Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Inc
ABN: 20 438 800 399

Sixth Annual Research Forum

30-31 August 1991
Claremont Campus, Edith Cowan University


FRIDAY, 30 AUGUST

5.00 - 6.00Registration
Wine and cheese
6.00 - 7.45Welcome:Len King, President WAIER

Opening:Phillip McKenzie, Senior Research Fellow, Australian Council for Educational Research

Forum Address/Panel Discussion: "Alternative views of research in education"


Glenda Campbell-Evans - "Seek first to understand and then to be understood"


Alison Lee - "Problems post-structuralist and feminist theories pose for educational research"


David Tripp - "Critical theory and educational research"


Chair: John Hall

Presentation of Awards: WAIER prizewinners:


- Early Career Award
- Institution Post Graduate Awards
7.45 - 9.30Forum Dinner

SATURDAY, 31 AUGUST

8.30-8.45 am.Registration
9.00-10.30 am.Concurrent Sessions (1, 2, 3)
10.30-11.00 am.MORNING TEA (Sponsored by ACER)
11.00-12.30 pm.Concurrent Sessions (4, 5, 6)
12.30-1.30 pm.LUNCH
1.30-2.30 pm.Concurrent Sessions (7, 8)
2.30-3.00 pm.Forum Review and Closure

FORUM ADDRESS/PANEL DISCUSSION

CHAIR:John Hall, Curtin University of Technology
PRESENTER:Glenda Campbell-Evans
INSTITUTION:Edith Cowan University
TITLE:Seek first to understand and then to be understood
ABSTRACT:

Qualitative research is an inclusive term; not a precise label. It refers to research which seeks to describe and understand social phenomena. Understanding of the particular, comes through describing and understanding the general, that is, the research context. Different research emphases, priorities, and purposes will shape the choices made from the available qualitative options. This-relationship between process and product is determined by the conditioning, the background and the purposes of the researcher.

These issues will be discussed within the framework of a recent research project which involved a group of primary school principals and academics. The project aimed to develop a description of effective administrative practice, based on the collective experience and knowledge of the group.

PRESENTER:Alison Lee
INSTITUTION:Murdoch University
TITLE:Problems post-structuralist and feminist theories pose for educational research
ABSTRACT:

Post-structuralist theory focuses on the centrality of language in the organisation of human experience. That is, there is no access to 'reality' which is not necessarily mediated through semiotic systems, the most powerful of which is language. For researchers drawing on poststructuralist concepts and methodologies, then, the crucial problem becomes REPRESENTATION. At issue in any research site are questions concerning what is represented as real, how it is represented, whose interests are served by particular representations, and what effects particular representations have on the construction of social relations and identities.

In this presentation I will briefly outline post-structuralist conceptualisations of the relationship between representation and social power with particular reference to problems of gender in education. I will exemplify some of the methodological issues arising from these conceptualisations through reference to my doctoral research into gender and school writing.

PRESENTER:David Tripp
INSTITUTION:Murdoch University
TITLE:Critical theory and educational research
ABSTRACT:

Beginning with a brief account of how the term critical theory originated, a case is made for talking about 'socially critical' rather than 'critical' research, and the following definition arrived at:

...socially-critical research in education is informed by the principles of social justice, both in terms of its own ways of working and in terms of its outcomes in and orientation to the community. It involves strategic pedagogic action on the part of classroom teachers, aimed at emancipation from overt and covert forms of domination. In practical terms, it is not simply a matter of challenging the existing practices of the system, but of seeking to understand what makes the system be the way it is, and challenging that, whilst remaining conscious that one's own sense of justice and equality are themselves open to question.
This is then elaborated in terms of five *ey features of socially-critical research (participation, direction, consciousness, constraints and outcomes) which produce collaborative ways of changing the conditions and outcomes of teaching-learning through the problematisation of taken-forgranted practices. The procedures of this kind of research are then demonstrated by an analysis of an entry in a teacher's journal.

WAIER 1990 EARLY CAREER AWARD WINNER

Simone Volet - Murdoch University

Simone is a lecturer in the School of Education at Murdoch University. She completed her PhD in 1989, and since then has begun very promising work in the area of adult learning, focusing on students' perceptions, motives and goals, and their relationship to the acquisition of knowledge and skills. She has already published extensively in the field, and her effective university teaching is coupled with a high level of professional activity.

Unfortunately, Simone is at a Conference in Scandinavia and is unable to present the forum address this year.

ABOUT THE AWARD

The aim of the RAIER Early Career Award is to recognize excellence early in a career and to encourage continuing contributions to research. The award is an incentive as well as an acknowledgement of early success, and it is hoped that the person receiving the award would proceed to complete further research of excellent quality.

The award is open to all presently enrolled postgraduate students, and anybody who has yet to complete three years following a Master's or Doctoral degree, and/or who would not be considered an established researcher.

A select committee of the executive of WAIER reviews nominations and selects a short list. The short list of nominees is then invited to submit evidence of their educational research.

HOW TO READ THE PROGRAMME

  1. Page 5 provides an overview of the various themes and all presenters.

  2. Pages 6, 7 and 8 detail the presentations by title and presenter for each time block:

    9.00 - 10.30 (Sessions 1, 2 and 3) 11.00 - 12.30 (Sessions 4, 5 and 6) 1.30 - 3.00 (Sessions 7 and 8)

  3. The abstracts begin on page 9, and are presented ALPHABETICALLY by the surname of the presenter.

WAIER RESEARCH FORUM : SATURDAY, 31ST AUGUST, 1991

TIMESESSIONROOM A223ROOM A220ROOM A210ROOM A209Conference Room


ADULT LEARNINGEDUCATIONAL POLICYPROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENTCLASSROOM RESEARCHMATHS AND SCIENCE EDUCATION
9:001RICHARD McKENNAGRAHAM DELLARROGER ATKINSONPETER TAYLORSUSAN STOCKLMAYER
9.302ALEX RADLOFF
JOANNE SAMSON
VICTOR SOUCEKLORRAINE McMASTERDORIT MAORGARY PEARS
10.003DENISE CHALMERSJANINA TROTMAN
SUSAN ROBERTSON
VAL KLENOWSKIANNE CHAPMANDIEDRA YOUNG
[cancelled]
TEA


TEACHER EDUCATIONGOVERNMENT POLICYTAFE/VOCATIONAL EDUCATIONRESEARCH METHODOLOGYLIBRARIES, COMPUTERS AND CHILDREN
11.004LEN VLAHOVANNA ALDERSON
LINDA BARKER
CLARE McBEATH
GEORGINA SHEPHERD
GARY PARTINGTONALISON GREGG
11.305KEN ALEXANDERROD CHADBOURNEDIANE WOODROGER LIEBMANNSUE TRINIDAD
12.006SUSAN CULLEN
LESLEY NEWHOUSE-MAIDEN

KATHRYN DIXONDAVID TRIPP
LUNCH


GENDER AND POST STRUCTURALISMOCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETYSCIENCE EDUCATIONAT RISK/ CULTURAL DIVERSITY
1.307WAYNE MARTINOPETER FORLINTONY FETHERSTONHAUGHDAVID EVANS
2.008JENNIFER NEVARDNIKKI ERRINGTONRODNEY THIELELINDA REHFELDT
2.309PHILLIP McKENZIE (ACER) WILL REVIEW THE FORUM. VENUE: LECTURE THEATRE

TITLEPRESENTER(S)ROOM
SESSION 1 - 9.00 am.
ANDRAGOGY, LEARNING APPROACH AND STUDENT PERFORMANCERichard McKennaA.223
EDUCATIONAL POLICY IMPLEMENTATION AS A PROCESS OF INTERACTIVE MODIFICATIONGraham DellarA.220
CONFERENCING TECHNOLOGIES FOR EDUCATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS : RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ISSUESRoger AtkinsonA.210
CLES : AN INSTRUMENT FOR MONITORING THE EVOLUTION OF CONSTRUCTIONIST CLASSROOM LEARNING ENVIRONMENTSPeter Taylor
Barry Fraser
A.209
IMAGES OF ELECTRICITY: A CURRENT PERSPECTIVESusan StocklmayerA.201
SESSION 2 - 9.30 am.
LITERACY: DOES A DEGREE MAKE A DIFFERENCEAlex Radloff
Joanne Samson
A.223
INTERPRETING PUBLIC POLICY : A TEXTUAL ANALYSIS APPROACH LINKING REGULATION AND COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE THEORYVictor SoucekA.220
GOVERNMENT PRINCIPLES AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FAAALorraine McMasterA.210
THE EFFECTIVENESS OF A COMPUTERISED CLA5SROOM ENVIRONMENTDorit MaorA.209
SUPPORT FOR SPEEDY (GW) REFORMATION OF SCIENCE TEACHER EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIAGary PearsA.201
SESSION 3 - 10.00 am
UNIVERSITY STUDENTS' STUDY STRATEGIES : IDENTIFYING ADJUSTMENTS ACROSS COURSES THROUGHOUT A SEMESTERDenise Chalmers
Simone Volet
A.223
FROM IVORY TOWER TO OUTWORK : THE POLITICS OF RESEARCH PRODUCTION IN ACADEMIAJanina Trotman
Susan Robertson
A.220
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR SELF EVALUATION: A SELF SUSTAINING PROCESSVal KlenowskiA.210
LANGUAGE AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF SCHOOL MATHEMATICSAnne ChapmanA.209
SCHOOL TYPE, SOCIO-EDUCATIONAL LEVEL AND ACHIEVEMENTDeidra YoungA.201
SESSION 4 - 11.00 am.
STUDENT AND EMPLOYER REACTIONS TO TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMMESLen VlahovA.223
SESDA, SSAB AND IETCs : IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAnna Alderson
Linda Barker
A.220
CURRICULUM DISSEMINATION: THE PILOT STUDYClare McBeath
Georgina Shepherd
A.210
PERSPECTIVES ON QUALITATIVE CLASSROOM RESEARCH : DO YOU REALLY KNOW OR JUST THINK YOU KNOW?Gary PartingtonA.209
THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN'S LIBRARIES IN WAAlison GreggA.201
SESSION 5 - 11.30 am.
FUTURE TEACHERS: TEACHING WITHOUT DIAGNOSIS, PRESCRIBING GENERALLY AND TREATING SIMILARLYKen AlexanderA.223
THE IMPLICATIONS OF AWARD RESTRUCTURING AND ENTERPRISE BARGAINING FOR THE EDUCATION INDUSTRYRod ChadbourneA.220
COMPUTER AIDED INSTRUCTION: A COMPARISON OF SOFTHARE PROGRAMS IN PATTERN GRADINGDiane WoodA.210
DEVELOPING A METHODOLOGY FOR STUDYING A TEACHER'S PUPIL MANAGEMENT SKILLS IN THE CLASSROOMRoger LiebmannA.209
YOUNG CHILDREN AND COMPUTERSSue TrinidadA.201
SESSION 6 - 12.00 noon
"I WASN'T AWARE UNTIL I WAS AWARE". TEACHING GENDER EQUITY TO SECOND YEAR EDUCATION STUDENTSSusan Cullen
Lesley Newhouse-Maiden
A.223
YOUTH POLICY FOR WHOM? [cancelled]David PyvisA.220
THE ATTITUDES OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STAFF AND STUDENTS TOWARDS THE VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMMEKathryn DixonA.210
CASE STUDY AND ACTION RESEARCHDavid TrippA.209
SESSION 7 - 1.30 pm.
POST-STRUCTURALISM - EXAMINING QUESTIONS OF GENDER IN THE ENGLISH CLASSROOMWayne MartinoA.223
RISK MANAGEMENT IN AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION: AN OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE PERSPECTIVEPeter ForlinA.220
USING KELLY'S REPERTORY GRID TO ELICIT STUDENTS' CONSTRUCTS REGARDING WATERTony FetherstonhaughA.210
STUDENTS AT-RISK: A PROGRAMME OF RESEARCHDavid EvansA.209
SESSION 8 - 2.00 pm.
GIRLS SPEAKING UPJennifer NevardA.223
A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF BACK PAIN IN TWO OCCUPATIONAL GROUPS, TEACHING AND NURSINGNikki ErringtonA.220
ANALOGIES IN SECONDARY CHEMISTRY EDUCATION TEXTBOOKS: THE AUTHOR'S VIEWRodney ThieleA.210
CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN COURSE PERCEP TIONLinda RehfeldtA.209
SESSION 9 - 2.30 pm.
FORUM REVIEWPhillip McKenzieLecture Theatre

SESDA, SSAB AND IETCs: IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH & EDUCATION
PresenterS:Anna ALDERSON and Linda BARKER
Institutions:Institutions: Meerilinga Young Children's Foundation, Inc.

"With the establishment of the State Employment and Skills Development Authority (SESDA), Western Australia now has a co-ordinated tripartite approach to the skills formation issues crucial to our future economic prosperity and quality of life ...

The SESDA network comprises:

Co-operation and communication between these three elements of SESDA is vital to its success. I encourage all employers, employees, their organisations and people throughout the community to read this pamphlet and ensure their participation and involvement in the SESDA reform."

Harvey McLeod
Chairman, SESDA

SESDA has the potential for spawning a whole new industry which will focus on the identification of skills, skills formation, and skills competency assessment. What are the implications for researchers, educators and learners? Will concentrating on "skills competency" lead to a narrower view of learning? Will this be the death knell for liberal education? What contribution can educational research make to the SESDA reform? What impact will such a reform have in schools, in TAFE and in Universities?

This presentation is seen as an opportunity to explore the issues. The presenters will provide a brief background of SESDA and its development to date, and suggest possible implications for research and education. Debate is anticipated and welcomed.

FUTURE TEACHERS: TEACHING WITHOUT DIAGNOSIS, PRESCRIBING GENERALLY AND TREATING SIMILARLY
Presenter:Ken ALEXANDER
Institution:Victoria College

This study examined the effect of a series of interventions consisting of selected instructional strategies and verbal and graphic feedback upon the several teaching behaviours of third year preservice teachers. A multiple baseline design across subjects was employed to examine the effects of the intervention in changing student teacher behaviour, and also the effect of this change upon pupil behaviour. An examination of the dependent variables showed that there was a functional relationship between teacher organisation of lesson time, increases in the targeted academic behaviours (predominantly motor appropriate), and decreases in certain social behaviours of the pupils in all three classes investigated. There was little inter-pupil variability in the dependent variables regardless of the amount of motor engagement, the content of the lesson, the gender of the pupil, or the pupils' approach tendencies toward physical education. This suggests that the student teachers in this study eschewed diagnosis, prescribed generally, and treated similarly the individual students in their classes.

CONFERENCING TECHNOLOGIES FOR EDUCATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS: RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ISSUES
Presenter:Roger ATKINSON
Institution:Murdoch University

Conferencing technologies or telematics provide interactive telecommunications in which both the teacher or presenter and the remote class have use of the same media capabilities, in contrast to radio and television broadcasting which provide no capabilities for communications from students. The conferencing technologies include audio only teleconferencing, audiographic teleconferencing, video conferencing and computer conferencing. This presentation describes these technologies and identifies some important requirements for research and development in NA.

The target groups for educational applications of the conferencing technologies include:

Whilst the primary and secondary sector applications are mainly for isolated children and small rural schools, in tertiary and professional continuing education, there is a broader target group, including persons living in metropolitan and regional centres. Most of the issues relate to all of these groups.
  1. Technological issues These concern the design of systems using "off the shelf" components and the sharing of resources with other users and with other functions, in order to reduce costs:

  2. Instructional design issues including:

  3. Curriculum issues interact with technological and instructional design issues. For example:

THE IMPLICATIONS OF AWARD RESTRUCTURING AND ENTERPRISE BARGAINING FOR THE EDUCATION INDUSTRY
Presenter:Rod CHADBOURNE
Institution:Edith Cowan University

Over the past five years, educational reform has increasingly become driven by developments in the domain of industrial relations.

Within that domain, a struggle for control is being waged between the proponents of award restructuring and enterprise bargaining. Both approaches seek to increase productivity within the education industry, but adopt different strategies: award restructuring works within a centralised system of industrial relations whereas enterprise bargaining is designed to dismantle system-wide awards and the Union's right to exclusive coverage of teachers' working conditions.

A month ago I spent 14 days in the Eastern States interviewing representatives of employers and employees in both government and non-government schools. The objective of that exercise was to find out what award restructuring and enterprise bargaining means in practice: that is, what experience has shown to be the possibilities, constraints and issues.

At this forum the findings of a preliminary analysis of these interviews will be presented for discussion, with the spotlight focusing on the jewel in the award restructuring crown - the AST initiative.

UNIVERSITY STUDENTS' STUDY STRATEGIES: IDENTIFYING ADJUSTMENTS ACROSS COURSES THROUGHOUT A SEMESTER
Presenters:Denise CHALMERS and Simone VOLET
Institutions:Edith Cowan University and Murdoch University

Previous research on university students typically require the students to indicate their perceptions, gaols and study strategies based on non-course specific questionnaires administered on one occasion. The results from these studies assume that these remain stable for each learner, however, Volet (1988) found students enrolled in one unit adjusted their gaols throughout the semester depending not only on personal factors but also on course demands. This would indicate that students may not fall neatly into stable categories of learners. This study investigates students' adjustments to their perceptions and goals according to the demands of different courses and over the duration of the semester, and the ways in which students' study strategies reflect these adjustments. Twenty eight students enrolled in an introductory economics course were interviewed on three occasions throughout a semester on their perceptions, goals and study strategies or each of their enrolled courses. The preliminary results of this study are reported.

LANGUAGE AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF SCHOOL MATHEMATICS
Presenter:Anne CHAPMAN
Institution:Murdoch University

The role of language in the mathematics classroom is, as ever, problematic. Mathematics has been variously described as a language, as like language and as having its own languages. In any case, it is difficult to describe language and mathematics as unrelated phenomena of the mathematics classroom. Teachers and learners of mathematics make use of language. They talk, read and write to construct and share mathematical meanings. Language is fundamental to social interaction, to communication and to learning. It is hard to imagine a mathematics lesson that does not make use of language in some way.

This presentation outlines an ongoing research project concerning ways in which language is used to construct shared meanings in mathematics classrooms. It develops the theme that teachers and students are continually working towards the use of 'proper' mathematical language and, at the same time, constructing mathematical meanings. The theoretical framework and the analytic techniques draw heavily on social semiotics.

As an example of the kinds of analysis that are being undertaken in the study, a transcript of a Year 9 'mental arithmetic' session has been analysed. The analysis is in two parts. The first part examines a particular feature of formal school mathematical discourse; its minimal amount of 'metaphorical' content. The second part examines ways in which the teacher's language establishes mathematical knowledge. The methods of analysis and the initial findings will be discussed in this presentation.

"I WASN'T AWARE UNTIL I WAS AWARE": TEACHING GENDER EQUITY TO SECOND YEAR EDUCATION STUDENTS
Presenters:Susan CULLEN and Lesley NEWHOUSE-MAIDEN
Institution:Edith Cowan University

Using an action research model, the presenters investigated the efficacy of a pre-service module related to gender inequity in the school and classroom. The major aim was to develop an awareness of cultural gender expectations and the resulting impact on the education and future life chances of pupils, particularly girls.

Findings: Students initially held stereotypic attitudes towards the roles of men and women in society. There was active antagonism displayed by some men and women pursuing purportedly masculine disciplines. A final activity related to career guidance indicated a general shift in beliefs about the occupational roles of men and women. The majority of students (85%) reported actively utilising module material in their attempt to create more equitable classrooms on teaching practice.

EDUCATIONAL POLICY IMPLEMENTATION AS A PROCESS OF "INTERACTIVE MODIFICATION"
Presenter:Graham DELLAR
Institution:Edith Cowan University

Over the last decade many Central Education Authorities in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the United States have embarked on a process to devolve decision-making and to establish school based management within their respective schooling systems. While a range of rationales for such change have been offered, the manner in which Central Authorities have initiated change has been similar. Generally, the adoption and implementation of these policies has been mandated. This "top down" approach in pursuit of 'bottom up" restructuring objectives appears to be fraught with problems. Indeed the responses from school-level personnel has ranged from reluctant adoption through resistance to subversion and industrial action. Many of these difficulties in affecting policy implementation appear to stem from a poorly conceived or non-existent plans for the management of the restructuring. Critically this indicates a lack of understanding about the nature of the change process itself by those with the responsibility for formulating the policies and implementing change. The purpose of this paper is threefold. Firstly, to briefly review the major research studies on innovation and change during 1970's and 1980's and identify key findings concerning the process of policy implementation. Secondly, to report on specific outcomes of a three year empirical study concerning the process policy implementation in three Western Australian Secondary Schools. And thirdly to suggest an alternative way to view the dynamic nature of the policy implementation process. It is proposed that a shift in the way the change process is viewed will promote a better understanding of complexities of change and lead to more sensitive and informed actions by both policy makers and implementers alike.

THE ATTITUDES OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STAFF AND STUDENTS TOWARDS THE VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
Presenter:Kathryn DIXON
Institution:Edith Cowan University

The main purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of the staff and students at a Western Australian Senior High School towards the Vocational Education program, through examining the factors affecting the development of those attitudes and the factors affecting the implementation of the program. The theoretical base of the study drew on the theories 'of attitude formation proposed by Fishbein (1963) who believed a close relationship between individual belief systems and attitude formation exists.

The Research Questions

What are the attitudes of the staff and students at the school towards Vocational Education?
What factors have affected the attitudes of staff and students towards Vocational Education at Garwick Senior High School?
What factors have affected the implementation of the program at the school?

The research was descriptive in nature. The staff and students were asked to complete a questionnaire and were formally interviewed. A measure of the non-verbal behaviour of staff and students during the study was also undertaken using a five point scale from negative to positive.

The main findings of the study showed that the majority of staff and students had developed negative attitudes towards Vocational Education. They believed that the course lacked rigour and that significant others such as peers, parents, students and the Western Australian Ministry of Education did not esteem Vocational Education. No needs analysis was conducted prior to the introduction of the course and staff were given no choice as to their involvement in teaching the units. Staff believed they were inadequately trained in the Vocational Education area and this lead to low levels of confidence when teaching the course.

The research question was investigated in terms of eight variables: individual attitudes towards Vocational Education; perception of the attitudes of significant others towards Vocational Education; course structure; responses to resources and equipment; level of choice with regards to involvement in Vocational Education; degree of ownership of the course; level of involvement in decision making; and inservicing availability. With the exception of variable four: response to resources and equipment, the response by staff and students to questionnaire and interview items related to the remaining variables were negative.

A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF BACK PAIN IN TWO OCCUPATIONAL GROUPS, TEACHING AND NURSING
Presenter:Nikki ERRINGTON
Institution:Curtin University of Technology

It is supposed that certain occupational groups are at risk to back pain. Teachers and nurses are subject to different occupational stressors. The frequency of moderate to severe back pain and its consequences in terms of disability, duration, work time lost, cost to the community is greater than any single disease. A cross sectional study was used to examine the frequency and pattern of back pain in these two occupational groups, teachers and nurses. The cumulative incidence of back pain sufficiently severe to cause absence from work of change in duties was ascertained by the administration of a 55 item questionnaire to a random sample of 500 teachers and 500 nurses.

Preliminary data analysis revealed that the two occupational groups reported the distribution of back pain in different regions of the body. Teachers who indicated back pain, reported that their back pain was in the lumbo-sacral region, the upper thoracic and interscapular regions. Whereas nurses reported most of the pain in the lumbo-sacral and cervical regions. Most teachers indicated that prolonged standing, bending over students desks, and prolonged sitting on inadequately designed chairs greatly contributed to their back pain. Nurses attributed their back pain to bending, twisting and lifting and prolonged standing and walking. Teachers and nurses both indicated that their back pain became worse in times of stress and fatigue. Analyses of the prevalence of back pain in occupational grouped at risk is an essential pre-requisite to investigating back pain in industry.

STUDENTS AT-RISK: A PROGRAMME OF RESEARCH
Presenter:David EVANS
Institution:Edith Cowan University

Over the past decade primary schools have catered for an increasing diversity in student academic, social and physical behaviour. This diversity has challenged our schools to educate all students in an appropriate and efficient manner, in particular, how to educate students who have a high probability of failing in our schools. That is, students who must learn in the presence of: (a) handicapping conditions (e.g., learning disabilities, physical disabilities), (b) disadvantaged status (e.g., low socio-economic status, cultural differences, dysfunctional families, or (c) problematic learning histories (e.g., learning failures, delinquent behaviour).

This paper will discuss a developing programme of research that focuses on instructional issues that promote appropriate and efficient education of all students, particularly those identified at-risk. Discussion will include results of on-going research, and highlight proposed directions of research regarding students at-risk. Current research includes (a) a co-operative project between the Western Australian Ministry of Education school district and Edith Cowan University surveying teacher perceptions of students at-risk (b) a pilot project identifying teaching behaviours exhibited by primary school teachers who have been identified by their peers as catering effectively for students at-risk, and (c) the influence of interactive video disc on teacher behaviours. Proposed research includes (a) how teaching behaviours, identified as being effective in catering for students at-risk can be promoted in primary school classrooms, (b) and the use of technology in assisting teachers cater for students at-risk.

USING KELLY'S REPERTORY GRID TO ELICIT STUDENTS' CONSTRUCTS REGARDING WATER
Presenter:Tony FETHERSTONHAUGH
Institution:Edith Cowan University

In this session, a short explanation of Personal Construct Psychology, and repertory grid technique will be presented. This will be followed by a brief look at analysis techniques of repertory grid data using results from a study conducted by the author. The session will conclude with an examination of the implications of the results for science teaching.

The Study

In this study a repertory grid technique was used to elicit constructs that a group of 16 year old students held regarding water. The technique elicited constructs which were a representative sample of the students' personal knowledge regarding the elements in question. Students were asked to make comparisons between 6 elements - River, Lake, Ocean, Groundwater, Run Off and Rain. Constructs were elicited in a triadic fashion with 10 random comparisons being made between the elements.

No student could generate more than 9 unique constructs that would be used to distinguish between the elements and it was found that very few of the constructs elicited would fall into the category of learnt school science constructs. This supports the contention that teaching in science has very little impact upon students' own ideas.

RISK MANAGEMENT IN AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION: AN OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE PERSPECTIVE
Presenter:Peter R FORLIN
Institution:University of Western Australia

The attitudes of educators towards risk are strongly influenced by their understanding of the processes involved. Yet despite the importance of this aspect of education comparatively little is known, by Australian administrators and educators, about the legal provisions related to risk. Teachers operate in environments where accidents can and do occur. Science educators, in particular, must address the long term problems of chemical exposure, toxic effects and allergic reactions, amongst others.

This paper addresses two important issues. The first is the consideration of a regulatory framework for risk management in education, accepting that the concept of "no risk" is unattainable. Secondly, the legal provisions for risk management in chemical education will be presented comprising an analysis of Australian Health and Safety legislation (as one important aspect of the general legal provisions related to risk in education) including the relevant landmark judicial decisions. The presentation will be aimed at interpreting and understanding the legal requirements for educators under Australian law.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN'S LIBRARIES IN W.A.
Presenter:Alison GREGG
Institution:University of Western Australia

In June 1945, there were no free lending libraries for children in WA, and school libraries consisted often of not much more than a handful of books at the back of the classroom. By June 1965, free public libraries with extensive children's sections were well established, and the Education Department boasted a Library Services Branch under its own Superintendent. What had caused such a turnaround in community attitudes and government interest?

This paper looks at the Free Library movement of the 1930'8, the New Education Fellowship Conference held in Australia in 1937, and the climate of change that created awareness of the need for education for democracy and international understanding. In WA, the cause of children's libraries was taken up by community leaders such as Catherine and Alec King, Mary Williams, Phyllis Wild, Paul Buddee and John Clements. The Children's Book Council was one result of their efforts; the campaign for a Library Board Act another.

But, alongside lobbyists who worked hard to change the system, there were also many individual parents and citizens who simply set about establishing a children's library in their own district. Phyllis Wild did this in South Perth, Olive Thomson in Katanning, Jean Lang in Cottesloe - and there were many others. This research seeks to trace the development of these early children's libraries, and to find out why and how they came to be established.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR SELF EVALUATION: A SELF SUSTAINING PROCESS
Presenter:Val KLENOWSKI
Institution:Ministry of Education

This paper provides an evaluation of a professional development training program which focuses on the development of skills for self-evaluation and school development review in the context of local, school and system accountability. The evaluation sought answers from participants, presenter and observers to questions pertaining to relevance and value of the learning experience, skill acquisition, understanding of the self evaluation process and the feasibility of its institutionalisation.

The rationale which drives the program is one which values and respects the need for the collective professional development of teachers, school administrators, school district personnel and superintendents. The importance of establishing interdependent relationships to harness the collective capacity for responding to new challenges, managing and institutionalising the change, is discussed in the evaluation and considered in the retrospective account of the program. Case study methodology has been utilised and material gained from interviews, surveys, video recordings, document and report analyses, raise vital questions concerning the development of collegiality, the role of critique and exhibitions of learning in the development of the self evaluation process.

DEVELOPING A METHODOLOGY FOR STUDYING A TEACHER'S PUPIL MANAGEMENT SKILLS IN THE CLASSROOM
Presenter:Roger A LIEBMANN
Institution:Curtin University of Technology

This paper will consider methodological aspects of a study of beginning teachers' pupil management skills in three stages from the pedagogical laboratory through teaching practice to the professional classroom in the induction year.

This study is conducted within the epistemological framework of a disciplined inquiry which reflects the stance that the wide spectrum of interrelated influences that structure the social situation in the classroom revolving around the management of pupil behaviour make it inappropriate to take only the narrow view required by traditional 'scientific' research methods (Gibson, 1960).

It is further held that as much of the relevant data involved in the performance of the skill of pupil management in the classroom as is practicable should be gathered using both quantitative and qualitative methods for triangulation.

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF A COMPUTERISED CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT
Presenter:Dorit MAOR
Institution:Curtin University of Technology

The purpose of the session is to discuss a study which uses an "interpretive" research methodology together with quantitative data to investigate how students developed inquiry skills using a computerised research database (Birds of Antarctica) and specially designed curriculum material.

The theoretical framework of the study is based on a constructivist epistemology. An interpretive inquiry research methodology was employed to interpret students' and teachers' engagement in sense making, and negotiating meaning. The results of a test of inquiry skills provided supportive data which helped to answer the main research question of how students develop inquiry skills.

An increase in students' levels of thinking and the use of higher-level inquiry skills occurred mainly in classes where discussions and negotiations of meaning became an integral part of the learning processes. In these classes, students were able to generate higher-level questions and design complex investigations while interacting with the database. These classes also were characterised by significant gains in achievement as measured by the inquiry skills tests.

POST STRUCTURALISM - EXAMINING QUESTIONS OF GENDER IN THE ENGLISH CLASSROOM
Presenter:Wayne MARTINO
Institution:St Brigid's College

This paper is based on research into gendered reading practices and focuses on reader positioning in relation to texts. The paper explores how readers' positions in gendered discourses lead boys and girls to produce differential readings of the characters inscribed in the test.

Consequently, subject English is reconceptualised as cultural politics - as a socio-political and cultural site involving the nexus of powerful social relations and questions of ideology in their capacity to affect students' ability to produce particular meanings and to adopt certain positions in discourses. It is within this post-structuralist framework that the notion of subjectivity and gendered performance in subject English are located.

CURRICULUM DISSEMINATION: THE PILOT STUDY
Presenters:Clare McBEATH and
Georgina SHEPHERD
Institution:Curtin University of Technology
Office of TAFE

A pilot study was conducted into the area of curriculum dissemination in the TAFE sector, whereby twenty teachers and curriculum officers were interviewed regarding their experiences in dealing with new or revised courses introduced in their respective areas of teaching. Four new or revised courses were studied, representing a range of levels and types of study programmes typical in TAFE teaching.

The following definition was given to the interviewees.

Curriculum dissemination is the process of informing teachers about a new curriculum so that they understand and accept it before they have to use it. It might include strategies such as involving teachers in development, potential users participating in trials, staff development activities or formal marketing strategies.
The interviews confirmed that it is impossible to isolate a discrete process of dissemination. Neither teachers nor curriculum officers interpreted it as a single step in the development process, but rather as the system of communication throughout the whole process. Teachers grappling with the concepts of understanding and accepting, saw it in exactly those terms, and did not distinguish between any particular stages or strategies used.

The most complex and frustrating project proved to be the revised Associate Diploma in electronic engineering. This was also the largest, involving a larger number of people at both the coordination, development and user levels than the other three. It was also the hardest of the four to understand, in the sense that it was difficult to obtain a clear and consistent picture of what had happened even after six people had been interviewed. The Clothing Studies Certificate suffered from a number of similar negative factors and half of those interviewed were critical and unhappy, depending on the part they played in the development and dissemination process. The factors affecting the lack of success of the dissemination process in these two projects have been identified and will be discussed in the paper.

The most successful programme, a new apprenticeship in Screenprinting and Stencil Preparation and three of the new Traineeship courses were much smaller, in terms of the people involved in the development and implementation, as well as the size and length of the courses. In these cases the dissemination was easier, although not always without problems Both successful and unsuccessful factors affecting dissemination have been identified from these two development projects.

From the identified factors a questionnaire will be developed for a further study of the factors affecting the dissemination process in TAFE.

ANDRAGOGY, LEARNING APPROACH AND STUDENT PERFORMANCE
Presenter:Richard J McKENNA
Institution:Edith Cowan University

This paper presents data which suggest that "academically" weaker students achieved better results in a third year experiential course, and particularly in one aspect of it, than did their stronger peers. Evaluation of this conclusion in the context of our knowledge of approaches to learning suggests that the andragogy of this course is more appropriate than that used in other courses in the degree programme, and that the teaching methodology most widely used in business programmes contributes to (or even causes) the poor results achieved by many students.

A student approaches a learning situation with a particular orientation. The orientation is influenced by the learning context. Both meaning and strategic orientations can lead to successful learning, in real terms and as measured by academic assessment. The learning context is shaped by both lecturer characteristic and the institutional context. Both lecturers and institutions have conceptions of teaching. When these are inappropriate, the learning context discourages a meaning orientation and encourages either a surface approach or a strategic orientation focussed on institutional requirements rather than on meaningful learning. It is proposed that the learning contexts of schools of business are inappropriate.

A second body of research suggests that the learning styles of business students may fit into the Kolb categories of Accommodator, Diverger, and Converger. In contrast, the institutional context of the typical Bachelor of Business course appears to be presaged on a conception of teaching more appropriate for Assimilators and with a next best match with the Converger. The structure and presentation of the experiential course was far more appropriate for Divergers and Accommodators than the methodology used in most courses in the degree programme. If the research evidence is applicable to the current study, then the standard teaching methodology is inappropriate for the learning styles of many students.

Teaching strategies within Schools of Business are working against our mission and objectives, and the standard measures of performance are poor indicators of student learning. Business schools should develop learning contexts which are appropriate to the varied learning styles of their students.

GOVERNMENT PRINCIPALS AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FAAA
Presenter:Lorraine McMASTER
Institution:Edith Cowan University

With the introduction of the "Better Schools Report", Western Australia has moved from being one of the most highly centralised school systems in Australia to one of the most decentralised. This has occurred in the context of major government shifts towards increased fiscal accountability for the public sector through the Financial Accountability and Audit Act (FAAA).

Recent questions in Parliament suggest that the Ministry of Education itself has not yet come to terms with the implications of the FAA Act and this appear to be the case with senior school administration staff. There is growing concern that senior school staff do not have the knowledge and skills available to comply with the FAA Act.

This study comprised a questionnaire that was mailed to principals of all Western Australian government schools. The questionnaire was designed to obtain information on principals' educational experiences and relevant formal study, perceptions of their understanding of certain accounting procedures and their implementation of these procedures, their perceptions of current and future provisions to meet requirements for complying with the FAA Act and an invitation to make general comments pertaining to the study.

The findings indicate that there is an urgent need for many principals and senior school administrators to be educated in areas pertaining to their stewardship, with particular reference to the FAA Act.

Financial authority and responsibility is vested in the principalship and indications are that many principals are at risk in their undertaking of those responsibilities.

GIRLS SPEAKING UP
Presenter:Jennifer NEVARD
Institution:TAFE

This research has consisted of taping twelve individual interviews with fourteen year old girls. They were questioned about their interests and activities out of school, their reading habits, and their responses to a particular short story, "Who's Sylvia Wutherspoon?" (Robin Klein, 1985). The girls were identified from two contrasting schools via their reading backgrounds. Six girls came from a government school where the feeder population consists of low socio economic groups. The other six girls attended a co-educational church school representing a more privileged feeder population. Twelve girls who had borrowed a book by Robin Klein or said they had read a book by Robin Klein were invited to participate.

Two separate group discussions were taped as well. Five additional representatives from each school were asked to participate in a discussion with girls from their school. The topics for discussion followed along similar lines to the individual interviews.

I have used a post-structural technique to draw together a number of ways of interpreting what may be occurring as girls think and talk about themselves in response to a variety of social texts. Constructing one's "reality" or identity is an on-going process which is neither neutral nor equitable. The way the self is constructed occurs in relation to how language carries the meanings of any society and how any individual therefore uses language to express meanings about the self. A variety of feminist perspectives which indicate ways women and girls are socialised into positions of exclusion or marginalisation have been produced over the last twenty years. I wished to analyse the girls' talk to look for ways girls saw themselves as included, or where they resisted "dominant" messages that otherwise may have excluded them. I am looking for particular texts and contexts that foster inclusion of girls and I wish to apply that knowledge to classroom strategies.

PERSPECTIVES ON QUALITATIVE CLASSROOM RESEARCH: DO YOU REALLY KNOW OR DO YOU JUST THINK YOU KNOW?
Presenter:Gary PARTINGTON
Institution:Edith Cowan University

The apparent concreteness of "hard" data in the quantitative approaches to educational research can give the qualitative researcher headaches when he or she contemplates issues of validity and generalisability arising from the collection of data from single cases or small samples. But the problem goes beyond this, because the interpretation of data is grounded in the theoretical perspective which the researcher brings to the task. These interpretations, and the view of the research context itself, vary according to these perspectives.

In research into children's perceptions of classroom events, the truth value of their answers and the range of possible interpretations that can be placed on them, depend upon the theory on which the research is grounded. The different theoretical perspectives and their implications will be discussed in this paper.

SUPPORT FOR A SPEEDY (G.W.) REFORMATION OF SCIENCE TEACHER EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIA
Presenter:Gary G PEARS
Institution:Curtin University of Technology

This paper reports in brief, the interim findings of a pilot study comparing second year teacher trainees (N's 137) and year seven (7) primary school studenta (N's 90). Dependant variables included:

  1. content and concept mastery of elements of the year six (6) Science Syllabus (WA) and

  2. relative quality of cognition as measured by the Structure Of the Learning Outcome (S.O.L.O.) Taxonomy (Biggs & Collis; 1982).
The rationale and design of this investigation is part of a larger PhD research enterprise being undertaken by the author.

Analysis of the data revealed no significant difference between the cohorts in either content/concept mastery or the quality of the cognition employed in developing the question responses.

Moreover, when the means were ranked according to the SOLO's Taxonomic Scale, the results revealed that both cohorts fell into the Uni-Structural Category, eg:

placing them at the following relative levels of competency:
  1. chronological development - 7-9 years, and
  2. grade level - between years 2-4
The results support previous research findings on Teacher competence and confidence in the Teaching of Science while highlighting the discrepancies that exist between educational ideals and the quality of the medium (teachers) used to achieve such ideals.

Further, the results suggest that specific diagnosis and intervention at both the pre and in-service levels of teacher training is urgently required.

Research has shown that teachers are central to classrooms (Goodlad 1984). If it is indeed true that their quality and effectiveness does make a difference to the quality of student outcomes generally and in the development of Science and Technology in particular including critical thinking, enquiry and creative production - then, Tertiary Institutions and Ministries of Education must implement the recommendations of the Discipline Review Teacher Education in Maths and Science Australia ... Speedily.

DOES A DEGREE MAKE A DIFFERENCE? A COMPARISON BETWEEN PRE SERVICE AND DIPLOMA OF EDUCATION STUDENTS
Presenter:Alex RADLOFF and Joanne SAMSON
Institution:Curtin University of Technology

For a number of years the Faculty of Education has been concerned about the literacy competence of incoming students. This concern arises from the kinds of difficulties which students experience with academic demands. The Faculty is also aware of its responsibility to contribute to the literacy skills of future teachers. The current focus on teacher quality and the increasing pressures within the teaching profession further underline the importance of good communication skills.

Since 1988, the Faculty has conducted an annual literacy testing programme with pre-service students in order to identify their particular needs. The test consists of the ACER English Test Part 1 (ESA) and a 350-word essay on a set topic. The results of the test have been used to identify students who might benefit from a specific intervention programme. The data also provides the basis for a variety of intervention strategies aimed at improving general literacy skills for all students.

Involvement in the literacy programme has made us wonder whether the experience of tertiary study per se and personal development, independent of specific intervention, would lead to enhanced literacy competence. Therefore in 1991 we included Graduate Diploma students in the testing programme. The scores of the pre-service students, ECE, Primary, Secondary (N = 168) and the Dip. Ed. students, Primary, Secondary (N = 66) were compared. No significant differences on the ESA scores were found. However, there were differences in several aspects of essay writing when a detailed qualitative analysis was done.

The implications of these findings for an understanding of the different needs of the two groups of teacher trainees are discussed. We also consider the possible influence of additional variables, such as age, type of degree, and knowledge of writing at tertiary level on student performance. Finally, we make some suggestions about how to assist students to write more effectively.

CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN COURSE PERCEPTION
Presenter:Linda REHFELDT
Institution:Curtin University of Technology

Australia has increasingly recognised the value of having Asian students on Australian campuses: they contribute to good relations between our country and other; they expose Australian and other students to new cultures, and they provide economic support to many institutions of higher education.

This paper focuses on the need to establish the cross cultural validity of measuring instruments and in particular, discusses the appropriateness of the Ramsden Course Perception Questionnaire as a screening instrument for use with overseas students.

The CPQ was administered to a sample of 786 students in two diverse divisions in one West Australian University. The resultant two factor structures of the CPQ were reasonably consistent with those obtained elsewhere and seemed to be stable across educational systems.

The findings indicate, that the variables of particular importance are those that focus on students perception of what constitutes good teaching, social climate, openness to students, formal teaching methods and the vocational relevance of their courses. These findings are evaluated and integrated with previous findings in this area.

INTERPRETING PUBLIC POLICY: A TEXTUAL ANALYSIS APPROACH THROUGH LINKING REGULATION THEORY AND THE THEORY OF COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE
Presenter:Victor SOUCEK
Institution:Curtin University of Technology

This paper will argue that public policy formation, and therefore any policy document, cannot be properly understood without identifying the relevant structural determinants of the process of policy formation, without taking into account the political terrain on which the plurality of class, factions, or fractions of interests come into play competing with one another (all of which constitute the human agency factor), and without adequate interpreting or reconstructing, the strategies adopted by respective human agencies in pursuing their aims.

This paper will, therefore, attempt to link the Regulation Theory approach to the crucial issue of capital accumulation, the state theory perspective that views the state as a central factor in providing social cohesion in an essentially class-divided society, and the discourse analysis approach. It will thus aim to provide a fluid and organically interrelated understanding of distinct moments in the spheres of economy, politics, and societal discourse.

The paper will have three distinct sections. The first section will be concerned with the nature of the capitalist state, and with the role the state plays in the process of capital accumulation. It will specifically look at the issue of periodization of the capitalist development (i.e. liberal, Fordist, and post-Fordist accumulation regimes), and at what consequences flow from such periodization for the role of the state in the overall scheme of maintaining congruous conditions for capital accumulation.

The second section will deal with the production rules of public policy, especially in relation to the changing conditions of capital accumulation. Two types of shifts in the production rules of public policy will be identified: organic and conjunctural. The paper will further argue that the current restructuring of the Public Sector represents a conjunctural shift in the production rules of public policy.

Finally, the paper will aim to provide a theoretical framework for a textual analysis of policy documents. In this it will draw on the theory of communicative competence developed by Habermas.

IMAGES OF ELECTRICITY: A CURRENT PERSPECTIVE
Presenter:Susan M STOCKLMAYER
Institution:Curtin University of Technology

Problems inherent in the teaching of electricity are well documented. Much research has been done in schools on the use of analogies and on children's ideas of basic concepts in electricity. This presentation will review recent research, and survey textbook treatments of electrical circuitry. Some possible new directions for future research will be discussed.

CLES: AN INSTRUMENT FOR MONITORING THE EVOLUTION OF CONSTRUCTIVIST CLASSROOM LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
Presenter:Peter TAYLOR and Barry FRASER
Institution:Curtin University of Technology

Within the field of classroom learning environment research, a new instrument is being developed to assist teachers of secondary school science and mathematics with monitoring changes to the epistemological basis of their pedagogiea. The new instrument, The Constructivist Learning Environment Survey (CLES), has been designed to enable teacher researchers to monitor the impact on the perceptions of their students of student-centred instructional innovations. The 28-item instrument comprises four scales which have been designed to measure important aspects of a constructivist learning environment. The scales are called Autonomy, Prior Knowledge, Negotiation, and Student-Centredness.

The purpose of this session is to facilitate discussion about the theory of constructivism that underpins the development of the instrument, especially in relation to the four scales that embody the main operational criteria of constructivism. The discussion will provide a valuable contribution to the development of CLES.

ANALOGIES IN SECONDARY CHEMISTRY EDUCATION TEXTBOOKS: THE AUTHORS' VIEWS
Presenter:Rodney B THIELE
Institution:Curtin University of Technology

Recent studies in chemistry education have indicated that analogies are occasionally included in chemistry textbooks in an attempt to aid the students' understanding of abstract chemical concepts and sub-microscopic structures. However, it is reported that the frequency of analogy inclusion varies markedly between textbooks. In addition, most analogies found in textbooks used by Australian high school chemistry students tend not to be in accordance with the recommendations made in a decade of research literature relating to the most effective use of analogies in science education.

This paper will report on a recent study in which five authors of major textbooks currently used by Australian chemistry students were interviewed to ascertain their views on the use of analogies in chemistry education. It was found that those authors who employed analogies sparingly in their textbooks tended to focus on analogy as a visualization tool and, to a lesser degree, a way of communicating abstract ideas via the students' own language and experience. Alternatively, those authors employing analogies more frequently in their textbooks tended to see analogies more as motivational tools to heighten student interest in the chemistry under examination.

In addition, each author was questioned concerning different types and styles of analogy presentation and on their knowledge of, and approach toward, a six stage model specifically designed to assist textbook authors in analogy presentation.

Finally, the views of the authors were sought concerning their response to the researcher's intent to produce a bank of trialled analogies for inclusion in chemistry textbooks and teachers' guides as well as for use during classroom instruction by practicing teachers.

YOUNG CHILDREN AND COMPUTERS
Presenter:Sue TRINIDAD
Institution:Curtin University of Technology

Microcomputers are common place in many Year 1 classes and are becoming increasingly popular in Western Australian pre-schools and pre-primaries. While claims and counter-claims are made about the impact of computers on young children, there is little research to date of the actual "effects" of exposure of young children to computers. This presentation will summarise current research into young children using computers and give an account of a doctoral study which is currently investigating, over a period of two years, the use of computers in the pre-school setting and the effect, if any this learning experience has on the learning outcomes in Year 1.

CASE STUDY AND ACTION RESEARCH
Presenter:David TRIPP
Institution:Murdoch University

Qualitative methods and practical projects in educational research are becoming increasingly popular with teacher dissertation students who want to do something both relevant to their work and accessible to their colleagues. A case study of an action research project is an eminently suitable form for teachers to meet these requirements. Yet students adopting this approach often run into difficulties with both methodology and supervision. Not all academics regard the methods highly, and few have sufficient experience to help students in either action research or cast study, particularly in the vital stages of research design and report writing. This session will suggest some strategies that teacher-researchers can adopt to increase the academic acceptability of their work. In particular, the following will be mentioned: defining the teak; the relationship of research to action; developing the case study; writing the report.

FROM IVORY TOWER TO OUTWORK: THE POLITICS OF RESEARCH PRODUCTION IN ACADEMIA
Presenter:Janina TROTMAN and Susan ROBERTSON
Institution:Edith Cowan University

In this paper we will challenge the modernist view of educational research as enlightened pursuit of truth which facilitates pedagogical progress and improvement in the human condition. As a corollary this paper problematises the role of academic in the production of truth. In particular we argue that "truth production" is bound by the particular rules of the prevailing social, political and economic settlement of the time. To make our case we analyse and contrast the politics of academic research in education in the 1970'a with that of the 1990's. To this end our paper will address the emergence of performativity as a key mechanism for the production of proofa and truths, the contestation of research paradigms, and the proletarianisation of academic labour. At the same time demands by marginalised social movements for recognition and redress enter the researchers arena and create ideological ruptures, offering the researcher possibilities to work on a terrain which creates possibilities for social transformation.

STUDENT AND EMPLOYER REACTIONS TO TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMMES
Presenter:Len VLAHOV
Institution:Edith Cowan University

In 1986 the School of Education adopted an ongoing evaluation plan for the purpose of monitoring and evaluating academic programmes. This followed the adoption of a comprehensive five-stage evaluation plan by the University to be implemented through the Department of Programme Evaluation for the purpose of reviewing academic programmes across all schools in the University. The results of the evaluation are being used for the improvement of the School of Education's programmea and the identification of any implementation problems.

The theoretical underpinning of the study was derived from the word by Schalock et all (1975) who found that the only effective way of evaluating Teacher Education Programmes was using a staged process with a particular emphasis on follow-up studies where feedback from impending graduates and recent graduates was seen as critical in the evaluation process.

The design of the School of Education's evaluation study is longitudinal and the collection of data is being made on an annual basis. Data has been collected from students completing their award, recent graduates of the programme (graduated in the previous year) and employers and practitioners in the field during 1988, 1989 and 1990.

Approximately 500 end-of-course students, 100 recent graduates (first year teachers) and 100 employers (principals) responded annually to questionnaires ascertaining the importance and achievement of goals, attitudes and general effectiveness of programmes. Results were analysed on a Campus Award and Major Area basis. A particular emphasis of the study has been the reactions of students to range of specific questions about components of the teaching programme including units, workload, delivery, teaching practice, resources and assessment procedures.

The results indicated significant improvements in the overall attitudes of students completing their course towards the programme between 1989 and 1990 when compared with 1988. However, no significant changes in attitudes towards the programmes was found by recent graduates and employers over the three years. Content analyses of the open ended comments produced a number of interesting recommendations for the improvement of the School's programmes.

COMPUTER AIDED INSTRUCTION: A COMPARISON OF SOFTWARE PROGRAMS IN PATTERN GRADING
Presenter:Diane WOOD
Institution:TAFE - South East Metropolitan College

The value of the Dr Genius software program as an introduction to a computer aided pattern grading and market making program was examined in this research project.

General characteristics of the two programs were reviewed in order to identify similarities and differences in the operation and functions of the programs.

A comparison was made between the computer background developed by the Dr Genius program and computer knowledge considered to be useful for the accomplished operation of a computer aided pattern grading and marker making program.

Student results for Dr Genius assignments and computer aided pattern grading and market making tests were compared in an effort to find a correlation between success with Dr Genius and success in computer aided pattern grading and marker making.

The research results indicated that Dr Genius provided a satisfactory introduction to some aspects of computer aided pattern grading and marker making. However, the software program falls short of being "devoted to the special purpose of introducing students to computer aided pattern grading and market making".

SCHOOL TYPE, SOCIO-EDUCATIONAL LEVEL AND ACHIEVEMENT
Presenter:Deidra J YOUNG
Institution:Curtin University of Technology

The Second International Science Study was conducted in Australia in 1983/4, with all states and school types represented. The large database collected provided a rich source of information about Science Education in Australia. This talk will present some of the findings from this study.

The relationship between a student's performance in achievement tests and the student's home backgrounds is examined in this paper, with particular attention paid to the influence of the student's attitudes, verbal ability and mathematical ability. In addition, the type of school attended (government, Catholic or Independent) and other school characteristics were investigated in a combined model.


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