Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    The academic achievements of language centre students at a secondary college
    Warrick, Geoff ( 2001)
    What are the academic achievements of adolescent new-arrival English as a Second Language (ESL) students at secondary schools in Victoria, Australia? Research on Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) students in Australia has tended to neglect new arrival ESL students. To examine the academic achievements of this important subgroup of NESB students, the current study will highlight the academic achievements of a cohort of Victorian Language Centre students at a Secondary College over six years with interruption to schooling in their first language (L1) as the key variable linked to academic achievement in their second language (L2). Victorian Language Centres provide new-arrival ESL students with the English skills they need to start their secondary educations in L2. The current study examined the academic achievement of two groups of Language Centre students, those who completed their Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and those who left the Secondary College prior to completing VCE. Their academic results were summarised into spreadsheets for quantitative analysis. Subsequent to the quantitative analysis interviews were conducted with four ESL students from the Language Centre currently completing their VCE studies to provide further insight into the factors that enabled them to do their VCE. Results indicate that the academic achievements of this cohort of ESL Language Centre students are poor and that interruption to education in Ll had a major impact on the students' ability to achieve academically at the Secondary College. The study suggests that L1 education is the key variable influencing the student's ability to acquire the academic language skills necessary to meet the academic demands of secondary education, particularly the VCE. Other factors such as support for learning and strong motivation were found to help students overcome difficulties encountered in their secondary education. However, students who were unable to overcome these difficulties left the College prior to completing VCE. It was concluded that the majority of Language Centre students faced uncertain economic futures once they left the Secondary College. The results of the study suggest that Language Centre students need more support and assistance to enable them to complete VCE or to access educational alternatives to the VCE. This study also suggests that more research into the effect of L1 education on L2 education be conducted as this was found to be the key variable in the students' ability to acquire the academic language skills necessary to meet the academic demands of VCE.
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    Seeing you seeing me : constructing the learners and their target language speakers in Korean and Australian textbooks
    Song, Heui-jeong ( 2006)
    To be successful in real-life communication with their target language (TL) speakers, language learners need to develop a sound knowledge of modern-day target language society, and an understanding of the beliefs and values most commonly shared by TL speakers. Such knowledge forms the basis of what Clark (1996) calls 'common ground', and is essential for interlocutors to exchange meanings. Removed from natural settings, textbooks are one of the principal resources for foreign language learners to construct a conception of their TL speakers in relation to themselves. This project examines the constructs of the learners' TL speakers provided in, respectively, a Korean language textbook for Australian beginner learners and an English language textbook for Korean beginner learners. By analysing how each presents the other set of people in terms of the attributes the other group assigns to itself in its own books, this study assesses how well each book assists their local learners to begin constructing sound common ground with their TL speakers. Analysis is made of the verbal and visual texts in each whole book with respect to topic and attributes; as well, using Gee's discourse analysis framework, close analysis and comparison is made of the information about the TL speakers and the learners themselves in the first three chapters of each book in relation to the three major beginner learner topics: Self-introduction, family and school. While there are a number of similarities in representation of the TL speakers by both sides, even this small examination shows glaring omissions and contradictions in the construct of the TL speakers proposed for the learners of each language compared to how their actual TL speakers project themselves. Furthermore, these differences would easily lead to confusion over meanings if used in real life. If such mismatches persisted over years of language learning, it can be predicted that learners would fail to create some elements of 'common ground' essential for them to understand what their TL speakers mean in interaction and be understood themselves.
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    The characteristics of exchange structure patterns of an adult low-level ESL classroom using a genre-based approach to the teaching of writing : a study of classroom discourse
    Suherdi, Didi ( 1994)
    This study is concerned with the characteristics of exchange structure patterns of an adult low-level English as a second language (ESL) classroom using a genre-based approach to the teaching of writing in an Australian context. To provide an appropriate system of analysis, Ventola's (1987; 1988h) system for analysing conversational structure in service encounter texts has been expanded to suit the characteristics of the data in the current study. Applying the expanded version of Ventola's system, the whole data have been segmented into exchanges. Two major categories of exchange structure patterns have been identified: non-anomalous, which comprises simple and complex exchanges, and anomalous, which comprises elliptical, defective, and broken exchanges. Using this exchange categorisation as a basis, the characteristics of the interactional patterns, the shifts of roles of information supplier, and the variability of language use in a genre-based approach classroom have been identified and explicated. Exchange structure patterns dominant in certain sub-stages vary in accordance with the variation of other factors. In conjunction with the shifts of roles of the information supplier, for example, in Sub-stage 1, in which the students were cast to serve the function of information supplier, B-event exchanges were dominant, Only a small number of A-event exchanges occur in this sub-stage. In contrast, in Sub-stage 2 and Rehearsal where the teacher served the function of information supplier, A-event exchanges were dominant.
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    Human capital : a case study of the AMEP
    McElgunn, Barry ( 1995)
    This study is an investigation of the Human Capital Approach to education in Australia. It examines whether or not the Commonwealth Government is steering education towards the incorporation of policies that invest greater emphasis and resources into human beings as contributors to economic productivity than it invests in their cultural and aesthetic value. The study incorporates the philosophies of the Human Capitalists and how successive Commonwealth and State Governments apply these philosophies in education policy formulation - particularly the provision of English language to adult migrants through the Adult Migrant Education Program in Victoria. The methodology used is a questionnaire of closed and open-ended questions distributed to AMEP teachers. The researcher duly followed up the questionnaire with interviews of four AMEP teachers in an endeavour to shed more light on the reasons behind the responses given by teachers in the questionnaire. The researcher undertook an analysis of the responses in order to investigate whether or not the Commonwealth Government gives primacy to economic objectives of the migration program over its social, cultural and linguistic objectives. The findings are that the AMEP teachers surveyed believe that the Commonwealth Government does emphasize economic objectives over all other objectives of the migration program. A Human Capital approach to education, reflected in the application of Economic Rationalism, is apparent in Australia's education system according to AMEP teachers surveyed and that such has been the case since the late 1970s. The literary works of Schultz, Smith, Dawkins, Piore, Crittenden, Benovat, Green, Pusey, Kennedy, Marginson and Grubb are included in this study. These works form the literature review of the Human Capital approach. As well, the Reports chaired by Karmel, Williams, Kirby, Fitzgerald and Campbell, and a variety of Commonwealth Reports and Working Party Papers into various aspects of education in Australia are represented in an investigation of the application of the Human Capital approach to education in Australia's main education policies. The findings of this research are that the Human Capital approach to education is influencing the AMEP and that this has wider implications for the national education system in Australia. Almost all AMEP teachers surveyed believe the AMEP no longer follows its own National Plan, in which it spells out its aims and objectives, but pursues the Commonwealth Government's primary objective of pursuing the economic aims and benefits of the migration program.
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    The getting of professional nursing wisdom : the relevance of knowledge for undergraduate students : a phenomenological comparative study
    Rooke, Jill Miranda ( 1993)
    The intention of this thesis is to identify any factors which may affect the implementation and practice of therapeutic humanistic care by undergraduate nurse students. Professional nursing practice must be acknowledged as function beyond licensure of safety. Wisdom, with reference to professional practice can only be acquired through relevant education and supported opportunities to practice. The classroom promotion and clinical transfer of empirical, holistic care is an educational mandate and as such must be addressed. The research study of this thesis as a qualitative investigation with a phenomenological approach, was designed as a small comparative study. The literature review of this thesis released certain significant questions for investigation. From these questions eventual research prompts were developed. The participants for this study were nurse student volunteers approaching course completion. The participants as distinct cohorts from a Hospital School of Nursing and a Faculty of Nursing were interviewed using the research prompts. Following data analysis, the study identified apparent differences between the valuing and practice of humanistic caring by the undergraduate nurse students from the two sites.
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    Provision for longer term residents in the Adult Migrant Education Program : an historical overview from 1947 to 1990
    Martin, Shirley ( 1991)
    The aim of this study was to consider the reality of access of longer term resident adult migrants into English language learning opportunities in Australia across the period 1947 - 1990. Chapter 1 describes the background and justification of the research brief and refers to the processes and procedures taken in developing an analytical approach to the consideration of policy development and implementation. Chapter 2 outlines the range of available resource material while Chapter 3 provides a summary of the documentation. This summary is used to analyse the demands and the decisions and actions which impacted on access to the program. A set of basic assumptions is then developed and comments sought from a group of experts. A selection of indicative responses are examined in detail and the reliability of the assumptions is considered. In Chapter 4 the results of the findings are developed into a final statement. In doing so the researcher demonstrates the realities of policy development over a considerable period of time and shows that environmental factors play an important role in shaping the future from past and present experience. The study shows that the Adult Migrant Education Program was originally planned as an initial settlement program and at stages in the last forty years this focus has been restated. The concept of "longer term " residents did not exist in the early years of the program and the issue has emerged as an important factor in the discussions on equity of access to education.
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    Evaluating a peer mediation program : the perspectives of key stakeholders
    Ryan, Susan ( 2006)
    Peer mediation has developed as a popular means of responding to and managing conflict in schools. Advocates of peer mediation assert that it is an effective method of encouraging students to resolve conflict constructively and can encourage responsible citizenship. This study emerged as a result of the researcher's involvement in a peer mediation program in a large regional girls' secondary college. The study explored the perspectives of key stakeholders (students, teachers and parents) on the impact of the peer mediation program and sought to establish what benefits, if any, were derived from the existence of the program. Specifically, the research focused on whether the program was supported, accepted and used by the school community and whether the perceptions of the program were congruent amongst different stakeholder groups. The study also investigated what outcomes were experienced by the trained mediators themselves. Factors which might encourage or limit students' use of the program were also explored. Data was collected prior to the training of a specific cohort of mediators and in the following year from key groups: the trained students, other students within the school setting, staff and parents. The findings indicate that the presence of a peer mediation program was seen to have a considerable positive effect on school climate by teachers and parents and that, in many cases, it produced positive outcomes for students. The most meaningful outcomes of the specific study, however, appeared to be the benefits for the trained mediators themselves, in terms of the development and enhancement of self confidence and life skills. The implications of the findings for the peer mediation program in the case study school and for other schools implementing peer mediation programs are discussed in this report.
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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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    Standing strong or standing weak? Equal opportunity, violence against women and the school curriculum : a case study
    Ollis, Debbie ( 1994)
    Despite violence against women becoming a very public issue in recent years, remarkably little material on this subject has so far found its way into the school curriculum. This thesis examines a set of curriculum materials called Standing Strong, which specifically aims to help students make sense of violent and sexually abusive relationships. The thesis outlines and evaluates the materials in light of their ability to achieve one of the major objectives of recent equal opportunity policy, namely, to help achieve "equality between the sexes, and...improv(e) the conditions of life for girls and women...taking account of their cultural, language, and socio-economic diversity...". (Commonwealth Schools Commission, 1987: Recommendation 2, p. 25). The evaluation takes two main forms, one theoretical, the other empirical. The theoretical evaluation draws upon recent post structuralist and constructionist feminist writings. The empirical evaluation is undertaken by drawing upon the research findings derived from in-depth interviews with 24 young women who had used the Standing Strong materials during their secondary school education. The thesis argues that Standing Strong is flawed theoretically, and that this is likely to hamper its usefulness in practice. The research data confirm this pessimistic conclusion. The thesis concludes by reflecting on whether a focus on education might be more of a hindrance than a help to the development of a meaningful and effective solutions to violence against women.
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    Preservice teacher education for the preparation of secondary teachers of english as a second language in Australia
    Jeevaratnam, Christina ( 2003)
    English as a Second Language (ESL) education in Australia has undergone tremendous changes in the last thirty years or so. Along with the changes in policy, the roles of the ESL teacher have also changed, reflecting the changing socio-cultural, economic and political climate of the time. Several new roles that have emerged can be seen as being particular only to this group of teachers. Student-teachers need to be effectively prepared for the roles that they will take on upon completion of their teacher education programs. This study investigates the effectiveness of one preservice ESL teacher education program, particularly from the perspectives of student-teachers, in preparing them for their future roles as ESL teachers. The study reveals the varied opinions that student-teachers have regarding different aspects of their course di study and the factors which influence their perceptions. It also discusses suggestions of improvement made for such a teacher education program, from the perspectives of student-teachers, their course lecturers and a sample of trained ESL teachers.