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ItemConceptual development in science practical workWilliamson, Stephen Mark ( 1987)In an investigation of the effect of practical work upon the conceptual understanding of high school biology students the author employed concept maps as the primary research tool. Practical reports and responses to interview questions were also analysed. Misconceptions were identified in the concept maps, practical reports and interviews. The interviews appeared to reveal the greatest detail of the students' misconceptions. The component scores of the students' concept maps were substantially unaltered by the performance of a practical exercise selected from a year 11 biology course. If concept maps are reflectors of conceptual understanding then it appears that the conceptual frameworks of the students were stable over the duration of the practical exercise. Several component scores of the concept maps were found to be significantly correlated with either the students' exam results or their practical work assessment. Concept maps may have application as predictors of academic performance or be used to supplement or replace traditional measures of achievement.
ItemSocial studies in Victorian technical schools, 1938-1974Edwards, Kenneth J. ( 1987)This thesis investigates the changes which have occurred in social studies in Victorian Technical Schools from 1938 to 1974. Social studies first appeared in Victoria when it was introduced into Preston Technical School during 1938. By the early 1940s social studies was starting to replace history and geography in most Victorian Technical Schools. Its status was low, and its course of study was usually reserved for those technical students who were labelled as under-achievers who would probably not progress beyond forms 3 or 4. The boys were relegated into the trades, while the girls headed for domestic courses. The teaching of social studies during the 1950s was undertaken by many teachers who had escaped from teaching subjects traditionally associated with an academic discipline, and by teachers who were unqualified. This situation remained virtually unchanged up until 1967. The whole "aura" of social studies and its curriculum went through something of a renaissance, which had its birth in 1967 at Burwood, Victoria, at the U.N.E.S.C.O. Seminar on the "Teaching of the Social Sciences at the Secondary Level". Immediately following the Burwood Seminar, the Victorian Advisory Committee on the Teaching of Social Science in Secondary Schools was established. In 1968 the Technical Schools Division set up a Standing Committee on Technical Schools Social Studies (SCOTSSS), and in the same year curricula autonomy was devolved, and the Director-General of Education in Victoria gave all schools in the state the right to determine their own curriculum. The Victorian Secondary Social Science Project (SSSP) was established in 1971 under the jurisdiction of the Victorian Advisory Committee, while the National Committee on Social Science Teaching (NCSST) held its first meeting in November 1971. In 1972 the Victorian Association of Social Studies Teachers (VASST) created a regular journal, Study of Society. Other key factors which have helped in the development of social studies have been the direct financial assistance from federal sources, overseas influence on social studies/ science teaching, a. rapid upsurge of student teachers completing social studies method courses, and a unique body of curriculum personnel working outside the Education Department. All of the above factors were instrumental in the re-birth of the subject of social studies in Victoria's Technical Schools since 1967.
ItemProblem solving in physics: an information processing approach to the solution of kinematics problemsBlackburne, Graham L. ( 1987)Many high school students experience difficulty in solving problems in physics that require only elementary mathematical skills. This study describes the evaluation of a computer aided instruction (CAI) package developed to instruct students to solve numerical problems in introductory kinematics. This package (Blackburne, 1986) was based on an information processing strategy using five equations of motion which allow the use of one routine to solve any of these problems. The evaluation was carried out in the context of a Year 10 science course. Three methods were investigated. Two of these methods were based on the information processing strategy. One of these was the CAI method, and the other, a classroom adaption of the computer method. The third method was a traditional classroom approach as outlined in most common physics texts that use three equations of motion. Results showed that the method made the difference, not the medium of the computer. Both the information processing methods yielded significantly fewer errors than the traditional method. An analysis of the kinds of errors made revealed that the most significant difference occurred in the selection of the correct rule to solve the problem then, to a lesser extent, the correct interpretation of the question and extraction of the relevant data.
ItemStudent teacher perception of enquiry in the teaching of senior secondary biologyBenjamin, Mark (1937-) ( 1987)Ten student teachers were interviewed to determine the extent of their perception of enquiry in the teaching of senior secondary biology. Previous studies had indicated that both newly-trained and experienced teachers had difficulty in discussing the concept in the context of their teaching. Part of this problem has been due to confusion over the authentic meaning of the term itself. Enquiry was seen both as a classroom strategy, being used synonymously with discovery and as a process of scientific investigation. Biology teachers have given a low priority in their teaching to the understanding of science as a process. Although teaching science as a process of enquiry has been advocated in curriculum materials, often this has not been translated into classroom practice. The findings of this study have confirmed those of earlier ones. Few of the respondents were able to discuss science as enquiry, few were aware of the pre-eminent position of science as enquiry in the Web of Life course and none were conversant with how to use the course materials to present science as enquiry. The majority were able to discuss some aspects of scientific method. It is proposed that if similar problems are to be avoided in this and other areas, far more time must be given to more detailed consideration of the teaching of difficult concepts in teacher education programs. Awareness of and sympathy with the goals of teacher training institutions by supervising teachers in the schools seem essential.