Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Ethnocentricity in The school paper, 1896-1939
    Taylor, Betty Isabel ( 1985)
    This thesis explores the nature of the ethnocentric focus of the School paper from its inception in 1896 to the commencement of World War II in 1939. Although the School Paper was first published in response to an expressed government request that colonial reading material be provided to Victorian pupils, School papers from 1896 to 1907 are dominated by a powerful British influence extending to moral, economic, patriotic and military spheres. The monarchy is the imperial focus. Although proud Australian nationalism is a gradual development, there is already consciousness of a distinct, unique social and environmental milieu. The period is marked by profound respect for Britain, a sense of kinship with America and tolerance for the Arab world; 'coloured' races, including Australian Aborigines, are depicted as being inferior to whites. The years 1908 to the commencement of World War I in 1914 are marked by the strength of the Empire Movement; imperialist propaganda was actively disseminated by the School paper. There is growing awareness of Australia as native land, with its own individual identity, yet still with a filial link to Britain. The School paper. reflects the preparation of children for the coming war. America is looked on with favour and Germany is regarded with some reservation. Coloured races continue to be scorned, except for the Australian Aborigines who, at this time, are accorded a significant degree of respect and sympathy. Australian nationalism was crystallised during the war years from 1915 to 1918, and the Anzac legend became enshrined, assisted by School Paper promotion. Patriotism was both engendered and used by the School paper to raise money for the war effort. From this period there is a decline in the strength of British focus in the School Paper and a shift to imperialism. Although attitudes to white races are generally tolerant, with much forbearance towards Turkish and German enemies, there is coolness towards America, a general disregard of Australian Aborigines, and a persistence of prejudice towards other 'coloured' races. The post-war decade, 1919-1929, marks a flowering of Australian nationalism, with School Papers cultivating pride in Australian literature, art, history, and sporting heroes. Anzac Day and Armistice Day commemorative issues recount for new generations the honour that Australia achieved in war. Although the imperial theme is promoted less aggressively, Australia is still depicted as daughter of the Mother Country, and the Royal Family is regularly presented as both head and symbol of the Empire. Tolerance is extended to Europeans, Irish and Americans, but is witheld from Maoris, American Indians, Africans and Australian Aborigines. School Papers during the Depression years from 1929 to the commencement of World War II reflect a diminution of active Australian nationalism and of British martial content. Concomitantly, imperial sisterhood and internationalism are fostered. The pacifist tone of School Papers of this time sits oddly with the continued promotion of Anzac Day and Armistice Day. Contradictory School Papers messages at this time validate respect and tolerance for other races, yet show quite vicious intolerance of non-whites, including Australian Aborigines. By 1939 the School Papers demonstrate a continued pride in British ethnocentricity, superimposed on which is an Australian nationalism that waxes and wanes in intensity. There is tolerance of a broader range of races, but there remains a cruel arrogance towards the alleged inferiority of 'coloured' peoples; the School Papers was a powerful force in the transmission of these attitudes.
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    Aims, men or money?. the establishment of secondary education for boys in South Australia and in the Port Phillip District of New South Wales - 1836 to 1860
    Noble, Gerald W ( 1980)
    Young children bring with them to school a certain amount of science knowledge gained from their everyday lives. What they "know", whether right or wrong, may be the result of interactions with family, television, computer programs, books, peers or visits to environmental locations, museums or science centres. In this study, children who have been at primary school for between two and three years are asked to describe their knowledge and their sources of information. The extent to which school factors are influencing their science knowledge is investigated. A survey was developed and protocols trialled before fifty-seven children aged eight and nine years at a provincial Victorian government primary school were surveyed to establish their home background and family interest in science, their own attitudes and feelings toward science and the efficacy of their science experiences at school. Interviews were carried out with nine students, selected to represent a broad range of attitudes to science, in order to gain more detailed information about their specific understandings of a number of topics within the primary school science curriculum and the sources of their information. The students' responses revealed that where they were knowledgeable about a subject they could indeed say from where they obtained their knowledge. Books were the most commonly cited source of information, followed by school, personal home experiences and family. Computers and the internet had little influence. Students who appeared to have "better" understandings quoted multiple sources of information. Positive correlations were found between enjoyment of school lessons and remembering science information, liking to watch science television or videos and remembering science information, and liking to read science books and remembering science information. Mothers were also linked to the use of science books at home, and the watching of nature TV shows at home. There are several implications for the teaching of science at early years level. Teachers need to be aware of powerful influences, from both within and outside of the classroom, which may impact on children, and which may be enlisted to help make learning more meaningful. The research indicates the importance of home background, parental interest and access to books, and notes the under utilisation of computers and lack of visits to museums and interactive science centres.
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    Multicultural education : an account of the construction of an object of public knowledge
    Wolf, Edward ( 1982)
    This thesis examines major statements about Multicultural Education enunciated by Federal government bodies over the past decade. In doing so, it seeks to identify the ideological aspects of the knowledge thereby constructed and to determine the manner of that construction within an historical context. In particular, it is argued that, by almost entirely ignoring the issue of social class, and concentrating on ethnicity as the major issue to be addressed, Multicultural Education has become a means of ideological control in the education system of our society. An examination of models of Multicultural Education is also carried out, informed by concepts drawn from core curriculum theory. This leads to a model, presented in curricular terms, which avoids the inconsistencies that are identified in the analysis of the major statements.
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    Social area indicators and educational achievement
    Ross, Kenneth N (1947-) ( 1982)
    This study was concerned with the development and validation of a national indicator of educational disadvantage which would be suitable for guiding resource allocation decisions associated with the Disadvantaged Schools Program in Australia. The national indicator was constructed by using a series of stepwise regression analyses in order to obtain a linear combination of census based descriptions of school neighbourhoods which would be highly correlated with school mean achievement scores. A correlational investigation of the properties of this indicator showed that it was an appropriate tool for the identification of schools in which there were high proportions of students who (1) had not mastered the basic skills of Literacy and Numeracy, (2) displayed behavioural characteristics which formed barriers to effective learning, and (3) lived in neighbourhoods having social profiles which were typical of communities suffering from deprivation and poverty. A theoretical model was developed in order to estimate the optimal level of precision with which indicators of educational disadvantage could be used to deliver resources to those students who were in most need of assistance. This model was used to demonstrate that resource allocation programs which employ schools as the units of identification and funding must take into account the nature of the variation of student characteristics between and within schools. The technique of factor analysis was employed to investigate the dimensions of residential differentiation associated with the neighbourhoods surrounding Australian schools. Three dimensions emerged from these analyses which were congruent with the postulates of the Shevky- Bell Social Area Analysis model. The interrelationships between these dimensions and school scores on the national indicator of educational disadvantage presented a picture of the 'social landscape' surrounding educationally disadvantaged schools in Australia as one in which there were: high concentrations of persons in the economically and socially vulnerable position of having low levels of educational attainment and low levels of occupational skill, low concentrations of persons living according to the popular model of Australian family life characterized by single family households, stable families, and separate dwellings, high concentrations of persons likely to have language communication problems because they were born in non-English speaking countries.
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    A preliminary investigation of language function and educational success in primary school children
    Wheeler, H. G ( 1980)
    This study is an attempt to establish if there exist differences in pupil performance at the level of language function which will support teachers' intuitive judgements of pupil ability in the context of the primary school classroom. The type of study was naturalistic and descriptive and involved children in grades two and six of a regional city State Primary School. The 12 subjects were selected by the respective grade teachers on perceived performance, and allocated by them to either an upper or lower ability grouping. Each group consisted of three pupils and the same teacher conducted each lesson in the same classroom situation. The task was concerned with the developing concept of floating and sinking and involved pupils having to initially classify 82 items as either float or sink objects. After this task was completed the pupils tested each object to establish if their initial hypothesis was correct. Results were analysed using an interaction based functional model of language and subjected to statistical analyses to establish which functions reached a level of significance. Results indicate that significant differences do exist at the level of function between ability groups at each grade level and between respective grades. The lower ability pupils at grade two appear to interpret the demands of the educational task differently from their upper ability counterparts. At the level of cognitive discourse function the lower ability group interpreted the task as requiring the use of the hypothesis discourse function which was linguistically realised principally by use of the one term/single response strategy and by general statement. The upper group however interpreted the task as requiring the use of evidence in support of any hypothesis made in an initial response and this function was linguistically expressed by using the causal statement strategies. The lower ability group also used the procedural function as a continuous commentary on their ongoing actions but the upper group employed this function significantly less. There was no significant difference in the choice of cognitive discourse function between groups at grade six, and both groups interpreted the task as demanding a different approach than that adopted by grade two. Both groups employed the 'use evidence' function as an initial response and the procedural function virtually disappeared. Differences did emerge in the selection of linguistic strategies to realise the cognitive discourse functions and three of these reached a level of significant difference. These were the one word/single term, single attribute, and no response strategies which were consistently employed by the lower ability group. The upper ability group employed more anecdote and affirm/ deny strategies than the lower group. The use of the social discourse function also changed between grades. At grade two both ability groups interposed their own social discourse between educational exchanges with the teacher. By grade six this function was almost exclusively used by both groups to support peer statements and acted as a cohesive element in the discourse. At the level of teacher reaction the teacher used significantly more of those reaction types which extended discourse with upper ability groups at both grade levels. The teacher also employed 'request for extension' significantly more at the grade six level than with the grade two groups. In this study, because only two groups of three subjects each have been compared, individual differences could influence the results obtained and therefore any interpretation and generalisation from the results found in this study will have to be limited and tentative in nature.
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    The triple-I model of continuing development in school communities
    Waters, Wendy Patricia ( 1984)
    The Triple-I Model of Professional Development was first aired in the James Report (England, 1972) and developed by the Research Unit of the School of Education, Bristol University, under the direction of Dr. Ray Bolam. This Pilot Study- is an initiative of the Catholic Education Office of Victoria. The research project is an illuminative study of the Triple-I Model of Continuing Development Programmes of fourteen Catholic Parish Primary Schools, over a period of two years. It is assumed in this model of continuing development that schools are groups of people engaged in an educational enterprise. Positive outcomes have resulted in the development and sharing of personal resources within these school communities. Within this context, the teacher moves more surely through the INITIATION, INDUCTION and IN-SERVICE (Triple-I) phases of personal and professional development. This report concludes with recommendations and suggests further research, particularly in the area of resource processes for school principals.
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    Who pays the piper? : government funding of private schools in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia in the 1980s
    O'Grady, Seamus ( 1985)
    The study identifies trends and analyses policies relating to the government funding of private (non-government) schools in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia in the 1980s. Six trends are considered: Intersectoral shifts; Calls for new initiatives for aid to private schools; The renewed debate; The effects of laicization of catholic school teachers; The regulation of private schools in receipt of aid; The evaluation of the role of federal (central) governments in aiding private schools. A final chapter deals with the insights into the Australian trends gained from the study.
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    Youth unemployment : a force for change in the existing class structure of Western society
    Salkin, Ivor W ( 1981)
    The main theme of the thesis is the inter-relationship between unemployed youth, the educational process and the work-world. A subsidiary theme is the underemployment which has emerged as a result of a large number of graduates from tertiary institutions flooding the labor market and the subsequent lack of suitable employment to fit their professional qualifications. The first chapter gives a short description of the nature of technological change that is causing structural unemployment. The chapter then appraises the nature and cause of underemploymeat. in the second chapter the ways in. which governments exercise social control over unemployed youth is examined, especially in Australia. Chapter Three goes on to look at the ways in which youth has responded to unemployment and underemployment and discusses the theories of job-entitlement beliefs propounded by a number of sociologists. The final chapter is devoted to an analysis of the problems of unemployment in Australia and the effect it has had. in raising the class awareness and cultural consciousness of youth. The position taken by various employment agencies is also discussed in relation to what they see as the role of educational institutions.
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    The Language Development Project, Phase II : a case study in co-operative curriculum development and the role of formative evaluation
    Piper, Kevin ( 1985)
    The Language Development Project was a major initiative in national curriculum development, the first of its kind in language education in Australia. The study focuses on three major themes or constructs underlying Phase II of the project, its developmental phase and explores their implications for national curriculum development in the Australian federal context and for English language education in Australian schools. As such it is essentially an exercise in construct evaluation, a formative approach to the evaluation of outcomes. Central to the conception of Phase II of the Language Development Project was a view of language and learning inherited from Phase I of the project and encapsulated in its tripartite model of language education learning language, learning through language, learning about language. Equally central to the work of the project was a view of curriculum development predicated on the belief that there was a need for a national approach to language education and that this national approach could best be achieved through a co-operative effort involving the centre (CDC) and the States and Territories. Underlying this co-operative model was a commitment to school-based curriculum development and to involving teachers in the development of curriculum materials. The most important feature of these central constructs was that they were developing models, based on the assumption that curriculum development, at least in the language area, is an evolutionary process, moving through exploration and discovery towards definition. This open-ended, emergent quality, together with the co-operative nature of the project, placed particular demands on the design of an evaluation which would be responsive to the changing needs of the project at the national level while respecting the autonomous nature of the component projects. The study analyses the development of these three major constructs - the tripartite model of language education, the cooperative model of curriculum development and the collaborative evaluation model - as they were exemplified in the experience of the project examines their relationship to the wider context of practice, and explores their implications for the development of a practical framework for the English language curriculum the resolution of ambiguities in the co-operative model of curriculum development and the development of a reconstructed model for the formative evaluation of co-operative national programs.