Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 39
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    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.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The evolution of concepts of decimals in primary and secondary students
    Moloney, Kevin Gerard ( 1994)
    This thesis studies children's conceptions about ordering decimals. It builds upon previous work which established three commonly used systematic errors in children's understanding as they encounter decimal notation. Students were categorised according to erroneous rule usage. This work includes a small longitudinal study which showed little change over twelve months in rule usage by an Australian sample of 50 secondary students. The categorising tests were redeveloped to make them suitable for primary students and to have increased reliability. The main study traced the use of rules from Year Four to Year Ten in a sample of 379 students and showed how students with different rules performed on other decimal tasks. It was found that one of the rules, called the whole number rule (in comparing two decimals that with more decimal places is chosen as the larger) was important in earlier years but disappeared with time. The second rule, called the fraction rule (the decimal with fewer decimal places is chosen as the larger), persisted in worrying proportions well into the secondary years and it was shown that significant gaps in knowledge of decimal notation existed which had not corrected themselves with time. The third rule was shown to be not important. Further investigation of a longitudinal nature to examine how individuals actually make the transition to mastery of decimal notation is encouraged by this study.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Articulating the theatre experience : ways in which students respond to the theatre experience, individually, collectively & within the context of the curriculum
    Upton, Megan ( 2005)
    This thesis investigates how a class of senior Drama students experience the event that is theatre performance. The theatre experience is at the very heart of this study, both as a personal one, and as it is framed within the parameters of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Drama Curriculum. Five themes emerge from the study: the role of cultural contexts; the role of prior experience; knowing versus not knowing measuring the theatre experience; and the impact of curriculum and assessment criteria on student responses. The findings of the study suggest that the subject of Drama provides entry into an aesthetic world that is not necessarily accessible through other subjects. It indicates that a range of cultural contexts and prior experiences create a frame through which students experience new theatre performances. The study indicates that the immediate and transient nature of a performance text is inherently difficult to measure but rather, relies on the measuring of the memory of that experience. Finally, the study suggests that there is a gap between the process through which students make meaning from their experiences, and the process by which the curriculum asks them to respond to the aesthetic experience that is theatre. The implications of this investigation are that the teaching of theatre text and the design of curriculum documents needs to more carefully acknowledge the cultural framing, prior experiences, and personal aesthetics that students bring to that experience. Further, it asks Drama educators to consider whether aesthetic experiences are indeed assessable and, if so, how that can be achieved in ways that acknowledge the complex nature of responses to a text that exists only in the memory of those who have seen it.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    An evaluation of computer science in the Victorian Higher Schools Certificate
    McCarthy, Mark ( 1984)
    This thesis evaluates certain aspects of the Victorian Higher Schools Certificate subject, Computer Science. Firstly, an overview is taken of the subject as it was intended to function in the first three years of its accreditation, 1981 - 83. In the light of this, the draft proposal for changes to the course in 1984 is reviewed. Secondly, a number of specific areas of the course are examined in more detail. A questionnaire to course designers and teachers is the basis of this investigation. The relationship between stated objectives of the course and items of course content is explored. An analysis is conducted on the extent to which the four option components are equitable in terms of time. The relative importance of the three components of assessment is explored, especially in the case of a 'barely passing' student. Actual raw mark components for the 1981 students have been used in connection with the latter investigation.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Relationships between modernism, postmodernism, new technologies and visual culture in Victorian secondary visual arts education
    Potts, Miriam L ( 2001)
    This study investigates relationships between computer technologies, modernism, postmodernism, visual culture and visual arts education. The literature research focuses on relationships between modernism and new technologies, modernism and postmodernism, postmodernism and new technologies and art education and computer technologies. The field research consisted of three 'semi-structured interviews with secondary visual arts teachers in metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria. I investigated selected teachers' perceptions of the extent to which they addressed computer technologies, modernism, postmodernism and visual culture in their visual arts curricula. Initially I aimed to discover the extent that they included computer technologies and postmodern theories into their visual arts curricula. I used a combination of research methods when undertaking this study and in particular when analysing the field research findings. The deductive method of Orientational Qualitative Inquiry was combined with the inductive method of grounded theory. Whilst investigating relationships between postmodernism and new technologies using Orientational Qualitative Inquiry I found that modernism impacted upon both postmodernism and computer technologies. I then used grounded theory to document the interrelationships between modernism, postmodernism, visual culture, new technologies and arts education. This study was limited by several factors, including the following. Firstly, I limited the investigation to only three participants. Secondly, there were flaws inherent in the combination of inductive and deductive research methods. Most significantly, I was limited by the fact that the three interviewees worked in modern institutions. The relationships between modernism and new technologies encountered in section 2.1 were echoed by the interviewees' comments, particularly in sections 4.1 and 4.2. The interviewees held strong modern values such as a belief in progress and the importance of originality. The investigations surrounding postmodernism and visual culture in sections 2.2 and 2.3 were less well established in the field research. However, these were still present, especially in section 4.3. Finally, the traditions of the incorporation of computer technologies established in Australian and American visual arts education in section 2.4 were continued by all three participants in chapter four and summarised in section 5.1. By exploring relationships between modernism, postmodernism, visual culture and new technologies in visual arts education I found that modernism and postmodernism are not mutually exclusive but rather deeply interconnected.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    What are the blockers/facilitators for a science coordinator to integrate datalogging into science teaching
    Weller, Jacolyn ( 2002)
    This project investigates a coeducational Secondary College Science Department that decided to introduce datalogging as a teaching tool. Datalogging is the electronic recording of data during an experiment using sensor probes. Decisions concerning the introduction of datalogging involved the science teaching staff, the laboratory technician and the Science Coordinator, all stakeholders in this process. This investigation was developed with the hindsight of a Literature Review, which provided the advice of others' experiences and catalogues the introduction in a case study format. Action research strategies were invoked through a series of focus interview questions, which provide a 'snap-shot' of the perceptions. From here a collaborative Change Management strategy of introducing datalogging into science teaching was produced. The factors that inhibited or prevented the use of datalogging in teaching were considered to be 'blockers'. Through interview questions the teachers and the laboratory technician were asked what they felt blocked their use of datalogging. The time required to become comfortable, familiar, confident and experiment with the equipment arose as the major concern for all teachers prior to using datalogging in science teaching, while the laboratory technician had more physical impediments. The technology capable participants did not encounter major hindrances. There was a constant limitation of equipment due to its expense, which was a factor accepted by all and where innovation in teaching style was required to overcome this impediment. However, all felt that visual 'memory-jogs' of the availability and uses of the equipment would encourage use. The factors that contributed to datalogging use were the 'facilitators'. These included a well rounded, informative and ongoing professional development strategy involving all staff members sharing knowledge combined with a laboratory technician who was conversant with the equipment, constantly promoting and encouraging usage and aiding the process. Throughout the project constant active problem solving emerged as a strategy by teachers whenever a 'blocker' was suggested. The advantage of collegial sharing through professional development was also recognised by staff and thought to integrate well when developing technology as a teaching tool. The process overall was time intensive due to lack of time in the working week when people are at different stages in embracing change and technology. Consequently whatever was learnt by individuals was regarded as worth sharing professionally.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Issues of curriculum transition from secondary to tertiary drama education
    Mustafa, David R ( 2005)
    This case study aims to explore issues of curriculum transition for those students moving from secondary to tertiary study in drama and theatre studies. Its purpose is to examine the relationship between first year tertiary drama and theatre studies courses and VCE Drama/Theatre Studies, and whether these tertiary courses are meeting the needs of those students who have this particular VCE study as their foundation. As a means of investigating this issue, a group of first year tertiary students was selected as participants after they had enrolled in the unit Body, Text and Performance offered by the School of Creative Arts at the University of Melbourne through the Theatre Studies stream. Other participants included the coordinating lecturer, as well as the tutors delivering the practical component of the curriculum. This qualitative study seeks to examine the nature of this unit through the responses and attitudes of both students and staff. As a secondary drama teacher, VCAA Examiner and Auditor, the researcher has witnessed directly the marked improvement in senior drama education since the introduction of VCE in 1991. This study seeks to ascertain to what extent tertiary courses have responded to these changes in the VCE and whether curriculum at this level is informed by students' previous experiences, knowledge and learning from their secondary senior schooling.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The Victorian Certificate of Education : the change process and teacher practice
    Mouritz, Peter Damian ( 1995)
    There are two key issues in this study. Firstly, to examine the extent to which teacher practice has changed during the first year of implementation of the Victorian Certificate of Education's Year 11 Legal Studies study design - Unit 1 - Criminal Law and Civil Law. The second key issue is to explore the extent to which any change in teacher practice is due to the new course and the manner in which it was implemented. For this study I have used a case study approach with a series of cross-case techniques when analysing the data. Three cases were selected for study. Several different methods of data collection were employed. Specifically, external observation, systematic interviewing, collection and analysis of documents and checklists were used on a regular basis. To develop the cross-case synthesis I adopted cross-site analysis techniques as suggested by Miles and Huberman (1984) in their text Qualitative Data Analysis: A Sourcebook of New Methods. In order to plan this study, an overview of some of the key writings in this area was undertaken. Specifically, key writings on implementation and the process of implementation in relation to teacher practice were reviewed. This process is explored through the examination of several theories and models on implementation. How teachers perceive a change to existing curriculum programmes and the extent to which that curriculum leads to a modification in teacher practice is examined in detail. Particular attention is paid to the range of variables and interventions that can lead to a modification in teacher practice. The major findings and conclusions drawn from this study indicate that the teachers' pedagogical judgments, plans and decisions reflected a reasonably narrow collection of educational goals. These goals were shaped, in the main, by the realities of their classroom environments. The teachers prioritised most matters on a cost benefit ratio. This was particularly evident in relation to the intervention strategies. They also underwent a period of uncertainty about the change which compounded their reluctance to move away from established classroom practice and adopt certain teaching techniques that complemented the flexible nature of the study design. Decisions regarding teacher practice, therefore, were orientated around 'tried and true' techniques that met a number of preconditions. Specifically the need to balance the competing academic needs and interests of their students; student willingness to cooperate and feel comfortable with the teaching style adopted; perceptions of what the new content and assessment offerings required, and the limitations of time dominated their decision-making process. The end result was a general reluctance to discard established methods of teacher practice given these classroom 'realities'. The major findings, therefore, indicate that an educational change in terms of a modification to teacher practice was difficult to achieve.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    A study of student perceptions of difficult genetics concepts
    Tribe, Jane ( 1990)
    The teaching and learning of genetics has interested many researchers in recent years. Some authors have used genetics as a topic which exemplifies broader curriculum issues, while others have studied problems which are inherent to the topic. However, all have acknowledged that genetics is a significant subject because of its scientific importance and social relevance. This thesis reviews some broad issues of science teaching in order to place genetics within a science framework. Problems specifically pertinent to a genetics curriculum are then focussed upon. Three major areas of research in science learning are discussed. These are meaningful learning, concept mapping and problem solving. Meaningful learning is not just "getting the right answer", but occurs when new concepts are linked to existing ones. Many researchers therefore stress the usefulness of concept mapping as a tool to encourage meaningful learning. Problem solving is a special case of meaningful learning and is also recognised as a skill applicable to novel situations. Research into genetics teaching can be divided into three categories. These are difficult concepts, sources of misconceptions and problem solving strategies. There is general agreement about the concepts which are most difficult for students to understand. All authors emphasise the importance of associating meiosis with classical genetics. Valuable work has provided lists of difficult terminology and concept maps of suggested teaching sequences. It is clear that some textbooks are confusing and reinforce misconceptions that students hold. Studies of problem solving strategies confirm that an expert/novice dichotomy is artificial, rather that a successful/unsuccessful continuum exists. Recent literature indicates that teachers benefit from knowing which genetics concepts students perceive as difficult. Students in both Australia and Britain were surveyed and thirty statements were then placed in rank order of difficulty. These results supported previous research and confirmed the need to view a topic from the learner's point of view rather than just the teacher's standpoint.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Effects of teaching and learning atomic structure concepts through the use of constructivist influenced multimedia
    Wong, Norman Kwong-kai ( 1997)
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of female students toward multimedia learning and the way in which they accessed information from an interactive CD-ROM. The CD was an award winning educational software aimed at improving students' understanding of the periodic table and atomic structure. Twenty year-10 (14-15 year old) female students from a girls school in Melbourne, Victoria, participated in the project. An ethnographic approach was adopted which included a pre and post questionnaire and some videotaped laboratory observations. Results indicated that female students were generally aware of the value of multimedia learning programs and showed strong interest toward multimedia learning though they did not register a special preference toward multimedia learning in comparison with traditional ways of teaching (teacher talking and using textbooks). After working with the CD-ROM, no significant change was noticed in students' interest toward multimedia learning, their confidence in ability to learn and use multimedia software packages, and personal preference of instruction mode. Direct observation of students' interaction with the CD-ROM revealed that there was a strong tendency by the students not to access unfamiliar topics/areas. They tended to choose aspects of the CD-ROM that offered little learning difficulty or presented quick responses to short term goals. They spent most (60%) of their available time on the quiz section and ignored the tutoring aspects of the CD-ROM. According to the result of an opinion poll, students stated that the quiz game aspect of the CD was the most interesting area. Overall, students were unable or unwilling to explore the contents of the CD-ROM in a judicious way when teacher instruction or guidance was absent.