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1996 Annual Research Forum

Queensland Institute for Educational Research

11 September 1996


Title:Leadership in Health and Physical Education in Queensland Secondary Schools
Presenter:Louisa Webb, Griffith University

The focus of this research is leadership in the subject of Health and Physical Education (HPE) in Queensland Secondary Schools. Under the topic of 'leadership' this research also investigates the process of attaining leadership through socialisation into a career.

Research on leadership and educational administration in schools has focussed on Principals and Deputy Principals. Little research has been conducted to investigate leadership and administration at the level of Head of Department (HOD).

One particular characteristic of leadership within HPE currently, is that it is predominantly male. Data from the Queensland Department of Education illustrates that the number of female HPE HODs (13.5%) is well below the figure for female HODs across all subjects (42%) and is second only to Science (11%) in terms of the lowest female HOD representation compared to teacher representation. Characteristics specific to HPE, such as the pervasive influences of working with and within sport, result in a unique set of circumstances which impinge upon the career development of female teachers in this subject area.

The domination of males in promotional positions in HPE represents a situation likely to affect the gender image of the subject. Females are not seen to hold status positions and consequently, girls and other female teachers are not provided with positive female role models. The absence of females at HOD level also ensures the perpetuation of the male perspective in departmental policy, the syllabus, and the learning experiences provided for students.

Title:Teachers working with young adolescents
Presenter:Jill Manitzky and Debra Cunningham, Board of Teacher Registration, Queensland

A Working Party was established by the Board of Teacher Registration late in 1993 to undertake a project to consider the preparation of teachers working with young adolescents. Drawing on recent literature relating to the developmental needs of young adolescents and how schools and community are responding to these needs, an Issues Paper was developed in 1994 and circulated to relevant interest groups in Queensland and interstate. Over 200 responses to the Issues Paper were considered by the Working Part in the second half of 1994.

In view of the interest in the proposals put forward in the Issues paper, in August 1995 the Board of Teacher Registration, jointly with the Department of Education, the Queensland Catholic Education Commission, and the Association of Independent Schools of Queensland, convened a working conference called 'Sharing the Future: Preparing Teachers for Working with Young Adolescents'. This further explored the issues associated with the education of young adolescents and ways of addressing identified needs in schools, education systems, and teacher education.

In 1996, in the final state of the project, the Working Party drew on the Issues Paper and responses to it, and to the conference process and outcomes to develop outcomes of the project as a whole. What emerged was a vision for the future schooling of young adolescents. Recommendations are directed to teacher education, however implications for schools, education systems and the curriculum are also included.

Title:Teaching English as a non-unitary S/subject
Presenter:Grier Johnson, Griffith University

This thesis examines the multiple ways in which English teaching is practised and accounted for in Queensland secondary school classrooms. I agree that teachers construct and are constructed as certain kinds of subjects in Subject English. The study focuses on practices rather than on persons. That is, the aim of the investigation is teaching practice rather than teacher behaviour. This approach is generated from a perspective gained from reviewing literature in the fields of teacher education, English teaching pedagogy and literature theory. I argue that it is no longer tenable for teachers to remain unaware of the theories of language which undergird their practice (see Thomson, 1994; Peim, 1993) because theory and practice are inseparable.

The theoretical focus of the study is derived from poststructural or 'post-personal' concepts of language rather than psychological or personal conceptualisations. The study draws on the respective work in critical linguistics of Kress (1985), Gee (1990) and Fairclough ( 1989) all of which is generated from a social theory of language.

Arguing from within a social theory of language, the concepts of Discourse (see Gee, 1990) and position are central to the thesis argument that English is a non-unitary S/ subject. By analysing the ways in which teachers position students by their writing and talk in and around classrooms, an understanding can be reached of the multiplicity of Discourses and practices enacted in English teaching.

Although the study initially involved a group of 31 beginning English teachers, I examine in depth the work of two beginning English teachers. This study adopts a situated perspective which establishes the specificity of teaching English. During the two-year study I collected samples of writing, classroom talk and post-lesson conversation. In the first year of the study, the beginning teachers engaged in the writing of An English Teacher's Reading/Writing Journal, while completing a postgraduate Diploma in Education. My written instructions to the teachers are analysed also as these data supplement the analysis of the teachers' writing. During the second year, when the teachers were employed in secondary schools, I visited them in their classrooms, audiotaped their classroom talk and recorded their post-lesson conversations with me. Links between the teachers' writing and their talk are drawn throughout the analysis.

The Discourses and practices which are made visible in the analysis of the teachers' writing and talk are: morally responsibility, literacy (including assessment) and authority. Literacy is the dominant Discourse. It shifts and changes within and across the instances of English teaching so as to become pluralised: literacies. The located literacies fall within the expanse of the pre-personal, personal and post-personal categories and are named as traditional and functional (pre-personal), author/voice (personal), and critical literacy (post-personal). Genre literacy slips across the three categories. The Discourses of moral responsibility (care) and authority (control) always accompany literacies with the resultant effect that in any instance the version of English proposed in the teachers' writing or talk finds some reconciliation in care and control.

The finding that English is a non-unitary S/subject constructed of related, shifting and conflicting Discourses has important implications for English teaching in so far as it makes visible the kinds of care and control implied in the located literacy pedagogies. The analysis of writing and talk in the thesis problematises English teaching so that educators can no longer claim that practice is neutral, or natural or ideologically pure.

In the analysis of teachers' writing and talk, this study presents a 'post-personal' methodology for studying the work teachers do inside as well as outside classrooms so that teachers may examine their own discursive practices. The study also enables teachers to become acquainted with ways of teaching English different from the personalist way which predominates at present. The discussion of care and control shows that the teaching of English is politically derived.

Although the study does not claim a general applicability across all contexts of English teacher education and English teaching, the insights are transferable. It moves beyond the familiar focus on the English teacher and raises questions about the nature of practice which may be applicable to sites beyond those examined in this thesis. The study also offers a methodology for the critical reading of teaching practice which may be useful to teachers other than those in Subject English. A strength of the study is its exposition of a set of related shifting and conflicting Discourses which construct the social institution of English teaching in a positive way.

Title:Teaching probability pre-service primary teacher education students
Presenter:Robert Peard, Queensland University of Technology

This research examines misconceptions in probability held by a sample of pre-service primary teacher education students. A set of twelve questions were selected and modified from those reported in the research literature in mathematics education and psychology in order to examine the misuse of the representativeness and availability heuristics. In addition the misconception of an assumption of equal likelihood when none exists has been identified by the author. It is claimed that this misconception is widespread and the display will allow participants to experience this misconception through illustrated interactive examples. The results of other questions illustrating misunderstanding of independence, counter-initiative probabilities, the inadequacy of intuition and beliefs in other fallacies will be included.

The questions were administered to a sample of 50 students and all questions were accompanied with a request to explain the reasoning employed. These explanations were partitioned into disjoint categories according to the type of misconception and cognitive level of the response ranging from unistructural to relational. Results of selected questions and a summary of the response levels are presented. The implication of these results for the teaching of probability and the need for further research are discussed.

Title:Mathematics support for 1st year Engineering students: an operational model for students studying at a distance
Presenter:Janet Taylor, David Ross, Michael Morgan and Glen Postle, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba

Students studying in the distance mode have little opportunity to access standard learning support programs available to on campus students. This project aims to further design, develop, trial and evaluate a support program in mathematics for students studying at a distance. The design of the program is based upon existing materials currently used by internal students (diagnostic tests, modularised written material in booklet form, covering relevant mathematics topics, mastery tests). The major initial task is to provide a delivery system that will give opportunities for all students to interact with campus staff on the program and secure timely and appropriate feedback on their progress. It is proposed that the delivery system function around specific computing and communication technologies - teleconferencing, computer conferencing, and the specifically designed courseware package.

For further information contact Janet A Taylor, Office of Preparatory and Continuing Studies, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, email: taylorja@usq.edu.au

Title:Research perspectives from the 1995 Year 6 Test, the Year 2 Net and the assessment of performance program
Presenter:Barry Tainton, Department of Education

The Year 2 Net and the Year 6 Test were introduced in Queensland schools in 1995. A developmental framework was used by teachers to map the progress of students in their first 18 months of schooling. Intervention strategies were designed for students 'caught' in the Net.

The Year 6 Test was commissioned to the Australian Council for Education Research for implementation, with reports provided on individual students, classes and the whole school. Intervention strategies were developed for those students performing in the lowest 15 per cent of the state.

The Assessment of Performance Program (APP) has been operating since 1990, with samples of students from Years 5, 7 and lower secondary tested in the areas of mathematics, reading, writing, and science.

Data from the Year 2 Net and Year 6 Test have been aggregated for both students and schools. There were consistent gender differences in performance, which were compared to APP science results. For Year 6, the mean scale scores for students in target groups and in disadvantaged schools were generally below the state means.

The performance of schools varied according to its socio-cultural context, but school size or location were not significant factors. Analyses also explored the relationships among the performance of the curriculum areas, and between Year 2 and Year 6 performance.

Use of the data in educational decision making will be presented, together with an analysis of the impact of intervention strategies. Future methodological issues ill be concerned with the appropriateness and stability of mean scores for describing school performance, and for monitoring trends over time.

Title:Teaching styles in secondary school Physical Education: teacher perceptions
Presenter:Nicole Blair, Griffith University

The focus of this research is teacher perceptions of teaching styles in Secondary School Physical Education. Mosston's spectrum of teaching styles is a theoretical teaching framework that has been widely used in Physical Education. Using Mosston's spectrum of teaching styles will assist in examining teachers' attitudes, beliefs and perceptions about teaching styles used in Physical Education.

Research in Physical Education has examined the way the subject has been taught. A number of studies have examined and measured the effects of various teaching styles on student learning in Physical Education. There has been a lack of research on current teacher perceptions of teaching styles used in Secondary Physical Education.

The spectrum of teaching styles provides appropriate styles of instruction for a range of situations and objectives. Effective teaching would be to adopt and utilise different styles of teaching that will enhance student learning. Therefore an effective teacher must master a repertoire of teaching styles because no single style is adequate in every situation.

However, Physical Education teachers develop a favourite way of teaching which become their personal style of teaching. When implementing this personal style, teachers succeed in some lessons and are less successful in others but generally stay within the parameters of their style. This results in teachers not utilising the full range of teaching styles and only catering for a limited number of students' learning experiences.

The research questions are:

  1. What are teachers' perceptions of teaching styles in physical education?
  2. What barriers do teachers experience when trying to implement the full range of teaching styles?
  3. What teaching styles are most appropriate for different situations?
The design of the research consists of four Qualitative Case Studies. The methods of data collection are interviews, non-participant observations, diaries and member checks. An inductive approach to theory will be used and the computer software program, N.U.D.I.S.T. (Non-numerical, Unstructured Data: Indexing, Searching and Theorising) will assist in analysing the data.

Title:Australian higher education sector performance with student equity (1990-1995)
Presenter:Glen Postle, John Clarke, Eric Skuja, David Bull and Helen McCann, University of Southern Queensland

This poster presentation reports the results of a number of studies conducted by a consultancy team during the second half of 1995. The purpose of these studies was to inform the development of Ministerial advice by the Higher Education Council's Steering Committee for Advancing the National Framework for Student Equity in Higher Education. The team's brief was to collect information on the progress made by the higher education sector since the introduction of the initial equity framework as described in A Fair Chance For All in 1990. The work involved a detailed quantitative analysis of sector-wide performance between 1991-1995, face-to-face interviews with over eighty higher education staff, close examination of Equity Plans and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education strategies, an analysis of responses received to a Higher Education Council issues paper, Equality, Diversity and Excellence - A Discussion Paper (DEET, 1995), during a national consultations process and via written submissions, and an extensive review of the national and international literature.

This paper presents sector wide quantitative performance and the principal conclusions drawn regarding access, participation, success and retention for each of the six (6) DEET identified groups during the period 1991-1995.

Title:Word problems involving relational statements: a Chinese-English comparison
Presenter:Linda Galligan, University of Southern Queensland

Questions such as the classic student/professor problem' have been highlighted in the literature as an area of difficulty for students both in school and at university. Some research has indicated that the syntax of the sentence encourages reversal error (i.e. having 6s = p as the answer) while others recent research suggests it is not the syntax but an appropriate cognitive model which is lacking in students.

In Chinese, the syntax of the sentence is different - literally: students compare professors 6 times. If syntax is an important factor in student error in such questions, then Chinese students should not make as many errors as comparable English group since the syntax of the Chinese sentence encourages correct algebraic translation.

As part of a Masters thesis, an experiment was conducted on two groups of 15 university students, one Mandarin and one English speaking. They were given 2 tests in their native tongue - one testing word problems involving relational statements and the other mathematical skills related to these word problems. The results of these tests suggest that Chinese language does not assist Chinese students in the solving of word problems involving relational statements.

Title:Investigation of the writing experiences of undergraduate BEd students
Presenter:Margaret Fletcher, Griffith University

This poster session presents doctoral research investigating the writing experiences of undergraduate Bachelor of Education students attending a Queensland university. The research focus therefore is not on what undergraduate writing is but how it is experienced as a phenomenon. A case study approach (Merriam, 1990) exploring the writing experience of two groups of students employs both qualitative and quantitative methods. The use of quantitative analysis as a tool provides a generalised description of phenomena as captured by the surveying of two groups of 350 students. This description is then qualitatively detailed in the experience as revealed in 40 interviews and 6 case studies.

Two key questions guide this research: What do you understand to be successful academic writing? and What has influenced your development as an academic writer?

Additionally, through the exploration of this experience, the researcher seeks to understand the following related questions:

There are two potential outcomes anticipated: Preliminary findings will be reported, framed by these stated outcomes.

Title:Effective teaching of Science in primary schools: Innovative professional development
Presenter:James Watters and Ian Ginns, Centre for Mathematics and Science Education, Queensland University of Technology

In a climate of uncertainty concerning curriculum reform and change, pressure to examine current practices in a range of areas is acute. Not least among the curriculum areas undergoing reform is science education. Founded on a belief that scientific literacy is an essential component necessary to empower the citizen in the technological society of the future, a momentum has gathered, assisted by national review, national statements, and state policies, to reform science education particularly at primary level. However to achieve success, curriculum reform must be supported by appropriate professional development at the classroom level involving teachers who show leadership and vision. Identifying these teachers is a necessary step in any successful reform process. The research reported here explores me experience of a classroom teacher engaged in an innovative professional development programme and examines the multitude of factors that impact on science teaching. The innovation involved a satellite broadcast of a program designed to support the implementation of a unit from the Australia Academy of Science's Primary Investigations package. The teacher and her class were monitored over a period of six weeds during which time the broadcasts were transmitted to her and her class. Extensive observations, interviews, and surveys of participants in the study were undertaken. The outcomes suggests that the teacher developed an enhanced understanding and the ability to apply principles of effective science teaching, and an increased level of confidence to adopt a leadership role. The characteristics she displayed provide useful insights into the identifications of effective teachers of science.

Title:Year two children's writing development
Presenter:Mary Daniels, Graduate School of Education, The University of Queensland

This display consists of one main poster and four minor ones. All feature the patterning of key words and concepts associated with the study of year two school children's writing development. One of the main objectives of the study is to gain comprehensive understanding of some of the changes which occur in young children's writing over a period of time. Lexical cohesion will be used as an indicator of this writing development. The data for the study emanates from the writing of descriptions by Year two school children.

The main poster serves as an introduction to this study featuring significant words such as literacy, development and children. The minor posters are an extension and focus on various sections of the thesis such as the literature review on indicators of writing development, the qualitative approach to conducting research, the categories of lexical cohesion and the design of the study including the eight lessons.

Title:Teacher presence and its effects on computational choices made by Year 5-7 students
Presenter:Peter Price, Centre for Mathematics and Science Education, Queensland University of Technology

Teachers are urged in the mathematics education literature to teach students to make sensible choices among the three methods of computation: paper-and-pencil, calculator, and mental. This student investigated factors influencing students' computational choices.

A stratified sample of 52 Year 5-7 students was selected at random from an independent school on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Numbers were balanced for gender, year level, and mathematical ability. Students were individually presented with 12 multiplication questions, and asked to answer them using either written, calculator or mental methods. Questions contained number of three types: extended basic facts, aliquot parts, and other 2-digit numbers. Half the questions were presented as word problems, and half in symbols.

Findings indicated that there was a statistically significant relationship between students' choices of computational method and number type (p<.001), student's year level (p<.05) and teacher presence (p<.05). No relationship was found between computational choice and question format. Conclusions include that students take note of numbers involved when deciding how to solve a multiplication question, and that their decisions are affected by their perception of the teacher's expectations. Implications for teaching are that more emphasis should be given to mental methods of computation, teachers should try to find out reasons for their students' mathematical decisions, and that students should be given greater opportunities to choose computational methods and justify those choices.

Title:The difficulties students have using diagrams as a problem solving tool
Presenter:Carmel Diezmann, Centre for Mathematics and Science Education, Queensland University of Technology

Draw a diagram is widely advocated as a problem solving strategy in mathematics but how effective is this tool? To explore this question Year 5 students were monitored attempting to solve a range of novel (non-routine) problems. Three areas of concern emerged from interviews; the selection of the diagram as a problem solving tool, the generation of an appropriate diagram, and the effective use of the diagram. Firstly, students did not spontaneously use a diagram for problems which were easily solved visually, and even when prompted some students did not recognise that drawing a diagram would be an appropriate strategy to employ. Secondly, students had difficulty generating a diagram which had a structural correspondence to the problem - despite repeated attempts in some cases. Furthermore, some students omitted one or more of the problem cues (key pieces of information) from their diagram while other students embellished the diagram and added information that exceeded an interpretation of the text. Thirdly, some students had difficulty using the diagram effectively despite generating an appropriate representation. For example, some students' lacked a systematic approach to their use of the diagram and produced unsuccessful solutions. Two conclusions are drawn from this study; firstly, if diagrams are to be an effective problem solving tool students need to be educated in their use, and secondly, education on the diagram as a problem solving tool should include selection of the strategy, generation of the diagram, and use of the diagram.

Title:Power of discourse: women's entry/re-entry into the paid workforce
Presenter:Letitia Whitmore, Queensland University of Technology

Power of discourse: women 's entry/re-entry into the paid workforce provides a broad base of information concerning the problems, especially those pertaining to individual literacy skills, which women face when they wish to enter or re-enter the paid workforce. Traditionally women have been disadvantaged in employment so this study presents a basis for a critical understanding of the barriers they face. Entry/re-entry for women into today's competitive labour market requires not just appropriate job skills but the ability to market one's self to an employer. Job seekers need literacy skills which enable them to use appropriate language patterns or forms that are accepted and valued in contemporary society. These women need access to an control over successful job search discourse in order to achieve satisfying employment.

The study provides a base from which future policy and decisions by governments, educators, employers and the community seeking to break down barriers and to improve the employment of women may be initiated. Through a reflective analysis of data collected by way of a limited ethnographic case study which focussed on the perceptions of a small group of unemployed women who attended a Job Club program, and commentary on key issues arising from the unemployed women's perceptions of their barriers the study raises important questions that heighten awareness of the problems and issues involved.

Title:Queensland School Curriculum Office - update on curriculum initiatives
Presenter:Queensland School Curriculum Office

The Queensland School Curriculum Office (QSCO) has the responsibility to manage curriculum development projects for the P-10 years of schooling. It is the intention of QSCO to work collaboratively with all educational authorities and other stakeholders in the curriculum development process.

The curriculum office is not a large body and its role is quite distinct. The total number of permanent staff to be appointed totals 18. Personnel for projects will be seconded from the various school authorities. This mix of permanent and seconded staff will allow the office to bring together people with experience in the management of curriculum projects and people with current experience of teaching and the operation of schools. For some curriculum projects, it is possible that external organisations may be contracted to develop materials.

In the QSCO presentation, information on the current work being undertaken in relation to the following projects will be presented using a 'looped' visual PowerPoint presentation and a static display:

Title:Student action research for university access (SARUA) project
Presenter:Bill Atweh, Tania Aspland, Derek Bland, Leonie Daws, Louise Dornan and Lindy Moffatt

This project is aimed at increasing the participation of students from low socio-economic, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and certain NESB backgrounds in higher education. It is a collaborative action research project between small groups of students from eight Brisbane high schools, some of their teachers and university staff. This action research approach is located within three perspectives.

Firstly, because research is a political activity, this approach is based on the principle that the providers of information are the owners of that information. Any use made of such information should directly benefit the providers themselves. Further, involving the groups or individuals who are facing a problem in the process of finding a solution embeds the solution in the context, making it more appropriate and more likely to be implementable than a more abstract solution derived by 'experts';

Secondly, this approach adopts the practice of students researching students. This is consistent with principles of ethnographic research which assert that the view from inside a group should be obtained from the inside by using participant observation.

Thirdly, this approach adopts the view that participating with students as co-researchers is an expression of trust and respect for their ability to find creative solutions to their current life problems as well as an opportunity for them to nurture this ability.

Title:Writing the histories of QUT
Presenter:Noeline Kyle, Joanne Scott, Catherine Manathunga and Allan Cumming, Queensland University of Technology

The Queensland University of Technology was established in 1989 and, as a multi-campus university, it has existed only since 1990. This apparently brief history, however, conceals a series of institutions for post-compulsory education in Queensland, with the trail extending back into the nineteenth century. The History of QUT project is currently investigating these institutions, including the Brisbane and Central Technical Colleges, the Queensland Teachers' Training College, the Brisbane Kindergarten Training College, the Queensland Institute of Technology and the Brisbane College of Advanced Education.

The inclusion of so many institutions within a single project presents certain difficulties, as we attempt to explore the distinctive aspects of each college and institute, analyse the similarities and relations with each other, set them within a broader history of education, and yet remain alert to the multiple and conflicting histories which may exist within a single institution. The very fact of writing a history which incorporates multiple educational institutions, however, offers a means of reflecting on changing definitions of tertiary education and training and also on policy issues in higher education.

Title:The impact on students of the German immersion program at Kenmore State High School and the implications for the development of immersion mode of teaching
Presenter:Maria Dobrenov-Major, Faculty of Education, Griffith University

This project investigates the immersion experiences of five students from both the first and second cohort of the German Immersion Program in Kenmore State High School. The retrospective feedback of these students provides valuable insight into their language acquisition experiences in an immersion setting with social psychological and pedagogical implications for the future developmental path and fine tuning of the program. The focus of the project was the investigation of students' attitudes toward and experiences with the immersion program, and the identification of possible difficulties faced eventually with the return to mainstream classes.

The data suggest the following conclusions: strong group coherence has a significant impact on the development of confidence. Contrary to the initial hypothesis that the social background of the learners plays an important role, the data show that students independent of the educational background of the parents achieved very good results. Besides the 'lifelong friendships' and the trip to Germany, the most valuable experience for the students was the discovery and development of special learning strategies. The maintaining of these strategies makes it possible for the former immersion students to occupy the top third of the mainstream classes. No adjustment difficulties were experienced after the students' incorporation into the mainstream. The language tests indicate a process of language loss, therefore the post-immersion proficiency maintenance program needs to be more intensive and tailored to individual student needs.

Title:Why rural school-leavers decline higher education offers
Presenter:Maj Reugebrink

In 1990, people from rural areas were one of six groups identified by the National Board of Employment, Education and Training as being historically and significantly under-represented in the higher education student population. The single most prohibitive barrier to higher education for people in rural and remote areas was acknowledged to be lack of access, without major dislocation and/or significant personal cost, to higher education.

A range of curriculum delivery and student assistance and accommodation initiatives were subsequently introduced to help rural students overcome this barrier. In spite of these initiatives, the participation of rural and isolated students in higher education continued to fall. In its 1995 discussion paper, the Higher Education Council noted that students from isolated areas remained the most disadvantaged in terms of access and the most under-represented equity group in terms of participation in higher education.

Since it could be argued that financial and geographic barriers are increasingly confronting both rural and non-rural school-leavers alike as the competition for scarce higher education places requires a growing number of higher education applicants to relocate and incur personal costs in order to gain places in higher education courses, the research project sought to determine if lack of access, without major dislocation and/or significant personal costs remains a significantly greater deterrent to pursuing higher education for Year 12 school-leavers from rural and remote secondary schools in Queensland that for other Queensland Year 12 school-leavers. The findings indicated that, while competition for scarce higher education places may indeed be forcing rural and non-rural school-leavers alike to live away from home in order to complete their higher education, rural and isolated students remain the most likely to encounter this as a prohibitive barrier to pursuing higher education opportunities. The findings also indicated that students from rural and remote secondary schools often rejected higher education places simply because they were unable to find appropriate, affordable accommodation near/on campus within a required and frequently very short time frame.

Title:Examining ourselves: Fitzgerald, Goss and reforming Queensland 1987-96
Presenter:Trevor Meldon

It can be argued that the act of self-examination should not focus evenly on the events of our lives. Rather, we should identify significant events in our lives as defining moments - times when unusual challenges or events confront us. Our behaviour during significant events can more truly reveal and define our character than our reactions to normal events or our proclamations of what we believe our character to be.

If we wish to determine the true nature of Queensland society, its public sector or its power centres, it will be helpful to examine its behaviour during significant events that may reveal its true nature. The period 1987-96, The Fitzgerald Inquiry and the Goss Government reforms subjected Queenslanders and Queensland power centres to unprecedented challenges.

This research will revisit the Fitzgerald Inquiry and, through reference to theories of the State, discusses what the inquiry revealed about the nature of government in Queensland.

This will be further evaluated by comparing the history of public sector accountability and reform in Queensland with the history of public sector accountability and reform in the rest of Australia and other developed countries.

This will lead to consideration of actual teacher vs. Department of Education cases that entered the public domain during this period. Insights can thus be gained into some of the Goss Government's reform legislation in the total context of the Fitzgerald crisis, the Queensland public sector culture and the comparative ultraconservatism of Queensland society.

The research will conclude by attempting to relate particular theories of the State to the Queensland 'culture-shocks' of 1987-96 and what has been revealed about ourselves, our institutions and the problems of reform.

Title:Workplace reform through overseas experience - the pre-departure training component to enhance learning
Presenter:Feng Guo, Graduate School of Education, The University of Queensland

China started its economical reform in 1978. Since then labour migration has been more important. Although labour migration is often seen as a political, economic phenomenon on a macro level, the government has several purposes when sending workers or trainees overseas. Since the end of 1993, a compulsory pre-departure training component has been initiated. This research explores the different purposes of the government, the international corporation, and the individual. It examines the overseas experience of these workers and trainees and the effect of the pre-departure training. The sluggish work culture formed within the communist system and the workers' value of 'master of the workplace' contributes to the biggest problem while adapting to the work overseas. The language problem comes second. The painful adaptation process is seen more as a learning and self development process. The eventual benefit is not limited to the economic return, the skills learned and the work culture formed are regarded by the government as essential to the reform of the workplace culture in China. To enhance this learning and development process, a pre-departure training program is discussed.

Title:The development of Fijian identity in schools
Presenter:Samuela Bogitini, Graduate School of Education, The University of Queensland

The notion of culture, identity and representation is currently a burning political issue in Fiji. To date, however, the lack of scholarly contribution from the ethnic Fijians may contribute to the current misrepresentation of the Fijian people and their culture practices and values. As a post-colonial nation, Fiji's education system was strategically constructed during the colonial administration. This may be regarded as a historical situated response. Consequently, the values, attitudes and expectations underpinning the current education system have become entrenched. They currently dominate the ethos of Fiji's education system. The main focus of this research is to examine the development of Fijian identity by the curriculum and how Fijian identity is expressed through historical and contemporary influences.

To explore the notion of Fijian identity within the Fijian context, I decided to use the seven concepts below:

  1. culture
  2. identity
  3. representation
  4. citizenship
  5. post-colonialism
  6. bi-culturalism
  7. curriculum
This study may offer a new perspective of theorising and conceptualising curriculum development and change in Fiji.

Title:Collaborative mathematical discussion
Presenter:Merrilyn Goos, Peter Galbraith and Peter Renshaw, The University of Queensland

Attempts to reconceptualise mathematics teaching and learning have frequently focussed on the role of student discussion in developing mathematical knowledge. The theoretical basis for our interest in student talk derives from the metaphor of the mathematics classroom as a 'community of practice', in which learning is viewed as a social process that helps students to adopt the language conventions and ways of thinking valued by the wider community of mathematicians. In such classrooms student participation is no longer limited by the conventional recitation script, but includes discussion with peers b~ order to solve problems and assess their growing understanding.

As part of a two year research project we have been investigating patterns of classroom social interactions that improve students' mathematical understanding, and facilitate a more accurate perception of the communal nature of mathematical knowledge. We have made detailed observation of four senior secondary mathematics classrooms, in order to document and examine instances of student discussion. This presentation addresses the collaborative quality of students' mathematical discussion.

Our study has identified a set of interacting factors that influence the characteristics of student talk: the student's perception of the purpose of the talk; students' relative task specific expertise; and the degree of challenge offered by the task. We illustrate these factors by reference to three lessons involving the same group of students.

Title:The inner and outer worlds of the researcher
Presenter:Karen Moni, The Graduate School of Education, The University of Queensland

The context of the poster is a PhD study investigating the construction of cultures of assessment by teachers and students in English during the first year of high school. This poster identifies methodological considerations that should be addressed when using qualitative techniques to investigate the social world of the classroom. The roles played by the researcher in this particular project will be identified and discussed. Points raised will be illustrated by data drawn from a case study of a teacher and groups of students currently being conducted in one high school English classroom.

Title:Sole parents experience of tertiary education
Presenter:Karen Chalmers, The Graduate School of Education, The University of Queensland

In these early stages of my study of 'Sole Parents Experience of Tertiary Education' I am developing the theoretical foundations for the project. The study will utilise Foucault's genealogical method to explore the power/knowledge relationships between sole parent pensioner students and institutions of the state. In order to develop the theoretical foundations for the study I have been engaged in reading in the area of feminism, postmodernism and theories of the state.

The decade between 1965-75 had shown that women were able to influence family policy and lobby the state to provide the income maintenance they required in order to achieve independence. Their right to have a family without a husband has been given public recognition. Yet despite the achievement of the Supporting Mothers' Pension (now the Sole Parent's Pension), and other legislative changes, twenty years later sole parents (mainly women) still experience economic difficulties and discrimination.

One parent families are among the poorest in the welfare state, and the most frequent users of charities for clothes, furniture and crisis assistance. The recommendations of the Commonwealth government's Social Security Review (1988) were intended to overcome their marginalisation in the paid workforce by providing training and child-care. This study will investigate how initiatives, for example the JET program (jobs, education, training) have impacted upon the lives of sole parent families.

Title:A post-colonial perspective of distance education - a case study of The University of the South Pacific
Presenter:Richard Wah, The Graduate School of Education, The University of Queensland

This poster compares some of the features of distance education in Occident and Other countries. It makes the point that DE praxis developed in the Occident countries for themselves tend to be introduced into Other countries with little modification. It discusses some of the connative problems with this process. Thus having set the stage for the main discussion of the paper it will consider distance education practised at the University of South Pacific from a post-colonial perspective . . . raising various questions about DE practices through subaltern speaking, binarism, westernisation vs education, hybridisation, changes in cultural norms, . . .

Title:'New Federalism' and the competitive state: regulation, deregulation and the Australian teaching council
Presenter:Rhondel Johannessen, The University of Queensland

This research project is an analysis of the changing nature of federalism in Australian education as manifested in the Australian Teaching Council (ATC). In particular, it focuses on the federal/State relations which led to the establishment of the ATC, incorporating the role of the federal government, State governments and unions and the contestation which occurred among these bodies. The research seeks to investigate 'corporate federalism' as described by Lingard (1993). Specifically, the research asks:

In the context of changing Federal/State relations and their impact on Australian education what is the role, modus operandi and influence of the Australian Teaching Council, with particular reference to the conflict surrounding national registration and deregulation of teachers?
This poster display presents the author's research in progress. In particular, it is concerned with the researcher's aim to investigate the historical context of federalism in schooling, particularly from the Hawke Labor government to the present, which forms a major component of the project's review of literature.

Title:Theoretical, empirical and methodological questions for researchers of higher education entry policy: A mapping
Presenter:Trevor Gale, Central Queensland University

This poster presents the author's research in progress which is concerned with the nature of policy and policy production, and the state's involvement and influence in that production, particularly with respect to contemporary Australian higher education entry policy; concerns broadly located within a growing interest amongst sociologists, since the mid 1980s, in the study of education policy which has developed around a concept of 'policy sociology' (Payne, Dingwall, Payne & Carter 1981; Ozga 1987, Ball 1990).

Specifically, policy sociology has been characterised as:

In engaging in such research, I have been interested in: This poster presentation attempts to frame the above research within a series of theoretical, empirical and methodological questions and to broach some tentative 'answers' to them.

Photo 1

Professor Allan Luke, University of Queensland, presenting the Key Note address at the Forum.

Photo 2

Dr James Watters receiving his QIER Research Award from
Neil Cranston (President, QIER) with Glen Postle (Vice President).

Photo 3

Forum participants discuss research with presenters.

Photo 4

Students from the SARUA project being presented with their QIER Student Research Award.

Title:Capricornia educators' pilot development consortium
Presenter:Peter Moodie, Rockhampton Grammar School and Wendy Smith, Crescent Lagoon State School

As classroom teachers we have been involved in the Capricornia Educators' Professional Development Consortium for three years. Initially, an open invitation was sent to all Central Queensland schools in the Capricornia Region as part of a federally (DEEYTA) funded project. Interested participants nominated to participate in a network group focussing on either Literacy, Numeracy, Vocational Education or Middle Schooling. In our case, numeracy was the chosen focus area.

Professional development facilitated by the Consortium consisted of two hour sessions after school at an arranged venue and time, generally on a monthly basis. A total of seven sessions were held, including an introductory session, across a six month period. This has been the general format for the past three years.

Participants are from all Queensland systems of education: State, Independent and Catholic and across a range of year levels. Facilitators of these sessions were teachers, administrators, educational advisers (Numeracy) or university personnel.

Reasons for undertaking professional development varied from group to group and person to person, but generally participants sought a practical action research approach that would be of benefit to them as classroom teachers as well as to their students.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of Trevor Gale, Lecturer in Education at Central Queensland University, and Debbie Martin, Project Officer (Numeracy), Capricornia Educators' Professional Development Consortium, in the development of this poster.

Title:A retrospective evaluation of the most effective and least restrictive interventions in autism
Presenter:Jillian Taylor, Graduate School of Education, The University of Queensland

The study involved 60 people with autism aged between 16 and 36 years, with diagnoses ranging from severe to mild autism. The life-time educational and therapeutic interventions of each person was gained, along with an end-point re-diagnosis, and examination of their various abilities. Early results indicate a poor stability of diagnosis over time. Further, better individual outcome is holding a positive relationship to a high ratio of integrated education.

Title:A study of Australian educational aid to Kenya
Presenter:Daisy Webster, Queensland University of Technology

While a great deal of analysis has been conducted into the nature of educational aid from a donor's perspective, there has been little investigation into the way educational aid is received, negotiated, managed and perceived from the recipient's perspective.

There is a plethora of accounts, evaluations, project reviews and summaries cultivated about the process of educational aid by donor countries and aid organisations generally; yet little consideration or long term assessment of the responses and perceptions of the recipient countries has actually been carried out (Philips 1976, King 1986, Byrne 1994). In the Australian context, educational aid accounts for about 20% of Australia's Official Development Assistance (ODA) (AIDAB 1996:4) and since 1984, Australia has funded more students and trainees under its bilateral aid program than any other Development Assistance Country (with the exception of the United States in 1987). Yet in spite of this, there has been little information published about the impact of this kind of aid even through there is a clear need for careful studies of the relations between the educational needs of the recipient countries (Kenya) and the policies and practices of the aid donor countries (Australia). Without any case studies and progress reports from the recipient countries, any worthwhile understanding, conceptualisation and account of the nature of educational aid will remain largely controversial and indistinct.

The aim and objective of this study will be to analyse Australia's educational aid to Kenya and, in doing so, it will endeavour to establish the role, volume and extent of aid to the educational sector. In this context this research will examine the nature of Australia's educational aid program by analysing the historical forces that have affected and determined the present provision of educational aid and technical assistance to Kenya. It will also explore the purpose purported by AUSAID for this aid and map out the departments, agencies and organisations in both countries that are directly involved in the negotiation and administration of educational aid to the Kenya. Another aim of this study will be to determine and analyse the type and focus of the educational aid that Australia provides and the motives behind the provision of this aid to the region, in order to establish if the recipients perceptions of the value of this aid is mutual. Finally, this study will seek to clarify and draw conclusions about the implications and benefits of Australia's educational aid to Kenya and establish if the scholarship program is as useful to the students and the country, and as productive in terms of goodwill for Australia, as is commonly assumed.

Please cite as: QIER (1996). 1996 Annual Research Forum: Abstracts. Queensland Researcher, 12(2), 1-24. http://education.curtin.edu.au/iier/qjer/qr12/forum-abs.html

Editorial Note: The text strings 'reAbstract' or 'Abstract' occurred 10 times in the original document. This has been changed to 'representation' or 'presentation', as it was very likely an error due to an accident with a word processor's global find and replace function.

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Created 3 Aug 2005. Last revision: 3 Aug 2005.
URL: http://education.curtin.edu.au/iier/qjer/qr12/forum-abs.html