Postgraduate Awards 2005

Dr Lesley Payne

School governance: Phases, participation and paradox

PhD (Research) thesis, Edith Cowan University

Presentation Abstract

Lesley Payne This research investigated school governance within particular school settings in order to gain some understanding of the ideologies and values behind how these schools came to have their present governance form s. It was a qualitative research project undertaken to analyse the governance structures and processes of thirteen independent primary schools in Perth, and one state primary school, with more in depth case studies undertaken at five sites with participants from different time periods. The results revealed several themes in the changes in governance over thirty years. The governance discourse today is primarily about development and efficiency. There are pressures on alternative schools to become more commercially oriented. The emphasis is away from parent involvement as schools began to envisage themselves less as communities and more as businesses. Conflict over values and principal ‘burnout’ and short tenure were identified as destabilising forces.

Very little research has been undertaken at the individual school level studying the dynamics of governance and change. This research did this, locating the themes and changes identified within the context of the global phenomena of restructuring and reform. It provides insights into important governance issues for those involved in governance in all schools and indicates how the roles and structures of governing bodies evolve and adapt.

Dr Gail Chittleborough

PhD (Research) thesis, Curtin University

Presentation Abstract

Gail Chittleborough Examining how students learn is not only looking at what they know but how they came to know what they know. In this way this research focused on the process of learning as well as the content of learning. This paper examines the educational research methodologies that were used in investigating both of these aspects of how students learn chemistry. Multiple research methodologies were adopted, including surveys, cross-sectional studies and naturalistic inquiries. A variety of both qualitative and quantitative data sources were used. The choice of data sources, the samples and the difficulties and limitations of the research methodology is discussed. The validity and reliability of the interpretive analysis is demonstrated with e xamples from the research into how students learn chemistry. While the research was focussed on particular research questions, the choice of methodology has some commonality with all research situations. The research process itself is a dynamic and developing process and the parallel between the process and content of learning is made to the process and content of research.

Dr Rachel Sarah Sheffield

PhD (Research) thesis, Edith Cowan University

Rachel SheffieldPresentation Abstract

This project examined Western Australian teachers’ professional learning experiences while participating in the CASSP program. The CASSP model is a professional development model that seeks to bring about sustained changes to teachers practice. The model comprises three components, professional development, curriculum resources and participative inquiry.

This project mapped the experiences of four teachers during the course of the CASSP program and used Hall and Hord (1987) and Dlamini, Rollnick & Bradley (2001) models to map changes to their concerns, understandings and practice. This study sought to determine how successful these teachers were in changing their practice, what concerns they experienced, and what impact the project had on their students. It also identified and documented those factors which impeded o r supported changes to teachers’ professional practice.

Mr William (Bill) Allen

PhD (Research) thesis, The University of Western Australia

Ms Sophie Lee

PhD (Research) thesis, The University of Notre Dame