Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    German in Victorian secondary schools : differences in provision
    Wilson, Glenys Margaret ( 1990)
    The following thesis focuses on the provision of German language teaching in the secondary school curriculum. As a supportive comparison considerable attention has also been paid to French language teaching. Both of these subjects have undergone great changes, and a general decline in popularity and importance, during the post war period. It would also appear that both German and French, often recognized as traditional modern language subjects, have been neglected in general pronouncements about L.O.T.E. in favour of Asian and community languages. The study reveals that very little consolidated information exists on the availability of language teaching in Victoria. The thesis, therefore, attempts to pool available published and unpublished data on availability, popularity and geographical location of German as a subject in the Victorian secondary school curriculum.
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    Literature and English teaching : a study of literature in the teaching of English at Scotch College, Melbourne
    Watkinson, Alan Redmayne ( 1991)
    The first chapter of this thesis provides a personal memoir of my teaching career, and places it in the wider historical context of developments within English teaching in England and Australia. It establishes my own position at the key points of these developments in 1966, 1975, 1980 and 1985 and introduces the main area of interest - the place of literature in the teaching of English. The second chapter concerns the vast amount of writing on the nature and teaching of literature in English. It provides an historical review of the main body of this writing and derives some of its focus from the seminal work of John Dixon in 1966, as well as the Bullock Report of 1975. The vigorous yet sometimes slightly artificial debate on the issue of literature teaching is also examined in the review of the important journal, The Use of English. Chapter Three develops the ideas propounded in some of the writings examined in the previous chapter and provides an analysis of my own experience at Melbourne Grammar School. Chapter Four shows the similarities and differences existing between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School and details a more critical view of the state of English teaching from 1980 - 1990 at Scotch College. It reviews some of the specific examples of literature teaching and shows the slow progress which has been experienced over a decade within the College. The final chapter brings together the case of Scotch College and reviews possible future progress in the light of perceived difficulties inherent in the structure of the College. The general outlook for English at the College is seen in positive terms and suggestions are provided for further research into both the reading habits of students and the processes involved in the teaching of literature within the current restraints.
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    A comparison of the difficulties of algebra, fractions and decimals for Year 9 students
    O'Leary, Eileen ( 1989)
    Skills tests in arithmetic and algebra were administered to 222 Year 9 students in two schools in Melbourne. Students, who were given one of four test papers, attempted twelve core questions, and three pairs of questions, the second of which was a j ump in difficulty from the first. These jumps in difficulty were expressions of the difference between working with fractions or decimals as opposed to whole numbers, and algebra as opposed to arithmetic. The results for the paired questions were firstly analysed using McNemar's test for changes. It was found that there is a jump in difficulty when moving from settings not involving fractions and decimals to settings where operating with fractions and decimals is necessary. Although the situation involving the addition of algebra is not as clear, it appears as well that the movement of a question from are arithmetic to an algebraic setting poses difficulties for students. Rasch analysis was used to give a measure of difficulty for all items, and the differences in difficulty for each of the paired questions calculated. The Newman-Kuels procedure was used to test if there was a difference in the difficulty jumps for the three areas. It was found that the jump in encountering fractions or decimals as opposed to whole numbers is significantly greater than the jump in coping with algebra as opposed to arithmetic. It is suggested that emphasis on acquiring a thorough conceptual, knowledge of rarional number needs to continue through the junior years of secondary school.
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    The Wesley College technology enriched graphing project
    Steele, David ( 1994)
    Graphics calculators are rapidly becoming more affordable to students of mathematics. In time, it can be expected these calculators will become as essential a tool for mathematics students as scientific calculators are now. This thesis investigates how best to use graphics calculators to improve student achievement and understanding of senior secondary graph-sketching topics. The Wesley College Technology Enriched Graphing Project was an experimental study which involved 180 Year 11 students (8 intact classes) over 15 lessons at two campuses of this large co-educational independent school. Two teaching programs were devised, which differed in the degree of teaching emphasis on issues of scaling and obtaining a complete picture of a graph. The effect of frequency of calculator use was also investigated with a 2 x 2 experimental design. Daily use of the calculator was found to lead to significantly more improvement on general graphing questions than less frequent use. The teaching emphasis on scaling led to significantly more improvement in students' ability to deal with potentially misleading questions where the finite view of a function provided by the calculator omitted important features. Students' attitudes to calculator use were very positive. In the light of these results it is recommended that schools move as quickly as possible to personal ownership of graphics calculators by students and that teaching programs emphasise scaling issues. This approach takes no more time than traditional teaching methods, but confronts student difficulties and leads to better understanding of functions.