Western Australian Institute for Educational Research

31st Annual Research Forum at The University of Notre Dame

Forum 2016 Abstracts

Listed alphabetically by first author
[ Forum invitation ] [ Abstract submission ][ Program ]

Some recent developments in principal leadership at the primary school level in Indonesia

Dwi Esti Andriani
The University of Western Australia
Email: 21277215@student.uwa.edu.au

Since 1999, the traditionally highly centralised education system in Indonesia has been decentralised. This reform determines that school based leaders, especially principals, are more responsible for the improvement of education quality. For this reason, it is important to gain an understanding of the developments that have been initiated by the Indonesian government as they relate to principal leadership, at the primary school level in recent years. For this purpose, the study reported here has examined relevant government policy documents and reports. These data were supplemented by in-depth interviews with system administrators and principals.

The findings of the study reveal a number of changes that have occurred in the systemic supervision of primary school principals in Indonesia. In particular, it is clear that as a consequence of educational decentralisation the principals' responsibilities have been broadened, which bring both advantages and disadvantages to stakeholders. Concomitantly, there have also been changes to the ways in which principals are prepared, developed and supported in their roles. As such, the study's outcomes illuminate some interesting tensions that have arisen between greater autonomy of schools and greater accountability that will resonate with circumstances in other education contexts.

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Shhh! Look who's delivering health education

Donna Barwood
Edith Cowan University
Email: d.barwood@ecu.edu.au

In Western Australia, health education is timetabled as a separate, discipline-based subject belonging to the health and physical education learning area. Globally, this subject is heralded as a key site to support and strengthen the health and wellbeing of children and young people. In WA, teachers from outside the field of health and physical education are commonly utilised to deliver health education. This situation is not exclusive to health education, nor to WA, and in some circles it is referred to as education's dirty little secret. This mixed methods study examined the significance of the teacher in the delivery of health education, as previous research identified a gap in datum with regard to the qualifications of the teachers. The study obtained questionnaire responses from 75 teachers delivering health education in 49 different lower secondary government schools across the state, with nine teachers interviewed after the first round of quantitative data collection to provide contexualised information of the WA setting. In light of the data, the study raises questions as to whether schools and universities in WA prioritise health education enough to position the subject as a health-strengthening resource.

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Attitudes towards mathematics: Development of an online, semantically differentiated, visual analogue scale

Jennifer Blackweir, Peter Merrotsy and Helen Wildy
St Steven's School and The University of Western Australia
Email: jennifer.blackweir@ststephens.wa.edu.au

This study investigated secondary students' attitudes towards mathematics by developing an online instrument. The Attitudes Toward Mathematics Instrument (ATMI), with Likert-style responses, was adapted into a set of items with semantically differentiated responses reported on visual analogue scales. The new instrument was validated with data collected from secondary school students enrolled in mathematics classes at two schools in Perth, Western Australia (n = 263). Participants comprised males and females from a range of mathematics achievement levels. Results were analysed using correlational and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). The CFA resulted in the removal of three items, while reaffirming a three-factor structure of enjoyment of, confidence in, and perceptions of the value of mathematics.

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Access and equity in Caribbean higher education: A qualitative analysis

Minerva Blancaneaux
Email: M.Blancaneaux@murdoch.edu.au

This paper examines government and institutions of higher education (IHE) policies and practices relevant to student access and equity of access in twelve countries of the Anglophone Caribbean. Research on the challenges of accessing higher education is largely concentrated on developed countries. Information on higher education in the Caribbean region emerges in studies and reports on education in developing countries, postcolonial education systems, and education in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although unequal access to resources (including education) may be a universal phenomenon, this research seeks to offer a new perspective by using the theoretical framework of distributive justice to assess the higher education systems of English-speaking nations across the Caribbean region.

Therefore, qualitative research methods were employed including extant document analysis for twelve CARICOM countries as well as a series of face-to-face and e-interviews with representatives from various IHEs as well as government officials in the education sector from participating countries. In-depth cross-national and thematic analyses reveal some key findings about the highly variable structures, systems and performance in higher education across countries and institutions. Additionally, critical issues have emerged surrounding higher education policies and practices that govern equity of access. Importantly, several promising innovations for extending access have also been identified.

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Too stupid for higher education

Brianna Caines, Stuart J. Watson, Yolanda Andrews and Lynette Vernon
Murdoch University
Email: bmc091@hotmail.com, S.Watson@murdoch.edu.au, Y.Andrews@murdoch.edu.au, L.Vernon@murdoch.edu.au

Disengaged youth, compared to engaged youth, are more likely to lack overall academic self-efficacy (OASE) (Bandura, 1993; Usher & Pajares, 2008; Vecchio, Gerbino, Pastorelli, Del Bove, & Caprara, 2007). Taking a bioecological approach this study aims to examine whether the association between self-regulated learning (SRL) and OASE is moderated by student voice (SV); student's perception that they can express their ideas within a supportive environment. A self-report survey was administered to 493 high school students in the Rockingham, Kwinana, and Peel regions. A phenomenological approach to data collection followed to probe the relationship between SRL, SV and OASE through focus groups and phone interviews with students who had completed a university enabling program through Murdoch University. Results indicated that SV moderated the SRL link to OASE; students who report low SRL, but have high levels of SV report significantly higher levels of OASE. Themes such as critical engagement, encouragement, motivation and OASE emerged and demonstrated the importance of high SV and its effects on SRL and link to OASE. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for teachers to focus on improving students' perceptions of their opportunities to have a voice, where opinions/beliefs/ideas are valued by the school community.

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Task-based language teaching for English as a foreign language learners in a 3-D multi-user virtual environment

Julian Chen
Curtin University
Email: julian.chen@curtin.edu.au

Even though research has shown that the unique features afforded by Second Life (e.g., immersion, avatar presence, simulation) have the potential to boost learners' motivation, engagement and virtual identities, the link between EFL learners' second language acquisition in task-based interaction and virtual learning in Second Life still needs to be connected. This study aims to investigate the extent to which EFL learners employ communication strategies to negotiate meaning during task-based interaction via voice chat in Second Life.

Nine adult EFL learners worldwide were recruited in Second Life to participate in this 10-session virtual class. Students used avatars to interact with peers in simulated real-life tasks via voice chat. Data were collected through students'oral production in communicative tasks to examine their language patterns during negotiated interaction. The results show that confirmation checks, clarification requests and comprehension checks were the most frequently used strategies. The interrelationship among task types, negotiation and strategy use was also established. The jigsaw task prompted the most instances of negotiation and strategy use whereas opinion exchange task triggered the least. This study implicates that 1) two-way directed tasks with single outcome conditions will stimulate more cognitive and linguistic processes of negotiation involving interactional modifications; 2) 3-D multimodal resources afforded by Second Life provide additional visual support for EFL learners' input acquisition and output modifications; 3) tasks capitalising on Second Life features, learners' cultural and world knowledge and real-life tasks will make a difference in learners' virtual learning experiences.

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Early career casual teachers: Negotiating identity through communities of practice

Helen Dempsey
Murdoch University
Email: h.dempsey@murdoch.edu.au

Early career teachers, in Australia, are increasingly beginning their career employed as casual and face a number of challenges negotiating their identity due to their multiple teaching contexts. The aim of this paper is to show how the variety of experiences within school and professional communities either promotes or constrains professional identity development. A model of early career casual teacher identity, adapted from Wenger's (1998) theory of Community of Practice is used to explore the experiences of six early career casual teachers in Western Australia. The model highlights personal, school and professional communities and the interactions at the boundaries of these communities to present a holistic process of identity construction.

Findings highlight how experiences within the three communities impacted on early career teachers' identity development. Personal communities emphasised the importance of financial security and personal context. Incidents within school communities resulted in identity as 'teacher' or 'babysitter'. Provisional teacher registration provided entry to professional communities; however, assistance was required for additional interactions with professional communities. Two cases will be presented which showcase the fluidity of professional identity development. Furthermore, implications for teacher preparation courses, schools and professional bodies will be proposed.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press.

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Philosophy for Children and the general capabilities: Why critical and creative thinking is essential to education

Laura D'Olimpio
The University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: laura.dolimpio@nd.edu.au

Advocates of Philosophy for Children (P4C) follow pragmatic philosopher John Dewey when viewing education as holistic; aimed at shaping good citizens. Thus teachers act as facilitators who guide students to engage with ideas and make meaning, and the child is recognised as an embodied self who is encouraged to consider their own assumptions and perspective as well as those of others. Such dialogue takes place through a community of inquiry which aims at a shared truth that is pluralistic and democratic. The P4C methodology views students as social selves, which is compatible with the virtue ethics approach described by Aristotle, and the aim of education is a similar telos: eudemonia or flourishing. In March 2015 the government acted on the advice from the review of the National Australian Curriculum that recommended that the four general capabilities; critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding and intercultural understanding be eliminated, leaving only three remaining broad capabilities that the government deems appropriate to all areas of education: namely, literacy, numeracy and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). However, this recommendation reflects a lack of understanding of how important the thinking and interpersonal skills are when shaping students to become happy and competent human beings, and it also reflects a distinct lack of clarity as to how removing general capabilities helps to make room in a crowded curriculum. I claim that, by losing these four general capabilities we move away from valuing the idea of an education for life, to help shape decent citizens and instead we focus on simply training someone for a vocation which is far too narrow a conception of what it means to live a fully human life.

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Creative reuse: The impact art making has on raising environmental consciousness

Sue Girak
Edith Cowan University
Email: belfleet@bigpond.com

By immersing myself in the artmaking process, I questioned my own unsustainable artmaking methods and moved towards reducing my environmental footprint. This led me to question whether primary school students would experience similar shifts if they used discard materials in a similar way. Consequently, this arts-led research was conducted to investigate how engaging with discarded materials facilitated environmentally sustainable attitudes; and how the visual arts could be used to demonstrate shifts in sustainability awareness. Students worked in small groups, in a ten session visual arts program, to produce artworks with an environmental focus culminating in a class exhibition. At the end of ten sessions it was observed that students started to display attitudinal shifts, showing that their awareness had increased. The students were able to articulate their personal impact on the environment and recognise and reflect on humanity's negative impact on the environment, through unsustainable practices and attitudes. This research showed that even though the students had been taught about sustainability in other subject areas, it was the visual arts that had the greatest influence.

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Chinese high school English teachers' perceptions of L2 literacy and their practices

He Yuanqian
Murdoch University
Email: yuanqian0629@gmail.com

English as a foreign language (EFL) has been a compulsory subject in Chinese secondary schools since the 1980s, yet little research has delved into how foreign/second language (L2) literacy is understood by Chinese English teachers. This paper discusses the findings from the research into Chinese EFL teachers' perceptions of L2 literacy and their practices, specifically their understanding of culture teaching and learning as well as the use of authentic texts. Teachers from two diverse high school settings were interviewed and observed. All of the participant teachers held the widely accepted perspectives in China that cultural teaching and learning in EFL classrooms is mainly about a body of knowledge about countries (e.g. history, geography, art, literature). However, the teachers did not focus on the cultures of the English speaking countries. A very limited number of authentic texts were provided for students to learn how to use English appropriately in the English speaking world. Traditional Chinese beliefs and values associated with literacy and culture of learning as well as the social context impacted the teachers' perceptions of L2 literacy, which differed from the prevailing perspectives on L2 literacy in western literature (e.g. Luke & Freebody, 2000; Kress, 2003; Gee, 2008; Cope & Kalantzis, 2009). The presentation will conclude with some recommendations for school EFL teachers and educators in China.

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Exploring reasons why secondary students do not enrol in higher-level mathematics courses

Gregory Hine
The University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: gregory.hine@nd.edu.au

The purpose of the project is to investigate the perceptions of Year 11 and Year 12 ATAR students in Western Australian secondary schools regarding declining student enrolments in higher-level mathematics courses. By agreeing to participate in the research, Year 11 and Year 12 students will help provide a deeper and richer understanding of the factors influencing secondary student enrolments in higher-level mathematics. A recent nationwide report has revealed that over the past two decades, Australian secondary schools have experienced a steady decline of students enrolling in higher level mathematics courses (Kennedy, Lyons & Quinn, 2014). Findings from the Maths? Why Not? research project (DEEWR, 2008) indicated key influences why Australian students enrol in higher-level mathematics courses. Although this research outlined reasons why secondary students enrol in high level mathematics courses, no reasons were offered as to why these same students do not enrol in those courses. Additionally, little research is available that seeks to explain the declining student enrolments in a Western Australian context. Some recent research into this phenomenon in Western Australia was conducted by the researcher (Hine, 2016). This research focused on why the Heads of Learning: Mathematics felt capable secondary students did not enrol in higher-level mathematics courses. While the findings have been of interest to the mathematics education and research community, the researcher would like to elicit the student voice on the matter. This student voice could provide valuable insights as to how policymakers, administrators and educators alike can address the issue of declining enrolments in secondary mathematics.

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Experienced teachers' interpretational frameworks for assessing students' understandings in biology

Elaine Horne, D. F. Treagust and R. Groves
Curtin University
Email: ehorne54@iinet.net.au

Experienced biology teachers use processes and understanding in their assessment of students' responses to biology examination questions that we argue are based on their interpretational frameworks. In this study the term interpretational framework refers to a teacher's construction composed of multiple integrated parts for making sense of situations and data. The aim of the research was to investigate the research question What are the views and perceptions that comprise an experienced teacher's interpretational framework related to assessment in senior high school biology? It was evident in this study that the experience, knowledge and processing of assessments becomes meaningful only through an internalised interpretational framework constructed by the teacher and that these experienced teachers had developed, and continued to develop, elaborate and sophisticated interpretational frameworks. The data for this study came from interviews with six experienced biology teachers. The data suggest that these teachers interpreted students' written answers and made judgments based on their own expectations, knowledge and experience of biology, ideas on assessment, knowledge of the students' learning taxonomies and knowledge of education practices. Further, it was concluded that biology teachers' interpretational frameworks are complex, three dimensional, relational, predominantly visual, took account of interpretational frameworks held by their students and incorporate dynamic processes in order to form judgments about their students' work.

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Considerations of teacher communication in the classroom

Theresa Jeewa
Curtin University
Email: theresa.jeewa@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

What the teacher says, fails to say, does and fails to do, send particular messages to students. This presentation will present the findings of a literature review of 15 studies over the last six years that examine teacher communication in the classroom. The purpose of this review was to identify how communication in the classroom is understood. Studies under review explore teacher communication in varying educational contexts and define communication in different ways. However, overall findings suggest that there are two main perspectives. One view is that teacher communication influences students in many ways and can be deliberately employed to increase student motivation, engagement and interest, to create specific types of learning environments, be used to manage behaviour and to build and maintain positive teacher-student relationships, or the other view is that teachers have limited control over how students receive/perceive messages from teachers and that classroom communication is constantly occurring independent of the teachers' intentions and awareness. Further studies will be suggested and implications for teacher education and practice will be discussed.

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Teacher educators' and pre-service teachers' preparedness to use ICT: A Western Australian perspective

Huifen Jin, Jeremy Pagram and Martin Cooper
Edith Cowan University
Email: huifenj@our.ecu.edu.au, j.pagram@ecu.edu.au, m.cooper@ecu.edu.au

With the ongoing development of information and communication technology (ICT), a wide variety of devices, software and apps are available that could be used in education. As a result, universities and schools are adopting different policies and strategies for integrating these new technologies. As they are a key element in the implementation of educational innovation, teacher educators and pre-service teachers need to be confident in using ICT effectively in teaching and learning.

This study proposes to investigate how teacher educators' use of ICT in teacher education and perceptions of pre-service teachers towards integrating ICT in their future teaching practices. A mixed methods design, that includes both quantitative and qualitative methods, will be employed in this research. Through conducting surveys and semi-structured interviews, the study will examine teacher educators' and pre-service teachers' ICT ownership and self-perceived skills along with perceptions of ICT use within the classroom. Document analysis will be used to examine the current institutional ICT policies and infrastructure support for teacher educators and student teachers at two of the largest teacher education providers in Western Australia. It is anticipated that this research will have significant benefits for both teacher educators and pre-service teachers. The research outcomes will have both practical implications for current in-service teachers and students as well as having policy implications for pre-service teachers and future teacher education.

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School principals' leadership and wellbeing: A mindfulness intervention

Johanne Klap and Caroline Mansfield
Murdoch University
Email: j.klap@murdoch.edu.au, caroline.mansfield@murdoch.edu.au

School leadership has become a priority policy agenda in education systems both internationally and nationally, as it is becoming increasingly more difficult to attract, recruit and retain school principals. According to the Australian Council for Education Research (ACER, 2014) only 3% (primary) to 4% (secondary) of principals view their job as being very attractive to potential applicants, and only a quarter of current deputy principals plan to apply for principal in the coming years. Data from the National Principal Wellbeing Survey (Riley, 2014) also indicates that principals experience high levels of work related stress, competing demands, and work overload, all which negatively impact health and wellbeing.

One approach to assisting individuals with managing stress, enhancing performance and enriching leadership capability is through mindfulness training. Mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular in schools where specialised programs have also been used to improve student outcomes and wellbeing. This presentation will report on a study investigating how a mindfulness training program (conducted with 30 school principals, over a period of 4 months) has shaped principals' leadership and wellbeing. The process of the intervention and methods used will be described and some preliminary findings shared. Implications for further research and school leadership will be discussed.

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International schools engaging at the local level: Breaking through the perceived cultural bubble

Susan Ledger
Murdoch University
Email: s.ledger@murdoch.edu.au

All too often international schools are criticised for operating within a cultural bubble that protects and shelters expatriate teachers and families from the local community context. The advent of technology has further enhanced the ability for international schools and families to remain disconnected from the local whilst engaging with the global. This paper explores ways in which three remote international schools in Indonesia broke through the perceived cultural bubble to embrace and celebrate the difference at their doorstep. The findings revealed pedagogical and intercultural cross fertilisation of ideas and learning experiences that spanned cognitive and affective domains. The importance of culturally relevant practices and two-way learning, enabled students, teachers and the community to celebrate and embrace difference locally.

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Local review of a global organisation: International Baccalaureate standards and practices

Susan Ledger
Murdoch University
Email: s.ledger@murdoch.edu.au

In an era of unprecedented educational change and scrutiny within nation states, it seems relevant to investigate international education with similar critical eyes. The international school sector has grown to be equivalent in size to the Australian school sector with similar number of students and schools. However, there is no common curriculum, teacher professional standards or adequate dataset about international schooling as a collective. But, there has been an exponential rise in research about international schooling over the last decade. This paper analyses research related to the International Baccalaureate (IB) between 2009 and2015. The qualitative meta-synthesis utilises the IB program Standards and Practices to critique research spanning the IB suite of four programs across three geographical regions IB programs are offered. The findings highlight research trends within the ever changing, rapidly expanding world of international schooling and reveals gaps related to geographic location, programs, standards and practices. The standards analysis proffers a systematic approach of research relevant to investigating other international school systems and schools.

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Butterflies in our bushland: Embedding the cross curriculum priorities of the WA Curriculum

Elaine Lewis
Department of Education
Email: Elaine.Lewis@education.wa.edu.au

The Western Australian Curriculum identifies three cross curriculum priorities. These priorities are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Australia's engagement with Asia, and sustainability. This presentation addresses the challenge to deeply embed these priorities across a wide range of learning areas. A case study was conducted involving a primary school in the Perth Metropolitan Area where the whole school, consisting of eighteen classes from Kindy to Year 6, participated. This case study aimed to illustrate the planning, implementation and evaluation processes involved in embedding the three priorities where there is a natural fit in different learning areas. Specifically, a unit of work, Butterflies in our Bushland, was examined in the context of embedding the priorities in Science, The Arts and Literacy. Project results included evidence of effective and meaningful embedding of the three priorities, positive stakeholder feedback, local and global conservation links, as well as project coordination recommendations. Finally, future directions for teacher education and school leadership are discussed.

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Effects of using history as a tool to teach mathematics on students' attitudes, anxiety, motivation and achievement in grade 11 classrooms

Siew Yee Lim
The University of Western Australia and Crescent Girl's School, Singapore
Elaine Chapman
The University of Western Australia
Email: lim_siew_yee@crescent.edu.sg, elaine.chapman@uwa.edu.au

For decades, educators have advocated using history of mathematics in mathematics classrooms. Empirical research on the efficacy of this practice, however, is scarce. A quasi-experiment was used to investigate the effects of using history as a tool to teach mathematics on grade 11 students' mathematics achievement. Effects in three affective domains (attitudes, anxiety, and motivation) were also measured. Four classes from a school in Singapore participated in this quasi-experiment. The experimental group (n51) and control group (n52) were each made up of two classes. Results indicated that using history as a tool to teach mathematics had a significant positive effect on students' mathematics achievement, in an initial post-test and in two retention tests taken 4 months and 1 year, respectively, after the last intervention session. Significant positive effects were also found on two subscales within the affective domain variables (perceived value of mathematics and introjection, a type of extrinsic motivation), but only at a post-test administered midway through the study. These results suggest that using history in mathematics classrooms have both immediate short- and long-term effects on students' achievement, but only short-term positive effects in the affective domains. These results were discussed using qualitative feedback obtained from the participants of this study.

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Do males prefer non-fiction and why does this matter?

Margaret Merga
Murdoch University
Email: m.merga@murdoch.edu.au

International findings consistently suggest that there is a gap in the literacy performance of school-aged males and females, which has led to a focus on how to address this issue. Essentialist conceptions of gender often inform educational and policy responses to this gender gap. Males have been constructed as preferring non-fiction, reading primarily to acquire information. As such, providing quality non-fiction texts, and directing males toward these texts, has been posed as a potential solution to the gender gap, as this practice is felt to encourage males to read with greater frequency, and reading frequency is associated with benefits for literacy outcomes. This paper draws upon recent data from the 2015 International Study of Avid Book Readers and the 2016 Western Australian Study in Children's Book Reading to explore the validity and currency of the contention that males prefer non-fiction texts. As essentialism requires homogeneity due to its biological basis, this paper ultimately challenges the legitimacy of using an essentialist framework to generate knowledge about how to best encourage males to read, exploring the risks inherent in perpetuating the myth that males prefer non-fiction.

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Using metaphors, models and multimodalities when teaching year 2 student computational strategies: A fine grained analysis

Paula Mildenhall and Barbara Sherriff
Edith Cowan University
Email: p.mildenhall@ecu.edu.au, b.sherriff@ecu.edu.au

Recent research findings indicate that using multimodal learning experiences to teach students about different models can be an effective teaching approach. Using a social semiotic lens within a participationist framework, this paper reports on a professional learning collaboration with a primary school teacher designed to explore the use of different metaphors, models and modalities. This case study was conducted in a teacher's Year 2 classroom over two terms, with the focus on one specific child's journey towards understanding inverse operations and subtraction. Video was the predominant research tool. The findings have shown that in this context the teacher was able to use multiple metaphors in a multimodal learning experience. This study explores how the metaphors, models and modalities were intertwined in the classroom discourse.

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Questioning art: Factors affecting students' cognitive engagement in responding

Julia E. Morris
Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research
Email: j.morris@ecu.edu.au

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians cites confident and creative citizens as a key goal for Australian students. This goal aligns with global research on visual arts, specifically, visual literacy. Being visually literate means decoding images, understanding the relationship between image and context, and recoding their own life experiences into visual artworks. These skills are important in contemporary society because of our increasing reliance on digital media, where we often negotiate the world through screens and icons. Through developing visual literacy students acquire the skills to navigate (and contribute to) their society. This learning is a core outcome of responding activities in secondary school visual arts. However, students will only develop visual literacy skills if they are engaged in their learning activities. Subsequently, this research sought to explore the cognitive engagement of students in the year 11 visual arts course. Factors affecting their engagement were determined through the creation and exploratory analysis of a diagnostic assessment instrument, with qualitative data used to explain the students' quantitative responses. Three key factors of cognitive engagement were determined: intrinsic motivation, metacognition and autonomy. Developing students' skills in these areas may improve their cognitive engagement in their visual arts education.

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Enhancing pre-service teacher connectedness through Facebook online learning communities

Lisa Paris
Curtin University
Julia Morris
Edith Cowan University
Email: lisa.paris@curtin.edu.au, j.morris@ecu.edu.au

The proliferation of social media offers universities new tools through which to support pre-service teachers (PSTs). For example, online learning communities situated in Facebook (FB-OLCs) are beneficial for use during practicum, when coupled with professional standards training and the involvement of university staff as moderators. We utilised this approach with secondary art and science PSTs in 2014 and our quantitative and qualitative data revealed positive impacts against measures of connectedness (Bolliger & Inan, 2012). In 2016 we have expanded our use of the FB-OLC model to encompass a cross-institutional Artist-in-Residence program in which two universities, 25 PSTs and 20 teacher hosts work collaboratively on a range of special art projects with primary students. The new FB-OLC established will provide a forum for cross pollination of ideas and experiences in an almost synchronous conversation about the arts, school life, creative challenges and inclusion outcomes. This presentation seeks to describe our preparations for this project and act as a prolegomenon for research to follow.

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How open educational resources can transform online learning

Jenni Parker
Murdoch University
Email: j.parker@murdoch.edu.au

Open education resources (OERs) are becoming more widely used in universities around the globe to support continuous and sustained access to learning tools and resources. However, the potential of these resources goes beyond the simple provision of content to conceivably form the foundation for designing and implementing more authentic and engaging online learning experiences. This paper identifies the various forms of open resources and discusses some of the affordances and issues associated with the use of these resources within higher education. It then describes the design of a study conducted to explore the benefits and issues associated with using open resources and how they were instantiated in an online professional development course for higher education practitioners. Finally, the findings of the study are provided, together with a discussion of how open resources have benefited educators and students.

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The introduction of Montessori teaching and learning practices in an early childhood classroom in a remote Indigenous school

Catherine Reed
The University of Notre Dame
Email: catherinereed@y7mail.com

This qualitative research seeks to investigate an alternative educational approach in a remote Aboriginal Early Childhood context. The teacher-researcher used the experience of teaching in a very remote community of Kiwirrkurra to explore the potential of Montessori pedagogy as providing a more culturally appropriate method of education in this Aboriginal Early Childhood program. Using a phenomenological approach, the researcher collected data of classroom practices using observations, video recordings, critical informant observations and interviews. The findings of this research are consistent with four themes: student response to Montessori pedagogy, student behaviour to Montessori pedagogy, supporting language development within Montessori pedagogy and Montessori pedagogy supporting community involvement within the early childhood classroom. The findings suggest that numerous fundamental characteristics of Montessori pedagogy align with traditional Aboriginal child rearing techniques such as autonomy and movement. In addition, Montessori teaching pedagogy provides Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers with a consistent collection of teaching activities and materials to work one-on-one with students in the home language (Ngaanyatjarra) before transitioning to Standard Australian English. The results of this research could be used to inform future educational practices for Aboriginal students in remote communities that may help to address the disadvantage between the achievement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.

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Understanding the roles of student voice, metacognition, and academic self-efficacy in student disengagement: A mixed methodology approach

Sarah Seddon, Stuart J. Watson and Yolanda Andrews
Murdoch University
Email: S.Seddon@murdoch.edu.au, S.Watson@murdoch.edu.au, Y.Andrews@murdoch.edu.au

The South-West corridor of Perth comprises a large proportion of low socioeconomic status (SES) areas (ABS, 2013). Living in low-SES areas, students can face obstacles to educational attainment such as low parental education and poverty (CEDA, 2015), with 15 per cent of students from these backgrounds continuing on to post-secondary education (Bradley Report, 2008). Obstacles that students face outside of classroom environments can impact performance within classroom environments, often leading to disengagement (McGregor, 2009). To understand classroom dynamics that affect engagement, a mixed methods approach was adopted. Using cross-sectional self-report data from high school students in the South-West corridor of Perth, a structural model was fit to assess the associations between student voice, metacognition, and academic self-efficacy. Then, using focus groups and telephone interviews, past participants of a university enabling program were asked about experiences both within traditional classrooms and the enabling program. Findings from both studies suggest that student voice plays a vital role in the development of academic self-efficacy through students' metacognitive processes, including cognitive engagement, intrinsic motivation and resilience. Implications of these results prompt a discussion in ways pedagogical paradigms shift within classrooms to foster meaningful relationships between students, teachers, and learning, to boost post-secondary participation.

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Establishing a relationship with truth: Verisimilitude, one method of representing yourself in research

Helen Stone, Barry Down and Andrew Taggart
Murdoch University
Email: h.stone@murdoch.edu.au, b.down@murdoch.edu.au, a.taggart@murdoch.edu.au

This paper provides three examples of how the methodological notion of verisimilitude helps me represent myself as a researcher writing my PhD thesis. Verisimilitude is the process of interpreting the researchers and the participants sense of physicality, experience, and self through linking the lived world with an actual vernacular which reverberates with literary discourse (Davis, 2003; Denzin, 1997). Verisimilitude is relevant to the research realm as it demands our research be transparent and situated, it demands biases to emerge and stresses research legitimacy. The problem for me as a qualitative research author is how to fashion a sense of verisimilitude when representing my context, themes, relationships, personality, and voice as a researcher in the thesis? I begin with self-reflection, confessing my previous work experience, illuminating my research journey and interrogating my future. I represent myself anxiously in the first pages faithful to my initial experiences and eventual transformations. The implications of understanding and establishing verisimilitude as a methodological notion are that we are capable of creating a shared space, in the form of a narrative. Relating dialect to discourse helps us to contemplate the gap between concrete experience and abstract thinking, of how relationships of truth and self-representation enable us to alter the direction of our lives.

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Integrating literacy and science inquiry in the science classrooms

Kok-Sing Tang
Curtin University
Email: kok-sing.tang@curtin.edu.au

Many science educators tend to think of literacy as passive reading and writing activities that are antagonistic to the spirit of inquiry in science. However, with an emerging view of literacy as disciplinary-specific, multimodal and multi-literacies, there is currently a growing awareness that science literacy should be conceptualised as a form of inquiry in supporting active learning instead of substituting for it. In this presentation, I present a literacy-inquiry instructional model that integrated key literacy instructions into the process of inquiry learning. With the goal of understanding how the literacy instruction supports inquiry-based learning in science, I used a design-based research to develop, enact, and test this instructional model in four year 9-10 physics and chemistry classrooms in Singapore. Case studies will be used to illustrate how the participating teachers utilised and integrated various literacy activities to support scientific inquiry in the following areas: (i) framing driving question, (ii) conducting experiments and collecting evidence, (iii) constructing explanations, and (iv) communicating and evaluating explanations. From this study, I hope to discuss how literacy can be used as tools to support inquiry-based science, and conversely, how literacy instruction can benefit when embedded within an inquiry-based learning setting.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Teacher professionalism: The perception of vocational high school teachers in Yogyakarta

Ani Widayati
Murdoch University
Email: a.widayati@murdoch.edu.au

This paper examines accounting teachers' perceptions of professionalism. As Indonesia is approaching globalisation as a result of ASEAN Economic Community agreement, teachers are facing the need for redefining the concepts of professionalism to meet the new demands. The study applied a qualitative approach to explore the social phenomenon regarding vocational high school teacher professionalism. The participants of the research comprised six teachers, and in order to explore different perceptions, three teachers were certified and three had yet to gain certification. Data sources included face to face interviews, and teaching artefacts the teachers used to explain their views and experience. Data were analysed using thematic analysis involving identifying, analysing, and reporting the themes within the data. The findings show that teachers have a range of perceptions of professionalism: transformative, traditional, or in the process of change. Four themes emerged from the interviews: competency, responsibility, authority, and the ethical code of practice. How teachers define professionalism depends on their perceptions of professionalism, thus it is important to consider these issues in order to support teacher development to meet the demands of a changing society.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Motives and influences in Chinese international engineering doctoral students' decision to study in Australia

Yibo Yang, Simone Volet and Caroline Mansfield
Murdoch University
Email: Y.Yang@murdoch.edu.au, S.Volet@murdoch.edu.au, Caroline.Mansfield@murdoch.edu.au

Although the number of Chinese international engineering doctoral students (CIEDS) studying in Australia is growing at an unprecedented rate in recent years, prior research has rarely touched upon the experiences of this cohort. This study explored CIEDS' motives for undertaking a PhD abroad, and the factors influencing this major life decision. Based on in-depth interviews with 35 CIEDS from seven universities cross Australia, enriching life experiences and broadening research perspectives by following top scholars emerged as students' most prominent personal motives. Supervisors' personality was put equally with or even above their academic achievement in most CIEDS' entry profiles and value expectations for the cultivation of the best and the brightest international doctoral students.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

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