Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses
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ItemEgan's stage theory : an exploratory study of its use in the analysis of science textbooksValmadre, Christopher Charles ( 1985)Kieran Egan (1979) has challenged educationists to consider the need for a Theory of Development which is specifically Educational. Such a need is discussed and examined in the context of science teaching. Egan's Theory was applied to the selection of science text material for a group of eleven and twelve year old students. The students' responses to the materials were compared with Egan's descriptions of certain developmental stages, particularly of his Romantic Stage. The author concluded that Egan's theoretical proposition assisted in interpeting certain student behaviour and preferences. Possible classroom uses of Egan's theory are discussed, implications for text usage and design are outlined, and some areas of research are suggested.
ItemComputer education curricula for secondary schoolsJones, Anthony John (1940-) ( 1983)Educationally the nineteen eighties may well be remembered as the decade in which computers were introduced, in a planned and co-ordinated fashion, into the primary and secondary schools of Victoria. Throughout this thesis it is argued that while the planning and co-ordination have begun, they are a long way from being educationally satisfactory or effective. In particular, the need for the development of a broad curriculum to cater for the teaching and learning of Computer Education throughout the years of secondary schooling is examined, and a course proposal outlined. The concept of "curriculum" is discussed. A number of definitions are cited, and several traditional and current curriculum models are examined in the light of what might best suit Computer Education. Because Computer Education is a new subject, its introduction into the education system must be considered on a school-wide basis, rather than simply as a separate entity at one level such as year twelve. The arguments being put forward by the protagonists of course development within individual schools, as opposed to centralised development and dissemination, are examined and ultimately rejected for the introduction of Computer Education. One important aspect of curriculum development concerns the relationship that exists between the subject matter to be learned and the pedagogical methods to be used. It is now generally accepted that content, sequences and methods will vary according to the stage of development or educational maturity, of the learner. However many teachers are unaware of the differences that may exist between the logical development of a subject and the development that is most appropriate for the secondary school student. This is evidenced by the many text books and curricula that plunge, almost from the very beginning, into teaching the novice student how to write a computer program. Other problems, both existing and potential, that Computer Education curriculum developers must apply themselves to include the un-necessary duplication of content between Computer Education and other subjects, the advisability of integrating Computer Education into existing subjects for at least the first three years of secondary schooling, and the difficulty of obtaining suitable hardware and software at a realistic cost to schools. The curriculum proposal contained in this thesis considers the years from upper primary to the completion of secondary schooling, and assumes that some authority, for example VISE, would have ultimate control over the content at year twelve level. In the early years of secondary schooling the emphasis would be on students using prepared programs for tutoring, simulation, exploration and recreation. During this period every student would learn to use a computer in a variety of modes and in several subject areas. Programming would be taught when and if the need arose, unless students elected to take a Computer Science subject at year eleven level or later. Finally, the problems relating to the training of teachers are investigated. To prepare every teacher for the introduction of computers into secondary schools, considerable changes must be made immediately to existing preservice courses for both primary and secondary teachers. As well, the method and content and duration of inservice activities would need to be rethought, redesigned and given a much higher priority than at present.
ItemSocial ideologies in two sets of multicultural curricular materialsHampel, Bill ( 1980)The large increase in the non-British proportion of Australia's population since 1945 has created a demand for greater recognition in schools of cultural difference and a re-affirmation of the goal of equality of educational opportunity. Marxist theories of ideology, hegemony and the State are employed to examine whether 'multicultural' curricular materials which are ostensibly advocating a critical appraisal of the society and subscription to these pluralist goals, are not soliciting support for dominant ideologies. The thesis questions whether they are not acting to reproduce the social order to the detriment of the ethnic minorities they are purporting to serve. The first of the two sets of curricular materials examined, Ethnic Australia, develops a Eurocentric view of exploration and inter-ethnic relations favourable to the needs of .capitalist economic growth. Its criticism of prejudice is unrelenting, but it does not extend it to an adequate analysis of the social conditions which might have generated discrimination and conflict. In its presentation of Italian and Greek cultures, it highlights and reinforces those attitudes and behaviours which are most conducive to an acceptance of competitive individualism under capitalism. The materials entitled Australia : A Multicultural Society, show the benefit of widespread consultation with educators and ethnic groups. They offer a view of culture and a picture of the material circumstances of Greeks and other migrants in Australia which accords with the most recent and carefully conducted research. In delivering a sustained attack on the inadequate provision for migrants in this country, they expose children' to a variety of ideological perspectives gleaned from the media, ethnic communities and the peer culture. Reservations are expressed about the capacity of materials with a liberal reformist ideology to develop in school students a critical awareness of the more intractable social structural barriers to the achievement of social equality and acceptance of cultural difference. Finally, there is brief discussion of the problems of construction and dissemination of critical curricular materials in a publicly funded educational system.
ItemSenior school chemistry in Victoria: syllabus prescription and pressure for changeBlance, Annette Rose ( 1984)A few key ideas have dominated the senior school chemistry syllabuses in Victoria. Despite pressures for change, and disclaimers to the contrary at various times, the Victorian course developers have shown a constant commitment to chemistry as an academic discipline, to the exclusion of most if not all of the societal, cultural, historical and economic aspects of the subject. In this thesis, an understanding of present courses in terms of past practice has been sought through a study of the ideas which have influenced syllabus design at various times. Some purchase on the exercise of change in school syllabuses, on the possibilities and limits to change, was obtained, although no prediction of future directions could be attempted. At the outset a decision was taken to concentrate the investigation on materials published principally for the direction of teachers whose task it was to prepare their classes for an externally set and assessed examination in chemistry. Thus, in this thesis, attention has focussed on the expressed intentions of the course developers in Victoria, as outlined in syllabuses, Course of Study and Scope of Course statements, and commentary in Circulars to Schools. Data extracted from these documents was supplemented with material from the recommended textbooks and Reports of Examiners. The former provided an extended coverage of material prescribed in the syllabuses, offering more insight into teaching sequence and depth than could, at this remove, be fairly inferred from syllabus documents alone. Commentary in the Reports of Examiners revealed more of the expectations of examiners and course developers than was apparent from the syllabuses alone. The correctives suggested by the examiners for a range of perceived shortcomings gave an indication of what was seen at various times as appropriate in schools courses. The examination papers themselves were not analyzed except for a few specific items. Although examinations have without doubt served to direct and limit teaching practice, this has not been their primary function. Selection of content, and methods of teaching specific items of content, and trends in course changes, were compared with contemporary practice in England and the United States. Chemistry method textbooks proved useful here as those available were spread approximately evenly across the whole of the period of the survey. Journal articles, except for those few which reported historical material, tended to be concentrated in the latter quarter of the century, 1955 to 1980, thus affording a much better coverage of ideas extant during that period than was the case for the earlier years. The syllabus in action, in terms of classroom practice, facilities and management, was not considered as part of this study. These factors assumed significance only in so far as they imposed limitations on the course developers. Those decisions taken revealed, in the syllabus but more so in commentary documents, the rationalization of an idealized conception of the discipline of chemistry into a form fit for school use. The view taken in this thesis was neither strictly historical nor chronological. No attempt was made to fully document the development of chemistry as a school level subject in this state. Past practice, and current overseas practice, were used rather to construct a context in which the most recent course changes in Victoria could be explained. In commenting on syllabus change, it has proved easier to identify past shortcomings than to point to a direction for the future. Trends, even though well established, can be and have been reversed. An aim shared by course developers in different countries is susceptible to quite disparate interpretations, resulting in courses with little in common. Further, as this research has been limited to publicly expressed intentions in official documents, it allowed only indirect reflection on purposes and reasons for decisions. A study complementary to this thesis in which particular periods were dealt with in greater detail, could examine the hopes and frustrations of those individuals who assumed the responsibility for the development of school level chemistry courses in Victoria. From both sorts of consideration of the studies a society chooses to impose on its children, some insight into the nature of that society and its culture could be gained.