Western Australian Institute for Educational Research

19th Annual Research Forum at Edith Cowan University

Forum 2004 Abstracts

Listed alphabetically by first author
[ Forum Invitation ] [ Schedule ] [ Contents of Proceedings ]

A critical autoethnography of cultural learning and IT integration in PNG schools

Priscilla Aliawi
Science and Mathematics Education Centre
Curtin University of Technology

This research is a small scale study, a critical autoethnography, in the form of narrative inquiry. Narrative is a way of characterising the phenomena of human experience. My data are drawn from my life history in Papua New Guinea and are represented by stories/tales that express my hardships, struggles, weaknessnes and strengths. By representing my lived experiences in a narrative form, especially the cultural perspective of constructing knowledge, "the textuality of the text aims to open up, in an indirectly teachable way, questions of pedagogy", in (information technology) IT-computer integration in PNG schools. I intend to provide rich and thick descriptions of my educative landscape so it may be possible for the readers to transfer this inquiry's epistemology and pedagogy to their pedagogical contexts. Would a cultural learning approach facilitate an effective integration of IT and computers? If yes, how? I intend to make obvious the implications facing teachers and students associated with the introduction of the computer as a subject in the PNG curriculum. The research will have the goals of improving my professional practice, stimulating my readers' pedagogical thoughtfulness, and understanding and incorporating cultural theory of knowing in the pedagogical practices in IT-computer integration.

[Scheduling for this presentation] [Introduction to SMEC Symposium]

The efficacy of Grace Fernald's VAKT method for improving the reading
performance of children experiencing reading difficulties

Shelda Bairstow and Lesley Newhouse-Maiden
Edith Cowan University

Educators have constantly searched for a successful procedure for improving the reading performances of children experiencing reading difficulties. Whilst traditional classrooms have focused mainly on visual methods of teaching reading to children with reading difficulties, various researchers advocate the use of multi-sensory methods, arguing that such methods make explicit connections linking the activities involved in spelling and reading. The purpose of this paper is to assess the efficacy of Grace Fernald's VAKT (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile) method. Four primary school children who had been experiencing reading difficulties were taught and tested using a single subject, repeated measures, reversal design. The results of this study strongly support the use of Grace Fernald's VAKT method as an instructional technique to increase word recognition skills in children experiencing reading difficulties. There was a dramatic improvement in the word recognition skills of all four children over the course of the study. In addition to improved word recognition, Fernald's method facilitates comprehension, vocabulary and concept development. Grace Fernald's VAKT method appears to show much potential for assisting readers experiencing difficulties. The method uses systematic instruction that enhances phonemic awareness, utilises all sensory modalities, and uses one on one tutoring in order to improve word recognition.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Situating the author: Factoring personal biography into
methodological choices for postgraduate research

Kathleen Baldwin
Murdoch University

This paper examines the connection between the biography of the researcher and methodological choices, and uses a PhD in progress to illustrate the relationship. In the process of researching in an education environment, and in particular as a postgraduate student, it is important to be aware of the 'positionality' of the researcher. Educational research is an area of investigation that carries with it social, cultural, philosophical, economic, organisational, technological and emotional issues that surround the child at the centre of such endeavours. Therefore, that which motivates the researcher to focus on particular issues is important to investigate. The researcher's biography contributes to research in ways that are often imperceptible and can determine the place, subject, theoretical framework, methodology, methods, analysis and consequently the findings or results of the research.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Curriculum reform and the postmodern condition

Thelma Blackford
School of Languages and Intercultural Education
Curtin University of Technology

Postmodernity has been identified with such features as fragmentation, relativity, ambiguity and discontinuity. Our enterprising tertiary institutions are promoting outcomes based learning. The cult of managerialism has created a climate where greater transparency of teaching outcomes validates the accountability factor. In times of limited government funding, outcomes based education can be problematic in terms of its marketisation, especially since there is little evidence of it having produced lasting outcomes in transformational tertiary reform. Outcomes based education requires more resources to be responsive to individualised learning.

The issue of credentialing also poses another area of dispute. Where universities are committed to internationalising the curriculum, graduate attribute benchmarks of 'recognising and applying international perspective' and 'demonstrating cultural awareness and understanding', demand more than token rhetoric. For curriculum reform to work, the likelihood is greater if change is small and perceived as practical and coherent with academics' knowledge. Moreover, its chances of success are heightened with lecturers being given time and resources, and students' learning expectations being met. Can this happen in postmodern times?

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Researching up: Power, politics and trade offs

Christine Buckley
Department of Education and Training

The decision to "study up" has brought both challenges and rewards to the research project looking at the perceptions of key stakeholders about TAFE WA awarding degrees. I was successful in gaining access to selected peopl e in positions of power and authority in government, the public sector and education, further education and training, and higher education sectors. As a researcher, this access has provided me with "windows into the world" of public policy decision makers.

In order to capitalise on these opportunities to interview these key stakeholders, I had to come to terms with making trade offs - particularly in relation to the research methodology. This paper explores those trade offs, as well as the advantages to the research of access to the elites.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

About face: Linguistic politeness and illocutionary point in
Australian English and in two Asian varieties of English

Chris Conlan
Department of Languages and Intercultural Education
Curtin University

This paper revisits the concept of Face Threatening Acts (FTAs) as codified in Brown and Levinson's taxonomy. It augments this taxonomy by suggesting that a distinction can usefully be made between Face Threatening Acts (FTAs) and a discourse dependent category of what has been termed here Primary Face Threatening Acts (PFTAs). It goes on to suggest that attempts to realise illocutionary point can be made quite differently in L1 varieties of English such as AusE and in non-L1 varieties of Asian Englishes as a direct result of differing discourse staging strategies. Preliminary data from research involving Thai and Japanese speakers of English and native speakers of Australian English are cited to examine this hypothesis.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

The Fiji Education Sector Program (FESP): An evaluation
of the two executive tours of WA during 2004

Robert C. Dixon
Curtin University of Technology

As a part of the Fiji Education Sector Program (FESP), an initiative of AusAid jointly implemented by the Department of Education and Training, Western Australia and Curtin University of Technology, two groups of senior executives, including the CEO from the Ministry of Education in Fiji, and representatives from Lautoka Teachers College, undertook a study tour of the Western Australian education system. The aims of the project were for participants to develop an understanding of the primary, secondary and TAFE sectors in WA, form partnerships, strengthen leadership, and build the capacity to reform policy and strategic direction for improving education in their own country. This study is an evaluation of the tours, the perceptions of participants, and the conclusions they reached for prioritising policies in their own country as a result of their experiences.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Action research for staff professional development: A case study of a school in Uganda

Jaya Earnest
Curtin University of Technology

To date, only a few studies of school improvement, action research and staff professional development have been undertaken in Uganda and none have been at the early childhood level. The present study evaluates one early childhood institution's attempt to improve the school effectiveness and classroom environments that teachers create, through positive leadership and on-going teacher professional development.

This longitudinal study, implemented over four years, involved the investigation of factors that influenced school effectiveness, and teacher professional development in an early childhood institution in Kampala, Uganda. The study made use of action research methodology with a framework of teacher professional development. Uganda's rapidly expanding education system and largely teacher centred mode of delivery makes this study timely, because it provides potentially significant insights into how a school improvement program using action research methodology can provide a sustainable means of professional development.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Assessing ability to teach with ICT

Pat Forster, Vaille Dawson and Doug Reid
Edith Cowan University

In this session we will discuss the development and implementation of a questionnaire that measured ability to teach with information communication technologies (ICT) in secondary school science. The questionnaire served the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of instruction in a science education unit in a pre-service teacher education course. Rasch analysis was applied to pre- and post-test responses. We will report our interpretation of the Rasch outputs and the implications of our findings for the ICT component of the science education unit. The questionnaire could be adapted to suit pre-service teacher education in disciplines other than science.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Interviewing primary aged students about their classroom behaviour

Regina Gitau
University of Notre Dame Australia

Disruptive behaviour in the classroom is considered troublesome because instruction becomes difficult for the teacher. Learning is more difficult for the other students. Curriculum tasks that are too difficult may lead students to become frustrated, leaving them with the opportunity to exhibit unacceptable behaviours as a means of expressing that frustration. Likewise, if tasks presented are too simple and unchallenging for the student, other exhibitions of frustration and boredom may occur. It becomes imperative to find out the curriculum tasks that provide aversive stimuli to students. This knowledge will enable curriculum specialists and teachers to modify unsuitable tasks and replace them with relevant and interesting ones.

This paper will discuss the challenges of interviewing students aged 9-12 years about their classroom behaviour. This being a longitudinal study, in the second phase of data collection the researcher intends to utilise an increased and better focused set of interviewing techniques. This variation will assist in gaining a lot of information about the students and at the same time make the experience of the interview provoking and enjoyable for the students.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Supporting professionals in action research: Carrot or stick?

Christine Glass
Murdoch University

Making connections to promote early literacy was part of a project funded by DEST (Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training). This project aimed to develop stronger connections between families and school and to utilise the existing literacy behaviours that children exhibited. The research team consisted of two early childhood teachers and two university researchers. My role was to assist the teachers to develop understandings about action research and to meet regularly to discuss issues and concerns. What I found was a resistance to any form of recording thoughts, ideas and actions. Despite cajoling, bribing, and begging they did not write, record, film, or tape any aspect of their thinking process. They were always 'gonna', but nothing happened. This presentation will try to unpack the reasons for this resistance, and look at the tension between product and process within the context of this particular project.

[Scheduling for thi s presentation]

The formation of inexperienced religious education teachers
during a period of curriculum change

Chris Hackett
University of Notre Dame Australia

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.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

The use of critical incident vignettes to share a pre-service
primary teacher's science learning journey

Christine Howitt
Science and Mathematics Education Centre
Curtin University of Technology

Looking through one eye never did provide much depth of field. (Eisner, 1981, p. 9)
Case studies have been used widely as a means of presenting stories or narratives to describe and explore teachers' beliefs and experiences. Case studies of critical incidents provide another perspective to these stories, where teachers identify and describe significant turning points or changes.

This presentation describes a third perspective to the case study methodology, where critical incident vignettes are constructed by the researcher based on information provided by, and written in the voice of, the teacher. This approach, which I have called "dual perspective", provides a means of allowing the researcher to recreate the lived experiences of the teacher, and to step into those experiences and become part of the teachers' world. These vignettes move away from the decontextualised quotations that are selected to illustrate a specific argument, in an attempt to more readily reflect the teachers' language and their construction of reality.

The use of these "dual perspective" critical incident vignettes will be illustrated and interpreted through the science learning journey of one pre-service primary teacher.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Interviewing business elites: A researcher's experiences and challenges

Jumiati Ismail
Graduate School of Education
The University of Western Australia

This paper reports on the researcher's experiences and challenges in the interview stages for her doctoral research, which involves collecting data from interviews with business elite persons. As a student researcher who has to comply with the requirements of academic integrity, she will highlight some major obstacles that have emerged and will share how she managed to overcome them in order to obtain interview data. The business elite interviewees for this study are mainly from high in the organisational hierarchy. They are characterised by corporate values, high levels of personal assets, and often considerable international exposure. The specific challenges and experiences associated with elite interviewing before, during and after the interview will be discussed.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Enhancing students' mathematics performance through cooperative learning

Madihah Khalid
Science and Mathematics Education Centre
Curtin University of Technology

Cooperative learning is a teaching/learning technique that develops problem solving and critical thinking skills through student teamwork. It is believed that students perform better and learn more if they have the opportunity to work within a group setting. Cooperative learning also helps enhance students' communication and interpersonal skills that are very important, especially for students considering employment immediately after their studies. In spite of this, cooperative learning was seldom applied in mathematics classrooms. Historically, mathematics had been a subject that is learnt in solitude and this causes weaker students to be bored and lost interest in mathematics. It is hoped that by introducing cooperative learning into mathematics classes, students would enjoy and hence improve their understanding and enhance their performance in the subject and thus eliminate 'math-phobia'.

A study was conducted to assess the effectiveness of cooperative learning in mathematics. This paper reports on the results of this study, that was implemented and evaluated with two groups of technical education students in their mathematics lessons. Data from classroom observations, student interviews and cognitive results are presented to justify the success of this technique.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Developing student centred pedagogies through international collaborative
research: Early experiences from teacher and researcher perspectives

Kim Jinhee
Kyungpook National University, Korea

Andrew Taggart and Dawn Penney
School of Education, Edith Cowan University

This Korean Research Foundation funded project for 2004 is designed to develop cross-cultural understandings of the implementation of the sport education in physical education curriculum model in primary and secondary schools and teacher education settings.

Sport education is an innovative curriculum model, increasingly used as a component of upper primary and secondary school physical education programs in Australia, and exhibiting many parallels with community junior sport, while emphasising overarching and cross-curricular outcomes as well as interpersonal skills and self management skills.

In addition to the aim of helping students learn to become good players, sport education encourages students to fulfil other roles such as umpiring, acting as a team coach, manager or captain, serving on a sports management board and duty team and also working as a publicity officer/journalist. As students assume greater responsibility for learning, teachers relinquish traditional "up front" direct teaching roles, often moving off centre stage to facilitate social, knowledge and skill learning through a range of student centred learning strategies.

This paper will address the preliminary findings of six case studies in Korea and WA with a particular focus on the perceived difficulties and positive aspects of introducing a western curriculum model in Korean educational settings.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Teacher-student interpersonal behavior and its associations with
cultural and gender differences, student attitudes and achievements

Rekha B Koul and Darre ll L Fisher
Science and Mathematics Education Centre
Curtin University of Technology

The study reports on the results of a large scale study aiming to determine associations between science students' perceptions of their interactions with their teachers, the cultural background and the sex of the students, and their attitudinal and cognitive achievement scores, in Jammu, India. A sample of 1,021 students from 31 year nine and year ten science classes in seven schools completed an already existing and widely used instrument, the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI), an attitude scale and question relating to the cultural background of students.

The statistical analysis confirmed the reliability and validity of QTI for secondary science students in India. Generally, the dimensions of the QTI were found to be significantly associated with student attitude scores. As for cognitive achievement there were positive associations with cooperation behaviour and negative associations with oppositional behaviours. Females perceived their teachers more positively than did males. Students coming from Kashmiri cultural backgrounds perceived their teachers most positively. Qualitative data were derived from observing the classrooms when teacher was conducting a class and interviews with students. Findings of the qualitative data are represented in the form of narrative followed by interpretative commentary. This supports the quantitative findings.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Learning community: A gateway to eliciting students' voices in their learning - a Nigerian case study

Olabisi Kuteyi
Murdoch University

The importance of peer learning in the academic achievement and cognitive development of students has been increasingly recognised. Its importance to student learning cannot be overemphasised. Peer learning in its formal context in the classroom with monitoring of students has been well researched, while the study of peer learning in its informal context (without teacher involvement) is under-researched. It is of paramount importance to know whether informal peer learning is beneficial to students and how students perceive it in the Nigerian context.

Using a qualitative case study approach, a peer learning intervention program (learning community) was conducted for second year medical and final year secondary school students in Nigeria to find out its impact on their learning needs and their perspectives. This presentation highlights some of the beneficial outcomes of the study, such as improved understanding of subject matter, increased motivation to study, active involvement, and control over learning.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Teachers' perceptions of aboriginal education in Taiwan: A mixed methods case study

Sophie Lee
University of Notre Dame Australia

The problems that aboriginal peoples face are shared by many indigenous peoples, especially where they confront Western values. My work involves the aboriginal tribes of Taiwan. These people are the original inhabitants before the Han people moved into Taiwan Island from mainland China in 17th Century. Today, the aboriginal peoples of Taiwan are represented by twelve tribes.

This research is looking at legislative efforts to improve education for aboriginal Taiwanese people. Two cases studies were chosen. The purposive sample aims to investigate the significant differences in attitudes to current reforms, between teachers in a small aboriginal community, and those who taught in biggest aboriginal tribal community. The largest tribe, Amis, and the smallest tribe, Saisiyat, were included as cases in order to compare and contrast possible size effects with educational provision. The case studies involved both surveys and interviews and the participants are the teachers who teach in aboriginal primary schools. The surveys were distributed during meetings with the primary school teachers. Appointments were made with the principal and a suitable time to meet staff was arranged. Surveys were given out and collected by the researcher in this face to face mode in Semester 2 in 2004.

This paper will discuss the methodological issues of the sampling in terms of benefits for both sample response (89%) and validity. Initial results of the survey will be discussed and intriguing questions arising from the interviews will be explored.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Creating and re-using learning objects: A constructivist approach

Lim Hwee Ling
Murdoch University

Educators and commercial content providers need not be the only creators of module materials, as such resources or learning objects can be co-constructed with students and re-used meaningfully in various educational contexts. This presentation will describe the creation of learning objects for a software documentation project in an undergraduate course, from a constructivist approach. Examples of the practical application of such learning objects in various educational contexts will be highlighted. There will also be a brief discussion of the issue of the intellectual property rights of students in the content created.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Chineseness at the crossroads

Agnes Meerwald
Murdoch University

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.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Improving the participation of Aboriginal students in
post-compulsory education: A case for place conscious education

Prem Mudhan
Murdoch University

This study's objective was to determine the correlation between the principles of place conscious education and that of efficient teaching and learning of Aboriginal students. The study aims further to show how place conscious education can positively impact on the decision making processes of Aboriginal students at the end of the compulsory phase of schooling.

The study dr aws on the author's lived experience working with indigenous students in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. In all three settings, post-compulsory schooling participation of indigenous students lagged behind that of non-indigenous students. All three education systems featured standardised curriculum that did not recognise and accommodate the unique lived experiences of students associated with the uniqueness of places. This study shows that, through the process of narrative inquiry, a curriculum that is conscious of place will accommodate the culturally unique learning needs of Aboriginal students. The study argues that place conscious education will connect students with the learning process to produce a greater sense of achievement and motivation at the end of the compulsory phase of schooling. The result of this would be a higher participation rate of Aboriginal students in post-compulsory education.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Effective teaching of Indigenous students with conductive hearing loss

Gary Partington and Ann Galloway
Kurongkurl Katitjin: School of Indigenous Australian Studies
Edith Cowan University

Gaining effective educational outcomes is influenced not only by the employment of appropriate teaching strategies at classroom level, but also by the nature of the broader school environment. This paper will outline some of the key findings to date from an ARC (SPIRT) funded project investigating effective teaching strategies to improve literacy, and hence educational outcomes, of Indigenous students with conductive hearing loss. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative data, the research has identified a number of teaching strategies that are likely to assist in improving educational outcomes, especially in relation to early literacy skills, and the influence of characteristics of the broader school environment.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

In a world of their own: A new approach to understanding the actions
of adolescent boys diagnosed with an attention deficit disorder

Lee Partridge
The University of Western Australia

Despite exhaustive investigative attention having been devoted to Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the phenomenon remains hotly debated and far from completely understood. Traditionally the models and theories developed to explain the experience of ADHD have been psychologically and neuro-physiologically based and, consequently, have taken a positivist perspective of the condition.

In my study I have approached the phenomenon from an interpretivist perspective, privileging the experiences of those living with the condition. As such the focus has been redirected from the weaknesses expressed by the 'deficit' and 'disorder' aspects of the condition onto the real strengths that those diagnosed with the condition possess. What is beginning to emerge from my data is a new sociologically based theory on ADHD that gives the insider's viewpoint. In this paper, I offer a work in progress report of the process of theory development and the theory as it currently exists.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Teachers' beliefs and values in a transformative online learning environment

Vikki Pedalina, Peter Taylor and Martin Dougiamas
Curtin University of Technology

Pressures to deliver on outcomes based education, combined with compelling forces to use technology for flexible delivery, has resulted in a rapid growth of online courses in universities. The web environment can be viewed as a storehouse of information, or as an interactive environment where people from diverse backgrounds can share their learning journeys. To claim a corner of this space and to bring people together to discuss their ideas can mirror seminar rooms in universities. With the right tools and support, teachers can use the web to teach in accord with their preferred epistemological framework. At Curtin University, one online teacher has created a transformative, online learning environment for doctoral students studying constructivist theory. Here, students are invited to share their understandings of the subject as well as their beliefs and values (Taylor, 1988).

This paper discusses a research project where I will examine some of the ways students use the online discussion forum. Central to my study is the question: How can teachers use online discussions to encourage students' critical reflective thinking? My research will be done in collaboration with selected students, their online tutor and the designer of Moodle, the software for the online learning environment (http://moodle.com/).

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Research methodology workshop

A scaffolded approach to the design of evaluation research studies:
Application to educational technology

Rob Phillips
Teaching and Learning Centre
Murdoch University

This session will explore underlying assumptions impacting on evaluation research into student learning, particularly that occurring through the use of educational technology. It will consider issues in designing an evaluation of the effectiveness of an educational innovation, and describe a framework that can be used to scaffold the development of broad and specific evaluation questions.

The framework will be used to develop an evaluation plan focused on an evaluation matrix, where specific evaluation questions are matched to sources of data which provide appropriate evidence to answer each of them. The sources of data may be both qualitative and quantitative.

Examples will be given of the way that the framework has been used in various evaluation research projects.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

The design and evaluation of a cooperative reading instructional
strategy for children experiencing reading difficulties

Glenda Raison
Curtin University of Technology

The 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.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

So you want to teach online? Factors affecting the capabilities of online tutors

Doug Reid
Faculty of Community Studies, Education and Social Sciences
Edith Cowan University

This study examined the capabilities of online tutors for supporting online learning in Australia. The study spanned one university semester, using an ethnographic approach to data collection, with six online tertiary classes selected for their use of text based, online educational learning environments (OLE). Data collection occurred from before the units started and finished after the units ended. Data analysis began with the first collection of data and continued throughout and after data collection finished. The study focused on the instructional and guidance roles of online tutors rather than the roles of unit coordinators or developers of instructional material.

This research study identified thirteen factors which affect the capabilities of online tutors in interactive, text based online units. The identified factors spanned a wide range of aspects of the online education arena. These thirteen factors were determined to have a mediated relationship with the identified capabilities of the online tutors in this study.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

The novice Aboriginal researcher researching in Aboriginal contexts: A bag of mixed emotions?

Lynette Rodriguez
The University of Western Australia

The research reported here aimed to explore the narratives of Aboriginal youth in post-compulsory education and training in Western Australia. My plan for qualitative research using in depth, semi-structured interviews with "successful" Aboriginal students appeared achievable and problem free. As an Aboriginal person and one who has worked in the education field for many years, I was fully aware of research involving Aboriginal people where exploitation and unequal balances of power were evident in many research practices. Armed with this knowledge and determined that the rights of the individual participants would be respected I began to collect the stories.

However, very early in the data collection I experienced a sudden onslaught of intense emotions. I felt a strong sense of guilt and remorse at delving into the lives of people whom I valued. I began to question whether I could continue, as I interpreted it, "stealing peoples' life stories", especially of those younger and more vulnerable than I. This presentation highlights a number of unique challenges that may face some novice Aboriginal researchers undertaking research in Aboriginal contexts.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Postmodern writing explorations of learning and teaching science in Thai culture

Paguy Rungvilaicharoen
Science and Mathematics Education Centre
Curtin University of Technology

School science teachers in Thailand are being encouraged to use new teaching strategies received from Western countries, such as student centred teaching and cooperative learning, in order to stimulate students more actively and effectively in their learning. However, some Thai teachers experience difficulties in applying them in their classrooms. The standpoints of these new teaching strategies may not be easily incorporated into Thai culture and the Thai education system. In this research, I am exploring aspects of Thai culture that might either help or hinder Thai students' learning of school science, and how Thai teachers can conduct their teaching to deal with differences between Thai culture and Western science culture in science classrooms. The postmodern approach of writing as a method of inquiry is being used. I am creating fictional characters and writing fictive stories of teaching and learning science relating to Thai culture. I am using autoethnography, impressionist tales, metaphors, poetry and imaginary stories to address my research problem/questions. I am bringing the views of arts based and science based inquiries into play in my writing research. In this writing research, I intend to evoke the readers' pedagogical thoughtfulness, especially for Thai teachers. I desire that my writing research can help my readers to become more critically aware of their own situations and culture.

[Scheduling for this presentation] [Introduction to SMEC Symposium]

Science and Mathematics Education Centre Symposium

Critical arts based research: Transformative professional
development for teachers from 'developing' countries

Peter Taylor and Grady Venville (Symposium Leaders)
Science and Mathematics Education Centre
Curtin University of Technology

The symposium leaders - Peter Taylor and Grady Venville - postgraduate teacher educators at Curtin University's Science and Mathematics Education Centre, will present overviews of the pedagogical goals and challenges they face in providing a postgraduate research program that is culturally sensitive and of practical value to professional educators from so-called 'developing' countries. We shall explain our choice of arts based inquiry for building on these teachers' unique cultural capital and developing their professional authority as cultural knowledge producers. Three MSc students - Paguy Rungvilaicharoen (Thailand), Priscilla Aliawi (Papua New Guinea), Amos Veremachi (Mozambique) - will illustrate ways in which critical autobiographical research is enabling them to transform their professional roles as teachers and teacher educators.

[Scheduling for Symposium introduction] [Abstract for Peter Taylor presentation]
[Abstract for Grady Venville presentation] [Abstract for Paguy Rungvilaicharoen presentation]
[Abstract for Priscilla Aliawi presentation] [Abstract for Amos Veremachi presentation]

ICT as an integral teaching and learning tool: UNDA's experience

Carole Steketee
The University of Notre Dame, Australia

Even though a wide cross section of society today has accepted ICT as an entrenched characteristic of its culture, education has been slow to adopt it as an integral tool within the classroom (Cuban, 2001; Rogers, 2001; Elliott, 2004). Many reasons for this lethargy have been reported in the literature, ranging from inadequate professional development opportunities for teachers, to negative teacher attitudes towards technology. Similarly, an assortment of solutions to these dilemmas has been proposed. One in particular has been the push to integrate ICT into teacher education programs. Exposure to ICT during their training is expected to increase graduating teachers' willingness to integrate it into their own classroom curricula.

While the outcomes of studies into this phenomenon have largely been inconclusive (Brush, Igoe, Brinkerhoff, Glazewski, Ku & Smith, 2001; Albion, 2003), their collective findings are useful in informing similar contexts. For example, drawing on the outcomes of previous research, staff within the College of Education at The University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA) has commenced an investigation into how the design of their teacher training programs can contribute to authentic and sustained application of ICT within K-12 classrooms. This paper serves to outline the process of this investigation. It begins with a literature review of related research, the findings from which are used as a springboard for the proposal of a study that aims to inform the instructional design of teacher training programs at UNDA.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Using a hermeneutic phenomenological approach as a foundation
to aid the demystification of the construct of metacognition

Pina Tarricone
School of Education
Edith Cowan University

This presentation describes the evolution and development of doctoral research in progress entitled Demystification and reconceptualization of the intricate web of metacognition, based upon the research methodology of hermeneutic phenomenology. Fundamentally, hermeneutic phenomenology involves reading, writing and interpretation of what is read and written. These interpretative processes are intertwined and immersed within the whole process of completing this theoretical study. In addition, metacognitive reflective processes are touted as an integral part of being, being immersed in the processes of completing this study and therefore are integral to this hermeneutic phenomenological approach. This presentation will conclude with a brief outline of the research in progress including an emphasis on why there is a need for this study and its potential contribution to new knowledge in the field of metacognition.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Transformative pedagogy for intercultural research

Peter C. Taylor
Science and Mathematics Education Centre
Curtin University of Technology

I bring to my research supervision a pedagogy that endeavours to engage professional educators in transformative learning. Transformative learning involves development of high level thinking skills (such as metaphorical and dialectical reasoning, critical reflective thinking, epistemic uncertainty, poetic imagination), heightened critical cultural awareness, and strengthened agency/authority of one's cultural capital and cultural knowledge. In this presentation I will outline how research can be reconceptualised as transformative professional development, especially for overseas students resident in Australia who are engaged in postgraduate educational research.

The main focus will be on the use of autoethnographic intercultural inquiry, in which the researcher works at the 'hyphen' between self and culture and in which 'the field' comprises the researcher's cultural lifeworld experiences. I shall illustrate how autoethnographic inquiry can afford practitioner researchers the means of exploring critically and creatively the cultural situatedness of their own professionalism. The creativity of the self study research experience can be enhanced considerably by using literary writing styles (eg., impressionist and confessional tales, fictive stories) and by writing with a view to compelling one's prospective reader to think critically about his/her own pedagogical assumptions.

[Scheduling for this presentation] [Introduction to SMEC Symposium]

The geneology of connectedness

Greg Thompson
School of Education
Murdoch University

Student connectedness is one of the emerging buzz words in pedagogy in the 21st century. The purpose of this presentation is to consider the term connectedness and to propose some reasons as to why it is a crucial issue affecting schooling. This presentation will focus on the genesis of the term in psycho-social research, and how this needs to be translated into socially critical educational thought. Today in Australian schools, connectedness is used in terms of resilience and "students at risk" programs. Furthermore, this presentation will suggest that it is time to expand the use of the term connectedness from its current narrow definition, to a socially critical model that includes the school experience of all students. We need to understand student experiences of connectedness as changing, evolving experiences rather than the static totality of being either connected or disconnected.

Understanding issues of connectedness in schools is important in that it provides the potential to decentre institutional power in the schools to allow students to feel more positive and involved in their education. Understanding student connectedness in schools will effect teachers, administrators and school leaders as they consider how best to meet the needs of their students.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Critical, autobiographical research and culturally sensitive approaches to ethics

Grady Venville
Edith Cowan University

Autobiography as a research method has several advantages for postgraduate students who find themselves culturally and physically displaced from their own countries when studying a Masters degree in Australia. Autobiographical approaches enable research students to maintain their cultural identity and acknowledge their past experience as a legitimate source of data for narrative styles of inquiry. However, the use of subjective writing and stories about teaching and learning experiences as a method of inquiry is at odds with more traditional approaches to educational research. For example, informed consent from participants who are involved in interviews or classroom observation is common practice in educational research conducted in countries like Australia. When the data takes the form of self generated narratives, as it can in autobiographical approaches to research, ethical consideration for the people who are the characters in the stories, their autonomy, privacy and dignity, is not as simple as informed consent. This becomes a more complex issue when the participants are physically and culturally distant from the institution where the research is conducted. Moreover, if culture is a critical aspect of an autobiography, the researcher must give ethical consideration to ensure their country and culture are not misrepresented through their stories. This presentation will explore these and other ethical issues that arise through the use of autobiographical research.

[Scheduling for this presentation] [Introduction to SMEC Symposium]

Cultural context in understanding science in Mozambique: A self reflection

Amos Veremachi
Science and Mathematics Education Centre
Curtin University of Technology

Perhaps one of the most important features of a constructivist perspective on learning science is that students construct new knowledge on the basis of their prior knowledge. Indeed, learners hold a vision of the world that is most likely shaped by their life experiences and cultures, and therefore students' cultures should not be ignored in the process of teaching and learning science. In this study I suggest that for relevant and meaningful learning experiences in physics, science teachers and teacher educators need to adopt context based approaches that enable students' cultures and physics science culture to coexist and interact in a peaceful and supportive way, or at least to adopt approaches that lessen conflicts among the two cultures. Through the use of narrative inquiry in an autoethnographic style, I adopt strategies of communicating my experience in learning and teaching physics science in Mozambique that are intended to evoke pedagogical thoughtfulness in my readers. Thus, my goal is to stimulate changing practices among science teachers and science teacher educators in Mozambique, towards context based approaches in teaching physics science. Furthermore I seek to motivate science teachers and science teacher educators in order to make physics science classes more culturally sensitive.

[Scheduling for this presentation] [Introduction to SMEC Symposium]

Researching management development: The case of BankWest

Moira Watson
Edith Cowan University and BankWest
Llandis Barratt-Pugh
Edith Cowan University

Undertaking research in corporate organisations in 21st century Australia offers many choices for the researcher. This paper describes the research approach being used in a PhD project sponsored by Edith Cowan University and BankWest and funded by the Australian Research Council through a Linkage grant. BankWest is transitioning from a small bank headquartered in Western Australia to the major entity in HBOS Australia, part of a multinational banking group. The research is investigating the role of management development in relationship to changing BankWest organisational arrangements between 1997 and 2005. This paper describes how a longitudinal case study design incorporating a contextualist perspective is being used in the research, and illustrates the value of applying a Habermasian framework overlaid with a reflexive interpretation to the research process, and discusses the value of narrative in social science research.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

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