Melbourne Graduate School of Education Curriculum Policies Project

Australian Curriculum Theses 2000



"Welsh, M. (2000). Promoting quality schooling in Australia: Commonwealth Government policy-making for schools (1987-1996). Belconnen ACT, University of Canberra."

"Promoting the quality of school education has been an issue of international, national and local significance in Australia over the past three decades. Since 1973 the pursuit of quality in school education has been embedded in the rhetoric of educational discourse and framed by the wider policy context. This study focuses on the Commonwealth (federal) government's policy agenda to promote the quality of schooling between 1987 and 1996. During this ten year period, successive Labor governments sought to promote quality through a range of policy initiatives and funding programs. Through extensive documentary research, fifty semi-structured interviews and one focus group with elite policy makers and stakeholders, the study examines how the Commonwealth government's 'quality agenda' was constructed and perceived. An analysis of relevant government reports and ministerial statements provides documentary evidence of this agenda, both in terms of stated policy intentions and the actual policy initiatives and funding programs set in place in the period 1987-1996. Set against this analysis are elite informants' perspectives on Commonwealth policy- making in this period - how quality was conceptualised as a policy construct and as a policy solution, the influences on Commonwealth policies for schools, whether there was a 'quality agenda' and how that agenda was constructed and implemented. Informants generally perceived quality as a diffuse, but all-encompassing concept which had symbolic and substantive value as a policy construct. In the context of Commonwealth schools' policies, quality was closely associated with promoting equity, outcomes, accountability, national consistency in schooling and teacher quality. Promoting the quality of 'teaching and learning' in Australian schools took on particular significance in the 1990s through a number of national policy initiatives brokered by the Commonwealth government. An exploration of policy processes through interview data reveals the multi-layered nature of policy-making in this period, involving key individuals, intergovernmental and national forums. In particular, it highlights the importance of a strong, reformist Commonwealth Minister (John Dawkins), a number of 'policy brokers' within and outside government and national collaboration in constructing and maintaining the Commonwealth's 'quality agenda' for schools. While several Australian education policy analysts have described policy-making in this period in terms of 'corporate federalism', a different perspective emerges from this study on policymaking at the national level. Despite unprecedented levels of national collaboration on matters related to schooling in this period, this research reveals an apparent ambivalence on the part of some elite policy makers towards the Commonwealth's policy agenda and its approach to schools' policy-making within the federal arena. Policy coherence emerged as a relevant issue in this study through analysis of interview data and a review of related Australian and international policy literature. Overall, informants perceived the Commonwealth's quality agenda to be relatively coherent in terms of policy intentions, but much less coherent in terms of policy implementation. Perceptions of Commonwealth domination, state parochialism, rivalry, delaying tactics and a general lack of trust and cooperation between policy players and stakeholders were cited as major obstacles to 'coherent' policy-making. An analysis of informants' views on policy-making in this period highlights features of coherent policy-making which have theoretical and practical significance in the Australian context. This research also demonstrates the benefits of going beyond the study of written policy texts to a richer analysis of recent policy history based on elite interviewing. The wide range of views offered by elite policy makers and stakeholders in this study both confirms and challenges established views about policy-making in the period 1987-1996. Elite interviewing lent itself to a grounded theory approach to data collection and analysis. This approach was significant in that it allowed relevant issues to emerge in the process of research, rather than relying on 'up front' theoretical frameworks for the analysis of data. "



"Barton, B. M. (2000). The relationships between mandated change, professional development and school growth. Wollongong NSW, University of Wollongong."

"This study set out to develop a grounded theory of the relationships between mandated change, professional development and school growth. A case study of a period of time between February 1994 and May 1995, was developed. It charting the experiences of the staff of four primary schools' journey through the implementation of a new State mandatory English K-6 Syllabus. Specifically, during this journey, the author investigated how four principals and twenty-one members of staff, caught up in this context, went about organising people, ideas and practices as part of the change process. Located within a naturalistic paradigm, the study focused on the 'multiple truths' presented by participants about their school settings and the connections they made between meanings and observable actions within their schools. A number of questions evolved and were used as a means of directing and framing the study. These included an exploration of two different contexts. The first explored the political, social and educational environment and how these external factors impacted on the case study schools. The second context was concerned with the 'setting', that is, the internal school factors that described the workplaces. The resulting grounded theory is presented in diagrammatic form, and shows the essential elements that the schools felt were integral to the change process. This is followed by a description of each element with particular reference to the relationships that existed in these contexts between mandated change, professional development and school growth. Implications are also made that may have value for major stakeholders in public education in New South Wales. Finally a number of challenges are offered for those engaged in the change process."


"Boyd, G. D. (2000). The development of a career education program for gifted and talented secondary students: a case study. Bathurst NSW, Charles Sturt University."

"In providing for quality outcomes for academically selected gifted and talented secondary students, the school in this study perceived a need to re-develop its career education program which was demand responsive, generic in approach and not aligned, as determined by student responses, to student needs. The study aimed at developing a career education program appropriate specifically for gifted and talented secondary students. The study's aims further evolved as the program development and evaluation processes progressed to encourage an ethos for the teaching of gifted and talented students which resulted in an integration of career education and student welfare. Identification of the stages in development and implementation of a career education program for gifted and talented students, the content and practices of such a program and the implications for the school, school district and wider educational community were subsequently identified as research questions to guide the case study. The study's aims were met within the constraints of current school resources. Career education theory, gifted and talented student theory, the career education needs of gifted and talented students, and careers adviser training were considered in a review of current literature. In the interim a student welfare program was implemented in Year 7, and a career education program was trialled in Year 11 to complement limited class teaching in Year 10 preparatory to work experience. A needs analysis of current career education programs in the school formed the basis for development of a revised Year 7-12 Career Education program. Formative evaluations through survey of participants, participant observation, stakeholder input and outcomes reviews as summative evaluation were then undertaken to ensure a successful re- development of the Career Education program to meet the needs of gifted and talented secondary students. The formative and summative evaluation processes resulted in the programs revision to ensure earlier and more flexible career awareness opportunities; greater scope for values clarification; psychological, psychocreative and social factors in career development fostered as appropriate for individual students; career education and student welfare integrated in a flexible manner with an emphasis on individualised support; aspiration enhancement available for students requiring support; an emphasis on lifelong career development; the unique challenges of girls as the focus of suitable support strategies; and an expansion in community learning opportunities. To enhance the concept of lifelong career development for each individual the revised program was designated Career Guidance to stress supportive information rather than ultimate knowledge as the program base. The implications for school personnel, students, and parents, the integration of career education and student welfare content and practices, together with program supervision and accommodation in delivering a best practice career education program for gifted and talented secondary students were identified, leading to a review of the case study and its research scaffold. "


"Chadwick, F. (2000). An Australian perspective on talent development in music: the influence of environmental catalysts upon the provision of opportunities for learning, training, and practice in the musical domain. Kensington NSW, University of New South Wales."

"The study explored the influence of environmental catalysts, upon the provision of field specific opportunities for learning, training, and practice, for a sample population of musically involved young Australians. The findings enhance understandings of the conditions in which children's musical aptitudes are developed. Research bases in the fields of gifted education and music education were employed to support the investigation. Components of Gagne's Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent provided the theoretical framework for this investigation. Two survey questionnaires, completed by Australian parents (N = 194 and N = 182 respectively), sought information pertaining to the subject child's musical involvements and undertakings. Some details of the musical interests and involvements of the child's parents and siblings were also obtained. Quantitative and qualitative data contribute to an extensive profile of the types of music programs and provisions which support the normative and expert development of Australian children's musical behaviours. Parents' musical interests and involvements appear to have strongly influenced the choice of home- based recreational pursuits for their children. The convincingly articulated, positive, field specific views espoused by Australian parents appear to have been translated into the provision of multiple, simultaneous opportunities for their children to engage with musical undertakings. Notable amongst the data are the structured involvements of young musicians with music composition engagements. The data also indicate that many of the sample of Australian children received high levels of support and encouragement for musical undertakings from parents who were themselves musically interested and knowledgeable. Parental involvements with their children's music lesson and practice related engagements, were found to be characterised by features of deliberate practice. The home-based environments of young Australian musicians were found to be characterised by opportunities for exposure to rigorous and challenging musical engagements, undertaken at an optimally early age, thereby enhancing normative musical development. Such engagements provided the necessary foundation for expert levels of musical skill acquisition. An ascending progression of musical skill development was demonstrated to correspond to increasing age further reinforcing the developmental perspective on the acquisition of musical expertise. Some parents indicate that musical engagement has been pursued as a means of appropriately challenging children exhibiting the cognitive and affective characteristics of giftedness."


"Crickmore, B. L. (2000). An historical perspective on the academic education of deaf children in New South Wales 1860s - 1990s. Callaghan NSW, University of Newcastle."

"This is an historical investigation into the provision of education services for deaf children in the State of New South Wales in Australia since 1860. The main focus is those deaf children without additional disabilities who have been placed in mainstream classes, special classes for the deaf and special schools for the deaf. The study places this group at centre stage in order to better understand their educational situation in the late 1990s. The thesis has taken a chronological and thematic approach. The chapters are defined by significant events that impacted on the education of the deaf, such as the establishment of special schools in New South Wales, the rise of the oral movement, and aftermath of the rubella epidemic in Australia during the 1940s. Within each chapter, there is a core of key elements around which the analysis is based. These key elements tend to be based on institutions, players, and specific educational features, such as the mode of instruction or the curriculum. The study found general agreement that language acquisition was a fundamental prerequisite to academic achievement. Yet the available evidence suggests that educational programs for most deaf children in New South Wales have seldom focused on ensuring adequate language acquisition in conjunction with the introduction of academic subjects. As a result, language and literacy competencies of deaf students in general have frequently been acknowledged as being below those of five their hearing counterparts, to the point of presenting a barrier to successful post-secondary study. It is proposed that the reasons for the academic failings of the deaf are inherent in five themes. "


"Delaney, M. (2000). A study of music education and music therapy for children with special needs in schools for specific purposes in New South Wales. Camperdown NSW, University of Sydney. Sydney Conservatorium of Music."

"This research project is a qualitative investigation which is centred on the description of the use of music education and music therapy for children with special needs in Schools for Specific Purposes in New South Wales. This study has been undertaken in order to examine the current music programs, their effectiveness and the different types of music providers in these schools. The investigation involved the collection of data through interviews with principals and music providers of ten Schools for Specific Purposes and observational data from audiovisual recordings of two case study schools. The results of the interview data show a wide variety of music providers and music programs in these schools. The reasons for these variations include the priority and emphasis of music within the school, the training and employment of the music providers, the funding available and the purpose of the teaching of music to children with special needs. From these data it is apparent that the teaching of music as part of the Creative Arts occurs in some schools more frequently than others. The video data shows the benefits and development that can occur through the use of music in these schools. The results of this study verify national and international literature describing the benefits of music for children with special needs and establish that many good music programs exist in Schools for Specific Purposes. Further funding, training and networking would enhance the quality of music programs in Schools for Specific Purposes and encourage more of these schools to make music a priority in their curriculum. "


"Faull, D. J. (2000). Cognitive theory in the teaching of algebraic problem solving. Kensington NSW, University of New South Wales."

"Recent research has shown that integrated worked examples can reduce cognitive load and facilitate learning. The present research investigates these laboratory findings by replication and extension in a classroom setting. Cognitive load theory suggests that many conventional methods of instruction in mathematics are not effective because they deploy cognitive resources away from activities relevant to learning. Solving equations in algebra is a complex problem- solving task which imposes a heavy cognitive load. It is suggested that the conventional, multiple practice method in a classroom situation is one such method of ineffective instruction. The focus of the present research was based on the theoretical framework that students ability to solve algebra equations would be enhanced if cognitive load is reduced and a cognitive understanding approach is adopted as the dominant method of learning. Students exposed to this model of instruction were given worked - example models to study. Instructional emphasis was on understanding the process and the steps to solution, to facilitate cognitive understanding, rather than on the completion of large numbers of problems as multiple practice. All experiments were based on in class experience over a normal timetabled week. This involved the application of homework based on the instructional approach used in each class. In this way experiments were not simulated laboratory tests but were as close as possible to normal classroom environments. It is suggested, from these findings, that using a cognitive understanding approach can enhance the skills involved in solving some algebra problems. These findings reinforced previous laboratory based research and emphasise the importance of the theory of cognitive load, in classroom situations. Research results suggest that there is a need for changes in actual classroom practice in some aspects of the mathematics curriculum. Further research is needed to investigate issues raised as an outcome of the research encompassed in the present thesis."


"Garner, H. P. (2000). The Spalding Literacy Method: teacher perceptions. North Ryde NSW, Macquarie University."

"This is a pilot research study which has as its main focus the investigation of the Spalding Literacy Method, a total arts literacy method whose proponents claim it to be suitable for all students regardless of their abilities. The study purposefully set out to attain information, which would substantiate or refute the claims made about the Method. Existing statistical research findings were examined and Spalding teacher perceptions gauged through questionnaires and interviews, in order to validate these claims and to expose areas of research hitherto ignored. Over time, various literacy methods have been implemented in Australian schools, with most making claims of superior qualities and a rightful place in the literacy field to the exclusion of others. This study is a response to the need associated with providing the necessary information to make informed literacy method choices. The study was carried out to investigate the Spalding Literacy Method as one of many currently employed. Data analysis revealed a difference of opinion, which exists in the Spalding movement, with some proponents urging practitioners to keep the Method unaltered, and other practitioners admitting to a lack of excitement for a cumbersome Method. The researcher concludes that there appears to be concern as to the validity of previous research findings."


"Haeusler, C. N. (2000). An examination of senior secondary students' expectations of their school subjects. Bathurst NSW, Charles Sturt University."

"This aim of this thesis was to examine student satisfaction with post- compulsory school subjects. Understandings were gained through the development of a theoretical model of student satisfaction using a sample survey questionnaire and focus group interviews. Nine hundred and twenty-seven Year 11 and 12 students from five government co- educational secondary schools within the Riverina area of New South Wales were surveyed, with a response rate of 63.8%. A factor analysis of fifteen dependent variables relating to fulfilment of expectations, by subjects, resulted in the development of four measures of satisfaction, namely, Intrinsic Value, Utilitarian Worth. Commitment, and Anxiety. Since the simple statements as presented on the survey questionnaire did not indicate the complex and often disparate meanings which different individuals attach to each statement, focus group interviews were established to collect additional data. Six focus group interviews, each involving one female and one male student, of similar academic ability, selected from the same year-level from one of the sampled schools, were undertaken. The qualitative data collected from these participants aided the interpretation, as well as the amplification, of the quantitative data. A study of satisfaction differences between those students dissatisfied enough with a subject to indicate that they wished that they had discontinued its study and the remaining students, was undertaken. This involved both logit and discriminant analyses. Further, various demographic factors including school, gender and year-level, were tested using factorial MANOVAs. By means of structural equation modelling, satisfaction component invariance across eight subject groups, and gender groups, within English and Mathematics, were also examined. Overall, satisfaction was found to be a multidimensional construct that varied with subject and student gender. Partial measurement invariance across eight subject groups demonstrated that Intrinsic Value, Utilitarian Worth, and Anxiety were common components of subject group satisfaction. The fulfilment of the intrinsic value expectation was of greater importance to students' subject satisfaction than either the fulfilment of utilitarian worth or anxiety expectations. An examination of the items which constituted the Intrinsic Value measure revealed that this measure relates to enjoyment and interest, as well as learning and involvement. It is manifest that even at this level of study students expect their selected subjects to be enjoyable, this enjoyment being contributed to by a sense of involvement as well as achievement, and when students are disappointed they wish to discontinue their study of particular subjects. The satisfaction construct was found to be associated with various vocational interest dimensions and appeared to represent indirect measures of learning style. This result is consistent with findings from other studies. Further, the differing contributions of the variables in both English and Mathematics and across gender groups revealed much about the approaches adopted by males and females. The thesis concluded by considering the implications for syllabus designers, teacher educators, and school personnel. In particular, it was noted that teachers need to be aware that different subjects attract students with differing vocational expectations, and that these expectations need to be fulfilled if students are to remain satisfied with the subjects they have selected. "


"Jacobson, A. (2000). Peaceful warriors: a case study in conflict resolution education. Werrington NSW, University of Western Sydney."

"This case study began as a peer mediation program for a class of Year 4 students, implemented over an eighteen-month period as part of the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education syllabus. The program developed into a process that integrated skills development, an understanding of interpersonal interactions, emotional responses and self understanding. Using an action research model and analysis based in grounded theory it became an interactive, interpretative analysis of conflictual issues between student/student and student/teacher as together they explored a major psychological and philosophical issue, conflict resolution, on a local and personal level. This thesis seeks to authenticate the participants' attempts to change the way in which learning about conflict occurs, to change the ambience of the classroom and to develop a web of interrelationships that work towards a greater understanding of the problem area and ultimately of the wider social and cultural network in which we choose to live. "


"McDonald, E. A. (2000). Policy processes in Australian Catholic school systems in response to Federal Government education policies. North Ryde NSW, Macquarie University."

"Policy processes in Catholic diocesan school systems have been largely ignored in the research literature. These systems educate approximately 20 percent of school children in Australia. They receive considerable financial support from the Federal Government, which has increased its rate and scope of encroachment into school education issues, despite its lack of constitutional authority in relation to schools. The study addressed the question: How do Australian Catholic diocesan school systems respond to funded Federal Government education policies which seek to influence schooling outcomes? It examined the response in three Catholic diocesan school systems chosen by purposeful sampling from different operational and State curriculum contexts. Key informants from the Catholic education Offices addressed their system's responses to the Federal Government's current vocational education and training (VET) and literacy policies, and provided supporting documentation. Together these cases contributed to a multi-case comparison. The findings of the study suggest that Catholic education systems act as both 'private authorities' and public agencies. They are institutions of the State in which they are located, infused by its culture, practices, and regulations all of which impact on their response to Federal Government education policy. In the policy transaction, the central administration acts as a 'gatekeeper' monitoring both internal and external influences, mediating and interpreting these and the policy for its schools. The Catholic school systems use different 'metaphors' and are characterised by different cultures, processes and understanding of the policy process. Despite this they appear relatively impervious to some of the policy discourse while they 'educate' and meet the 'needs' of students. The findings of the research will be of interest to Catholic education authorities, policy designers, and policy researchers as they offer insights into an important school sector and parts of the policy process not well canvassed in the literature."


"Noble, T. (2000). Integrating Gardner's multiple intelligences theory with a revised Bloom's taxonomy: a new model for school reform? Camperdown NSW, University of Sydney."

"Both special and gifted education calls for curriculum differentiation to cater for high student diversity in every classroom. Multiple intelligences theory and Bloom's taxonomy of cognitive processes were integrated by the researcher and a colleague as a tool for curriculum differentiation. A formative evaluation was made of teachers' use of the MI/Bloom matrix for learning centres, over eighteen months in two primary schools. A different cohort of teachers classified 42 learning activities by the main intelligence engaged (using MI theory) and the level of Bloom's taxonomy. The school-based findings showed the teachers perceived the MI/Bloom matrix as a practical tool for programming for student diversity. Extensive triangulation of data was provided by teacher and principal questionnaires, staff focus group discussions, teacher interviews, collaborative school questionnaires, school brochure analysis and a field diary. The teachers perceived that MI theory provided a framework for curriculum planning which enabled them (i) to cater for different student strengths and (ii) to develop their students' awareness of how they learn and respect for classmates' learning strengths. The teachers perceived that Bloom's taxonomy helped them (i) to challenge all of their students' thinking and (ii) to plan learning activities that ranged from simple to complex thinking processes. The classification strand findings showed mean levels for intercoder reliability coefficients for each independent typology as well as the integrated MI/Bloom model which exceeded the 90 percent level of acceptability. The high consistency in teachers' use of key terms and constructs to order activities supported the logical organisation of the matrix and offered pragmatic validity for the model. The research findings indicate the MI/Bloom model offers potential as a useful tool for curriculum differentiation in any primary classroom. Complex structural and cultural conditions in each school influenced how different teachers utilised the model for school reform."


"Paterson, D. R. (2000). Teacher attitudes towards the design and implementation of new music curricula: a cross-national study. Callaghan NSW, University of Newcastle."

"This study examines the curriculum change process in England, Australia and British Columbia (Canada), focusing in particular on changes to the music curriculum in each of these settings. Although the main focus of the study is on the attitudes of practicing teachers towards the changes, background information and opinions were sought from other educators not currently involved in classroom teaching, who had been involved in the design and/or implementation process at a different level. Semi-structured interviews were used to gain this perspective, while a questionnaire was used as the collection instrument for data from teachers. The findings show that there were common areas of agreement and concern in each of the contexts. In all three contexts, the majority of respondents indicated that they believed there was a need for the change. In England, where the new National Curriculum was replacing a traditionally school-based curriculum, almost all the respondents indicated that they believed there was a need for the change, while only approximately two-thirds of the respondents from the other two settings perceived a need for the change. More than three quarters of the respondents from the Australian sample disagreed with the move in that country to develop common outcome statements for the subjects grouped in the Arts Key Learning area. A similar concern was conveyed by some of the Canadian sample, who feared that grouping Fine Arts subjects together would decrease the amount of time and resources allowed for music. The design and implementation processes used were not perceived positively, and respondents from all settings believed that teachers had not been involved enough in the design process nor had they been given enough information about the change or their role in the change. Respondents indicated that insufficient professional development had been provided about the change, and the level of involvement in the design of the change and the amount of professional development undertaken stood out as major contributing factors towards poor attitudes to the new curriculum and its design and implementation processes. The area of assessment was problematic, with respondents indicating that they were not confident of the assessment requirements, or with the appropriateness of some of the assessment proposals to meet the needs of music education. "


"Peacock, L. (2000). Discourses of technology curriculum: possibilities for home economics knowledge and practice. Callaghan NSW, University of Newcastle."

"This study is centrally a discursive analysis of the technology curriculum that was produced as a result of educational reform begun in the 1980s. Specifically, it is an analysis of knowledge valued in the Technological and Applied Studies Key Learning Area in New South Wales. While technology curriculum has its origins in what appears to be a rational process of curriculum reform, designed to improve the employability of students in times of rapid technological change, this study identifies the implications of curriculum focused towards paid work goals for girls' education and, specifically, for home economics knowledge and practice. Of particular interest are the challenges to existing curriculum knowledge that were expressed in the Ministry of Education and Youth Affairs 1989 report 'Excellence and Equity: NSW Curriculum Reform'. This document positioned home economics curriculum as 'immutably gender stereotyped' and needing to be replaced with a gender-neutral technology subject. In conducting this analysis of technology which gives attention to the texts, practices and processes of curriculum development, it has become possible to suggest how gendered power-knowledge is discursively created, maintained, resisted and transformed within the multiple sites of curriculum production and recontextualisation. Through identification of cracks in the discourses, it has been possible to suggest action to sustain home economics knowledge and practice as technology. The study was inspired by personal reflection on the authors actions and reactions as a home economics educator who became a key contributor in the development and implementation of technology curriculum. The significance of this study for curriculum developers is that it draws attention to covert power- knowledge relations and the functions they perform in directing meanings and creating a regime of truth about a curriculum. Understanding how power-knowledge constantly circulates allows for those responsible for a curriculum to approach their task cognisant that the formal curriculum is but transient and subject to challenge from numerous other texts and practices. From the perspective of those who traditionally 'receive the wisdom' of the curriculum, this study offers educators an understanding of what went on in the formation of technology curriculum. Understanding curriculum as a social construction, far more than a technical rational process, allows for reflective use of that understanding in the search for morally defensible alternatives. As is demonstrated in this study, home economics knowledge and practice is constantly subjected to challenge yet has remained part of secondary school curriculum in New South Wales for over a decade. What constitutes home economics knowledge and practice is a constant dynamic, itself constructing and reconstructing teacher identities, requiring adjustment of knowledge and practice to the realities of contemporary society. During the nineties, home economics educators have acted to locate some home economics knowledge and practice as part of technology curriculum and thus to influence their own futures. This study, by identifying the range of possibilities through which home economics educators employ power- knowledge more effectively to resist discourses of technology and gender equity, offers hope to home economics educators. "


"Rosser, G. (2000). Disciplining literature: Higher School Certificate prescribed texts for English: 1965-1995. Wollongong NSW, University of Wollongong."

"This thesis presents an analysis of the prescribed texts on the NSW Higher School Certificate English syllabi between 1965 and 1995. These, and the strategies that inform their reading, are not examined in the manner of literary criticism but as an expression of institutional practices and cultural discourses. The selection and study of these texts has played an important role in the construction of literary and cultural 'truths' in Australia during the second half of this century. This study traces the origin of the selection of these texts to principally two sources: Cambridge English, as it was first practiced in the UK by F.R. Leavis and his colleagues from the late 1920S, and later adopted into some academic circles in Australia; and American New Criticism, derivations of which similarly flourished in the Australian academy from the 1950s. One implication of this is that those parts of the Australian academy which wielded power within secondary education sources from the 1960s to the 1990s were intent on looking overseas - towards the UK and the USA. - for literary guidance and direction, rather than being attentive to developments in writing and criticism that were occurring here, one consequence of which was that the formation of the 'citizen' within the NSW education system at this time was modelled in large part upon expectations that were foreign to social realities in Australia. Within NSW education a hybrid of Leavisite criticism and American New Criticism developed between 1965 and 1995, which was taken by academics, teachers and students as the 'norm' and 'truth' in literary interpretation. This hybrid dominated most aspects of criticism and reading. The thesis attempts to generate explanations for this domination. Having first sketched in what we consider key theoretic and literary considerations as background to our discussion, it scrutinises, for example, the composition and influence of the English Syllabus Committee, which was responsible for text choice, nomination and review. It reveals that this sub-branch of the NSW Board of Studies largely comprised academics from the same sandstone universities where Leavisism and New Criticism were so unswervingly adhered to. The study looks, too, at different Senior English syllabi to show that again the reading and critical practices of Cambridge English/American New Criticism are evident, and entrenched in, these official directive documents from the NSW I Department of Education. It also examines the texts themselves to disclose that their choice privileges these same literary regimes. Finally, it discusses how the Holy Grail of high school education in English, the HSC exam, reinforces these values and practices. The study concludes that the HSC prescribed texts for English from 1965 to 1995 are but a singular expression of broad cultural and institutional phenomena. Their selection and how they are studied conceal an array of power plays and ideological standpoints that go to the heart of our understanding of what is 'literary' and why it should be so. "



"Glasby, P. M. (2000). Teacher constructions of health: a case study of school health education in Queensland. St Lucia QLD, University of Queensland."

"Central to this study is the role of teachers in curriculum development. The consensus of opinion among curriculum researchers and developers in Australia and elsewhere would appear to be that teachers must be genuine participants in curriculum development if reforms are to be successful. However, there is less agreement on the form such participation should take. In Queensland, the Board of Senior Secondary School Studies (BSSSS) has developed a genre of curriculum development that involves teachers as key partners in the process of syllabus writing, trialing, and piloting as well as peer reviewers of school based work programs and moderators of student performance standards. The context in which teachers perform these roles is however highly structured by the Board. This study considers the extent to which this Board genre of curriculum development involves teachers as genuine participants in the process and whether the genre is an effective means of developing and implementing curriculum reform. This case study of the three year pilot phase of the development of the Senior Syllabus in Health Education generated a rich description of the curriculum development process. Data generated from eighty-four teacher interviews conducted across the three years of the pilot phase revealed the opportunities that teachers had within the range of experiences that constituted their practice to challenge or reorient what was considered as legitimate knowledge. Although teachers were confident in how they acted, the institutional and organisational discourses of the Board, within which assessment was central, served to limit the possibilities available to teachers for change. Teachers' central concern was to be identified as competent. How they came to construct themselves as competent allied with their constant fear of being judged incompetent served to limit their ability to challenge the process of legitimating knowledge. An analysis of the Syllabus and assessment tasks revealed the dominant discourses regulating not only the construction of the texts but also the ways in which teachers constructed their practice. The dominance within all texts of the discourse of assessment in constructing the competence of the subject of instruction, the 'healthy informed citizen' also served simultaneously to construct the competence of teachers. The extent to which teachers are involved in the curriculum development process as genuine participants has been carefully examined. Given all of the contextual factors revealed in this study, it can be argued that the Queensland genre offers one form of teacher participation that involves them appropriately in curriculum development. On the other hand, this does not mean that the process couldn't be improved. Two strategies have been recommended. First, that the partnership between teachers and the Board emphasises the developmental nature of the curriculum process by asking rather than telling teachers how meaning can be constructed. This strategy will offer the opportunities for different interpretations to emerge and be discussed. Second, that within the process, teachers are provided with the skills and opportunities to engage in a critical reading of the key texts. The concerns and conflicts hidden behind the 'virtual' reality of texts could thus be revealed and used as a tool in transforming the perspectives of all participants in the curriculum development process. "


"Jones, R. (2000). An action research study assessing the development of a curriculum for second language learners who have special educational needs. Everton Park QLD, Australian Catholic University. McAuley Campus."

"Changes in education policy overseas in the last decade have led to policy changes in Australia which have impacted on curriculum and pedagogy. It is through education that people develop their concepts of self worth and the Social Justice Strategy (1994) in Queensland sets goals to ensure maximum educational outcomes for all students, including students with special needs. Although there are philosophical, sociological, and educational reasons for integrating students who have special needs, there still remains a need for special schools. Within special schools, learning domains and subject areas can be similar. With Australia now considered a multicultural society, it becomes necessary to develop an understanding of its cultural richness and diversity. With foresight, the principal of a special school established a second language program for students with special educational needs, in order to expose the students to another language, culture and ways of knowing. The establishment of a second language program was an innovative trial started in 1996 and the evaluation of this innovation is documented in this study in 1998.' Literature suggests that students gain intellectual, cultural, and economic benefits from learning a second language. Learning material needs to be relevant and chosen to suit the needs of the students, as changes in teaching pedagogy suggests learning is student focused. Teachers need to recognise changes as learning occurs, as it denotes progress and records students' successes and growth in knowledge. Comparison of teaching methodology and pedagogy between second language learning and special education was examined in the literature and it showed evidence of many similarities. As the second language teacher / researcher in this action research, I have examined policies and theoretical aspects of effective teaching and learning to evaluate the curriculum. The conclusion revealed that the curriculum has been shaped and developed effectively but modification of recording outcomes becomes necessary as the students become more competent and reach the level prescribed by the LOTE Syllabus as Level 1 beginner."


"Kable, E. H. (2000). Preschool teachers making sense of a new curriculum text within competing contexts and discourses. Brisbane QLD, Queensland University of Technology."

"This study investigated how a group of teachers in Queensland, Australia made sense of the first government-developed preschool curriculum guidelines. The implementation of curriculum reforms in pre- compulsory settings has tended to be ignored by researchers. This study provided a unique opportunity to build insights into how preschool curriculum is constructed within contested and complex social and political contexts. An interpretive approach to research was adopted that was informed by hermeneutic traditions. Data were accumulated using two group conversations involving seven preschool teachers and three conversations with individual teachers. Transcripts gathered during the evaluation of the trial document were analysed as well as texts associated with the production of the guidelines. Aspects of critical and poststructuralist theory were combined to help construct critical understandings of teachers' experiences with the new guidelines. The investigation showed that preschool teachers made sense of the curriculum text in relation to their existing child-centred curriculum perspectives. The study highlighted how teachers' interpretations were shaped by competing agendas, ideologies and discourses operating within teachers' work contexts and the contexts that shaped the production of the text. The findings indicate that the introduction of the document reshaped teachers' views about curriculum, children and their roles as they renegotiated curriculum perspectives in relation to new official definitions of curriculum. Rather than evaluating the curriculum text, the study showed how teachers constructed multiple and contradictory interpretations of the text as they managed tensions within the texts and within complex work contexts. Teachers' perceived that the text provided government endorsement for their existing philosophies and practices and created new expectations for changes in practice. The document provided a resource that teachers could use strategically to justify their practice to parents and colleagues who did not always value child- centred practice. The text also operated to construct new positions and ways of understanding curriculum that competed with teachers' existing views. The study highlights that policy makers and teachers need to reflect critically on the multiple factors that shape the negotiation of curriculum meanings in diverse contexts. The study shows that preschool curriculum is negotiated within complex and unstable discourses and power relations. Recognition of this complexity can help curriculum developers to design materials that empower teachers as they manage competing interests and demands. Awareness of the multiple factors that shape curriculum and curriculum materials can help teachers to monitor reflexively the positive and negative outcomes of curriculum reform and make appropriate decisions about how to use reforms to meet children's needs. This can help teachers to maintain a sense of control within changing contexts and to ensure changes in practice can be ethically justified. "


"Koppe, R. (2000). Aboriginal student reading progress under targeted intervention. Brisbane QLD, Queensland University of Technology."

"Urban Aboriginal students often come to school with a different set of cultural and language learnings than those of their non-indigenous peers. These differences can pose major barriers for the primary- aged Aboriginal student trying to access the curriculum which is based on Standard Australian English (SAE). Aboriginal students often come to school speaking a recognised dialect of English, Aboriginal English (AE) which has its own grammatical, phonological, pragmatic and socio- cultural standards which at times are quite different from those of classroom language interactions. The mismatch between the language of the home (AE) and the language of the classroom (SAE) can have dramatic effects on the literacy learning of Aboriginal students and hence their ability to effectively read in Standard Australian English. This study aims to explore the question of whether changes would be evident in urban Aboriginal students (who speak Standard Australian English as a second dialect), following a targeted reading intervention program. This reading intervention program, called an 'Integrated Approach' combined existing strategies in reading and second language / second dialect teaching and learning, with cultural understandings, in a methodology aimed at improving the reading ability of the participating Aboriginal students. The students who were the 5 case studies were part of a larger cohort of students within a wider study. Students were drawn from primary schools in urban localities within the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. Qualitative data collection procedures were used to observe the 5 case study students over a period of 6 months and quantitative measures were also utilised to support this data for the purposes of triangulation. Both data collection sources for the case studies and the wider study showed that the reading intervention program did have significant effect on reading accuracy, reading comprehension and the affective area of learning. The study revealed that by using the teaching / learning strategies described in the intervention program, combined with socio-cultural understandings which include respect for the students' home language and an understanding of the effects of learning English as a Second Dialect (SESD), educators can assist Aboriginal students in improving their abilities to read in SAE. Other positive effects on students' behaviours during the intervention program which were recorded during the study included: an improved attitude to reading; a new willingness and confidence in reading; an improved willingness to participate in language activities both in tutorial sessions and back in the classroom; improved use of decoding skills and an improved control over SAE grammatical structures in writing tasks. This study emphasises the need for educators to work ardently at increasing their own understanding of how best to assist Aboriginal students in becoming competent literacy learners in SAE. Closing the gap created by the mismatch between home and school language can only be achieved by educators exploring eclectic pedagogical options and valuing the Aboriginal student's home language as a vital learning tool in gaining this competence in SAE literacies. "


"Peers, C. E. (2000). Teacher professional growth during implementation of a science curriculum innovation. Brisbane QLD, Queensland University of Technology."

"Science teaching in primary schools has been of concern for at least the last two decades. Despite the recognition of science as a key learning area, science teaching has a low status in the curriculum, and little effective instruction occurs. Within this context, a new draft science syllabus, which uses constructivism as a referent, was trialled in 60 Queensland schools. Thus, the purpose of this research was to investigate how a professional development program designed to support syllabus implementation, impacts on the teaching of primary science. This support was intensive and involved close collaboration between the researcher and the teacher. As teacher development is a critical component of successful curriculum implementation, a carefully planned professional development program was created drawing upon the principles of constructivism. The professional development program had two parts: (1) workshops, and (2) follow-up support by the researcher. This support was intensive, and involved close collaboration between the researcher and the teacher. It was designed to assist a primary teacher to implement in the classroom, a unit of work based on the draft syllabus. An interpretative methodology was adopted to explore the professional growth of a primary school teacher over a three-month period. Four specific questions guided this study. First, in what ways does a teacher change his professional practice in response to a science curriculum innovation? Second, what changes occur in a teacher's beliefs about science, and the learning and teaching of science in response to a science curriculum innovation? Third, what are the supporting conditions for professional growth during the implementation of a unit of work based on a science curriculum innovation? Fourth, what are a teacher's concerns about the implementation of a unit of work based on a science curriculum innovation? A theoretical framework derived from the literature on teachers' practice and beliefs guided the analysis of data collected for questions one and two. To answer questions three and four, a grounded theory approach was used to identify the supporting conditions for professional growth, and the concerns associated with the implementation of a constructivist-based unit of work. Four conclusions emerged from the study. First, with appropriate professional support, worthwhile changes to the teaching of primary science were found to be possible in a short and medium time frame. Second, it was found that teacher professional growth may be initiated by either a change in practice or a change in beliefs. Third, successful experiences in implementing a curriculum innovation, and a willingness to modify beliefs and practice were found to be major factors in improving the teaching of primary science. Fourth, the provision of adequate support, and time for a teacher to engage with change and change processes, and to adopt new practices and beliefs, were found to be central to the effective implementation of a science curriculum innovation. A major outcome of this study is the development of a model of professional growth in primary science education, which identifies the key issues for syllabus implementation."


"Reddan, G. (2000). Teacher curriculum decision-making in senior physical education. Nathan QLD, Griffith University."

"This study reports on teacher decision-making in relation to the implementation of the Senior Physical Education Syllabus, developed by the Board of Senior Secondary School Studies. The research builds upon Smith's notion of 'perceived decision-making space' by applying 'frame theory' in the conceptualisation and data analysis of the study. The study aimed (a) to identify and interpret frames and frame factors that affected teacher decision making; (b) to determine commonalities and differences in decision-making of teachers at the two study schools, in relation to issues involved in implementation of the Syllabus; (c) to indicate strengths and weaknesses of the Syllabus, as perceived by teachers; and (d) to evaluate Smith's model for analysis of teacher decision-making in relation to implementation of a new syllabus. This research determined that study teachers' approaches to curriculum decision- making were similar to those identified by Smith. The learners' frame and teacher-self frame had most influence on teacher decision- making as in Smith's study. The present study indicated an additional frame, the school frame, as influencing decision-making in development of school work programs. The study also identified commonalities and differences in teacher decision-making at the two schools. A common viewpoint held by teachers was that their decision- making was restricted by a lack of in-service training and sufficient time and reflection when seeking to develop a school work program. Few differences were evident in teacher statements between the two schools; students at the school without prior experiences of a Board course in Health and Physical Education were uncertain of requirements. Therefore decision-making by teachers at this school was affected to allay students' concerns. The syllabus provided students with opportunities for a greater depth of understanding of subject matter than the previous Health and Physical Education Syllabus. The principle of 'integration' received support from teachers and assisted students in utilising higher-order cognitive processes. Concerns were expressed that inexperienced teachers would face difficulties when attempting to implement the new syllabus due to complexities in integrating 'learning in, through and about physical activity'. Smith's model provides a blueprint for researchers, simplifies the process of analysis, and aids those uncertain of the mechanical aspects involved. Being generic, it can be applied to all areas and levels of education. A possible weakness is its specific prescription of frames and frame factors."


"Shanahan, L. (2000). Students', parents' and teachers' perceptions of the aims of schooling. Rockhampton QLD, Central Queensland University."

"This study considers various aims and purposes of education exposed by sociologists, philosophers and educators at various stages throughout history. The variety of aims suggested means that many are incompatible with each other and were held often by contemporary thinkers belonging to different schools of thought. The present study set out to find out what current educators, students, and parents involved in education of years 8, 9 and 10 students in a metropolitan high school considered were the aims of education. The purpose of the study was to elucidate any variance between these major stakeholder groups in what they considered were the main aims and purposes of the educational enterprise during these critical final years of compulsory schooling. A survey was developed by adapting an instrument previously developed by Ashton, Keen, Davis and Holly. The survey consisted of a list of 72 aims of education on which respondents were asked to indicate, using a five point Likert scale, the relative degree of importance which each considered should be ascribed to that particular aim of education. The study found that, although there were minor variances in which aims some of the stakeholder groups considered important, there was a surprising degree of homogeneity in the aims the stakeholders espoused. Academic aims, and those aims promoting social behaviours were considered as high priorities while foreign language acquisition was a very low priority for all stakeholders. The final discussion focuses on the meaning of these results for the future direction of education. "


"Sinclair, M. R. (2000). Social justice in education: a market in the production and reproduction of victim circumstances. Nathan QLD, Griffith University."

"This thesis examines the general problem of how social justice in education initiatives are translated into empirical reality for targeted populations. The empirical grounding of the thesis is the set of concepts in Queensland Education Department social justice initiatives and activities. The thesis argues that social justice in education initiatives and the 'Social Justice Strategy, 1994-1998' in particular, are associated with the production and reproduction of social inequalities. The thesis identifies the state as the central concept in social justice in education discourse. It shows that advocates of social justice in education rather than target populations are invariably associated with the purposes of the state, and argues the proposition that the primary beneficiaries of social justice in education initiatives are advocates of social justice in education. Based on this presupposition, the thesis investigates the relation between the state and its agents, the production and reproduction of social justice in educational practice and differential benefits. It shows that the social justice in education field lacks an adequate theory of associations between its own practices and the realisation of differential outcomes. The thesis shows that the practices of social justice in education produce and reproduce 'protector' and 'victim' circumstances. Building on this contradiction, the thesis develops the argument that the relation between the state, social justice initiatives and the realisation of benefits, is a market relation. Data analyses show that, despite some reservations, teacher-practitioners conform to and carry out policy rhetoric. Also, policy-making practices are shown to be driven by mass persuasive techniques that are beneficial to advocates of social justice in education. Again, policy evaluation practices are shown as diverting attention from the failure of policy to deliver promised policy outcomes for target populations. Further, social justice in education policy is shown to further the power and influence of the state and its associated agencies and agents by the use of circular and self-referential texts. Finally, departmental restructuring charts demonstrate the symbolic and material expansion of channels for the distribution and supply of social justice in education goods, services and opportunities over time. In short, the counter-intuitive hypothesis that the practice of social justice in education is a target market in the production and reproduction of victim circumstances is upheld."


"Stanbridge, B. A. (2000). A radical constructivist approach to high school science teaching: investigating its potential to extend students' meaningful learning through the optimisation and possible extension of their cognitive abilities. Townsville QLD, James Cook University."

"The research reported in this dissertation is directed towards enhancing high school students' understanding of science in an attempt to dispel a widely reported disenchantment with science subjects. An investigation was conducted into the implementation of a strategy designed to extend students' meaningful learning in science by optimising their existing cognitive abilities. The intention was that this optimisation might ultimately result in the further development of these cognitive abilities. The research was grounded in Piaget's epistemological theories of knowledge construction. These theories afford a credible means of making inferences as to possible mental processing which might be occurring during knowledge construction on the basis of observable performances. Von Glasersfeld's theory of radical constructivism which is significantly influenced by Piaget's genetic epistemology, was chosen as the basis for devising appropriate teaching strategies that constituted a practical classroom application of Piaget's crucial ideas. A five month intervention program consisting of activities based on radical constructivism was developed. Using groups of grade 9 students from the author's school, measurements were made of these students' cognitive abilities and levels of understanding of science concepts, both prior to, and after, they had experienced the intervention program. Similar measurements were obtained from equivalent groups of control students who did not experience the intervention program. The experimental students' ongoing classroom performances were recorded during the intervention period and their attitudes towards the program were assessed by means of a questionnaire. In all, data were obtained from different cohorts of students over a six year period. In comparison to the control groups, the experimental students made measurable gains in their understanding of science concepts. However no measurable gains in cognitive ability levels were reported for either experimental or control groups of students. Whilst it was noticeable that cognitive abilities constrained students' level of science understanding, the gap between these two attributes had narrowed significantly for the experimental students by the end of the intervention period. The extent of changes to experimental students' cognitive abilities and levels of science understanding appeared to be independent of their initial cognitive stages of development. However, observations of individual student's classroom performances suggested that those whose thinking operated at the lower cognitive stages of development tended to participate less effectively in the intervention activities. Teaching and learning strategies based on a radical constructivist pedagogy appear to have been successful in maximising the use of students' existing cognitive abilities and in facilitating the construction of more sophisticated understandings of their science classroom experiences. The reported lack of any general development of cognitive abilities is possibly attributable to either of two factors. Firstly the time span of the intervention program was relatively short in comparison with similar studies. Secondly, students whose thinking operated at pre-formal stages of cognitive development were observed to engage less effectively in cognitive conflict resolution, a key aspect of the intervention program designed to facilitate conceptual change and identified by Piaget as promoting cognitive development. Further research is needed in order to establish the validity of these two possible explanations. "



"Rawnsley, D. G. (2000). Future studies: what are the implications for education? Adelaide SA, University of South Australia."

"Futures Studies is the developing field of enquiry which seeks to examine possible, probable and preferable futures for humanity. The development of futures scenarios has a twofold purpose; it helps people more fully understand the present, and it encourages the development of planned future paths instead of those brought about through crisis management. Whilst governments, corporations and businesses have developed concepts and methodologies for appreciating futures, educational institutions have been slow to understand and teach these. Some of the reasons for this slowness are identified in the study. This thesis examines the field of Futures Studies and identifies the main concepts, knowledge and methodologies of futurists. These are each presented within a framework suitable for educational use, particularly in the middle years. The framework encompasses conceptualising the futures field on a continuum ranging from futures work which is developed from within dominant contemporary world views through to futures work which is developed from transformative world views which seek to reconceptualise the present. Both the methodologies used in Futures Studies and the knowledge developed by futurists also are placed at various points on the continuum. Because futurists deal in preferable futures, an understanding of ethics is vital for students and this perspective also is included in the framework. "


"Wicks, K. (2000). 'Teaching the art of living': the development of special education services in South Australia, 1915-1975. Adelaide SA, University of Adelaide."

"This thesis examines the development of special education services in South Australia from 1915 to 1975. It explores the factors which positioned the 'mentally retarded' child, (today known as a child with an intellectual disability) previously excluded or marginalised from schooling, and his or her family, within the modern school system. It also seeks to understand the part played by the human sciences of medicine, psychology and sociology in the production of the 'mentally retarded' child as a visible figure of knowledge and administration. Although many historians have written about the history of 'normal' childhood, less is known about intellectually disabled children. This is partly because until the last two centuries, most did not survive. What their lives have been like since then, how the state viewed them and their families and the issues behind the development of special education are questions addressed in this thesis. By examining changes in society's attitude to the family during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the role and treatment of children and the broad social and economic settings in which these changes took place, the study analyses in overall context the place of 'mentally retarded' children. In particular, it focuses on the changes in societal discourses and responses to the 'mentally retarded' population, especially their schooling. The research has been influenced by the work of post- modern theorists, particularly Michel Foucault, in terms of the relationship between the emergence of particular forms of knowledge/ language and the exercise of particular forms of power, particularly with regard to the 'mentally retarded' population. In constructing my argument, the author juxtaposes the moderate threads of post- modern argument with those advanced by more conventional critics. Data collection has included interviews with parents of some of the children who attended the first special school in South Australia as well as Education Department staff. Although the state and the parents may have had different expectations regarding schooling for these children, it was the persistence of the parents and their formation of the Mentally Retarded Children's Society that finally brought about the opening of the long awaited special school in 1954."


"Wilson, P. (2000). Neither freedom nor authority: state comprehensive secondary education and the child-centred curriculum in South Australia 1969-79. Adelaide SA, University of Adelaide."

"This thesis investigates change in secondary schools in South Australia during the 1970s. Public concern about the purposes and organisation of schools and about education in general led to the establishment of a government inquiry in 1969, chaired by Professor Peter Karmel. Its report, Education in South Australia, ushered in a period of rapid change led by the Education Department. High schools and technical high schools were reshaped into comprehensive secondary schools. A significant element in this reform was the human capitalist idea that education is an investment in the development of the individual resulting in social and economic progress. This thesis examines the human capitalist basis of the reforms, the way in which child- centred - open - ideas were used in the reform of the curriculum and the impact of these on the schools. The restructuring of secondary schools into comprehensive institutions necessitated a broadening of secondary curriculum to cater for the more diverse student population. The rigid organisation of student and staff activity was also relaxed. This was known as 'open education' and drew on progressive theories and practices in education. The approach taken was school-based curriculum development, guided by departmental curriculum frameworks. While the Education Department did not specify actual content, it provided frameworks of knowledge, skills and objectives. Schools then developed curriculum suitable for their students. The central theme of this thesis compares the philosophical and practical objectives of the Education Department in introducing these changes with the outcomes in the schools. Finally, this thesis examines how schools were expected to reorganise themselves to connect to the community and the world of the learners in democratic society and design new curriculum. The school- based curriculum development model, which incorporated an emphasis on student needs and intrinsically interesting activities, became the vehicle for the ethos of equality of opportunity and led to curriculum development based on an ideal that learning should be socially and personally relevant. This, and the ideal of democracy, was not effectively defined, resulting in far-reaching consequences for the schools."


"Young, W. A. (2000). The role of the structured and enriched curricula in facilitating the learning of students with sever learning difficulties. Bedford Park SA, Flinders University of South Australia."

"The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of intervention upon the academic performance, social interaction and self-esteem of students with severe learning difficulties (SLD). In the context of this study, SLD refers to students whose learning difficulties are primarily the result of social and economic disadvantage, rather than the traditional definitions in which the learning difficulties have a neurological or neuropsychological base. Twenty year 8 students from a state high school in two treatment groups participated in an intervention program for 18 months involving the use of (a) structured and (b) enriched curricula. Regular instruction was applied to a control group of 10 students. The intervention program was designed to incorporate instructional features considered to address the learning needs of students with SLD from an area of social deprivation. Features of the enrichment intervention included much outdoor physical activity involving bush walking, orienteering, camping and survival skills. In the classroom setting a structured program, which was characterised by certainty and predictability, focused on developing students' literacy, numeracy and problem solving science skills. Students experienced much 'hands on' science including the use of experimental toys, puzzles and aids designed to develop manual dexterity, self- awareness, spatial orientation, critical thinking and problem solving skills. Results revealed that structured and enriched curricula positively influenced student learning and social behaviours. Changes in student thinking and behaviours were evident in the academic achievement, language, attitudes and mores of the students both within and outside the school context. These changes had the effect of improving student motivation and in specific instances fulfilled the aspirations of students whose lives had previously been characterised by futility, frustration and failure. The research demonstrated that social deprivation was the primary cause of student disaffection, learning difficulties and academic failure. Designing and implementing effective intervention strategies provided much evidence that a sustained intervention can change attitudes by helping these young people become more aware of their skills and talents. The thesis concludes that, in the long term, there needs to be increased community and Government awareness of the effects of social and economic deprivation on student learning. Furthermore there needs to be a commitment by Government to provide sustained effective intervention for students at risk for SLD during the early years of secondary education."



"Arvanitis, E. (2000). Greek ethnic schools in transition: policy and practice in Australia in the late 1990s. Melbourne VIC, RMIT University."

"Ethnic community organisational infrastructures such as community associations and educational institutions have emerged as a basic element in the development of a multicultural society such as that of Australia. The institutional self-sufficiency that immigrant communities have developed in meeting their migration and settlement needs has been a critical factor in determining their continuity, the degree of cultural maintenance and their relation with the other ethnic groups as well as with the broader society. The Greek community as the second largest non-English speaking community in Victoria has established a complex network of social community structures such as welfare organisations, brotherhoods, educational institutions and churches to serve its needs. The present study focused on the operation of Greek part-time ethnic schools, which have been constructed as the key community strategy with regard to the transmission and promotion of the Greek culture and language over the last century, especially in the post-WW II period. The dissertation was centred around two research questions examining: i) the situation and role of part time Greek ethnic schools in the context of the Australian multicultural society, the Australian schooling system and the Greek community in Australia, fifty years after the mass migration movement from Greece and Cyprus began during the 1950s, and ii) the educational practice and success or otherwise of the part-time Greek ethnic schools in maintaining and developing the Greek language and cultural heritage as well as supporting the Greek- Australian identity amongst second and third generation Greek- Australians."


"Brouwers, B. (2000). Why bother: what motivates male students to continue learning a language other than English in the middle secondary school? Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"The study of a language other than English has become a compulsory part of the school curriculum. While this can be seen as a welcome development, it is also the cause of anxiety for many teachers faced with what they perceive as a captive but reluctant audience for language learning. At the same time the government has set ambitious targets for students completing a second language at VCE level. One area of concern is the small proportion of males continuing with the study of a second language. This thesis presents the results of a study into the motivational factors influencing male students in the middle years of secondary school to continue with their study of a language. Data was gathered from all Year 9 LOTE (French and Japanese) students in an all-boys school in a large regional centre using questionnaires and a set classroom task. A number of key staff was also interviewed. This triangulation of data allowed for different perspectives on the issue of motivation for this cohort of students as well as on the nature of the classroom program. Results suggest the strong influence of instrumental factors in students' choice to continue with their study of a language. Results also highlight the importance of providing a wide range of active language learning opportunities linked to boys' interests."


"Campbell, C. (2000). Science education in primary schools in a state of change. Geelong VIC, Deakin University."

"Through a longitudinal study of one teacher's science teaching practice set in the context of her base school, this thesis records the effects of the structural and policy changes that have occurred in Victorian education over the past 6-7 years - the 'Kennett era'. This research project was set in the context of a single primary school and case study methodology was used to document the broader situational and daily influences which affected the teacher's practice. It was apparent soon after starting the action research that there were factors which did not allow for the development of the project along the intended lines. By the end of the project, the teacher felt that the action research had been distorted - specifically there had been no opportunity for critical reflection. The collaborative nature of the project did not seem to work. The teacher started to wonder just what had gone wrong. It was only after a break from the school environment that the teacher- researcher had the opportunity to really reflect on what had been happening in her teaching practice. This reflection took into account the huge amount of data generated from the context of the school but essentially reflected on the massive number of changes that were occurring in all schools. Several issues began to emerge which directly affected teaching practice and determined whether teachers had the opportunity to be self-reflective. These issues were identified as changes in curriculum and the teaching role, increased workload, changed power relations and changed security/ morale on the professional context. This thesis investigates the structural and policy changes occurring in Victorian education by reference to documentation and the lived experiences of teachers. It studies how the emerging issues affect the practices of teachers, particularly the teacher- researcher. The case study has now evolved to take in the broader context of the policy and structural changes whilst the action research has expanded to look at the ability of a teacher to be self- reflective: a meta-action research perspective. In concluding, the teacher-researcher reflects on the significance of the research in light of the recent change in state government and the increased government importance placed on science education in the primary context."


"Carlos, G. (2000). The provision of educational resources in Victoria, for children with reduced hearing perception, with emphasis on the period since 1945. Clayton VIC, Monash University."

"Redefining deafness as 'reduced hearing perception' (RHP) to cover all degrees of hearing loss, this historical study examines the changes which have taken place in Victoria since 1945. Examination of the modes of communication used, and educational resources provided for RHP children in Victoria before 1945 creates a background for discussing the significant changes which followed. The visit to Australia in 1950 of Professor Alexander and Dr Irene Ewing from the University of Manchester significantly influenced changes in different spheres of the education of deaf children in Victoria, including communication and educational techniques. The Victorian Government responded to the influence of the Ewings by opening a special school dedicated to the oral method and later developed deafness units in several regular schools. The growth of these new schools resulted in the decline of the role of the Victorian School for Deaf Children, principally as a result of the use of the different communication modes. When the Victorian Government initially adopted a policy of integrating disabled children into regular schools it provided extensive finance to support services for the education of deaf children, but recent financial budget constraints have resulted in special educational services becoming increasingly neglected. The emphasis on the integration of children with disabilities, including deaf children, into regular schools has resulted in the closure of a number of special schools. Some parents, influenced by the Ewings, started special schools dedicated to the oral mode of communication, established organisations to support other parents of deaf children, and fostered various forms of research into deafness. A significant growth in the number of organisations directly and indirectly involved in deafness, and the increasing emergence of the Deaf Power movement has evolved from greater recognition since 1945 of people with disabilities. When several organisations within the Australian Deafness Council applied for government funding to form their own secretariats they were informed that only one organisation could be funded. The Deafness Forum evolved from this decision. Significant medical advancements, including immunisation against rubella, have resulted in a considerable reduction in the number of children being born deaf. Increasingly sophisticated hearing aids have helped more deaf people to make greater use of their residual hearing and the continuing number of successful cochlea implants, particularly for young children, have further helped 'to break the sound barrier'."


"Chandran, D. (2000). The use of graphics calculators in secondary school mathematics departments. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"In 1997 the graphics calculator, a digital hand-held device with the ability to draw graphs, and perform other important calculations, was permitted by the Victorian Board of Studies into external mathematics examinations in Victoria. Through case studies of two secondary school mathematics departments within Melbourne, the research aims to identify the areas of mathematics in which graphics calculators are being used two years later, and gain an understanding of the influences and obstacles teachers face in adapting to this technology. This research reveals that teachers in these schools use graphics calculators from years 8 to 12 for topics including graphical work, statistics, equation solving and calculus. Very little calculator programming takes place. Despite the fact that the teachers participated in professional development, obstacles on technical difficulties, management problems, departmental culture, and personal reluctance to use this device still persist."


"Donohoue Clyne, I. (2000). Seeking education: the struggle of Muslims to educate their children in Australia. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"The focus of this research is the (largely immigrant) Muslim community and its struggle to educate its children in Australia. As part of the settlement process, Muslims have developed a community infrastructure of mosques, Muslim organisations, newspapers and since the late 1980s, Islamic schools. The establishment of these new schools to meet the educational and religious needs of Muslim children represents one of the most significant changes to the education system in Australia. This thesis, examines the factors which have influenced the Muslim community in Australia to open new schools and the extent to which this action represents the dissatisfaction of Muslim parents with the education their children receive in Australian government schools. A number of questions shaped this research. What kind of education is the Muslim community seeking for its children? To what extent can the educational needs of the Muslim community be met by Australian government schools? What are the educational options available to the Muslim community? The research was undertaken using a number of qualitative research methods, which required a long term and in-depth involvement with the Muslim community including Islamic schools. Since the research was undertaken within the ethnographic tradition, the presentation of data documents the Muslim community's experiences, opinions and where possible their own words. The diversity of the Muslim community itself was an important factor in this research and it does not speak with a common voice on education matters, due to the lack of a representative education body. Although there were many shared beliefs and problems in relation to the education of their children, Muslim parents have made different decisions about the education of their children. According to this research, Islamic schools receive a high level of support from the community but nevertheless most Muslim children are educated at government schools. This however, does not represent total confidence in government schools. The research was undertaken within the context of a culturally diverse society, which has developed a number of policies in education specifically to meet the needs of the children of immigrants. Based on the information collected from the Muslim community, these policies have failed to adequately meet the needs of Muslim children in Australia but there is also evidence that these needs are not totally met by Islamic schools."


"Duthie, J. M. (2000). The gap into reality: the process of redefinition of computer policy during its transition from state education department through a local school to its implementation in the classroom. Mt Helen VIC, University of Ballarat."

"The aim of this thesis was to investigate the process by which policy regarding the use of computers in the classroom was developed in a secondary school in a Victorian provincial city. It seeks to determine whether a policy determined at a State Education Department level may be redefined at a local school administrative level and the changes that may occur when that policy is implemented in the classroom. The thesis covers the years from 1983 to 1992. This was a period during which there was a Labour Party Government in Victoria for the first time in several decades. Additionally, the thesis covers a period of time when there was considerable freedom for schools to develop their own curriculum within broad guidelines provided by the Education Department. In October 1983, the Education Department of Victoria issued a Policy Document relating to the use of computers in Victorian schools. The thesis examines that document and other relevant documents issued by the Education Department over the next ten years. It also examines the decision making process in a large secondary school in a Victorian provincial city, and considers whether or not the intent of the original document was transferred through the local school bodies into the classroom. The thesis was conducted by means of critical analysis of policy documents from the Education Department, other bodies and the school in question. This analysis was set against a series of interviews with key players in the educational computing field and the curriculum committee at the school. The thesis considers models of policy development and their relationship to the implementation of policy in the school in question. It provides an historical overview of educational computing within the school and relates that to the situation in wider educational circle. The thesis concludes that, within the context of non-specific policy releases from the education department; schools were able to develop Information Technology curriculum in a variety of ways. It also concludes that due to the enthusiasm and perceived expertise of particular teachers in schools, most of that curriculum development took place in the classroom without serious challenge by other bodies within the school."


"Edwards, B. J. (2000). The curriculum and standards framework: teacher responses to centrally mandated curriculum changes. Bundoora VIC, La Trobe University."

"Following its election in 1992 the state Liberal-National coalition government in Victoria initiated a broad re-organisation of government schools by adopting a model of self-management under the title of 'Schools of the Future'. This state government initiative handed over substantial responsibilities to schools and their communities in 1993. The Curriculum and Standards Framework which established learning outcomes for all students P-10 was seen as a key responsibility for Schools of the Future. This study seeks to amplify the ways in which centrally determined and mandated policy is mediated and recontextualised by teachers who operate within local contexts which are informed and shaped by wider historical, current and personal contexts. The study is by a long-serving member of the school teaching staff. The focus of the research is the response teachers made to the centrally mandated curriculum change which was the Curriculum and Standards Framework. This thesis reports the findings of a twenty month study of secondary school teachers and the ways in which they displayed agency at a time when their working conditions were seen by many of them to be under attack by the State Government. The contexts which existed prior to and at the time of the mandated changes are shown to have shaped stances in the teachers which led them to question central policy mandates. They employed a variety of agentic tactics to maintain a focus on meeting the needs of their students and retaining what they considered to be their best teaching practices. The study provides evidence that resistance to change is far more subtle than the view of people being mindlessly resistant. The teachers' resistance was intelligent, selective, flexible and adaptive. This study also illustrates how local practitioners engage with centrally mandated change and shape it in ways which they consider best serves local interests. "


"Elliott, I. (2000). Collaboration and professionalism: teachers' interpretation of complex curricula. Clayton VIC, Monash University."

"This study was designed to investigate the similarities and differences among a group of four primary teachers in their approach to teaching. The four teachers worked together to interpret and teach a non-routine learning outcome for which no authoritative body of knowledge was readily available. This learning outcome was part of a comprehensive K- 12 curriculum that was being introduced to state schools throughout Victoria concurrently with changes in the managerial and administrative organisation of schools. The two major areas of study were the differences in teachers' orientation to teaching, based on their understanding of their role as teachers; and in their reaction to environmental factors, including teachers' reactions to changes in the curriculum organisation and the support they required to carry out these changes. The results in the study suggested that teachers' orientation to teaching was a major factor in the way they taught. It affected the way they interpreted the curriculum, the success of their professional collaboration with their colleagues and their teaching practice. Teachers differed in their orientation to teaching on a continuum that ranged from teaching for understanding to knowledge telling. The study illustrated the differences between teaching for understanding and an approach predominantly concerned with the transmission of a set body of knowledge. The equivocal nature of the knowledge associated with the learning outcome investigated in this study was unsuited to this latter approach to teaching. The broad, complex issues in the learning outcome were thus routinised to provide the stable, authoritative information that was more readily transmitted to students. The support required by the teachers differed. The more constructivist teachers obtained greater value from collaborative discourse, working together to form a shared professional interpretation of the learning outcome. The more constructivist teachers required extra time to plan and implement their work and this caused time pressures on their ability to cover the remainder of curriculum. The knowledge telling approach to teaching was less time- consuming. Students were able to be tested on the knowledge they had been taught. The evaluation of students' depth of understanding by the constructivist teachers was partly dependent on their judgement of individual students. This meant that they had less objective evidence that their teaching was worthwhile and that their students had benefited from it. Objective evidence of the completion of the learning outcome was important to the managerial structure in Victorian state schools as a form of accountability. The study raised questions about the compatibility of goals between management and curriculum in the Victorian Department Of Education (DOE). The different priorities of the different sections of the Victorian DOE were reflected in the different priorities of these teachers. It appeared likely that the constructivist approach to teaching would give way to more routine approaches if teachers failed to convince the community and other educationalists of the value of their approach. "


"Garden, G. C. (2000). Policy and practice: the Victorian curriculum and standards framework for studies of society and environment. Clayton VIC, Monash University."

"Teachers in a rural district just beyond the fringe of Melbourne were interviewed in relation to their experiences with the implementation of the Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE) learning area of the Victorian Curriculum and Standards Framework policy of 1995. Contrary to the common perception that teachers resist or subvert change, the subjects of this research were found, on the whole, to be willing implementers who gave their best efforts in attempting to put the policy into action, in the way they believed the policy-makers wanted it to work. However, the policy itself was disseminated in such a way that there was no clear ' intended' version that teachers could simply install into practice. Rather, individuals and schools had to make judgments and interpretations about the way the policy was expected to work in relation to assessment and reporting, teaching and learning, comprehensiveness, and transition between primary and secondary levels of schooling. As a result, the policy may not have been implemented in the way the policy-makers intended, in terms of accountability, content, and quality. While initially the technological, political, and cultural perspectives provided useful ways to understand the processes of implementation and change, further perspectives including the rational, organisational, normative, and symbolic gave a sharper picture and highlighted tensions between policy-makers and practitioners (top and bottom), and fidelity and adaptation. The multiple perspective view also illuminated the three way pull of interests between the responsibility of the institution, as against the accountability of the teacher, as against the interests of the child. The research suggests that a curriculum and standards framework can be an effective policy instrument in school settings to which significant powers have been devolved. The implication is that as well as the need for policies to be comprehensive, coherent, and clear before they are disseminated, close attention must be given to professional learning and development. The findings suggest that a government seeking to improve the quality of education would have more success by developing the professional capacities of teachers rather than by attempting to control or coerce teacher behaviour. A new curriculum policy can be seen as an 'opportunity to learn', with practitioners building the knowledge, skills, and understandings needed to implement the policy from within the bounds of the shared expertise of their professional organisations."


"Herbert, S. M. (2000). Motivating male primary underachievers through a technoliteracy curriculum. Footscray VIC, Victoria University."

"The study investigates underlying causes of underachievement in a rural school, by primary aged male students who demonstrate bright minds in out-of-school activity. Observation over seven years prior to the study and in several schools, indicated that this phenomenon was not uncommon. Students have preferred styles of learning, and the perception was that the teaching-learning style, designed originally for urban primary schools, did not meet the needs of these particular students. The study set out to investigate the findings of other researchers in the area of underachievement, and to experiment with a different style of curriculum and classroom environment. Assumptions and questions were drawn from an extensive review of the literature and from these, student profiles were developed. Questionnaires for parents and a writing exercise for students relating to their background were created, and a series of charts and tables was also created and completed for each student. Four students, all from farming families, were the final focus of the study, but the research activities were conducted with the whole class to ascertain the validity of the assumptions. The literature advised working with an overly large sample for this reason. The study found that the style of family environment experienced in early childhood determines traits and characteristics of the individual. An environment such as that of a farming family has been found to develop in some children traits of the highly creative. Such traits and characteristics need independence and self-direction in the learning environment. Students responded to a changed learning environment in school where they had some control over their learning, within parameters and a different more motivating medium for presentation."


"Jobling, W. M. (2000). Factors affecting the implementation of science and technology curricula by primary teachers in Victoria. Clayton VIC, Monash University."

"The study described in this thesis set out to identify the factors affecting implementation of science and technology curricula in Victorian primary schools. The thesis reviews literature arguing for the importance of science and technology in primary education. Developments in science and technology curricula in Victoria are then traced. Biographical factors of Victorian primary teachers that may affect curriculum implementation are described. Major issues relating to the problematic implementation of the curricula such as the small amount of time spent on science and technology are identified. A survey questionnaire, completed by 187 teachers, and interviews with teachers selected on the basis of their questionnaire responses, were the principal methods of data gathering employed. The questionnaire revealed that science and technology were rated by teachers as highly important. Most teachers were only moderately confident to teach some areas. Female teachers were found to be significantly less confident to teach two of the physics based science substrands. Written responses to three questionnaire items and interview data were analysed in several stages. Beneficial and inhibiting influences for the implementation of primary science and technology curricula were identified. The main beneficial influences for science included team teaching and planning, previous successes in teaching science and professional development, particularly 'hands on' activities. For technology similar influences were identified but greater importance was accorded to the availability of equipment and materials. The inhibiting influences for both areas included a lack of resources, a lack of background knowledge and confidence and the time taken for preparation and packing up. The findings of the study have implications for school practice, curriculum design and professional development. "


"Keane, T. (2000). A case study in identifying institutional influences on why female students at a private co-educational school do not elect to study Information Technology at senior secondary level. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"This thesis is a study of the patterns of female enrolment in Information Technology in a co-educational private school in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. What makes this school so interesting is that few girls elect to take any of the Information Technology subjects in Years 11 and 12. This study set out to explore the reasons for these striking statistics in the light of the research which has already been undertaken as well as indicating areas for future research. The first chapter provides a basic introduction to the study outlining the context in which the research took place. Chapter Two sums up the theoretical writings and research findings conducted by others in the field of females not studying Information Technology. What emerges is that the literature is categorised into seven factors and each factor is discussed in turn. Chapter Three outlines the method of evaluation of the history of the introduction of Computer Science at Wrixon Grammar. The method of evaluation was by case study. The case study which is Chapter Four reconstructs the history and development of Computer Science at Wrixon Grammar. Chapter Five analyses the case study in Chapter Four and compares it to the current literature in Chapter Two. The seven factors which became apparent in Chapter Two form the basis for the analysis. The findings suggest that rather than identifying only sociological factors in the reasons why females do not elect to study Information Technology, more research needs to be conducted on school based/ institutional factors which have an impact on Information Technology enrolments. In the final chapter, the conclusions and recommendations for further research and practice are presented."


"Kemp, S. (2000). The nature of technology and its effect on the introduction of learning technologies. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"The development of adequate student conceptions of the nature of technology has followed in the footsteps of the work on the nature of science. Not only the students' but teacher's, education administrators' and curriculum writer's understanding of the nature of technology is of vast importance, given the unquestioning way technology is working its way into the educational culture. The purpose of this case study was to determine the technological literacy of the senior science students and teachers of a single sex secondary school. The study was conducted over a period of 18 month using a variety of qualitative instruments. The students and staff were surveyed to determine their beliefs about technology and its relationship with science. These results were preliminary to identifying the power structure needed to introduce computer interface technology (or learning technologies) into Senior Physics. The power structure was identified using the Actor Network Theory and explained using Latour's theories on Actor Network Theory. The study found that both staff and students had similar beliefs about technology and thought it was associated with computers, progress and making life easier. Both groups thought that technology was applied science. Whilst these beliefs were found to help the introduction of learning technologies the main power levers identified were the neo progressive Physics coordinator and Physics technician, combined with the linkage of learning technologies to assessment tasks. The case study also found that the staff and students' naive beliefs about technology meant that the opportunity to use learning technologies as instruments to explain the relationship between science and technology, was being lost."


"Leckey, M. (2000). Philosophy for children in the middle years of schooling: a Year Seven case study. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"Philosophy for children has become increasingly popular in schools in Victoria. In past years much of this interest has been in primary schools. More recently, secondary schools are introducing philosophy into the curriculum. This study set out to explore the issues surrounding the introduction of philosophy to young adolescents in their first year of high school. The study recognises that the learning experiences of young adolescents in the middle years of schooling are crucial to their view of the world and their place in it as emerging adults. It is argued that philosophy for children has an important role in the education of students at the juncture of childhood and adulthood in postmodern society. In conducting this study it was important to be mindful of contemporary educational and social issues surrounding students during these years. This provided an important context for this work. This was a phenomenological study conducted over one school year. A single case study was chosen so that close examination of the effects of the implementation of the philosophy program could be identified. An important feature of this study was the use of student perspectives. These were accessed through multiple sources of data. This included in-depth interviews, questionnaires and students' philosophy journals. Participant observation provided crucial insights into the events and issues of the implementation process. Findings affirm those of other studies in the middle years of schooling. Outcomes reflect a measure of boredom on one hand and positive socialisation on the other. Other findings support those from the research in philosophy for children where students demonstrated a high level of critical thinking and analysis. The study makes recommendations for the refining of practice in philosophy for children in the middle school."


"Manger, L. (2000). An examination of multicultural perspectives in art education, and their contribution to a just, tolerant and creative society. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"Contemporary art curriculum guidelines in Australia, both at national and state levels, state that study in the Arts must gives students access to the cultural diversity in their immediate community and the broader Australian and international context. As well, the principles of gender equity and equal opportunity for students from all ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds have been incorporated. These statements appear to reflect multicultural perspectives, in promoting an equitable, harmonious, and innovative society. However, critics such as Rizvi contend that these directives are seldom reflected in the art program in most schools. In this thesis, the author has examined the potential of art education to implement these aims, and assumptions regarding the desirability of this outcome. To this end, he has investigated the ideas that underpin this kind of multicultural awareness. These theories direct their focus towards democratic teaching methods, and recommend an art curriculum and teaching practices which encourage students to become active social critics through the arts. To this end, he discusses ways in which teachers and students might explore and analyse the ways in which the arts affect attitudes and relationships of power, and the contributions to be made by a study of Australia's diversity. The author has also compared the proposals of the many educational theorists whose ideas have been explored with those in the CSF for the Arts. To assist this evaluation, he has also conducted a small field research study in a number of secondary schools in the south-eastern metropolitan area of Melbourne, to establish whether the art teachers interviewed understood and implemented the aims of multiculturalism. On the basis of this comparison, proposals have been outlined for a focus on social justice and appreciation of difference."


"McKay Brown, L. (2000). The development of music concepts in the primary school aged child: a Victorian profile. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"Music educators are continually striving to find a comprehensive curriculum to adequately cover developments made in music. It could be argued that, at present, Victorian music curriculum places more emphasis on the aesthetics of music education rather than the learning of music concepts. The researcher firmly believes that the concepts of music are the building blocks through which children become better musicians. Researchers, music educators and curriculum designers must understand the way in which concept knowledge develops in children, so that they can use this knowledge in order to create meaningful learning experiences. The aim of this study, therefore, is to find out whether the acquisition of concepts, particularly rhythm, pitch, harmony and melody can be directly related to development in children, specifically primary aged children in State Government schools in Victoria. This study used the Measures of Musical Ability to test 662 children, from two Victorian state schools, aged six to twelve years in the areas of rhythm, pitch, harmony and tonality (melody). The results from the testing led this researcher to the conclusion that developmental progress in the understanding of the concepts of music can be related to age. Teacher expertise, curriculum design and presentation, and the initial commencement of a musical education are also factors that need to be considered. Recommendations from this study suggest ensuring that curriculum guidelines include information about the development of concepts in children, and giving concepts the same importance as aesthetics in a music curriculum. Other recommendations include giving teachers who teach music support and training (especially non- specialists), providing adequate funding to schools and having children begin formal music education in their preparatory year at school."


"Morris, P. H. W. (2000). The development of Australia's Asian studies policy: a case study in a Victorian secondary college in the late 1990s. Bundoora VIC, La Trobe University."

"This thesis describes development of a policy for the encouragement of Asian studies in Australian schools over the last three decades leading to the establishment of the Asia Education Foundation. It also examines the impact of a program of Asian studies in a regional secondary college in Victoria, Australia. Australia's first formal contacts with Asian countries in the 1950s set the scene for the historical development of Asian studies policy in Australia from the 1960s to 1999. Policy development in the 1960s took into account Australia's concern over national security and Australia's relationships with South- East Asian countries. Teaching requirements were a central aspect of policy development in the 1970s. There was an hiatus in policy development between 1980 and 1985. During the mid to late 1980s, Asian studies policy was influenced greatly by economic matters, especially trade between Asia and Australia. The Asian Studies Council, established in 1986, produced A National Strategy for the Study of Asia in Australia, in 1988. Various reports published between 1989 and 1991 also made significant contributions to the development of policy. The Asia Education Foundation (AEF), established in 1992, replaced the Asian Studies Council. In 1995, the AEF published its policy in Studies of Asia: A Statement for Australian Schools. Then, in 2000, taking into account the changing nature of Australians' understanding and perceptions of Asian people and the countries of Asia, a revised edition of Studies of Asia: A Statement for Australian Schools was published. It is argued that there has been an evolutionary process in Asian studies policy, reflecting the development of Australia's external education policy from aid to trade and the growing awareness of Asia as an important influence on Australian affairs. In 1997, the author conducted a case study to examine the implementation of the AEF's Statement for Australian Schools in a Victorian regional secondary college. Perceptions obtained from Year Ten students provide evidence that the Asian studies curriculum in Year Ten of the case study college reflected some of the AEF's goals and emphases in Studies of Society and Environment. However, it cannot be claimed that these goals and emphases are in evidence across the whole Year Ten curriculum. Comments of both teachers and students suggest that some of the AEF's goals were achieved in part. As a result, recommendations for future policy, practice and research are made to the case study college, the AEF and interested scholars. "


"Newman, A. J. (2000). An investigation into students' perceptions of the use of technology as a teaching tool in the music classroom. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"Music technology is an increasingly important focus in the compulsory music classroom programs of secondary schools but limited research has been undertaken on how it impacts on student learning. This study focuses on students' experiences and perceptions of music technology within an independent, coeducational college. It has not been the intention of the study to compare the effectiveness of music technology against traditional classroom techniques but rather highlight possible teaching applications when integrated into an established music program. Hence, the study has attempted to develop an approach to the use of music technology in the classroom environment. Data for the investigation took the form of questionnaires, structured interviews, participant observation and recorded lessons. From this data five themes were recognised, based on how students felt the technology was impacting on their classroom experiences. In summary, these follow. 1. With regard to effective learning in a music technology laboratory, students preferred activities involving a degree of structure. 2. Students recognised the inability of the technology to actually teach them anything at all, however, they were aware that technology is a useful aid in the learning of music. 3. Students recognised the differences/ similarities between the music technology laboratory and the traditional classroom environment and how this affected their learning. 4. Students did not recognise gender as being a factor in their ability or inability to be successful using music technology. 5. Students were generally positive about music technology. Music technology can be a powerful tool when correctly used within the music classroom. This study tries to identify, from both student responses and the experiences of the researcher, ways that music technology can be used in order that effective learning can take place. Parallels are drawn from the learning theories of Vygotsky and Bruner and related to the experiences a student might have in a music technology Laboratory. A major focus for this study proposes the teacher as being a key element in the successful use of music technology and how this cannot be underestimated in the overall implementation of a successful program. The quality and relevance of the technical and professional support must also be of a high standard at all stages of music technology implementation."


"O'Brien, C. M. (2000). The politics of curriculum. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"This thesis documents the development, establishment and subsequent demise of Victoria's first independent regulatory body of senior secondary curriculum and assessment, the Victorian Institute of Secondary Education. Analysis of the origins of VISE helps reveal the implicit social conflicts at work within the senior secondary curriculum. The thesis investigates the response of policy makers to the shift in senior secondary education from an 'elite' system to a ' mass' system in light of this conflict. The thesis argues that these responses in general and VISE's in particular, while significantly expanding school control over the curriculum and pedagogical autonomy, failed to moderate social patterns of success and failure by not challenging the implicit rationale behind the curriculum hierarchy - the needs of the university for selection - and by failing to base curriculum policy on a wider understanding of the origins of such patterns."


"Pollard, A. M. (2000). The role of curriculum coordinators in state secondary schools: implementing the Moneghetti Report - democratic process and curriculum deliberation: an interactive ethnography. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"The position description of Curriculum Coordinator in Victorian state secondary schools generally includes the responsibility of leading and managing the implementation of whole school change. Shared decision making is much more an established expectation amongst staff in state secondary schools than it is in independent schools where executive authority is clearly the prerogative of the Principal, and the management structure has traditionally been hierarchical. In a climate of teacher disenchantment with restructuring, competitive marketing and centrally directed change, it is important that the Curriculum Coordinator is skilled in securing agreement on key curriculum decisions. This study explores the knowledge, skills and propensities employed by three practising Curriculum Coordinators in Victorian schools in Melbourne when leading the deliberations of their curriculum committees to consider the implementation of a State-mandated change. The assumption was that through reflection and narrative construction these experienced teachers would be able to identify critical issues and explore areas of their middle management position. It was felt at the outset by the author and participants that sharing of reflection would benefit both the mentor and others hereafter in curriculum management positions in State schools. These studies indicate that the Curriculum Coordinator's position is more complex. They illustrate the critical role that the Curriculum Coordinator plays in mediating, maintaining and promoting the basic principles upon which the school's curriculum is predicated. The Curriculum Coordinator's ability to retain a moral capacity in the face of mandated change is also seen to strongly influence the degree to which the organisational capacity for reform is maintained in their schools."


"Quay, J. J. (2000). Students caring for each other. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"The major focus of this study is the outdoor education subject as a learning context in which caring and community are educational achievements. The review of the literature is necessarily selective as the scope of the research touches upon the discipline areas of community, caring, moral development and education, friendship, outdoor education, experiential education and camping. The research is based upon a two step process within which both quantitative and qualitative methods are used. The first step in the process utilises phenomenological methods. The second step uses the survey method. The evidence amassed in this study supports the outdoor education context as more supportive of learning in areas of community and caring than other classes at school. The research was carried out with Year 9 students at a coeducational school and identified twenty two different experiential components of caring. These experiential components were used to compare the outdoor education context to that of other classes at school in a questionnaire. Results of the questionnaire can be summarised in the following four statements. The level of caring for 'close friends' is virtually the same in outdoor education and other classes. The level of caring for 'other people' in outdoor education is significantly higher than caring for 'other people' in other classes. The level of caring for 'close friends' and the level of caring for 'other people' are very similar in outdoor education. The level of caring for 'close friends' in other classes is significantly higher than the level of caring for ' other people' in other classes. What emerged from the investigations was a picture of outdoor education as a unique learning context in its ability to achieve positive outcomes from students in the areas of caring and community."


"Walker, D. M. (2000). Laptops and literature: a constructivist approach to teaching English through multimedia. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"Staff in the English faculty at Central College are part of a laptop program, but are reluctant to make use of the laptops for anything except word processing. In this thesis it is proposed that staff need models for using laptop computers in a Secondary English classroom. Using an Action Research approach, the author researched learning styles, multimedia and subject English to develop a model for use in a novel-based classroom. The first model was developed, created and used in class. Student reactions were collected and analysed, and a second model created in response to this data. Students' reactions were collected and the models, along with student responses were presented to staff. Conclusions and recommendations drawn from this project were two- fold: that multimedia resources for student laptops are best designed and created by classroom teachers; and that the development of these resources are time intensive, so schools should support staff in the development of these resources with time and training."


"Wilks, S. E. (2000). Critical inquiry in arts criticism and aesthetics: strategies for raising cognitive levels of student inquiry. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"In 1995 an Aesthetics and Arts Criticism substrand was included in The Arts Curriculum and Standards Framework document for schools in Victoria, Australia. The researcher believed that in order to implement the new curriculum requirements and cope with the complexities that accompanied the emergence of postmodern art, teachers would need to alter their practice and find strategies for encouraging greater student participation and critical thinking in art room discussions. Research of the literature and classroom practice led the researcher to believe that a teaching method called philosophical inquiry, together with a range of strategies inspired by art education theorists and philosophers would assist teachers. The extent to which philosophical inquiry was grounded in existing practice in the art classrooms and whether teachers were employing the content of the aesthetics component of The Arts CSF was sought through case studies involving observation, transcript analysis and interviews. In order to monitor existing discussion content, the Flanders' Interaction Analysis system was modified and used to categorise the content of the observed discussions. Specific focus was on the teachers' approaches to discussions and the subsequent student contributions in class. Following the analysis of the observed sessions, an intervention program was designed. Approaches believed to facilitate inquiry in arts criticism and aesthetics and improve the cognitive levels and quantity of students' verbal contributions during discussions were modelled. The teacher participants were again observed and transcripts of discussions analysed. A method called 'Texting' was devised to compare the data which emerged from the comparison of pre- and post-intervention classroom sessions. It revealed substantial changes in verbal interaction patterns as well as the presence of aesthetic content, philosophical inquiry approaches and postmodern perspectives. Teachers, when interviewed, were able to describe the changes that had occurred as a result of the relatively short, but precisely designed, intervention program."


"Wise, R. R. (2000). Deepening Australian democracy: what can schools do? Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"The term 'civic deficit' has been used to describe a situation in which a significant proportion of Australian citizens display low levels of knowledge and understanding of, and low levels of engagement with, Australian political and constitutional arrangements. This civic deficit has attracted increased attention by governments, policy makers and the broad educational community within Australia in recent years. The 1994 Report of the Civics Expert Group identified school education as a major site in which to address this deficit, and the past decade has seen increased emphasis on civics and citizenship education in Australian schools. This thesis critically examines the role of civics and citizenship education within Australian secondary schools. It does this, not purely from an educational perspective, but from within the broader context of the contemporary Australian political system. The thesis regards citizenship as inherently a political concept, and develops the notion of democratic citizenship as the most significant element of this. It is argued that democratic citizens are more than merely knowledgeable about their nation's democratic traditions, government institutions and constitutional arrangements. While these elements of civics and citizenship education have a role, democratic citizens are genuine members of their political community. It is argued that they are inquisitive participants in that community. Many resources have been devoted to the development of civics and citizenship education materials and programs in Australia in recent years, most notably the Discovering Democracy Program, an initiative of the Commonwealth government. The thesis reviews and discusses prominent elements of these program, and argues that, while they certainly have merits, most do not take sufficiently seriously the detachment and alienation characteristic of the civic deficit. By drawing on the author's own curriculum and pedagogical contributions to the field,is demonstrates how Australian schools can address the civic deficit more effectively by educating for a maximalist, active democratic citizenship, more likely to deepen and reinvigorate Australian democracy. "



"Bell, C. R. (2000). Finding the balance: comparing the effectiveness of student-managed and teacher-directed learning in science classes. Bentley WA, Curtin University of Technology."

"The purpose of the research was to form a defensible basis for considering possible changes in classroom practice within a small rural state school, and it involved four, mixed-ability classes comprising Year 9 and 10 students. These classes were taught an energy-related module by the researcher. In the preliminary phase, which involved two classes, resources were developed to produce a more student-centred module. These resources, and the constructivist approach which informed their development, are described. In the subsequent comparative phase, the reformed module was taught using two contrasting strategies - one teacher-directed and the other, student-managed. During this phase individual achievement and group investigative skills were assessed. Student perceptions of classroom environment were probed using an existing instrument, the Individualised Classroom Environment Questionnaire (ICEQ). The range of classroom activity and level of student engagement was continuously monitored by independent observers using a specifically developed instrument, termed the SALTA. No overall learning advantage was demonstrated to either teaching -strategy. A small strategy advantage favouring Year 10 students in the student- managed strategy was offset by a similar disadvantage to the Year 9 cohort. A cohort penalty was found to apply to Year 9 students under either strategy, with a paradox in its application. The role of the teacher was found to change significantly under each strategy, with a consistent hierarchy of student engagement with activity emerging. Boys were found to have significantly higher levels of engagement than girls under either teaching strategy. However, this was associated with only modest advantages in achievement. The relationship between engagement and achievement was stronger and more positive under the student- managed strategy. Mismatches between preferred and actual classroom environment were found, particularly in the dimension of independence. This mismatch was less in the student-managed setting. Increased potential for learning was noted under each strategy. "


"Count, P. (2000). Computer technology in a Perth secondary school. Crawley WA, University of Western Australia."

"The use of computers in school is an important facet of education. A great deal of money is being spent and a great deal of lip-service is being paid, but does it really amount to anything? One metropolitan Perth High School has a school priority of computer literacy. The idea is to give students the maximum opportunity to become computer literate. Is it working? This study examined the student population at this school to determine the amount of access it has to computers. It also determined whether there were any gender issues associated with access. It also ascertained the attitudes of the staff to computers to see whether this had an effect on how they employ computers in the classroom. The aim of the study was to complete a thorough situational analysis in order to establish a range of strategies that could be employed to ensure that computer technology is a fundamental aspect of the school culture. All students at the school were surveyed to determine their access and to see if there were any gender equity issues. All staff were also surveyed to measure their attitudes to computers using a recognised attitude scale to determine whether there was any correlation to attitude and employment of computers in the classroom. Finally, each of the individual departments were questioned to determine how they were addressing the school priority of computer literacy and what problems they were encountering. The results showed that more than 80 percent students, had access to computers at home. At school, no gender equity problems were apparent. Staff had a less than 60 percent rate of access to computers. Those that didn't have computers had a much higher level of anxiety and apathy towards computers than those who owned them and were therefore less likely to use them in a classroom setting. Departments reported that there was fundamentally a lack of time and resources preventing them from addressing the school priority. There wasn't enough money to buy computers and not enough time to become familiar with software. Nor were there enough resources to ensure that staff were receiving sufficient professional development to learn new ways to employ computers in the classroom."


"Fairclough, K. (2000). Assessing moral reasoning development through values education within a Western Australian independent school. Churchlands WA, Edith Cowan University."

"The relationship between Values Education and corresponding moral reasoning development has been explored within a group of forty-six year eight students (twelve and thirteen years old). Participants were tested with a Sociomoral Reflection Objective Measure instrument to index their moral reasoning stage development (reported as a Moral Maturity Score). Randomly dividing the group into two equal proportions they were assigned to an Experimental or Control group. The Experimental group was presented with Values Education through exposure to age relevant moral dilemmas which envelope a societal value drawn from the Core Shared Values (Curriculum Council of Western Australia, 1998). Within each session the discussions were both inductive and didactic. After a ten- week exposure to forty-minute sessions the students were re-tested. The aim is to investigate evidence of significant change in moral development of the Experimental group compared to the Control group. The degree to which changes occur impinges upon the relevance of inclusion of Core Shared Values into the Curriculum Framework being established in Western Australian schools. The Core Shared Values are to be infused into the curriculum in order to enrich the morality of students, the future societal generations, and raise the moral standards of our society. The presupposition is that the integration of these values will in fact enhance moral development through moral reasoning. The findings of this study did not support the premise that using a Values Education will improve the moral reasoning capability of students within an Experimental group above that of a Control group. Even though overall improvements were made in both groups, neither reached statistical significance. Recommendations included in the body of the text include the consideration of a longitudinal study using values integrated into the curriculum rather than an interventionist approach."


"Farringdon, F. (2000). Developing a post compulsory evidence-based alcohol education curriculum that is relevant to students and acceptable to teachers. Churchlands WA, Edith Cowan University."

"The aim of this study was to develop a post compulsory, alcohol education curriculum that would be perceived as relevant by students and acceptable to teachers. The study had its conceptual basis in harm minimisation that has considerable justification in terms of what school-based alcohol education can realistically achieve. A harm minimisation approach is supported by parental attitudes, teachers, young people and government policy. To ensure the curriculum was developed in the Western Australian education context it has been linked to the Western Australian Curriculum Framework and adheres to the principles that underpin the framework. Furthermore, this study draws on the features from evaluated health, alcohol and other drug education programs that have the potential to produce some behaviour change. Accordingly, a major focus of the study was to involve young people in the development of the curriculum. To ensure that the curriculum was sensitive to the concerns of the students it sought to influence, twelve focus groups were conducted with year twelve Western Australian students. These focus groups provided invaluable information about young people's alcohol use experiences, alcohol-related harms that are of particular concern to young people, harm reduction strategies used by young people and educational approaches likely to be effective with young people. These insights were incorporated into the development of the curriculum, ensuring it has a basis in situations experienced by young people. Particular attention was also paid to the needs of teachers, involving current health education teachers and health professionals in the development of the content and teaching strategies. In addition, teachers who pilot tested the curriculum were trained prior to implementation of the curriculum. The training, based on interactive modelling of activities, was designed to equip teachers with the knowledge, skills and confidence to teach the curriculum as written, and to document any variation so that fidelity of implementation could be assessed. The curriculum was piloted in three Perth high schools in fourth term of 1999. A triangulation of measures was adopted to assess the curriculum including teacher and student assessment and an evaluation workshop. The process evaluation data from both students and teachers indicated that the curriculum was faithfully implemented and consequently evaluated as relevant by the students who participated in the pilot and acceptable by the teachers who taught it. The apparent success of the curriculum in terms of relevance to students and acceptability to teachers appears to be due to the collaborative process used to develop the curriculum. This process may be replicated, adapted, or added to, by other researchers and educators wishing to develop health education curriculum materials that will be viewed as relevant by students and acceptable by teachers while incorporating an evidence-based approach. "


"Flett, J. D. (2000). Dilemmas of curriculum reform: a school level analysis of a systematic, outcomes-based initiative. Bentley WA, Curtin University of Technology."

"This study aimed to find out what teachers in one school understood of outcomes-based education concepts, the role of these teachers in implementing these initiatives and how they used these concepts in their teaching. The study was conducted in a government secondary college in Victoria. and traces how the Victorian Curriculum and Standards Framework was introduced in this school. Five teachers volunteered to have their classrooms observed as part of this study. The data for the study consist of interviews with these teachers and the school's senior administrators, as well as field observations made over the two months of the study. A constructivist-based, interpretive case study was developed using narratives constructed from teachers' and administrators' accounts and observations of them at work. Analysis of the narratives revealed that teachers and administrators faced three broad types of dilemmas as they implemented this curriculum initiative. These are conceptualised as: the autonomy dilemma, where teachers wrestle with maintaining their independence on curriculum matters whilst dealing with change imposed from elsewhere; the focus dilemma, where schools and teachers attempt to focus simultaneously on school- wide and classroom change; and the acceptance dilemma, where the school and its teachers simultaneously accept and resist changes. These dilemmas are described in three different aspects of the change process: structural or organisational change; pedagogical change; and change in the school's culture. The resolution of these dilemmas has shown the school administrators willing to concede some of their independence or control to effect change. Classroom teachers seem more reluctant to reach a workable compromise within the dilemmas and either wrestle with both possibilities, or focus on a resolution that allows them to retain their existing classroom practices. These issues raise a number of implications for curriculum reformers, school administrators and teachers. "


"Hall, M. (2000). Process evaluation of a child pedestrian injury prevention intervention. Bentley WA, Curtin University of Technology."

"The Child Pedestrian Injury Prevention Project (CPIPP) is a school- and community-based intervention trial delivered to 2,500 primary school children in Perth from 1995 to 1997. The CPIPP was designed to improve children's pedestrian safety knowledge, their road related behaviours - crossing and playing, and to reduce their risk in, and exposure to, traffic. This thesis addresses the process evaluation of the CPIPP school-based intervention. In each of the three study years, teachers (after training) were asked to implement the CPIPP. Each year this comprised nine 40-minute pedestrian safety lessons and home activities. Lessons included road-crossing practice on real and simulated roads. Data were collected from the student cohort (n=1049) and their Grade 2, 3 and 4 teachers. Student outcome data including their pedestrian- related knowledge and road crossing and playing behaviours were assessed using a pre- and post-test self report questionnaire. The majority of teachers (70- 97 percent) and students (72-84 percent) responded positively to questions about their satisfaction with the CPIPP Grades 2, 3 and 4 curricula. Evidence in student work samples demonstrated that teachers taught 76 percent of the Grades 2 and 3 curricula, and 68 percent of the Grade 4 curricula. Teacher self- reported implementation rates were 88, 81 and 60 percent respectively for the three curricula. Teachers reported practising road crossing on a real road in one of six designated crossing practice lessons in 1996 and two lessons in 1997. Multivariate analyses revealed students pedestrian safety knowledge was significantly associated with teacher implementation of the classroom curriculum. This relationship was one of dose- response. It demonstrated students who, each year, received at least 7 lessons of the three CPIPP curricula showed a greater improvement in pedestrian safety knowledge than those students who received a lower dose of the curriculum. Significant effects on pedestrian safety knowledge were also observed for students who, each year, practised crossing a real road in at least one lesson of the curriculum. The relationship between implementation and student road crossing and road playing behaviours was not one of dose-response. This study also found that implementation of the CPIPP curriculum achieved a modest improvement in student pedestrian safety knowledge and possibly arrested the decline of safe road crossing behaviour. It also demonstrated that classroom pedestrian safety education alone, while necessary, is not sufficient to positively modify children's road crossing behaviours."


"Munshi, M. (2000). The efficacy of concept mapping in science education classes. Crawley WA, University of Western Australia."

"Concept maps have a variety of use in various spheres of education. They externalise misconceptions and serve as a tool for introspection. Concept mapping students are compelled to build bridges between their prior knowledge and new knowledge. The prior knowledge of a group of sixty Year Eleven Physics students was measured to divide them into two groups, namely, students with adequate prior knowledge and students without adequate prior knowledge. The author compared the achievement of the students who adopted the technique of concept mapping as a study tool with the ones who did not and found no difference between the two groups irrespective of the adequacy/inadequacy of their prior knowledge. Since the Achievement Test consisted of questions which involved numerical problem solving and graphical interpretation, it might be concluded that although the technique of concept mapping might modify cognitive structure, there is no evidence in this study that suggests an improvement in problem solving skills in Physics. Furthermore, the author used the available literature to examine the information processing theory of problem solving, namely, how prior knowledge is used during problem solving. "


"Paris, L. (2000). Visual arts history and visual arts criticism. Churchlands WA, Edith Cowan University."

"Visual arts history and criticism occupy central positions in visual arts curriculum statements in Western Australia, sustained by the belief that they actively contribute to the education of the student as a 'whole person'. In reality however, visual arts teachers often use visual art works as 'learning aids' because they don't have time, interest or experience to deal with visual arts works in any other way. The difference between theorists' and teachers' understandings of the place and purpose of visual arts history and criticism provides an important area of inquiry requiring urgent attention. This research aims to shed light on the content and methods used by middle school visual arts teachers, and their students' perceptions of the content and methods. A qualitative descriptive study was selected for the research taking the form of semi- structured interviews with six teachers The interviews were complemented by a questionnaire administered to one class of students from each of the six schools. Participating teachers were selected through a stratified sampling technique. Analysis of data was undertaken from a qualitative stance in the case of interview participants. Narrative-style reporting of interview content was employed to facilitate accurate representation of the teachers' perceptions of visual arts history and criticism at the middle school level. A quantitative analysis of students' questionnaires provided triangulation of methodology, ensuring greater levels of validity than would be afforded by qualitative methods alone. With pressure being applied by the impending implementation of the Curriculum Framework for Kindergarten to Year 12 Education in Western Australian Schools for the formal inclusion of Arts Responses (aesthetics, art criticism) and Arts in Society (art history), a pressing need exists for clear information about current professional practice. Findings indicated that a misalignment appears to exist between theoretical assumptions embedded in documentation supporting the implementation of the Framework and actual classroom teaching practice. The implications of such misalignment, albeit illustrated on a small scale, are that the initiatives of the framework may not be sustainable in the longer term, precisely because they are built upon invalid assumptions about what teachers actually do. The size of the sample and scope of the research limits the generalisability of findings, but the study may provide impetus for a more comprehensive evaluation."


"Rosenberg, M. (2000). Increasing implementation of HIV education in Western Australian government senior high schools. Bentley WA, Curtin University of Technology."

"Utilising a rigorous experimental trial, significant increases in teacher implementation of the HIV Supplement to the Western Australian Health Education K-10 Syllabus amongst an intervention group was observed, compared with a comparison group of teachers. This 12-month intervention trial involved 124 health education teachers and 2541 students from 36 metropolitan government senior high schools in Western Australia. The intervention had a minimal effect on changing HIV- related knowledge and attitudes of intervention teachers. However, teachers who were in the intervention group, who had a personal copy of the HIV Supplement, and attended the intervention training, were those most likely to implement the HIV Supplement activities. In addition, intervention teachers who had previously attended an sexuality in- service training in the previous three years, and who had increased their belief that their peers perceived them as innovative, were more likely to implement at least one HIV Supplement core activity. It is acknowledged that difficulties in assessing alternative HIV education lessons that teachers may have implemented, due primarily to the low response rate associated with the teacher logbook prevented greater understanding of the observed low implementation rates to the HIV Supplement core activities. However, the results from this study suggest that single measures of implementation are limited in their ability to measure teacher implementation, and that multiple measures used to form a implementation index may provide a more valid measure of teacher implementation. The results further suggest that health education teachers who have positive attitudes towards HIV education, and who are comfortable and knowledgeable with HIV-related materials, may teach using existing HIV-related materials, rather than the HIV Supplement activities. Finally, this study concluded that ensuring teachers have a personal copy of the HIV Supplement, and that they attend an in-service training with well-specified implementation tasks, is likely to result in greater implementation of the HIV Supplement."


"Tully, K. L. (2000). Useful schooling: an examination of pre-vocational education policy and provision in Western Australian government primary and secondary schools between 1893 and 1972. Bentley WA, Curtin University of Technology."

"Between 1893 and 1972 pre-vocational education policy in the Western Australian Education Department was framed in response to economic change. Inevitably, such a regimen tied pre-vocational schooling to the economic goals of successive governments and shortcomings in these goals occasioned inadequacies in the State's pre- vocational education policy and provision. When the Western Australian Board of Secondary Education made its first state- wide award of Achievement Certificates to Year 10 students in 1972, the lower secondary curriculum had become generalised in content. Between July 1946 and the introduction of the Achievement Certificate in 1970, it was characterised by a division between pre- vocational and academic courses. The origins of the division are located in Cecil Andrews' failure as Director of Education to convince his political masters that the pre-vocational education policy he set out in Report on Education Organization in '1912, should be implemented and maintained. Between 1913 and 1939, as successive governments chose to invest in the superstructure necessary for agricultural expansion, the pre-vocational courses that Andrews had managed to introduce in the central schools were gradually curtailed. Those that he implemented in the high schools were terminated. Agricultural education was the one grudging exception to these contractions. It was not until the 1939-1945 War that Western Australian governments began to accept responsibility for the preparation of all students in its schools for entry to the workforce. In the reforms that followed, academic and pre-vocational courses were accommodated in multilateral high schools. Postwar population growth, the increased complexity of the economy and the Commonwealth government's financial intervention in higher education quickly called into question the role of the pre-vocational lower-secondary school curriculum. Chronological promotion and the improved availability of post-school vocational training in the 1960s also continued to make its transfer to the upper-secondary school almost inevitable. The vicissitudes and contradictions in pre-vocational education policymaking between 1893 and 1972 resulted from the interplay of a number of influences. Chief among these were the political power of the propertied ruling class, their belief that economic prosperity depended upon the continued expansion of Western Australia's agricultural industries and a chronic lack of finance for the State school system. Pursuit of agricultural expansion was a convenient justification for neglecting the pre- vocational curriculum and the urban schools in which it was delivered. Between 1940 and 1966 two Directors of Education, Murray Little and Thomas Logan Robertson, played pivotal roles in securing political recognition that this neglect could not continue. A third Director, Harry Dettman, persuaded the government that the three compulsory years of secondary schooling introduced in 1966 should be devoted to general education. However, this still left the perennial problem of the relationship between the non-academic student, the workplace and the pre-vocational curriculum unresolved. "


"Van Straalen, D. R. N. (2000). An historical overview of the emergence of English literature as a secondary subject in Western Australian schools 1969-1984. Crawley WA, University of Western Australia."

"This dissertation presents an historical overview of the emergence of English Literature as a subject in WA secondary schools, with particular reference to its development between 1969-1984. This study aims to achieve three outcomes. Firstly, to present an historical view of how a curriculum, in this case 'English Literature', was developed. The purpose in presenting this historical view is to provide an insight for future developers of ' English Literature' curriculum, particularly, so that they can better understand how and why it was developed and what its future may be. Secondly, the period 1969-1984 is examined because it represents the period in which 'English Literature' was first taught and examined in WA upper secondary schools. It, also, represents the period in which debate and change, on both the local and international levels, impacted on the literary discourse and the pedagogy of teaching and learning across all learning areas but particularly in the 'English' domain, of which 'English Literature' is a part. The purpose in reviewing this particular era has relevance to future developers of 'English Literature' curriculum, also, because until now there has been no documented history of how the subject developed and changed over time. Thirdly, this study aims to show that, although 'English Literature' represented a substantial part of 'English' curriculum in WA secondary schools, it was perceived by the University of Western Australia, particularly, to be different, separate, powerful and influential. Because of this perception 'English Literature' was promoted as the most effective indicator of intellectual excellence in matriculation candidates and the subject most valuable to these future leaders of society. The informing frame of this study is that the domain of 'English' intends to provide a model for society while, at the same time, moulding society. It is a contention of this dissertation that ' English Literature' also reflects the concerns of society. The potential to influence society, inherent in the subject 'English Literature', is acknowledged in this study and it is suggested that even when the manner in which it is taught and examined alters, the subject endures, never the less. This dissertation concludes that the subject 'English Literature' has the potential to adapt to and reflect the society it serves, irrespective of alterations to course structure or the school curriculum."


"Ward, J. (2000). The teaching of human origins in fundamental Christian schools: how teachers manage the process. Crawley WA, University of Western Australia."

"The study reported in this dissertation is aimed at investigating how teachers in fundamental Christian schools manage the process of teaching human origins. More specifically, the study intends to offer insight into the rapidly growing fundamental Christian schooling movement. It attempts this through an examination of how year twelve biological science teachers in Western Australian secondary fundamental Christian schools approach and organise the teaching of both mainstream perspectives on human origins, namely evolution and creationism. The research employed qualitative research methods including a case study approach. Data collection primarily occurred through the interviewing of three participants. Data analysis employed the principles of grounded theory. The findings reported in this study are presented in terms of similarities and differences between the teachers studied regarding how they manage the process of teaching both mainstream perspectives on human origins. The first main set of findings is related to commonalities between the teachers in terms of their management of the teaching of both evolution and creationism. Two propositions are presented. The second main set of findings is related to disparities between the teachers in terms of their management of the teaching of both evolution and creationism. The first proposition contends that teachers in fundamental Christian schools, when faced with the pressure of covering the required evolution content in the available time, primarily focus on presenting the evolution content and spontaneously incorporate creationism content. Furthermore, teachers differ in the manner in which they primarily incorporate creationism. The second proposition asserts that teachers in fundamental Christian schools, when presenting evolution and creationism together, are influenced by the nature of the subject as a 'science', while also being influenced by their personal life philosophy, namely Christianity. In addition, teachers differ in the extent to which each of these factors influences their teaching of human origins. The findings of the study reported in this dissertation can serve to increase the understanding of readers regarding how teachers in fundamental Christian schools manage the process of teaching human origins Furthermore, the findings have practical implications and can serve to guide future research."

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