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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2019

Remy Low, Eve Mayes and Helen Proctor

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a broad theoretical orientation for the themed section of History of Education Review, “Unstable concepts in the history of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a broad theoretical orientation for the themed section of History of Education Review, “Unstable concepts in the history of Australian schooling: radicalism, religion, migration”. Through the conceptual frame of “contrapuntal historiography”, it commends the practice of re-looking at taken-for-granted concepts and re-readings of the cultural archive of Australian schooling, with especial attention to silences, discontinuities and the movements of concepts.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on Edward Said’s approach of “contrapuntal reading”, this paper refers to the recent work of Bruce Pascoe as an exemplar of this practice in the field of Australian history. It then relates this approach to the study of the history of Australian schooling as demonstrated in the three papers that make up the themed section “Unstable concepts in the history of Australian schooling: radicalism, religion, migration”.

Findings

Following in the style of Said’s contrapuntal reading and the example of Pascoe’s work, this paper argues that there are inerasable traces of historical politics – that is, the records of constitutive exclusions and silences – which “haunt” taken-for-granted concepts like the migrant, the secular and the radical in the history of Australian schooling.

Originality/value

Taken alongside the three papers in the themed section, this paper urges the proliferation of different theoretical and disciplinary approaches in order to think anew about silences, discontinuities and movements of concepts as a counterpoint to dominant narrative lines in the history of Australian education.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 48 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 46 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2019

Helen Proctor

Despite Australia’s history as an exemplary migrant nation, there are gaps in the literature and a lack of explicit conceptualisation of either “migrants” or “migration”…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite Australia’s history as an exemplary migrant nation, there are gaps in the literature and a lack of explicit conceptualisation of either “migrants” or “migration” in the Australian historiography of schooling. The purpose of this paper is to seek out traces of migration history that nevertheless exist in the historiography, despite the apparent silences.

Design/methodology/approach

Two foundational yet semi-forgotten twentieth-century historical monographs are re-interpreted to support a rethinking of the relationship between migration and settler colonialism in the history and historiography of Australian schooling.

Findings

These texts, from their different school system (state/Catholic) orientations, are, it is argued, replete with accounts of migration despite their apparent gaps, if read closely. Within them, nineteenth-century British migrants are represented as essentially entitled constituents of the protonation. This is a very different framing from twentieth century histories of migrants as minority or “other”.

Originality/value

Instead of an academic reading practice that dismisses and simply supersedes old work, this paper proposes that fresh engagements with texts from the past can yield new insights into the connections between migration, schooling and colonialism. It argues that the historiography of Australian schooling should not simply be expanded to include or encompass the stories of “migrants” within a “minority studies” framework, although there is plenty of useful work yet to be accomplished in that area, but should be re-examined as having been about migration all along.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 48 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

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Article
Publication date: 21 June 2013

Josephine May and Helen Proctor

The first state high schools in New South Wales (NSW) were restricted to children with high academic ability. The purpose of this paper is to explore the lived experience…

Abstract

Purpose

The first state high schools in New South Wales (NSW) were restricted to children with high academic ability. The purpose of this paper is to explore the lived experience of over 70 former students from three such schools, one coeducational, the other two single‐sex, with special attention to academic and social curricula.

Design/methodology/approach

The study investigates memories of a particular moment in the history of secondary schooling in NSW before the establishment of mass secondary education. The authors utilise theoretical concepts from recent oral history studies regarding memory communities and intersectionality.

Findings

In bringing ex‐students’ memories of both single‐sex and coeducational academically‐selective high schooling together, the study reports on the homogeneity of the memories of this type of schooling despite the different sexual structures of the schools. The respondents, it is argued, constitute a “memory community” in that they recalled their selection for high school as marking them out as intellectually superior, “special”. Their main differentiating feature arose from their sex and gender socialisation. Females were made more consistently conscious of their responsibilities within their schools’ gender regime.

Originality/value

The approach in this paper adjusts the focus of traditional oral history research in the history of education to “history from within” (rather than “from below”); to experiences of both academic and socialcurriculum (not “formal/informal”); to a gendered approach incorporating both sexes; and to a comparative approach across academically‐selective coeducational and single‐sex high schools.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 42 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

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Article
Publication date: 30 September 2014

Josephine May

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Article
Publication date: 30 September 2014

Kate Darian-Smith and Nikki Henningham

The purpose of this paper is to examine the development of vocational education for girls, focusing on how curriculum and pedagogy developed to accommodate changing…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the development of vocational education for girls, focusing on how curriculum and pedagogy developed to accommodate changing expectations of the role of women in the workplace and the home in mid-twentieth century Australia. As well as describing how pedagogical changes were implemented through curriculum, it examines the way a modern approach to girls’ education was reflected in the built environment of the school site and through its interactions with its changing community.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes a case study approach, focusing on the example of the J.H. Boyd Domestic College which functioned as a single-sex school for girls from 1932 until its closure in 1985. Oral history testimony, private archives, photographs and government school records provide the material from which an understanding of the school is reconstructed.

Findings

This detailed examination of the history of J.H. Boyd Domestic College highlights the highly integrated nature of the school's environment with the surrounding community, which strengthened links between the girls and their community. It also demonstrates how important the school's buildings and facilities were to contemporary ideas about the teaching of girls in a vocational setting.

Originality/value

This is the first history of J.H. Boyd Domestic College to examine the intersections of gendered, classed ideas about pedagogy with ideas about the appropriate built environment for the teaching of domestic science. The contextualized approach sheds new light on domestic science education in Victoria and the unusually high quality of the learning spaces available for girls’ education.

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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2019

Dorothy Kass

The paper is a study of Clarice McNamara, née Irwin (1901–1990), an educator who advocated for reform in the interwar period in Australia. Clarice is known for her role…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper is a study of Clarice McNamara, née Irwin (1901–1990), an educator who advocated for reform in the interwar period in Australia. Clarice is known for her role within the New Education Fellowship in Australia, 1940s–1960s; however, the purpose of this paper is to investigate her activism in an earlier period, including contributions made to the journal Education from 1925 to 1938 to ask how she addressed conditions of schooling, curriculum reform, and a range of other educational, social, political and economic issues, and to what effect.

Design/methodology/approach

Primary source material includes the previously ignored contributions to Education and a substantial unpublished autobiography. Used in conjunction, the sources allow a biographical, rhetorical and contextual study to stress a dynamic relationship between writing, attitudes, and the formation and activity of organisations.

Findings

McNamara was an unconventional thinker whose writing urged the case for radical change. She kept visions of reformed education alive for educators and brought transnational progressive literature to the attention of Australian educators in an overall reactionary period. Her writing was part of a wider activism that embraced schooling, leftist ideologies, and feminist issues.

Originality/value

There has been little scholarly attention to the life and work of McNamara, particularly in the 1920s–1930s. The paper indicates her relevance for histories of progressive education in Australia and its transnational networks, the Teachers Federation and feminist activism between the wars.

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2016

Neville Douglas Buch and Beryl Roberts

The purpose of this paper is to find an answer the question of whether an educational institution of a fair socio-economic mix of pupils, and an institution favoured with…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to find an answer the question of whether an educational institution of a fair socio-economic mix of pupils, and an institution favoured with powerful political connections, made any difference to access, equity, and exclusivity in relation to the transition into secondary education. It undertakes this purpose as a historical investigation of Junction Park State School in the early twentieth century combined with statistical analysis of family backgrounds of scholarship holders and their cohorts from 1915 to 1932.

Design/methodology/approach

The socio-economic study uses a published list of scholarship holders from Junction Park State School for the years 1924-1932. The study compares the scholarship groupings with their different school cohorts for the same years using the data on parental occupations, extracted from the Junction Park State School Admission Records 1915-1931. After refinement the study examines a cohort data set of 4,531 pupils which includes 287 scholarship holders. Parental occupations are categorised into socio-economic groupings with high and low occupational ends. There were 237 parental occupations described among the cohort, 1915-1931, from the admission records.

Findings

The statistical chance of obtaining scholarship is increased for a pupil from “commercial low” and “industrial low” background when the school starts with a cohort that has a large representation from such backgrounds. Pupils who were at the lower end of the socio-economic scale at Junction Park State School did much better in scholarship outcomes than for the state. However, pupils whose family background was at the high end of the professions did marginally better than the state result. For the school between 1915 and 1932, in most socio-economic groupings, the boys outperform the girls in the like-to-like comparisons.

Research limitations/implications

The numeric value is excessively low for the primary producers (high) category and numbers in cohort groupings vary. This study deliberately applied like-to-like comparisons: the number of scholarship holders compared to their own gender for the same socio-economic cohort. Percentile in relation to the study’s total was not used due to numeric variations between cohort sizes. The study is a historical investigation of a formative period before Junction Park State School developed its reputation as a scholarship school in the 1940s, and historical factors relating to the post-Second World War era would have different results for a similar statistical analysis.

Practical implications

The paper presents a case study of particular historical significance; however, a generic principle that institutional status can change access and equity opportunities can be tested within the historical setting. The paper claims that historical investigation provides the groundwork to establish the distinctive actuality. Historical investigation picks up on unusual patterns over time, not necessarily to disprove the sociological model, but more to test the model against actual events.

Social implications

The Queensland social history is connected to the study’s statistical analysis. The data are considered from a perspective that, first, Junction Park had a diverse population of pupils from different socio-economic backgrounds. Second, the school had a solid reputation as a leading school, partly from the political standing of the school leadership, and partly from the strength of its scholarship teachers. Together these factors suggest that pupils at Junction Park State School from the socio-economic backgrounds less inclined to foster educational values were given greater support to achieve better scholarship outcomes.

Originality/value

Statistical analysis is rarely brought to academic history work. There are greater risks in misinterpreting the data. There is also a difficult enterprise of extracting the required information. Nevertheless, the reward from this paper is an insightful view of a large and an innovating Queensland primary school, picking up the details in the life experience of pupils. In that historical process there is a greater degree of accuracy and better interpretive value which can be applied to the sociological model.

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Article
Publication date: 21 August 2017

Susan Teather and Wendy Hillman

There has been very little empirical research for the need to identify the importance of an inclusive territory of commonality for “invisible” students with disabilities…

Abstract

Purpose

There has been very little empirical research for the need to identify the importance of an inclusive territory of commonality for “invisible” students with disabilities in Australian education testing, such as the National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The research methodology used a cross-sectional mixed methods, deductive quantitative, an inductive qualitative, functionalist perspective and interpretivist perspective from internet secondary data analysis. This was undertaken to investigate the government functionalist macrosociology of Australian education to the detriment of the microsociology debate of students with disabilities, for inclusive education and social justice.

Findings

This finding showed vastly underestimated numbers of students with disabilities in Australian schools experienced through “gatekeeping”, non-participation in NAPLAN testing and choices of schools, resulting in poor educational outcomes and work-readiness.

Social implications

The research findings showed that functionalism of Australian education is threatening not only social order, well-being and resilience of an innovative Australian economy through welfare dependency; but also depriving people with disabilities of social equality and empowerment against poverty brought about by a lack of education and of the human right to do a decent job.

Originality/value

The study provided a critical evaluation of the weaknesses of government functionalism; specifically the relationship between the dualism of macro and micro perspectives, which promotes the existence of “invisible” students with disabilities in education, despite government legislation purporting an inclusive education for all students.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 36 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2007

Craig Campbell

This article suggests an explanation for the complex history of the relationship between the government high school and the Australian middle class. The main elements in…

Abstract

This article suggests an explanation for the complex history of the relationship between the government high school and the Australian middle class. The main elements in the constructing of a framework necessarily include the following inter‐related effects: the historic alienation of the Roman Catholic population from the Australian public school system, federal government interventions into school policy and funding, demographic pressures, the rise of neoliberalism, and the development of distinctive and multiple ethnic populations in the cities. The final section of the article takes as its case study, the history of middle class schooling in the city of Sydney, especially from the mid 1970s to the end of the century. Sydney is an atypical Australian city in many respects, and the study of its middle class and schooling does not stand as representative of the Australian experience. Nevertheless, its great population and significance in the national economy makes its story a crucial story in the national context. Because much of the evidence for this last section derives from the Australian census, it is introduced by a brief discussion of census‐making. Preceding that section of the article is a summary discussion of the significance of social classes in the history of Australian schooling.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 36 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

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