Details of Thesis

TitleRhetoric or Reality: An exploratory study of the culture of Queensland Lutheran Schools.
Author Marks, Ian Wilbur
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2000
Abstract Lutheran schools have a long heritage in Australia of offering Christian education within the theology of the Lutheran church. Early Queensland Lutheran schools developed as schools for children of Lutherans, while schools opened in the last twenty five years have been developed to offer Lutheran education to the wider community. Lutheran church and school literature suggest that Lutheran schools are characterised by a distinctive culture which pervades the school. This thesis presents research which explored the culture of Queensland Lutheran schools, comparing the research results with the rhetoric of the Lutheran church and schools. The literature review explains the rationale for this study adopting an ideational conception of culture, and hence, a conceptual framework of different kinds of cultural knowledge: axiomatic knowledge, dictionary knowledge, directory knowledge, and recipe knowledge (Sackmann, 1991, 1992). Further, literature and research related to the independent variables within the study were reviewed, providing the basis for discussion of results from the research. The post-positivist orientation adopted for the research recognised basic assumptions about knowledge and reality within the study. Research principles derived from the theory of symbolic interactionism complemented the post-positivist orientation in the identification of important dimensions reflecting different kinds of cultural knowledge. These cultural dimensions were derived from data collected from key informants in Queensland Lutheran schools. Six culture dimensions and associated characteristics identified in the research: Caring, Christ-centred Community, Quality Christian Education, Worship as Celebration, Worship as Life in Vocation, Christian Relationships and Interactions, and Christian Leadership and Management formed the basis for the development and validation of a context-specific instrument to assess these dimensions of culture. The use of this instrument with teachers, senior staff, school council members, and parents and friends executive members in Queensland Lutheran schools revealed general consensus with the dimensions of culture identified in the first stage of the research. Generally, perceptions of culture within primary schools were more positive than those in secondary schools. The study also revealed that as a school increases in size, perceptions of culture tend to become less positive. An increase in the proportion of Lutheran teachers and students within a school resulted in more positive perceptions of culture. Perceptions of culture were most positive amongst senior staff and school council members, and least positive in parents. Finally, the study revealed that the current theological professional development in Queensland Lutheran schools has no noticeable effect on perceptions of school culture. Differences of perceptions of culture were mainly apparent in three culture dimensions: Caring, Christ-centred Community, Worship as Celebration, and Worship as Life in Vocation. It is argued that the different structure and operation of primary and secondary school account for much of the variation reported.
Thesis 01front.pdf 73 Kb
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