Western Australian Institute for Educational Research

38th Annual Research Forum at The University of Notre Dame

Forum 2023 Abstracts

Listed alphabetically by first author
[ Forum invitation ] [ Program ]
[As an archival record of what occurred at the Forum on 5 August 2023, this
page does not include abstracts that were submitted and subsequently cancelled]

Infusing Indigenous plant knowledge in early childhood education

Kimberley Beasley
Murdoch University
Email: kimberley.beasley@murdoch.edu.au

This presentation will share research which contributes to Early Childhood Education for Sustainability (ECEfS), by exploring a case study of two Western Australian early childhood classes who welcomed an Indigenous Elder to visit with the children and educators about the plants in the school's bush space. The findings demonstrate the powerful impact the Indigenous perspectives had on educator's and children's relationship with the bush and their botanical literacies. This presentation will suggest changes to outdoor learning and nature-based practices and pedagogies that will include Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Imagined dialogues: An alternative to lesson plans in the assessment of preservice teachers

Paul Brown
Curtin University
Email: paul.brown@curtin.edu.au

Teachers are not playwrights, but writing a short dialogue was accepted as feasible - even enjoyable - by preservice teachers and the dialogues proved to be a valid and effective part of assessment. Imagining the conversation within a classroom places the learners in the spotlight, rather than the teacher - as can occur in lesson plans. Dialogues produced by preservice teachers demonstrated perceptive listening and penetrating questioning.

Writing a dialogue allows for considered reflection; time to access ideas from unit materials and curriculum documents; and opportunity to be more creative than is possible under high-stakes time pressure when observed by a mentor teacher on practicum. The imagined dialogues revealed the extent to which the preservice teachers contemplated a lesson might vary, boosting their confidence in how they will handle unpredictable classroom life.

Preservice mathematics teachers proved capable of writing short "lesson plays" which demonstrated student skills and misconceptions; interaction between students in the manner of a community of inquiry; and accounts of how inquiry-style lessons might proceed. A subsequent traditional lesson plan was also required, giving opportunity to address the shortfalls and breakthroughs in understanding which were evident in the imagined dialogue.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Early childhood educators' approaches to support building children's resilience

Miroslava Bozic, Madeleine Dobson and Susan Beltman
Curtin University
Email: miroslava.bozic@student.curtin.edu.au

Early childhood educators play a critical role in helping children develop resilience. The literature tends to indicate that resilience is important for children to develop, where for example, they emotionally manage their feelings while engaging in play. Also, the literature confirms that more research is needed to learn about early childhood educators' role in helping children develop resilience.

This presentation will include emerging findings of educators' perceptions and approaches to guiding and building children's resilience. This qualitative study aims to explore how educators in six early learning services support building resilience in young children. The participants are educators who work with children 3 to 5 years old. The data collection methods comprise a questionnaire, interviews, and observations. NVivo software is used in data analysis to understand educators' practices and identify gaps in their knowledge and performance in building children's resilience. The data analysis is ongoing, though preliminary findings indicate that educators' communication with children lacks constructive instructions and engagement in children's play. The final research findings should assist educators in shaping their skills to help children cope with adversity and build resilience.

[ Scheduling for this presentation]

Partnerships, stories and spaces: Towards a new Creative Practice in Education Research hub

Carol Carter and Lisa Paris
Curtin University
Email: carol.carter@curtin.edu.au

This paper highlights emerging findings from a collaborative Creative Practice in Education Research and Innovation Support Program project (Curtin University). The project aims to investigate the logistics, feasibility and framework for a creative practice in education hub drawing on international and national examples and best practice. These emerging findings, drawn from a systematic literature review, survey and interview data and observations at centres such as CAST in New Zealand will provide the foundations for a creative practice research hub within the School of Education at Curtin. It is envisaged that, while initially designed for Curtin University, this will lead to a national and international online hub repository and website. This website will have the capacity to lead the debates and practices around research framing, data collection and participation engagement, analysis and evaluation, as well as broad dissemination and rigour of Arts-based Education Research (ABER) practices and outputs.

The aims and initial findings for this hub resonate with the themes of 'critical junctures for educational research' as this is an important point in time for our hub to be envisioned and emerge. Different stories, voices and spaces where our observations take place will inform this paper as well as the visualisation and actualisation of the Research Hub. A particular knowledge gap which will be explored in this project is how aspects of ABER can be integrated with other qualitative methods in education. As Arts-based research makes use of artistic processes and forms in the participation and presentation of research, a large part of this research story will be presented in the form of a storytelling and ethnodramatic performance. Ethnodrama adapts and uses ethnographic data to create and present a performance. The ethnodrama, for this paper, is designed as an evocative text that will also act as a stimulus for discussion with conference participants in relation to the creative practice research hub.

[ Scheduling for this presentation]

Professional transition of Ukrainian migrant teachers in Australia

Larysa Chybis
Curtin University
Email: larysa.chybis@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

Although Australia has a long history of migration, foreigners moving to Australia, often confront significant impediments on their professional pathways, forcing them to accept jobs which are below their qualifications. This inquiry aims to investigate Ukrainian migrant teachers' experiences of professional passage in Australia for the purpose of better comprehending the problem and facilitating migrant teachers' transition into the Australian professional environment. The project engages Ukrainian migrant teachers who obtained their masters or specialist degrees in Ukraine or a post-Soviet country and whose main professional activity overseas comprised teaching in secondary or tertiary educational institutions.

A narrative study is used as a design for this qualitative research underscoring personal stories. Consistent with the methodological approach, narrative interviews constitute the primary method of data collection, enhanced by artefacts, documents and memos. The collected data are processed via thematic and content analyses. Due to the small number of participants, the project utilises a non-probability purposive snowball sampling engaging the Ukrainian community network. The project will highlight Ukrainian migrant teachers' professional transition in Australia, nurture cultural diversity in the pedagogical professional environment and promote relevant changes regarding current and future migrant teachers' qualification validation and employment. The research will favour other non-dominant communities facing similar professional challenges and will advise apposite organisations of the current situation in the field.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Yarning with Noongar Elder Marie Taylor: Intercultural and intergenerational learning to decolonise the contemporary museum

Wendy Cumming-Potvin, Peter Wright, Sian Chapman, Marie Taylor, Barbara Hostalek, Sandra Hesterman, Audrey Fernandes-Satar and Janene Sproul
Murdoch University
Email: w.cumming-potvin@murdoch.edu.au

Over many centuries, museums have epitomised Western institutions that showcase the achievements of imperial expansion, displaying what was exotic, different and unique. Recently, new approaches for re-invigorated museums have highlighted aims to de-colonise learning and re-imagine place across a digital landscape as a way of critiquing the disciplinary construction of space, time, and narratives of history. This session invokes the digital futureverse by utilising a yarning circle to recount the journey of a group of WA researchers who collaborated with Whadjuk Ballardong Noongar Elder Marie Taylor and community stakeholders to share Noongar stories as pathways to understanding. This work blends with a larger project, which draws on decolonizing principles to bring respectful, accessible, and socially just learning to WA museum communities. Themes such as boodja, flora, fauna and family relationships will be discussed, along with excerpts from a creative video featuring Noongar Elder Marie Taylor.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Student perceptions on invisible disability representation in children's literature against the Disability Standards for Children's Literature

Emily D'Costa
Curtin University
Email: emily.dcosta@y7mail.com

This empirical case study seeks to explore the representation of invisible disability in children's literature and how a created framework on Disability Standards for Children's Literature (DCSL) examines the accuracy, sensitivity, and accessibility of knowledge of the disability presented. However, upon research, there is limited invisible disability representation in current educational research, with research suggesting a significant gap opposed to the broad discussion of disability in general. This explores how this can impact the exposure of invisible disability texts children read, or a lack thereof, in addition to if the texts are free of ablism, creating authentic representation in conjunction with how this can shape the attitudes of children who read these texts. This study aims to present different texts of invisible disability representation to a group of year three students. As the students read these books, a diagnostic will be performed to identify what students know about disability and invisible disability, with post-interviews to see if students have an immediate influence towards disabilities, marking against the DSCL framework. This study examines student exposure to disability texts, how this has changed once invisible disability literature is introduced and how this shapes perspectives on real-world connections of disability.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

From English-only to only English: Shifting language perspectives in primary school classrooms

Toni Dobinson, Carly Steele
Curtin University
Gerard Winkler
Queens Park Primary School,
Email: t.dobinson@curtin.edu.au

Children's languages are often rendered invisible in Australian primary school classrooms where monolingual norms govern learning and social interaction. For heritage language learners this can be reinforced by parental and social expectations and their language use subsequently relegated to specific sites. Using intentional translanguaging as the conceptual framework for our study, and through critical participatory action research, we investigated how children in a multilingual primary school classroom setting framed their cultural and linguistic identities and utilised their translingual repertoires in their daily activities. Arts-based research methodologies were used to gather rich data in the form of artefacts, recorded classroom interactions and observations, which were critically analysed from a "listening to voices" perspective. Findings revealed that children who come from linguistically diverse home settings are not afforded opportunities to connect with, or develop, their heritage languages. Many children framed their language stories with a desire to know more about their cultural and linguistic identity. Instead, English dominated almost every aspect of children's lives. We conclude that more is needed to counter the "English-only" ethos or only English will prevail.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Video presentation
An inquiry into training volunteers to teach English to adult refugees

Maria Enriquez-Watt
Edith Cowan University
Email: pili.watt@me.com

Volunteer English tutors of refugees working in the unregulated context of adult community education (ACE) often lack training for their role and little is known about best practice in this area. This has been linked to high volunteer turnaround, poor learner outcomes and program instability.

This participatory pragmatic study investigated the consequences of implementing a training program for volunteer tutors, through its impact on thinking and behaviour, and its appropriateness for the learning community. The mixed-methods study used interviews, questionnaires and focus groups. Interview data were used to design a ttransformative learning. This program was implemented and evaluated through questionnaires and a focus group. Participants were volunteer English tutors working in ACE organisations in Perth. It was found that training volunteers in andragogical, culturally responsive, critical, and up-to-date practices for teaching English and literacy, and using a contextualised approach to planning, lead to positive changes in volunteer thinking and behaviour, and positive benefits for their learners.

This research has implications for ACE organisations interested in supporting volunteer learning and teaching, and in promoting equitable and democratic refugee education. The findings have significance as they relate to equity in adult education, and indicate necessary changes in policy and practice in refugee and volunteer educationraining program which utilised the principles of Mezirow's

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Elitist Australia: Tracking the education pathways of the nation's powerful people

Jen Featch, Laura Perry and Wendy Cumming-Potvin
Murdoch University
Email: jen.featch@murdoch.edu.au

Entry into elite professions such as politics is patterned by social class or socio-economic background and is often populated by elite school graduates. My PhD explores if this is true for Australian politicians and considers why this is important in the context of education inequity and school funding reform. This project is a two-phase, inductive, mixed method project using a critical, interpretivist framework, which will provide an orienting lens around both phases of data collection to address the inequities that arise from school sector funding disparities. Phase one is a desktop analysis of the education pathways of Australian federal MPs. Phase two will consist of a series of in-depth, semi-structured interviews with participants sourced from phase one. In this presentation I will report on preliminary findings from phase one. Preliminary data shows that most ALP members attended a public or Catholic secondary school, while the majority of LNP members attended an independent or Catholic secondary school. Almost all MPs attended university and attained at least a bachelor degree. Tracking the education pathways of politicians can help us to understand why a homogenous group of powerful people is a shaky foundation for addressing inequities that arise from a heavily segregated schooling system like Australia's, and why school funding reform is difficult to achieve.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Assistant Principals: Leaders or managers?

Lisa Gallin
University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: lisa.gallin@cewa.edu.au

The role of Assistant Principal (AP) is the leadership position directly below the principal in Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) primary schools. Their work is complex and has been described in the literature as 'activity coordinator', ' daily operations manager', 'firefighter', 'caretaker', 'policeman', 'disciplinarian' and 'jack-of-all-trades'. There is no universally accepted role description for APs. However, it is clear that they carry out critical functions within schools in support of and at the direction of the principal. In an era of expanding principal responsibilities, increased accountability and ongoing concerns about the health and wellbeing of principals, it is timely to explore the work of APs and the contribution they make to school leadership. This predominantly qualitative research is the first empirical study of APs in the CEWA system and therefore provides valuable insights into the work of these senior school leaders. An instrumental case study approach was employed, through a symbolic interactivist lens to collect in-depth perspectives from APs about their work. The study explored the scope of the role and those aspects APs felt are the most important, most challenging and most rewarding. Additionally, the study collected feedback from participants regarding how CEWA could best support APs.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

How is digital storytelling still useful for media studies?

Qian Gong
Curtin University
He Zhang
Northwest University, China
Email: q.gong@curtin.edu.au

In the past two decades, digital storytelling has been a participatory and creative autobiographical video-making practice for research and advocacy in different parts of the world. With the deepening omnipresence of digital media, especially short video applications, this practice seems to face a crisis over usefulness in theoretical and methodological terms. This paper argues for the value that digital storytelling is still holding for media studies in the context of proliferating digitally afforded self-representations. Theoretically, storytelling has been the most accessible practice for marginalised groups across cultures to empower themselves in the pursuit for equality and justice. Methodologically, digital storytelling remains a significant instrument in revealing the production process of digital self-representation that otherwise takes place in a private space most of the time. As a practice-based research activity, it combines qualitative methods and enables cross validation of data. In this light, this paper provides a comprehensive review of digital storytelling concerning its theoretical context, key debate, practical advantages and methodological potentialities. Further, the paper will add to the discussion on how to approach the concept of participation in an increasingly digitally penetrated world.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

An authentic assessment rubric tool: A teacher-support artefact to improve assessment design using a robust design methodology

Rachael Hains-Wesson, Sanri Le Roux and Jim Tognolini
The University of Sydney
Email: rachael.hains-wesson@sydney.edu.au

Authentic assessments have been promoted for some time to improve quality of learning including deep learning (Kaider, Hains-Wesson, & Young, 2017). Following the current trends in AI and its implications for assessment, as well as the focus on graduate employability in a competitive job market, there is increased pressure on higher education institutions to create assessments that are "uncheatable" and assess skills in a way that translate to the working environment graduates will enter (Hains-Wesson, Ji, & Wu Berberich, 2021). Effectively supporting teachers to construct authentic assessment tasks requires a robust process, primarily due to differing definitions and context sensitivities. There are diverse perspectives, understandings, theories, expectations, and engagement levels to contend with. Assessments are the common denominator across faculties, disciplines, and content areas. Regardless of the different experience levels of educators or attitudes educators hold towards assessment, all educators engage with assessment in some form or another. This makes for a challenging task to design a tool that can be meaningfully employed across the board. In this round table discussion, the lead author describes the crafting of a teacher-support artefact in the form of an Authentic Assessment Rubric Tool (AART) that enables teachers to self- and peer-review authentic assessment tasks. Participants will have the opportunity to evaluate and test their own assessments to measure its authenticity, and to critique the AART model to improve it for future users.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

The wellbeing of early-career generalists and specialists teaching music in Australian primary schools: A literature review

Han Meng
Edith Cowan University
Email: hanm@our.ecu.edu.au

The provision and quality of primary school music education in Australia are in crisis. The inclusion of music within an arts curriculum, along with competing literacy and STEM agendas, and the erosion of initial music teacher education, are examples of how the provision of music in Australian primary schools has been neglected, resulting in children missing out on music in their school education. This has resulted in a great disparity in the ways in which music is taught in Australian primary schools. Music can be delivered by generalists, primary music specialists, secondary music specialists and arts education teachers. These compounding and complex challenges raise significant questions for the wellbeing of teachers who are struggling to provide students with a quality music education. This study aims to assess early-career wellbeing wheh teaching primary school music, identify factors influencing teacher wellbeing, and develop strategies to support their wellbeing, utilising the PERMA model and employing an explanatory sequential mixed-methods research design conducted in three phases. The first phase involves collecting perspectives on wellbeing through an online survey from at least 100 teachers who teach primary school music in Australian schools. In the second phase, 15 teachers will be selected for individual 45 to 60-minute semi-structured interviews based on their diverse teaching backgrounds and contrasting survey responses, to gather in-depth opinions. The final phase will analyse and discuss the survey and interview outcomes in relation to existing literature in the field. The survey data will be collected in October 2023, and the interviews will be conducted in February 2024. Results are expected to be published in 2024.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Strategies and embedded theories of teachers of Japanese as a foreign language in higher education institutions

Hiroshi Hasegawa
Curtin University
Email: h.hasegawa@curtin.edu.au

In the higher education workforce, there is a culture of running academic courses in the most efficient, cost-effective ways, while maintaining the quality of learning/teaching. As a result, digital learning/teaching approaches have been broadly utilised across multiple academic disciplines, irrespective of the different natures and characteristics of different disciplines. However, digital approaches to academic discipline such as foreign language education, especially scripted languages including Japanese, are under-researched. As a result, it is common for teachers to encounter and suffer from various difficulties associated with fully online learning/teaching. The rapid adoption of remote teaching due to the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the rate at which educators encounter challenges in their practice. Employing a thematic analysis method, this presentation explores research identifying Japanese teachers' uniquely established teaching strategies. The findings were analysed and divided into two main categories; (1) format conversion of assessment tasks and (2) modification of the target learning contents and teaching approaches. The findings of this research outline further subcategories based on teachers' individual theories and practices. This presentation suggests unique, optimal tactics which can be implemented in the "new normal" style of Japanese language learning and teaching in higher education institutions.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Preservice secondary mathematics teachers' perceptions of teacher knowledge and its sources

Vesife Hatisaru and Julia Collins
Edith Cowan University
Email: v.hatisaru@ecu.edu.au, julia.collins@ecu.edu.au

Preservice secondary mathematics teachers' perceptions of teacher knowledge and of possible sources of that knowledge is investigated through examining their responses to an open-ended questionnaire. Participants place greatest emphasis on mathematics content knowledge and mathematics pedagogical knowledge and expect to gain most of their knowledge through formal preparation within the professional learning system rather than through self-study or through interactions with peers. This emphasises how important it is for schools and professional associations to provide regular formal learning opportunities, because future teachers may otherwise not be self-motivated to continue improving their skills independently of this

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Inclusive communities? Stakeholders supporting secondary students on the autism spectrum

Christina Holly and Dawn Penney
Edith Cowan University
Email: christinaholly19@outlook.com

Communication is important to stakeholder relationships and the quality of support for students on the autism spectrum (AS) within secondary schools.? This qualitative study drew upon social learning frameworks in examining collaborative communication practices from the perspectives of school leaders, teachers, education assistants, allied health professionals, parents and young adults on the AS. Case study research exploring collaborative communication within two secondary schools revealed critical communication gaps and identified shared visions and values as essential foundations for communication to effectively support students on the AS. The research study considers strategies for secondary learning communities for improved engagement of stakeholders with collaborative communication practice within inclusive learning communities for improved social and educational outcomes for secondary students on the AS.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

How are students being grouped by ability in Australian secondary schools? A snapshot of practices in Western Australia and Queensland

Olivia Johnston
Edith Cowan University
Email: o.johnston@ecu.edu.au

Grouping students into classes according to their ability' is inequitable and does not improve educational outcomes. Despite research highlighting the strong association with inequity, many secondary schools in Australia choose to use class ability grouping because it is an historically entrenched practice. Educators hold the perspectives that it facilitates differentiation and improves academic outcomes. The findings from our recent survey of schools in Western Australia and Queensland characterised the class grouping practices being used by 147 participant schools. Descriptive statistics highlight a representative sample of schools that used grouping practices which varied according to the year, method, location, and subject area of activation. The analysis highlights inequity in the class grouping practices being experienced by Australian students from Year 7-9. Students are grouped into classes by ability more as they get older, more for Maths and English than other subjects, and more in Western Australia than in Queensland. The findings are discussed in terms of the inequity for students and the implications for inequity in their educational outcomes. These implications raise questions about the future of class ability grouping policy and guidelines in Australia, and how future research can address the compounding issues of equity.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Celebrating Indigenous self-determination in higher education: The journeys of Noongar university students

Sophie Karangaroa
Curtin University
Email: sophie.karangaroa@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

This study will highlight the experiences and aspirations of Noongar students embarking on tertiary education. A written thesis will provide themes and reflective analysis emerging from the production of an online docuseries - designed to capture anecdotal and personal experiences of both the participants and researcher. This collaborative effort will be explored using participatory action research, yarning and autoethnography methodologies observed through a Kaupapa Māori approach. The purpose of this study will be to address how I, as a Māori visitor to Whadjuk Country, best engage with three Noongar university students to produce an online docuseries which captures the alignment of Māori and Noongar principles of 'moving forward by looking back'.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Finding flow in online learning: The story of my doctorate journey

Katie Kumasaka
Curtin University
Email: katie.kumasaka@curtin.edu.au

This is the story of how a hermeneutic phenomenological study unfolded and how storytelling can be used to enhance the meaning in findings. The study involved an attitude of openness and holistic exploration of how students experienced flow when studying online. The path to understanding was an intense journey with many disruptions to the traditional method of qualitative research. Initially new philosophy and knowledge provided a forestructure of understanding as the foundation for the ensuing data collection and analysis. Challenged by the lack of process in hermeneutical phenomenology, the task of working with an unconventional approach to research brought with it my own experience of flow. The possibility that this research journey generated personal transformation provoked a powerful feeling of not only wanting to share my story but the actualisation that my shared experience and understanding of flow is entwined in the interpretations central to the hermeneutic phenomenological process. The sharing of these experiences is partly communicated through a vocative text, used to bring the readers closer to the uniqueness of the particular experience. This vocative text can provide glimpses of meaning that often hide within human experience but also highlights alternative possibilities to working with qualitative data.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Commercialism, conspiracies and critical literacy

Kirsten Lambert and Jeannine Wishart
Murdoch University
Email: jeannine.wishart@murdoch.net.au

This presentation explores the concept of critical literacy at the intersection of digital literacy, through the lens of critical theory which interrogates discourses of power and belonging. Critical literacy, as a democratic education model (Fairclough, 1966), encompasses the skills required to analyse and critique multi-media forms. Recent literature into the literacy education highlights a burgeoning of commercial products that promise to improve literacy data. Edu-businesses have positioned themselves in a commercially lucrative relationship with education authorities where they both constitute policy problems and profit through selling policy solutions (Lindgard we at., 2017). This commodification of education foregrounds teacher's time and leaves little room for critical literacy work. The marketised state education system (Le Feuvre et al., 2021) has resulted in a perception of mistrust in teachers by political and policy agencies, and henceforth, the proliferation of commercial literacy software (Thompson & Cook, 2017), all of which hampers teachers' efforts to teach critical literacy skills. This presentation aims to make teachers' voices above those of politics and policy, and promote reengagement with critical literacy.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Early childhood teachers' perspectives on discipline: From authoritarian approach to mindful discipline

Xuyen Le
The University of Western Australia
Email: emngheem@gmail.com

Early childhood education (ECE) pedagogical practice in Vietnam is transitioning towards a child-centred approach. This qualitative research used grounded theory and open-ended interviews with 12 teachers to develop a theory on their experience as a teacher. Teachers used to find it challenging when embracing the pedagogical changes as the notion of child agency and child-centred approach conflicts with the adult superiority and adult-led approach in which they were raised when they were young. The study reveals that ECE teachers are addressing the challenge through mindfulness-based social-emotional learning to redress the power balance in daily teaching practice. Drawing on their transformation journey to become more peaceful and successful teachers and their reflection on their emotional wounds since early childhood, teachers argue that early experiences directly affect adulthood well-being. Thus, teachers believe that positive discipline will support children in self-regulation skills, resilience, growth mindset, self-esteem and healthy development without creating hurt feelings in young children. Teachers believe that while the authoritarian approach uses 'behaviourism' and fear-based discipline, mindful discipline is 'relational pedagogy' and is based on emotional connection, mutual respect, trust and compassion and firm boundaries. Mindful discipline involves teachers practising emotional self-discipline and co-regulation with young children to model suitable responses to challenging situations. The four main issues in disciplining young children include dealing with tantrums, mistakes, conflict with peers, and when children become 'challenging'.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Identifying the key elements of teacher professional learning to maximise teacher motivation

Louise Leonard, Susan Beltman and Saul Karnovsky
Curtin University
Email: louise.leonard@postgrad.curtin.edu.au, s.beltman@curtin.edu.au, saul.karnovsky@curtin.edu.au

Teachers who have higher autonomy over decisions within a professional learning experience will engage more with the content, value the experience and are more likely to implement change leading to teaching innovation (Averill & Major, 2020; Power & Goodnough, 2019; Silvia & Britton). This presentation examines the elements and structure of professional learning that supports or thwarts participant motivation. Current literature has been examined to identify and classify the elements of an effective teacher learning experience in a senior high school setting. These elements have been structured according to the theoretical framework of SDT [Self-Determination Theory], that supports participants' psychological needs to facilitate self-determination (Ryan & Deci, 2017). Although the identified elements are ordered under the sub-headings of autonomy, competence and relatedness it is almost impossible to consider these psychological needs separately. Autonomously supportive environments include choice and encouragement of self-regulation. Competence supports include provision of structure and positive, informative feedback. Relatedness support is the formation of positive caring relationships. Each psychological need supports the facilitation of the other two and will consequently overlap. SDT argues that a person's motivation is a developmental process, influenced by many variables. To support teacher learning and innovation it is necessary to isolate and identify these variables if researchers are to understand how they affect teacher professional learning.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

What does well-being mean to me? Students' perceptions of well-being

Amanda Madden
Edith Cowan University
Email: amanda.madden@ecu.edu.au

The purpose of this research was to identify students' understanding of well-being and perceptions of effective components of school-based well-being programs they have participated in. With one in four adolescents suffering from some form of mental health disorder, having the potential to directly impact on their academic ability, schools have moved towards a more holistic approach to education resulting in the growth of school-based well-being programs. There is limited research on the effectiveness of these programs with fewer studies examining students' perspective on their well-being.

A mixed method design was utilised framed by a social constructivist methodology. Quantitative data was collected through a researcher-developed self-report survey and qualitative data was collected through one-on-one interviews and a semi-structured focus group undertaken with Year 12 students from three independent co-educational schools in Western Australia. Preliminary findings indicate that participants have experienced minimal impact either positively or negatively on their well-being from school-based well-being programs. Adolescents consider happiness, positive attitude, good physical health, balance, emotional fulfilment and confidence, to be components of well-being. The findings also highlighted sports, positive family relationships, friendships and pets, positively enhanced well-being. This research suggests that educational leaders should consider students' understanding of well-being in the development of school-based well-being assessments and interventions.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Exploring teacher agency in a digital learning setting: A narrative inquiry among English as a foreign language teachers in Indonesia

Yogi Saputra Mahmud, Jennifer Shand and Mark Pegrum
The University of Western Australia
Email: yogi.mahmud@research.uwa.edu.au

The unprecedented shift to digital learning due to the global crisis in 2020 and 2021 presented substantial challenges to teachers worldwide, including English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers in a technologically underdeveloped country like Indonesia. It is more complicated for EFL teachers as the subject requires intensive communication with limited opportunities to use the language outside class time. Although challenges in digital learning have been discussed in previous literature, the way EFL teachers exercise agency, which entails influencing their working conditions amid challenges, remains underexamined. Therefore, this research aims to explore the way nine EFL teachers in Indonesian senior high schools exercised their agency before, during, and after the remote teaching period (the period of distance teaching due to the pandemic), as well as the factors that allowed and inhibited their agency, through three episodic interviews under the narrative inquiry methodology. The thematic commonalities across teachers' narratives will be examined with NVivo 12 used to facilitate the coding and generation of thematic commonalities. This research advances the understanding of teacher agency in digital learning and the awareness of the need for teacher education programs to empower EFL teachers to influence their working conditions in the post-global crisis era.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Parent mediated intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder and its impact on families in Western Australia

Shuzna Majdhee, Cindy Smith and Shahad Alsharif
Curtin University
Email: s.majdhee@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

Families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face many challenges such as obtaining relevant care, due to lack of availability of services. One way to address this problem is to train parents to be involved in provision of services for their children through parent mediated interventions (PMIs). Parent mediated interventions refer to trainings that are specifically designed using evidence-based techniques and parents are then coached or trained to deliver the interventions to their children to attain a specific behaviour change. PMI has been used effectively in the UK, USA and European countries; however, this approach has not been widely utilised for children with ASD and their families in Australia. The purpose of the current research is to evaluate the effectiveness of PMI for children with ASD in families of Western Australia. This presentation will report on previous research as to the effectiveness of PMIs and outline the proposed current study to support children in WA and their families, including the children's behaviour and the parent's well-being and quality of life.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Auto/ethnography methodology: Yarning as authentic data - understanding others through self

Helen McCarthy
Curtin University
Email: h.mccarthy@curtin.edu.au

For over forty years as a teacher albeit apprentice, I have learned from the Warnumamalya, Yolngu, Nyungar and Wongi Australia's peoples, observing parents/teachers often express frustration with the delivery of mainstream Anglo-centric education. This disparity never sat well with me, but I understood I did not have a right to speak for Indigenous parents/carers or their communities. Over the path of long-time cultural immersion, I experienced 'both ways' learning, meaningful experiences where liminal spaces created new understandings, culturally sensitive shared ways of knowing.

Provoked, I wanted this praxis to be acknowledged, applied widespread, Aboriginal perspectives given parity of esteem with non-Aboriginal knowledge. When I first began to express the importance of pre-service teachers learning culturally sensitive ways of teaching Indigenous learners, I found myself in a conundrum. I was just another 'know-it-all' white researcher talking about black student experiences. The answer came by way of the critical interpretive research design Auto/ethnography. Auto/ethnography presented the opportunity to establish one's unique voicing where the process and the product are deeply intertwined. This decolonising research methodology provided a pathway to venerate cultural understandings through yarning, heartening the potential to transform self and others, to move towards cross cultural alliance building.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Building bridging pedagogies for sustainability and social justice

Fleur McLennan
Curtin University
Email: fleur.mclennan@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

Now, more than ever, our youth are facing a challenging future marked by uncertainty, complex global problems, and political polarisation alongside rising inequality across society. How we educate youth to engage with and respond to these challenges is not easy for Humanities and Social Science (HASS) teachers in secondary schools to navigate using a curriculum that is linear, compressed, and depoliticised. Sustainability as social justice is not well understood by educators and the pervasive effects of neoliberalism on teacher agency threatens to relegate sustainability, and social justice, to shallow awareness raising. Participatory action research (PAR) will be used to explore how HASS teachers use their agency when teaching about social justice. PAR works collaboratively with participants throughout the study to enable all participants to develop better understandings of how and why things happen and empower the teachers involved to create meaningful change. Focus group discussions, semi-structured interviews, field journals and lesson plan analysis will examine the experience of teachers engaging with HEADSUP as a pedagogical tool that directly addresses social justice without adding content to the curriculum. The approach does not seek homogeneity from participants but aims for a transformative development in teacher agency and changes in vantage point when engaging with pedagogy and social justice content.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Perspectives of reading for pleasure pedagogy in Year 3-6 classrooms

Jess Nailer
University of Notre Dame Australia
Email: jess.nailer@nd.edu.au

Australian children read for pleasure less and less as they move through primary school, with a noticeable decline emerging in Years 3-6. Reading for pleasure at school (RfPS) also appears to have become de-prioritised in the middle-upper years of primary schools. This research focused on pedagogy that meaningfully supports and inspires RfPS in Years 3-6, within a framework of school culture, teacher practices and the physical environment, and explored the perspectives of three key stakeholder groups from one Western Australian independent public school: leadership, classroom teachers, and Year 3-6 children. Consistent with a phenomenological perspective, this qualitative case study collected data through semi-structured individual interviews with leadership and classroom teachers, small focus groups with Year 3-6 children, and a researcher journal. This research found that there were several notable discrepancies between the educators' and the children's perspectives of the RfPS pedagogy in place at their school, highlighting the importance of children's perspectives being sought and respected. An overarching theme was the children's desire to engage with RfPS more often and for its own sake, and for their teachers to support this desire through certain pedagogies. This investigation also found that professional knowledge of RfPS pedagogy affects stakeholders' perspectives, and that physical spaces and the texts available to children play a key role in meaningfully implementing RfPS in middle to upper primary school.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Applying the technologies application on mitigating education inequalities in higher education in Vietnam

Nguyen Vu Ngan Hang
The University of Western Australia
Email: 23932606@student.uwa.edu.au

This presentation explores the application of technology in higher education in Vietnam to mitigate education inequalities. The author argues that technology can address differences in students' learning needs, geographical locations, and educational expenses. The use of technology, such as personalised learning platforms and online resources, allows students to learn at their own pace and access relevant materials. It also supports students in remote areas with limited educational resources. Additionally, technology can reduce educational expenses by providing cost-effective learning materials and reducing the need for physical infrastructure. However, the paper acknowledges challenges such as limited access to digital devices and Internet connectivity, as well as resistance to digital adoption. The Vietnamese government has taken steps to address these issues by providing financial aid, distributing computers to disadvantaged students, and improving internet infrastructure. Moreover, the design of all e-learning materials should be taken in considerations from a student's stand-point. The designer / academic should be mindful about the student cognitive load and integrate it thoughtfully in the content design on digital platform. The presentation concludes that while there are obstacles to overcome, Vietnam is committed to utilising technology and digital transformation to provide equal educational opportunities for all students.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Authentic student voice

Jette Oksis
Catholic Education Western Australia
Email: jette.oksis@cewa.edu.au

Student voice is often advocated as necessary to ensure education is relevant and engaging to learners. The presenter is currently involved in projects that seek student input and as such, driven to understand how student voice is authentically represented in schools and systems decision-making.

Driving the informal action research is the development of knowledge and frameworks that support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The presenter will frame the discussion on recent observations and self-reflections after collaborating with students and facilitate the conversation around how student voice can be heard and enacted upon ensuring that four core values as distinguished by researchers Robinson & Taylor (2007) as "communication through dialogue, participation and democratic inclusivity, recognition of power relations and possibility for change could be considered alongside Lundy's model of Voice Inclusive Practice (2013)."

This presentation seeks to converse on the importance of inclusion of 'student voice' at a school and system level, as a practical and sustainable custom.
[Scheduling for this presentation]

The personal and professional experiences of female principals in Catholic Composite and Secondary Schools

Maria Outtrim
The University of Notre Dame, Curtin University and The University of Western Australia
Email: outtrimmarie@gmail.com

The study examines the personal and professional experiences of female principals in Catholic Composite and Secondary Schools (CCSS) to identify the core demands and expectations of their role, as well as factors that encourage, sustain and challenge them. This study has given female principals in CCSS a voice, has raised concerns that female principals face in their leadership roles, has provided insight and sensitivity to the needs of women in leadership and has established what female principals offer to secondary educational leadership. The study highlighted five issues associated with the expectations and demands of being a CCSS female principal. These issues included the expectations and demands of internal stakeholders, external stakeholders, parish priests, balancing career and family, high self-expectations, and self-criticism.

Nine challenges facing female principals in CEWA composite and secondary schools were identified. These challenges included insufficient time to deal with the multifaceted nature of the role, parental issues and staff concerns, safety, health, and wellbeing of the school community, working in regional schools, lack of financial and property management skills and knowledge, compliance and regulation, principal preparation processes, gender discrimination, and lack of recognition of the value and effectiveness of the leadership characteristics of female principals in CCSS schools.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Reading for pleasure: The Premier's Reading Challenge and its impacts on student engagement and literacy achievement

Tamara Reads
Curtin University
Email: tamara.reads@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

Considerable time and resources are dedicated each year in Australian schools implementing state-based Premier's Reading Challenge programs, which aim to develop student habits of reading for pleasure. Little research exists, however, supporting the effectiveness of such programs, either for engaging students in reading for pleasure or on student literacy achievement, which is often regarded as one of the key reasons for promoting reading in the context of such programs.

This research is being conducted using a multi-phase design mixed methods approach to explore the complex components of Premier's Reading Challenge programs in three Australian states. A combination of quantitative program data analysis, student case studies and teacher focus groups utilising both surveys and semi-structured interviews will examine the effectiveness of PRC programs in developing students' reading for pleasure habits, and the impact of these habits and PRC participation on academic achievement, with a specific focus on literacy. This research aims to provide evidence supporting the benefits of participation in Premier's Reading Challenge programs, which can then be used by teachers, parents, and students to feel confident that taking part in such challenges offers more than just the promise of the enjoyment of a good story

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Navigating the tensions and challenges of critical policy analysis in education research

Matthew Sinclair
Curtin University
Email: matthew.sinclair@curtin.edu.au

This paper explores the tensions and challenges encountered by researchers conducting critical policy analysis (CPA) in education research. It is based on the author's experiences in a four-year CPA study (2019-2022) of Australian school funding policymaking. Via a systematic literature review, the author addresses the key issues that arose during the research, particularly the impact of defining and framing education policy, which he argues is a process increasingly restricted by external factors beyond the control of many CPA scholars. The study also highlights the challenges associated with accessing interviewees and elite networks in education research, which are shown to be difficult to secure and available only to a select few. The author contends that incorporating CPA literature from diverse contexts and historical periods can lead to more effective research outcomes and a broader lens for examining and addressing equity and social justice issues in education, in contrast to the limited approaches prevalent in current literature. The study's conclusions contribute to the ongoing discourse on the tensions, challenges, and possibilities in 'doing' CPA in education, offering insights that can help researchers navigate intricate issues and further advance what the author considers to be the field's fundamental goals.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Challenging behaviour in the early years: Investigating teacher perceptions

Gillian Smith
Edith Cowan University
Email: gsmith26@our.ecu.edu.au

This mixed-methods sequential explanatory research will take an interpretivist stance to explore early childhood teachers' perspectives on the increasing issue of children's challenging behaviour in Western Australia's mainstream early years settings. Data in Phase 1 has been collected through an online survey (N = 110) and analysed using descriptive statistics. An exploratory review of findings will be presented. In Phase 2, semi-structured interviews with six early childhood teachers will be coded, and the thematic analysis will be discussed using relational pedagogy, attachment theory and ecological systems theoryA which underpin the study. Findings will detail helpful and hopeful impacts to lessen the adverse effects of challenging behaviour on children's current and future trajectories.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

'Podcasting radio on podcasts': Edutainment podcasting pedagogy for radio students during Covid-19

Kylie Sturgess
Murdoch University
Email: k.sturgess@murdoch.edu.au

In 2020, a supplemental educational online podcast series was provided to students of the Murdoch University subject RAD105, "Introduction to Radio". This series was a part of a PhD thesis investigation on levels of engagement and usefulness of the podcasts in teaching unit concepts and key skills. The survey showed that students were largely positive about the inclusion of entertaining and educational narrative podcasts. Overall, the creation of the Sturgess Framework of Sound Audio Codes and Elements of Edutainment Podcasts posits a new guide for future educational podcasts.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Is it time to rethink "STEM"? Student beliefs about a case for improving upon under-representation of female and low-income students

Svenja von Dietze
Murdoch University
Email: svenjavondietze@gmail.com

The relationship between stereotypes and under-representation of women in STEM post-compulsory education is prevalent in education research. A similar relationship exists between stereotypes and enrolment patterns of students from low-income households. Studies of post-compulsory education aspirations and student decision making tend to treat STEM as a single discipline. However, aggregating fields of study (such as physics or history) into STEM and non-STEM domains obscures the differences between fields in each domain. Field-specific research could reveal new explanations and solutions for enduring patterns of representation into and beyond the digital futureverse. Individuals hold different beliefs about who possesses natural intellectual ability and its role in success, and these beliefs are influential in study and career choices. The field-specific ability beliefs hypothesis states that the more a field is believed to require natural intellectual ability, the fewer women participate in that field. This research applies the hypothesis to a novel context, surveying the beliefs of secondary students in England, and investigating whether these beliefs correlate to patterns of subject enrolment of both female and low-income students. The findings of this study will contribute to the understanding of the relationship between ability beliefs and subject choices and the body of knowledge influencing interventions, curriculum changes and career guidance for students.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Key predictive factors in the mental health of Chinese university students at home and abroad

Jian Zhao, Elaine Chapman and Stephen Houghton
The University of Western Australia
Email: jian.zhao@uwa.edu.au

The occurrence of mental health issues among university students has seen a worrying surge in recent years. This rise has been influenced by several negative life events, ranging from personal matters like relationship troubles to more global events such as the Covid-19 pandemic. However, some individuals manage to weather these storms more effectively than others. Recognising the factors that bolster these individuals' mental health and the coping strategies they employ could have valuable implications, particularly when dealing with significant adversities like Covid-19.

This research explored the connection between the Covid-19 pandemic's impact on the mental health of 828 Chinese university students, their internal strengths, personality traits, and demographic backgrounds. We also investigated whether the coping strategies students adopted mediated these relationships. Stepwise multiple regression analyses (MRAs) and path analysis showed that students living in their home country, possessing greater internal strengths, lower neuroticism, and higher agreeableness experienced fewer negative mental health changes during Covid-19 in the latter half of 2020. Both self-regulation and withdrawal were crucial coping strategies for mediating these relationships. These insights carry significant implications for universities aiming to identify and support students in navigating negative life events such as Covid-19.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

Voices to be heard: Children's landscapes of second language learning in early childhood classrooms

Yue Zhao
Edith Cowan University
Email: yzhao12@our.ecu.edu.au

As valued and agentive co-constructors of knowledge, young children are entitled to share views and feelings about their learning in schools yet their voices are often unheard. Drawn on focus group data from a doctoral project in Pre-primary to Year 2 teaching contexts, this presentation discusses young Chinese as a second language learners' perceptions of the language, their motivations and needs to learn, what understanding Chinese means to them, as well as how they prefer the language and literacy experiences to take place. It aims to address the importance of incorporating learners' voices in a child-friendly and culture-friendly environment for educators to reimagine and facilitate landscapes of learning.

[Scheduling for this presentation]

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