Week 2

What are the educational issues facing Australian (or in any part of the world in which you have a professional interest) schools?

Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown1 write,

Our understanding comes not through a linear progression, in which each step confirms that you are on the right path. Rather, it arises through approaching the problem from many angles and ultimately seeing its logic only at the end. (p. 98)

In other words if learning about annotated bibliographies, how to research issues in Australian education was a matter of painting by numbers then machines could do it and should teach it.

The course is designed to help you work on what we might call your intellectual habits that you make use of in postgraduate work: locating material, deciding if the material is in your frame of interest, reading it, making notes about it and then doing the writing associated with each assignment task. In one sense you need to know how to do all of these things before you begin which is just silly. So we need to take an iterative approach, that is to be conscious about what we are doing, to make notes about our habits so we can think about how they might be improved and also so we can share them with others.

Probably the best way to begin is to get a large piece of paper and do some mind mapping or brain storming or doodling or whatever you want to call it.


For those eager to get into some reading, there are four readings, all are on the L@G site:

Burbules, N. C., & Torres, C. A. (2000). Globalization and Education: An introduction. In N. C. Burbules & C. A. Torres (Eds.), Globalization and Education: Critical Perspectives (pp. 1-25). New York; London: Routledge.

Edwards, R., & Usher, R. (2008). Globalisation, pedagogy and curriculum (2nd ed.). London: Routledge. (Ch 3, pp. 53-77)

Miretzky, D. (2007). A View of Research From Practice: Voices of Teachers. Theory Into Practice, 46(4), 272-280. doi: 10.1080/00405840701593857

Mirochnik, E. (2002). Celebration. The possibilities of passion. In E. Mirochnik & D. C. Sherman (Eds.), Passion and Pedagogy: relation, creation and transformation in teaching (pp. 7-36). New York: Peter Lang.

There is a short video clip that gestures to emerging patterns of social research that have been largely ignored in education circles. See it as an update/complement to the texts. The clip is also embedded in a blog post that will have you asking what has this got to do with understanding educational research. It's a different and new mode of doing educational research. Something to keep an eye on.

The readings prompt the question, "how do you read?" We tend to take for granted that everyone can read and we read more or less the same way. That, as I hope you soon realise, just ain't so!

This week we have two broad directions: one to engage with the readings which provide a broad context for your thinking about your issue and the relationship between educational research and the practices of formal education; two to work on your reading and note taking when you encounter a paper.

Before you get stuck into the readings have a look at these notes on speedy note taking by the Thesis Whisperer which are also linked on the notebooks page.

There is no right way to make notes but it is always useful to see how others do it and what tricks they employ for working through a paper.

This week you will be reading two sets of papers, the ones that are scheduled for this week and those you have begun to look at that you think are related to the issue you may pursue for this course.

You don't have a choice about the first set but for the second set, this is where the papers and texts for your annotated bibliography will come. So you will need to make an assessment about whether or not to include the paper in your collection.

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