Postgraduate Awards 2004


Dr Agnes Meerwald

Chineseness at the crossroads: Negotiations of Chineseness and the politics of liminality in diasporic Chinese women’s lives in Australia

PhD (Research) thesis, Murdoch University

Presentation Abstract

Agnes Meerwald Chineseness at the crossroads examines how diasporic Chinese women negotiate Chineseness in Australia. I deploy Homi Bhabha’s theory of liminality, the concept of being neither here nor there, to question essentialist notions of Chineseness in the women’s ambiguous experiences. It disrupts the binarisms that divide the old from the new, and recognises instead the past and present in new but familiar versions of Chineseness. I argue that essentialist Chinese norms are communicated through cultural semantics or fictions of Chineseness. I assert that liminality disrupts normalised Chineseness to expose the power structures that inform the cultural semantics. Awareness of these interdependent processes politicises the women.

In mirroring my theoretical framework, I use an autoethnographic technique to collapse the divide between the researcher and the researched, creating a liminal space between them. This subverts the norms of the researcher, as the archaeologist of knowledge, and the researched as passive artefacts. This methodological frame is a prism to examine the intersections of gender, sexuality, family, relationships, language, education, class, age, and religion with Chineseness in the lives of the 39 women interviewed. I outline this research, and critique current curriculum and pedagogical practices in English classrooms towards a more inclusive Australia.


Dr Glenda Raison

The impact of cooperative learning strategies on children with reading difficulties

PhD (Research) thesis, Curtin University of Technology

Presentation Abstract

Glenda RaisonThe aim of this research was to investigate ways assisting primary school students experiencing difficulties with reading to become effective readers in the context of their regular classroom. Grounded in sociocultural theories of learning and teaching, the study focused on the interpretation of the interconnectedness of students’ intrinsic motivation to read, their use of metacognitive reading practices and the need for students to feel included in the class community of readers. A variety of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis techniques were used within a modified action research design.

The main findings of the study were that cooperative learning strategies, explicit teaching about the nature of reading and the importance of discussions around texts were associated with positive changes in the students’ reading competence and their attitude to reading. The research resulted in the meaningful participation in reading of students in mainstream classes through the integration of sociocultural metacognitive, cognitive, and motivational aspects of reading instruction.

This alternative view of reading instruction supported by the research findings has the potential to influence reading pedagogy and reading intervention. As the impact of the theory, research and practices from a s ociocultural view of reading become more apparent, more effective instructional decisions can be made by teachers in classrooms.


Chris Hackett

Religious education curriculum innovation: Demands and formation needs of beginning secondary RE teachers

PhD (Research) thesis, The University of Notre Dame

Presentation Abstract

Chris Hackett Beginning religious education (RE) teachers were initially surveyed and a sample group was selected and interviewed. In the interview they were asked about their experiences of implementing a new draft RE program. What emerged were insights into the demands these teachers experienced of implementing the program. There also emerged a strong commitment to teaching RE that was buoyed by the teachers’ outlook towards the demands they experienced.

A second interview was arranged eighteen months later. Teachers were invited to reflect upon their experiences of teaching RE and its impact upon their professional and personal formation. Using qualitative analysis tools such as NUD*IST, findings emerged about the importance of the teachers’ own personal, spiritual and faith formation during this period.

This paper will reflect upon the usefulness of a longitudinal study. Not only does the data develop added layers of richness, but also a new dimension as participants reflected on their own journey between the successive interviews. This is argued to be one important benefit of longitudinal samples.


Dr Paul Swan

The computation choices made by students in years 5 to 7

PhD (Research) thesis, Edith Cowan University


Dr Vivienne Lawrence

Application of ADHD theory outside the laboratory: Children’s cognitive performance in real life context

PhD (Research) thesis, The University of Western Australia