Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Computer-based learning in an Australian setting : a study of the development and use of a foreign language vocabulary program at the University of Melbourne
    McDougall, Anne (1945-) ( 1976)
    This thesis is the first Australian study of the use of computer-based learning by non-Science students. It begins with a review of research and developments in computer applications in education overseas, and looks in particular at the use of computers in the teaching of foreign languages. It then examines the development, use and evaluation of a foreign language vocabulary practice program for students in first year undergraduate Swedish courses at the University of Melbourne. Since non-Science students might be expected to be more wary of technological innovations, student attitudes to the program and to the computer as a learning medium were of particular interest in this study. As had been reported in overseas studies, a majority of students showed very favourable attitudes to computer-based learning, largely because of their opinion that the program ensured thorough learning of the material presented. A smaller group were found to have strongly negative attitudes to the technique. The proportion of students who made a great deal of use of the program was quite small. This was attributable mainly to the limited aim of the program, acquisition of vocabulary, although inconvenience due to unsuitability of the available computing facilities for educational applications was also a contributing factor.
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    Influences on engineering education in Australia
    Zorbas, Nicholas ( 1976)
    This thesis is concerned with the identification and examination of the various types of influences on professional engineering education in Australia. It commences with a study of what a professional person in general, and a professional engineer in particular, should be, and describes the functions and characteristics of such a person. This is followed by an examination of curriculum design, and how the curricula of professional courses are controlled by professional societies. The various influences on engineering curricula are then considered in detail in four broad categories, namely historical influences, formal influences, informal influences, and societal influences within each of these categories, various tapes of influences are identified, and their method of application, and relative effectiveness, discussed. Apart from the chapters on terminology and historical influences, which have been researched from existing publications, the content of the thesis is original, and, as far as can be ascertained, is the first attempt to examine the subject of Australian engineering education in a sociological context.
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    The sociohistorical approach to science teaching : theory and practice
    Robottom, Ian M (1949-) ( 1978)
    A conception of scientific methodology is regarded as an important objective in science education. There exists an identifiable popular view of science which is expressed both explicitly and implicitly in science curriculum design, and in the evaluation of students' progress. This popular view of science includes such elements as objectivity, open-mindedness, logicality and rationality. It can be found in explicit statements of scientific methodology in science texts, and can be discerned in the actual structure of curricule,as well as in tests on students' understanding of science. The currently dominant behavioural objectives model of curriculum design, with its emphasis on the use of rational, logical means-end reasoning, is a facilitative agent in the propagation of the popular view. There is, however, considerable equivocation concerning the nature of scientific methodology. The existence of a number of different conceptions of science, for example those articulated by Popper, Kuhn, and Schwab, is incompatible with the singularity of the popular view. The prespecification of outcomes, as demanded by the behavioural objectives model of curriculum design, seems inappropriate in light of the fact that these outcomes (relating to scientific methodology) have such an equivocal base. The suitability of an alternative model of curriculum design, that articulated by Stenhouse, is explored. There has recently been a rise in interest in the Sociohistorical Approach to science teaching. This approach, which involves the setting of episodes of scientific inquiry in their social and historical context, may constitute a practical manifestation of Stenhouse's theory. An attempt is made to outline the marriage of the process model and the use of sociohistorical materials.
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    The motorised sailing-ship: a study of Realms of meaning by Philip H. Phenix
    Gordon, David R ( 1977)
    Realms of Meaning, by Philip H. Phenix is an influential book which sets out a curriculum for general education. This assessment of the book takes the view that, while it is a stimulating contribution to philosophy of the curriculum, the work as a whole is unsatisfactory in some important ways. Generally speaking it is claimed in this thesis, that in attempting to modify what is in fact a traditional ideal (i.e. the ideal of 'liberal education') in order to meet the demands of the present, Phenix produces a curriculum which can be likened in some ways to a motorised sailing ship. However this examination of Realms of Meaning is intended to throw some light on what is required of a more generally acceptable philosophy of general education. Two central and related claims of Realms of Meaning are: 1. That knowledge exhibits structures and can be classified according to these structures. 2. That this fact is of vital importance for the curriculum planner. It is argued that the attempt to substantiate these claims in realms of Meanie is not entirely convincing. Another central feature of the book is the attempt by Phenix to show an intimate connection between education, human nature and the scholarly disciplines. This attempt is made via the concept of 'meaning'. It is an attempt which, in the view of this thesis is not entirely successful and this sets up tensions' which are felt in other parts of the book, in particular in the classification of the disciplines, and in the specification about curriculum which are derived from this classification. In addition it is argued in this thesis that Phenix fails to deal satisfactorily with some of the problems caused by the universality of the curriculum he proposes. . Chief among these problems are. 1. The problem of individual differences, and 2. the problem of the transmission of culture. Finally some conclusions are drawn about some of the characteristics of a. more generally acceptable philosophy of general education.. These conclusions arise from a conviction that (1) such a philosophy should . concern itself exclusively with the question of what, if anything, everyone, should learn and, (2) a curriculum for such general education should justify itself entirely on practical grounds.
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    The social role of the English teacher
    Cosopodiotis, Theodora Catherine ( 1978)
    The concern of this thesis has been to probe the various expectations of those involved in the teaching and learning processes of English. This has been done in part through questionnaires, surveys, discussions, reports, and the writings done by teachers and students. The comments of educationists, psychologists, sociologists, and the media, have been related to the material wherever possible. Factors such as the socio-economic status of students, their ethnicity, different levels of motivation, occupational aspirations, and their beliefs and values, were also noted for their relevance to the acquiring of language skills. These and similar factors were seen to determine to a large extent the educational environment that is needed to generate in students a motivation to learn, to think critically, and to develop defensible ideas about themselves and society. For this reason, it has been suggested that the inter-disciplinary approach to English and English Literature through psychology, sociology and philosophy, may be seen as relevant to students in their study of the individual and society. Consciously or unconsciously, teachers impart norms of the individual's role in society. It may seem logical then to expect that teachers become familiar both with the substantive content of certain topics and issues that help them to define the role of the individual in society, and with the role of the school in dealing effectively with emerging social problems. Remedial and migrant students form part of the social problems that have caused the teaching of English to be criticised by the media and by concerned educationists. An examination of the problems of illiteracy, and solutions suggested by many writers on the subject, is compared with the experiences of those who are involved in remedial and migrant English teaching. Overall, an attempt has been made to define the role of the teacher of English in such a way as to encompass the varied needs of students in an increasingly complex society. The sixth form students in their replies to the HSC questionnaire, showed a desire to study the psychological, sociological and philosophical aspects of the literature read, and to relate it to their own lives, and to society in general. Literature was thus used for increasing self-awareness. This seems to suggest that teachers may need to re-evaluate their approach to the teaching of English in order to accommodate all students at all levels who desire to use English as an instrument of communication in its fullest sense.
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    An evaluation of aspects of the proposition by Professor G.H. Bantock that "ultimately education both formal and informal is concerned with cultural transmission"
    Blackler, Stuart Edward ( 1976)
    This thesis explores both the meaning and the application of. Bantock's assertion. Firstly, the notion of 'culture' is examined. I3antock identifies two common interpretations of the word: the anthropological and the Arnoldian 'pursuit of excellence.' He claims that his understanding is somewhere between the two. However, an analysis of his works shows that his thinking for education is far more identifiable with the Arnoldian idea of culture as what people should do, than it is with the anthropological notion that culture is what the people do. The meaning of I3antock's assertion about education's 'ultimate concern' is then examined with respect to his recommendations on curriculum. Bantock usefully distinguishes between 'cognitive' and 'affective' learning. Yet this distinction is not as sharp as one might expect: the criterion of the rational - or cognitive - as the arbiter limits his recommendations affecting curricula. If education is to be transmitted, this entails a discussion of how the transmission is to take place. �3sntack rejects 'discovery methods' as a mesas to transmit cultural values. The validity of his rejection is disputed both on the grounds of his failure to perceive the structure underlying discovery methods and the motivation of these methods. Transmission has to be undertaken by someone: thus, the role of school and not - school is examined, and the role of the teacher is explored. The former is affected by the whole area of the responsibility of the educator to his society; the latter is complicated by the fact, not explored by Bantock in any depth, that the teacher himself is necessarily involved in the wider community. lf cultural transmission is to be seen as the ultimate concern of education, then other claimants need to be described and assessed. The thesis examines the claims of self-realization, social improvement and social .usefulness, and proceeds to examine what claim cultural transmission knight have against other claims. The thesis examines the contribution which cultural transmission has over and against other claimants: its complementary nature, its sense of continuity with the past and for the future, and its dynamic spirit are explored. Finally, the thesis seeks to assess the contribution of G. H. Bantock to educational thinking. Negatively. there is a criticism of his failure to recognise the pluralistic nature of modern society, and his tendency to over-simplify the attitudes of those with whom he disagrees. But, positively, he does draw attention to the need for educational discourse to identify aims, his open-ness to a changing society, and his identification that the decisions affecting education are less and less in the hands of educators.
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    Childbirth and childbirth education: a study of critical factors in psychological adaptation among primigravidae
    Astbury, Jill Anne ( 1978)
    Factors which facilitate or retard psychological adaptation in the stressful period of childbearing have been the focus of a continuing theoretical controversy, begun by Grantly Dick-Read (1944) and Helene Deutsch (1945). Their disagreement centred on the effectiveness of ante-natal education in reducing maternal anxiety through the provision of information about the reproductive process, as well as the advisability of attempting to reduce anxiety. For Dick-Read and subsequent childbirth educators, anxiety in pregnancy was predictive of physical and psychological maladjustment. Consequently, the elimination of anxiety and the production of self-esteem have been fundamental aims for ante-natal education programs. Deutsch argued that Dick-Read had ignored important primal anxieties which neither could nor should be removed through ante-natal education, because of the crucial role they played in preparing women for the stresses of labour. The theoretical disagreement between these two writers provided a context within which subsequent empirical research findings were evaluated, and informed the experimental hypotheses of the present study. Ninety primigravidae, of whom 45 attended ante-natal education classes and 45 did not, took part in the investigation carried out between May 1976 and May 1977. Subjects were tested late in pregnancy, during labour and early in the post partum, on a variety of questionnaire measures concerning attitudes towards various aspects of reproduction, state and trait anxiety, and attitudes towards self and significant others. Subjects were also interviewed individually about their labour experience in the early post partum. During labour, subjects were randomly assigned to a no treatment group, a group which listened to popular music, and one which listened to a tape giving information on coping with labour. Only state anxiety level was ascertained during labour. Contrary to prediction, women who had attended ante-natal education classes did not have significantly lower levels of state or trait anxiety on any of the testing occasions than did untrained women. Similarly, there was no significant difference in state anxiety depending on an interaction between group membership and treatment level during labour. There were no significant differences favouring trained women over untrained women on any of the obstetrical indices of labour. Of the significant results which were obtained, most favoured untrained women. Thus, in the post partum, untrained women perceived greater congruence between current self-concepts and those relating to 'doctors', 'pleasant and good things', 'nurses', 'childbirth' and 'the ideal mother', contrary to prediction. There were also highly significant changes in state and trait anxiety over the testing occasions regardless of group membership. It was concluded that the significant changes in state and trait anxiety supported the notion of childbearing as a crisis which ante-natal education did little to ameliorate. The possibility that anxiety played a useful role in preparing women for labour was considered. Ways of improving antenatal education, based on the findings of the current study and those from the research literature on coping with stress, were discussed.