Western Australian Institute for Educational Research

22nd Annual Research Forum at Edith Cowan University

Forum 2007 Abstracts

Listed alphabetically by first author
[ Forum Invitation ] [ Abstract Submission ] [ Program ] [ Proceedings ]
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Dept of Education

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Popular sub-culture and school: Analysing popular sub-culture for transferal to a classroom

Kim Balnaves
Edith Cowan University

What are the elements of the sub-cultures of young boys that can be adopted or adapted to improve their educational outcomes and authentic participation in school? This question is the basis of a research project being conducted by Kim Balnaves in her PhD study to be completed this year. This paper discusses the construction of the methodology used in this research-in-progress against a background of boys in education in the Australian context, and the sub-cultures they engage in. One of the most prevalent factors mentioned in current literature affecting the outcomes of these boys is lack of engagement or interest in school. With a particular emphasis on boys, the focus of this paper is on examining Martino's (2002) proposition that if teachers could understand the sub-cultures of boys they could potentially engage them in more relevant learning experiences.

Email: kim.balnaves@ecu.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Initial findings from a longitudinal study into the uses of ICTs in WA schools

Frank Bate
Murdoch University

This paper explores the preliminary findings from a longitudinal study that examines the integration of information and communications technologies (ICTs) into the classrooms of 30 first year teachers in Western Australia. The study adopts a mixed method approach in attempting to gauge the use (or absence) of ICTs in these environments, examining the practices of teachers within the context of their evolving pedagogical identities (Goos, 2005). The study has found that most participants claim to be competent users of ICTs. Participants also articulate pedagogical beliefs that aim to engage their students in active meaning making (Jonassen, Peck, & Wilson, 1999). However, ICT competence and pedagogical beliefs that resonate with contemporary learning theory do not seem to have translated into classroom practices that optimise the use of ICTs for learning. There appears to be a mismatch between the ideals that new teachers hold to be important and their capacity to use ICTs to help realise these ideals. Participants in the research have so far limited the use of ICTs in their classrooms to a combination of three "Rs": research, reward or rotate. These themes are explored in this paper, along with possible reasons that might explain the apparent mismatch between the ideals that new teachers have for using ICTs and the realities of working in present-day classrooms.

Email: f.bate@murdoch.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Empathy and identity: Drama as an environmental educational tool

Jocasta Collier
The University of Western Australia

In this paper I argue that drama has a significant effect on both its spectators and its participants in developing an empathetic response towards those whom society has marginalised. Moreover, the analysis offered here reveals that the expansion of awareness that a targeted performance piece may generate can be extended to include sensitivity to the broader environment, specifically undermining what Singer has termed 'speciesism'. In this respect drama can be seen as a positive medium for the elimination of socially constructed (unreflecting) antagonism to social or ecological 'difference'; a powerful educational tool in the deconstruction of identities that may have become narrowly defined by oppressive contemporary categories that affirm the 'same' while rejecting the 'different' and eradicating the non-human. By analysing the degree to which a dramatic performance can generate empathy I demonstrate the effectiveness of drama as a medium for providing the possibility of a more cognitively informed position where normative boundaries of inclusion/exclusion are evaluated and critiqued. My conclusions in this paper, then, derive from quantitative and qualitative assessments of the results of research undertaken for the M.Ed. at Murdoch University and suggest that drama with its capacity to generate empathy through role playing and observation is an extremely effective medium for the interrogation of received, normative views and can, in fact, offer subjects (the focus group in question is that of young people) a capacity to re-evaluate and even reconstruct their more unreflecting or rigidly held positions with a corresponding impact upon their own identity formations and their relationship to others and the environment broadly understood

Email: jocasta.collier@uwa.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Politeness and pragmatic slippage: Global English and L1 Englishes

Chris Conlan
Curtin University of Technology

A consequence of the globalisation of English has been the worldwide emergence of speakers for whom English is not a first language and for whom it functions primarily as a means of international communication. In this role it allows speakers of languages other than English to communicate with each other using English as their shared language. As such it functions as a lingua franca, and the acronym ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) is used to identify this kind of usage. But when non-L1 speakers of English use ELF-marked English with speakers for whom English is an L1 (and so is central to the construction of a power and distance relationships within a culture-specific version of social reality), communicative difficulties can occur. This paper identifies some of these difficulties and examines them using techniques based in contrastive analysis.

Email: C.Conlan@curtin.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

American international schools in Latin America: Ethical dilemmas in a world of elite privilege

Christine Cunningham
Murdoch University

Do school administrations have a responsibility to fail students who do not meet assessment criteria set down in policy standards and regulations? What lessons are modelled to students if everyone passes in all of their classes; but some gain their credit through merit and others because of influence? What actions should a principal take when confronted with collusionary procedures that result in grade fabrication and college transcript modifications?

These vexing questions formed the basis of an ethical dilemma I faced as a new K-12 principal in an American International School in South America, and which I documented in a two year auto-ethnographic critically reflective work journal. This paper examines my PhD research and asks educators to consider the consequences of failing to fail in an elite and privileged school where a high school graduation diploma can mean admission into expensive and prestigious universities around the world.

Email: xine1972@hotmail.com
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Improving girls' access to, use of and career aspirations in ICT: A project pilot at Hampton Senior High School

Maria D'Cunha
Hampton Senior High School and Edith Cowan University

Why is there an under-representation of women in ICT careers (ICT professionals, technicians...)? What influences girls' choices at school level? What do girls think about ICT careers?

Hampton SHS in partnership with the Swan Education District Office and Edith Cowan University is engaged in a project to determine the most effective strategies schools can incorporate to improve girls' access to, use of and career aspirations in ICT. This action research project explores the learning styles of boys and girls in the ICT context and uses this to improve their achievement with ICT skills. Through this we hope to learn more about what influences girls' subject choices at school and their career aspirations relating to ICT.

This presentation will relate to my experiences and the observations of my colleagues (including Dr Lesley Newhouse-Maiden and Dr Maria Northcote from ECU) over the past 18 months.

Email: maria.dcunha@hampton.wa.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

The power of partnerships: Reflections on collaborative research

Eva Dobozy, Terry DeJong, Sue Sharp, Julia Wren, Will Turner, Sue Spiers
Edith Cowan University

"Partnerships" is a concept that is gaining increasing interest in many teacher education institutions in Australia. "Partnerships" as a knowledge construct is related to concepts such as: collaboration, capacity building, collegiality, efficiency, effectiveness, and quality. Working in 'partnerships' is deemed effective. Many people, who experience this form of working, perceive it as generally positive, enjoyable, and productive. However, successful partnerships do not just happen. They require energy, strategic planning, common goals, good interpersonal skills, and sustainability. As a diverse team of researchers we are constantly being challenged by these factors, and changing circumstances to our profile and resources. Two recurring and related questions continue to surface: 'How can we successfully sustain our research processes in situations of staff and consequent resource changes' and 'How do we minimise the potential loss of momentum, energy and enthusiasm within the research team'? This paper seeks to document our experience in response to these questions. In doing so, we wish to deepen our understanding of the theoretical and practical issues involved in developing and sustaining multi-faceted partnerships through collaborative research projects. Our research team consists of permanent faculty and school-based staff members who work mainly in primary school settings. We argue that the concept of strategic partnerships with industry needs to be expanded to include the concept of research partnerships. Our understanding of the concept of strategic partnership with industry through collaborative research is seen not only as essential but increasingly challenging in its complexity.

Email: e.dobozy@ecu.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

The longevity of professional learning

Rosemary S. Evans
Curtin University of Technology

This presentation reports a longitudinal study of the impact of a professional learning program in primary schools. The research took a mixed method, multi-site case study approach which explored teachers' perceptions before, during and after a professional learning program. Teachers were surveyed initially and interviewed throughout the case study period to monitor their perceptions and beliefs about the professional learning and how it impacted on their teaching and their students. The purpose of this presentation is to identify what can make or break a professional learning program at the school site and what is required for a professional learning program to be effective long after the program is over.

Email: rosemary.evans@curtin.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Becoming a teacher: Tom's story

Christine Glass
Murdoch University

Teaching is a complex business and becoming a teacher can be as complicated as the work itself. Pre service teachers bring to their education programs a variety of experiences, coping mechanisms and knowledge of what teachers do and what teaching is. The developing understandings of teaching and teachers' work and how the pre service teacher might experience this learning is a focus of this presentation. The journey of one pre service is outlined as he develops over the twelve months of the Graduate Diploma of Education Primary Program. What he brings to the program; his understandings of teaching and teachers, his personal dispositions, his learning and experiences of schools are described in terms of a framework based on the work of Peter Freebody and Alan Luke (1990, 1999). The four practices of the pre service teacher are described in order to understand how these interact and can be used to articulate the experience of the pre service teacher.

Email: c.glass@murdoch.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Where's the gender and education debate gone? Out with equity in with efficiency

Brad Gobby
Murdoch University

The 'boys' debate' has lost its centrality in political and media spectacle on educational issues, having peaked in the early half of this decade. At the dŽnouement of this debate I interviewed pre-service teachers on educating boys and girls and argued, using an uneasy tension of philosophical and sociological epistemes that essentialist discourses of sexuality persisted in delimiting the body's potential.

Underpinning this thesis was the Foucauldian notion of docile bodies, in which the body's energies and becomings are harnessed through the institutional arrangement of power/knowledge relations and other interconnecting networks of power. The body's capacities, dispositions, and habitus are assembled from its material constraints and potentials, made the object and instrument of power. Interestingly, the recession of the boys' debate coincides with the ascension of concern for student and professional standards, teacher performance management and competition. While shifting the coordinates of the educational battleground, the question of control remains. Unlike my previous research in which teachers were implicated in the normative production and management of the student body, I focus on now teachers and schools are reorganised and managed by neoliberal State configurations and the implication for social equity when efficiencies and productivity become the pivotal concerns for education.

Email: go_brad@hotmail.com
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Sowing seeds for development: Cyril Jackson and rural schooling in WA

Joanne Godfrey
The University of Western Australia

Cyril Jackson (later Sir) became Inspector-General of Schools for Western Australia in late 1896. By the time he left to take up the position of Chief Inspector of Elementary Schools in England and Wales in 1903, Jackson had reorganised the Western Australian education system so completely that it was recognised as 'equal to, if not the best, system in Australia (Blair, 2004-6). A large part of that credit stemmed from his ability to focus the elementary curriculum on the economic needs of the colony using the 'new education' and advocating use of H.M. Schools' Inspector Thomas Godolphin Rooper's rural curriculum.

This article puts a fresh light on Jackson's elementary curriculum in Western Australia which was a unique blend of the 'new education', designed to complement the Western Australia government's economic development policies. In this respect, he followed the work of Rooper, who brought an agricultural emphasis to rural elementary education in England. In Western Australia, Jackson not only promoted the established practical forms of the 'new education' but, swayed by political leaders, encouraged a rural focus on the elementary government school curriculum, both for educational as well as utilitarian purposes, thereby serving the needs of the individual as well as the colonial economy.

R. Blair, revised M.C. Curthoys. (2004-6). Sir Cyril Jackson (1863-1924) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Email: jgodfrey@cyllene.uwa.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

The development of an instrument to assess metacognitive knowledge

Sharinaz A. Hassan
The University of Western Australia

Metacognition is a growing research area in the context of learning enhancement. Various studies have demonstrated significant relationships between metacognition and learning and thinking processes. Further, several studies have shown that metacognitive skills can be taught, integrated and enhanced in classroom situations. This paper will evaluate the factorial validity of a self-report instrument designed to assess metacognitive knowledge in middle and secondary school age students. Three hundred twenty three Year 7 to Year 12 in two private schools in Western Australia participated in the validation. The instruments comprised four latent variables: cognitive strategy use, planning, monitoring and evaluating skills. While confirmatory factor analyses indicated that the close-ended questions did conform to the proposed factor structure, the scores were poorly correlated both with answers to the open-ended questions and with teachers' ratings. Recommendations for further refinements to the scale and for the use of the scale with middle and secondaryaged students will be discussed.

Email: sharinaz@yahoo.com
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Interpreting science learning experiences through preservice primary teachers' eyes

Christine Howitt
Curtin University of Technology

This research describes the science learning journeys of four preservice primary teachers over a semester science methods unit. Based on critical incidents, which the preservice teachers identified during their weekly workshops, vignettes were co-constructed and co-interpreted to describe the nature of the science learning experiences and how these influenced the preservice teachers' changing perspectives towards science and science teaching. Dominant characteristics to come through the vignettes of each preservice teacher were used to develop individual descriptors: The Simple Weaver, The Good Shepherd, The Hesitant Explorer and The Inquisitive Pilgrim. Common themes across the four learning journeys are identified and described to illustrate the new perspectives towards science that these teachers developed along their journey: simplicity, inclusivity, open endedness, importance of connections, "disguising" science, and seeing science through the eyes of a child. Implications for primary science teacher education courses are discussed.

Email: c.howitt@curtin.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

New eyes: International students' changing perceptions of how to conduct educational research

Christine Howitt, Michelle Acledan, Sharon Ramos, Harimas Sulanting
Curtin University of Technology

Reflection is a powerful and important aspect of teaching and learning. In this presentation three international Masters students will present their reflections on how and why their perception of educational research have changed as a consequence of completing a unit on research methods in science and mathematics education. Each international student will present a highly personal and unique interpretation that reflects their new views to educational research. We challenge all new educational research students to join us to reflect on their own personal growth and change as a practitioner of educational research.

Email: c.howitt@curtin.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Contextualising mathematics

Chris Hurst
Curtin University of Technology

A significant issue for primary teachers is finding ways to encourage students to recognise mathematical ideas embedded in a broad range of contexts, and to connect and apply their mathematical knowledge to such contexts. Indeed, it has been noted that students frequently engage in a haphazard and random application of their mathematical knowledge outside the mathematics classroom. This paper is based on a qualitative multiple case study involving 8 year six and seven students, as well as a general sample of 112 students from six classes. The study investigated the capacity of those students to recognise, apply, and question the use of mathematical ideas embedded in a range of contexts. It also considered the extent to which students' capacity to connect mathematical knowledge to other contexts could motivate them to learn mathematics. In particular it investigated the effect of the Mathematical Search strategy in achieving those ends. It found that students' thinking about mathematics and their attitudes towards it could be enhanced by targeting mathematical connections through the use of the Mathematical Search.

Email: c.hurst@curtin.edu.au
[Presentation cancelled]

Managing school choice

Angela McCarthy
University of Notre Dame Australia

When a family makes a decision to place their child in a particular school, their quest for the fulfillment of family potential has, in an important sense, just begun. This paper explores the results of recent research into school choice and the process of reviewing such decisions so that the efficacy of the choice is maintained. The ultimate efficacy of the original decision will reveal itself only over time and may well be threatened from time to time along the way if conditions or circumstances change or the experience turns out for some reason to be other than expected. This research resulted in a formulation of a theoretical model that was thoroughly grounded in data and offers valuable insight to the process of choice.

Email: amccarthy@nd.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

The politics of participation: Problematising the paradigm

Zsuzsa Millei
Murdoch University and University of Notre Dame Australia

Participation is a contemporary 'buzz-word' in education as well as in its broader social-political context. Political rhetoric, policy frameworks, educational theory and psychology, pedagogy and practice all utilise the notion of 'participation'. Participation is raised as a solution for exclusion, lack of motivation and to provide greater freedom for young individuals. However, the notion of 'participation' is hardly ever problematised. This paper attempts to destabilise the taken-for-granted understanding of 'participation'. The paper first defines 'participation' in regards to childhood/youth and briefly explores the various ways socio-political and educational discourses utilise it. Then it contrasts this picture with the actual practices of young persons in relation to participation. Following that some of the questions are formulated that should be asked before creating policies for education, devising curriculum and employing pedagogies in classrooms, managing children and schools or creating communities with/for children's participation.

Email: zmillei@nd.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Retention and participation of Indigenous students in education: Some indicators for success

Prem Mudhan
Murdoch University

This paper is based on a case study that explored the pedagogical significance of individual life experiences of Indigenous students in school retention and participation, with a focus on the implications of students' associations with places on school curriculum. Drawing from the researcher's own lived experiences, literature on place-conscious education and data from the case study, this paper proposes that Indigenous students' cultural customs, values and codes of behaviour are place-related and shape their roles in educational contexts. When these dimensions of students' lives are recognised and accommodated in educational contexts, students are likely to show enhanced levels retention and participation in education.

Email: pmudhan@bigpond.com
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Evaluating scientific literacy: The nature of students' engagement with science in the newspaper

Karen Murcia
Murdoch University

Science news reports, if adequately engaged with are an important source of new information contributing to citizens' life long learning. In order to critically engage with the issues and debates contained in science news briefs all citizens need a reasonable level of scientific literacy. That is they understand key science concepts, the values and assumptions inherent in the development of scientific knowledge and the interaction of science with society. This research identified and documented 230 first year students', enrolled in a university's multidisciplinary foundation unit, engagement with science news briefs. The findings of this research showed that more than 50% of students were not critically engaging with the science news report. Most participants were unable to give reasons why the text should be accepted or reasons why it should be rejected. More than 42% of the participants accepted the reported researchers' conclusion unconditionally by simply deferring to the text or by relying with certainty on their background beliefs. It was also apparent that the participants' science background had no significant effect on the nature of their engagement with the news report or the types of requests they made for extra information.

Email: K.Murcia@Murdoch.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

The life-careers of women and girls: Addressing the gender gap in ICT industries and education

Lesley Newhouse-Maiden
Edith Cowan University

This paper relates to the author's contribution to the writing of a summit position report of the Business and Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) Women in ICT Task Force (2005, April) in addressing the under-representation of women in Information Communication Technology Industries in Australia. It is also about promoting women's pro-activity as valued contributors to the Knowledge Society. As Millicent Poole (2005) highlighted in the Executive Summary the increasing under-representation of women in ICT courses and careers is an issue of national importance on two counts:

First it is an equity or a social justice issue. The current situation means that a substantial number of females are being discouraged from, and thus denied opportunities for, developing their talents in an area of growing national importance that offers significant personal and social rewards. Second is a productivity issue. The ICT industry is not tapping a major pool of intellectual talent and is also losing the special perspectives that females can bring to the discipline and industry knowledge (Women in ICT Task Force, 2005, p.1).

In seeking to uncover the broad themes regarding the under-representation of females in ICT the author applied her convergence model based on a contextualised life-span, life-space stage theory conception of career (Jaggar, 1983,1989; Newhouse-Maiden, 2002; Super, 1990). This paper focuses on the efficacy of this life-career research paradigm (Newhouse-Maiden, 2002) in the compilation of a comprehensive, annotated bibliography on the status of women in ICT in Australia and elsewhere, in gaining a common understanding of ICT, in identifying the ICT needs of modern society and the needs of women and girls, in formulating proposals for actions for transformative change; and finally to encourage women to be proactive in creating and successfully navigating a life-career path in the field of information technology.

An indication of the usefulness of such a research approach was that, when particular conditions were identified that neither fulfilled the needs of modern society nor individual needs, a set of proposals was produced at each life-stage. Further more, the contemporary view of Information Communications Technology (ICT) literacy adopted (Oliver & Towers, 2000), enabled the author to decide what constituted appropriate use of ICT for educational and learning purposes in schools, TAFE, higher educational institutions, and in the work-place. This assisted the author in linking particular skills and performance levels required by individuals at each life-stage.

Email: l.newhouse_maiden@ecu.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

University teachers' and students' educational beliefs: A comparison of the past and the present

Maria Northcote
Edith Cowan University

This paper examines the educational beliefs that teachers and students have traditionally held within university contexts. These beliefs are then compared with contemporary beliefs about teaching and learning that have been reported in recent research and literature, including the author's postgraduate work. The comparison and subsequent analysis of these past and present educational beliefs addresses issues such as epistemology, metaphors for teaching and learning, pedagogy, and the nature of teaching and learning. The paper concludes with a set of assertions that suggest contemporary educators and students in higher education appear to hold educational beliefs that are less reflective of the traditional separation between the role of teachers and students, and the processes of teaching and learning.

Email: m.northcote@ecu.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

An affective PhD: Topic and process

Maria Northcote
Edith Cowan University

This paper examines the affective dimensions of a PhD study in which the researcher investigated the educational beliefs held by a group of university teachers and students. The final thesis was titled "The educational beliefs of a group of university teachers and their students: Identification, exploration and comparison". By analysing the perspectives of both the research participants and the researcher, the author reflects upon how the research topic and the research processes in this PhD were intertwined with various emotional influences from the very beginning of the research process, when the topic of study was established, through to the final writing and reporting processes.

Email: m.northcote@ecu.edu.au
[Early Career Award 2007]

Literacy teaching for children with language disorders: Teachers' beliefs and practices

Sheena O'Hare
The University of Western Australia

Educational research and instructional practices, especially in the area of literacy, are under intense scrutiny on many levels. Many reports and inquiries have investigated approaches to teaching literacy, and have tried to establish the best ways to improve the literacy outcomes for children who are experiencing difficulty. However, very few researchers have studied those classrooms specifically catering for children who have language disorders. This study explores teacher beliefs and practices in relation to literacy development in Language Development Schools in Western Australia. The following questions guide the study.

  1. What theories do teachers have relating to literacy instruction -
       for children who have a language disorder?
       for children who are assumed to have no learning difficulties?
  2. What are the intentions of the teachers when choosing the texts that are used in their classrooms?
  3. What strategies do teachers employ when using the texts in their classrooms?
  4. What are the expected outcomes when using the texts in their classrooms?

Email: s.ohare@optusnet.com.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

The effect of school social composition on student achievement in Australia

Laura B. Perry
Murdoch University

It is well known that individual socio-economic status (SES) affects student achievement. Higher individual SES is correlated with higher performance in key subject areas. In addition to individual SES, the overall SES of the student body within a school also has an independent effect on student achievement. All things being equal, a student with an average SES will perform at a higher level in a high SES school than in a lower SES school. Research has shown that socio-economic composition is the most important school-level variable affecting student achievement, even larger than class size, homework policy, or teacher quality. While the effect of school composition has been documented in the literature, little is known about the exact effects of school composition on students of varying SES backgrounds. In other words, we do not know if students are affected similarly regardless of their SES, or if lower SES students are affected more by the composition of the school. It is also not known if the effect of school composition is linear, or if it diminishes with increases in the mean SES of the school. This study uses data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to answer these questions.

Email: l.perry@murdoch.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Community music and funding: An analysis of the programs of community music groups

Joan Pietersen

As one of Australia's three forms of government (federal, state, local) Local Governments (LG) is one form that affects the daily lives of citizens the most. Community Music (CM) is one of many recreational and cultural facets which contribute to the quality of life of citizens. Community Music has enormous benefits for any town or city. By setting up structures to facilitate community music Local Governments not only provide a stimulating service towards a quality lifestyle but play a vital role in providing accessible extra curricular activities for all age groups. This makes community music a commodity for all including the recognizably talented whose skills invariably enable others to discover the art of active music-making. Community music (CM) is a valuable vehicle for promoting the arts and culture through arts partnerships, youth programs and events for senior citizens. CM fosters arts skills as a lifelong learning option when performers exchange skills in their pursuit of the arts. CMGs thus form vital links through Community projects which generally build on the strengths and assets in the community. Such collaboration often demonstrates increased participation on various levels in the community and invariably enhances community spirit. Councils are vital agents in this regard.

Email: ejp57@gotalk.net.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Learning to teach and teaching to learn: Experiences of final year education students

Glenda Raison
Curtin University of Technology

The contribution of classroom teachers and university courses to teacher education is increasingly under scrutiny and there are repeated requests for an effective pedagogy of teacher education in which theory and practice are successfully integrated. This study was conceived in response to feedback from fourth year teacher education students that indicated during their course there were few opportunities to talk to teachers about pedagogy immediately after classroom observations. The students thought they were now in a good position to judge how theories studied at university were reflected in classroom practices, and to question and explore the complexities of pedagogy including class management, teaching techniques and strategies. Based on information from the various sources the researcher invited teachers to join the project and student visits were arranged over three weeks in March as part of a university unit that required the students to develop their personal philosophy of teaching integrating theoretical and practical knowledge. Overall, the students gained a range of valuable information and the teachers found the experience rewarding. However, several issues arose when fourth year pre-service education students who were endeavouring to make the connections between theory, policy and practice found their experiences contrasted with their current thinking.

Email: graison5@bigpond.com
[Scheduling for this presentation]

An ethnographer swinging in the school policy jungle: Peeling the layers

Janean Robinson
Murdoch University

My presentation will focus on the challenges and successes of gathering empirical research data within a large secondary high school. I will outline some of the ethical dilemmas in obtaining access to student voices when conducting research which examines behaviour management in schools. Through the use of critical ethnography and many reflexive 'turns' I make sense of the data to speak back to policy deafness. I argue that amidst challenges in doing this type of research, many authentic interpretations, understandings and portraits of school experience are revealed, swinging these obstacles into new light. Rich contextual data emerges, calling in to question many preconceived notions of classroom behaviour. The aim is to rethink behaviour management policy, throwing into the picture new dimensions and possibly, collective and empathetic understandings.

Email: J.Robinson@murdoch.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Musical? I'm not even in the ballpark!

Eve Ruddock
The University of Western Australia

Caught in a 'non-musical' loop, 20 out of 29 self-perceived non-musician participants reveal how, from early childhood, they 'learn' to feel that they are not musical. My investigation into individuals' perceptions of their musicality reveals a pervasive societal belief that individuals are either born 'musical' or they are not; their everyday reality is one where music is perceived as a performance, an object, something that only talented people can 'do'.

This paper presents a brief overview of how some individuals feel that they are left out of the 'musical ballpark' where convictions that they are not musical deter them from an active engagement in music making. Details from conversations with participants in my study illustrate a constricting cultural imposition perpetuated in many schools and also in private music teaching. Data reveal that current educational practice contributes to a denial of a natural birthright and alienates some individuals from being part of a musical community.

Email: ruddock@iinet.net.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

The pedagogic aspect of intergenerationalism

Delphine P Shaw
The University of Western Australia

The pedagogical praxis of 'intergenerational studies' has been extensively researched and documented by the administrative and medical teams of Il Melo Residential Aged Care at Gallarate-Varese, Italy. This was recorded for the European Union by Dr Marco Predazzi of Italy, Dr Richard Vercauteren of France and Dr Michel Loriaux of Belgium. The second volume of their series "Towards a society for all ages" analyses the symbiotic benefits of the 'intergenerational studies' achieved in this University De Gallarete - Il Melo initiative.

The 'intergenerational project' works in collaboration with Don Lorenzo government primary school - Gallarate, and my research analysed and identified a number of the social, emotional, intellectual and communication benefits experienced by both the schoolchildren and the 'social grandparents', most of whom were in fact chronologically more 'great grandparent' age of the children involved.

Email: dpshaw@iinet.net.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Pretend play and pre-primary children with emotional and behavioural difficulties

Cornelia Staats
The University of Western Australia

Children have played since the beginning of historical time. Pretend play is accepted as important for children's development. Despite this, children's play is increasingly being neglected in our social milieu. The value of play is sometimes forgotten with more and more social marketing of educational products and electronic-based toys, as well as political pressure, to accelerate children's academic development. At the same time, there are a growing number of children entering the school system with a range of developmental vulnerabilities such as hyperactivity/inattention, emotional dysregulation (including anxiety and depression), conduct problems and difficulties with peer relationships.

This study examined whether or not there was a strong relationship between pretend play and developmental vulnerabilities. Sixty-three pre-primary children were assessed on their ability to self-initiate and sustain pretend play using the Child Initiated Pretend Play Assessment (ChIPPA) (Stagnitti, 2000). For each child participant, their teacher completed the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (Goodman, 2002) to assess developmental vulnerabilities. Correlational analyses indicated that there was not a strong relationship between pretend play and developmental vulnerabilities. The findings were unexpected and their implications are discussed.

Email: cstaats@iinet.net.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

What is metacognition and why is it fundamental to learning and important for educational research?

Pina Tarricone
Edith Cowan University

Metacognition is a highly complex construct which represents and describes the fundamental cognitive processes which are engaged and applied during learning. Metacognition, both implicit and explicit, promotes, facilitates and enables learning in all types of situations and problems. The importance of metacognition to learning and research in all contexts including education can not be underestimated. Its different theoretical bases and interchangeable terms have limited the in-depth understanding of metacognition and significant research contributions to the experts in the field. Its complexity and popularity has also led to many empirical studies which do not provide a correct or substantial theoretical foundation. These issues instigated a theoretical doctoral study on the construct of metacognition. Drawing from two of the major contributions of this theoretical research, the taxonomy of metacognition and the conceptual framework of metacognition, this presentation provides an informed description of what metacognition is and also describes some of the issues surrounding the construct and explains why it is fundamental to learning and important for research in education.

Email: g.tarricone@ecu.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Psychometric analysis of the Schwartz's Portrait Values Questionnaire: Rasch model perspective

Geok-Hwa, Tor
Murdoch University

This study employed the 21 items Schwartz's Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ) as measures of civic value orientation which was conceptualised as Progressive-Orientation Value and Self-Orientation Value, for a sample of 1391 undergraduate students enrolled in a public university in Malaysia. It is part of a bigger project on the measurement of undergraduate students' civic development outcomes. In this paper, the psychometric properties of Schwartz's PVQ evaluated using Rasch Unidimensional Measurement Model will be reported. The two orthogonal bipolar dimensions of self-enhancement vs self-transcendence and openness to change vs conservatism (Schwartz, 2003; Ramos, 2006) were analysed separately as two unidimensional scales, namely Self-Orientation Value and Progressive-Orientation Value respectively. This is an attempt to add a new perspective to the research literature employing Schwartz's PVQ, where multidimensional scaling has been commonly used to validate the circular theoretical structure of values, in terms of the total pattern of relations of conflict and congruity among values, as postulated by Schwartz's Value Theory (1992, 2005).

Email: G.Tor@murdoch.edu.au
[Scheduling for this presentation]

Home but away: An ethnographic study of Southeast Asian international students

Wee Loon Yeo
The University of Western Australia

Each year, more than 25,000 students from South East Asia leave their shores for Perth, Western Australia to pursue High school education, with the hope that it will be their passport to a tertiary qualification. Few studies have been done to address the dilemmas international students face when encountering cultural differences in their daily interactions with their local peers and an unfamiliar education process. Furthermore, even fewer studies examining the consequences of a student's separation from family and its impacts on parental and family ties have been conducted. Since the start of this school year, I have been carrying out ethnographic research at one of the private all boy's boarding schools. Through participant observation and interviews with staff, boarders and their parents, this qualitative research endeavours to address the processes and transformations that may transpire when as Southeast Asian students secede from their families and come to terms with a new culture. As the research is still ongoing, this paper aims to highlights some key observations that were made thus far.

Mr Yeo ia a PhD Candidate in Anthropology and Sociology, School of Cultural and Social Studies, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Western Australia
Email: loonbert@yahoo.com
[Scheduling for this presentation]

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