Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses
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ItemWhat are the blockers/facilitators for a science coordinator to integrate datalogging into science teachingWeller, 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.
ItemThe effects of schools on achievement in scienceOwen, John M (1943-) ( 1975)The study sought to identify factors which were based in schools which affected the performance of sixth form students in science in Victorian schools, In order to identify school effects, allowance was made using multiple regression analysis for factors which were shown to contribute to academic performance but were those over which the school had no control. Use was made of information collected during a. study of science achievement by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). A sample of 37 schools was used the probability of selection of the school was proportional to its enrolment. Within each school, a random sample of students in the sixth form was made to select the students to take part in the testing program. Information collected enabled a predicted score for each school to be made and this was compared with the actual score obtained by averaging the scores of each student in the sample. Two groups of five schools were then selected for comparative study; one group which had performed better than expected and the other which had performed below expectations. The comparison of the two groups of schools to identify school factors was achieved by the study of the responses of teachers, students and school principals on survey instruments. In addition a visit was made to each school to gather further information. These procedures enabled the identification of school characteristics which were seen as contributing factors to the performance of students on tests of science achievement.
ItemHow may the use of an abstract picture language affect student learning of energy and changeFry, Margaret C. ( 2002)The teaching of `Energy' as a topic in school science has often been found in the professional and research literature to be incoherent and scientifically inconsistent. Boohan and Ogborn's `Energy and change' booklets are an attempt to outline a new way for teachers in junior science classes to talk about processes that drive everyday changes from the weather to a car moving. They have sought, around the central idea that change is caused by differences, to use easy language and find coherent ways to describe thermodynamic ideas. They developed a set of abstract pictures to make these ideas intelligible. In this phenomenological classroom-based study the experiences afforded two Year 8 classes and their teachers in the same school in Melbourne by the use of Boohan and Ogborn's abstract picture language are investigated. One teacher took a didactic/empirical approach. He taught from his architectonic conceptual map of energy and followed the standard textbook development of forms of energy punctuated by the recommended experiments and teacher demonstrations to illustrate various changes in form. The abstract pictures were used principally in discussion as summative and interrogative tools towards a clarification of the teacher's conceptual overview. The other teacher took a co-constructive experiential approach. She did not use a class text. The Boohan and Ogborn materials were used as gestural tools in the sense of presenting the gist of the embodied understanding- purposes and meaning- of teacher and students. There were some teacher demonstrations but no practical work. The picture language icons functioned as mediating tools in class conversations towards a perception not that certain predefined teacher concepts had been attained but rather individuals had attained confidence to go on from that juncture. The students' responses to the picture language, in class interaction and group interviews, revealed major similarities across these teaching approaches. Many saw the abstract picture language to be a powerful and economic representational or iconic device that afforded them a means of engaging their own embodied socio-cultural understanding of energy and change phenomena. Some were confused by the purpose and meaning inscribed in the icons. Both teachers felt professionally challenged in the employment of the materials and only partly satisfied by their different enactments. Both were engaged and curious about the intellectual, sensational and aesthetic dimensions of their and their students' experience.
ItemForm 4 attitudes to science and the choice of a science and in particular physics in Form 5Doig, Graeme R. ( 1976)Although the more recent curriculum writers have stressed the importance of affective outcomes in science education, students who study physics come to enjoy it less. Also, the proportional and absolute enrolments in physics have continued to decline. A review of the research literature suggested that attitudes to science are a factor in the choice of science and physics study. Attitudes to the science oriented concepts science and physics, scientists, science career and science teacher are pervasively unfavourable. Furthermore, student perceptions of science and physics suggested that the physical sciences were avoided because of certain inherent characteristics (physical science traits) and the absence of humanitarian, social and freedom connotations (non-science traits). Several research studies implicitly supported the hypothesis that favourable attitudes to science oriented concepts and physical science traits were associated with a science study preference whilst favourable attitudes to non-science traits were associated with a non-science study preference. The purpose of the present study was to explicitly examine the assertion that form 4 student attitudes to the above three classes of concepts were associated with the preference to pursue a form 5 science subject and in particular physics. Two identical sets of research hypotheses were formulated for the preference to pursue Science versus No Science and Physics versus No Physics. A questionnaire was administered to 385 form 4 Victorian secondary students in August 1974. The questionnaire elicited student responses to twenty two concepts using a form of\the semantic differential (Osgood, Suci & Tannenbaum, 1957) and their form 5 study preferences. Student attitudes were determined using the D (distance) statistic for profile congruence (Osgood, Suci & Tannenbaum, 1957) using the marker concepts Things I Like and Things I Dislike. The DLike and DDislike concept profiles were separately subjected to a multivariate analysis of variance procedure (Clyde, Cramer & Sherin, 1966) with Expressed Preference for Form 5 Study and Sex as the independent variables. Within the former independent variable, there were two orthogonal contrasts. These were Science versus No Science and Science (Physics) versus Science (No Physics). The two contrasts were necessarily taken together for the set of Physics versus No Physics research hypotheses. In general, the results based on the DLike profiles supported the assertions that student attitudes to science oriented concepts and physical science traits were associated with the preference for a future science subject and in particular physics. However, student attitudes to non-science traits were not associated with the preference to avoid science and physics. The results based on the DDislike profiles were consistent but less pervasive than the DLike profile data. The substantial disparity in the number of significant findings for the DLike and DDislike profile data further suggested that subject choices are made on the basis of "likes" rather than "dislikes". The overall findings of the research investigation presented a tentative picture of subject choice. Prospective science science and in particular physics students have an affinity for ("likes") and their non-science counter-parts an indifference to (rather than "dislikes") science in general and the nature of the physical science curriculum. Furthermore, since such preference groups did not differ in their attitudes to non-science traits, it may be argued that prospective non-science students are indifferent to their actual subject choices. However, this argument could not be overstated. The implications of the research investigation are that attitudes to science (in general) and the nature of the physical science are an important factor in a future choice of science and in particular physics. If future physical science enrolments are to increase, then the attitudes of those students who avoid science and physics must be nurtured. This may be effected through incorporating additional dimensions into the physical science curriculum and the consideration of teacher behaviour on student attitudes to science.
ItemDistinguishing the science content taken by grade 12 studentsCross, R. J. ( 1977)The population of grade 12 students in Australian secondary schools has been steadily increasing over the past two decades. For most of this period the percentage of students at this level choosing science-type courses has been decreasing, and recently the actual number taking physics and chemistry has declined in some states. This study aimed to find a set of variables that would maximize the prediction of grade 12 student science content. Emphasis was directed toward identification of science talented students not opting for high science content in grade 12, and, equally as important, those of low science ability who select predominantly science courses at this level. It was proposed that the variables could be measures of any area likely to be related to the criterion. For example, factors associated with the home, the school, and personal measures were all included. The variable set was then searched for that combination returning optimal criterion prediction. Attention was focussed on six main units of analysis viz males, males of higher science ability, males of lower science ability, females, females of higher science ability, females of lower science ability. The data in each unit was subjected to both discriminant (stepwise and direct) analysis and a process similar to a stepwise regression procedure called the Automatic Interaction Detector (AID). AID employs a branching process using variance analysis to subdivide the sample into subgroups which maximize dependent variable value prediction. The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) conducted a series of tests on a stratified random sample of grade 12 students throughout Australia in 1970. The results, held at ACER, included measures of some 418 variables thirty four of which were selected for this investigation. Included in this group were the results of the four Commonwealth Secondary Scholarship Examination (CSSE) ability tests taken two years earlier. Analysis units were formed on the basis of sex and CSSE - Science score. The results indicate successful science content prediction is possible with the personal or internal variables of science interest, attitudes and abilities, consistently being of greatest importance. The participating external variables vary depending on the unit of analysis. The non-monotonic "State" and "Type of School" factors are predominant in AID analyses.
ItemOrigins and development of general science in Victoria 1942-1962Boyd, Lawrence Charles ( 1976)This thesis is a detailed study of the teaching of General Science in Victorian secondary schools during the period, 1942-1962. The beginnings of the General Science movement can be traced to investigations into science education in England in 1918. However, many ideals of the subject date back to the nineteenth century. Hence some time has been spent in researching the aims and practice of science teaching in England during these earlier stages. Similarly, it has been necessary to study early science curricula in Australia. This background allowed an analysis of effects that Nature Study courses, university science subjects and any unique aspects of Australian education may have had on the origins and implementation of General Science. Syllabuses, courses of study, examination papers and examiners' reports have been thoroughly studied to determine the nature and direction of teaching that took place. In particular, the effect of subject content, examinations, text books and teaching methods has been researched. Hence it has been possible to analyse critically the origins and evolution of General Science. This retrospective study has not only allowed close scrutiny of the ideals and actual classroom practice of the time; it has also afforded valuable insight into essential guidelines that are necessary for general curriculum evaluation and development. Many of these guidelines remain relevant today, even though some thirty years have elapsed since the first General Science course was adapted in Victoria.
ItemOpening the door of the 6th form chemistry laboratory: a study of professional collaboration between a science teacher and an English as a second language (ESL) teacher in senior chemistryAcevedo, Margaret Claire ( 1997)True professional teacher collaboration has been limited by the institutional roles which are constructed for us and through which we view ourselves. This thesis is a narrative case study of teacher collaboration for the purpose of addressing the language learning needs of English as a Second Language students in Year 12 Chemistry classes. It explores the issues involved in the professional working relationship through the voices of a Science teacher and an ESL teacher over a two year period. This was done through transcripts of classroom teaching, analysis of teaching and learning materials produced, interviews and reflective journal writing. The study looked at the groundwork which took place to establish a school climate conducive to the collaboration in terms of the Habermasian interests; technical, practical and emancipatory. The emancipatory nature of the collaboration is explained in terms of the repositioning of the teachers with regard to each other, the students, the scientific and linguistic subject matter. By exercising power in their respective fields the collaborating teachers achieved a professional parity which allowed them to reflect on their practice and move beyond the static and ritualised institutional roles of a Chemistry and an ESL teacher. Through the interaction they established language as legitimate content in the science classroom and together explored new practices afforded by the adoption of a social constructivist epistemology. This research points to the emergence of a new more empowering professional development role for ESL teachers in the future. At the heart of this collaboration is a commitment to conversations about issues of fundamental importance in classroom practice which reconcile boundaries of differing departmental cultures and discourses.