Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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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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    Educational accountability and organisational capacity in school science departments: a material critique of management models of mandated curriculum reforms
    Bainbridge, John ( 2007)
    In Sociology, Bourdieu (1977), Giddens (1984) and Schatzki (2001) have developed theories of practice to offer an alternative to rational and normative concepts of action and to solve the problem of the relationship between agency and structure. They argue that cultural, political and economic processes are mutually constitutive of social agency, as agency can be productively read as a historically specific confluence of discursive and material processes. In applied disciplines such as organizational and management studies (Niccolini, 2001) as well as in education (Southerland, Smith, Sowell and Kittleson, 2007), practice has been adopted to redefine the concepts of knowledge and learning and to understand change in working life. In these contexts, practice-based research has become part of new research areas, such as organizational learning, knowledge management, innovation and workplace studies and this research is in this modern tradition. This is a study of the praxis of two groups of science teachers, in different countries under different policy regimes of state mandated curriculum management. It is a study towards an understanding of the pedagogy of resistance and transformation. The significance of the resistance of material entities for the objectivity of knowledge is an important theme in the sociology of knowledge. The practice theorists in science and technology studies (for example Pickering 1993,1995, Latour 2000, Miettinen, 2006) have taken this resistance manifesting itself in experimental activity as a constitutive factor in accounting for the emergence of facts and scientific concepts. Pickering (1955: 560) talks about the temporal emergence of experimental activity in research as a "real-time dialectic of resistance and accommodation". Resistance refers to the blockage in reaching a goal or realization of a hypothesis. Fleck (1981) proposes that a fact is understood as a resistance expressed in experimental work and interpreted by the practice community. The widespread notion of "constraint" is usually understood as some kind of external condition that objectively limits scientific activities and epistemologies of transformative material activity more generally. "Resistance" is to be preferred, Pickering argues, because resistances are genuinely emergent in time, as a block arising in practice to a passage of goal-oriented practice" For Latour (200) objectivity refers to the presence of things that "object to what is told about them". This study uses surveys of whole school and science department staff as well as interviews conducted over a year in each of two schools, one in England and one in Melbourne Australia. It looks at the agency of science teachers as a transformative material activity, its relationship with policies of State mandated standards, and the objectivisation of teacher knowledge. Whereas subjective identity operates here in terms of types of experience that are available, agency of these teachers has to do more with a distribution of acts. Bhaskar's (1993) Transformational Model of Social Action has been applied to the analysis of staffroom praxis and offers an informing under-theory to the study of teacher agency and practice.