES was recognised by Community One through the university’s values and goals, yet ES activities were often limited to facilities management. The majority of teachers in Community Two recognised the importance of EDSPP in CD; however, they reported that attempts at embedding these practices into their units were often challenging. The study identified three main factors – eco-anxiety, holistic understanding of the course, and effective leadership concerning ES, most prevented progressing ESDPP in undergraduate CD courses. These challenges meant that EDSPP rarely progressed beyond arbitrary material choice inclusions within projects, rather than consideration for the critical relationship between communication design and consumerism and the changing nature of the CD profession. These one-dimensional material aspects, while important, remain superficial and shallow and may hinder the trajectory toward deeper behavioural changes that would promote a paradigm shift. This transformation may require a meaningful endorsement of environmental sustainability as a university value and a concrete plan to drive structural and course content change that would support teachers in undertaking this paradigm shift.
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    Interrogating quality Indicators of students' online learning in Australian higher education
    El-Ayoubi, Mona ( 2021)
    The growth and proliferation of online education is one of the incisive radical transformations that has taken place in the higher education sector recently. Given the increasing centrality of online learning, it is imperative to have appropriate quality measures capable of effectively gauging the learning quality outcomes of students in the online environment. This research addressed the following two overarching questions: To what extent can students’ Student Experience Survey results predict outcome measures such as student pass rate, dropout rate and overall satisfaction? How effective are Student Experience Survey results in measuring online learning quality in Australian higher education? This study focused on the case of online undergraduate education at Australian universities and primarily drew on extensive empirical evidence, and systematic analysis of a significant amount of SES data. This analysis was complemented by a focused set of semi-structured interviews conducted with academic staff working in quality assurance in Australian universities. The research utilised a sequential mixed-methods approach combining analysis of secondary data (Student Experience Survey) and collection and analysis of primary data interviews. This approach offered the opportunity to contextualise the Student Experience Survey data and interrogate it for insights into the practical considerations and dimensions of online learning quality within universities. A framework to assess different aspects of learning quality was developed from the items in the survey and consisted of four groupings: curriculum, learner support, learner engagement, and technology. The analysis of student responses to the items in these groupings applied the principal components of factor analysis. Specifically, the research examined these factors to determine if they could predict student performance outcomes of pass rate, dropout rate, and overall satisfaction as effective quality measures. This analysis presents observations of student responses to individual items across disciplines, institutions, and academic year levels. When SES responses of student perceptions were examined, this study identified a critical disconnect between the positioning of the Student Experience Survey as a central measure of learning quality and the outcomes of those learners as a population. The key finding is that the Student Experience Survey responses were not related to pass rates and dropout rates. The second critical finding is that students’ perceptions of engagement and curriculum had no relation to these same outcomes. This finding is irrespective of students’ academic year level, their discipline, or the institution they attended. The study has implications for institutions and government bodies to evaluate existing metrics said to measure online learning quality. This study questions the ultimate purpose of student surveys and concludes that using student satisfaction to evaluate online learning quality through the Student Experience Survey instrument is ineffective in predicting or measuring outcome achievement. As such, institutions must invest in alternative and/or different approaches for assessing learning quality. This study provides substantial evidence base analysis of a large population in the Australian higher education online context. Further, it contributes to widening understandings about the limitations of student experience surveys in measures of learning quality. The study has implications for institutions, academics, and policymakers and provides opportunities for the reconceptualisation and the redevelopment of learning quality metrics beyond the Student Experience Survey.
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    Being an effective teacher: what do teachers in different contexts conceptualise? A contextualised study for improving teacher effectiveness
    Wilkie, David Jeffrey ( 2021)
    Effective teachers achieve far more in terms of student outcomes than do less-effective teachers. There are educational, social and economic reasons as to why high learning outcomes for students are needed system-wide, and effective teachers are necessary for the success of endeavours to improve educational systems. System-wide efforts to improve overall teacher effectiveness, however, have had only limited success, and school-level effects emerge as important. The work of teachers in schools is multifaceted and complex, and there are subsequent complexities in considerations of teacher effectiveness and ways to improve it. Research has identified that individual attributes of teachers and school-level, environmental factors impact upon the effectiveness of teachers. Further knowledge and shared understanding of how teachers can become more effective, individually and collectively, continue to prove necessary. There is little research into how teachers and school leaders conceptualise being an effective teacher in their own working context, and what enables their effective work, and what impedes it. This qualitative study investigated the ways practising secondary school teachers and school leaders conceptualised being an effective teacher in the environment in which they worked. Contextualised enablers of teacher effectiveness and impediments to teacher effectiveness were also explored. A multiple case study of three schools was designed. Participant schools were purposively selected to provide substantial contextual variation – one government school, one Catholic school, and one independent school were each a case explored. Five-to-six voluntary participants in each school were selected, each one a practising teacher, or a school leader who also had an active teaching role. Semi-structured individual interviews were utilised to produced rich, contextualised data on the attributes, knowledge, and behaviours necessary to be effective as a teacher at the school. Data evidenced that teachers’ own conceptualisations of being an effective teacher aligned with established research, yet with notable contextual variation in some emphases in the descriptions. Participants described detailed, contextualised knowledge of their working environment and what they understood was enabling effective work by the teachers at their school, and what impeded effective work. Contextualised collective teacher efficacy and the impact of a school ethos were evidenced to enable teacher effectiveness. Unintegrated, time-intensive managerial and policy directives impeded teacher effectiveness.
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    Elite Sports Coaching and Feedback: The use of communication and metacognitive strategies in sport
    Jackson, Brendan Craig ( 2020)
    The similarities in skills of coaches and teachers have been of particular interest to researchers for half a century. Within coaching research, the emphasis has been on coach observation studies, whereas in education research the evaluation of the effectiveness of interventions on student outcomes has been the focus. Furthermore, most coaching literature explores coaches at the sub-elite level. Crucially, to develop coaching practice, more information is needed regarding the impacts feedback, pedagogical techniques and instructional interventions employed by coaches have on athlete outcomes in the elite sporting environment. A mixed-methods approach was used in this thesis to explore the impact of coaches’ actions and behaviours on elite teams. In Part A, communication between the senior coach, three assistant coaches and 45 players from the VFLW competition were explored across a six-week period; during meetings, training sessions and competition. Feedback was predominantly descriptive in nature, with the exception of in-competition settings, where prescriptive feedback was predominant. Coaches and players asked minimal questions of one another regardless of the format of the interactions. In Part B, nine VFLW players were interviewed about their feedback preferences. Players preferred individual, specific and prescriptive feedback. Players acknowledged the benefits of video review feedback yet suggested playing an active role in the review process would improve learning. In Part C, a metacognitive strategy (Think Aloud) was introduced into the player review process for 14 AFLW players. This occurred across an entire pre-season and season of the AFLW competition to assess the impact it had on the understanding and performance of a tactical concept. The results showed an effect size of 0.68 for the introduction of a metacognitive strategy on athlete understanding and performance outcomes, compared to 0.37 for no metacognitive strategy. Major conclusions relate to coach feedback not always reflecting player preferences for how feedback is communicated, with feedback tending to be descriptive in nature. Players and coaches evaluate understanding and performance differently, however the implementation of metacognitive strategies into coaching practice led to a higher impact on athlete learning and was similar to the effects reported in prior educational research with students. Further exploration of the overlap of effective teaching pedagogies and their applicability to sports coaching practice would be useful.
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    The preparation and development of middle leaders in Victorian secondary schools
    Cooper, Peter Anthony Hope ( 2021)
    Middle leaders in schools provide a critical link between senior leadership and teaching staff. Employing a multi-perspective case study methodology, this study looked at the common themes facing middle leaders at three Victorian secondary schools, Catholic, government, and independent, with regard to their preparation for leadership, their professional and personal development in the role, how their role is perceived by those to whom they report and those they lead, and how they determine if they have been successful in their role. At each school, the following staff members were invited to participate in the study: senior leaders, middle leaders, and teachers. The middle leaders involved in this research were actively involved in leading pastoral, academic, and/or co-curricular departments within a Catholic, government, or independent school. Semi-structured interviewing was used for the purpose of collecting their responses. The participants’ responses were analysed, and emergent themes described. A total of 56 themes with 78 sub-themes emerged from the study, covering the dimensions of preparation, development, perception, and success in leadership. Common themes raised by middle leaders were professional learning, the support provided in their role, career progression, their ability to influence school direction, level of autonomy in the role, departmental management, professional relationships, and their support of students’ achievement. The study indicates that middle leaders’ measurement of success in the role was primarily linked to student achievement in academic and social domains. A leadership development model is offered to support aspiring and current middle leaders.