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[ Contents Vol 7, 1991 ] [ QJER Home ]

1991 Annual Research Forum

Queensland Institute for Educational Research

Presentation Abstracts


REFLECTIONS ON QIER'S FIRST RESEARCH FORUM

Judging by comments received on the night and since, the first QIER Educational Research Forum was a clear success. Other indicators of success were the higher than expected levels of participation (both presenters and audience) as well as the general atmosphere which prevailed during the event. Evidently, the event filled a need by bringing the educational research community in Queensland together in a format which effectively combined both professional and social interaction.

Some factors contributing to the effectiveness of the Forum were the generally high standard and variety among the displays, the involvement of a range of institutions, the quality of the guest speaker (Professor John Elkins, University of Queensland) and the compactness of the event. Compactness of time allowed busy people to fit the Forum into their crowded diaries. Compactness in space brought people into close proximity and induced the interaction which the organisers sought.

The involvement of institutions outside the Brisbane area was most gratifying. Displays from James Cook University and the University College of Southern Queensland were prominent. Only unfortunate circumstances prevented researchers from the University College of the Gold Coast from presenting the displays they had prepared.

An expectation already exists that QIER will sponsor similar events in the future, either every year or at two yearly intervals. A future Forum may have to preserve compactness by maintaining a quota on the number of displays from each participating institution. Efforts could be made to expand the audience with more 'consumers' of research from the broader educational community, if this can be done without diluting the interaction among the research community. Members' views on the future of the Forum would be welcomed by the Executive.

Sincere thanks go to all who helped make the first Forum a success. A crucial role was played by the contact persons in the participating institutions. The work done by the Editorial Panel for the Queensland Researcher and their assistants resulted in a very timely and attractive brochure. QIER's honorary treasurer not only handled the finances but also took responsibility for the floor plan and installation of the infrastructure of the displays. Volunteers from Research Services in the Queensland Department of Education worked hard on much of the basic organisation.

Thanks especially to the presenters for the quality of their contribution and their cooperation in supplying abstracts, and to the audience for the excellent spirit of their participation. QIER members may well anticipate Forum II in mid-June 1992.

Ted Hobbs

Title:The Values and Limitations of Using Concrete Representations to Teach Mathematics to Young Children
Researcher(s):Gillian M. Boulton-Lewis
Institution:Queensland University of Technology

This is a description of research[1] to assess the processing loads of mathematical representations and strategies used by teachers and young children.

Potential for school learning is closely related to processing capacity. Capacity and the knowledge base develop with age. In order to cognise a new concept a child must map the task into a mental model that corresponds to the structure of the task. The difficulty that children experience in cognising many concepts is due to the processing load of mapping the task into the mental model.

Concrete materials are often used as representations of mathematical concepts, to allow the child to construct a mental model, but sometimes do not produce the expected positive results. Unless these materials are well known they can increase the processing load and interfere with learning.

We have applied Halford's structure mapping theory of cognitive development (1988; forthcoming) to determine the level of complexity of selected mathematical tasks and to assess the additional processing load, if any, of representations and strategies.

The 1989 sample consisted of 29 children aged between 5 and 8 years and their teachers in a suburban Brisbane schools in a low to medium socioeconomic area.

Pre- and post-test results for place value and subtraction, and other related concepts, are presented as example of the design, analyses and results of the research.

Teacher and child representations and procedures that increased processing loads or caused inefficient behaviour are described. Suggestions are made for minimising loads.

  1. Funded in l989 by a grant from Brisbane College of Advanced Education (now QUT). Continued in 1990 and 1991 with grants from the Australian Research Council and in collaboration with Professor G. S. Halford, University of Queensland.

Title:An In-service Project for Teachers of Mathematics
Researcher(s):Neil Cranston, Christine Grieve*, John Dungan**
Institution:Queensland Department of Education (Research Services); *Queensland Department of Transport (Road User Behaviour); **Bureau of Employment, Vocational and Further Education and Training (Educational Research)

The Years 1-10 Mathematics In-service Project (MIP) is a Queensland Department of Education initiative for teacher professional development which began in late 1988. The MIP is intended to develop and encourage effective teaching practices among primary and secondary mathematics teachers using an action-learning, coaching model approach. The Years 1 to 10 Mathematics Syllabus provided a major impetus for the project. Originally the project involved 30 participants from 15 schools in six near-Brisbane regions. Subsequently, the project has been extended to all remaining regions.

Various research, evaluation and support activities were undertaken during 1989 and 1990. The activities were mainly concerned with the project in the six near-Brisbane regions. Data were collected from mathematics consultants, the project officer and other key project personnel via interviews, consultations, observations and questionnaires. Two reports have been prepared detailing the findings of research and evaluation activities: A Review of the 1-10 Mathematics In-service Project: An Interim Report on an Innovation in Teacher In-service Education and The 1-10 Mathematics In-service Project: A Study of Original Participants.

The first of the se reports describes the main characteristics of the MIP and presents some major early outcomes and emerging issues. The second report focuses on the impact of the MIP for the original participants in terms of their professional development and teaching practices. Both reports provide messages and guidelines for future teacher professional development generally and mathematics in particular.

Title:Children's Novel Problem Solving
Researcher(s):Lyn English
Institution:Queensland University of Technology

Research has shown that young children can solve quite sophisticated problems provided these are couched within a meaningful context. This presentation will address some findings from studies conducted on children's competence in solving two different types of novel problems, namely, problems based on the mathematical domain of combinatorics and problems involving deductive reasoning with logical and illogical syllogisms. With respect to the former studies, children aged 4 to 12 years were individually presented with a series of 'hands-on' problems in which they were to form all possible combinations of items selected from discrete sets of items, with the number of sets ranging from 3 x 2 through to 2 x 3 x 2. The children's solution strategies ranged from trial-and-error behaviour through to an 'expert' procedure involving an odometer pattern in item selection (holding one or more items constant while systematically varying the remaining items). Children as young as seven years acquired this procedure during the course of problem solution and did so without adult intervention.

In the latter set of studies, children were presented with syllogistic problems which required them to reason in terms of the formal relations between given statements and to determine whether or not a conclusion follows logically from these statements, irrespective of their empirical truth-value. It has been claimed that children below 11 years can only reason on the basis of their beliefs or actual observations and not on assumptions or hypothetical situations presented to them. These results suggest otherwise. The children scored a high percentage of correct responses to the logical syllogisms, making reference to the appropriate premise information in drawing their conclusion. It thus appears that, when an appropriate setting is used, children as young as six years are able to ignore their practical biases and reason solely on the basis of the information given. When administered the illogical syllogisms, it was found that primary school children failed to show an explicit awareness of the lack of logical connection between the given premises, however they did demonstrate an implicit understanding of the illogical nature of these problems. When extended to secondary and tertiary levels, it was found that many of these students responded in a similar manner to the primary children. These findings raise the question of whether there are some non-age related differences in people's ability to explicitly recognise situations of undecidability. The results from both sets of studies support the inclusion of a greater range of novel problems throughout the primary school curriculum, with such problems being introduced in the beginning school years.

Title:Issues in Senior Schooling
Researcher(s):Ted Hobbs
Institution:Queensland Department of Education (Research Services)

The study investigated:

The research methods included interviews with students and teachers, as well as questionnaires administered to students.

In the main, students were found to choose subjects which suited their interests but preserved a range of options, including tertiary study. The TE Score was widely disliked but considered highly important, especially for seeking employment. Based on their own responses, most students' motivation to work hard in school derived from either intrinsic aspects such as liking the subject or teacher; extrinsic aspects such as marks; or desire to improve occupational prospects. Competition or the usefulness of the subject were seen as weak influences.

Students' main concerns with assessment were too many tests and assignments coming at once and uneven weighting of assessment components. Otherwise, students generally seemed to accept assessment as part and parcel of schooling. By contrast, assessment was an area of many concerns among teachers.

In career education, schools seemed to have been most helpful in arranging work experience, providing information about educational requirements for careers, and helping students to understand employers' expectations. The schools seemed to have been least helpful in helping students to decide on career goals or become aware of local employment opportunities.

Title:Schooling Reform in Hard Times
Researcher(s):Bob Lingard, John Knight, Paige Porter
Institution:University of Queensland (Department of Education)

This project examines the restructuring of Australian schooling in the 1980s under state and federal Labor governments. It seeks to ascertain how and to what extent economic constraints and elements of 'new right' ideology have impacted on Labor education policy, including its traditional commitment to equity and social justice. The analysis is supplemented by some international comparison. Attention has been given to the New Zealand restructuring of schooling under Labour and to changes under more conservative governments in the US and the UK.

We conclude that economic rationalist and managerial imperatives and the push for microeconomic reform have largely shaped Labor's restructurings of schooling. Processes of 'school-based decision-making' have typically been accompanied by new forms of centralisation and the reduction or elimination of intermediate structures and support systems for schools and teachers. Unless adequate resources and professional development are provided, the consequence may well be an intensification of work for principals and their teachers. In this 'semi-privatisation' of schooling, policy concerns for equity and social justice remain, but in a devolved system, adequate monitoring from the centre of their implementation is crucial. What we see then in the Australian context is the mediation of new right pressures by Labor traditions.

Title:An Analysis of Australian Higher Education Policy in the Post-war Period: From Elite to Mass Provision?
Researcher(s):Paige Porter, John Knight, Bob Lingard, Linda Apelt, Leo Bartlett*
Institution:University of Queensland (Department of Education)
* University College of Central Queensland

This study[1] seeks to provide a comprehensive survey and policy analysis of the development of higher education in Australia from 1945 to 1990. Particular attention will be paid to the changing nature of the Australian federal state and the implications of this for higher education policy. The assumptions underlying changes in policy and provision will be explicated and situated in their broader social, political, cultural and economic context.

We are currently recruiting a team of PhD students to work with us on the project.

  1. This project is funded by a three year grant from the Australian Research Council.

Title:Correlates of Career Advancement in Australian Universities
Researcher(s):Ray Over
Institution:Griffith University (Division of Education)

A survey was undertaken to compare academics who were lecturers in 1978 and senior lectures by 1988, or senior lecturers in 1978 and readers/associate professors by 1988, with academics who had remained at the same level of appointment over this period. Career advancement was associated not only with demographic variables, but with personality characteristics, work habits, and level of performance in academic roles. Relative to the respondents who had not been promoted, the academics who gained promotion were the more likely to hold a PhD degree, to have obtained this qualification at a younger age and over a shorter period of candidature, to rate themselves more highly on achievement-oriented traits (aggression, ambition, dominance, and rigour). They had more extensive professional networks and were more likely to attend international conferences. As well as claiming to commit more hours per week to their work as an academic they gave priority in allocation of time to activities such as research, scholarly writing, and postgraduate supervision. They also had applied for and obtained more research grants, they published more often, and their publications were more frequently cited in the literature. Likelihood of promotion correlated negatively with self-reported commitment to teaching. This demonstration that career advancement is associated primarily with an academic's record of achievement in research is consistent with claims in the literature about the incentive and reward system operating within Australian universities.

Title:The Effects of Programs of Cognitive Challenge on the Health of Frail Aged Australians: A Cost-benefit Analysis
Researcher(s):Rick Swindell, Claire James, Paul Hindson*
Institution:Griffith University (Division of Education)
* Queensland University of Technology

A tentative link between cognitive stimulation, longevity and improved health in aged persons is emerging from recent research. Research suggests that improvements in physical health and/or psycho-social health status are likely to result in decreased demands for health care, counselling and other support services such as nursing homes and hostels. Home-care is more cost effective than institutional care and is also in keeping with recent government policy.

This project will measure the effect of cognitive stimulation on the subjective and objective health of a small sample of older housebound Australians. The costs of providing cognitive stimulation will be directly calculated through the average cost experiences of 'case' and 'control' populations. If cognitive stimulation is found to be cost-effective in improving the health of the population studied, there are likely applications for other disadvantaged groups such as non-English speaking, physically incapacitated and-or isolated rural groups.

Research plan
Health assessment activities, including objective and subjective measurements of health, as well as a health economics cost-utility analysis of a group of 65 frail aged participants will be carried out. Case/control methodology will be used with 65 household females aged 65-69 who are cognitively challenged, and a matched control group taken from secondary data. The programs of cognitive challenge will involve all participants watching a weekly adult education television program in their homes, followed by small group teletutorials and selected levels of additional cognitive and social stimulation. Data collection will include unstructured interviewing, questionnaires and the measurement and evaluation of objective health data.

Title:Action Research in Higher Education - Examples and Reflections
Researcher(s):Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt
Institution:University of Queensland (Tertiary Education Institute)

The aim of this book[1] is to present a series of case studies in higher education which demonstrate how teams of academics - in collaboration with academic development staff - have:

The methodology used is action research, defined as collaborative, critical enquiry by the academics themselves (rather than expert educational researchers) into their own teaching practice, into problems of student learning, and into curriculum problems. The result is professional development through academic course development, group reflection, action, evaluation and improved practice.

Chapter One is a concise description of action research and its theoretical underpinnings, forming a framework for the following case studies. Chapter Two presents a case study of developing student learning skills at an undergraduate level. Chapter Three consists of five examples of developing postgraduate students' skills in dissertation research and writing. Chapter Four presents four examples of eliciting personal constructs of effective research and teaching in higher education by means of the repertory grid technology. Further repertory grid examples are discussed in Chapter Five in which a study with action researchers results in their reflections on effective professional development. Chapter Six consists of the author's own reflections on improving learning, teaching and professional development in higher education, based on the above case studies.

  1. Published by the Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching, Griffith University

Title:Professional Development in Higher Education - A Theoretical Framework for Action Research
Researcher(s):Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt
Institution:University of Queensland (Tertiary Education Institute)

This book[1] provides a theoretical and methodological framework for the practice of learning, teaching and professional development in higher education. It develops a model of higher education which is located in the alternative, non-positivist paradigm, based on theories of learning and knowing, such as Revans' Action Learning; Lewin's Action Research; Kolb's Experiential Learning; Kelly's Personal Construct Theory; Leontiev's Action Theory within Russian Critical Psychology; and Carr and Kemmis' Critical Education Science based on the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory.

The result is a model of professional development for teachers in higher education called CRASP, and acronym for Critical attitude, Research into teaching, Accountability, and Self-evaluation leading to Professionalism.

Readers will gain a deeper understanding of the basic assumptions and theories underlying action research. They will better understand the differences between this alternative paradigm and the traditional research paradigms.

**********

The relationship between the two publications

The CRASP model has been used for the case studies in the first book and provides the link between the two volumes. Thus we perceive the two books as a coherent whole, but some people might be interested in the practice or theory of higher education improvement and in reading either the first or the second. Therefore, we decided to produce two handy volumes, the first of about 100 pages, and the second of about 200 pages.

  1. Published by the Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching, Griffith University.

Title:Action Research for Change and Development
Researcher(s):Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt
Institution:University of Queensland (Tertiary Education Institute)

The message of this book[l] is that action research as a concept, a philosophy and a methodology of learning has arrived; and that its methodological approaches and techniques are diverse and constantly evolving.

The book is the result of a four-day debate among key action researchers from various countries who met to discuss their ideas and the state of the art of action research. In the light of these discussions among themselves and with executives from government and industry, they revised their original papers to produce this coherent book on action research for change and development and organisations and educational settings.

This book includes discussions on the theoretical framework of action research and its methodology, as well as practical applications and case studies. It will be of interest to staff and students in universities, colleges and polytechnics, in particular in departments of education, teacher education, higher education, management, agricultural extension studies, sociology, social work, and organisational psychology. It will also be of use to training agencies and consultants in Industry and Government in charge of staff training and organisational development.

Readers will gain a deeper understanding of the basic assumptions and theories underlying action research. They will better understand the differences between this alternative paradigm and the traditional research paradigms.

  1. Published by Gower-Avebury, Aldershot, UK.

Title:The Spatial Metaphor of Time: Young Children's Comprehension of the Spatial/Temporal Referents 'Before' and 'After'
Researcher(s):Shirley O'Neill
Institution:James Cook University of North Queensland

Two major experiments preceded by three pilot studies were conducted. In view of the size of the task and its complexity only the original pilot study will be presented at the Research Forum.

Overall, the study reports research on preschool and year one children's comprehension of the relational terms 'before' and 'after'. The role which these terms play in sequencing both spatial and temporal information is investigated to examine the way in which young children acquire and develop concepts and language and move towards an adult grammar. Specific hypotheses put forth by H.H. Clark (1) to explain the way in which young children develop temporal reference are tested. Also, comprehension of 'before' and 'after' as an indicator of young children's ability to decentre and coordinate spatial/temporal perspectives is a major focus of the research. In their response to sentences containing 'before' and 'after' the children demonstrated their ability to appreciate and move between two viewpoints of time based on time as a spatial metaphor; the egocentric viewpoint applicable to the moving-ego metaphor and the decentration viewpoint applicable to the moving time metaphor.

A mediation model is proposed to account for the demands of processing two groups of sentences which reflect an understanding of the two viewpoints of time, respectively. It also seeks to set comprehension of the sentences in the context of sentence structure, semantics, cognition and considerations of natural features of oral language such as intonation and punctuation and the way in which these factors interact and contribute to meaning.

A theory of concept development is applied to spatial/temporal 'before' and 'after' to illustrate the inherent difficulty of the terms and establish what is meant by 'acquisition of the concepts' and 'development of the concepts' commonly referred to in the research literature.

In the first pilot study forty-eight preschoolers were randomly chosen and randomly assigned to two conditions. They were required to apply the terms in relation to drawings of animals travelling past a series of objects. The task was to identify a figure which was before of after a specified reference figure in a given pictorial sequence e.g. 'Show me an animal that gets to school before/ after Teddy gets to school' and 'Show me a flower that Teddy sees before/ after he sees the ladybird'. The two conditions differed according to the animals' travelling direction (left to right/right to left orientation). The independent variables of sex and orientation were found to have no significant effect, however performance on the spatial application of 'before' (egocentric view point/ moving-ego metaphor) was significantly superior to performance on the temporal application of 'before' (decentration viewpoint/moving time metaphor). Also performance on the spatial application of the antonym pair, egocentric viewpoint/moving-ego metaphor as opposed to performance on the temporal application, decentration viewpoint/ moving-time metaphor was significantly superior.

The second pilot study which resulted in support for these findings was a full replication of the first pilot study but was conducted with a different group of preschoolers.

Subsequently, this second group of children was administered a third pilot study which used the same approach but replaced the two dimensional pictorial instrument with a three dimensional instrument. This instrument was a working model of the concepts contained in the previous pictures. Results supported the findings of the previous two pilot studies and also provided support for the use of the two dimensional pictorial test instrument.

Experiments I and II were conducted with a group of 34 preschool children and 34 year one children chosen at random from two pools of approximately 80. Experiment I comprised a replication of the pilot study using the two dimensional pictorial test instrument considering the independent variables of year level, terms, markedness and metaphor. Experiment II differed from Experiment I in that the children were required to select one of four pictures which they thought best illustrated sentences which stated the spatial and temporal sequential relationships between two objects or events respectively. Rather than responding to a command the children selected a picture after hearing a two event (arbitrary related) sentence on cassette tape. The time taken to select the picture and the picture choice type were recorded for a total of 64 sentences for each child. Two of the pictures choices represented each of two differing cognitive levels of response. A third illustrated the opposite relationship and the fourth an irrelevant relationship.

Independent variables considered were year level, term, markedness, metaphor, tense, verb aspect and sentence structure.

Categorisation of children's responses into four ty pes allowed for investigation of response errors. This overcame a problem common to most other studies of these terms where incorrect responses always reflect the opposite meaning, since the terms are antonyms.

The two major experiments were conducted with the same groups of children exposing them to 'before' and 'after' in two differing contexts, thus providing information on the consistency of their understandings.

  1. Clark, H.H. (1973), Space, time, semantics and the child. In T.E. Moore, Cognitive Development and the Acquisition of Language, pp.27-63, New York, Academic Press.

Title:Evaluation of the Trial Implementation of Reading Recovery
Researcher(s):Shirley O'Neill, Christine Grieve*
Institution:Department of Education (Research Services)
*Department of Transport (Road User Behaviour)

The Reading Recovery program was designed in New Zealand by Professor Marie Clay, Professor of Education at Auckland University. It was developed in the late 1970's following an extensive period of research beginning in the early 1960's and was implemented nationally in New Zealand following the successful completion of trials in 1979.

Since then the program has been implemented statewide in Ohio, USA and at the district level in Arizona, Illinois, South Carolina and Texas. It has also been implemented at the district level in Ontario, Canada. In Australia, the Australian Capital Territory has implemented Reading Recovery statewide and it is also operating in a number of schools in the Loddon Campasse/Mallee educational region in Victoria.

The trial of Reading Recovery in Queensland was conducted in fourteen schools around Cairns. The purpose of the evaluation was to investigate the efficacy of the RR program through conducting an exploratory descriptive study which considered program description, RR pupil progress and associated issues. A sample of eight schools was selected on the basis of size and location and information about the trial was obtained in two ways:

The scope of Reading Recovery, the method of data collection and case studies of students will be presented.

Title:Alternative Entry to Tertiary Studies for Underachievers
Researcher(s):Glen Postle, Francis Mangubhai, Ivan Williams
Institution:University College of Southern Queensland

In 1989, Sophia College, in the small rural town of Warwick, was established. The key purpose of this College was to provide young people who had missed selection in tertiary courses of their choosing with a second chance to access tertiary programs.

Students in the program 'live-in' the College and are provided with distance education learning packages developed at UCSQ. On-going tutorial assistance and other academic support is also provided. Students undertake two first year units from their degree as well as three preparatory studies units: Communication Skills, Study Skills, and Mathematics Skills. Initially, in order to enter degree programs, students had to pass all three preparatory studies units.

The study is a preliminary evaluation of the effectiveness of the program in providing an appropriate basis for entry to tertiary study. Both quantitative and qualitative aspects of the program were considered in the evaluation. A longitudinal study is tracking these students through their degree program.

Title:Towards Advocacy: A Neo-feminist Perspective on Teacher Education Futures in Australia
Researcher(s):Erica McWilliam
Institution:Queensland University of Technology (Faculty of Education - Culture and Policy Studies)

This paper seeks to apply neo-feminist theorising to past and present research in teacher education. Specifically, it applies post-structuralist deconstructive techniques to socially critical teacher education text seeking to bring forward for scrutiny the binary systems within our own discourse. Patti Lather's (1989) approach to deconstructive inquiry provides a framework for this analysis. Terminology generated by Nancy Fraser's (1989) 'needs talk' categorisations are used to 'decenter' socially critical or 'avant garde' text to allow semiotic space for students teacher discourse. In this way the paper seeks to rearticulate some folkloric traditions of teacher education that derive from discursive practices which position student teacher as mere 'victims' of the dominant technocratic traditions of teacher education. The implication of such neo-feminist 'advocacy' research are then discussed, and a plea made for a pedagogy of access that intervenes in our own practices by making problematic our own understandings of students teacher needs.

Title:The Safe Drinking Project: An Intersectoral Community Intervention
Researcher(s):Mary Sheehan, Jeremy Davey
Institution:University of Queensland (Department of Social & Preventive Medicine - Safe Drinking Project[1])

This presentation outlines processes employed in the development and implementation of the Safe Drinking Intersectoral Community Intervention Program. In 1989 a broadly based research team was established to develop a community intervention to reduce binge drinking by young adults. It involved collaboration between University staff and staff from State Departments of Education, Health, Police and Transport and the Queensland University of Technology. The program involved the regional staff from all the associated departments and members of local government, church, sporting, business groups and the media. The final intervention integrated a high school-TAFE education program with a community intervention.

The intervention community included the coastal town of the Wide Bay region of Queensland (estimated population 90 135) and the control community included the coastal towns in the central Fitzroy region of Queensland (estimated population 108 844). Outcomes and process evaluations are being undertaken through 1991.

A major focus of the presentation is to outline those intervention strategies which facilitated intersectoral cooperation in the development and implementation of the program.

  1. Funded by the Commonwealth Department of Community Services and Health and NCADA.

Title:Cognitive Structures Developed in Vocational Education
Researcher(s):John Stevenson, Charlie McKavanagh
Institution:Griffith University (Division of Education)

Research studies, concerning the relationships among teacher and student activities, classroom environment, and student cognitive structures are being conducted in TAFE colleges.

The theoretical framework is based on Anderson's (1981) differentiation of declarative and procedural knowledge, Scandura's (1981) hierarchy of rules, Murray's concept of environmental press (1983) and Stevenson's concept of higher order cognitive holding power. The findings will be interpreted in terms of Posner's (1982) cognitive science conception of curriculum, Gott's (1989) and Glaser's (1984) views of the role of device-based and propositional knowledge in problem-solving, Sweller's (1990) approach to worked examples in instruction, and the cognitive apprenticeship model of Collins, Brown and Newman (1989).

An initial model of teaching and learning used in these studies is:

Diagram for Stevenson abstract

The model will be modified in the light of the research findings.

In 1990, Motor Mechanics, Fitting and Machining and Butchery instruction at several colleges was studied. Lesson s were video-taped and coded according to teacher and student activities and relevant cognitive structures. Classroom environment measures consisted of the Individualised Classroom Environment Questionnaire (ICEQ) (Fraser and Rentoul, 1979) and the Cognitive Holdings Power Questionnaire (Stevenson, 199). Students and teachers were interviewed concerning lesson content and instructional processes. Results are being analysed.

In 1991, Carpentry and Joinery and Electronics, in a different college are being studied, with refined instruments. In the research conducted to date, for each technical area, both an experienced and beginning teacher taught regular theoretical and practical sessions involving apprenticeship and prevocational students.

In 1992, an intervention is planned to study the effects of different teaching activities and strategies on classroom variables and cognitive structures.

From this research, the model of teaching and learning will be reconceptualised, and instruction in TAFE settings will be characterised in terms of the model.

Title:Is the Practice of Police Gratuities in Queensland a Product of Police Culture or of Community Attitudes
Researcher(s):Tim Prenzler
Institution:Griffith University (Division of Education - School of Justice Administration)

The link between police gratuities and corruption has been a subject of long debate in the USA but appears to be unexplored in Queensland. The recent report of the 'Fitzgerald Inquiry' into police corruption had little to say on gratuities. In policing, gratuities are small 'gifts' which are often an accepted aspect of the informal culture of police.

This research project aims to survey the relevance of gratuities to public perceptions of police. The project will attempt to ascertain the extent to which gratuities are offered and accepted in Queensland. It will also survey police rank and file and union attitudes and police administration and government policy since World War II.

The primary question is whether gratuities compromise the police role in society or whether gratuities are a harmless, or even publicly beneficial, part of a wider informal process of discounts and perks that are part of many occupations.

Title:New Training Initiatives for Implementation with First Year Constables in the Queensland Police Service
Researcher(s):Merrelyn Bates
Institution:Griffith University (Division of Education - School of Justice Administration)

In mid 1990 the Queensland Police Service implemented a pilot programme for a continuing training process specifically designed for First Year Constables. The proposed process was to be a complementary programme to the training programmes already in operation.

There were two groups, each randomly selected, who met once every five weeks. An unstructured group process was utilised and this was facilitated by a Police Officer (Training Officer status) and an Academy Human Relations Lecturer (with a Social Work background).

The objects included:

Initially, many of the early problems seemed to be no more than work-related procedural matters. As the year progressed it was discovered that there were general areas which seemed to be discussed frequently. Specialist guests were then invited by the particular group concerned. Through this process, skills and approaches for problem-solving were developed.

As a result of a very positive outcome from the Constables' evaluation, further recommendations for continuation and expansion of this programme have been made. In addition, due to the ongoing proposed changes in Police Education and Training in the Queensland Police Service expressions of interest in this approach and other strategies have been forthcoming. It is these that will be discussed in this paper.

Title:Transitions in Police Education
Researcher(s):Colleen Lewis
Institution:Griffith University (Division of Education - School of Justice Administration)

The role of police in society is changing. Policing is no longer seen as a reactive law and order function but rather as a proactive community oriented task. This change has been confirmed by overseas and Australian surveys which show that law enforcement activities only occupy approximately twenty per cent of police time. The recent Report from a Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct (The Fitzgerald Report: 1989) recognised the need to reform much of the Queensland Police Service to take account of the changes. One of the areas it specifically targeted was police education.

If Queensland police are to effectively cope with their increasingly complex role and with community expectations and demands they need to develop a new set of skills. Technical expertise by itself is no longer enough. Policing now requires a broader based education that allows officers to develop a greater understanding of current social issues, human behaviour and legal matters - 'an understanding which can only be acquired by higher education.' (Fitzgerald, 1989:250.)

This article looks at some of the debates over the merits or otherwise of a university education for police in the context of the changing nature of police work. While acknowledging that education is not a substitute for experience or training it argues a university education does not hinder but rather helps police to better perform their duties.

Title:Initial Expectations and Experiences of Students Entering a New Bachelor of Arts in Justice Administration
Researcher(s):Kerry Wimshurst
Institution:Griffith University (Division of Education - School of Justice Administration)

In 1991 Griffith University introduced a Bachelor of Arts in Justice Administration with first year enrollment of 74 full-time students. The programme is designed to equip graduates with essential personal, professional and academic skills for careers in the rapidly changing and expanding fields of State and Federal policing, corrective services, public and private security and non-police law enforcement. The first year of the programme provides all students with broad and multi-disciplinary studies before they select-their areas of professional and academic concentration in the secondary and third years.

The degree is an innovation in Queensland and a field of activity new to the University in undergraduate teaching. Thus, both academic staff and students are entering largely unfamiliar and unchartered territory in justice education in this state. The research being conducted during the first semester foundation course will attempt to expand upon the usual concerns of programme evaluation. In addition to exploring some of their initial experiences of the course, we are also interested in the expectations that students brought to this new programme. Data on student hopes, aspirations and concerns were gathered upon entry to the course and these have been augmented with standard information from student records. A mid-year student evaluation of the programme is being conducted.

Some emerging issues are listed below and will be pursed in second semester through interviews with representative individuals and small groups of students.

  1. The programme is new and a number of students did not nominate it as their first priority for tertiary study. Hence, whether these students found the course both intellectually challenging and one that offered significant insights into alternative career paths are important issues for investigation.

  2. A large proportion appear to have committed themselves early on to a career in policing, however a parallel group has emerged more interested in wider issues concerning the law in society and matters of social justice. This suggests that until now there has been an unmet need for programmes which focus on the broad sociopolitical contexts of law and justice.

  3. Personal and academic growth featured as a major expectation upon entry for many students rather than specific career aspirations. It is important to explore the extent to which the programme is helping students view themselves as confident tertiary learners.

Title:Temporal Patterning in Mother-Infant Engagements
Researcher(s):Gordon C. Elias
Institution:Griffith University (Division of Education)

The metaphor of conversation is often used to describe the mother-infant vocal engagements. Conversational indices (of between-speaker dependence) which have been used in investigating temporal patterning in mother-infant engagements include:

There are difficulties associated with determining appropriate baselines for comparison with observed values of chosen indices of temporal patterning. Aspects of within-speaker dependence (e.g. the frequencies and durations of the speakers' utterances) can confound measures of between-speaker dependence.

This paper looks at the use of a randomisation procedure which preserves aspects of within-speaker dependence while destroying any between-speaker dependence.

Title:Chemistry Concepts and Group Cognitive Structure - A Study of Undergraduate Nursing Students
Researcher(s):Janice M. Wilson
Institution:Griffith University (Division of Education)

The long term aim of this study is to document changes in the nature and level of conceptual understanding revealed by a cohort of undergraduate nursing students. The outcome of such a study may be used in future review and redesign processes by curriculum planners. Conceptual understanding of physiology and pharmacology, areas which are cental to nursing studies depends, in turn, on an understanding of certain chemical concepts. Group cognitive structure is represented by non-metric multidimensional scaling of data obtained from individual concept maps prepared by students. The impact of prior studies in chemistry on the level of understanding revealed is discussed,

Title:Professional Development in a Devolved System
Researcher(s):Richard Dunlop, Suzi Barbir
Institution:Department of Education (Research Services)

In 1991, research is being conducted in Queensland which is aimed at obtaining information essential to the process of implementing a devolved system for the provision of professional development opportunities. The project is being funded by the Department of Employment, Education and Training and the information obtained is expected to be of direct value to other Australian State and Territory education systems which are intending to reform their processes for the provision of teacher professional development.

The research method was designed with the expectation that a plan for the provision of professional development for teachers which parallels the trend of decentralising educational resources, will shortly be introduced in Queensland. The participants were encouraged to determine an 'Individual Professional Development Agenda' selecting from a number of 'professional development opportunities' which were invented but which were intended to resemble those which may be made available by a range of providers in a devolved system.

One hundred and twenty teachers (including those involved in the trial phase) have been engaged in a relatively lengthy process of selecting desirable professional development opportunities and being interviewed about the reasons underlying their decision. Pre, primary, secondary and special school teachers were randomly chosen from lists of teachers operating in the state system in diverse geographical settings.

The appropriateness of the method to an unusual task will be highlighted during the presentation.

Title:Study of Performance Outcomes of the Assessment Centres
Researcher(s):Beryl Evans, John Cawte, Margaret Moore
Institution:Queensland University of Technology

The aims of this research were to ascertain any change in performance, attributed to the Assessment Centre, as perceived by participants and their colleagues as well as to report comments on this exercise and follow-up professional growth plans as professional development activities. Forty-one of the fifty-nine participants in the Centres in 1987 and 1988 responded. All but two respondents cited some positive feelings about the Centre and most believed it provided a good indication of skills. The most improved skills related to the Centre activities were in the areas of leadership, oral and written communication, organisational ability, educational values, and problem analysis. Least improved skills were stress tolerance, motivation and decisiveness. It was perceived by these respondents that performance could be further enhanced by sustained concentration on the development aspect.

Title:Leaders' Practices in School Change: The Development of a Conceptual Framework
Re searcher(s):Beryl Evans
Institution:Queensland University of Technology

The aim of this research was to develop a conceptual framework which school leaders can use for analysis and monitoring of their practices, during periods of school change. Using ethnographic methods, the researcher and school personnel reflected on their practices and on theoretical concepts which could facilitate such reflection. The concepts chosen for this task were those of practices, agency and structure from structuration theory (Giddens 1982, 1984, 1987). For Giddens, the traditions of society, the context in which people work and live and the control which either systems or individual people have over actions are of central importance. Practices, as routines have a historical and temporal component in that they are continually being recreated by agents. In relation to schools, and in particular to leaders' practices, these routines have their roots in the traditions and contexts of the education system as a whole and in individual schools. Within schools the interactions between personnel also contribute to the change process. Their structural processes which influence these interactions must be taken into account also. These concepts were developed in a school context and the resulting conceptual framework for analysis was tested in other schools

Title:Changing the Culture of QUT: Recent Changes at QIT/ QUT
Researcher(s):Beryl Evans, Alan Cook, Roger Slee
Institution:Queensland University of Technology

During 1989-1990, a DEET funded study, A Managerial Review of Institution s in the Higher Education System was conducted by the Key Centre in Strategic Management at QUT. This research project, Changing the Culture of QUT, was conducted as part of the larger study. The purpose of this project was to report on the perceptions of key personnel, the Chancellory, Deans, Heads of Schools and Departments, and Senior Administrative and Service staff, about changes in the institution. The report, which was the outcome of reflective interviews and document analysis, revealed a changing culture at QUT. Issues which were highlighted by the respondents included, questions about the nature and mission of the new University, the teaching/research dilemma, accountability procedures, consequences to staff when changes are introduced, and the most effective committee and communication structures.

Title:Research into Oral Histories of Kelvin Grove
Researcher(s):Sue Pechey, Paul Thomas
Institution:Queensland University of Technology

This research provides an oral history of the former Brisbane College of Advanced Education (BCAE) and its predecessors over fifty years.

Significant people were chosen to be interviewed, whether they were formal leaders or informal 'characters,' students or staff, but all of them were knowledgeable about some aspect of Kelvin Grove's history.

The interviews were tape-recorded and conducted over a period of almost a year.

What emerges from the interviews, as with most oral histories, is a mixture of reminiscences, romantic reconstructions, humour, nostalgia, cynicism and so many other human emotions.

There is a range of views that emphasises that there is no simple truth, and that history is made up on a multiplicity of views; standpoints recreated by individuals whose views are significantly influenced by their position in a social system.

There are the views of the powerful alongside the more ordinary, obscure or less influential views of people who have been important in their own areas, in their own ways, at different time.

Title:Mothers and Teachers Communicating with Deaf Children
Researcher(s):Des Power
Institution:Griffith University (Division of Education)

Previous research has indicated the more 'control' teachers exercise over conversation with deaf pupils, the less deaf children contribute to conversation and the less likely their language development is to be enhanced by it. Research into mothers and teachers conversing with deaf children is reported in which it is demonstrated that mothers are much less controlling than teachers. Inferences are drawn for improving the quality of teacher-pupil classroom conversations to maximise students' benefit from such conversations. A system of description of teacher-pupil conversational interaction is provided which enables teachers to examine their behaviour and, if necessary, change it in desirable directions.

Title:Research Projects: School of Social, Business and Environmental Education
Researcher(s):Rod Gerber, John Lidstone, Ron Ballantyne, L. Kirkwood, R. Nason, R. Wilson, E. Woodrow
Institution:Queensland University of Technology (Faculty of Education)

Research projects currently in hand within the School of Social, Business and Environmental Education may be grouped within the following areas of interest:

  1. Geographical education and the education of geography teachers
  2. The role of text books in social education areas
  3. Teaching and learning through maps and graphics
  4. Distance education
  5. Legal studies education
  6. Asian studies education
  7. Environmental education
Current projects on geographical education and the education of geography teachers include those of Ballantyne and Lidstone on the socialisation of new geography teachers and on the geographical knowledge and perceptions of entering B.Ed. students.

The nature and role of text books is the focus of projects by Kirkwood and Lidstone in Economics education and by Cook (School of Maths, Science & Technology) and Lidstone on chemical hazards in the curriculum.

Teaching and learning through maps and graphs is the focus of a large project by Gerber, Lidstone and Nason on the preparation of an intelligent interactive computer system for teaching map interpretation, while Gerber and Lidstone are also involved in investigations for the Commission on Geographical Education of the International Geographical Union into teachers' and students' perceptions of learning problems in the mapping area and Gerber plus a team of fifteen international educators to investigate the use of maps and graphics in geography teaching and teacher education.

Gerber (with Williams and Biilmann) is engaged in an investigation of different ways in which distance delivery has been used to present geographical studies at primary, secondary and higher education levels.

Woodward and Gerber are undertaking a study with teachers of legal studies in Queensland secondary schools to establish the extent to which they are adopting socially critical approaches in their teaching.

Ballantyne has recently begun work on a project with the Queensland Confederation of Industry to investigate the environmental training needs of Queensland industry in order to develop and deliver two industrial training courses in 1992.

Title:'Teacher Thinking' Videotapes
Researcher(s):Alan Cook, David Smi th
Institution:Queensland University of Technology

The tapes shown in this presentation are the outcomes of a three year long project conducted by a research team from the Faculty of Education.

The producers of the 'Teacher Thinking' series of videotapes subscribe to the view that is inevitable that teachers will approach education from different viewpoints and design different classroom experiences. Each of us is an unique individual born with different genes, with a different upbringing, different schooling and different life experiences. We teach different subjects in different schools to different students. Our innate tendencies are moderated by past events and current exigencies.

The 'Teacher Thinking' series of tapes has been developed to illustrate this principle of uniqueness and to help students reflect on their own thinking. Each tape stands alone but profit can be made in comparing the approach of one teacher with others. Although each of the teachers featured in this series is a specialist in a particular curriculum area, discussion of his or her teaching is at a sufficiently general level as to be useful to all teachers. Indeed, the makers of this series see considerable benefit in the cross fertilisation of ideas between disciplines.

Title:Senior Schooling Curriculum Framework and Sample Case Studies: The Process
Researcher(s):Robyn Wretham, John Nash
Institution:Queensland Department of Education (Studies Directorate)

The Senior Schooling Curriculum Framework and Sample Case Studies documents emerged from processes that were collaborative, consultative and negotiated and which focused on a critical reflection of current practices in senior schooling. These processes continued the momentum begun by the senior schooling conferencing process.

The process of development gained direction from the P-10 policy, the senior schooling conferencing process, and the policy document, The Corporate Vision for Senior Schooling in Queensland and evolved within six phases.

The framework articulates the Department's perspective on senior schooling curriculum in Queensland and describes and explains the implications for regions and schools of the first priority for Goal 1 Learners and the Curriculum, viz 'Develop and provide for the review of a Curriculum Framework for Senior Schooling'. The Sample Case Studies illustrate the key components of the framework.

The development took place in the broader context of a Strategic Plan for Senior Schooling. This plan covers priorities outlined in The Corporate Vision for Senior Schooling in Queensland: A Policy Document. More recently, the Strategic Plan became part of the Senior Schooling Support Program.

The process involved consultations with relevant groups and committees both internal and external to the department and was coordinated by a Project Team comprising Robyn Wretham and Ian MacPherson. The Project Team was expanded in 1990 to include personnel from Marsden State High School (Cheryl McKinlay) and Bribie Island State High School (Greg Peach and members of the teaching staff.)

It forms part of the Departmental support program for senior schooling which also includes Focus on the Learner: Sample Case Studies and Focus on the Learner: The Video.

Title:Gender, Social Class, Student-Teacher Interactions and the Learning of Mathematics
Researcher(s):Bill Atweh, Tom Cooper
Institution:Queensland University of Technology

Since the mid sixties, the role of the school in reproducing social and cultural inequality has come under close study. Mathematics is seen by teachers, and society in general, as arguably the most crucial subject for reproducing existing social values and as a 'badge for eligibility for the various privileges of society.' Mathematics curriculum is often modified by teachers according to their perceptions of the student ability and needs. Evidence from previous research show that students of different genders and different backgrounds may not be exposed to same opportunity to study and succeed in mathematics.

This poster session presents some aspects the first two stages of an ongoing research project on the Social Context of Mathematics Education undertaken by the Centre of Mathematics and Science Education at the Queensland University of Technology.

The first study in the project found that differences in the way mathematics teaching is organised in schools and variations in student-teacher interactions in the classroom are affected by the gender of the students and their social background. This study was carried out in single sex schools of different social backgrounds, all using the same curriculum materials. The second study provided evidence that similar, yet more complex differences exist within coeducational schools as well.

This project illustrates:

  1. the use of multiple instruments to study the professed and actual values behind mathematics curriculum in different types of schools;
  2. variations in mathematics organisation and resourcing as a function of social class and gender; and
  3. hegemonic factors in the organisation of mathematics in the schools.

Title:A Case Study on the Brisbane North Regional Education Council
Researcher(s):Brigid Limerick
Institution:Queensland University of Technology

This case study on the Brisbane North Regional Education Council was commissioned by the Executive Management Committee of the Department of Education, to assist the Queensland Department of Education in their planning for future community involvement.

Late in the 1970s the Brisbane North Education Region embarked on an innovative path of consultation with the community. A deliberate attempt was made to encourage school-community relationships particularly through encouraging schools to become more responsive to their communities. This was done by setting up a Regional Education Council, chaired by the Regional Director, with departmental and community members to consider a variety of educational matters pertinent to schools and their communities and to advise the Regional Director on these matters.

The purpose of this case study is to document this innovation in Queensland education. Such documentation assists in the understanding of the innovation, its possibilities and constraints, and the consideration of future developments in school-community relationships and the involvement of the community in education.

This study is based on an analysis of written material produced by the Council. In-depth interviews were carried out with a sample of Council members and non-Council members who had knowledge of the council, spanning the years 1977-1990, shorter interviews and telephone discussions took place with a range of Council members to ensure that a balanced picture emerged.

The case study first looks briefly at the history of the Council and them discusses a range of issues through the eyes of those with some knowledge of the Council from within or without. Finally a series of recommendations is presented.

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Title:The Dilemma of Management Programmes for Women
Researcher(s):Lisa Ehrich, Brigid Limerick
Institution:Queensland University of Technology

There is no doubt that women are under-represented in all areas where management positions are concerned. For instance out of the 142 Band 1,2 and 3 officers (the most senior in the Department of Education, Queensland) in 1990 only 12 were women and they were all in Band 3. One recommendation which has emerged time and time again from the literature as an important variable for increasing women's opportunities to either enter or be promoted to positions of management is that of affording them the opportunity to participate in management courses and various other skills training courses in order that they will be endowed with the necessary confidence and skills required to enter management. (Commonwealth Schools Commission 1984, Shakeshaft 1987, Randall 1983)

The problem then arises as to whether these women in management courses should be for women only or whether they should be for men and women while still focussing on women in management. The research undertaken here looked at this question through a literature survey and them through investigative courses offered around Australia, through letters to key individuals followed up by face to face interviews in Sydney and Brisbane.

The findings pointed to a wide range of courses with general consensus that introductory women in management programmes were most effective when the participants were all women. This was seen as a direct affirmative action move. However, senior courses were better mixed although there was still a place for senior women to get together and discuss management issues that directly affected them. The research was funded through the Leadership Unit, Kelvin Grove Campus, QUT, and the Women Educators Association.

Title:Ministerial Consultative Council on Curriculum: Commissioned Research and Consultancies
Institution:Ministerial Consultative Council on Curriculum

Commissioned Research

  1. Curriculum Development and Teacher Education
    The research project investigated the degree to which the processes of curriculum development in Queensland school systems interact with the formal courses of pre-service and in-service education in Queensland teacher education institutions.

  2. From Policy to Practice - Springboards to Change
    The research project aimed to identify and elaborate on the administrative and consultative processes, inservice components and support mechanisms that teachers perceive as being necessary to the successful introduction of new materials to the school community.

  3. Community Perspective on Standards and the Curriculum
    The research project explored the kinds of judgements and expectations of various groups in the community in relation to aspects of compulsory schooling including notions of standards.

  4. An Educational Curriculum for 2000AD and Beyond
    The project attempts to identify visions of future society from which an educational curriculum based on a philosophical understanding of individuals and society, will be derived (in progress).
Consultancies
  1. Curriculum for the Future
    The Council commissioned a series of investigations in a number of industry areas to reveal how the people in these areas saw their future and the implications for education.

  2. Community Expectations on the New Basics
    The project aimed to uncover the views and expectations of various groups in the community on what constituted the New Basics in schooling.

  3. Early Childhood Education
    A series of workshops with parents, teachers and administrators to discuss early childhood education and the implications for later learning and development (in progress).

Title:Distance Learners' Interactions with Text while Studying
Researcher(s):Perc Marland, William Patching, Ian Putt, Robyn Putt
Institution:James Cook University

This paper reports part of an investigation into how tertiary-level distance students use and learn from textual materials during actual study sessions. Methods used provided biographical data on students and students' perceptions of their study approaches and access to the moment-by moment thinking of students during study. Close-ups of students at work provided by analysis of these data were not flattering. They revealed that students were satisficers, processed text at a rate of consistent with a surface approach, avoided in-text questions and activities wherever possible and made limited use of aspects of the text's access structure. Reasons for the poorer-than-expected study performances are considered as well as ways of improving text design to enhance the quality of learning.

Title:Research on Teaching Thinking: The Next Phase
Researcher(s):Jim Mitchell, Perc Marland
Institution:James Cook University

This paper provides a brief overview of some of the main foci of past research in teacher thinking. Topics and issues, seen by major reviewers as requiring further attention, are also outlined, together with ways in which these challenges have been addressed in a program of teacher thinking research at James Cook University. The work is exemplified through earlier studies and a current research project focusing on relationships between teachers' theories, thoughts and actions.

Title:Classroom Theory, Thinking and Action
Researcher(s):Perc Marland, Barry Osborne
Institution:James Cook University

In this study, ethnographic and process-tracing methodologies were used to explore the nature of a teacher's theory of action and the relationships between that theory and interactive thinking and specific teaching behaviours. A grade 12 English class in an all-boys school provided the context. The study shows that:

Title:Towards a Model for the Professional Development of the Teacher
Researcher(s):Neal Sellars
Institution:James Cook University

This paper explores the potential of clinical supervision as a process for fostering the professional development of teachers. It begins by arguing that the major influence on a teacher's professional development is other teachers. It argues that teachers who develop a commitment to, and competence in the clinical supervisory process are equipped to learn from one another, and from the varied inputs available from a variety of sources - teacher education institutions, professional associations, various experts and authorities in the field of education. Research into the influence of inservice training programs on classroom pra ctice has revealed the need for clinical supervisory style 'coaching' to help teachers implement the ideas and strategies presented in training programs. Clinical supervision, it is argued, can play a significant role in linking the preservice and inservice phases of a teacher's professional development. A necessary condition for clinical supervision to prosper is a suitable organisational climate in schools. As the movement to devolve authority from centralised sources to schools and teachers grows, there is a renewed need to exploit the potential of clinical supervision to assist teachers to develop professionally.

Title:Bureau of Employment, Vocational and Further Education and Training
Researcher(s):Neil Costa, Phil Clarke, John Dungan
Institution:Education Research Branch

The Educational Research Branch engages in various educational research, development and evaluation studies. These studies help to inform the development of Bureau policies and attest to the quality of the Bureau's vocational education and training programs.

The Branch has recently reviewed the accreditation system pertaining to Bureau colleges, private and enterprise providers of vocational educational and training. The competency-based training (CBT) and the National Metal and Engineering Curriculum (NMEC) trials are currently being evaluated across various Bureau colleges. In addition, Branch officers are currently researching key issues associated with the recognition of training, including recognition of prior learning, articulation and credit transfer. The Branch also provides consultancy support to other officers in the Bureau, in areas such as designing research and evaluation studies, and collecting, analysing and presenting information.

Title:An Overview of Educational Research in Torres Strait, 1985-1991
Researcher(s):Barry Osborne
Institution:James Cook University (Department of Social and Cultural Studies in Education)

This paper briefly summarises the four research projects I have conducted in Torres Strait since 1985. The first is a study of the socialisation of teachers new to Thursday Island State High School in 1985 (the study followed them into the first part of 1986). The second is a study of partly qualified Islanders teaching Year One and Year Three Islander children on their home islands. The third is an evaluation of the initial 'effects' of the 'takeover' of education in outer Torres Strait by the Department of Education in 1985. This study was conducted in early 1987. The fourth study is of Islander parent and school leaver perceptions of secondary education.

The research strategies used throughout include observing, interviewing and videotape analysis within the framework of ethnographic monitoring. The initial study was conducted within the framework of cultural differences but has now expanded to start positing components of culturally responsive pedagogy.

Title:A Vygotskian Analysis of the Drawing Development of Young Children
Researcher(s):Rob Fielding
Institution:James Cook University

The singular most enduring and important issue that has held the attention of art educators during the past century has been the understanding of artistic development processes in children. Many explanations have been offered over this period, and among the most notable scholars to publish on this topic are Alexander, Alland, Arnheim, Booth, Burt, Freeman, Gardner, Goodnow, Kellogg, Lansing, Lowenfeld, McFee and Read. While some of their theories are based on their own observations and experiments, others drew upon the notions of Piagetian, Psychoanalytic and Behaviourist researchers.

Notwithstanding the number and diversity of theories of children's artistic development, there remains a problem that no single theory offers a comprehensive explanation of the process from conceptualisation to expression of schemata. This is acknowledged by Hardiman and Zernich (1980). Additionally, the most popularly accepted and applied theory (that of Lowenfeld) is based on a genetically governed maturational foundation. This has favoured the notion of age-based stages in the artistic developmental process together with the diminution of pedagogical practices in influencing artistic progress.

There seems, therefore, to be an urgent need to provide a description of the complete process of artistic development, from the formation of schematic subject-matter in conception to its externalisation in graphic images; and in addition, to discover what implications there are for pedagogical intervention. This urgency arises out of the confusion that presently surrounds understanding of the developmental process and the role of the teacher in art education.

It is the author's belief that solutions to these problems may be sought through a different approach to the psychological understanding of cognition and human behaviour. Such an approach is offered by Vygotskian socio-cognitive theory which has been 'discovered' by Western scholars only in recent times. Vygotsky was a Soviet psychologist who died in 1934 at the age of 38 years. Over a period of little more than a decade, he formulated a theory on human cognition and development which had a pronounced orientation towards the influence of social forces on cognitive processes and human behaviour. While there are theories in art education that acknowledge social influences in artistic development (e.g. Alexander, McFee), none adequately trace the psychological process from internal conceptual developments to externalised expression of schemata.

Using a qualitative research design, this thesis explores the applicability of Vygotskian socio-cognitive theory to children's artistic development, and in so doing, proposes a new and comprehensive explanation of drawing development from the cognitive formulation of schemata to their externalisation in graph form. In addition, Vygotskian theory and results of this study suggest important implications for curriculum design and pedagogical practices. These are enumerated in terms of subject aims, content, instructional techniques and evaluation.

Title:Self Study - An Effective Institutional Review Process?
Researcher(s):Kerry Rose
Institution:Bureau of Employment, Vocational and Further Education and Training (Institutional Review and Development)

Self Study is a process adopted by educational institutions as both an accountability mechanism and as a development vehicle. These processes adopt a range of techniques framed within differing structures including action research, organisation developmental and collaborative review.

School effectiveness has been the subject of research for several decades in a wide variety of contrasting settings. This research identifies a range of areas which are critical to the effectiveness of a school's operations The school development/improvement literature, based primarily on an action research model, structures improvements on participative research on the assumption that an informed professional input will provide the answer to effective practices within educational institutions.

In the face of claims made by proponents of these approaches, t here is significant research and practical scepticism to indicate that the outcomes of the process are highly questionable in terms of developing a collaborative attitude within the institutions and in improving the effectiveness of educational delivery. Since significant public funds are directed towards this mechanism, a review of the direction and outcomes of the process is required. Such a review necessitates an examination of the effectiveness of the process itself.

Process effectiveness may be judged by an examination of how well process outcomes meet the original purposes of the process. The outcomes are dependent upon the assumptions of the model within which the study is being undertaken as well as the particular institutional and systemic assumptions under which the process is conducted. Since such an examination requires consideration of a range of variable conditions, research into process effectiveness of self studies raises particular methodological difficulties.

The presentation outlines broad outcomes of case studies of recent institutional reviews undertaken in Queensland with the view to developing a variable matrix suitable for use in further process research. This research is being undertaken as preliminary work for a doctoral dissertation.

Title:Young Adults [1] - Self Perceptions and Life Contexts
Researcher(s):Glen Evans, Millicent Poole*
Institution:University of Queensland
*Monash University

There have been few recent studies of young adults in Australia apart from cross-sectional surveys of youth. These studies have usually dealt with topical issues, the concerns of young people, opinions on school and work, and the transition to adulthood. Many of these studies have not been theoretically based or have been in research paradigms which address only one aspect of young people's lives, for example, access to the labour market and higher education, in which themes such as disadvantage, access and participation have been predominant. In contrast, this volume presents a social developmental model in key life settings.

The aim of the book is to describe the ways in which young adults perceive themselves in the contexts of work, study, leisure and personal relationships and to relate these perceptions across the different contexts and to factors in their past lives. These factors include not only demographic aspects of gender, socio-economic status and ethnic origin, but such biographical influences as educational background, work experience, leisure, relationships with others and past events. Many of the new research data reported are longitudinal, so that it is possible also to trace how self-concepts and orientations to life tasks develop over time in older adolescents and young adults. The information made available by the studies is examined not only in terms of theories of development and action, but also in terms of the implications for policy making in education and employment.

  1. To be published by the Falmer Press, London, in October 1991.

Title:Instruction Features and Learning Approaches in Apprenticeship Training
Researcher(s):Glen Evans
Institution:University of Queensland

There is now a useful literature on the application of cognitive models to apprenticeship instruction. There is a need to codify principles from this and cognitive theory to test their utility for studying the relationships between instructional approaches, progressions of conceptual knowledge during training and development of psychomotor and intellectual skills. This study illustrates such relationships for learning the skills of welding under teaching approaches that vary in the cognitive demands placed on the apprentices. Results indicate that welding instruction is characterised by skill tied to explicit statements of procedures and some practical theory, but little use of more abstract conceptual knowledge or of feedback during performance. The extent to which students relate theory to procedures is itself related to instructional procedures. An analysis is made of characteristic instructional procedures in Colleges of Technical and Further Education as an application of cognition.

Title:The Relationship Between Lesson Cognitive Demand and Student Processing in Upper Secondary Mathematics[1]
Researcher(s):Glen Evans
Institution:University of Queensland

Students' specific procedures, propositional knowledge and higher order procedures, including problem handling strategies and management processes were considered as intellectual resources which could be developed by classroom demands. Eight teachers and four students from each class were studied on either two or three occasions in the course of a semester. Classroom activities were coded for the extent to which they were concerned with these aspects and students responses to homework exercises were also categorised. Significant correlations were found between cognitive concerns of the classroom and students; subsequent processing activities.

  1. To appear in G.T. Evans (Editor). Learning and Teaching Cognitive Skills. Hawthorn, Vic: Australian Council for Educational Research in late 1991.

Please cite as: QIER (1991). 1991 Annual Research Forum: Abstracts. Queensland Researcher, 7(2), 2-54. http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qr7/forum-abs.html


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