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Issues in Educational Research

Abstracts for Volume 15 Number 2, 2005

The distribution of printed copies of Volume 15 Number 2 (2005) commenced on 24 November 2005. The web version release date will be 24 February 2006. Prior to web release date, the Abstracts are available online in this page.

Fiona Bryer and Katherine Main
Griffith University
Moving middle schooling reform from policy to practice: Issues for Queensland teachers

Three well-established issues for educational reform to insert middle schooling into the traditional primary-secondary tiers are (a) lack of preservice training of specialist middle school teachers, (b) the absence of clear positive educational outcomes linked to the promotion of middle schooling policy as a philosophy of teaching, and (c) the ad hoc approach to professional development for teachers working within middle schools. Persistent uncertainties about whether middle schooling is an educationally distinctive and developmentally helpful phase of schooling have operated in conjunction with the informal preparation for middle school teaching typical in all western systems of education. These issues can be applied to the recent experiences of Education Queensland teachers with primary and secondary training who have worked within the new middle school environment.

A single site investigation at an Education Queensland trial of middle schooling addressed teacher perceptions of how eco-organisational features of a middle school were facilitating or hindering their practice. After individual teachers were primed to be alert to five aspects of middle school ecology, six teams of teachers (n = 21 teachers) discussed summaries of their Likert data and written comment on these categories. Analysis of data indicated ongoing struggles about 'how' to implement middle schooling practice across these eco-organisational features. For such trials of middle years in Queensland to become sustainable educational reform, the experience of these teachers suggests that progressive and integrated approach to micropractice generation needs to temper the open-ended approach to macropolicy advocacy.

Issues in Educational Research, 15(2), 123-144. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/bryer.html

Nita C. Lester
Griffith University
Assessment in multiage primary classrooms

To enable teachers to become 'transformative intellectuals' (Huckle, 1996), a critical form of educational inquiry that enables them to investigate their practice, is required (Robottom, 1987). Such an approach was used in developing assessment resources and materials with teachers, not for teachers. The important thing is to help teachers help themselves by sharing with them ways of developing the tools and skills of assessment. This paper describes how I engaged teachers in a process of mobilising 'assessment capital' through a participatory action research approach. This was used for the development of assessment resources and materials, in order to foster improved student engagement and learning. A case study of one school is presented in this paper. This school had multiage classes. The case study highlights the potential role of teachers as transformative intellectuals in schools.

Issues in Educational Research, 15(2), 145-155. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/lester.html

Lesley Irene Payne
Murdoch University
The discourse of development in school governance

This paper reports on a study undertaken to investigate governance processes within particular school settings and the ideologies and values behind how these schools came to have their present governance forms. The results revealed several themes and changes in governance over thirty years. The governance discourse today is primarily about development and efficiency and there are pressures on alternative schools to become more commercially oriented. The emphasis is away from the parent involvement of the past, as schools begin to envisage themselves less as communities and more as businesses.

There has been very little investigation into the dynamics of governance and change at the individual school level. This research does this, locating the themes and changes identified within the context of a development discourse and the global phenomena of school reform. It provides insights into important governance issues for those involved in governance in all schools and indicates how the roles and structures of governing bodies evolve and adapt.

Issues in Educational Research, 15(2), 156-174. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/payne.html

Chris Perry and Ian Ball
Deakin University

Further evidence is presented to demonstrate the validity of a new measure of emotional intelligence: Reactions to Teaching Situations (RTS). Using criterion-related groups of high and low scorers on the RTS, it is shown that high scorers give more responses coded as emotional intelligence in their answers to sentence completion tasks relating to ten situations found in teaching. The questions of convergent and discriminant validity is tackled by examination of correlations of emotional intelligence scores and scores on the Multiple Intelligences Checklist for Adults (MICA) and information processing preferences as measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The results confirm that emotional intelligence (as assessed by the RTS) bears significant relationships to both intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences and also to linguistic intelligence, but emotional intelligence shows no significant relationships with the MBTI preferences.

Issues in Educational Research, 15(2), 175-192. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/perry.html

Roger J. Vallance
The University of Notre Dame Australia
Research ethics: Reforming postgraduate formation

Research ethics is not only a matter of doing no harm, or even abiding by the guidelines of the Ethics Review Board of the institution. While these matters are important and legal requirements, there is much more at stake in discussions of research ethics. Research ethics establish the foundation upon which research rests. Taking the social sciences and qualitative research in general, this article argues that sound formation in research ethics is critical for today's higher degree students. Sound ethical principles establish the usefulness and trustworthiness of research and as such research ethics are the mainstay of the academy's defence of research funding.

Issues in Educational Research, 15(2), 193-205. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/vallance.html

Marian Webb
Southern Cross University
Becoming a secondary-school teacher: The challenges of making teacher identity formation a conscious, informed process

This paper discusses initial findings on teacher identity, as perceived and negotiated by four pre-service secondary-school teachers during an action research project at a regional university. Through systematic collaborative reflection, the group explored the dissonance between theory and practice in order to make sense of their emerging teacher identities. Major themes evident at this stage in the research include the influences of teacher education; the secondary-school context; and ways in which the discourse of technical competence permeates views on teaching. Key factors that enabled or hindered the starting construction of teacher identities by participants are discussed; acknowledging that 'becoming a teacher' is an ongoing process. Initial interpretation of collective and individual reflections suggests that tensions experienced during teacher induction require careful examination in order to promote professional learning rather than to constrain it. Choices about forming a teacher identity need to be consciously informed so that teachers can enter the profession with a developing sense of self-efficacy and professionalism.

Issues in Educational Research, 15(2), 206-224. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/webb.html

David Zyngier
Monash University
Choosing our ideas, words and actions carefully: Is the language of Productive Pedagogies intelligible for pre-service teachers?

Australian teacher educators and teachers are become increasingly familiar with the notion of 'Productive Pedagogies', itself the product of longitudinal research on school reform undertaken in Queensland, Australia (Lingard et al. 2001). One of Productive Pedagogies' strengths has been its efficacy for teachers to use as a language to talk about their pedagogical work and, hence, a way of reclaiming some of the ground on what constitutes good teaching. This paper examines the value of 'Productive Pedagogies' as a metalanguage for developing pre-service teachers' knowledge and understanding of teaching. Drawing on pre-service teachers' observations of practice, the paper argues that Productive Pedagogies' language is not only useful in the development of pre-service teachers' critical understanding of teaching, but also in assisting them to recognise that the use of higher order thinking, connectedness, and recognition of and engaging with student differences within a supportive classroom is crucial to improved student outcomes.

Issues in Educational Research, 15(2), 225-248. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/zyngier.html

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