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Honours seminar series continues, Wednesday 15 August, 5-7pm
Honours students in the Faculty are required to present their developing research projects in a seminar. It's a great opportunity for students to join the research community here in the Faculty, to develop presentation skills and to get feedback on their work.
Mapping the rhizome of Australian harm reduction drug education
Education programs form a central tenant of Australian harm reduction drug policy. Considered less judgmental and more effective than the punitive policies of Australia’s past (Munro and Midford 2006), harm reduction drug education is premised on the goal of reducing ‘risks’ and harms associated with illicit drug use rather than an elimination of use per se (Lenton and Single 1998). Using Gilles Deleuze, as well as his collaborations with Felix Guattari, this research analyses the dominant ‘discursive plateaus’ within contemporary Australian harm reduction drug education. Drawing on research used to develop policy, policy documents as well as drug education teaching resources, this research identifies three significant ‘plateaus’ within Australian harm reduction drug education: ‘psychosis’, ‘peer pressure’ and ‘pleasure’. Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts of ‘affect’ and ‘stratification’ this research unpacks the potential for the embodiment of these ‘discursive plateaus’. Further, I will argue that a consistent focus on ‘risks’ such as ‘psychosis’, as well as constructions of the drug using subject as constantly ‘pressured’, are both inaccurate and potentially works against the aim of reducing drug related harms. Finally, I explore the ideologically driven desire for social control as exemplified through drug education limiting young people’s autonomy and disempowering their ability to make informed decisions about drug use.
Negotiating the ‘new home-school mismatch’: Sophisticated uses of technology in school and beyond
The proliferation of digital technologies and new digital media, and the ubiquity of their use is undeniable. This prominent position of technology has been emulated in the education sector with many teachers, school administrators and policy makers recognising the apparent value of technology in the classroom. At the same time, research has found that as technologies develop, so do the social and cultural practices associated with their use. As such, young people's literacy skills are increasingly being shaped by their sustained engagements with digital technologies, media and cultures. Some research has suggested that students' digital literacy practices differ according to context, for example between home and school. According to the 'new home-school mismatch hypothesis', schools are said to ignore the rich, authentic, engaging, fun and creative digital literacy practices that students immerse themselves in when they are at home and in other non-educational settings, and instead provide students with dull, dry, inauthentic, rigidly formal and lifeless digital literacy practices and activities. The question remains whether or not this phenomenon is a simple dichotomy or more complex.
The current study – an ethnographic case study – was conducted in an academically selective government school with both Year 10 students and Year 10 English teachers. Participant observation was used to build up a picture of the formal, in-school technology use and digital literacy practices of students and teachers, and focus groups were used to explore students’ informal and autonomous use of digital technology and associated practices. These data generation methods were supplemented with informal interviews with teachers and artefact analysis. The study ultimately examines the nature of this so called 'new home-school mismatch', investigating to what extent a mismatch exists, and how such a mismatch can be addressed in a way that is educationally advantageous.
Visual art education from the perspectives of families who are involved in kindergarten settings
The aim of my study is to explore families’ perspectives of visual art education and find out if there is a link between families perspectives and teacher practice. During my bachelor of early childhood education I was taught a lot about acknowledging family knowledge and collaborating with families. Whilst on placement I noticed many kindergartens were not providing stimulating visual art activities for the children but were focusing on school readiness and ‘keeping clean’. This made me wonder whether these were priorities for the families or the early childhood educators and why visual art education appeared to be unimportant and hence I began my journey.
The study uses observational data from two kindergartens about the visual art activities the teachers provide; photos were also used to record these activities. The study also aims to interview family members of the children from each kindergarten, using semi-structured interviews to learn their perspectives of visual art education. I would like to think that families appreciate visual art education in kindergarten and see it as more than just an activity but as a way of providing children with a quality educational experience.