Melbourne Graduate School of Education Curriculum Policies Project

Australian Curriculum Theses 2005



"Claverie, N. A. (2005). Do the performance indicators set by the Commonwealth Government for Aboriginal students match the Aboriginal communities' measure of success. Callaghan NSW, University of Newcastle."

"This thesis explores if there is a mismatch between the Commonwealth Government's measures of educational performance for Aboriginal students and that of Aboriginal communities. There has been limited research on performance indicators and Aboriginal students. This study aims to start to fill that gap. This thesis looks at Aboriginal parents and non-Aboriginal parents' measures of success and compares them with the Commonwealth Government's measures of educational achievement for Aboriginal students as part of the reporting process for the Indigenous Education Strategic Initiatives Program. As an Aboriginal person working in the field of education, the author was concerned that at a state level, Aboriginal students do not appear to be meeting the performance measures that have been set by the Commonwealth Government and the author questioned whether the performance indicators were appropriate from an Aboriginal perspective. The study employed a qualitative approach using phenomenological ethnographic methodologies. The data was collected through separate focus group interviews, which were undertaken with Aboriginal parents and non-Aboriginal parents from four locations. These locations included a Priority Schools Funding Program school in both an urban and rural location and a non Priority Schools Funding Program school in an urban and rural location in New South Wales (NSW). The study found that the majority of performance indicators set by the Commonwealth Government for Aboriginal students do match the Aboriginal communities and non-Aboriginal communities' measures of success. However, the Commonwealth Government does not consider a number of indicators used by parents. The study also found that the Commonwealth Government should apply additional pressure to some states, particularly NSW and the NSW Department of Education and Training to provide data on all indicators set, if it is to get a more accurate picture of the educational achievement of Aboriginal students. "


"Kleeman, G. (2005). A matter of perspectives: an investigation of the development of the 1992 New South Wales Stages 4-5 Geography Syllabus through the application of interest group theory. North Ryde NSW, Macquarie University."

"This thesis evaluates the usefulness of interest group theory as a theoretical framework through which to view the process of syllabus development. The controversy surrounding the mandating of targeted curriculum perspectives in the 1992 New South Wales Stages 4-5 Geography Syllabus is the particular instance of syllabus development to which the theory is applied. The study represents the first substantive account of the perspectives controversy and, as such, provides a number of important historical insights into what is now established educational practice across a range of New South Wales syllabus documents. While earlier subject-based studies relevant to the New South Wales curriculum context have explored the highly political nature of the syllabus-development process they have failed to fully account for the dynamics of the processes involved. Of particular interest is the manner in which the various participants in the syllabus 'policy community' - which, under the model of curriculum development prevailing in the early 1990s, were principally nominees of the major educational stakeholders or interest groups - sought to advance a particular agenda or thwart the agendas of those with which they disagreed. Interest group theory provides a theoretical 'lens' that clarifies the patterns of action and reaction central to these processes, and throws light on the way interest groups interact within an institutional framework during syllabus development. This case study shares with others of its genre the view that the issues addressed cannot be examined without reference to the cultural-political context in which they occurred. In this particular instance the context is not only complex it is multidimensional. At one level a belief in the transformative potential of schooling by both progressive and conservative interests contributed to education becoming one of the most keenly contested arenas of public policy. At another level, the election of a reformist conservative government in New South Wales and the appointment of Paul Keating as prime minister in 1991 resulted in an intensification of cultural conflict that simultaneously enraged and enthused activists on both sides of the cultural-political divide. It is argued that by the 1990s syllabus content, which is viewed as legitimised knowledge, became one of the main vehicles by which the preferred cultural visions of competing interests could be advanced. There are three main sources of data used in this qualitative case study investigation: the material artefacts of the syllabus-development process; the researcher's own participant-based observations; and the observations of the 'key actors' in the syllabus controversy. The main data-gathering tools were archival research, document analysis and open- ended interviewing. The triangulation of data sources and methodologies, together with member-checking, was used to ensure the credibility of the research findings. The outcomes of this study include a demonstration of the utility of interest group theory as an analytical framework for understanding the nature of syllabus development; an insight into the range of strategies deployed by interest groups in their attempt to influence syllabus content; a confirmation of the proposition that the selection of syllabus content is a socially-embedded process subject to challenge from those with competing world views; and an exploration of the ways institutional processes and different interests interact to produce compromise-based policy outcomes. "


"Matters, E. H. (2005). Aeneas in the antipodes: the teaching of Virgil in New South Wales schools from 1900 to the start of the 21st century. Camperdown NSW, University of Sydney."

"Aeneas in the Antipodes offers an Australian perspective on the teaching of Virgil's poetry in the secondary school. The study examines practices in the State of New South Wales from 1900 to the early years of the twenty-first century. The changing role of Latin in the curriculum is traced through a historical account showing the factors which caused a decline in the status and popularity of the subject from the beginning of the century to the 1970s. This decline, not confined to Australia, stimulated the introduction of new teaching methods with different emphases which were, to some extent, successful in preserving Latin from extinction in schools. Against this background of change, Virgil remained the Latin author most frequently studied in the final year of school. Because this poetry was so consistently prescribed for public examinations, a detailed investigation is made of the questions set and of the examiners' comments on candidates' performance, as evidence of changes in expectations and hence, in teaching methods. The influence of trends in Virgilian scholarship is assessed by means of a review of all the officially recommended commentaries and secondary works. The growth of literary criticism from the 1960s is shown to have had a marked effect on syllabuses and examinations, and consequently on the approach taken in the classroom. The role of local professional organisations in supporting the teaching of Virgil has been documented, showing how the disappearance of official support for Latin teaching was to some extent counterbalanced by an increase in voluntary effort. The resources and methods used to introduce Virgil to comparative beginners are classified and reviewed. An assessment is also offered of approaches made to teaching Virgil in English at both junior and senior secondary levels. The final chapter reviews the changes brought about since 2000. Current teaching practices are documented through classroom observations and teacher surveys, substantiating the impression that while most students at the beginning of the twenty-first century are less prepared than their predecessors to translate Virgil independently, they are expected to attempt a far more sophisticated analysis of the literary features Note: For appendix 3-10 please see hardcopy edition."


"O'Sullivan, K. A. (2005). Silent voices: a study of English teachers' responses to curriculum change. North Ryde NSW, Macquarie University."

"This thesis analyses the nature of the discourses and practices of English teachers as they implement major reform to a senior curriculum. The introduction in New South Wales, Australia, of a mandatory new Higher School Certificate syllabus in 2000 challenged the prevailing paradigms of the school subject and disturbed the existing beliefs and pedagogies of English practitioners. This period of change provides the historical context for the present investigation. A major focus of the study is the relationship between teachers' discourses about curriculum change and their actual practices. Having presented its findings about that relationship, the thesis goes on to explore the implications for curriculum change theory. The study was developed predominantly within a qualitative framework through semi-structured interviews with fifteen teachers from a range of secondary schools from both the government and non-government systems in metropolitan and non metropolitan locations in New South Wales. The participants, who included eight Head Teachers of English and seven teachers of English, were identified using a purposive sampling technique and were chosen from self-selecting respondents to an initial state-wide survey. The data-gathering techniques also included the collection of a unit of work prepared by each teacher for study in the HSC Standard English course. The theoretical perspectives of grounded theory, discourse analysis, and curriculum change informed the analysis of the data. Contradictions and ironies were found to be inherent in every aspect of the teachers' discourses and practices. How the teachers perceived their implementation of the early stages of significant curriculum change was markedly at odds with their classroom actions. Paradoxically the more active the teachers became in trying to come to terms with curriculum change the further they seemed to enshrine and confirm the professional identities they had previously established. The study showed that the teachers' impressions that they were implementing the new syllabus often concealed the fact that they were actually just adopting appearances of change. It is well recognised by theorists that it takes some time for teachers to absorb and adopt change. It is argued here, however, that because English teachers have extremely strong professional identities and subject values, the close alignment of these with their sense of self tends to make them highly resistant to change at any deep level. It would seem that for professional development to be successful in a situation of this kind much closer attention needs to be paid to teachers' voices, and to how they view their subject and their sense of self in relation to it. It is only with this as a starting point that new paradigms and practices are likely to become firmly established."


"Petrova, I. (2005). A comparative study of primary/elementary school music curricula in Australia (NSW), in the UK (England), in the Russian Federation and in the United States of America. Kensington NSW, University of New South Wales."

"In different countries, the music curricula for primary/ elementary school children has been influenced by many diverse factors including a number of progressive educational practices and a variety of psychological theories. This research gives a detailed analysis of a number of primary/ elementary school programs for general music in Australia (New South Wales, i.e. NSW), in the UK (England), in the Russian Federation and in the United States of America. The research aims to find out to what extent music education in different countries is based on or follows psychological theories of child development and progressive educational practices. Firstly, to acquire an adequate understanding of child education this research examines the philosophical roots of primary/ elementary education and a set of psychological ideas of Piaget and Vigotsky about the nature of children and the nature of knowledge. This provides insight of how children learn (the nature of learning) and the role of the teacher in learning music. Secondly, the research examines the musical content of the syllabae (the nature of subject). It critically compares the following components of curricula and syllabae: philosophy, objectives and contents including musical concepts, activities and music repertoire. This is then subjected to further analysis examining these contents in relation to theories of child development (Piaget and Vigotsky) and traditional and progressive educational practices (where it is applicable). Finally, a questionnaire is aimed at primary school teachers in NSW. These teachers are generalist teachers, there are no specialist music teachers employed as such in public primary schools in NSW. Music is taught in the NSW primary schools by class teachers. The problem is that NSW university faculties of education do not train music teachers as specialists at primary level. They only train generalist teachers. In other countries the situation is different. There are music specialists in the USA, UK and Russia teaching in primary schools. There are also such teachers in primary schools in Queensland, SA, Victoria, and WA and there are some in NSW. The questionnaire was, therefore, designed to enquire into the specific situation in NSW. Finally, issues of further investigation and research of curricula and syllabae in the primary/ elementary school are outlined. "


"Rothapfel, J. M. (2005). The effectiveness of using aerospace themes to motivate students in the science classroom. Callaghan NSW, University of Newcastle."

"For over ten years, the NSW Board of Studies' statistics had indicated a general decline in the number of students undertaking a traditional science in senior secondary schools in New South Wales. As well, the statistics had been supported by direct observation and comment from science educators in high schools about an increasing reluctance by students for a number of reasons to choose science subjects for senior studies in secondary school. This disconcerting problem consequently led to the consideration of an appropriate teaching and learning strategy for the secondary science 7-10 classroom that could positively modify attitudes and motivation. The literature review and personal involvement in workshops for students by the teacher- researcher had indicated that exciting themes of aviation, space travel and exploration of the universe had positively influenced the motivation of students. Thus, the hypothesis for this research was that the use of themes of 'aviation', 'astronautics' and 'space' to be collectively called aerospace themes, was an effective strategy for increasing motivation for learning in a secondary science classroom that would encourage students to select a science for senior studies. The research was conducted in a public, comprehensive secondary school in New South Wales in which a pilot study, followed by a case study, was undertaken. Each study was carried out for a period of one teaching unit of five weeks. In order to foster quality learning, the school had introduced a middle schooling approach to education to cater for a community characterised by high, persistent unemployment and single parent families placing many households in the low socio-economic level. The classes that were involved in the pilot study were two Year 7 classes that were part of the initial trial of middle schooling at the school and were already experiencing teaching and learning via themes. Year 10 classes had been selected for the case study because this school had also experienced a serious decreasing interest by students in studying science subjects in Years 11 and 12. The suggested consequence by the principal of the school was possibly to remove some sciences from the senior school curriculum. From the case study then, the effectiveness of the research strategy could also be ascertained within the same year when the students would be invited to submit preferences for senior study. To ensure that internal validity was optimised during the study so that meaningful inferences could be made from the results, multiple methods of collecting the data called 'triangulation' were used. The research had demonstrated that most students of the case study have undergone significant modification of their motivation to science and willingness to select sciences at senior level of secondary schooling. In general, the positive influences of the use of aerospace thematic teaching were definitely in excess of the disadvantages and, therefore, further research and/or actual use in the classroom deserves consideration by science teachers for the good of science and the Australian society. "



"Brown, S. E. (2005). Holding bays or pathways: vocationalism and physical recreation. St Lucia QLD, University of Queensland."

"Falk, Host and Michelsen, and Huws have criticised vocational education in Australia and elsewhere for being gendered and classed, thereby not giving those students who choose to undertake this form of study the broadening of opportunities envisioned. This thesis explores the 'two track' schooling system (academic and vocational) in Australia and outlines the curriculum context in the state of Queensland. The Vocational Education and Training (VET) system provides opportunities for students to gain Certification in line with the Australia National Training Framework (ANTF). A new stream of vocational education, the Study Area Specification (SAS) in Physical Recreation (PR) recently finished its trial in Queensland schools. Currently, the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA previously known as the Queensland Board of Senior Secondary School Studies - QBSSSS) has implemented the PR. This research also highlights the key research in the area of physical education and VET internationally and in Australia, as well as the research done on masculinities and curriculum evaluation. The analysis of the data involves a survey analysis and interpretive and discourse analyses. A survey analysis assists in the coding and calculating of the numerical information of the quantitative data. An interpretive analysis helps in the classification of the data into key themes surrounding the status of PR, how learning was approached and valued, vocationalism, masculinities, and life pathways. The discourses within these themes that position both teachers and students in particular power relationships are deconstructed using Foucault's techniques of power. The author concludes that these discourses (re)produced within the subject marginalise the majority of PR students and teachers. Thus, the PR document fails to provide the life chances claimed by its rhetoric. "


"Davis, R. S. (2005). Investigation of design technology issues in the primary classroom. Brisbane QLD, Queensland University of Technology."

"Design technology is a poorly understood aspect of educational practice, particularly as it applies in the primary school classroom. In a number of countries around the world the implementation of design technology has met with difficulties as it applies to educational practice. In Australia, this curriculum area is a relatively recent addition to classroom programs of study, and it is crucial that a sound understanding of the subject and its specific characteristics is developed to assist in its effective implementation. In this research a case study of a single primary school classroom was undertaken with a view to identifying issues that may have impeded or facilitated the effective implementation of design technology in such a context. The classroom experiences of the teacher and her students were examined in detail to ascertain any insights into design technology curriculum implementation and practice, particularly as it applies to the primary school environment. The research identified nine key assertions relating to the practices of this teacher and her students. These assertions were developed and refined throughout the data collection to explain the observed classroom activity. Linkages between previous research and these assertions were utilised to develop a discussion that broadly identifies key issues that may impact on the effective implementation of design technology, as well as addressing broader conceptual issues associated with the subject area. The concept of a contingent approach to design is proposed as a means to explain classroom behaviour by students, and is allied to the concept of a 'field of possibility' and the interpretation of artefacts through a narrative approach. These key concepts combine to develop a structure through which classroom activity may be interpreted by teachers in a manner grounded in student behaviour. A model for interpreting technology activity in the classroom is also developed. The research, therefore, develops present understanding through the observations of actual classroom activity. Furthermore, it presents new ways of conceptualising design technology that may assist in the progression of the curriculum area by academic and classroom professionals in a manner that is grounded in the reality of the classroom experience. "


"Donelan, K. J. (2005). The Gods Project: drama as intercultural education: an ethnographic study of an intercultural performance project in a secondary school. Nathan QLD, Griffith University."

"This thesis investigates the role of drama in the intercultural education of young people. It considers the relationship between the fields of drama education, intercultural performance and ethnography. The drama curriculum is explored as a site of intercultural learning and performance pedagogy. The thesis also examines the place of ethnography as an embodied, participatory practice in intercultural drama pedagogy and performance research. The study is placed in a context of international exchange and cultural pluralism, and is framed by debates about intercultural performance and the appropriation and representation of cultural narratives. This investigation of interculturalism within the drama curriculum is grounded in an ethnographic study conducted in Melbourne, Australia in a multicultural secondary school community. The study documents the experiences of approximately forty young people who participated in an African drama and performing arts project called The Gods Project. Jean, a Kenyan performing artist who was undertaking a two-year residency in the school, led the intercultural performance project. Participants were involved in drama and performing arts workshops, an African creative arts camp and a performance of a play, The Gods are not to Blame, by Nigerian playwright Ola Rotimi. The interpretative account of the project draws on ethnographic data from the first year of Jeans residency in the school and six months of intensive fieldwork in the second year of her residency. It also includes longitudinal data that was collected from a group of participants up to four years after the project. The author collaborated with Jean and with a group of senior students, who volunteered to be student co-researchers, to record and analyse the diverse experiences of participants in The Gods Project and to interpret its educational, social, and aesthetic impact within the school context. Jeans pedagogy of intercultural story telling within the drama classroom and her role as a cultural guide throughout the project was explored. As a participatory ethnographic researcher, drama educator and assistant director, the author worked alongside Jean and the students as they played with, talked about, resisted, created, adapted, subverted, embodied and performed intercultural performance texts. Drawing on Turner and Schechner, the author conceptualised The Gods Project as an intersecting social and aesthetic drama. The phases of social drama and ritual were used as a framework for the data analysis and as a structure for the narrative account of the project. Turners concepts of the liminal/liminoid and communitas were applied to the participants experiences at the creative arts camp and within the workshop and performance space. Dark play was identified as the young peoples response to the difficult social drama they were involved in; their subversive play provided a way to engage with the strangeness of the cultural material and the plays dark story and themes. The participants dramatic play informed the emerging aesthetic drama and facilitated their intercultural meaning making. The students efforts to make sense of and interpret a performance text embedded in a Yoruba context resemble the task of an ethnographer attempting to understand and represent socio-cultural experiences. The study demonstrates that through a process of collaborative intercultural reflexivity, ethnography can enhance intercultural drama education. The pedagogical features of The Gods Project are related to Turners concept of performance ethnography and the role of a cultural guide in intercultural teaching and learning is highlighted. With the guidance of their Kenyan teaching artist many of the young people engaged with different socio-cultural perspectives, actively explored new cultural performance conventions and art forms, and experienced the complexities of intercultural representation. The study reveals evidence of significant social, personal, intercultural and artistic learning outcomes for participants within this school-based performance project. However, the study also reveals the difficulties and challenges of implementing an innovative intercultural project within a school context. It demonstrates that kinaesthetic, playful, embodied and performative experiences are central to intercultural teaching and learning. "


"Field, M. R. (2005). Boys, education, pedagogies: reconstructing sport, reconstructing masculinities. St Lucia QLD, University of Queensland."

"What this thesis demonstrates is that the current 'What About the Boys?' debate surrounding the alleged decline in the education of boys is part of a backlash politics informed by 'mythopoetic' and men's rights' perspectives. These are attempts to re-entrench those traditional hegemonic ideals of masculinity which have reinforced and reproduced inequality in gender relationships, and have led to benefits accruing to men simply for being men - the 'patriarchal dividend'. However, commitments to masculinist ways of being have also led to costs to some men in the form of poor health, lower life expectancy, more distant relationships and, more specifically for the purposes of this thesis, lower academic outcomes for some boys. Using a pro- feminist framework and informed by post-structural and social constructionist perspectives, this thesis posits that men can take up alternative constructions of masculinity. It argues that a more equitable, democratic, socially just version of 'manhood' is possible at both an individual and a societal level. It is proposed here that the feminist movement has achieved some gains for women and girls over the past two or three decades, and that this has constituted a perceived threat to pakeha, middle-class patriarchy. Although these gains have been overstated, in order to preserve male privilege attempts have been made to capture the discourse within crucial, contested sites, such as within education. All boys are constructed as victims of a 'feminised' education system by homogenising statistics which conceal stark differences between groups of boys based on ethnicity and class. This position is reinforced by the notion that male 'victims' of the education system then become threats to wider society as disenfranchised, angry young men at the mercy of their genes and hormones. Boys are constructed as 'victims' despite many girls remaining disadvantaged in schools, whether it is through the ways schools are administered and teaching and learning are conducted, or whether it is through the actions of boys committed to 'hegemonic' forms of masculinity. These actions include various forms of harassment, intimidation and violence as some boys strive to prove their allegiance to a dominant type of masculinity. Unfortunately, some schools and staff members are often complicit in reinforcing this type of masculinity in various ways. This includes the ways staff and others relate to each other, the way they value some activities and attitudes over others, and in the ways schools are structured. This reinforcement of conservative masculinities occurs despite the introduction of measures such as programs to combat bullying, those which provide authoritarian role models perceived to be 'positive', or those which attempt to make schools more 'boy-friendly' at the expense of girls. Such programs fail to contribute towards a more socially just society. However, the media-driven 'poor boys' discourse has created a space for other programs for boys which have a very different approach. Using an action-research approach, this thesis describes and analyses a program designed, implemented and managed following a 'pro-feminist' politics, and informed by post-structural and social constructionist theories. The FLAMES (Fostering Learning And Motivation in Education through Sport) program, which continues to operate today, was designed to challenge hegemonic constructions of masculinity at every opportunity in a boys-only class within a co-educational school in a rural area in New Zealand, in order to work towards a more positive environment at school for girls, other boys, staff, and the FLAMES students themselves. Over a four year period, the program used a specific pedagogy based on care, respect, physical activity and high quality relationships to answer Connell's call for gender programs in schools based on three aspects. First, he calls for 'knowledge'. In addition to basic curriculum knowledge, Connell includes the learning of gender inequities and male privilege, and the attainment of skills to critical y examine existing culture and knowledge. Second, Connell argues that such programs should be based on developing positive human relationships. Third, they should strive to work within a social justice framework. The FLAMES program demonstrated that all three of these were achievable in the rural, conservative environment in which it was based. This was as a result of the blend of pro-feminist content introduced using a liberatory pedagogical framework involving activities taken from PE, adventure-based learning and kapahaka. Data gathered indicated that in specific situations, thirteen and fourteen year-old boys who had previously performed hegemonic forms of masculinity were able to problematise the notion of 'essentialist' or 'natural' masculinity, and were able to demonstrate an understanding of the 'constructed' nature of 'masculinities'. Although their performance of gender was often contradictory, in specific situations they were able to take up alternative forms of masculine performance which were far more democratic and egalitarian. However, the external pressures placed upon the students to enact traditional forms of manhood by others such as members of the school community, older siblings and other family members, friends and through the media made it very difficult for students to maintain alternative forms of masculinity in all situations. Indeed, it was often dangerous for them to do so, as the threat of violence and/or social isolation towards anyone attempting to 'break ranks' with the 'pack' was very real. This demonstrates the need for programs such as FLAMES to be embedded within a school-wide intervention which has widespread community support. This would assist students in reconciling the conflict between the democratic nature of the FLAMES classroom, the hierarchical and authoritarian nature of the wider school, and the pressures placed upon them by other parts of society to perform hegemonic masculinities damaging to themselves and others. "


"Jenkins, G. (2005). A critical analysis of the teaching of hospitality at Marymount College. Gold Coast QLD, Bond University."

"Historically, vocational subjects have been a part of the Australian school curricula for 200 years. In early school curriculum the vocational aspect was considered to be related to the acquisition of manual skills such as domestic science or woodwork, rather than careers. From the 1950s to mid 1980s, vocational education, focused specifically on career and job training, was the responsibility of the technical colleges, which had been established to develop these skills. The concept of high schools targeting identified skills for the future work force, and hence becoming involved in the vocational skill development of youth, developed in the mid 1980s in Australia. Industry influence on governments to make educational decisions based on economic initiatives has increased over this time. Major growth has occurred in Vocational Education and Training (VET) in schools, with student participation rates in vocational education trebling in the past six (6) years. This increase is predicted to continue as VET qualifications and the process of accreditation is improved and becomes increasingly user-friendly. The focus on vocational education and industry needs is recognised as an economic necessity for Australia. Schools and teachers, however, need to balance the demands of industry and government with the holistic educational needs of the youth they are entrusted to teach. The school curriculum currently offers a broad range of subject choices that provide for diverse student needs. However the rapid growth of vocational education in schools has impeded effective reflective practices of current vocational programs. Vocational education is experiencing a boom due to the increasing popularity of vocational subjects. The planning and implementation of the diverse subject offerings at school level is often a response to immediate needs rather than in-depth analysis and evaluation. For this reason, it is timely for a critical analysis of the current Hospitality programs in schools to ensure currency and relevancy of content and implementation. The project was localised to one school to enable an extensive and thorough analysis of the Hospitality program. Marymount College is a co-educational Catholic College of approximately 1050 students. Located in the Gold Coast suburb of Burleigh, Marymount College offers a wide range of VET subjects ranging across the five (5) industry areas of Information Technology, Business, Marine Science, Industrial Skills and Hospitality and Tourism. The analysis suggests what measures need to be implemented in the programs at Marymount College, Gold Coast, Burleigh, Australia, to ensure best practice in Hospitality vocational education. These measures can be constructively applied to other Queensland schools currently delivering vocational education and Hospitality, or to those schools considering introducing subjects associated with Hospitality."


"McDougall, J. K. (2005). Changing mindsets: a study of Queensland primary teachers and the visual literacy initiative. North Rockhampton QLD, Central Queensland University."

"'Changing mindsets' is about how teachers are engaging with 'visual literacy' � the practices involved in understanding and creating visual texts. The concept of 'visual literacy', like other 'new' literacies, has arisen in response to changing communication practices in developed, capitalist societies like Australia. This study addresses the ways in which teachers in primary schools are engaging with the visual literacy initiative in the context of the new arts syllabus (Years 1-10) in Queensland. Using a broadly poststructural approach, this thesis explored the changing mindsets implied by this curriculum initiative from three perspectives. The concept of 'preservation of self' was used to examine the personal dimension of change; the concept of 'trendy theory' addressed the social and political agendas that drive curriculum reform; while the concept of 'multimodality' drew attention to the cultural values ascribed to different modes of communication. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 primary teachers from 11 government schools in a regional centre in 2002. The discourse analysis method was used to analyse the data resulting from these interviews. The data showed that the official discourses featured in the new arts syllabus did not match the discourses used by practising teachers. Although there was some recognition of the significance of the visual mode, most teachers in this study were not aware of 'visual literacy'. Significantly, the agency exercised by teachers in curriculum reform was shaped not only by their personal identities, but also by the levels of support that they experienced in their working environments. These findings have crucial implications for policy-makers in implementing curriculum change, particularly in the context of the new arts syllabus. "


"Pollard, J. (2005). A software engineering approach to the integration of computer technology into mathematics education. St Lucia QLD, University of Queensland."

"This thesis explores, from the perspective of the software engineer, the application of computers to the teaching of secondary school mathematics. It identifies ways in which the uptake of computers in mathematics teaching can be encouraged, and show how the software engineer, working in partnership with the teacher, can play a pivotal role in enhancing teachers' use of technology. By conducting a number of interviews and undertaking several case studies with practising secondary school mathematics teachers, the research identifies the key factors influencing the integration of computers into the classroom. These factors range from the adequacy of teacher training through to the design of appropriate didactic software. The emphasis throughout is on the role the software engineer can play in the creation of software that will be used successfully by the teacher and will make a significant contribution to the overall teaching of mathematics. Cooperative teacher and software engineer partnerships are trialled in depth through the case studies. The outcome is the development of a software architecture aimed at creating educational software products that are adaptable to the pedagogical and epistemological orientations, and consequently the teaching practices, of individual teachers. The study also explores the various views mathematics teachers have of integrating technology; model the major factors influencing the integration of technology by mathematics teachers, and explore how these factors interrelate; explore processes of co-developing educational software with mathematics teachers; suggest how teacher training can be modified to more effectively encourage and assist mathematics teachers to integrate computers; categorize the various types of mathematics educational software; categorize the various educational tasks found in mathematics software; and develop an underlying reference architecture to create mathematics educational software that can be readily adapted to meet teachers' individual needs. "



"Al Safi, M. (2005). The effect of modifying the physics curriculum on student choice to study VCE physics. Clayton VIC, Monash University."

"Physics involves knowledge and skills that are useful in today's world not only for students who will continue to the tertiary level, but also by those students joining the work force without tertiary education. This study explores the barriers that might deter year 10 students from understanding physics and hence choosing it later on in their formal education. It also investigates the perceptions of students and their science teachers about the way science is taught in some Victorian secondary schools. Year 10 students responded to a questionnaire exploring these issues, and their science teachers were interviewed in order to probe what they saw in the year 10 science course in their schools. The resulting data suggests that; it is not only the pedagogy, which influences students to see physics positively, it is also what is taught (physics in its context and content). Students indicated a preference to study cosmology rather than mechanics and electricity topics. Teachers saw that their attempts to have more students engaged with physics would be enhanced by having greater time to devoting, planning and implementing new teaching approaches (particularly to foster ideas about new teaching approaches), and adequate budget and resources in their school science departments so as to support changes. The results of this research support efforts to modify science teachers' approaches and techniques while teaching topics that year 10 students distinguished as preferable. "


"Astley, L. R. (2005). Teachers in the middle: reflections from teachers on middle secondary school curriculum. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"The study centres on perceptions held by teachers about the curriculum needs of students in middle secondary schooling, years nine and ten, in a Victorian state secondary college. The middle years of schooling are the current focus of school reform in the State of Victoria, Australia. The factors that shape the curriculum decision-making and the learning culture of a school can be well known within that school. These factors in general can be largely without documentation with the exception of records kept within the school. In the past, practices in Australian educational reform have been bureaucratic in nature and rarely seemed to recognise the perceptions held by teachers in general. Although some provision is made for teacher responses, via electronic means it has been barely enough considering the dramatic changes expected in achieving school reform. Teachers' perceptions of the curriculum needs of adolescent students were gathered using taped interviews and a teachers' problem solving group activity. This study reveals that teachers are acutely aware of adolescent needs, but are unable to implement strategies to effect the required changes. This study highlights the need for consultation and effective, extensive and ongoing support for teachers in curriculum development relevant for today's adolescents. This research adds to the existing body of knowledge by identifying the location of teachers' knowledge and pedagogy, with respect to adolescent education. "


"Coram, S. (2005). The relevance of indigenous role model policy utilising elite indigenous athletes to indigenous education policy: a critical race approach. Clayton VIC, Monash University."

"Elite sport plays a crucial role in the socialisation of young people not only in terms of the values attributed to high achievers in sport but also in terms of the role of sport as a medium for generating within marginalised communities. Participation in sports enables indigenous young people, males especially, to put aside the pressures of the classroom and to show competence in ways other through formal curriculum. This is significant given that role models from sport convey cress to young people in the context where few indigenous peoples enjoy success in the ream generally. The easy acceptance of high achieving athletes as cultural icons and role models invokes romantic notions about sport as an alternative to education and about the capacity role models to positively influence young people. In light of this, the positioning of the Indigenous athlete as role model is indicative of the need to understand the significance of sport identifications to role modelling and, by implication, to indigenous learning since indigenous role programs based on sport target young people in schools. Whilst the attention given to celebrity athletes can be explained in part by the popularity of sport, the emergence of the Indigenous role model and indigenous role model programs are less well explained. The central objective in this thesis is to examine the relevance of indigenous role modelling, utilising elite athletes, to indigenous education policy. The research is grounded in interviews and conversations with indigenous policy makers involved in the administration of indigenous role model programs, the purpose of which is to gather insights into the values informing indigenous model policy and practice. The research is also grounded in observations of the dynamic of Indigenous athletes engaging as role models to young people in terms of what they do and say and the responses they elicit from young people. The thesis draws on critical race scholarship to e the contradictions and silences of race and to argue that the appearance of liberal values in obscures the persistence of race hegemony. The thesis finds that indigenous role model policies and practice reflect values in indigenous learning consistent with cultural difference. "


"Goode, M. (2005). The identification of effective strategies in resilient children, and the development of programs to transfer those skills to vulnerable children. Clayton VIC, Monash University."

"Work with primary school-aged children in a socially disadvantaged area led to an interest in the factors which determined resilience in children. An extensive literature review aimed to identify behaviours characteristic of resilient children, and to isolate from those behaviours some which might be taught to vulnerable children. The critical elements from this review seemed to be coping skills, problem solving skills, social skills, emotional regulation skills, mastery and empathy. Two programs were developed to teach vulnerable children to behave more like resilient ones. 'Good Kids' focussed on emotion regulation skills, and taught children how to identify their emotions, how to recognize what caused various emotions, and ways of coping with a range of emotional states. 'Better Kids' focussed on skills for problem solving, managing interpersonal problems, and 'mind-reading'. Mind-reading was developed from the theory of mind literature and the principles of nonverbal communication. There was no formal selection process carried out, and any children seen to be 'doing it hard' were accepted into programs as long as places were available. In practice, this meant children were referred who were acting out or who appeared to have an internalizing disorder. Most of the acting out children were boys, and most of the internalizing children were girls. Behavioural data on the children were collected from teachers and parents prior to commencement of the programs, and repeated at their conclusion. Children in the program also completed questionnaires on their behaviours, moods and attitudes at the beginning and end of the programs. De-identified data were analysed after the programs were completed. All children made measurable behavioural gains, but a gender/program interaction was seen such that boys (or acting out children) made greater gains on the 'Good Kids' program, while girls (or children with internalizing disorders) made greater gains on the 'Better Kids' program. "


"Graham, F. L. (2005). Using individual learning plans: one school's approach. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"This project examined the implementation of Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) in an outer suburban, low socio-economic Primary School in Melbourne. The school first began implementing ILPs for all students in 2000, as a means to shift teacher thinking about curriculum implementation. Through this it was anticipated that planning, teaching and assessment pedagogy would improve to better cater for individual dent needs. It was hoped that the ILPs would enhance parent support as a result of their involvement in their child's learning. This research investigates the impact of ILPs on teacher practice (including assessment and parent / teacher communication) and on student outcomes. The methodology used was predominantly qualitative. However, the researcher wanted to gain an overall understanding of parent values relating to ILPs by implementing a quantitative survey. Issues raised by parents were investigated through focus group interviews and the perspectives of teachers were gained through qualitative questionnaires. The impact of ILP implementation on curriculum and student outcomes was investigated through the analysis of student achievement data in Literacy and Numeracy and through student attendance data. Many unexpected and positive outcomes were uncovered from this research project. For example, while parents were supportive of ILPs, they raised suggestions not included in teacher data. Teachers were also positive towards the use of ILPs for all students, despite the work involved. Overall, the research has provided interesting results regarding the large-scale implementation of ILPs in a mainstream setting. "


"Henderson, L. (2005). Unleashing talent: an examination of VanTassel-Baska's (1995) integrated curriculum model in an inclusive classroom. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"This study investigates the implementation of VanTassel-Baska's Integrated Curriculum Model (ICM) in a mixed-ability Year 3 dassroom. The model, which was designed specifically for use with gifted and talented students, draws upon concepts, rather than being topic-based, and focuses on advanced content and higher order thinking processes. The study's purpose is to investigate the learning that takes place as students of mixed abilities engage with the ICM. Specifically, the study involves interpreting student talk and work samples, and observing the ways in which meaning is sought while engaging with the ICM. A qualitative case study methodology is used and some quantitative analysis of students' pre and post reading and writing samples and talk patterns is undertaken to support and illuminate the qualitative analysis. Student talk is analysed by using Ritchhart's thinking disposition framework that underpins his theory of intellectual character. Ritchhart proposes six dispositions: the disposition to be open minded; curious; metacognitive; a truth seeker; strategic; and sceptical. The study revealed that the ICM was effective in producing learning that was indicative of displaying intellectual character. This finding was true for both the gifted and non-gifted students, with varying degrees of engagement in both cohorts. In particular, the gifted students make mention of the increase in level of challenge and the opportunity the model provides to engage in exploratory talk about complex issues. The non-gifted students, while acknowledging some difficulties with particular aspects of the unit, overall recognise increases in their learning and their ability to ask questions. Of most significance are the findings that demonstrate students are able to: (a) engage in exploratory talk about complex issues and demonstrate thinking that is indicative of displaying intellectual character; (b) advance their skill level in both persuasive writing and literature interpretation; (c) acknowledge their level of engagement with the ICM in comparison to previous learning experiences. Further research is recommended before any firm conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness of the ICM in indusive classrooms. This would involve using the ICM with an extensive range of learners, and being delivered by different teachers, with their own pedagogical approaches. However, the study highlights the powerful tool that Ritchhart's thinking dispositions framework offers educators for assessing student thinking. It also raises the need for a closer examination of the framework to clarify aspects such as whether it is sufficiently inclusive and whether the framework is hierarchical in structure. "


"Hill, J. O. (2005). Scientific literacy and the reform of science education in Australia: a chemistry perspective. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"There is considerable qualitative and quantitative data to suggest that chemistry in Australia is in a state of decline. This trend has been in evidence for the last fifteen years and is most evident from a progressive decline in demand for tertiary chemistry courses over this period despite an overall increase in demand for science courses in Australian universities. There is quantitative evidence to suggest that Australia is experiencing a 'skills shortage' of 'trained chemists' to support the development and sustainability of the chemical industry and, perhaps more significantly, the proportion of chemistry graduates entering the teaching profession is also decreasing. This thesis examines the reasons for this decline in the status of Australian chemistry by conducting a series of interviews with Heads of Departments of Chemistry in Australian universities to find out their concerns on this issue and, more specifically, to ascertain the actions that they are enacting to address the decline in demand for tertiary chemistry courses and the difficulty in retaining students in the chemistry major. This process also revealed numerous constraints, most significantly, financial constraints, that impede 'change' in the tertiary chemistry sector. A comprehensive review of the state of chemical education in Australia at both the secondary and tertiary levels has been undertaken and it transpires that the lack of a significant chemical education culture in Australian universities possibly correlates with the lack of systematic reviews of the Chemistry 1 course curriculum least the past three decades. This deficiency suggests that such a lack of a well-entrenched chemical education culture in Australia is a major contributing factor to the demise of chemistry generally. However, a comprehensive review of the state of international chemical shows that whereas a decline in the status of chemistry has been experienced in the UK, the USA and to some extent, in Europe, major steps have been taken to address this trend with integrated strategies imposed by governments, schools, universities and, most significantly, chemistry professional societies. Thus, it appears that Australia is still in the midst of a 'chemistry crisis' and that urgent strategies need to be enacted to address this. In this context and recognising that the foundation tertiary chemistry course has a major influence in attracting and retaining chemistry students and hence on the production of 'trained chemists', the major emphasis of this research is the development of a new curriculum framework for the tertiary Chemistry 1 course. This framework is based on a set of principles and is enabled by three contemporary educational theories which are integrated to form a distinctively balanced curriculum which emphasises the 'simplicity of chemistry' and includes the essential educational elements of 'learning' and also relates chemical principles and chemical phenomena to social responsibility outcomes. It is believed that this curriculum framework reveals the 'excitement' of contemporary chemistry together with its enabling features. Most significantly, it offers students a new, challenging and empowering chemistry learning experience. It is therefore concluded that this new Chemistry 1 curriculum framework has the potential to redress the decline of interest in chemistry at the tertiary level and hence contribute to addressing the increasing demand for 'trained chemists'. "


"Jones, M. M. (2005). Re-engaging students in their learning through middle school reform: a case study evaluation of a vertically structured curriculum. Fitzroy VIC, Australian Catholic University."

"The phrase 'middle schooling' refers to the school setting for adolescent students generally between the ages of 11 and 15 years of age. This period of time has been recognised on a national level as being particularly significant in education. A call for reform in upper primary and lower secondary to address the understanding of adolescents in a complex and changing society has been recognised publicly at a federal and state level. This research evaluates the redesign of one middle school's structure through the implementation of a vertical curriculum in a catholic secondary college in a country town. The program has been in place for three years in the college and the need to evaluate it takes on significance for the college itself, and the wider educational community who have been discussing and researching middle school curriculum design for a number of years. Research methodology takes the form of attitudinal questionnaires administered to parents, students and staff in the college. Quantitative analysis using descriptive statistics is used for closed questions to look for significant differences between the parent, student and teacher attitude towards the philosophy and delivery of the vertical structure. One-way ANOVA and MANOVA analysis revealed that parents, students and staff were all supportive of the new structure and its driving philosophies, although parents scored significantly higher on the scales examined than staff or students. Correlations and Chi Square analysis were applied to selected scales, revealing overall that the outcomes of the vertical curriculum are being met. A number of areas were also identified as needing improvement, with areas of emphasis differing for the parent, staff and student groups in the community."


"Levett, C. (2005). Environmental education is more than just planting trees: developing positive environmental awareness in primary school children. Melbourne VIC, RMIT University."

Environmental education is a vast subject. This project focuses on environmental education in the primary school setting and concentrates on issues related to this setting. It addresses the problem of how to deliver environmental education concepts at a level that is appropriate for the abilities of primary school age children. It explores the availability of suitable resources and details the development of a program that can be used by primary school teachers in any location. This program incorporates indoor and outdoor activities across most curriculum learning areas. The progressive manner in which knowledge skills and values are developed seeks to ensure that students develop positive attitudes towards conservation of the natural environment that will continue throughout their lives. The dissertation describes an action research journey that developed over a three-year period and involved three different primary classes in the one school. The researcher worked collaboratively with a teaching partner to create the environmental activities that were used throughout the life of the project. Developing partnerships with local community organisations was an important aspect of this project. The model described in this thesis centred around the conservation of an area of natural bush that was close to school and of significance to the local community. The outcomes of this longitudinal action research project resulted in the creation of an environmental program designed for use by upper primary school teachers in any setting. This program is on the accompanying CD- ROM.


"Lynch, T. J. (2005). An evaluation of school responses to the introduction of the Queensland 1999 Health and Physical Education (HPE) syllabus and policy documents in three Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) primary schools. Fitzroy VIC, Australian Catholic University."

"Within Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) the 1999 HPE syllabus was implemented between 1999 and 2001. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the implementation of the 1999 Queensland HPE syllabus in three BCE primary schools of varying enrolment numbers. The research problem is: How developed is the implementation of the new HPE syllabus in BCE schools? The data collection was guided by the following research questions:- How are teachers in these BCE schools implementing the HPE curriculum documents? What readily accessible resources do schools have to assist with the implementation of Health and Physical Education? What are teachers' perceptions with regard to the HPE Key Learning Area? What are the children's perceptions of the HPE Key Learning Area? What implementation strategies are required to optimize HPE practices in BCE schools? This study is significant for the feedback it may provide to BCE of the HPE syllabus implementation process and in informing BCE of the current status of the HPE key learning area within a sample of systemic Catholic primary schools. The findings have the potential to contribute to the BCE Strategic Renewal Framework currently occurring within BCE schools for all curriculum areas and planned for completion by the end of 2006. This research has been designed within a constructionist paradigm. An interpretivist study was conducted employing symbolic interactionism. This qualitative, interpretive study is most appropriate as meanings were constructed. The case study methodology was chosen to construct meaning through capturing the context of each school. The sites for the three case studies involved: one small sized BCE primary school (less than 200 students); one medium sized BCE primary school (200 - 400 students); and one large sized BCE primary school (over 400 students). The participants included teachers and students from the respective schools. The data gathering strategies used were; semi-structured and focus group interviews, reflective journal note taking, observations, questionnaire and document analysis. The research concluded that factors which led to the decline in Australian HPE during the 1980s and early 1990s may have contributed to impeding the implementation challenges formulated by BCE. This was evidenced within the three BCE primary schools by unequal allocation of teaching resources, equipment, facilities, HPE teachers and HPE teacher release time for sports coordination. It appears that the implementation process ceased prematurely before all schools had had sufficient time and preparation to design whole school HPE programs. Teachers lacked understandings of practical ways to implement the social justice underpinnings of the syllabus and some school principals were unaware of the necessity of employing qualified HPE specialist teachers. The research revealed that school principals play a significant role in the implementation of the 1999 HPE syllabus, a role made more imperative by the absence of BCE HPE Curriculum Officers and systemic HPE professional development. Therefore, the HPE key learning area requires further system level support and attention so that the 1999 HPE syllabus can be implemented successfully in all BCE primary schools, enabling curriculum change to occur. "


"Mansell, D. H. (2005). Finding a place for intercultural communication in VCE Indonesian. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"The language-learning curriculum for the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), the curriculum for the final two years of secondary schooling in Victoria, seeks to foster language learning for interpersonal communication in an assessment model that is grounded in an outcomes- and competency-based framework, thus bringing together the ambiguity inherent in intercultural communication and the clarity demanded by a curriculum that focuses on behavioural outcomes. In this research project the role of intercultural knowledge in communication was investigated and a way for this knowledge to be incorporated into the curriculum framework for the Indonesian language was proposed. A topic was chosen from the curriculum as the basis for collecting authentic data in Indonesian settings. The topic was 'finding accommodation' and data collection focused on finding accommodation in a kos, a type of room rental common for single people in Indonesia. Data were collected from research sites in two Indonesian towns. Four methods of data collection were used: ethnographic interviews, participant observation, comment banks and role-plays. Cultural themes in the data were identified through domain analysis and noticing and one source of data, the kos interview role-plays, was analysed using discourse analysis to help patterns emerge and thus develop a model for a generic text-type for teaching. This research project found that cultural knowledge and values are expressed in the course of communication in a kos interview that are different to what the learner might expect if approaching this text-type from a position grounded in Australian culture and that these differences can be incorporated into a learning model that is appropriate to the VCE curriculum. This model serves as a starting point for further research into the intercultural dimensions of Indonesian interaction in different settings with the aim of enhancing the resources available to teachers of Indonesian in Australia. "


"McClenaghan, D. (2005). Popular culture as curriculum: adolescent literacy practices and secondary English. Clayton VIC, Monash University."

"In this thesis the author explores the ways in which students are able to draw on their out of school popular cultural and literacy practices to challenge conventional understandings of subject English. It is based on practitioner research conducted with secondary English students in the author's classrooms. The study is informed by theoretical positions and prior research into popular culture and secondary English. The author uses these perspectives to re-frame English curriculum and pedagogy in terms of the kinds of social relationships and networks that students develop beyond school, particularly in their engagement with popular culture. The literacy practices that students engage in beyond school provide challenges to dominant understandings of English curriculum and pedagogy. Research exploring the interface between adolescents' out of school literacy practices and the English classroom suggests that conventional conceptions of literacy are outdated and limiting vis-a-vis the diversity of literacy practices students engage with in their everyday lives. Informed by these perspectives this research focused on examining ways in which students in the English classrooms could draw on their out of school literacy practices when undertaking conventional tasks. The author sought to understand how they used such literacy practices to create understanding and meaning while fulfilling the requirements of the English curriculum. The author examines student work samples produced in these classrooms, describing the contexts in which they were produced and the significance of each text. At the same time, the author describes her professional learning as the author sets about exploring the semiotic potential of popular culture in the classroom, reviewing existing practices as an English teacher, and reconceptualising the role of English within the curriculum and the lives of the students. The study finds that students' uses of their out of school literacy practices provide a means of reconceptualising subject English as grounded in the social and cultural networks and relationships that students are engaged in, and where knowledge and meaning are socially constructed. It demonstrates an alternative pedagogy where teacher and students are co-learners and co-constructors of knowledge. "


"McCurry, D. (2005). Notions of work-related skills and general abilities: the generic skills debate and the whole-school assessment of generic skills. Clayton VIC, Monash University."

"In this thesis the author sketch the development in the early 1990s of the Mayer key competencies in Australia and the author compare them with other notions of work-related skills developed internationally at about the same time. The author focuses on the ambitious assessment proposals of the Mayer committee and the different views and arguments that were made about those proposals. Having reviewed the key competencies debate, the author analyse notions of competence and ability and distinguish the generic Mayer competencies from other ideas of competence and competencies. As a result of this analysis the author argue that the Mayer key competencies must be seen as generic abilities rather than specific competencies. The author also argue that the key competencies are not achievements but rather that they are best thought of as aptitudes that predict abilities to learn new things. The author consider 100 years of research in psychometrics and cognitive psychology about generic abilities with particular attention to the work of Gardner, Sternberg, Carroll and Ceci. As a result of this analysis the author sketch a model of cognitive abilities within an overarching model of performance. The author then turn from the theoretical and research literature on generic abilities to consider what happened to the assessment proposals that were referred by the Mayer committee to the curriculum and assessment authorities in the various states and territories of Australia. The author undertook reviews of key competencies assessment issues for the commonwealth and the Victorian governments in 1996, and in that work the author proposed a regime for school-based assessment of levels of performance on the key competencies. With commonwealth government support this proposal was trialled in 10 secondary schools with 110 teachers assessing 350 year 11 students in 1997. The aim of the trial was to have students separately assessed by groups of teachers to see what degree of agreement there was between different teachers from different subject areas. Through this trial the author developed the notion of whole- school assessment in which all the teachers of a student contribute to a single, integrated report on the generic abilities of a student. In the trial the author conceptualised and implemented a cost-effective method of producing a collective view of a student from all the teachers of that student. The assessment trial showed that teachers could in most cases make global, impression judgements of key competencies performances with no more that three minutes formal reflection per student. The judgements made by different teachers were quite consistent with each other, and as a result they can be validly and reliably used to develop an overall report for a student. The teachers participating in the trial judged the assessment procedures to be efficient and cost-effective. Analysis of the assessments of teachers participating in the trial shows that pairs of teachers (from any combination of subject areas) typically produce an acceptable level of agreement in about 90 percent of cases. The further work the author has done on the whole-school assessment of key competences has demonstrated on three other occasions that the assessment process the author has developed is practical and useful. "


"McKenna, K. A. (2005). Rethinking curriculum, assessment and reporting in a technology-rich school environment. Geelong VIC, Deakin University."

"This Portfolio is a collection of a dissertation and four research folio pieces which explore curriculum, assessment and reporting change relating to multimodal teaching and learning and the availability of information and communications technologies in schools. An accompanying CD ROM contains multimodal material related to the case study. The Portfolio demonstrates: that teachers can and should learn new ways of working with students; that there are manageable ways of reflecting the multimodal nature of teaching and learning through assessment and reporting; that wider curriculum change can be achieved by focussing on areas that teachers view as 'mission-critical' such as reporting; and that change in schools is enhanced by the involvement of the stakeholders. Research, organisational development, and other professional activities in the area of the enhancement of learning through the use of information and communication technologies, primarily within the context of a particular school, are documented within this Portfolio. "


"Milvain, C. (2005). Establishing an infused thinking oriented curriculum. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"This thesis critically examines the early stages of introducing higher order thinking skills to the students of Years 7 in a Melbourne Secondary College. These skills were part of a Thinking Oriented Curriculum initiative aimed at better meeting the present and future needs of students. The College's new direction was in response to increased pressure being placed on educational institutions to equip students for a future purportedly determined and dominated by technological and societal changes. One method available for educators to address this challenge is to ensure that thinking skills are deliberately taught within classrooms. In this thesis, the term thinking skills implies the ability to use, apply or practice those attributes of the cognitive process of thinking. Recognising the benefit of raising the cognitive level of students as part of a school curriculum is not a new addition to pedagogy. However, in the past, activities to strengthen thinking skills were seen as most appropriate to use only with 'gifted' students, or as incidental addenda to a classroom task. Effective thinking procedures can no longer be seen as the sole domain of able students. Strategies should be available for all students to affect how they construct and apply knowledge within their environment. These are the skills required to take them into the next stage of their lives, their workplace, as more sophisticated thinking is needed in employment than was required by previous generations. Appropriate higher order thinking skills thus become invaluable life management skills for all students. "


"Rangelov, M. (2005). Factors that promote effective teaching practices in a thinking curriculum. Parkville VIC, University of Melbourne."

"The literature on teaching a thinking curriculum provides many theoretical models of teaching practice. These models range from the belief that thinking should be taught as a separate subject to those demonstrating the belief that thinking skills should be taught as an integral part of discipline content. Through questionnaires and interviews this research project sought to explore teachers' beliefs and understandings of a thinking curriculum and teaching practices deemed to be effective in teaching a thinking curriculum. It also sought to determine what factors teachers believed promoted effective teaching practices. The research literature provides an abundance of thinking curriculum models as frameworks for thinking-oriented approaches. The explosion of resources that provide teachers with tools to aid the implementation of a thinking curriculum in their classrooms is evidence of an increasing interest in a thinking curriculum. This interest in the area of teaching thinking is further apparent in the thinking-oriented professional development opportunities devoted to creating a culture of thinking in the classroom, student questioning and student reflection to name a few. It is little wonder that curriculum models abound. What is less evident in the literature is an examination of teachers' beliefs and understandings of a thinking curriculum. Likewise the literature reviewed by this researcher does not address the factors that promote effective classroom teaching practices in a thinking curriculum. If, as the literature suggests, a thinking curriculum enhances and promotes the generic skills required for the new millennium, it is important that educators, including school leaders, are aware of, and understand, the factors that promote these teaching practices. It is anticipated that if these factors can be identified, strategies can be implemented to facilitate effective teaching practices in a thinking curriculum. Data was collected through questionnaires and interviews. Participants included Year 7 and Year 8 teachers, the Principal and Assistant Principal and twenty-five Year 7 and Year 8 students. Data was analysed by examining themes or patterns that emerged from the data."


"Silis, G. F. (2005). How can teachers utilize information gathered by professionally developed tests, in the mathematics curriculum, to strengthen the learning experiences of their students? Melbourne VIC, RMIT University."

"This study is an investigation of assessment and learning in the curriculum area of mathematics based on the current practices of a State government primary school. A case study approach provided a rich source of information on a means of measuring change over four years of schooling (Year 3 to Year 6). The learning was focussed on student knowledge, in relation to the mathematical tests selected as measurement tools in this study. A learning continuum developed was for students involved in the investigation and the opinions of their parents and teachers and selves sought via surveys. Designs selected that prevented disruption to the normal operation of the school at the centre of the investigation. The literature of Izard, Black and William, Forster and Broadfoot guided the educational context of the investigation into formal assessment practices for formative purposes. Modern Rasch analysis computer developments enabled the exploration of Rasch analysis techniques offering the researcher access to statistical information previously confined to statisticians and contributing to the investigation of effect size and the work of Cohen, Glass and Coe in measuring the magnitude of change. Sampling and analysis methods relating to validity and equating procedures supporting comparison issues required investigation and application. The disadvantages of decisions made outside and without consideration of teacher and students investigated with particular reference to the impact these decisions can make in relation to student learning. "



"Ellis, J. A. (2005). Students at educational risk: an interpretivist study of micro level policy implementation in three Western Australian government primary schools. Crawley WA, University of Western Australia."

"The principal aim of this study was to investigate the perspectives stakeholders in Western Australian State primary schools had of the Students at Educational Risk (SAER) policy and inclusive education practices in schools. The study includes an analysis of the SAER Policy process in Western Australia between 1998 and 2003 at school and District Office level, with a particular focus on inclusivity, as enacted at the grassroots, micro, primary school level. The case studies enabled examination of social processes through which macro changes in structure and funding related to this policy have been experienced and reconstructed at the micro level and how the requirement for inclusive education practices were accommodated in schools. Micro-political power, a significant dimension of organisations, compels consideration of the wider forces at work in the school. Three levels of policy context were relevant to this study: micro or school level; meso or District Office level; and macro, incorporating the Central Office of the Western Australian Department of Education and Training and the Curriculum Council. Ball's policy cycle was used to connect the different contexts of the policy process at the micro, meso and macro levels. Little research or data is yet available on implementation of the Making the Difference: Students at Educational Risk Policy. This study was significantly different from existing research or data in two ways. First, the selection of the three case study schools was designed to focus on degrees of inclusivity. Second, whereas the Making the Difference: Students at Educational Risk Policy was a top-down initiative, the data gathering in this study was in a bottom-up direction beginning at the micro level, a direction change that was significant. Findings from the micro level were discussed at the meso, District Office level, in an attempt to empower those least 'heard' in top-down policy processes. The research found one superordinate category, School Policy and Strategic Plans. Within the superordinate category were Conceptualisation and Implementation of SAER Policy and Conceptualising Inclusivity. Emergent from the superordinate category were four categories: School Leadership, Teambuilding, Communication with Stakeholders, and Operationalising or Managing. The category of School Leadership was the foremost and most crucial of the four categories because the form and the degree of success in the School Leadership category determined both the form and the state of the other three categories. The top-down, hierarchical trajectory of the policy process and strategic planning process appeared to hinder the ability of schools to operationalise or manage, and impaired willingness of teachers to 'buy-in' to SAER policy and to inclusive education. Factors, which in combination, can mediate the top-down, hierarchical policy and strategic planning trajectory include, effective school leadership, teambuilding and communication with stakeholders in the school community. Without commitment to the policy and strategic plan from all staff, synergy to maximise school operationalisation is unlikely to be attained. Therefore the success of SAER policy and inclusivity is about the intersection of continuity, quality, teambuilding, communication and operationalising and managing. "


"Kent, J. (2005). Teachers and the engagement of students in mathematics in secondary schools in Western Australia. Crawley WA, University of Western Australia."

"The implementation of the Curriculum Framework into Western Australia in 1998 has changed the nature of mathematics education in the state. A central premise of the Framework is student engagement with education. The Curriculum Framework describes engagement in terms of student attitude, motivation and beliefs. The aim of the research reported in this thesis is to develop an understanding of mathematics teachers' perspectives on how they engage lower secondary state school students in ways commensurate with the mathematics learning outcomes of the Curriculum Framework. Three schools were investigated as case studies. In each school, three teachers were interviewed as to their understanding of what engagement with mathematics is and how they engage their students with the learning area. The schools were from a variety of socioeconomic and geographic parts of Perth, Western Australia. From the analytical findings of the case studies, three propositions Were developed. The first of these is that engagement with mathematics requires students to demonstrate a combination of doing mathematics and thinking about mathematics. The second proposition is that student centred learning approaches encourage students to engage with mathematics. The third proposition is that student success is a key ingredient to fostering student engagement with mathematics. "


"Scarparolo, G. E. (2005). Character cars: how computer technology enhances learning in terms of arts ideas and arts skills and processes in a Year 7 male visual arts education program. Perth WA, Edith Cowan University."

"This study investigates whether the integration of Visual Arts Technology Tools (TECH-TOOLS) into Traditional Visual Arts Programs (TRAD-PROG) enhances the students' learning in terms of Arts Ideas (AI) and Arts Skills and Processes (ASP) and whether it is a cost effective option for Western Australian primary schools. To determine whether it is worth the inclusion of TECH-TOOLS in terms of enhancing learning, this research will statistically state whether the combination of TECH- TOOLS and Traditional Visual Arts Media (TRAD-MEDIA) enhance the expressive outcomes of Year Seven boys' artwork. The comparative case study method has been chosen as the most suitable method to enable the Researcher to establish the impact that combining TECH-TOOLS with TRAD- MEDIA have upon Year Seven boys' artwork. The Control group only used TRAD-MEDIA and the Experimental group used both TRAD-MEDIA and TECH- TOOLS to create a piece of artwork based on the chosen theme, Character Cars. There were 23 students in the Control group and 24 students in the Experimental group, however not all students attempted or completed the task for reasons explained in Chapter Four. Each group was involved in three sequenced activities based on the chosen theme, with the second activity varying only according to the media used to complete the task. Combinations of quantitative and qualitative methods have been used in this research. To present quantitative data which provides insights into whether Visual Arts (VA) teachers should be combining TECH-TOOLS with TRAD-MEDIA in their Visual Arts Programs (VAP), each piece of artwork was assessed and analysed using descriptive analysis of the data. Each participant completed a written feedback form outlining their attitudes, feelings and thoughts about their artwork and the media that they used. The Researcher and an independent Visual Arts Education (VAE) expert also took anecdotal records during the VA activities with the aim of recording the participants' involvement and enjoyment of the activities. This study is significantly different from the current research in this area as it will: provide quantitative data which will demonstrate whether the combination of TECH-TOOLS and TRAD- MEDIA enhances students' artwork; link the relevant literature and findings of this study to the Western Australian primary school context; provide links to the Western Australian Curriculum Council's Curriculum Framework; and comment on the influence of gender in VAE. All of these factors contribute to the uniqueness of this study. "

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