A historical analysis of the construction of education as an area of study at university-level in Western Australia

Diane Gardiner

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] This thesis develops an understanding of how, historically, Education as an area of study (Education) has been constructed at each of the five universities in the State of Western Australia. The motivation for the study was the claim made by some academics that historically Education has been marginalised in certain universities in the UK, the USA and Australia, and that this marginalisation was intensified by a negative attitude towards its association with teacher preparation. Very little evidence, however, has been put forward to support this claim, thus highlighting a major neglected area of research. This thesis is a response to such neglect in relation to the situation in one state in Australia. The focus of the thesis is on the 'preactive curriculum' as represented in the plans and syllabi that outline what was included in programs and courses. An 'internal' analysis of relevant documents was conducted along with an 'external' analysis which considered the broader social, economic and political context. It was recognised that a study of the 'interactive curriculum' also needs to be conducted to gain insights into how the 'preactive curriculum' was mediated by lecturers and students. From the outset, however, it was deemed that this would constitute a further major study in itself. ... The most prominent were the 'academic', 'integrated', 'vocational', 'technical', 'pragmatic' and 'professional' orientations. The content of Education at the five universities also varied. Such variation offered breadth of opportunity for students. It also meant that, collectively, the universities served the needs of the State and their students by providing relevant and flexible curricula beyond what would have been possible in a 'one size fits all' model. Furthermore the claim that there was tension regarding the inclusion of 'Education' as an area of study within Australian universities generally, is not upheld for the Western Australian context.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2008


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