AbstractThis thesis endeavours to consider classroom practice that constructively addresses the conflicting notions of 'good' to which primary school students are exposed. By aspiring to promote personal responsibility for learning via the enhancement of moral development and higher order thinking, I am attempting to enable the students to better understand the curricula requirements of the educational system within the context of their own family and their community's beliefs and expectations. As this necessarily involves a multiplicity of interpretations, it is my belief that assessment, analysis, evaluation and decision-making must be promoted whenever possible so that students are able to practise making individual choices and behaving with some measure of autonomy. This will enable a more intricate understanding of what is 'good', and what is not, in a wider variety of situations.
The discussions presented, and the accompanying video recordings, provide evidence of the varying understandings of teachers and students as they work within the changing requirements of the educational community and the wider society. Some teachers and some students worked more confidently than others, with an understanding of morality that regulated their behaviour towards each other in fixed ways, unquestioning certain agreed classroom norms as being universally approved, and ascribing their understandings as being the shared society's morality. Their confidence could be ascribed to as deriving from "the authority of consensus" (Hayden 1999 p 135) which, when particularised innovations are demeaned as invalid acts beyond the recognition of established practice, has an accompanying danger of involuting the intergenerational conceptions of 'good'.
The effectiveness of primary school educators as we practise our profession in a constantly evolving community lies in rationalising student autonomy in an era of access to information that necessitates the promotion of self-responsibility and self-direction. Students must be equipped to assume roles of management in order to be able to adjudicate democratically the valuing and organization of the data now readily available from far beyond the classroom walls.
|Date of Award||2004|
|Supervisor||Lorraine Connell (Supervisor)|