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Directory of Research Expertise
EIT has attracted many top scholars to lead research.
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EIT is proud of its growing research capacity and completed projects.
It Doesn't Have to Continue
A collection of stories about transforming family violence (an educational resource).
Compiled by Judy Wivell and Mandy Pentecost
Download It Doesnt Have To Continue here
Free Research Publications
Free downloadable research publications available here
Experiencing the ill-defined: student centred learning
Cheryl McConnell and Gillian Postlewaight both teach EIT’s Bachelor of Teaching, Early Childhood Education degree programme. When they experienced what they termed a ‘pedagogical crisis’ in their teaching, they took a different approach to a course that both had previously taught for nine years, reconstructing it in a way that challenged themselves and the students. They then wrapped research around its delivery to assess the impact of the change and how the discomforting opportunity to experience the ill-defined affected the student teachers’ learning.
The crisis came about when Cheryl and Gillian tried to match the delivery of their teaching with the learning philosophy inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, where the pedagogy of relationships underpins early childhood settings. They sought a shift from a subject-oriented approach to a more socio-cultural approach, enabling their students to experience first-hand how to work with children rather than being told how to do this within a tertiary classroom setting. In reconstructing the BTECE5.06 ‘Artistic Languages of Children’ course, they recognised that a shift towards a more artistic cognitive- based approach could increase the complexity of learning and model ways to work with children. This fitted well with the BTch (ECE) Field-Based Teacher Education (FBTE) degree that requires student teachers to combine practicum experiences with classes on campus, allowing theoretical learning and practice to occur concurrently.
In the reconstructed course, first-year EIT students were challenged to work in small groups, to self-select a topic of interest and determine a ‘burning question’, to direct their own investigation to answer the question, and to represent their learning in an artistic form, broadly defined. As a result, groups presented songs, poetry, screen-prints, models, collage and works in multi-media.
After the course was completed, Cheryl and Gillian used an impartial ‘critical friend’ to access the students’ reflections on the process.
Cheryl presented this work at the 2013 ‘Probing the Boundaries’ Interdisciplinary-Net conference in Sydney. Their subsequent chapter, titled ‘Experiencing uncertainty and the illdefined: Working with a different approach to teaching and learning’, is published in Finding Opportunities in Crisis (Pimomo & Ditton (Eds), Oxford, United Kingdom: Inter- Disciplinary Press, 2013). Another book chapter, ‘Pedagogical conflict creates opportunities to embrace student centred learning’ is in press.
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