Monash University

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Progression of learning of psychology within the Victorian curriculum

posted on 2017-02-28, 00:04 authored by Marangio, Karen Ruth
This thesis investigated the notion of progression of learning of psychology within the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Study Design. A directed approach to analyse the document content was employed, with an instrument developed and revised from a theoretical base to guide analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005). Informed by Bruner (1960), this study took the view that conceptual understanding takes time and systematic revisiting in different contexts to enable learners to grasp the underlying concepts, understand links between and within topics, and develop ideas of their own. This study recognised that sophisticated conceptual understandings go hand-in-hand with mastery of understanding the practices used to construct this knowledge (Duschl, Maeng, & Sezen, 2011). It used systems theory to embrace the conceptual and methodological diversity of psychology, recognise the continuous, multiple and complex interactions that contribute to the richness, complexity and diversity of individuals (Bronfenbrenner, 2001). Practices that build understandings within these systems were considered and combined with concepts. This study found useful starting points in the curriculum for developing a notion of progression but only to a limited extent. Complexities of each practice and concept were not emphasised and an overarching theme to connect and build on prior learning was missing. The psychology curriculum is in danger of being taught as single, isolated and unrelated topics, including research methodologies and ethical practices. This study analysed the intended curriculum with the intention of stimulating debate into the purpose of psychology as a discipline subject in schools and understandings of what is meant by a progression of learning of psychology and research into the teaching and learning of psychology.


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John Loughran

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Faculty of Education

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