Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Rater consistency and judgment in the direct assessment of second language writing ability within the certificates in spoken and written English
    Smith, David R ( 1998)
    The introduction of competency-based models of language and literacy education in Australia has, to a large degree, coincided with an increased emphasis on direct assessment as the most common means of evaluating second language writing ability within the Adult Migrant English Program. The key problem in directly assessing writing ability is having two or more raters arrive at a similar judgment or rating for the same piece of writing. While there is a long tradition of research on rater consistency and judgment in the holistic assessment of writing ability, similar research on the direct assessment of second language writing ability within the context of competency-based language and literacy education is almost non-existent. This study aims to determine the degree to which the performance criteria designed to assess second language writing ability within the Certificates in Spoken and Written English can ensure acceptable levels of rater consistency, and to describe the decision-making behaviours and strategies used by raters when reading for the purposes of assessment. The think-aloud verbal reports of six experienced ESL raters assessing three texts written by intermediate level adult ESL learners were transcribed and subjected to a rigorous interpretive analysis. In terms of rater consistency, analysis of raters verbal reports indicated that while there was generally a high degree of rater consistency at the overall performance or text level there was considerably tess agreement at the level of individual performance criteria. Analysis of the data revealed that raters adopted distinctive styles or approaches to reading for the purposes of assessment and that raters interpreted and applied the performance criteria statements in a range of different ways. These findings have significant implications not only for the development of competency-based assessment procedures but also for the training of raters. v11
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    Vedic education (Gurukula) in a contemporary context : considerations for a Krishna conscious thinking curriculum
    O'Sullivan, Paul G ( 1997)
    This thesis presents the Vedic system of education (Gurukula) in a contemporary context. By means of a detailed description and analysis of the essential characteristics underlying the rationale of Vedic education, the Gurukula system is defined from within the tradition it has evolved. I examine the social dimension of Vedic education and consider the importance of a supportive culture. The organisation of society according to varna-asramadharma is described within this thesis and the original intent of its conception defined. Education is described in terms of its purposive nature, the goal being to develop consciousness. Krishna consciousness is described as a state of reality which enables the soul to identify as spiritual, and in that capacity discriminate between spirit and matter. Individuality in this analysis is defined as the constitutional position of the soul. The sanctity of the individual is maintained throughout human life by recourse to the proper use of intelligence. The Gurukula endeavours to provide a framework within which its members can develop the capacity to cultivate a level of consciousness suitable for participation in the culture represented by the Vedic world-view. I have argued a case for developing appropriate curriculum, which enhances both the culture and the process. The educational implications of teaching children to discriminate within a religious framework, while at the same time maintain their independence and power of critical thinking is a challenge. An appropriate program for providing children with the power of discrimination is considered an essential element of education in this thesis. The Philosophy for Children program established by Lipman and colleagues provides educators with a process for encouraging better thinking in the classroom. An essential element in this program is the development of "the community of inquiry". Religious education delivered according to the philosophical inquiry model is recommended in this thesis. This research specifically aims to assist the development of primary curriculum.
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    The Problems of verbal interaction for victims of warfare trauma in the ESL classroom
    Santoro, Ninetta ( 1995)
    This thesis identifies and investigates the difficulties surrounding the participation in verbal interaction by victims of warfare trauma in the ESL classroom. The literature reviewed falls into three main categories; The Problems of Refugee Resettlement, Motivation and Anxiety in Language Learning and The Importance of Verbal Interaction in Second Language Learning. Case Study research methodology was chosen as the most appropriate framework on which to base this thesis and three ESL students were chosen as subjects. The findings of the research suggest that the problems associated with resettlement and prior experiences may have been contributing factors in the lack of motivation and high levels of anxiety experienced by each of the case study subjects. This in turn, may have affected their participation in verbal interaction in the classroom and ultimately, their acquisition of English.
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    Another world like here : futures studies and early childhood education
    Page, Jane M (1963-) ( 1995)
    This thesis examines the discipline of futures studies and its potential for application in early childhood education. The need for an increased futures-orientation in education is established by a survey of the overwhelmingly negative commentaries of youths on the topic of the future. These comments, it is argued, point to a vacuum of understanding about the future which educators should seek to counterbalance. This task should be particularly emphasised by early childhood educators since they share a commitment to the central objective of laying foundations for life-long learning. Futures studies offers a useful methodology for this task. The thesis examines the major tenets of futures studies and its translation into primary and secondary educational settings. The applicability of futures studies to early childhood education is established by demonstrating the many principles which futures studies and early childhood education share in common. A futures-focused curriculum need not involve the educator in any radically new philosophical and educational frameworks. It, rather, provides a means of extending and re-articulating existing developmental objectives from the vantage point of new perspectives. The thesis resolves the issue of whether or not futures concerns are beyond the reach of four and five year olds by examining how pre-school children conceive time and the future. Young children are seen to possess many of the qualities which futures studies seek to re-instill in adults and older children. The educator should seek to capitalize on this by combining the positive aspects of children's innate perceptions of future time with the more abstract 'adult' understanding of time. A research project on pre-school children's attitudes towards the future sheds further light on their understandings of the future while also enabling their own opinions on the topic to be heard. The thesis then defines the principal objectives of a futures-focused curriculum and translates them into practical learning experiences. It concludes by exploring the implications of the findings contained in the thesis for early childhood education and by discussing some of the ways in which the educators themselves might come to terms with the issues articulated in this study.
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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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    An evaluation of the National Studies Program
    Parker, Judith M ( 1999)
    This study focuses on the National Studies Program, which is one of the activities Emergency Management Australia (EMA) and, more specifically, the Australian Emergency Management Institute (AEMI) has supported and undertaken. Since its inception the National Studies Program has consisted of workshops, seminars and study periods which explored multi-disciplinary aspects of emergency management. All these activities were designed to enhance prevention, preparedness, response or recovery capabilities or to further community understanding. The National Studies Program has evolved in an unsystematic manner. An evaluative review of how it has evolved, combined with the collection of information from involved individuals has provided a means of making the program more relevant, better presented with improved outputs and outcomes. In this study, data were collected and analysed from archival records and interviews. A needs assessment was undertaken to determine the gap between what is currently the case and what should be, in order to determine a set of recommendations for improving an existing program. This evaluation was undertaken by an internal evaluator so the study should be seen as a contribution to the insider for insider category of evaluation practice. It is therefore expected that because of the evaluator having a stake in the program the recommendations will be effective and be utilized.
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    Orphan in the Pacific : a drama teacher's lived experience
    Wales, Prudence Ellen ( 1999)
    This is a qualitative study of the lived experience of a drama teacher over a six-year period as she journeys from neophyte to experienced teacher. The study examines how an individual experiences the phenomenon of teaching drama and explores how teaching interconnects the private and professional lives of the drama educator. As the teacher-researcher I collected and analysed data from my own practice in order to reflect on my teacher life history. This study aims to establish what it means to be a drama educator and define the 'good' drama teacher. The research was conducted in three education settings. It is presented in the narrative style of the 'hero's journey' outlined by Vogler. The autobiographical narrative constructed from the various participants' voices reveals how the context of the settings in which the events took place impacted upon the teacher's life story. The study illuminates the multiple roles played by the drama teacher in her personal and professional lives. It provides an understanding of the needs of the beginning and experienced drama educator; and the importance of teacher life histories to make sense of the drama teacher's working life.
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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.