The purpose of this section is to provide brief information regarding recently completed research studies in Queensland.
Intending contributors should forward a short abstract of their work, together with relevant biographical data, to: The Editor, Queensland Researcher, Research Services, Queensland Department of Education, P.O. Box 33, North Quay Q 4002.
|Title:||A Summary of LOTE (Languages Other Than English) Programs for Pupils in Years 1 to 7 - A Look at LOTE|
|Institution:||Research Services Branch, Division of Curriculum Services, Department of Education, Queensland|
In March and April of 1988 the LOTE Working Party commissioned a survey of primary school LOTE programs. Using a questionnaire designed by officers of the Division of Curriculum Services, information was collected from Queensland's State schools with pupils within Years 1 to 7. Catholic and Independent systems were offered the use of the questionnaire to survey their own schools and they accepted the offer. The questionnaire sought to establish what LOTE programs existed; how they were organised, resourced and taught; what was the background of the teachers involved; and the attitudes of school communities towards the teaching of LOTEs.
Analysis and data preparation of the survey were undertaken by Research Services Branch with the findings being used by the LOTE Working Party in reporting to the Primary Curriculum Committee and in preparing for the development of programs, curriculum guidelines and support materials.
This report provides a brief overview statement of the State state of LOTE, through the presentation of some basic facts and figures. The major aspects reported on are:
In each section the main trends are presented followed by some illustrative data.
Before presenting the findings, thanks are extended to those teachers and principals who provided the data. Of the 1069 questionnaires sent to State schools, 1069 (100 per cent!) were returned.
Which schools offer LOTEs? Which don't?
What goes on in LOTE programs?
How does the school community feel about LOTE?
The school community is generally quite supportive of LOTEs. Schools with LOTEs indicate greater school community approval of teaching LOTEs in primary schools than do those without LOTEs.
What's happening in non-LOTE schools?
How does LOTE in 1988 compare with that in 1980?
A Glance at the Past
A questionnaire survey of primary LOTE was also conducted by Research Services Branch in 1980. It contained many questions similar to those asked in the present survey. Some emerging trends and comparisons of the major data from 1980 and 1988 follow:
|Title:||Participation and Equity Program: Comparative Study in Three High Schools|
|Institution:||Research Services Branch, Division of Curriculum Services, Department of Education, Queensland|
Research Services Branch of the Division of Curriculum Services, Department of Education, Queensland, is responsible for monitoring and evaluating school-based PEP activities throughout the State by obtaining details of the initiatives in each of the target schools and by conducting a series of intensive studies of PEP initiatives in selected schools by means of on-site visits. This report summarises and compares the programs conducted at Glenmore, Lockyer District and St George State High Schools. The study gives an overview of PEP projects in practice in these three very different schools.
Each school's PEP program initiatives were studied independently during 1985 and 1986. Separate reports were prepared and published. On-site visits were made so that the State PEP Committee could help the schools evaluate their programs and see how the programs were being implemented. A Branch officer visited each school for three to five days and held discussions and interviews with people associated with the program. Survey instruments were designed, based on the information obtained. These instruments were then used during a subsequent five-day visit to collect quantitative data.
Profile of the Schools
The schools studied - Glenrnore, Lockyer District and St George - are located in different educational Regions of the State. Lockyer District was established in 1961; the other two schools were established about 15 years later. At the time these studies were conducted, Glenmore and Lockyer District each had student populations of 800, St George had fewer than 400 students. The structure and style of the buildings, some with open-area classroom space, and the surrounding grounds influenced the curriculum offered at each school. Outdoor activities were planned to take advantage of the available shaded or paved areas. The history and pattern of development of each school also contributed to the characteristics of the staff and their response to PEP.
Glenmore, which has a small number of Aboriginal and migrant students, has a reputation for innovative programs and a forward-thinking staff, receptive to new ideas. It is one of several high schools in Rockhampton, a tropical city of considerable size with various cultural and educational facilities.
Lockyer District is a school with long standing traditional values. Changes are accepted slowly by the school community. It is the only high school in Gatton, a small farming community, 100 kilometres west of Brisbane.
St George, the smallest of the three schools, is a six-hour drive from Brisbane and, unlike the others, has a sizeable Aboriginal and multi-racial student population. It is located in a small community with no rail transport and only a limited bus service.
The students attending the schools are from very diverse family backgrounds. Some live on prosperous family farms or have parents in professional employment, others come from economically or social disadvantaged homes.
In all three schools, the PEP goals were achieved by building on to existing programs, broadening the curriculum and expanding it into new areas.
At the start of their programs, Lockyer District and St George set up formal, school-based PEP committees. They later established community advisory groups. At Glenmore, the school's PEP co-ordinator and the administrators encouraged staff and members of the community to take part in decision making processes.
Although the schools' action plans were similar, the differences in the programs offered reflected the schools' individual profiles. The following examples of specific initiatives emphasise the uniqueness of each school's respective programs.
The school's senior curriculum already had been planned. Results of the 1984 survey showed a need for additional lunchtime and after-school activities. PEP funding provided extra equipment and resources to school clubs already operating as part of the school's informal curriculum, and four new clubs were established. The new Community Liaison Unit was designed to encourage parents and other community members to participate in club activities, both as members and as leaders.
The traditional resistance shown by some students to school after Year 10 remained even though the senior school's curriculum had been expanded. Some teachers recognised that, to overcome this problem, programs should be developed for Year 8 students. A major PEP initiative was undertaken. Its objectives were to ease the transition of students moving from primary school into Year 8, to cater for special and individual needs, to provide additional activities that would appeal to this age group and to seek participation of parents. The long-term goals were to encourage students to accept some responsibility for their education with the overall aim of improving the school's student-retention rates in later years.
PEP funding in this school helped provide the transport costs of students and staff taking part in activities designed to overcome the difficulties experienced by an isolated community lacking cultural and educational facilities. Projects included a Year 12 work-experience activity in Brisbane, a Year 10 city-country exchange program and various excursions for cultural and educational purposes. Travel costs for staff associated with curriculum development activities also were met.
The senior curriculum in each school was broadened to include more subjects that were practical Substantial funds were provided to supply resources and equipment for implementing the new programs. Prior to PEP, teachers of transition-education programs at each school had attempted to meet the needs of students unlikely to aim for tertiary education. These activities continued under the new programs. Lockyer District revised the school's alternative course and allied it with the standard curriculum. St George terminated its alternative course and developed and implemented applied subjects in the standard curriculum. Glenmore continued to develop parallel Board and school subjects, such as English and communications, offering them at the same time and in the same classroom space.
The informal junior curriculum at Glenmore was extended and a comprehensive Year 8 program was developed at Lockyer District. The study of a foreign language at St George was replaced with Australian Cultural Studies, and a Year 10 city-country exchange program was implemented.
Teacher Renewal and Support
The staff-development program established at Glenmore in 1975 continued under PEP and operated with few substantial changes. The in-service and teacher-development programs at Lockyer District and at St George, however, were heavily funded and the activities closely integrated with curriculum change. Teacher-release time in each school was provided for curriculum development, and travel funds were made available for consultative purposes. Teacher-aide assistance was provided to support curriculum development and class activities.
Community Interaction and Support
The highest priority in the three schools was to develop school-community relationships. The emphasis at Glenmore was on re-establishing the community ties that had existed when the school was first opened. At Lockyer District and St George, the aim was to improve and expand school and community interaction.
A Community Liaison Unit was implemented at Glenmore and, at St George and Lockyer District, community advisory groups were established. Initially, community representatives served on the PEP committees in these two schools, the advisory groups progressing naturally from the committees. The roles adopted by the two advisory groups were, however, quite different. At Lockyer District, the emphasis was placed on the school's present and future PEP needs; at St George, both community and school affairs were on the agenda. Changes are expected as committee responsibilities are re-assessed and redefined over the next few years.
Students at each school were included in school decision-making processes. A student representative council was set up at Lockyer District and, at St George, the existing student council was revitalised. Representatives on the established student council at Glenmore were encouraged to participate more fully in school affairs.
Parents, students, teachers and members of the community were directly involved in the development of the PEP action plan at each school. The local press published PEP-related school information. Public support was sought for PEP-related projects and neighbourhood schools became involved in PEP-funded activities. Cooperation with community employers provided greater career opportunities for students. Parents were encouraged to visit the schools and, at St George, the newly appointed Aboriginal community counsellor accompanied parents visiting the school for the first time.
Groups With Particular Needs
Each school's action plan considered the needs of students, including students with special needs. At Glenmore, the aim of school clubs, careers-education programs and the Community Liaison Unit was to meet the needs of special groups. The alternative program, the Year 8 program and the special-needs unit were major contributors to meeting the needs of special groups at Lockyer District and, at St George, the Aboriginal community counsellor, the student travel assistance scheme and the pastoral care program helped meet students' needs. Emphasis at each school was placed on developing a broadened senior curriculum to provide a greater choice of practical or applied subjects.
Assessment and Credentialling
When PEP was introduced, the three schools had just completed a school assessment exercise associated with the Review of School Based Assessment (ROSBA). This scheme applied to all schools in the State and integrated appropriate subject assessment procedures into all curriculum work programs, including programs developed under PEP. Glenmore also expected to implement changes in assessment procedures in conjunction with a planned TAFE co operative program. The physical-fitness component of the Year 8 program at Lockyer District, which was to extend across other Year levels, was developed with an in-built assessment scheme.
St George introduced computer-generated student reports, a scheme to monitor students' progress, and a booking scheme for parent-teacher interviews.
School Structure and Organisation
As a result of PEP, the three schools introduced activities that required adjustments to timetables. Examples include the informal curriculum (school clubs) and the broadened careers advisory program at Glenmore; the Year 8 and alternative programs at Lockyer District; and the Year 10 city-country exchange, the Year 12 Brisbane work experience and the pastoral-care program at St George.
Changes to school structures include the student councils and the community advisory committees established at Lockyer District and St George; the Community Liaison Unit at Glenmore; and the re organised staff committees at St George. Other changes in school organisation include staff appointments such as the Aboriginal Community Counsellor and the home-school liaison and resource teachers at St George; the staff associated with the special needs component at Lockyer District; and the Community Liaison at Glenmore.
At Glenmore, negotiations with TAFE to develop a co-operative program already were underway at the Regional level. Although TAFE facilities were not available to students at St George, arrangements had been made to conduct TAFE courses in welding and woodwork in the school's new manual arts block. Students enrolled in the alternative program at Lockyer District were receiving TAFE instruction as part of the established course. Also at Lockyer District, association with the nearby Queensland Agricultural College was maintained. Visits to tertiary institutions were conducted in association with the three schools' careers-education programs.
Education and the Arts
Many of the clubs which constituted Glenmore's informal curriculum conducted art activities and both industrial and fine arts were included in the school's curriculum.
PEP-funded activities at Lockyer District included music and the dramatic arts, and the school's auditorium was used extensively by both the school and the community for arts purposes.
Students at St George visited the Performing Arts Complex, the Modern Masters Exhibition and the Channel 9 television studios in Brisbane as part of the school's cultural program. The local radio station provided students with practical experience in broadcasting and, as a direct result of PEP, the annual school musical was re-introduced.
Video recording equipment was used extensively for general school purposes and for special classroom activities.
Most teachers mentioned one or two of these goals, indicating a certain vagueness and narrowness in their perceptions of the program, and of its place in the school's general philosophy. Few seemed to recognise PEP as a program of school renewal.
Staff commitment to PEP goals was gauged according to teachers' stated willingness to become involved in suggested PEP activities. A majority of staff in each school indicated, on most items, that they were neutral or willing to become involved. They indicated least willingness on items related to whole-school appraisal exercises and curriculum review, and were more willing to participate in activities following the new directions initiated by PEP. These activities included encouraging students from low-income families to participate more in school activities, enlisting community support and working with colleagues to improve student-teacher relationships.
Most staff perceived the majority of PEP initiatives implemented at their schools as very worthwhile. Initiatives that were not judged so highly, in most instances, had not been in place long enough for valid conclusions to be made. Staff at St George were much more aware of the program initiatives in their school than were the staff at Glenmore or Lockyer District.
This may have been because St George is a small isolated school and has a staff decision-making committee structure that equally involves all members of staff. The major responsibility for PEP initiatives in the other two schools was taken by subject departments.
The PEP team in each school included the administration and anticipated the need to implement programs that had the support of teachers, parents, students and the community. At each school, concern was shown for the success of the programs, and people wanted to ensure that funds were spent on activities which would have lasting or long-term value. One school implemented its program in small steps, a second planned self-sustaining activities, and the third used democratic processes of decision making to ensure the support of staff for each phase of its program. The schools each have different characteristics, and each of their programs is unique, despite similarities in certain major initiatives. The commonalities probably resulted from the fact that these target schools had to consider similar issues. These issues include the needs of particular student groups, students' lack of interest in pursuing an academic course of study, within the community. The schools also suffer varying degrees of cultural and, in some instances, physical isolation.
The success of PEP in each school is difficult to assess precisely, because some long-term objectives underlying the initiatives might not be realised for many years. Also, a comparison of the three programs is difficult because programs at each school were at different stages of implementation at the time the schools were visited. Evaluation of the schools' programs can be summarised as follows:
|Please cite as: QIER (1988). Research reports 4(3). Queensland Researcher, 4(3), 41-57. http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qr4/res-repts-4-3.html|