In This Issue by accinent


This edition of Research eLert explores teaching and learning themes in current research and theory. The
key paper, titled Research on Learning: Implications for Teaching, is drawn from two major reports
commissioned by the Office of Learning and Teaching. It aims to support teachers and those working in
administration and policy across the system to learn more about current directions in pedagogy.

The teaching and learning strategies in the Blueprint for Government Schools (2003) are consistent with the
themes in this paper. For the first time in Victoria and arguably elsewhere in Australia, curriculum content,
whole-school curriculum planning, pedagogy, and assessment and reporting have been aligned in the one
reform package. We have a strengthened focus on improving student outcomes and this requires a new
level of coherence and integration in the support for teachers and schools. The changes are premised on
the assumptions that all students can learn – failure is not an option – and that all students should succeed
in acquiring the knowledge, skills and behaviours for life and work in the global knowledge economy.

Thank you for your warm support and feedback following the distribution of the first edition in February this
year. We are keen to receive your ideas and contributions and encourage you to continue to provide
feedback electronically via the edumail system at:

Dr Dahle Suggett
Deputy Secretary
Office of Learning and Teaching
Department of Education and Training

In This Issue                                                                          Page

Feature Article: Research on Learning: Implications for Teaching
Research on Learning and Teaching

Related Research:
Early Childhood

Schools                                                                                  3

VET & ACE                                                                                4

The ‘KB’ Connection                                                                      5

Upcoming Events                                                                          6

Contributions and Feedback                                                               6

Reflections & Action and Next Edition                                                    7

                         Issue no. 2 April 2005                                                            1
Feature article

Research on Learning: Implications for Teaching – edited and abridged
This paper comprises a range of edited and abridged extracts from a larger report commissioned by the Office of
Learning and Teaching. In the previous paper Research on Human Learning, key theories of human learning were
discussed together with factors that affect learning. This current paper explores the implications that these learning
theories have for pedagogy.

Department of Education & Training, (April 2005) Research on Learning: Implications for Teaching, edited and
abridged extracts

Related Research

Early Childhood
The Politics of Logic in Early Childhood Research: A Case of the Brain,
Hard Facts, Trees and Rhizomes
In recent years, remarkable advances have occurred in the field of the neuro-sciences, thereby increasing our
understanding of the implications for teaching and learning. In this article Associate Professor MacNaughton details
personal early learning experiences to explore two different approaches to ‘brain research’, based on linear and
lateral logic respectively, and their impact upon early childhood education. She encourages practitioners to adopt an
analytical approach to research and educational programs and strategies influenced by ‘brain research’ and to query
how they address changeability, diversity and complexity in human learning at different stages.

Glenda MacNaughton is an Associate Professor in the Department of Learning and Educational Development, in the
Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne. Her research publications cover social justice and equity issues
in early childhood, curriculum development and innovation in early childhood and young children’s understanding of
equity and social diversity.

Glenda MacNaughton, 2004, “The Politics of Logic in Early Childhood Research: A Case of the Brain, Hard Facts,
Trees and Rhizomes”, Australian Educational Researcher, 31:3, 87-104.

The Tooth Fairy Comes, or is it Just Your Mum and Dad?: A Child‟s
Construction of Knowledge
No matter what our age, we search for ways to make sense of the world. As adults, we can draw on a lifetime of
experience. But how do the very young make sense of this hurly–burly world and create their own schemas of

In this article, the authors, drawing on socio-cultural theory and their many years of teaching and research
experience, maintain that children are capable and competent learners whose social interactions impact upon their
cognitive development and whose prior knowledge and experience contribute positively to their construction of
knowledge. This case study explores a kindergarten child’s search for meaning, knowledge and understanding within
an early childhood learning environment. This is an article that should appeal to the early childhood practitioner as
well as any adult interested in finding out how children learn.

Helen Hedges is a Senior Lecturer in Science Education in the Faculty of Education at University of Auckland and
Joy Cullen is Professor of Early Years Education at Massey University, New Zealand.

Helen Hedges and Joy Cullen, 2003, “The Tooth Fairy Comes, or is it Just Your Mum and Dad?: A Child‟s
Construction of Knowledge”, Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 28:3, 19-24.

                       Issue No. 2 April 2005                                                              2
Hard copy available on request from Research Unit,

Schools (primary and secondary)
Students‟ Perceptions of Teaching and Learning: The Influence of
Students‟ Approaches to Learning and Teachers‟ Approaches to Teaching
Imagine asking students about how they might like to learn and under what conditions! While this approach may well
send shivers up the spine of believers in traditional notions of teaching roles and practice, going straight to the source
is precisely what researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) did. This QUT report details a study
undertaken with selected Queensland secondary school students on their approaches to learning and perceptions of
the classroom environment.

The report concludes that students with ‘deep approaches’ to learning enjoy richer learning experiences and have a
more sophisticated understanding of the link between theory and practice than students with ’surface approaches’.
Research results also indicate that teaching strategies used to create a supportive environment and engage both
groups of students can have a positive impact on their perceptions and learning experiences, promoting self-
confidence and cooperative learning.

Jennifer Campbell, David Smith, Gillian Boulton-Lewis, Jo Brownlee, Paul C. Burnett, Suzanne Carringotn and Nola
Purdie, 2001, “Students‟ Perceptions of Teaching and Learning: The Influence of Students‟ Approaches to Learning
and Teachers‟ Approaches to Teaching”, Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 7:2, 173-187.
Hard copy available on request from Research Unit,

See also: Yoram Harpaz, (2002). "Teaching and learning in a community of thinking."

Ways of Orienting Secondary Schools to Becoming Learning Communities
The concept of the learning community is certainly a hot topic at present. Like many undertakings of this kind, we
need ‘roadmaps’ that can help guide us through the process of implementation. This paper details one such approach
and proposes that student learning engagement and the cultivation of lifelong learning characteristics are best
achieved in schools that identify as learning communities oriented to lifelong learning. Reassuringly, Bryce
emphasizes that the development of a learning community is gradual process, built on elements already established
in a school.

Jennifer Bryce is currently a Research Fellow at the Australian Council for Educational Research. She managed the
ACER core research project, ‘Improving the Foundations of Lifelong Learning’, focusing on learning in secondary
schools. Selected secondary schools in South Australia and Victoria participated in the project.

Jennifer Bryce, 2002, Ways of Orienting Secondary Schools to Becoming Learning Communities. Paper presented at
the Lifelong Learning Conference 2002, Central Queensland University

Two major reports associated with this work can be found on ACER website at:

See also: David Hargreaves, 2003, “Education epidemic: Transforming secondary schools through innovation

Knowledge Alive
David Perkins proposes that time spent on teaching ‘Knowledge Arts’ assists students to manage knowledge (facts,
ideas and skills) more effectively. He defines Knowledge Arts as a set of diverse skills that include critical and

                        Issue No. 2 April 2005                                                                3
creative thinking; strategic, insightful and effective communication; and confident application of ideas in the ‘real

Teaching and learning Knowledge Arts brings knowledge to life, creating a culture of learning that promotes deep
understanding. Perkins introduces the idea of a ‘Second Curriculum’ to infiltrate the first, with its emphasis on content
and disparate skills, and designed to equip students with knowledge-handling skills that foster integrated and
independent learning.

David Perkins, 2004, “Knowledge Alive”, Educational Leadership, 62:1, 14-19
Hard copy available on request from Research Unit,

Reach Them to Teach Them
Authors Carol Tomlinson and Kristina Doubet present a lively account of the attempts of four US high school teachers
to transform their students’ learning experiences.

While acknowledging the difficulties attendant upon such transformational work, the four teachers refuse to reduce
the curriculum to ‘coverage’ and their students to ‘test takers’. The article takes us into the respective classrooms to
observe interactions between teachers and learners. All four teachers endeavor to create dynamic communities of
learning where students find relevance, challenge, affection and respect – in a word, engagement.

Carol Tomlinson and Kristina Doubet, 2005, “Reach them to Teach Them”, Educational Leadership, 62:7, 8-15

About Learning: Report of the Learning Working Group
It’s important that we keep in touch with the latest thinking and initiatives from overseas. The Learning Working Group
of Demos, a UK independent think tank promoting the exchange of new ideas and their social applications, recently
published this report on collaboration in education and urged the Department for Education and Skills (UK) to
establish a ‘Commission on Learning’.

The report recommends greater collaboration, especially partnerships, between school practitioners and education
researchers/scientists to develop improved, evidence-based pedagogical approaches. Independent learning is
identified as the key to excellence in learning.

David Hargreaves (ed), 2005, About Learning: Report of the Learning Working Group, London: Demos

Integrating ICT in the Classroom: a case study of two contrasting lessons
Terry Goodison, National ICT Research Centre, UK, analyses interaction and progress filmed in two contrasting
primary school lessons where interactive whiteboards were used to support students’ learning, with much greater
success in one case than the other. He concludes that a teacher’s grasp of pedagogical principles for understanding
and the application of these principles in lesson design determine the effective classroom use of ICT for improved
learning outcomes.

Terry Goodison, (2003) Integrating ICT in the classroom: a case study of two contrasting lessons, British Journal of
Educational Technology, 34:5, pp549-566
Hard copy available on request from Research Unit,


                        Issue No. 2 April 2005                                                               4
Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age
Have the learning theories behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism had their day? What value do they have in
the digital age? Do we now need a new theory of learning that takes into account the profound technological
developments of recent years? According to the author, the answer to all these questions is a definite yes. In this
paper, Siemens argues that theories such as constructivism belong to a bygone age. He believes we need to
embrace a more contemporary learning theory; one that integrates the principles explored by chaos, network, and
complexity and self-organization theories. He calls this theory ‘connectivism’. This is a thought-provoking paper, one
that challenges us to think about how we position the implications of the information and communication technology
within a theory of learning.

George Siemens, Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, January 2005, International Journal of
Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Vol 2. No 1.

Accommodating Learning Styles: Relevance and Good Practice in
Vocational Education and Training
How does the VET practitioner understand learning style differences between students? To what extent does this
knowledge influence the design and delivery of teaching? And how successfully is the VET sector ‘taking account’ of
preferred learning styles, particularly in light of the impact of ICTs? These are some of the key research questions
investigated in this report. Smith and Dalton conducted their research in five TAFE institutes and one network of
private and public providers. The research results are illuminating, and the executive summary clearly outlines the
key findings and their implications for teachers, students and professional development.

Peter Smith and Jenny Dalton, „Accommodating Learning Styles: Relevance and Good Practice in Vocational
Education and Training‟, NCVER, March 2005.

Australian Vocational Education and Training; Research Messages 2004
What a terrific idea and what a way to save time from all that endless searching on the web! All the National Centre
for Vocational Education Research (NVCER) 2004 research projects summarised in one publication. This is the first
year such a product has been produced by NCVER. The summaries are grouped under five broad themes used by
NCVER to organise all of its VET research and analysis. The five themes are: industry and employers, students and
individuals, teaching and learning, VET system and VET in context. Each summary includes details of how to access
the full report.

In all some fifty-six pieces of work are included and each summary provides details of how to access the full research
reports. NCVER, Australian Vocational Education and Training: Research Messages 2004, March 2005.

The Knowledge Bank Connection
No doubt many of you have heard about the Knowledge Bank – the online resource that supports the sharing of
exemplary and promising practice across the education and training sector. It aims to improve understanding of what
works, where and why it works. To keep you up to date with news from Knowledge Bank, each edition of this e-
newsletter will highlight hot topics, news and selected case studies from the Knowledge Bank website. We are
pleased to report that we have finished conducting our user-group research in each of the regions. We received
invaluable feedback and ideas about how we can make the site work for you. Look out for the changes on the
website        in        the       coming      weeks.        Visit      the         Knowledge        Bank        at

                       Issue No. 2 April 2005                                                              5
Upcoming Events
Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE): Focus Conference: Quality in Educational
Research: Directions in Policy and Practice
4-5 July 2005
Cairns, Queensland

Australian Council for Educational Research Conference (ACER): Using Data to Support Learning
7-9 August 2005
Melbourne, Victoria
Curriculum Corporation 12 National Conference: Curriculum and Assessment: Closing the Gap
2-3 June 2005
Brisbane, Queensland

ICT Education in Victoria (ICTEV) Annual Conference: Actively interactive
21 May 2005
Melbourne, Victoria

The Fourth Biennial Conference of the Middle Years of Schooling Association Inc.
26-28 May 2005
Gold Coast, Queensland

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER): VET Research Conference
5-8 July 2005
Wodonga, Victoria

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER): Research Forum
Promoting and Strengthening Indigenous Vocational Education and Training
3-4 August, 2005
Adelaide, South Australia

The 12th International Conference on Thinking
4-8 July, 2005
Melbourne, Victoria

Watch for
Office of Learning Teaching sponsored conferences on Equity in Schooling in August and Assessment Conference in
October. More details in the next edition.

Contributions and Feedback
Do you have or know of a research paper that you think would be worth considering for inclusion in Research eLert?

Are you currently undertaking education research that you would like to share with our readers?

Is there a particular topic or theme you would like Research eLert to cover?

Do you have information on new publications, upcoming events or interesting websites that would be of interest to
education researchers and practitioners?

                          Issue No. 2 April 2005                                                        6
Would you like to provide feedback – including suggestions to improve Research eLert?

If you answered yes to any of the above – then we’d love to hear from you.

Please forward your information, suggestions or comments to:

Reflections and Action
Below are some questions to assist in reflective practice and to explore future actions.

   Which research papers would be worth tabling for professional reading in my workplace? How will I facilitate

   What are we currently doing that supports current pedagogical research? Do we have strategies in place that
    would be worth sharing via the Research eLert?

   What new knowledge have I gained in the area of pedagogy? How can this learning be used to inform and
    support school/organisational transformation?

   What research information would I like to share with others? How will I do this?

Next edition
The third edition of Research eLert will be available in late Term 2, 2005. It will feature a paper entitled Research@
Work. The growing focus on the importance of evidence-based policy as the most effective way to leverage
innovation and reform means that it is vital that Departmental staff at all levels of the organisation engage with quality
research in a variety of ways. This paper supports the integration of a research-based approach into Departmental

We are keen to include information on how schools and other learning organisations are using research to inform and
guide their practice and would like to include some of this work in the third Research eLert. If you are interested,
please contact the Research and Development Branch at:

                        Issue No. 2 April 2005                                                                7

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