Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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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 philosophical analysis of the concept of education
    Ozolins, John Talivaldis ( 1989)
    The thesis critically examines some of the concepts involved In the elucidation of the concept of education developed by R.S. Peters who says that education Is a family of processes whose purposes are the development of desirable states of mind. In particular, it critically examines the concept of mind built into Peters' conception of education and argues that Peters is correct to imply that the mind cannot be reduced to brain states. Education, I .claim is a telological concept primarily concerned with the transmission of cultural values. The thesis begins by briefly looking at behaviourist views of mind, and introduces the Identity Theory as an attempt to provide a better explication of the nature of mind. Feigl's views on the nature of mind are examined, in particular, his attempted reduction of the mental to the physical. His rejection of the concept of emergence is challenged and what is meant by the reduction of one theory to another is elucidated. It is concluded that the mental cannot be reduced to the physical. The features of scientific explanation in general are explored. It Is found that scientific explanation is applicable largely in physical science contexts, and so is of limited use in explaining the concept of mind, and so the concept of education. Teleological explanations are examined, since it is apparent that education is a teleological explanation. The question of whether teleological explanations can be reduced to non-teleological explanations is considered. It is found that there are at least three forms of teleological explanation, (i) functional explanation, (ii) goal-directed explanation and (iii) purposive explanation. It is clear from an examination of these that education is explained in terms of purpose. An examination of the concept of intention and its relationship to action forms a major portion of the thesis. The problem of whether there can be several descriptions of one action is considered, as well as whether Intentions are entailed by desires. The relationship between actions and events is considered, discussing in particular the concept of cause. Five uses of the term "cause" are outlined. It is postulated that the causal power In agent causation is the "act of will", which forms part of the intention to act. The concept of a process, and some of the ways in which it may be defined, is examined. The concept of development is briefly considered in the light of the analysis of the concept of a process. It is concluded that education may be termed a super-process. As a process, education can never be completed, but continues throughout an Individual's life. The purposes of education and what might be meant by desirable states of mind are discussed. The primary purpose of education, it is asserted, is the imparting of values. The question of who decides what states of mind might be termed desirable is considered and it is concluded that it is society, or the community who decide what values are to be imparted.
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    The decentralisation of curriculum decision making in Australia : developments and effects in three states
    Sturman, Andrew (1948-) ( 1988)
    The decentralisation of educational decision making and the involvement of a wider range of participants in decision-making processes have been key features of the administration of education in Australia over the past two decades. Among the arguments supporting reforms to the centralised education systems in Australia was the belief that decentralisation would lead to the development of curricula more suited to the needs of students. However, the relationship between changes in the control of curriculum decision making and the nature of the curriculum has not been well researched. This study was designed to address this deficiency. The freedom of teachers to make decisions about the curriculum is constrained by many factors. These can be grouped into a number of 'frames': the system, school, community and individual. The system frame refers to the influence of educational offices and assessment authorities; the school frame is concerned with the role of different school-based personnel such as administrators and faculty coordinators; the community frame refers to the participation of parents or other community members; and the individual frame is concerned with how individual teachers' values or epistemologies might translate into curriculum practices or preferences. These frames relate to different types of decentralisation that have emerged to a lesser or greater extent in Australia: regionalisation, school-based decision making, teacher-based decision making and community participation. This study sought to address the effects on the curriculum of types of decentralisation by examining the relative influence of the four frames. Three States, which had experienced different degrees of decentralisation, were selected for historical and current comparison and within each a number of schools were selected for case study. The schools were grouped according to their administrative and curricular styles, and according to teachers' perceptions of the influence of the community. Within schools, teachers were grouped according to their epistemological views. Data were collected through the administration of questionnaires and through interviews with teachers and administrators. The analyses revealed that in the program in practice there were considerable similarities in teachers' responses. Notwithstanding this, the system, school and individual frame were important influences on the curriculum. There was little evidence that the community was directly affecting curriculum decision making, although this frame did have an indirect influence. In the ideal program, the State differences were reduced and the school differences almost completely disappeared. On the other hand, teachers' epistemological views continued to be associated with the curriculum variables measured and teachers argued that the community should have somewhat greater influence than it had in practice. Among the findings reported, it was found that teachers in the most centralised system, in more tightly coupled schools and with a 'technicist' epistemology were, compared with their counterparts in decentralised systems, in loosely coupled schools and with an 'hermeneutic' epistemology, more likely to favour what might be called traditional curriculum structures and teaching practices.
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    Egan's stage theory : an exploratory study of its use in the analysis of science textbooks
    Valmadre, Christopher Charles ( 1985)
    Kieran Egan (1979) has challenged educationists to consider the need for a Theory of Development which is specifically Educational. Such a need is discussed and examined in the context of science teaching. Egan's Theory was applied to the selection of science text material for a group of eleven and twelve year old students. The students' responses to the materials were compared with Egan's descriptions of certain developmental stages, particularly of his Romantic Stage. The author concluded that Egan's theoretical proposition assisted in interpeting certain student behaviour and preferences. Possible classroom uses of Egan's theory are discussed, implications for text usage and design are outlined, and some areas of research are suggested.
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    The history of the development of specialist teaching training programmes for teachers of migrant children, 1947-1973
    Todd, Brian Martin ( 1983)
    Information concerning the development of specialist teacher training programmes for teachers of migrant children is fragmentary, being scattered through some 130 published and unpublished documents. The aim of this thesis has been to present, with some degree of order and continuity, that information in a single volume. The resulting compilation is largely descriptive, though some analysis and interpretation could not be avoided. To supplement and to substantiate some of the data collated from the numerous documents, the experiences of a number of teachers who have taught significant proportions of migrant children between 1947 and 1973 have been related. Some of these experiences were gathered by means of a questionnaire which was completed by teachers who had responded to advertisements placed by the writer in The Sun (August 4, 1983) and The Age (August 15, 1983). The advertisements are included as Appendix A.1, and the questionnaire as Appendix A.2. Other experiences were gathered by means of personal interviews with a number of teachers. A full list of all persons from whom information was gathered appears as Appendix A.3. The paper concentrates on the development of specialist teacher training programmes within the Federal and State education systems, with only brief mention of developments within the Catholic education system. Such concentration is not intended to reflect a view that efforts made by the Catholic Church towards the problems of migrant children are insignificant. Indeed, the Catholic schools bore a very substantial share of the influx of migrant children and faced immense educational difficulties as a result, yet they succeeded in making as good a job as possible under the circumstances. Because the history of developments within the Catholic education system is a considerable area on its own, and because much material in that area has already been documented by Carmel O'Dwyer (Responses of Government and Catholic Educational Authorities to the influx of migrants, 1950-1960, with special reference to the experience of a selected group of schools conducted by the Victorian Sisters of Mercy),1 Michael Elliot (Migrant Education in Fitzroy, 1965-1975),2 and Denis Moore (The initial response to the migrant presence in four inner suburban Christian Brothers' schools as revealed in the inspectors' reports and other available sources),3 those developments are not included in this history. The population elements to which the discussion refers to as 'migrants' are those people from 'non-English speaking' origin, excluding Aboriginals. 1. Unpublished Master of Education Thesis, University of Melbourne, 1977. 2. Unpublished Master of Education Thesis, University of Melbourne, 1977. 3. Unpublished Master of Education Thesis, University of Melbourne, 1981. The introductory chapter briefly outlines the Federal Government's immediate steps to provide some training for teachers of adult migrants, and serves to highlight the official indifference outlined by Chapters II, III and IV, to the needs of training for teachers of migrant children until the late sixties when short in-service training courses were introduced. Chapter V traces the history of these short courses. Chapter VI presents the development of in-service teacher training under the Child Migrant Education Programme, the development of some tertiary courses leading to awards, and the development of pre-service courses, all of which take place in the emerging notion of 'multiculturalism'. The initial assumption levelled at teachers of migrant children was that no special training in migrant education was necessary because no special effort was necessary to teach migrant children. If teachers were kindly and understanding, and approached the problem with good sense, migrant children in their care would be rapidly assimilated. Requests for specialist help were made as early as 1954, but a general lack of appreciation of the problem by administrators ensured that these requests were unheeded. The contents of the Haines Report and the Dovey Report in the late fifties vindicated the belief that teachers of migrants did not require special training. The Dovey Report in particular lulled disquiet about the problems of migrant school children, for the four years immediately following its release witnessed only a few ad hoc and unco-ordinated attempts to draw attention to the need for teacher training. By the mid-sixties, however, a number of changes in educational thought were responsible for some new developments in migrant education. It became a public issue, and a number of surveys highlighted its needs. The result was the introduction in Victoria in 1968 of some short in-service teacher training courses. The inadequacies of these courses were soon felt. A survey conducted in New South Wales in 1969 prompted the Commonwealth Government to assume responsibility for the development, management and financial control of child migrant education. Financial assistance was provided to cover the cost of special training courses for teachers, in the method of teaching English as a foreign language. These four-week courses were introduced in 1970. At the same time, and in the setting of a developing notion of multicultural education, the first specialized teacher training course in migrant education to be offered by an Australian tertiary institution was developed. This course led to the award of the Diploma of Migrant Teaching, and commenced at Armidale Teachers' College in 1973. By the end of 1973, some other tertiary institutions were developing graduate and pre-service courses. The history of the development of specialist teacher training programmes obviously does not end in 1973. That year was chosen as the cut-off date for this history for two reasons. Firstly it was, as stated previously, the year in which the first specialized course was offered by an Australian tertiary institution. Secondly, by 1973 the stage was set, in terms of an awareness of the urgent need for pre-service and in-service teacher training,, for the developments that were to take place from 1973 to the present time.4 4. Cf. L. Sislov, Conceptions of Bilingual Education; the contexts in which conceptions emerge and certain practical pedagogical initiations emerging therefrom in Australia and other countries. Unpublished Master of Education Thesis, University of Melbourne, 1982, Chapters 9 and 10.
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    'Ten years after' : equality and the disadvantaged schools program
    Scott, Christine Margaret ( 1987)
    In 1973 the Interim Report of the Schols Commission was published providing a blue print for educational policy and planning for the 1970's and 1980's. In particular, the report focussed on the notion of equality in its educational context and the means for the achievement of its expressed ends through specific programs. One such program is the Disadvantaged Schools Program. A full decade of implementation has taken place. This thesis attempts to examine: the theoretical and political warrants of the notion of equality expressed in the Karmel Report, and the effectiveness of its translation into action through the Disadvantaged Schools Program. The focus of the thesis is that the Karmel Report was fundamentally inconsistent in its expression of the concept of educational equality. It examines the contradictions and ambiguities in the Report and the implementation of the Disadvantaged Schools Program against original goals and intentions. The Disadvantaged Schools Program, it is argued, has been undermined by these conceptual inconsistencies, by grants to non-government schools and by the way in which the Program itself came to be administered.
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    Skilling the Australian community : futures for public education ; the business/industry perspective
    Wells, Pamela Fay ( 1988)
    As Australia approaches the 21st Century, the era of the information-based technological society, economic considerations dominate the Government's planning and rhetoric. Maintaining international competitiveness through a revitalised workforce is partly dependent on the education system. Initially, it must be clear what claims are being made by the outside community, so educators can take a pro-active role in determining how to supply students with the requisite skills. This study examined these issues from the perspective of the major user of the school product, the business and industry sector, which includes large corporations, small business and unions. The expectations of this sector were not narrowly vocational, but rather emphasised the need for broadly-based skills for all students. Specific skills required by the business sector in the cognitive area included literacy, communication, numeracy, scientific literacy and languages, while important attitudinal skills were those of leadership, decision-making, flexibility, initiative and excellence, group participation and positive attitudes to business. Skills required by other "user" sectors: higher education, public sector, adults, parents and students, were similarly explored; there was stiking similarity in demands and emphasis, particularly between the major users - business, public sector and higher education. The reaction to these skill expectations by the providers - the educators was positive, but general; resolutions included calling for national education goals and a national curriculum and enhanced teacher training and professional development. Detailed implications of these skill demands for educational policy and programs were examined, particularly in the essential areas of literacy, numeracy and scientific technology, all of which require upgrading in resources and teaching methodology. Positive proposals for school/business interactions were made, to promote reciprocal knowledge and attitudinal skills within the two sectors. Finally, a scenario is presented of the school world in ten years time according to projections made in this business perspective. As the Australian community is being challenged to skill itself to meet future demands; as the Government implements policies through funding mechanisms determined by economic rationalism, it is important that a balanced "value-added" approach be provided by the education sector.
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    Difficulties in maintenance of ethnic language and culture in a multicultural society: with particular reference to Italian families in Melbourne
    Kynoch, Hope ( 1981)
    The growing political awareness and acknowledgment of Australia's multicultural society produced in the seventies an increasing number of reports on the needs of the ethnic communities. The Government acknowledges that it is now essential to encourage the development of a multicultural attitude in Australian society to foster the maintenance of cultural heritage and promote intercultural understanding. The long-awaited signs of widespread implementation of stated policies and recommendations have been disappointingly slow in emerging. This is attributed to the slowness of a change in attitude throughout the community. Because the Australian school system is not in tune with the multicultural society of today, children of ethnic parents are not receiving equal education opportunities with their Australian peers. Through lack of recognition of their ethnic language and culture by schools, children of ethnic parents are rejecting their mother tongue. In a series of case studies of Italian families in Melbourne, the mother's attitude was seen as the most important factor in language maintenance at the present time. Attitudes were seen to differ, not according to social class, educational level or region of origin, but according to individual values and beliefs. The importance of maintenance of ethnic language and culture for the traditional cohesiveness of the Italian family ethos is stressed, but is seen as resting on a tenuous thread.