Seminar Series 2007

All are welcome, including our HDR students and any other interested parties.

Seminar Ten:  December 6, 1-2.30pm

Participatory research and relevant science education: implications and consequences.  Experiences in a rural community in South Africa.

Moyra Keane, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Research may have a goal beyond knowledge creation. Research that hopes to nurture democracy and promote human rights needs congruency in its goals, interactions and processes. Thus, logic requires that the research processes themselves, from beginning to end, be true to that framework.  With this determination, we embarked on a participatory research project with
a rural community in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.  This presentation explores the complexities of this pre-set agenda.

Moyra Keane is an Academic Advisor in the Faculty of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She has taught science in high schools over many years, worked in teacher development, curriculum materials design, outreach science programmes, and university staff development. Her research interests are in participative research, mindful inquiry, indigenous knowledge, relevant science and youth development programmes. Moyra is committed to exploring the different epistemological and ontological underpinnings implied by participative research especially in the context of an African worldview.

Seminar Nine: November 23, 12.30 – 2pm

Roberta Hammett

Canadian Multiculturalism: Identity, Image and Ideology in Picture Books and Policy.

This lecture will present an overview and preliminary findings from a cross-Canada study that explores aspects of visual literacy and identity in Canadian multicultural picture books with pre-service teachers. Picture books, through the interplay of text and image, offer particularly rich contexts for readers to engage with and to interrogate subjectivity, representation and ideology. In this practitioner enquiry, student teachers were encouraged to consider possibilities of critical literacy in their readings of the picture books, to reflect on the potential of the books for the classroom, and to explore their own understandings of Canadian identity as represented in the texts. This presentation will draw from student responses, excerpts from lesson plans, “voices” of theory, analysis of policy documents, and researcher reflections, centring particularly on students’ understandings of Canada’s multicultural nature and official policy. During the study, pre-service teachers were challenged to question their notions of national identity in relation to their own and “others’” experiences. The on-going study offers student teachers opportunities to reflect on their own lives as Canadians and to ponder the role of culture and identity as mediated by these texts. Preliminary findings of the research highlight the pedagogical, performative and ideological potential of bringing picture books into classrooms.

Roberta F. Hammett is a professor in the Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Canada. She teaches and researches literacies, with a particular emphasis on their intersections with gender, identities, ICT, secondary education, teacher education, media, community, and teacher professional development. She is currently a visiting researcher with the Hawke Research Institute’s Centre for Studies in Literacy, Policy and Learning Cultures at the University of South Australia.
Contact : or

Seminar Eight: November 20, 3pm – 5pm

Anthony Tomei, Director Nuffield Foundation, UK

Student Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics: A Conversation.

Concern has been expressed internationally about the relative decline in interest and participation in post compulsory education in the sciences, particularly in physical science and specialist mathematics.  Anthony is currently spending a sabbatical period on secondment to the UK government Department for Children, Families and Schools (i.e. the Dept of Education).  “I am working on the government’s ‘National STEM programme’ the purpose of which, in a nutshell, is to try and address the decline in interest in STEM subjects on the part of young people. 
While he is in Australia Anthony expressed an interest in exploring the response to these issues in Australia.  He will give an informal presentation on the work in the UK, and Russell Tytler and Gaye Williams will give a brief overview of current developments in science and mathematics education in Australia, including our own research.  The seminar will explore ways forward, both at policy level and at the level of research agendas.

Seminar Seven: September 21, 12.30 - 2.00pm

Associate Professor Julie Matthews (University of the Sunshine Coast, QLD)

How Schools Fail Refugee students

Schools provide refugee young people with safe spaces for new encounters, interactions, and learning opportunities. They also  deliver literacy, the key to educational success, post school options, life choices, social participation and settlement.

Currently Australian schools are poorly funded and ill-equipped to provide effective English as a Second Language teaching and support. A new cohort of refugee students mainly from Africa and the Middle East are struggling. This article discusses the importance of educational interventions that keep in mind both the immediacy of 'what is happening now' and broader postcolonial conditions. It identifies the limits of piecemeal interventions dominated by psychological approaches that individualise the problem and overemphasise pre-displacement conditions of trauma. Such approaches disregard the socio-political conditions of post-displacement and issues of racialisation, acculturation and resilience. The article argues for good practice approaches to schooling and settlement that involve whole-school accounting for organisational processes and structures, policy, procedure, pedagogy and curricula.

Venue: Room N1.05, Building N, Melbourne Burwood Campus, Deakin University (Voicepoint can be arranged to Geelong or Warrnambool if requested)

Seminar Six: September 13, 12.30 - 2.00pm

Prof. Jackie Marsh (University of Sheffield U.K.)

The digital divide: the material culture of early reading in homes and schools

In this presentation, Professor Marsh will draw from an analysis of the material culture of early reading in two Foundation Stage classrooms (for children aged 4 to 5) in England in order to explore the way in which reading and the novice reader are constituted within these educational institutions through the resources provided. This is contrasted with the material culture of early reading in homes, which is analysed through data arising from a number of studies of young children's engagement with media and new technologies in the home. In addition to an examination of the reading resources and artefacts physically present in homes, the analysis pays attention to increasingly popular virtual worlds for young children, such as "Club Penguin" and "Barbie Girl". Drawing from a theoretical framework that attends to the relationship between material culture, ideologies and social practices, it is argued that both the offline and online worlds of homes and schools offer very different spaces for young readers.

Venue: Room N1.05, Building N, Melbourne Burwood Campus, Deakin University

Seminar Five: September 7, 12.30 - 2.00pm

Christopher Ziguras, Associate Professor of International Studies, RMIT

Where is Transnational Education Heading?

The recent collapse of the UNSW Asia campus in Singapore has led to much commentary about the inherent riskiness of transnational education and suggestions that many Australian institutions are seriously reassessing their offshore strategies. This paper analyses the commercial, educational and reputational factors that have led to the current state of uncertainty. First, the paper argues that the massification of tertiary education in the key 'traditional' offshore markets in South East Asia will force the closure of most large-scale partner-supported programs in some countries, which will relocate to newly emerging markets. Second, the Australian Universities Quality Agency and the Department of Education, Science and Training have focused attention on the quality of transnational education, leading many institutions to realise that the costs involved in ensuring quality may render many existing programs financially unviable. Third, as Australian universities seek greater mission differentiation and strategic positioning, there is growing pressure for transnational operations to reflect the institution's broader strategic focus leading to greater diversity in transnational strategy than has been evident in the past two decades

Venue: Room N1.05, Building N, Melbourne Burwood Campus, Deakin University

Seminar Four: Thursday July 19, 1.00-2.30.

Brenda Keogh and Stuart Naylor

Talking science with puppets

Puppets and friends: talking, thinking and engagement in science
For many years Brenda Keogh and Stuart Naylor's research has focused mainly on talking, thinking and engagement in science. They are well known for developing some novel ways of promoting these, including the innovative concept cartoons and the use of puppets in science lessons. This research seminar provides an opportunity to share some of the outcomes and the issues which have arisen through their research.

Venue: Room M1.07, Building M, Melbourne Burwood Campus, Deakin University

Seminar Three: Friday June 8, 12.00-1.30.

Mr Stephen Fisher
Stephen Fisher is a Deakin PhD candidate focussing on developing teaching strategies to encourage critical thinking about men, boys and gender relations. He is currently on secondment from Chisholm Institute working as a gender & health consultant with Women's Health East, Ringwood.

Why Men & Boys are not victims?

Both the Howard Government and the popular press have worked hard over the past decade to recapture territory from the gender equity discourse of the women’s movement and replace it with the idea that it is now men and boys who are ‘missing out’. At one extreme end is the men’s rights lobby that doggedly attacks the claim that men are the primary perpetrators of domestic assault or that fathers are persecuted by the family court.

Less obvious perhaps have been the mainstreaming of the idea that boys are lacking male role models or are falling behind at school.
This seminar examines such “masculinity victim hood” claims and provides a framework for analysis and response.

Seminar Two: Friday June 1, 12.00-1.30.

Ms. Nana Benjaminsen
Visiting PhD scholar from the Danish Educational University

Technology and how it performs in schools

Speaking about integration of computer technology in schools create a distinctions that is not really there. The computer technology is already in schools and is - performing in a ways desired or not - participating in the creation of practices in a number of ways. Instead of expecting a certain performance this PhD project focuses on how computer technology performs in schools. Tracing technology in schools does therefore initiate a journey that travels outside the classroom and into other parts of the school settings such as; the after school environment, the library, computer labs and the corridors where computers and laptops also are use during and between lessons. It is managing these diverse sites and diverse data types that will be the focus for my presentation and talk Thursday the 31st of May 2007.

The PhD project is inspired by the thinking of Actor Network Theory, and places itself within an overall qualitative/ethnographical research frame.

Listen to iLecture

Seminar One:

Cliff Malcolm

Addressing Youth and Community Issues through Science Education


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