Western Australian Institute for Educational Research

37th Annual Research Forum at The University of Notre Dame

Interim record: Forum 2022 Abstracts

This page is an interim record, updated every few days as
new abstracts are submitted. It will be finalised soon
after conclusion of the Forum on 6 August 2022.

Listed alphabetically by first author
[ Forum invitation ] [ Abstract submission ] [ Program ]
[As an archival record of what occurred at the Forum on 6 August 2022, this
page does not include abstracts that were submitted and subsequently cancelled]

West African families' experiences and perspectives of the Australian education system: An ethnographic case study in WA

Davida Aba Mensima Asant-Nimako
Edith Cowan University
Email: dasanten@our.ecu.edu.au

School experiences of migrants in host countries are crucial to their overall success in life. In Australia, most studies that explore the circumstances of African migrants are limited to North and South African people. Therefore, there is a lack of evidence on the unique experiences of West African migrants concerning the Australian education system. Again, much of the research focusses on refugees only. This study explores West African families' experiences and perspectives regarding the education system in Western Australia. The qualitative ethnographic case study approach and constructivist and interpretivist paradigms guide the study, which is based on five West African families in Western Australia, including Nigerian, Ghanaian, Liberian, Togolese, and of different migrant categories (skilled migrant, international student, family stream and refugee). Conversations, interviews, participant observation, audio recording, photographs, and video recording are being used to explore the participants' experiences and perspectives of the Australian education system. It is hoped that the inquiry will provide informative data to the Western Australian Department of Education, as well as educators teaching West African people in Australian schools, and at tertiary level.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Implementation of the Free Senior High School educational policy on quality in the Kumasi Metropolis, Ghana

Isaac Asante-Nimako
Kumasi Wesley Girls High School, Ghana
Email: isasni@outlook.com

This proposed study seeks to examine the impact of Ghana's Free Senior High School (FSHS) policy on the quality of education and lifelong opportunities in the Kumasi Metropolis. As Ghana introduced FSHS in 2017, studies have established a significant increase in enrolment. It is critical that the increase is not a detriment to the quality of education. This has necessitated the proposed study.

The mixed method approach, adopting concurrent triangulation will be used, including both primary and secondary data. Semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, observation checklists and document analysis are the research instruments that will be employed. Six participants consisting of one metro director and 5 head teachers will be purposively sampled, while a hundred teachers will be non-purposively sampled to seek their views on the quality of education through questionnaires. Additionally, the United Nation's Agenda 2030, SDG 4 indicators will guide the review and analysis of the FSHS policy. The total quality management (TQM) tool will ground the data collection and analysis.

This inquiry will be very significant to theory and management practice within the educational sector, to promote quality education. It is therefore relevant to the policymakers and other educational stakeholders, to holistically be well informed and foster the quality of education and lifelong opportunities to achieve SDG 4 target in 2030.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Mathematical problem solving: What does it mean to primary teachers?

Felicity Baker
Murdoch University
Email: felicity.baker@murdoch.edu.au

The importance of learning mathematical problem solving is an expectation articulated in both the national and Western Australian curricula. What defines a problem and what problem solving skills and abilities are desirable, teachable and evaluable lies in the hands of the teacher. The curricula describes mathematical problem solving as creating an environment where students are able to make choices, interpret, formulate, model and investigate problem situations, and communicate solutions effectively in unfamiliar or meaningful situations. Do teachers view their role as a guide or are they holding a map pointing out the possible routes and interesting sights along the way and letting their students decide their own path?

Through the lens of practising Western Australian teachers, their concept of what constitutes mathematical problem solving is the focus of this presentation and is part of the initial findings of a research project that investigated how Western Australian primary teachers plan for and implement mathematical problem solving in their classrooms. Considering teachers' understanding of this mathematical proficiency may provide an avenue to enhance pre-service training, ongoing professional development and ultimately provide our students with an approach that suits their needs.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Learning agency in online game spaces: What happens when middle school children play online and can exercise power?

Kim Balnaves
Murdoch University
Email: kim.balnaves@curtin.edu.au

Online games are areas where middle school students have power and agency. Understanding the mechanics of online participation and the metalanguage allows students to participate in global meeting and creation places that most teachers do not investigate. Through a socio-material framework, playing a game such as Minecraft can be understood as actual building and creating in a third space, not merely a representation of building (Dezuanni, 2017). This research study looks at the use of an authentic gaming space to develop student agency whilst applying the Sustainable Development Goals (UN, n.d.) and Goal 2 of the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration (DESE, 2019) of resilience and problem solving.

This session investigates the structures of power that disable students from learning in ways and places where their knowledge is valued. The author then discusses how this can be changed through the use of the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile (Bullock, 2011) used as a reflective tool allowing a mutual language for students and teachers to understand the learning that is occurring in gaming spaces.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

The mentoring experiences of early career teachers in Australia

Nancy Bonfiglio-Pavisich
The University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: nancy.bonfiglio-pavisich1@nd.edu.au

Mentoring matters for early career teachers (ECTs). As a practice in contemporary Australian schools, mentoring is used to support graduate teachers to assist them in their transition from university to the classroom. Teaching is one of the few professions where graduates move into positions of full accountability. Full accountability means that ECTs are not only responsible for curriculum delivery but also for the legal, social and emotional care of the students in their classrooms. Added to the difficulties experienced by ECTs are their transition and socialisation into their respective schools, which includes crafting a professional identity, integrating into their schools' culture, establishing and maintaining networks, meeting curriculum demands, navigating short-term contracts and of course, teaching. With the increasing expectations and demands placed on ECTs in their initial years of teaching, mentoring is recognised as an important element of teacher induction to support teachers with their personal and professional growth.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Developing a conceptual framework for addressing the M in STEM, with the purpose of strengthening student confidence and abilities in mathematics

Sarah Briggs, Lynette Vernon and Paula Mildenhall

Email: sjbrigg0@our.ecu.edu.au, l.vernon@ecu.edu.au, p.mildenhall@ecu.edu.au

There are ongoing concerns over how best to implement mathematics education. In addition, more guidance and resources are needed for teachers to implement numeracy across the curriculum and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, both of which could provide engaging opportunities for students to develop their mathematical skills and understanding. Mathematics underpins numeracy and STEM skills, which are needed for an increasing number of jobs and for active citizenship in the 21st century. In response to teachers' concerns, that in order to cover the curriculum they often have to rush through mathematics topics, as well as concerns raised that learning in school mathematics too often ends at a surface level, this paper proposes a conceptual framework for making the M in STEM explicit. This may mean that it is possible to facilitate deep and transfer learning in mathematics. This Experience-Represent-Apply Mathematics conceptual framework incorporates the application of mathematics in subjects across the curriculum, with drawing activities and collaborative learning used to facilitate iterative learning cycles and to connect learning experiences.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Imagined dialogues: An alternative to lesson plans in the assessment of preservice teachers

Paul Brown
Curtin University
Email: paul.brown@Curtin.edu.au

Teachers are not playwrights, but writing a short dialogue was accepted as feasible - even enjoyable - by preservice teachers and the dialogues proved to be a valid and effective part of assessment. Imagining the conversation within a classroom places the learners in the spotlight, rather than the teacher - as can occur in lesson plans. Dialogues produced by preservice teachers demonstrated perceptive listening and penetrating questioning.

Writing a dialogue allows for considered reflection; time to access ideas from unit materials and curriculum documents; and opportunity to be more creative than is possible under high-stakes time pressure when observed by a mentor teacher on practicum. The imagined dialogues revealed the extent to which the preservice teachers contemplated how a lesson might vary, boosting their confidence in how they would handle unpredictable classroom life.

Preservice mathematics teachers proved capable of writing short "lesson plays" which demonstrated student skills and misconceptions; interaction between students in the manner of a community of inquiry; and accounts of how inquiry-style lessons might proceed. A subsequent traditional lesson plan was also required, giving opportunity to address the shortfalls and breakthroughs in understanding which were evident in the imagined dialogue.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Innovative methods for applied drama and process drama in southern contexts

Carol Carter
Curtin University
Email: carol.carter@curtin.edu.au

This presentation shares some of the rich, multilayered, disruptive and reflexive work that has taken place in South Africa at a university-based centre, Drama for Life, from 2008 to the present day and at universities in Australia. The research findings in Australia are based on research conducted from 2017 to 2021 and focus on projects with culturally and linguistically diverse preservice teachers. The presentation is in the form of extracts from dialogues and videoed performed research. It invites participants to learn from these experiences and to examine how drama and arts-based research has been used to engage in critical, dialogical spaces and examine and interrogate current debates and practices in the field of applied drama and process drama.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

An exploratory study of music activities in the home and beliefs towards the importance of music in early childhood development

Pippa Chapman
Edith Cowan University
Email: pchapma4@our.ecu.edu.au

The importance of music for young children (birth to four years) in terms of enhancing their overall development is well established. In addition, early childhood music education research and childhood studies have shown that the social surroundings of young children's musical lives have a significant impact on their learning and development. In some indigenous cultures, families traditionally engage in musical activities together in a shared, communal way; naturally embedded in the rhythms of family and community life. Currently, music is easily accessed by families and young children due in part to advances in technology and globalisation. This coupled with changing social and cultural constructs about musical early childhoods, marks a major shift in how and what styles of music are accessed by young children and their families. Using a sociocultural lens, this study has two aims: to investigate the modes and frequencies of music activities in Australian homes and to explore Australian families' beliefs towards the importance of music in early childhood development via a two-stage mixed method design.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Keeping the at-risk early adolescent engaged in school: What works?

Anne Coffey and Shane Lavery
The University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: anne.coffey@nd.edu.au

The Imagined Futures' Keeping Kids Engaged in School project is an intervention program designed to promote early adolescent students' desire to stay connected with school and operates in a small number of Education Department schools in the southern corridor. The research focused on ways students, their parents/caregivers and key school informants perceived the program. The research design underpinning the study was qualitative and constructivist in nature in order to maximise the presence of student voice. The chosen methodology was qualitative content analysis which provided a means of analysing the data collected from one-to-one and focus group interviews.

The findings of the study indicated that participants from all four schools endorsed the program's value in encouraging students to maintain school engagement. Students noted that the program offered a safe environment in which they could engage and share their ideas whilst participating in a variety of activities run by external facilitators. Similarly, parents/caregivers and school staff noted the value of the program and the positive impact it had on the children. The research results indicate the value of including students in program design which has implications for policy makers and future research.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Yarning, discomfort, fatigue and institutional spaces

Jayde Conway, Elisha Jacobs-Smith, Saul Karnovsky, Sally Lamping and Samantha Owen
Curtin University
Email: j.conway@curtin.edu.au, elisha.jacobs-smith@curtin.edu.au, saul.karnovsky@curtin.edu.au, sally.lamping@curtin.edu.au, samantha.owen@curtin.edu.au

Jayde Conway, who is Whadjuk Ballardong, and Elisha Jacobs-Smith, also Whadjuk Ballardong, are in the Cultural Capabilities Team at Curtin University. In their roles as Cultural Immersion Coordinator and Cultural Immersion Facilitator respectively they are required to go into uncomfortable spaces everyday - spaces of white privilege, spaces which do not accommodate them, spaces which assess them from a perspective of cultural deficit. These conditions contribute to making their work exhausting and draining, yet they continue to deliver experiences which demand they share their culture and their lives. Their work decolonises and disrupts. It also raises questions about visibility in educational spaces of First Nations peoples, of recognition and inclusion of First Nations ways of being and doing, and of the continued operations of privilege in our educational institutions. In this round table, led by Jayde and Elisha, we will yarn to share experiences of discomfort, of work being done to disrupt accepted ways of delivery and to suggest alternatives which work towards culturally safe spaces.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Enacting active and informed citizenship in the Foundation to Year 2 classroom

Linda Cranley
The University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: linda.cranley@nd.edu.au

This presentation will explore perspectives and practices of Foundation to Year 2 teachers on how active and informed citizenship can be supported in the classroom. Currently there is a different approach in the teaching of civics and citizenship within early childhood education. The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) is comprised of five Learning Outcomes which focus on developing active and informed citizens (EYLF, 2014). However, within the F-2 humanities and social science (HASS) curriculum, the support for active and informed citizenship is omitted, with the civics and citizenship subject being mandated from Year 3. The Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration (DESE, 2019) underpins educational policy documents. It articulates the importance of young children's agency in being active and informed members of their community from a very young age. The study discussed in this presentation is part of a PhD thesis and it will outline the intended aims, current literature and intentions of the investigation.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Exploring a semi-immersive experiential program and the development of 21st century skills with early adolescent boys

Meaghan Cunnington, Nicola Johnson and Henny Nastiti
Edith Cowan University
Email: m.cunnington@ecu.edu.au

To prepare students to live and contribute productively in the contemporary and globalised world, school policy and curricula throughout much of the Western world has placed emphasis on fostering the development of 21st century skills, such as communication, leadership, and personal and social responsibility. The aim of this study is to explore the efficacy of a specific semi-immersive experiential education program to develop 21st century skills in early adolescent boys. This program, developed by and conducted at an independent private school in Perth, Western Australia, combines experiential education theory with Hahn's Outward Bound model, and values the development of 21st century skills and globally conscious citizens. Using a pragmatic, mixed-methods approach consisting of questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and student journals, the researcher collected and analysed data from students, parents and teachers involved in one iteration of the 10-week program. This presentation will focus on presenting and discussing one of the research questions in the study, that of, "Which 21st century skills do students identify as developing through participating in the program?" Findings from this research are relevant to numerous other contexts as the need to develop 21st century skills with adolescents is widespread.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Six cups of tea: Yarning, language use and the third space

Mary dos Santos, Wendy Cumming-Potvin
Murdoch University
Libby Jackson-Barrett
Edith Cowan University
Email: 31206964@student.murdoch.edu.au, e.jacksonbarrett@ecu.edu.au, w.cumming-potvin@murdoch.edu.au

This presentation considers the fact that the globalised world of the 21st century is a synchronicity of events and experiences - post colonialism, increased immigration, the establishment of overseas conglomerates, expanding trade, climate change and the aftermath of a worldwide pandemic. All of these require intercultural exchange and cultural adaptability. As a result, many people find themselves living in what Bhabha (1994, 2012) labelled the third space, a convergence of two worlds. This space is often a cultural interface between Indigenous knowledge, values and differing worldviews, all of which are communicated via language (Nakata, 2002, 2007). The plethora of cultures and languages that share this space need a form of communication that bridges cultural gaps.

The imposition of anglicised systems of education has established English as the world lingua franca. But is English the answer to cultural communication? We ask, through this presentation, more pointedly:

Regardless of language, the establishment of relationship is paramount. In this sense, yarning and circular talk enable exchange, regardless of language preference.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Communities of practice with a difference: Collaborative academic writing during disruption

Sandi Fielder, Felicity Baker, Kathryn Dehle, Alison Hilton and Chad Morrison
Murdoch University
Email: sandi.fielder@murdoch.edu.au, felicity.baker@murdoch.edu.au, a.hilton@murdoch.edu.au

Academic writing has been difficult to prioritise over the past three years due to the increased disruption of COVID-19. Workload pressures of early career researchers and higher degree research students within the Education discipline have increased. Prioritising academic writing, along with the need to create new writing opportunities led to a small but focused group of committed participants to create a communities of practice approach to academic writing. In this presentation, we share early findings from our collaborative approach, including key success factors for higher research degree students and academic writers seeking to establish a collaborative writing practice. The importance of the community in supporting and nurturing members to become more productive has been a key result as each participant held different expectations and pursued personally significant outcomes.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

The importance of belonging during an internship: Disrupting traditional models of professional experience

Sandi Fielder and Chad Morrison
Murdoch University
Email: sandi.fielder@murdoch.edu.au, chad.morrison@murdoch.edu.au

The retention of graduate teachers in the current employment climate is critical to the profession and sustainability of our schools. In this research, participants were involved in a year-long internship program which offered the chance to partake in a community of practice within a school setting. The connection and sense of belonging those pre-service teachers developed with their school had a significant impact on their desire to remain or leave a school and the job. In this presentation, we share the importance that participants discussed in relation to belonging to a school community as part of their pathway to becoming and remaining a teacher. Implications of this study broaden the discussion and provide additional perspectives of fast-tracking quality graduates into the profession within a model that participants highlight as having long term impact on their early career development.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Disrupting assumptions about the shift to online teaching and learning in universities: Diverse student perceptions and attributions

Veronica Gardiner and Wendy Cumming-Potvin
Murdoch University
Email: veronica.gardiner@murdoch.edu.au

Australian universities, and their students, continue to navigate shifts to online teaching and learning, accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic. This presentation explores the importance of questioning and disrupting assumptions about this shifting landscape, from the perspective of diverse students. To gain access to these perspectives, the present study facilitated a focus group with a small number of students from different study areas in one metropolitan Australian university. Framed through Lefebvre's heuristic describing inter-related spaces within a given social context, the study highlights how students construed their lived space of online teaching and learning, as well as how they perceived the practices and resourcing of their educators, and arrangements at an institutional level. Interpretive analysis through the lenses of Lefebvre's spatial frame and Gee's critical discourse analysis, suggests that students foregrounded their own diversities and learning needs, and attributed impacts in regard to time and flexibility for study, teaching and learning communications, the quality of online formats, availability of opportunities to participate in different ways of knowing, and educator workload. With the caveat that the study comprised a small pilot, early findings appear to disrupt the accepted premise that students prioritise socio-relational aspects of teaching and learning, with implications for future designs.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Technology-enhanced learning and the COVID 19 pandemic: Teaching and learning in a time of disruption

Richard Gordon, Wendy Cumming-Potvin and Sian Chapman
Murdoch University
Email: richard.gordon@murdoch.edu.au, w.cumming-potvin@murdoch.edu.au, sian.chapman@murdoch.edu.au

Over the past twenty years, change in secondary education has been driven primarily by the relentless march of technology. More recently though, through the global disruption of the COVID 19 pandemic, a landscape of further learning opportunities has been unveiled. Based on a small-scale study, this presentation explores how teacher beliefs and perceptions, the online pandemic teaching response and other sociocultural factors influenced digital technology use in Western Australian secondary English classrooms. The study explored the space where technology-enhanced learning (TEL), multiliteracies and post-digital education intersect to both unsettle and stabilise. Findings suggest that during the COVID-19 emergency response, teacher agency may have increased and TEL may have accelerated. Further, English department cultures play a critical role for TEL in secondary English classrooms. While nuanced stakeholder discussions are recommended to leverage digital devices to support disengaged students, teaching healthy digital habits and self-regulation are necessary to combat habitual problematic use. This study strengthens the idea that technology profoundly changes society, individuals and the education of young people in the twenty-first century. Consequently, TEL provides an opportunity to reconceptualise education and curriculum in a relevant, safe, and positive way.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Shaping the On Country Teacher Education program through the voices of participants

Graeme Gower, Tetiana Bogachenko, Carly Steele and OCTE students
Curtin University
Email: tetiana.bogachenko@curtin.edu.au

Most educational systems and courses offered in Australia are Western-based; yet, there is a strong need for Aboriginal knowledge to be valued, recognised, and included alongside Western knowledge. Research provides strong evidence that Indigenous teachers are key to building cultural capacity that incorporates cultural awareness, safety, and immersion. Hence, the On Country Teacher Education program was piloted in WA in partnership between the Department of Education and Curtin University to train Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Officers (AIEOs) currently employed in government schools to become teachers. The program provides a unique opportunity to study both 'on Country', which means that AIEOs are able to retain employment and family commitments, as well as online and in blended ways. An ongoing evaluation has been used as an avenue for the participants to provide their feedback on the program, as well as monitor its effectiveness, inform ongoing planning, and provide recommendations for improvement. Reflecting a range of roles, experiences, and backgrounds within the program, such feedback provides an opportunity to tap into how various aspects of the course are working and how these can be supported, ensuring the best outcome for the AIEOs. Further, research has helped various groups of participants to learn about each other's perceptions and experiences in a safe and confidential way and enabled informed negotiation of the necessary changes with the stakeholders. In this presentation, the latest evaluation findings and implications will be presented. On Country staff and students will yarn about their experiences (in person and through the online link), and the attendees will be invited to discuss how these revelations can inform their own practices and be applied in their own contexts.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Is the Skills Framework for the Information Age fit for purpose in the Australian higher education cyber security curriculum?

Anna J. Griffin and Nicola F. Johnson
Edith Cowan University
Email: a.griffin@ecu.edu.au

Over the past two decades, technology has developed exponentially, and the cyber security industry has struggled to keep up with the unprecedented rise in cyber-attacks. In response to the increased threats, higher education institutions (HEIs) globally have increased the courses they offer in cyber security. Cyber security as a discipline in HEIs is a relatively new area. Part of the development process as a new discipline has been to establish accreditation processes and develop curriculum that provide students with accreditation. This process is not unique to HEIs within Australia; many countries including the USA, UK, and much of Europe have established accreditation processes, all unique to each country depending on their needs and criteria. However, it takes time to evaluate the effectiveness of the initial procedures and perhaps consider the best way the discipline might mature.

This discussion paper explores the deployment of skills frameworks in Australian Universities within the discipline of cyber security. As the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) from the Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the main framework that underpins professional accreditation and cyber security curriculum development, and in light of international literature that identifies alternative frameworks are used, the paper also questions whether SFIA and the attainment of accreditation through the ACS is fit for purpose and the best framework for Australian HEIs to use when developing cyber security curriculum.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Investigating between-class ability grouping in Australian schools

Olivia Johnston
Edith Cowan University
Email: o.johnston@ecu.edu.au

International research shows that between-class ability grouping is inequitable and does not improve overall academic achievement. Placing students into separate classes within schools according to their 'ability' perpetuates disadvantage because students-at-risk are disproportionately allocated to low 'ability' classes. In the lower 'ability' classes, these students are subject to lower teacher expectations and more limited learning opportunities than their privileged peers in the higher classes. Despite the well-established negative social implications of between-class ability grouping, most Australian secondary schools continue to stream students into separate classes within schools according to their 'ability'.

A systematic review of the literature about between-class ability grouping revealed that only n=28 publications have drawn on primary data from the Australian context since 2012. None of the literature has included any substantive data about the extent of the practice and the effects on student educational outcomes. This deficit means that the existing findings are based on qualitative data, which was collected without evidence about how between-class ability grouping is practiced in Australia. This presentation will overview the findings from the systematic literature review to speculate about methods for investigating the extent and effects of between-class ability grouping in Australian secondary schools. Future research could provide school leaders and policymakers with evidence to inform decisions about how to group students into classes for learning in ways that enhance both equity and excellence in educational outcomes.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

The effectiveness of flipped classroom approaches for adult learners in vocational education and training institutions

Ivan Kam
Curtin University
Email: ivan.kam@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

Innovative pedagogical approaches such as blended learning and the flipped classroom have enhanced traditional classroom teaching with advancements in educational technology resources. In line with the continued efforts and momentum of various studies conducted on the flipped classroom across the K-12 to the higher education domain, this study aims to provide new insights into flipped classroom approaches for adult education. Data will be collected using mixed-methods research to investigate how flipped classroom instruction with adult learners in vocational education and training (VET) affects their learning and achievement. This study will take place in local VET institutions for approximately three semesters. It will include adult learners' participation in different VET accredited courses, Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) qualifications, or training packages in adult education. The significance of this study provides support for adult learners to be competently reskilled or upskilled through flipped learning approaches. Still, beyond the importance of andragogy and curriculum redevelopment, the implications for adult education scholarship and VET reforms possess ample potential for change.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Disruptions to finding flow in online learning: The story of my doctorate journey

Katie Kumasaka
Curtin University
Email: katie.kumasaka@curtin.edu.au

This is the story of how a hermeneutic phenomenological study unfolded and how storytelling can be used to enhance the meaning in findings. The study involved an attitude of openness and holistic exploration of how students experienced flow when studying online. The path to understanding was an intense journey with many disruptions to the traditional method of qualitative research. Initially new philosophy and knowledge provided a forestructure of understanding as the foundation for the ensuing data collection and analysis. Challenged by the lack of process in hermeneutical phenomenology, the task of working with an unconventional approach to research brought with it my own experience of flow. The possibility that this research journey generated personal transformation provoked a powerful feeling of not only wanting to share my story but the actualisation that my shared experience and understanding of flow is entwined in the interpretations central to the hermeneutic phenomenological process. The sharing of these experiences is partly communicated through a vocative text, used to bring the readers closer to the uniqueness of the particular experience. This vocative text can provide glimpses of meaning that often hide within human experience but also highlights alternative possibilities to working with qualitative data.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Motivational factors associated with Year 10 students' mathematics course choices according to gender and mathematics aspiration

Jane Kirkham and Elaine Chapman
The University of Western Australia
Email: jane.kirkham@research.uwa.edu.au

Shrinking enrolments in senior school higher-mathematics courses remains a problem in Australia, especially in relation to female students. In this study we distinguished between male and female participants who selected future mathematics courses below their current achievement level would suggest was appropriate for them (under-aspirers) and those who did not, at four different levels of prior achievement and examined whether specific motivational factors were associated with gender and course aspiration. Findings revealed that female participants reported lower competency beliefs than males at all levels of achievement, and a diminished sense of belonging in mathematics at the two highest achievement levels. Females placed less intrinsic value on the study of mathematics than males at the highest achievement level. Factors that distinguished between participants who under-aspired and those who did not, were lowered intrinsic value and general utility value, as well as less value placed on gaining a high ATAR score (strategic utility value). Lower competency beliefs and a lowered sense of belonging in mathematics were also associated with participants who under-aspired in the two highest achievement groups. Understanding the motivations of different students may enable a more nuanced approach to providing focused interventions to address mathematics enrolment patterns in the future.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Anxiety disrupts writing: Disrupting writer anxiety

Sonja Kuzich and Paul Gardner
Curtin University
Email: s.kuzich@curtin.edu.au

Tension exists between personal literacy and schooling literacy (Gardner, 2017; Meek, 1988). The former privileges writer agency and funds of knowledge, whereas the latter favours transcriptional skills and grammatical accuracy. From a socio-cultural perspective, an emphasis on the latter can cause writer anxiety, thereby disrupting the writer's confidence to write. Research indicates that many student teachers bring such anxieties with them to university (Gardner & Kuzich, 2022), thereby impairing their capacity to confidently teach writing. Critical to being an effective teacher of writing is the ability to confidently and spontaneously enact writing in the classroom. Confidence is related to personal writer identity (Cremin & Baker, 2014). This study reports on how a knowledge in praxis approach to writing in teacher education disrupted the cycle of writer anxiety and enhanced writer identity. As a result, student teachers became less anxious about their writing and re-framed writing as a pleasurable, even therapeutic, pursuit. This research suggests that a writing for pleasure paradigm, which draws on personal literacy, may provide the basis for an approach to writing premised on the affective self of the writer, thereby alleviating personal anxiety and promoting well-being.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Early childhood education and care in Vietnam: An interpretivist study

Xuyen Le
The University of Western Australia
Email: 22459303@student.uwa.edu.au

Vietnamese ECEC practice strives to implement a 21st century approach. Practice is moving beyond traditional Confucianist approaches. The movement brings certain challenges which are explored using a qualitative research approach involving grounded theory and open-ended interviews with 12 early childhood teachers. The theory generated includes three sets of teachers' perspectives. The first set relates to how teachers say they understand and support young children's development. Teachers hold that young children's learning is an 'absorbent process', 'through imitation', and the early experiences have direct long-term effects on adulthood. The second set identified several mindfulness-based interventions which support teachers in reducing stress and enhancing emotional self-regulation skills and well-being. Many teachers intend to build an awakened learning environment, in building a happy learning environment for children, they aim to support children to reach their full potential through a whole-brain approach. The third relates to their profession, teachers report that their job is stressful and emotional labour. The ECEC movement worldwide is transforming, and this study offers a particular insight for Asian countries on the challenge of moving from Confucianism to contemporary ECEC practice.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Professional learning: Motivation and the transfer of skills and concepts into the secondary classroom

Louise Leonard
Curtin University
Email: louise.leonard@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

Taking place in a West Australian high school this research will explore firstly, how motivation affects teacher engagement and retention of concepts and skills attained during two internal professional learning (PL) programs. Secondly, the research will examine the role of motivation in the development and implementation of the strategies and skills taught during the PL to the participants' own classrooms and beyond. Research will be grounded in the Theory of Self-Determination (Ryan & Deci, 2017). Qualitative data will be collected from semi-structured post PL interviews with 20+ participants of the programs.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Auto/ethnography methodology: Evocative provocation understanding of others through self

Helen McCarthy
Curtin University
Email: h.mccarthy@curtin.edu.au

For over forty years as a teacher albeit apprentice, I have learned from the Warnumamalya, Yolngu, Nyungar and Wongi peoples, observing parents/teachers often express frustration with the delivery of mainstream Anglo-centric education. This disparity never sat well with me but I understood I did not have a right to speak for Indigenous parents/carers or their communities.

As time passed, I absorbed over the path of long-time cultural immersion, 'both ways' learning, meaningful experiences where liminal spaces created new understandings, culturally-sensitive shared ways of knowing. Excited, I wanted this praxis to be recognised, applied widespread, Aboriginal perspectives given parity of esteem with non-Aboriginal knowledge. When I began to express the importance of pre-service teachers learning culturally sensitive ways of teaching Indigenous learners, I found myself in a conundrum. I was just another 'know-it-all' white researcher writing about black student experiences.

The answer came by way of the critical interpretive research design auto/ethnography. Auto/ethnography presented the opportunity to establish one's unique voicing where the writing process and the writing product are deeply intertwined. This decolonising research methodology provided a pathway to venerate via self-reflection enhanced cultural understanding providing the potential to transform self and others to move towards cross cultural alliance building.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

"I'm trying to tear it down from the inside out." What can we learn about effective stakeholder engagement from voices of the LGBTQ+ community?

Bri McKenzie, Julian Chen and Cindy Smith
Curtin University
Email: bri.mckenzie@curtin.edu.au

Stakeholder engagement in the development of services and policies has been emphasised in recent years with researchers and developers required to meaningfully engage with community members that are impacted by the work being undertaken (Jackson & Moorley, 2021). This is even more imperative if the research and program development seeks to support marginalised groups who may traditionally experience social discrimination, hostility, and even bullying. Drawing upon in-depth, focus group discussion, this qualitative, industry-connected project analysed stakeholder feedback responses regarding LGBTQ+ inclusive education resources. The aim was to seek insider perspectives to help refine the co-designed resources to make them more intersectional, inclusive and relevant to stakeholder needs. Interestingly, whilst all curriculum materials, resources and the website were co-designed with LGBTQ+ educators, the feedback from stakeholders, both LGBTQ+ identified and allies, identified areas and issues of design not considered by the research team. This emphasises the importance of "listening to the voices from within" by establishing meaningful, ongoing stakeholder engagement in the development and delivery of inclusive education resources and materials. Future directions and limitations of the study are discussed, including specific considerations of stakeholder engagement when working with marginalised groups such as the LGBTQIA+ community whose agency tends to be suppressed and voices silenced by hetero and cis normativity.

Jackson, D. & Moorley, C. (2022). 'Nothing about us without us': Embedding participation in peer review processes. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 78(5), e75-e76. https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.15122

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Noticing soil in early childhood: Cultivating the arts of attention in the anthropocene

Jane Merewether
Murdoch University
Email: jane.merewether@murdoch.edu.au

Soil is crucial for earthly ongoingness, yet it is frequently overlooked or ignored by humans. This presentation will share early insights from a participatory research project exploring child-soil relations in Perth, Western Australia that is informed by the philosophy and practices of the educational project of Reggio Emilia. The study seeks to cultivate attentiveness to soil through aesthetic and speculative encounters where soil becomes an ecological imaginary for attuning to the inextricable connectedness of the world. The project is grounded in the idea that if we are to care for soil we need first need to notice it. It is hoped insights from this research will help to nourish pedagogical terrains for children and teachers in troubled times.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Mediating relational agency in a collaborative classroom: A sociocultural perspective

Veronica Elizabeth Morcom
Murdoch University
Email: v.morcom@murdoch.edu.au

A sociocultural view of learning positions teachers as mediators, to teach a curriculum that reflects what is valued by society. But in addition it is proposed that a specific focus on mediating relational agency to support collaboration further builds teacher and students capacities for learning. Peer interaction supports the development of communication, social and emotional competencies required for effective collaborative learning. But a deeper understanding of social and cultural challenges for schools accustomed to a traditional approach is required before change can occur. Relational agency is a two-way process, to become responsive so you can both receive and give support to peers. The data are drawn from three year-long projects conducted by the teacher/researcher with her students and other teachers who were mentored to develop new practices that challenged the status quo at their school. Rogoff's analytical planes are used as a framework to analyse the data and the findings are presented as four case studies related to bullying, conflict resolution, student leadership and teacher mentoring. The evidence-based social practices in this research can be adapted by other teachers interested in mediating relational agency to develop social and emotional skills to support a collaborative classroom (Morcom, 2014, 2015, 2016).

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Online professional learning for teachers

Jette Oksis
The University of Western Australia
Email: jette.oksis@education.wa.edu.au

This presentation reviews a study that investigated the perspectives of teachers in regional and remote Western Australia on the design and effectiveness of an online teacher professional learning (OTPL) course that aimed to improve their knowledge and skills in improving student engagement. Teachers who may otherwise have limited opportunity to access effective teacher professional learning can be supported through effective OTPL. Participants reported they had enhanced their knowledge, skills and practice through the OTPL, and four main themes were identified through the data analysis process. The themes of autonomy, competence, refinement of practice and connectedness were important OTPL design features.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Teaching the Arts in testing times

Lisa Paris
Curtin University
Email: lisa.paris@curtin.edu.au

Expert secondary Arts teachers are highly trained specialists well versed in face-to-face individual and group teaching pedagogies. Given the highly personalised nature of Arts teaching practice, the shift to online teaching resulting from COVID-19 lockdowns presented many with challenges for which they had little or no formal training. Many teachers felt stressed, isolated and unsure about where to turn for help. As there are demonstrated links between stress and attrition, it is important to reflect upon the experiences of these teachers with the aim of developing future mitigation strategies. The research reported here synthesises the online teaching experiences of 15 expert Arts specialists in Western Australia and revealed that being a digital native was not in itself sufficient to ameliorate online teaching challenges. Rather, the study found that teachers with deep pedagogical practice knowledge and a reflexive/flexible approach fared better than those with high levels of technology familiarity. The importance of collegiality and mentoring in an online setting, along with a reappraisal of teaching priorities emerged as key findings and serve as a timely reminder of the importance of collaboration, especially in testing times.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Pondering about wondering: Investigating spirituality within early childhood

Christine Robinson
The University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: christine.robinson@nd.edu.au

To 'wonder' is so much more than the skill of 'pondering'. In the early childhood years children engage their spiritual capacity to be natural 'wonderers'. Wonder is recognised as a characteristic of spirituality; it draws a person into a sense of mystery and imagination. This presentation presents findings from a qualitative investigation that sought to ascertain educators' personal understanding of spirituality, their awareness of children's spirituality and the pedagogical practices they used to attend to children's spirituality. The acknowledgement of wonder as a component of spirituality was one of the key findings that emerged. However, in practice, wonder was actualised by educators as an opportunity for pondering. Pondering provided opportunity for considering alternatives and thinking deeply on curriculum. The potential of wonder in promoting young children's spirituality needs to be more fully realised if educators are to attend to children's needs holistically.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Power plays in early childhood: Discursive impact in their first year of school in Western Australia

Amelia Ruscoe
Edith Cowan University
Email: a.ruscoe@ecu.edu.au

The pedagogical decisions of teachers in early childhood are influenced by powerful discourses which impact what children entering school are afforded. This has implications for a child's engagement in learning, well-being and school-based success. Inclusion, achievement and PED (play, engagement, development) were found, through discursive analysis of curriculum and policy for early childhood, to be discourses of power in early childhood curriculum and policy. To examine their impact upon school affordance, the views of 28 five-year-olds were sought using three visual mediation tools [VMTs] and dialogic drawing. Each VMT represented the demands of one of the power discourses. Their teachers were also interviewed using the VMTs as a reference point. Comparison of responses to the demands revealed disparity between adult and child expectations of school, and illuminated the power children hold to sustain or disrupt the discourse in a bidirectional system of school affordance. The findings challenge localised assumptions and reveal discursive dominance as a catalyst for classroom instability. The study calls for a discursive equipoise to rebalance our collective pedagogical approach to early childhood education, and to include the perspectives of children, as protagonist in their learning, to complete the feedback loop for reflection upon policy and curriculum in Western Australia. These findings contribute to the growing body of knowledge of the child's perspective of school and challenge adult notions of power in early childhood classrooms.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Positive science and mathematics veteran teachers in Western Australia

Belinda Schmolke
Curtin University
Email: belindas@alum.mit.edu

This proposed research will explore the characteristics of positive veteran teachers (PVTs) of mathematics and science (M&S). Currently research focuses on the high attrition and low retention of novice teachers and there is a chronic high worldwide demand for M&S teachers. Teacher career trajectory research has identified PVTs who maintain enthusiasm right through until retirement. There is a small but growing body of research into PVTs, however, there is not much subject specific PVT research and virtually none into PVTs of M&S. The aim of this research is to identify the characteristics of M&S PVTs in Western Australia, and any differences between M&S PVTs and generic PVTs. This study will use a flexible deductive approach, consistent with a critical realist ontology and a modified objectivist epistemology in a post-positivist interpretive framework to perform a structured analysis of professional transcripts of in-depth interviews of reputationally sampled PVTs of M&S. The lens of phenomenology will be used to interpret the findings which will enable education policy and decision makers to be informed in making different decisions regarding retention strategies and early professional development for novice and mid-career M&S teachers. This research has the potential to enable more novice M&S teachers of today to become the PVTs of M&S tomorrow.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Indonesian TESOL returnee lecturers: An ecological and transdisciplinary identity study

Yuniar Dwi Ansari Siregar
Edith Cowan University
Email: yuniars@our.ecu.edu.au

This presentation discusses the process through which Indonesian TESOL academic returnees negotiated their identity associated with neoliberal economy. The participants obtained their Masters and/or PhD degrees from universities in the United Kingdom and Australia, and now working as TESOL lecturers in Indonesian universities. Data were collected for six months portraying participants' activities as lecturers: interview, observation, and social media posts. Findings show that academic returnees made sense of their present obligation as lecturers by interdiscursively linking them to their experiences as students in Western universities. While returnees obtained benefits from their Western graduate statuses and experiences, they were ironically also marginalised within the Indonesian higher education system as it is moving towards higher education internationalisation.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Initial teacher education students navigating the cultural interface

Carly Steele, Graeme Gower and Sophie Benson
Curtin University
Email: carly.steele@curtin.edu.au

There is strong policy impetus to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content into the curriculum at all levels of education - early childhood to tertiary. The policy push is not surprising, given that it is frequently reported that these minimum standards are not being met, and that many teachers do not include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content in the curriculum, with a number of reasons cited, including a lack of knowledge, fear and the value placed on such knowledge (Bodkin-Andrews et al., 2018; Commonwealth of Australia, 2020; O'Dowd, 2010; Shipp, 2013). Universities' practices are also blamed (Moreton-Robinson et al., 2012). Through our experiences teaching initial teacher education in the university sector, we have found a surprising number of students who are, without being required to, embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content into their lesson plans, representing a shift from the dominant discourse about teachers. In this presentation, we share the findings from our small-scale qualitative research project, which sought to expand the dialogue from a deficit understanding of why teachers do not include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content to a strengths-based understanding of why others do.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Science inquiry pedagogy in Western Australian upper primary and lower secondary classrooms

Keryn Sturrock
Curtin University
Amanda Woods-McConney and Dorit Maor
Murdoch University
Email: keryn.sturrock@curtin.edu.au, a.woods-mcconney@murdoch.edu.au; d.maor@murdoch.edu.au

For over 50 years science inquiry has been positively associated with student achievement. Recently, the role of science inquiry as a means of effective science teaching has come under increased scrutiny after analyses of international large scale assessments found an overall negative association between science inquiry and student achievement. Unclear in the research is how teachers are enacting science inquiry in the standard classroom, as previous research was based on classroom interventions and student reports.

This mixed methods research describes upper primary and lower secondary teachers' science inquiry enactment in 56 science lessons using a two-dimensional model of science inquiry. The findings show primary teachers enacted more inquiry than secondary teachers, and used predominantly guided inquiry, while secondary teachers used mainly closed inquiry. Although primary and secondary teachers enacted all the essential features of science inquiry, students did not experience science inquiry in its entirety. Further, students' exposure to the nature of scientific knowledge was limited.

This research provides a contemporary and multifaceted account of how teachers enacted science inquiry in their science lessons. The findings can be used by educational researchers and policy-makers to make informed decisions when seeking to improve science education.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

(C)overt linguistic racism: Eastern European background immigrant women in the Australian workplace

Ana Tankosic and Sender Dovchin
Curtin University
Email: ana.tankosic@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

Linguistic racism explores the varied ideologies that may generate and endorse monolingual, native, and normative language practices, while reinforcing the discrimination and injustice directed towards language users whose language and communicative repertoires are not necessarily perceived as standard and normal. This article, thus, investigates linguistic racism against translingual practices of Eastern European immigrant women in the Australian workplace. Our ethnographic study shows that, once these women directly or subtly exhibit their non-nativism, through a limited encounter with local expressions, non-native language skills, and ethnic accents, they become victims of covert and overt linguistic racism in the form of social exclusion, mockery, mimicking, and malicious sarcasm in the hierarchical power environment of the workplace. As a result, they can suffer from long-lasting psychological trauma and distress, emotional hurdles, loss of credibility, and language-based inferiority complexes.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

"Let's yarn about uni": Conversations around the Indigenous student university experience

Ashah Tanoa
Murdoch University
Email: ashah.tanoa@murdoch.edu.au

32% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students leave within their first year at university. Of these students, 18.4% never return (DESE, 2021). The first year of university is a vulnerable time for all students, especially those from non-traditional backgrounds. Literature indicates that Indigenous students leave university because of financial commitments, familial pressure, career advancement, and notions of stability. However, there is limited data in Australia, and globally, around why Indigenous students leave within their first year. Likewise, past research tends to frame leaving university prematurely as an abject failure, whereas student narratives suggest that Indigenous people can achieve success independent of a university degree. I will present two studies on conceptualising and supporting Indigenous student success. First, I will describe an innovative undergraduate enabling unit that offers academic coaching to Indigenous students, where students value relational support and accountability. Secondly, I will present a research proposal on an appreciative inquiry study that will capture lived experiences of Indigenous students who left in their first year of university. This study will collect data through yarning with previously enrolled Indigenous students: those who left within their first year and those who continued studying. The study proposal will include an overview of the project undertaken by a Masters student and will reveal research purposes, Indigenous research methodology, literature review and data collection.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Securing work placements: Challenges faced by international students

Thai Vu, Subramaniam Ananthram and Sonia Ferns
Curtin University
Email: thaivan.vu@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

Globalisation has enhanced cross-border employment opportunities, resulting in a more competitive labour market for graduates. In response, the number of students pursuing overseas study as a way of gaining a competitive advantage is increasing. Integral to this pursuit are opportunities for exposure to the host country's work contexts to gain global work experience and subsequently develop global employability. Despite this, research indicates that international students in several disciplines struggle to secure a placement. This presentation discusses findings from a qualitative study that investigated challenges faced by international students in securing work placements in their host country. Data were gathered from 39 semi-structured interviews with 13 international undergraduate engineering students enrolled in a Western Australian university (three interviews with each student). The presentation will begin by reporting participating students' experiences with, and perceptions of, challenges in finding a placement. It will then conclude by discussing strategies for stakeholders (international students, academic institutions, employers, and government agencies) in improving international students' capacity to secure placements.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Which key factors explain a country's mathematics performance in PISA?

Xiaofang Sarah Wang, Laura Perry and Tobias Ide
Murdoch University
Anabela Malpique
Edith Cowan University
Email: sarah.wang@murdoch.edu.au

Since 2000, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has directly and indirectly led to educational reforms and policy changes in many countries. PISA 2022 will focus on mathematics, with 38 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries and probably over 50 non-members participating in this cycle. With the increased attention being paid to PISA results, extensive research has been conducted to investigate which factors contribute to high PISA math performance. This presentation will present the first comprehensive, systematic literature review on the factors that shape PISA math performance. Informed by an extensive understanding of these factors, the presenter will then utilise qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), an innovative method in education research, to further analyse the driver of high performance. Using the most recent math scores available from 65 countries, I will introduce my research design, share some preliminary results, and discuss pathways for further research.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Diversity in numbers: Developing quantitative skills and personal connection to discipline content

Natalie M. Warburton, Sarah J. Etherington, Garth L. Maker, Shu Hui Koh and Rebecca Bennett
Murdoch University
Email: n.warburton@murdoch.edu.au

Poor numeracy/quantitative skills (QS) development is a widespread issue across Australian tertiary education. Lack of fundamental QS can impede students' progression in STEM degrees, and disadvantage individual students across other domains of life (e.g., financial literacy and active citizenship). Our ACDS-funded Diversity in Numbers (DiN) project seeks to evaluate a targeted, course-wide, just-in-time model for undergraduate development of QS. Digital numeracy modules will be designed to scaffold QS development through embedded interactive content and rich automated feedback.

Each module targets a core QS concept (e.g., statistical testing, unit conversions, mathematical relationships) and is framed around a published article relevant to unit content, to expand student awareness of numbers as a tool across diverse fields of science. Given the ongoing under-representation of women, LGBTIQA+ people and other minorities in STEM, the selection of journal articles aims to increase students' appreciation of diversity from many different viewpoints, while developing their QS. At a broader level, the project aims to address the ongoing lack of diversity among STEM graduates and within the STEM workforce by enabling students to "see themselves" within published research.

Here we will present the design of our research project to assess the success of our pilot DiN modules.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Elements contributing to strength-based practices for autistic students in schools: A scoping review

Jia White, Sarah McGarry, Marita Falkmer, Melissa Scott and Melissa H. Black
Curtin University
Email: jia.white@curtin.edu.au

Interventions for autistic students in school environments often have a deficit focus. There is a paucity of research on strength-based practices to leverage the strengths and interests that autistic students have to address their school-related needs. This scoping review explores and synthesises elements in the literature relating to strength-based practices for autistic students in schools. Electronic databases were searched for relevant literature reporting on interventions or programs with a 'strength-based' element or approach for autistic students in upper primary or high school. Through a narrative synthesis approach, themes are conceptualised in the Bioecological Model of Development to provide insights into elements contributing to the interactions between the context and the characteristics of individuals within strength-based practices. Sixteen articles were identified, with results conceptualised according to the Bioecological Model of Development. The identified elements included one personal (strengths and interests); six microsystem (specialised instructions, curriculum integration, curriculum differentiation, common interests with peers, reciprocal roles and adult involvement); three mesosystem (matching resources and activities, real-life learning experiences and benefiting all students); and three exosystem (cost-effective and timesaving, collaboration with colleagues and parents and teacher professional development). Findings highlight the interrelatedness of the elements contributing to strength-based practices for autistic students in inclusive school environments.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Understanding the integration of digital technologies into the educational practices of Western Australian Early Years Services

Sinead Wilson
Curtin University
Email: sinead.wilson@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

Young children interact with digital technologies in both their home and Early Years Services. However, there is limited research into digital technologies usage in Early Years Services, and specifically how children are given agency when using digital technologies in a safe and positive way. This exploratory study utilised a desktop audit, observations, and interviews to gain insight into what digital technologies young children are engaging with, and how digital technologies are being used more broadly across a purposeful sample of Early Years Services in Western Australia. The research employed an emerging Digital Technology Activity Framework for Early Years Services (DTAF) to guide data collection and analysis. Findings guided by the framework suggest that Early Years Services have more work to do in ensuring young children are given agency and are guided in constructive and positive ways when engaging with digital technologies.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Perceived discrimination as a threat to the mental health of Chinese international students in Australia

Jian Zhao, Elaine Chapman, Stephen Houghton and David Lawrence
The University of Western Australia
Email: 22645807@student.uwa.edu.au

Higher education students' mental health has received particular attention in recent times, especially against the backdrop created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, a brief instrument (the Mental Health Change Indicator Scale, MHCIS) was developed for use in assessing the impact of a negative event on mental health. The instrument was then used to compare the reported impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of Chinese university students studying either in China (n = 734) or Australia (n = 108). Perceived discrimination and social support were also evaluated as possible mediators of the relationship between country of residence (Australia vs China), and mental health impact. Results suggested that the 10-item MHCIS was unidimensional and psychometrically sound, and that the pandemic had a significantly (p < 0.001) more negative impact on the mental health of Chinese students studying in Australia than on those studying in China. Perceived discrimination was identified as a key mediating factor in this relationship. Possible implications for higher education institutions in Australia are discussed.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

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