Abstracts of school grants 2014

Research Grants - 2014 Archive

Page archived at: Thui, 10 December 2015

New grants


The Arts Unit evaluation and research
M. Anderson, R. Ewing & J. Fleming

There is unequivocal evidence that involvement in quality arts programs beneficially impacts on students' engagement with learning and subsequent improved academic and affective outcomes. The recent emergence of this evidence presents the DEC with an opportunity in line with its goal 'Evidence-Seeking Knowledge Generation' to understand, using some data collection and analysis strategies yielded from recent research to improve its evaluation processes in the arts. The project will support the DEC to gather and analyze and report data on arts programs in a richer and more nuanced way, reflecting more deeply on how The Arts Unit delivers on the priorities in NSW schools. Furthermore this research will support the DEC to make its validation, evaluation and research strategies and systems consistent within and across programs allowing for richer, deeper comparative approaches. This research and evaluation process will allow the unit to understand and report on its practice relating directly to specific DEC policies such as 'Local, Schools, Local Decisions' and 'Great Teaching, Inspired Learning'. In addition, this program can assist the DEC to shape future areas for priority development.



Being Australian: A study of Korean Australians social, economic & political participation in Australian society
R. Phillips

In the current political climate of a growth in Islamaphobia and broader discussions about racism and freedom of speech, migrant communities have been targeted with imperatives to ‘be Australian’. This study, and the planned further research,explores what facilitates and what inhibits migrants from a sense of ‘being Australian’.



Collaboration agreement with UQ: Inspiring mathematics and science in teacher education
M. Goos (UQ), J. Grotowski (UQ), S. Belward (JCU) & J. Anderson

The project aims to foster genuine and sustained collaboration between mathematics, science and education scholars so as to institutionalise new ways to integrate their collective content and pedagogical expertise in order to improve teacher recruitment, preparation and continuing professional learning after graduation.



Continued research on the Bilingual Schools Program in NSW primary schools
L. Harbon & R. Fielding

This research program focuses on an educational innovation, the implementation of bilingual programs in four NSW primary schools since 2010, and the practice of the professionals involved in delivering these programs. The bilingual teachers manage many demands, ranging from classroom bilingual teaching (and its inherent planning, designing, implementing, assessing and evaluating), to advocacy within the context of schooling structures, curriculum policy and the community. The researchers seek to understand the bilingual program innovation through examining more closely the classroom discourse in the existing video footage taken in Phase 1 of our research during 2011/12 in the four school communities.



Identifying pedagogical factors enabling success in elite level team sport for Indigenous Australian
J. Evans & R. Light

Despite significant social disadvantage and alarming underachievement in educational outcomes, Indigenous Australians achieve remarkable success across a range of high profile sports. Indigenous Australians' achievement in sport is often explained as a result of inherited racial characteristics but, when seen as the result of a process of learning, it demands inquiry into how this learning occurs and what socio-cultural factors facilitate this. This project will identify the socio-cultural and pedagogical factors that encourage and enhance achieving excellence at the highest levels of sport as a process of learning.



Improving dyslexic children's reading abilities: The role of action video games and hypermedia texts
P. Trevisan

The main aim of this project is to identify practices for improving dyslexic children’s reading abilities, starting from some recent groundbreaking discoveries in the field. The project involves both English and Italian speaking kids, and analyses the impact of cross-linguistic factors on their reading experiences. The ultimate goal of the project is to lay the foundations for the creation of a Digital Multimodal Adaptive Training System for supporting reading improvement and literacy in dyslexic students.



Teaching healthy eating to primary school students - A review of evidence and best practice
D. Dudley, W. Cotton & L. Peralta


According to the New South Wales Healthy Eating and Active Living Strategy (2013), 22.8% of children (24% of boys and 21.5% of girls) were overweight or obese in 2010. Projections suggest that, should no action be taken to address the issue, these figures will rise. The main objective of this review was to determine the evidence-based teaching strategies associated with improving dietary behaviours in primary school children, review existing resources available to primary school teachers, and make recommendations for future primary school and teaching driven interventions.



Test-takers calibration and strategy use in IELTS listening tasks
A. Phakiti

The project aims to investigate test-takers’ calibration and its relationship to reported strategy use in an IELTS listening test. Test-taker calibration denotes a perfect relationship between confidence in performance success and actual performance outcome. Calibration indicates an individual’s monitoring accuracy. The project hence aims to gather the cognitive validity evidence of IELTS listening test tasks. To date, language testing researchers and test developers do not have a sufficient empirical understanding about test-takers’ metacognitive judgments about their current test performance and factors affecting their judgment accuracy. Participants will be asked to take an IELTS listening test, rate confidence levels in their answer correctness, and report on their cognitive processes. The retrospective interview aims to examine key reasons for their confidence generation and calibration or miscalibration in the test. The outcomes of the study will inform the IELTS organisation regarding empirical evidence of test-takers’ performance variation and differences across proficiency levels.


Ongoing grants


Academic buoyancy and academic resilience: new approaches to examining and understanding adversity and setback in the academic domain (FT0991314)
A. Martin

Although Federal & State/Territory governments inject millions of dollars into schools, multitudes of students fall short of their academic potential due to an inability to deal with academic adversity. Essentially, these students are not academically buoyant or resilient. This diminishes their personal capacity through life & ultimately Australia's capacity to compete globally. The proposed Research Program conducts a comprehensive analysis of academic buoyancy & resilience & the attributes pivotal to them. In so doing, it seeks to promote & maintain young people's good academic health. According to Australian authorities (eg. Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs), young people's academic health is vital to our nation's economic, cultural, & social success.



Anticipation and decision-making skill: From testing to training
D. O'Connor, P. Goodyear, M. J. Jacobson & J. Causer

This project examines how experts anticipate and make decisions in dynamic, time constrained environments. The project will identify factors that contribute to the development of expertise and develop simulation-based training programs to facilitate the more rapid acquisition of the skills underpinning anticipation and decision making.



A comparative study of international mindedness in the IB Diploma Programmes in Australia, China and India
A. Sriprakash & M. Singh

This project will critically examine ‘international mindedness’ as a conceptual and pedagogic approach to education in Australia, China and India. It will investigate how ‘international mindedness’ takes shape in the IB’s Diploma Programme (DP) in relation to differing national education policies and local socio-cultural contexts. In doing so, it will generate intercultural, empirically-grounded, and theoretically-informed knowledge to better understand how international mindedness (IM) is manifested in IB Diploma Programmes.



Educational leadership and turnaround literacy pedagogy
D. Hayes, R. Hattam & B. Comber

This project will provide new ways of thinking about school reform for improving literacy achievement in high poverty contexts. The project will examine the ways in which new forms of educational leadership are developing in South Australian public schools and their effects on school culture, pedagogy and student literacy learning.



Empowering teachers of middle years mathematics: Becoming self-directed learners
J. M. Bobis, J. A. Way & J. A. Anderson

This project will provide innovative strategies to enhance mathematics teaching and learning of middle years students. It will develop a robust teacher learning development model that can be used by our industry partner and practitioners in the wider educational community to contribute to the development of teachers becoming self directed learners.



Exploring the effects of boarding school on academic and non-academic outcomes: A longitudinal study of boarding and day students
A. Martin, P. Ginns & T. Hawkes

There is little large scale Australian and international research assessing the effects of boarding school on academic and non academic outcomes. In partnership with the Australian Boarding Schools Association and schools overseas, this Project examines the effects of boarding school over and above other factors that might explain student outcomes. Through concurrent assessment of day students in the same schools, the study informs academic and non academic development for all students. Findings will assist policy, pedagogy, and pastoral care directed at enhancing academic and non academic pathways and centrally position Australia as a leading nation in
boarding school research and potentially, youth based residential care more generally.



Global arenas of knowledge: Centre/periphery relations and change in knowledge production on a world scale
R. Connell, F. Collyer, J. M. Maia, R. Morrell

Organized knowledge has become a valuable commodity produced and exchanged on a global scale. The system of knowledge is socially structured, with some countries leading the process and obtaining greater economic and social benefit. This project examines in fine detail the formation of new bodies of knowledge and the socio-cultural factors shaping the inequalities of the system. It will draw on interviews, linked ethnographic fieldwork and quantitative publication data from both core and peripheral countries. The study will contribute to higher education policy, and lead the international research effort in this emerging field.




Images, perceptions and resources: Enhancing Australia's role in China's English language education
H. Shen, R. Ewing, M. Kettle & A. Luke

Education, being the third largest export industry, plays an extremely important role in Australia's engagement with the Asia region. Chinese students are by far the largest single group of overseas students studying in Australia. However, there is little evidence regarding Australia's presence in the English language market in China, nor of how Chinese language learning businesses draw on Australian sources and resources. The association with two premier Chinese language learning and publishing houses through this joint research project will promote Australian content for language learners in China and provide information for Australian language resource developers focusing on the Chinese market.



Learning, technology and design: The architecture of productive learning environments
P. Goodyear

Human beings learn a great deal from each other: through direct contact, through what they write and through other traces left by their action. In a networked world, learning from others is often mediated by digital technology. It is situated in learning networks. This project aims to: explain successful learning networks, improve our ability to analyse the complex mix of people, tools and tasks involved in networked learning, and equip teachers and educational designers to meet the challenges and opportunities of learning in a networked world. The project will make it possible to connect the best new evidence from research in the learning sciences with the design decisions and learning outcomes of everyone involved in networked learning.



Learning the complexity of scientific knowledge about climate change with computer modelling and visualization technologies
M. J. Jacobson, H. Cherry, R. O'Reilly & L. Markauskaite

This project provides benefits to the national priorities of a environmentally sustainable Australia; and frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries. The project helps students in Australia more deeply understand the sciences that underlie environmental sustainability. Learning with modelling and visualization technologies will help students learn important scientific knowledge and prepare them for the use of frontier technologies that are becoming infused into the practices of scientists and professionals in many fields. This project also directly contributes to the national Digital Education Revolution initiative.



The making of market society on a world scale: Social experience and social theory from the global south
R. Connell

How does our social world change, when markets become dominant? This project explores the problem on a global scale-beyond Eurocentrism. Placing Australia in a broad world context, using both web-based and close-focus research methods on four continents, this project will pioneer a new approach to understanding modern society.



Maximising real education achievement - The REACH Project: integrating motivation and self-concept to optimise students academic outcomes at school
H. Marsh, A. Martin & D. McInerney

The OECD reports that academic motivation and self-concept underlie young people's educational success, affect their long-term health and wellbeing, and also impact on economic outcomes at a national level. Through enhancing students' academic motivation and self-concept, the Real Educational ACHievement (REACH) Project will develop and sustain achievement that encompasses not only academic grades but also enhanced engagement, satisfaction in learning, attendance, participation, and aspirations. REACH will guide and support young Australians to achieve to their potential and through this Australian society as a whole will gain substantial educational, economic, labour market, health, and social benefits.



Maximising the potential of Australia's language resources: exploring and developing languages across sectors, schools and communities
K. E. Cruickshank, H. Chen, S. Kerkyasharian, L. Morgan, S. O'Grady, K. Olah, J. Wright & L. T. Tsung

Australia is resource-rich in languages; this project will explore strategies to co-ordinate and develop these resources across schools and communities. It is the first with an in-depth focus on key urban and regional sites, identifying how resources can be matched with more effective provisions especially in the area of key Asian languages.



The millennium child: new frontiers in understanding the adaptability of children and young people
A. Martin

Australian children and young people experience changes and challenges at micro (e.g. educational, psychological, social) and macro (e.g. climate change, globalisation) levels. Successfully resolving these relies to a large degree on their ability to adapt. At a broader level, for Australia to compete and innovate on a global scale and to most profitably fulfill its educational, social, economic, and cultural potential, it is essential that it nurtures children and young people who can adapt to and for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century. The Millennium Child Project scopes and progresses the concept of adaptability and answers important and complex questions relevant to a nation's capacity to adapt and thrive.



Multi-user virtual environments and research into the learning and transfer of scientific knowledge and inquiry skills
M. J. Jacobson, D. Richards, M. Kapur & C. Taylor

The aim of this project is to understand how innovative multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) can be designed and used in Australian schools to enhance the learning of important scientific knowledge and inquiry skills. Working closely with teachers in secondary science classes, researchers will investigate ways in which the features of intelligent agents in educational MUVEs enable innovative pedagogical approaches that have the potential to enhance learning in secondary science classes. In addition, this project will develop science inquiry-based curriculum modules employing MUVEs that run on computers being distributed as part of the national Digital Education Revolution initiative.



National educational goals, schools and building democratic citizens for the future
M. Print

Australia needs the next generation to understand, practice and support our democracy. Schools are expected to fulfill this role but evidence suggests students do not learn to become active and responsible citizens. This research investigates why this is the case and what can be done to resolve the problem.



Nutritional supplements and weight gain behaviours in male adolescents from 2000-2010: Implications for anti-doping interventions and school education
J. A. O'Dea

This project is based on a replication and 10-year cross sectional follow up of a previous study conducted by the Professor Jennifer O'Dea in 2000 which examined the prevalence of, and motivations for, the use of weight gain behaviours, including drugs, steroids and nutritional supplements, among adolescent boys aged 13 to 18 years. Quantitative questionnaires and in-depth interviews and focus groups will be used to examine the prevalence and motivations for use of weight gain behaviours, including drugs, steroids and nutritional supplements, among a wide sample of young males from a range of cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic status groups.

By using matched methodologies and a similar sample, the proposed 10 year replication will allow the examination of long-term change in attitudes and behaviours regarding supplements and other substances used for weight gain and performance enhancement in young males. The study will utilise a mixed methods approach to determine the knowledge, beliefs and attitudes as well as the prevalence of weight gain behaviours, the motivations for using them, and the attitudes towards illegal doping in young male school students. These results will be utilised to inform anti-doping interventions and education programs involving school students, teachers, trainee teachers and sports coaches.




Peopling educational policy: Realising the new Australian English and Mathematics curricula
P. Freebody, P. Sullivan, J. Albright, D. Clarke, L. Farrell & D. Clarke

Implementation of Australian curricula in English and mathematics provides an opportunity for school systems to re-examine practice. This project will identify resources ad teacher learning opportunities needed to facilitate implementation of these curricula and use findings to develop interventions identified as likely to optimise implementation.



School retention through alternative schooling: Towards a socially just approach to education
D. Hayes, M. Mills, G. McGregor & K. Te Riele

In Australia, as elsewhere, there are clear social justice concerns relating to the provision of education services to the most marginalised within the community. There have been a number of insightful critiques of education systems’ failure to disrupt unjust practices in schools. However, attempts to envisage alternatives have remained on the margins of both educational provision and research.

This project will serve to fill this gap in research literature. We aim to investigate how mainstream schools can become more socially just and inclusive of all young people, by analysing alternative schools specifically designed for this purpose.

The project is informed by, although not restricted to, Nancy Fraser’s (1997; 2009) framework of social justice in terms of distribution, recognition and representation.

The important focus of this study is learning from the social justice practices and cultures evident in some alternative schools. This will help create an improved educational experience and school retention of marginalised young people.