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ERIC Number: EJ1080496
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jun
Pages: 174
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0311-2543
The Study of Education at The University of Western Australia 1916-1985
Gardiner, Di
Education Research and Perspectives, v31 n1 p1-168 Jun 2004
This study analyses how "Education" as an area of study was constructed at The University of Western Australia [UWA] during the period 1916-85. While there is little commentary available regarding the construction of "Education" in a curriculum sense, what evidence there is suggests that there was hostility towards the inclusion of "Education" within the university curriculum in the older universities in Australia and in the UK and the USA. This resentment led to a polarisation of views; on the one hand, there was a desire to escape completely to what was often referred to as "the high ground of theory and respectability" while, on the other hand, there were those who argued for the pre-eminence of becoming immersed in recent and relevant experience, uninformed by theoretical perspectives. Writers in Educational Studies accentuated the tension which developed between these two positions as they tended to consider them to be mutually exclusive. The question of how Education as an area of study was constructed at UWA and whether similarly conflicting views were evident, provided the focus for this research. The study provides an overview of the development of education from the start of European settlement in Australia, places the UWA experience within the context of developments at Teachers College Columbia and The institute of Education at The University of London, and then traces the development of the study of Education at UWA from its inception in 1916 through to 1985 which marked the retirement of the last long-term head of department. A wide variety of sources has been used in developing the narrative. Primary sources located largely within the UWA Archives were especially valuable. These include manuscripts, personal papers, printed material such as the early UWA Calendars and tbe UWA Education Faculty Handbooks, minutes of meetings, Education Reports, anecdotal evidence, and oral accounts. Secondary sources also provided information necessary to build the contextual framework. Three main factors were identified as important in the development of Education as an area of study at UWA. First, was the strong, practical emphasis present in the curriculum of the University as a whole when it was founded. The second was the influence of the staff in establishing a reputation for academic rigour and a strong commitment to research, while at the same time maintaining an important role in teacher training. Finally, the continued response of the Faculty of Education at UWA to changes in secondary education, demonstrated its commitment to professional integrity. The central argument advanced is that throughout the period, the emergence and development of "Education" as an area of study at UWA was a response to the demands for both relevance and respectability. In this regard, the hostility often experienced in other universities did not emerge. Two appendices are included: (1) Master of Education Theses Completed 1954-1969; and (2) Selected Master of Education Theses Completed 1970-1985. A bibliography is included. [This issue of "Education Research and Perspectives" is devoted entirely to a recent master's thesis by the author.]
University of Western Australia. 35 Stirling Highway Crawley, Perth, 6009 Australia. Tel: +61-8-6488-2388; Fax: +61-8-6488-1052; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Masters Theses; Reports - Research; Journal Articles
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; New York; United Kingdom (London)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A