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ItemAn investigation of principals’ views on the factors that influence the place and provision of music in primary schoolsPerry, David John ( 2023-03)Though music remains an historically strong part of Australian school life, it is vulnerable to low resourcing and lack of status. Much of the literature specifically references the barriers to achieving a level of music provision that meets the needs of students in each individual school community. Research indicates that the principal is a significant influence on music provision in schools compared to other factors, although this is often overlooked in the literature. While the principal as change agent is well documented in certain music education literature, it is unusual to see their views explored in great depth. To investigate this gap, three primary principals from state schools in Melbourne’s northern suburbs in Victoria, Australia, were recruited for an interview-based study that sought to explore the question: What are the perspectives and ideas that shape principals’ views of music education? The study design used semi-structured interviews following a pre-interview survey and used an interpretivist paradigm due to the study’s emphasis on observation and interpretation. Interview data was categorised by theme, and language use was analysed using Conversational Analysis and Discourse Analysis methods. Critical theory, with its emphasis on social and power structures, was chosen as a theoretical framework. Findings suggested that the constraints on principals in Victorian schools, that had been identified in other, non-music education literature, could impact their capacity for provision of music. Principals are identified as possibly the strongest factor in the level and quality of provision, and as provision has been shown to be inconsistent, it is reasonable to assume that the capacity of individual principals is also inconsistent. While many principals value music and will endeavour to resource it in spite of barriers, it is suggested that the benefits of having music in schools be more broadly communicated to all stakeholders to elevate its status. All participants demonstrated a commitment to prioritising music provision at their school, and a willingness to learn more about its benefits. Furthermore, they also articulated the broader concept of needing to extend the knowledge about music’s benefits at a system and / or principal network level, in order to better support principals’ capacity to ensure music provision.
ItemThe role of school principals in implementing data led professional learning teams in Department of Education and Early Childhood Development schools, Victoria.Quan, Patricia Anne ( 2013)This investigation uses a case study of a Prep-12 college and its attempt to set up professional learning teams. The school is a Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) school based in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. The school in question had been part of a Regional initiative called the ‘Achievement Improvement Zones’ and also participated in the Assessment Learning Partnerships program between the University of Melbourne’s Assessment Research Centre and DEECD. The research was conducted by a participant observer employed by DEECD as a teaching and learning coach at the school. Twenty staff members were interviewed and their data was analysed thematically and compared with reports developed from school visits to professional learning teams in 2009. The role of the leadership team (mainly the principal) was the main focus in examining how the school developed professional learning teams. This was measured against the leadership domains developed by Thomas Sergiovanni (2004). The research concurred with his findings about the domains of leadership in suggesting that three domains (educational, technical and human) are the most important when setting up Professional Learning Teams. In the case of the school under study, the human leadership domain appeared to be the most important.
ItemA community-led bilingual school in action: the Deutsche Schule Melbourne (DSM)Douglas, Evelyn Linda ( 2012)This research is a case study of the Deutsche Schule Melbourne – A German English Bilingual School (DSM). Located five kilometres from the Melbourne CBD in North Fitzroy, the DSM was established as an independent school in 2008. A unique feature of the DSM is that the school has not yet appointed a principal. This study investigated the founding of this school and asked, “What led to the creation of the DSM and how has the school been developed and sustained since then?” The scope of this research also included two minor questions involving the success of the school to date and the future needs and directions of the school. It describes the creation of this new bilingual school and examines the key factors in its formation and development. Data were gathered through documents and semi-structured, one-to-one and group interviews which comprised a selection of teachers and parents, as well as current and former Board members of the DSM. The case study revealed that the idea for the DSM came from within the German-Australian community who wanted to establish a German-speaking school in Melbourne which would also become a focal point for their community. By drawing and building on support from within that same community, the school was formed. Two distinct phases in the school’s creation were identified and described: The Founding Phase and The Established Phase. Each phase contained a number of clearly defined developmental milestones. In both phases, members from the school community and the wider German-Australian community led the creation and development of the school, making it a community-led school. Key factors found to be essential to the formation of the DSM were: a clear vision; a distributed leadership model; a distinctive marketing orientation; high levels of community support; a collaborative, democratic decision-making process; bilingual/bicultural focus; and, high levels of commitment and persistence. Further analysis revealed strong similarities to Kotter’s theory of change management process in the way the school was created and developed. A comparison of the leadership demonstrated by the DSM community and the Victorian model of Successful Principalship which was part of the International Successful School Principalship Project also showed that the DSM was successfully led by its community. This case study provides insight into new school formation, school leadership, bilingual education and community involvement in schools, and will be of interest to policy makers, researchers and those involved in schools.