Education - Collected Works

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    Changes in teachers’ epistemic cognition about self–regulated learning as they engaged in a researcher-facilitated professional learning community
    (Taylor & Francis, 2019-04-09) Barr, Shyam; Askell-Williams, Helen
    Research into teachers’ epistemic cognition is emerging as a key to understanding the quality of teachers’ knowledge for teaching. Typically, investigations into the quality of teachers’ knowledge have been situated within traditional subject areas, such as science or maths. However, developing good quality teacher knowledge about improving students’ abilities to engage in self-regulated learning (SRL), across subject areas, is equally important. Studies have demonstrated gaps in teachers’ knowledge and epistemic beliefs about SRL – the foundations for teachers’ epistemic cognition about SRL. This paper introduces a model of teachers’ epistemic cognition about SRL, and reports a micro-analytic study with four secondary science teachers who undertook a 12-week researcher-facilitated Professional Learning Community (PLC). Thematic and numerical analysis of interviews and lesson plans indicated that the PLC facilitated teachers’ reflexive examination of their knowledge and their epistemic beliefs about SRL. Improvements in SRL content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge and constructivist beliefs were observed consistently for three of the four teachers. Providing opportunities, such as a facilitated PLC, to enable teachers to reflexively examine their epistemic cognition about a generic subject such as SRL, may be a necessary step in translating research about learning and instruction into classroom practices.
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    Assessing young children’s learning: Using critical discourse analysis to re-examine a learning story
    (Early Childhood Australia Inc., 2017-06) Krieg, Susan
    The current policy contexts of many countries demand that early childhood educators are able to articulate their practice in new ways. For example, the need to assess and report positive learning outcomes in multiple ways to policy-makers, families and educational systems is a feature of contemporary early childhood education and care. This theoretical paper introduces a multi-dimensional framework to support the assessment of young children’s learning and then provides an example of how modified tools drawn from Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) can be used to effectively examine these dimensions of learning. CDA is a multidisciplinary methodology that integrates the study of language with a consideration of wider social practices. It offers a perspective from which to examine how ways of thinking, speaking, acting and being are drawn from, and also contribute to the particular discourses that are made available within social institutions (in this case, early childhood centres). CDA focuses on how language establishes and maintains social relationships and identities. This paper provides an example of how some of the tools made available in CDA can enhance assessment practices with young children. It is argued that CDA enables early childhood educators to re-examine young children’s learning in new ways. The processes outlined in this paper have the potential to inspire early childhood educators to embrace assessment as an opportunity to articulate, celebrate and communicate young children’s ways of knowing in new ways.
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    To Teach or Not to Teach in the Early Years: What Does this Mean in Early Childhood Education
    (IntechOpen, 2018-11-05) Krieg, Susan
    Pedagogy in the early years has often been constructed as a choice between child-centered, play-based, or teacher directed learning. Child-centered learning is often characterized as “following the child’s interests.” This chapter examines this under-theorized notion by re-visiting constructivist theory, re-examining the differences between constructivism and critical social constructionism and in the process explores many underpinning beliefs about knowledge in early years pedagogy. Examples of critical social constructionist pedagogy, drawn from some of the “big ideas” in the Social Sciences are provided in an attempt to blur the boundaries between the binaries that have dogged educational reform in the early years for decades.
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    Giving institutional voice to work-integrated learning in academic workloads
    (International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning, 2018) Jovanovic, Jessie; Fane, Jennifer; Andrew, Yarrow
    Little is known about how university institutions are coping with increased placement demands in professional disciplines, and what this means for the quality and integrity of the Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) experiences offered within degree programs for all partners concerned. The first stage of a critical ethnographic study is reported in this paper. It forms part of a larger, ongoing study that seeks to generate critical perspectives on the impact and effects of an inquiry-based WIL philosophy that fosters sustained, meaningful university-community partnerships across a suite of Early Childhood programs. Institutional insights into the workload of university staff responsible for these programs are presented, revealing the complexities and possibilities of what this form of work involves in efforts to sustain meaningful, reciprocal partnerships over time. Findings reveal challenges to the relational foundations of this work and the potential implications for universities to reconsider the nature of their engagement with community in the education of deliberate professionals.
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    Mainland Chinese students’ self-appraisals of their psychological dispositions at school
    (Springer, 2017-10-17) Askell-Williams, Helen; Skrzypiec, Grace; Zhao, Xueqin; Cao, Fei
    This paper reports mainland Chinese students’ self-appraisals about their psychological dispositions whilst at school. Increasing interest has turned to factors such as resilience, wellbeing, flourishing, happiness and satisfaction, which in turn are predicted to be associated with factors such as emotional stability, achieving personal goals, social fulfilment and quality of life. Such psychological dispositions are developed in conjunction with the influences of social systems such as schools. Although a number of researchers have collaborated with schools to investigate students’ dispositions in English speaking countries, similar research in mainland China is in its infancy. This is particularly the case for studies that seek students’ own perspectives. We administered a questionnaire about resilience, flourishing, wellbeing, self-concept, school satisfaction, mental health, and happiness at school to 2756 students in Years 5–9 in mainland China. As expected with a non-clinical population, most students reported positively across the various scales. However, dividing the sample into subgroups enabled the creation of stratified visual profiles that showed significant differences between students with different backgrounds, such as gender, age, and mental health. This study illustrates the importance of subgroup analyses to identify potential areas of concern for different types of students, which in turn may inform differentiated school-based intervention programs to support students to flourish.
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    Girls’ diminishing wellbeing across the adolescent years
    (Routledge, 2018) Skrzypiec, Grace; Askell-Williams, Helen
    The chapters in this book investigate promoting wellbeing and positive mental health from a range of perspectives. One such perspective is the influence of gender on positive mental health, and the potential for gender differences to inform, and be impacted by, the design and implementation of mental health promotion initiatives. Accordingly, this chapter reports results from three questionnaires about wellbeing and positive mental health which we administered to 1,930 students aged 10 to 15 in eight South Australian schools. Males were more likely than females to report that they were flourishing, had a positive outlook and had a positive emotional state. In contrast, females were more likely to report that they were languishing and had moderate, rather than flourishing, mental health. Furthermore, as the females in the study grew older, they reported less positive mental health. The study suggests that females in the upper-middle school years warrant special attention to adequately address their social and emotional needs. The invaluable information from this study can be used to inform future initiatives to promote students’ wellbeing and positive mental health.
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    Predictors of Mainland Chinese students’ well‐being
    (Wiley, 2018-04-20) Skrzypiec, Grace; Askell-Williams, Helen; Zhao, Xueqin; Du, Wenping; Cao, Fei; Xing, Lihong
    There has been substantial research in the USA, Europe and Australia about factors influencing students’ wellbeing. However, such research has been relatively rare in mainland China. We administered four predictor scales (School Satisfaction, Self-concept, Relationships and Resilience) and three outcome scales (Flourishing, Mental Health and Children’s Wellbeing) to 2,756 primary and middle school students in mainland China. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the measured concepts were salient to the participants. Structural equation modelling using MPlus showed that Resilience was a strong predictor of all outcome measures, particularly for Mental Health and Positive Emotional State. Global Self-Concept was the most notable predictor for Positive Outlook, while School Satisfaction was the strongest predictor of Flourishing. The results indicate potential areas for school-based competency building initiatives to promote mainland Chinese students’ wellbeing.
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    Blending Formative and Summative Assessment in a Capstone Subject: ‘It’s not your tools, it’s how you use them
    (University of Wollongong, 2017-11-30) Houston, Donald; Thompson, James N
    Discussions about the relationships between formative and summative assessment have come full circle after decades of debate. For some time formative assessment with its emphasis on feedback to students was promoted as better practice than traditional summative assessment. Summative assessment practices were broadly criticised as distanced from the learning process. More recently discussions have refocused on the potential complementary characteristics of formative and summative purposes of assessment. However studies on practical designs to link formative and summative assessment in constructive ways are rare. In paramedic education, like many other professional disciplines, strong traditions of summative assessment - assessment ‘of’ learning - have long dominated. Communities require that a graduate has been judged fit to practice. The assessment redesign described and evaluated in this paper sought to rebalance assessment relationships in a capstone paramedic subject to integrate formative assessment for learning with summative assessment of learning. Assessment was repositioned as a communication process about learning. Through a variety of frequent assessment events, judgement of student performance is accompanied with rich feedback. Each assessment event provides information about learning, unique to each student’s needs. Each assessment event shaped subsequent assessment events. Student participants in the formal evaluation of the subject indicated high levels of perceived value and effectiveness on learning across each of the assessment events, with broad agreement also demonstrated relating to student perceptions for preparedness: ‘readiness to practice’. Our approach focused on linking assessment events, resulted in assessments providing formative communication to students and summative outcome information to others simultaneously. The formative-summative dichotomy disappeared: all assessment became part of communication about learning.
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    Saying Goodbye: An Investigation into Parent–Infant Separation Behaviours on Arrival in Childcare
    (Taylor & Francis Group, 2011-07-26) Jovanovic, Jessie
    The goal of this small-scale study was to investigate how parental separation behaviours affect the transitional behaviour of infants aged 6–18 months. Thirty parent–infant pairs were observed during the separation process across three metropolitan childcare centres in Adelaide, South Australia. Observed interactions with both their infants and centre caregivers reveal that participating parents concentrated more on routine tasks and conversations with caregivers than on interacting with or responding to their infant prior to separation. Parents also shared information more frequently with caregivers and rarely spoke with their child about their return to the centre. Infants were typically immobile, engaged in watching behaviours and were in close proximity to a caregiver 15 minutes after their parent's departure. The findings confirm that the daily (or regular) parent–infant separation process is dyadic in nature. This paper offers tentative ideas for childcare practice and further avenues for research to consider the focus and speed of parent–infant separations in ways that may better support the infant's reoccurring transition into their childcare environment.
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    Retaining Early Childcare Educators.
    (Wiley, 2012-04-22) Jovanovic, Jessie
    Long day childcare (LDC) services provide education and care for children under 5 years of age in Australia. Those who work in these services are poorly paid and their efforts are undervalued. To support the emotional, social, intellectual and physical needs and interests of children, LDC staff are working physically, exercising vigilance in order to fulfil their duty of care, monitoring their interactions with children and regulating their own emotions. Perhaps for these reasons, the retention of early childhood (EC) educators is significantly lower than of other care-based professions. However, little attention has been given to the impact of legislative requirements upon the workplace factors beyond pay and conditions that are likely to affect staff retention. This instrumental case study thus investigated workplace factors that personally or professionally affected EC educators' work in their LDC services. The study involves observations and interviews with EC educators (N = 28) from four South Australian LDC services. The results show that current legislative, structural and operational requirements constrain the ability of participants to collaborate across the board and to enhance the quality of their educative care. These concerns were amplified by the funding of their LDC service and the difficulty the participants found in achieving a work–life balance. The implications of the way in which LDC services are perceived and operate in liberal market economies are discussed.
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    Learner engagement under the ‘regulatory gaze’: possibilities for re-positioning early childhood pre-service teachers as autonomous professionals
    (Taylor & Francis Group, 2016-02-06) Jovanovic, Jessie; Fane, Jennifer
    In a climate of increasing regulation within the early childhood education and care services (ECECS), and the greater re-positioning of professionals within public sectors, this article seeks to extend the literature surrounding risk and regulation in early childhood. In efforts to ‘push back’ against the ‘regulatory gaze’ in the ECECS, we investigate the role that learner engagement in initial teacher education can play in empowering early childhood pre-service teachers (PSTs) as professionals. This question is explored in the reporting of the findings from an action research study which redesigned a semester-long teacher education topic to draw on PSTs’ self-knowledge, applied experience and content choice, to go beyond the meeting of minimum credential requirements. Data were derived from sequential student evaluations and topic coordinators’ reflections and subsequent analysis highlights significant insights in relation to student teachers’ understanding of professionalism and their role within the ECECS. The implications of this re-positioning of PSTs’ developing sense of professionalism amidst increasing regulation are discussed.
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    Childcare educators’ understandings of early communication and attachment
    (Early Childhood Australia, 2016-12-04) Jovanovic, Jessie; Brebner, Christine Mary; Lawless, Angela Patricia; Young, Jessica
    Giving voice to the discipline-specific knowledge and pedagogical practices of childcare educators, this paper attempts to explore new ways of defining educators’ work with young children, given the post-structural turn in Australian and international early childhood policy. Three focus groups (n = 8 children’s education and care services; n = 19 educators) were held in metropolitan Adelaide (South Australia) to explore their professional understandings of early communication and attachment development. Childcare educators described the relational and communicative elements of their work that supported or constrained their capacity to understand individual children’s socio-emotional needs at enrolment, during transitions and in day-to-day routines. Whether attachment relationships were forged or being built, these educators explained how emotional reciprocity and an understanding of the child through secure attachment relationships enabled them to notice young children’s communication abilities and needs, and vice versa. While the findings illuminate the expertise childcare educators bring to their work, we argue that there is a need to further explore how this expertise shapes their programs, practices and professional development needs.
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    Being in sync: Strategies to support centres’ retention of childcare teachers
    (The University of Auckland, 2014) Jovanovic, Jessie
    Australia’s National Quality Framework (NQF) is seeking to improve teacher qualifications and ratios to lift the quality of education that young children access (COAG, 2013). The retention of childcare teachers, however, remains a constant challenge as this work continues to be poorly paid, and its importance is frequently misunderstood (Productivity Commission, 2011). Recognising that infant and toddler wellbeing is inextricably linked to the consistency and wellbeing of the teachers who care for them, this article considers the relational factors which created team cohesion and teacher retention across four Long Day Childcare (LDC) services in South Australia. When childcare teachers are able to negotiate a common approach to their practice, they feel able to share their feelings and work in ways which are both professionally gratifying and personally fulfilling.
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    Young Children’s Health and Wellbeing Across the Transition to School: A Critical Interpretive Synthesis
    (Cambridge University Press, 2016-04-29) Fane, Jennifer; MacDougall, Colin James; Redmond, Gerry; Jovanovic, Jessie; Ward, Paul Russell
    This paper reports on the systematic search and review of the literature relating to the health and wellbeing of young children across the transition to school. It identified 56 papers (including empirical studies, reviews, commentaries, and reports) relevant to the research questions and completed an interpretive systematic review to ascertain the current state of the literature. The review employed the Critical Interpretive Synthesis (CIS) method to allow for a rigorous and systematic review of a disparate literature which stretches across several disciplines. The findings are presented in seven thematic categories: current conceptualisations of health and wellbeing, assessment and measurement, ‘school readiness’, service integration, transition actors, ‘at risk’ children, and child voice. These findings illustrate the ways in which concepts have been constructed, identified, and operationalised in early years research, practice, and policy. Moreover, it highlights that ‘what is known’ can be used to inform the review or implementation of services, practices, and partnerships that support child health and wellbeing during the transition to school.
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    Exploring the use of emoji as a visual research method for eliciting young children’s voices in childhood research
    (Early Child Development and Care, 2016-08-17) Fane, Jennifer; MacDougall, Colin James; Jovanovic, Jessie; Redmond, Gerry; Gibbs, Lisa
    Recognition of the need to move from research on children to research with children has prompted significant theoretical and methodological debate as to how young children can be positioned as active participants in the research process. Visual research methods such as drawing, photography, and videography have received substantive attention in child-centred research paradigms. However, despite their increasing ubiquity in young children’s lifeworlds, technology or media-based visual materials have received little interest. This article reports on a study which used emoji as a visual research method for eliciting young children’s (aged three to five years) understandings and experiences of well-being. Findings elucidate the capacity of emoji as a visual research method for eliciting children’s voices, and considerations for its use in child research.
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    Early childhood educators’ understanding of early communication: Application to their work with young children
    (Sage Journals, 2016-02-08) Brebner, Christine Mary; Jovanovic, Jessie; Lawless, Angela Patricia; Young, Jessica
    Young children need rich learning experiences to maximize their potential. Early childhood educators (ECEs) working in childcare have knowledge of individual children as well as skills and professional knowledge that afford opportunities to provide language-rich environments for learning. To successfully work in partnership with ECEs, speech-language pathologists need to understand what they know about early communication development and how they apply it in their work. This study explored ECEs’ understanding of early communication development in childcare contexts, and how they related this to the education and care they provided. In this exploratory study we conducted three focus groups with 19 ECEs who were employed in eight different childcare centres in low socio-economic areas in metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia. Data were analysed thematically revealing three core themes: ‘Knowing and doing in context’; ‘ECEs’ role’; and ‘ECEs’ challenges’. Participants articulated understanding of early communication development and the importance of strong relationships between ECEs, children and their families. These ECEs’ skills and knowledge of children in their care was the basis from which they provided language-rich learning environments with individually tailored educational programmes to support all children, including those experiencing communication difficulties. They highlighted challenges in delivering this care, including the need for more explicit support from speech-language pathologists. There is potential to further develop interdisciplinary partnerships between ECEs in childcare and other professionals, such as speech-language pathologists, to maximize early developmental opportunities for children attending childcare.
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    Agreement between activPAL and ActiGraph for assessing children's sedentary time
    (BioMed Central, 2012-02-19) Ridgers, Nicole D; Salmon, Jo; Ridley, Kate; O’Connell, Eoin; Arundell, Lauren; Timperio, Anna
    Background Accelerometers have been used to determine the amount of time that children spend sedentary. However, as time spent sitting may be detrimental to health, research is needed to examine whether accelerometer sedentary cut-points reflect the amount of time children spend sitting. The aim of this study was to: a) examine agreement between ActiGraph (AG) cut-points for sedentary time and objectively-assessed periods of free-living sitting and sitting plus standing time using the activPAL (aP); and b) identify cut-points to determine time spent sitting and sitting plus standing. Methods Forty-eight children (54% boys) aged 8-12 years wore a waist-mounted AG and thigh-mounted aP for two consecutive school days (9-3:30 pm). AG data were analyzed using 17 cut-points between 50-850 counts·min-1 in 50 counts·min-1 increments to determine sedentary time during class-time, break time and school hours. Sitting and sitting plus standing time were obtained from the aP for these periods. Limits of agreement were computed to evaluate bias between AG50 to AG850 sedentary time and sitting and sitting plus standing time. Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) analyses identified AG cut-points that maximized sensitivity and specificity for sitting and sitting plus standing time. Results The smallest mean bias between aP sitting time and AG sedentary time was AG150 for class time (3.8 minutes), AG50 for break time (-0.8 minutes), and AG100 for school hours (-5.2 minutes). For sitting plus standing time, the smallest bias was observed for AG850. ROC analyses revealed an optimal cut-point of 96 counts·min-1 (AUC = 0.75) for sitting time, which had acceptable sensitivity (71.7%) and specificity (67.8%). No optimal cut-point was obtained for sitting plus standing (AUC = 0.51). Conclusions Estimates of free-living sitting time in children during school hours can be obtained using an AG cut-point of 100 counts·min-1. Higher sedentary cut-points may capture both sitting and standing time.
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    Student Voice in Work Integrated Learning Scholarship: A Review of Teacher Education and Geographical Sciences
    (International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL), 2017) Thomson, Kate Eileen; da Silva, Robyn; Draper, Peter; Gilmore, Anne; Majury, Niall; O’Connor, Kevin; Vásquez, Anete; Waite, Jacqueline
    Work integrated learning is an umbrella term that refers to the opportunities provided to university students to integrate knowledge of theory and practice as part of their degree program. As the role of students in higher education is evolving, we sought to develop our understanding of the role of students in the work integrated learning (WIL) space through exploring current literature on student voice. In this paper, we consider what has been reported about WIL in relation to student voice, how it has been represented, and how this has influenced practice. We undertook a systematic literature review for two different disciplines, one which represented an example of a professionally accredited undergraduate degree program (teacher education), and the other an example of a program with no professional accreditation (geographical sciences). The teacher education literature demonstrated more clearly the use of student voice to inform WIL within curriculum design. However, the geographical sciences literature did include examples of student voice being incorporated within the design of collaborative community-based forms of WIL. A role for students as researchers, who lead research and initiate curriculum change into WIL, was noticeably absent in both disciplinary sets of literature. The lack of evidence of the inclusion of students in the design, conduct, and analysis of WIL provides an invitation for SoTL scholars to redefine the role of students in this space.
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    Where’s the Transformation? Unlocking the Potential of Technology-Enhanced Assessment
    (International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL), 2017) Sweeney, Trudy-Ann; West, Deborah; Groessler, Anthea; Haynie, Aeron; Higgs, Bettie; Macaulay, Janet; Mercer-Mapstone, Lucy; Yeo, Michelle
    This study provides insight into technology-enhanced assessment (TEA) in diverse higher education contexts. The effectiveness of using technology for assessment in higher education is still equivocal, particularly in regard to evidence of improvements in student learning. This empirical research explores the affordances that technology offers to assessment for transforming student learning. A systematic literature review, guided by an analytic survey tool, was used to identify and interrogate recent scholarly articles published in 19 international journals. From a total of 1713 articles, 139 articles were identified as being focused on the use of technology for assessment. The analytic tool guided the rigorous exploration of the literature regarding the types of technology being used, the educational goal, the type of assessment, and the degree of “transformation” afforded by the technology. Results showed that, in the sample investigated, TEA is used most frequently for formative peer learning, as part of the task design and feedback stages of the assessment cycle, and that social media has been a major affordance for this. Results are discussed with a view to fostering a future culture of inquiry and scholarship around TEA in higher education.
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    Australian children's perceptions of discretionary foods
    (Elsevier, 2017-08-24) Velardo, Stefania; Drummond, Murray John
    Energy-dense nutrient poor foods and drinks, often referred to as discretionary choices, can contribute a significant amount of energy, fat, sodium and sugar to the diet if consumed in large quantities. Currently many Australian children are consuming a diet that is characterised by large quantities of discretionary items. We undertook a qualitative study to gain a descriptive account of preadolescent children's attitudes and perceptions towards health and nutrition. A series of 6 focus groups and 14 individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with thirty-eight children aged 11–12 years, across three state government schools in a socially disadvantaged region of metropolitan South Australia. The naturalistic manner of qualitative inquiry led to several unintended yet highly pertinent emergent themes, including children's perceptions and practices surrounding discretionary food consumption. Our results indicate that while Australian guidelines recommend that discretionary foods are consumed ‘only sometimes and in small amounts’, children generally held a different belief with respect to what constituted ‘sometimes’. Many children identified that discretionary foods should be consumed in moderation to maintain a balanced diet, yet reported consuming these foods frequently. Self-reported discretionary food consumption was grounded in socially constructed experiences valued by the children, who made situational attributions to foods and legitimised discretionary food consumption in certain contexts, for example during the weekend. Overall, there is variability between children's opinions about the acceptable frequency of consumption of discretionary foods compared with national guidelines.