Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Research Publications

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    Australia: Significant Characteristics of the School System and the Mathematics Curriculum
    Williams, G ; Mesiti, C ; Clarke, D ; Clarke, D ; Keitel, C ; Shimizu, Y (Sense Publishers, 2006)
    In Australia, states and territories regulate their own education systems, however, national benchmarks representing minimum standards for Numeracy (in the areas of number sense, measurement and data sense, and spatial sense) help inform the individual state curricula. Australia has three school sectors: Government, Independent, and Catholic. As data collection in the Learner's Perspective Study (LPS) was restricted to Government schools, this overview focuses primarily on the types of schools from which the Learner's Perspective Study (LPS) data from Year 8 mathematics lessons was collected: Victorian government secondary schools.
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    Comparing and contrasting methodologies: A commentary
    Bikner-Ahsbahs, A ; Williams, G ; Zaslavsky, O ; Sullivan, P (Routledge, 2009-04-15)
    The term ‘methodology’ is discussed before we consider the methodological contributions of each team of chapter authors (Cobb, Gresalfi & Hodge; Nathan, Eilam & Kim; and Saxe, Gearhart, Shaughnessy, Earnest, Cremer, Itabkhan, Platas & Young) and examine links between them. We generate questions arising from our analyses of the three chapters in this section and formulate views on classroom learning in mathematics that could be researched through complementary analyses. The subsequent discussion of data-collection instruments appropriate to further analyses is informed by our own research perspectives. This commentary concludes with a summary of what we have learnt through comparing the three methodologies and how simultaneously focusing on data from different theoretical perspectives might help to show the way forward in researching the richness of learning in classrooms.
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    Children's mathematical thinking in different classroom cultures
    Wood, T ; Williams, G ; McNeal, B (NATL COUNCIL TEACHERS MATHEMATICS-NCTM, 2006-05-01)
    The relationship between normative patterns of social interaction and children's mathematical thinking was investigated in 5 classes (4 reform and 1 conventional) of 7- to 8-year-olds. In earlier studies, lessons from these classes had been analyzed for the nature of interaction broadly defined; the results indicated the existence of 4 types of classroom cultures (conventional textbook, conventional problem solving, strategy reporting, and inquiry/argument). In the current study, 42 lessons from this data resource were analyzed for children's mathematical thinking as verbalized in class discussions and for interaction patterns. These analyses were then combined to explore the relationship between interaction types and expressed mathematical thinking. The results suggest that increased complexity in children's expressed mathematical thinking was closely related to the types of interaction patterns that differentiated class discussions among the 4 classroom cultures.
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    Abstracting in the Context of Spontaneous Learning
    Williams, G (SPRINGER, 2007-09-01)
    There is evidence that spontaneous learning leads to relational understanding and high positive affect. To study spontaneous abstracting, a model was constructed by combining the RBC model of abstraction with Krutetskii's mental activities. Using video-stimulated interviews, the model was then used to analyse the behaviour of two Year 8 students who had demonstrated spontaneous abstracting. The analysis highlighted the crucial role of synthetic and evaluative analysis, two processes that seem unlikely to occur under guided construction.
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    Rural school principals’ perceptions of social justice in neo-liberal times: towards a pluralistic notion of rural education
    Cuervo, H ; Boylan, C (Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia, 2007)
    In this paper I apply the theory of social justice to evidence drawn from interviews with two rural school principals in Victoria. I examine the perceptions of social justice held by these principals to analyse the pressing issues that rural schools and their principals face in their quest to provide a socially-just education. The importance of seeking principals’ responses is based on their crucial position in leading their school culture and in responding to policies that define the educational landscape. In the last two decades, educational policies have been shaped by the dominant vision of restructuring the Australian economy to compete in a tougher international market, replacing the former dominant vision of social justice and equal opportunity with one based on managerialism, productivity and competition. Neo-liberal managerialist discourses and practices of perfomativity, testing and accountability now play a central function in determining principals’ role in schools. These discourses and practices have the potential to affect how principals conceptualise social justice and, in turn, how they apply it to practices in favour of a more socially-just schooling. In this paper, I argue that rural schools still face relevant issues of unjust distribution of resources, participation in policy making and cultural recognition and that rural education needs to engage with a pluralistic view of what social justice is: one that includes three dimensions – distributive, associational and recognitial justice.
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    Developing a thinking curriculum for Year 5: theory and practice
    Pietzner, J ; Wilks, S (ACER Press, 2005)
    In this chapter Jason Pietzner discusses the theories behind his work with the thinking curriculum in his former Year 5 classroom. He examines Bloom’s Taxonomy and Anderson’s revision of this model and then shows how he has distilled them into the Three Storey Intellect model (Gathering/Processing/ Applying). He then demonstrates the usefulness of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory and acknowledges the influence of Lipman’s Philosophy for Children model. The product of his unit of work showing the effectiveness of the approach is included.
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    Early childhood literacy and numeracy: Building good practice
    Fleer, M ; RABAN, B (Department of Education, Science and Training, 2007)
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    Is peer review useful in assessing research proposals in Indigenous health? A case study.
    Street, J ; Baum, F ; Anderson, IPS (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2009-02-13)
    BACKGROUND: There has been considerable examination and critique of traditional (academic) peer review processes in quality assessment of grant applications. At the same time, the use of traditional research processes in Indigenous research has been questioned. Many grant funding organisations have changed the composition of their peer review panels to reflect these concerns but the question remains do these reforms go far enough? In this project we asked people working in areas associated with Aboriginal health research in a number of capacities, their views on the use of peer review in assessing Indigenous research proposals. METHODS: In semi-structured interviews we asked 18 individuals associated with an Australian Indigenous research funding organisation to reflect on their experience with peer review in quality assessment of grant applications. We also invited input from a steering group drawn from a variety of organisations involved in Aboriginal research throughout Australia and directly consulted with three Aboriginal-controlled health organisations. RESULTS: There was consensus amongst all participants that traditional academic peer review is inappropriate for quality assessment in Indigenous research. Many expressed the view that using a competitive grant review system in Aboriginal health was counterintuitive, since good research transfer is based on effective collaboration. The consensus within the group favoured a system which built research in a collaborative manner incorporating a variety of different stakeholders in the process. In this system, one-off peer review was still seen as valuable in the form of a "critical friend" who provided advice as to how to improve the research proposal. CONCLUSION: Peer review in the traditional mould should be recognised as inappropriate in Aboriginal research. Building research projects relevant to policy and practice in Indigenous health may require a shift to a new way of selecting, funding and conducting research.
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    Conscientiousness, Career Success, and Longevity: A Lifespan Analysis
    Kern, ML ; Friedman, HS ; Martin, LR ; Reynolds, CA ; Luong, G (OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2009-04-01)
    BACKGROUND: Markers of executive functioning, such as prudent planning for the future and impulse control, are related to conscientiousness and may be central to both occupational success and health outcomes. PURPOSE: The aim of the study was to examine relations among conscientiousness, career success, and mortality risk across a 65-year period. METHODS: Using data derived from 693 male participants in the Terman Life Cycle Study, we examined associations among childhood personality, midlife objective career success, and lifelong mortality risk through 2006. RESULTS: Conscientiousness and career success each predicted lower mortality risk (N = 693, relative hazard (rh) = 0.82 [95% confidence interval = 0.74, 0.91] and rh = 0.80 [0.71, 0.91], respectively), with both shared and unique variance. Importantly, childhood personality moderated the success-longevity link; conscientiousness was most relevant for least successful individuals. CONCLUSION: Conscientiousness and career success predicted longevity, but not in a straightforward manner. Findings highlight the importance of lifespan processes.