Details of Thesis

Title Queensland’s Education and Training Reform: Perspectives from teachers and administrators in one secondary school
Author Burton-Ree, Robyn Maree
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2010
Abstract This research explored the implementation of Queensland’s Education and Training Reform from the perspective of teachers and administrators in one rural Secondary School. Within the context of educational reform and vocational education, the specific aims were to explore how teachers and administrators responded to a changing educational environment, and catered for a broader range of students in Senior Schooling. Four research questions were generated from a review of the literature. These were: (1) What leadership is in practice in the implementation of the ETRF? (2) What are the perspectives of the teachers and school leaders with regards to how the ETRF was implemented in the school? (3) How do teachers change as a consequence of the Education and Training Reform? (4) How does the Education and Training Reform influence teacher pedagogy? The overarching question that guided this study was: “How do administrators and teachers respond to and implement current educational reforms?” Case study methodology was utilised as it allowed for detailed exploration of lived experiences of the participants in relation to their educational context. Fifty-eight teaching staff (full time and part time) were invited to participate in the study. Twenty four of these staff responded to a survey. Seven staff were selected for in-depth interviews. This group consisted of the principal, two heads of departments and four teachers. The teachers and heads of department represented ‘vocational education’ and ‘academic education’. These participants were interviewed in a semi-structured format at the beginning of the year and an informal format at the end of the year. In addition, at the conclusion of the study, four staff participated in a focus group interview. The study concluded that the successful implementation of new reforms is complex, long term and must be inclusive of all participants. Some teachers resist change and engaging in professional development activities and some teachers are unable to cope with rapid change. For these teachers, there is a need for greater support from the principal, heads of department and fellow teachers, as the increased student diversity resulting from the reform resulted in many teachers implementing coping strategies in the classroom. Thus the ongoing provisions of resources and sustained collaboration between all parties (including the employing authority) are essential in promoting the policies and implementation of reform.
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