Leadership, Teaching and Learning Projects

Enhancing Inclusive Education capacity of Teacher Education in Ethiopia

Professor Roger Slee

The purpose of this project is "Improved capacity of the Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs) to introduce a pedagogical approach to Special Needs Education and Inclusive Education, and strengthened Special Needs Education and Inclusive Education Support Centre/Resource Centre (IESC/RC) network." The project consists of three components: (i) Strengthening the Teacher Education capacity in SNE/IE in accordance with the GEQIP TOP goals; (ii) Strengthening the Inclusive Education Support Centres/Resource Centre.

This project is funded by FCG International (2016): $16,000


Inclusive Schooling Framework Project Request for Professional Services

Teacher with students Professor Roger Slee

The project aims to lift the capacity of our state schooling system to support children and young people with disabilities and additional learning needs through an inclusive schooling approach. Specifically DET is seeking the provision of : high level advice on the seeping of the Inclusive Schools Working Group Project support and guidance for participating schools to undertake a reform and improvement process, based on an evidence informed inclusive schooling model through a collaborative, coaching approach leadership of an allocated quadrant of expertise, including the development of identified outputs planning and delivery of one-day statewide professional learning workshop for 6 school leadership teams support for participating schools in the development and delivery of a set of high quality, evidence based approaches designed to support diversity by targeting inclusive school culture, policies and practices contribution to the development of resources, tools and approaches that will build the capacity of all schools in relation to inclusivity and support for children with disabilities (including advice about the development of a Victorian DET Inclusion Index) provide and support a professional learning and leadership program for participating schools.

This project is funded by the Department of Education and Training (2016): $20,000

Would more highly-qualified teachers and trainers help to address quality problems in the Australian vocational education and training system?

Would more highly-qualified teachers and trainers help to address quality problems in the Australian vocational education and training system?Chief Investigators: Prof Erica Smith, Dr Keiko Yasukawa, Prof Roger M Harris, Dr Elizabeth J Atkins

Partner Investigators: Dr Christina M Hong, Mr Ben Vivekanandan, Ms Denise Stevens, Dr Peter Whitley, Dr Sinan Gemici.

This project examines whether and how higher-level qualifications for vocational education and training (VET) teachers would improve quality in the VET system. Government documents and public commentary indicate that the VET sector suffers from some fairly serious quality problems. This is significant because VET provides training that underpins all Australian industries. Most VET teachers are qualified only to a Certificate IV level. A more highly qualified VET teaching workforce is likely to lead to improvements in quality; however there is currently no firm evidence to establish this link, as the 2011 Productivity Commission report on the VET workforce pointed out. This project aims to provide much-needed evidence to guide policy.

This project is funded by the ARC Linkage Project LP140100044 scheme (2014-2016): $120,000
Partner Organisation: Southbank Institute of Technology, Australian Council for Private Education and Training, VET Development Centre Ltd, Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE, National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd
This project is administered via the Federation Unversity of Australia

 Renewing the teaching profession in regional areas through community partnerships

Chief Investigators: Prof. Marie Brennan, A/Prof Faye McCallum, A/Prof Michele A Simons 

Partner Investigators: Ms Helen Strickland, Mr Michael Preece, Ms Lisa Saloman, Ms Rowena Fox

Schools are at the heart of community, social and economic regeneration in regional areas but teacher shortages and high turnover put quality of learning at risk. Improving teacher quality, attracting new teachers and retaining more experienced teachers will expand learning opportunities for young people in rural and remote areas, and make the region attractive to other workers recruited to bring their families to the area   for mining, industry, service or professional employment. This partnership study will enable policy makers, employers, country community groups and teacher education faculties to be more strategic in working together in providing necessary teaching staff; with potential implications for other professional groups.

This is funded by the ARC Linkage Project scheme LP100200499 (2013-2016): $164,469.
Partner Organisations: Catholic Education Office Port Pirie, City of Mt Gambier, Eyre and Western Regional Office, Limestone Coast District Education, Limestone Coast Regional Development Board , SA Department of Education and Children's Services, Tenison Woods College

Keeping the best: How school leaders engage and retain high quality early career teachers

Prof Bruce Johnson, Dr Anna Sullivan, A/Prof Michele Simons, Dr Tony Daly, Mr Jim Davies, Mr Mark Sparvell

This project will investigate how school leaders use micropolitical strategies to engage and retain high quality early career teachers. It will develop a framework for school leaders to guide policies and practices to keep the best early career teachers in the profession.

Attracting and retaining high quality teachers to the profession is of international concern as it has far reaching economic and social implications for all nations. In Australia, teacher workforce development has focused predominantly on attracting and recruiting quality teachers, with less attention given to the broader retention process. This study will investigate how school leaders influence new teachers and foster their professional commitment. Furthermore, it will identify micropolitical strategies and activities that can be employed by leaders to promote the effective engagement and retention of quality early career teachers.

For more information, please visit the Retaining Quality Teachers website.

This project is funded by the ARC Linkage Project LP130100830 scheme (2013-2016): $214,000
Partner Organisation: Principals Australia Institute


Turning them on: Engaging young people in disrupting silences about their sexual wellbeing

Prof Bruce Johnson, A/Prof Lyn Harrison, Dr Debbie Ollis, Dr Helen Calabretto, Prof Colleen McLaughlin, Ms Jane Flentje

Young people are rarely consulted about school-based sexuality education. Adults usually decide what content is covered and how it is taught. This research project aims to give young people a say about what they learn in these programs. Using participatory research methods, new insights will be gained into students’ views about sexuality education, the in-school and out-of-school sources of their sexual information and values, and how they make sense of them. These insights will inform the re-design of school-based sexuality education programs that promote the sexual health of our young people.

This project will investigate what young people think they should be taught in school-based sexuality education programs. This information will inform the re-design of these programs and promote the sexual health of the next generation of Australians.

This project is funded by the ARC Linkage Project LP130100350 scheme (2013-2016): $125,000
Partner Organisations: SHineSA, University of Sussex


Prevalence and effectiveness of anti-bullying approaches in Australian schools study

Prof Ken Rigby, Mr Greg Cox

The study will gather relevant information through a combination of questionnaires and interviews from a representative sample of school personnel, students and educational administrators. It is expected 100 schools across Australia and approximately 6,000 students from years 5 – 10 will participate in the project. The survey will be conducted in late 2014 and will gather information on what schools are doing - both proactively and reactively - to counter bullying.

The study will complement the Macquarie University study on reducing peer victimisation, build on the evidence base of effective anti-bullying approaches and also provide an opportunity for schools to use this important evidence in their school action plans.

This project is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, (2013-2015): $274,800


Punish them or engage them? Identifying and addressing productive and unproductive student behaviours in South Australian schools

Dr Anna Sullivan, Prof Bruce Johnson, Prof Larry Owens, E/Prof Robert Conway

The management of unproductive student behaviour is one of the greatest challenges faced by schools. Yet there is little empirical evidence to guide teachers, schools and systems in their efforts to promote productive student behaviour. This study aims to determine the existing state of student behaviour in South Australian schools. It will investigate the link between student engagement and student behaviour at school and how schools develop and enact positive student behaviour policies. The study will provide evidence to inform the design of policies and practices that enhance student engagement and promote positive student behaviour.

For more information, please visit the Behaviour at School Study website.

This project is funded by the ARC Linkage Project LP110100137 scheme (2011-2016): $234,676
Partner Organisations: Department for Education and Child Development (DECD), Catholic Education South Australia (CESA), Association of Independent Schools South Australia (AISSA), South Australian Secondary Principals Association (SASPA), Association of Principals of Catholic Secondary Schools, South Australia (APCSS), South Australiam Primary Principals Association (SAPPA), South Australian Catholic Primary Principals Association (SACPPA). 

CRC for Rail Innovation

Prof Roger Harris (Program Leader), Dr Tom Short, Dr Lisa Davies, Dr Tom Stehlik, Dr Janene Piip, Ms Katie Maher, Dr Anne Morrison

With a combined resource total of around $113 million over seven years, the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Rail Innovation is a significant asset to the Australasian Rail Industry. The CRC for Rail Innovation is a unique and productive endeavour linking the substantial skills and resources of the rail industry with the research and development expertise of seven of Australia's leading universities. Collaborative research enables a small contribution to be leveraged in order to solve serious problems common to several participants. Projects in the Workforce Development Program of the CRC undertaken by the above UniSA researchers include the following:

P4.104 – Developing a capability framework for leadership and management development (Workforce Development Project Brochure)
Leadership and management training in the rail industry play a critical role in the success of day to day company operations. An early scoping report of the CRC (P4.102 – Scoping rail management and leadership capability development, Report) revealed that, although management training took place, there was no evidence of how such capability was assessed and evaluated. More in-depth and quantitative research was required to gain essential knowledge on the range of management capabilities being developed in the rail industry. A capability framework and strategic platform have been developed to shape future leadership training, to make the rail sector an ‘industry of choice’ for the next generation of leaders and managers. Rail executives who use the platform can determine what leadership capabilities are currently being developed, how individuals view the relevance of leadership training in regard to their work roles and how to validate in-house training programs. It guides HR practitioners and external training providers through best practice strategies which use a bespoke framework that caters for leaders at all levels. The platform aligns with national qualifications and readily-accessible development tools, helps to reduce cost of training and improves the consistency of training across the industry.

P4.105 – Evaluation methodology for training courses (Report)
A CRC scoping project (P4.100 – Course evaluations (scoping), Report) provided a review of selected courses used in the rail industry to develop staff competence in areas of safety, compliance and technical expertise. The main project then developed a model to evaluate training in any selected area of the rail industry. The model places particular emphasis on understanding the different contexts (jurisdictional, legislative and policy) and the operating environments of rail operators and how these impact on the decision to choose training programs. The application of the evaluation framework allows for a systematic analysis of training programs and it formed the basis for the development of a national curriculum on Track Safety Awareness. It supports the ongoing assessment of track safety knowledge for rail workers.

P4.113 – Rail incident investigator training (Report)
The activation of the National Safety Regulator office in 2013 led to the need for a uniform national standard for teaching staff who would be carrying out the regulator’s duties across Australia. Building on findings from the scoping research (P4.107 - Scoping a rail safety investigator competency framework, Report), the main project brought together various rail industry safety agencies, in collaboration with education providers, to develop the framework for Rail Safety Investigator training aligned with the Australian Qualification Framework level four. The project identified strong support for a unified approach to this training and a subsequent career pathway. The study found demand for both introductory and advanced training courses, undertook a needs analysis for the course and developed a capability framework. The project defined possible delivery channels and mechanisms that would allow development of these competencies into a course. The outcome offers scope for nationally recognised training courses and career pathways for rail investigators.

P4.111 - A skills recognition framework for the Australian rail industry (Report)
The need for this project arose from the findings of a scoping project (P4.109 - Scoping the potential of skills recognition in rail, Report) which involved a review of relevant national and international literature, and consultations with 15 staff experienced in skills recognition from four rail companies in Australia. The aim of this main research project was to design a national skills recognition framework, a repository of easy-to-access information about using skills recognition, tailored specifically for the rail industry, as a means of increasing its use within industry. This research found that greater awareness and use of skills recognition could offer benefits to sectors of the rail industry and their employees while still satisfying regulatory requirements. It was recognised that many of the perceived and actual barriers to the use of SR could be addressed with the development of a more harmonised skills recognition ‘framework’. This framework could then be shared by rail companies without each of them having to ‘re-invent the wheel’. In this way, the products could contribute to the industry’s moves towards greater harmonisation, as well as result in considerable savings to individual companies and increased employee engagement.

P4.114 - National training curriculum for rail (Report)
The Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC) developed a new framework of qualifications for occupational groups such as Infrastructure Workers and Rail Operators, with the qualifications aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework levels 2 and 3. The successful implementation of the new framework required the development of a national curriculum and training package. This project developed the units of competence and assessment outcomes for a national training curriculum for the occupation of Rail Infrastructure Worker. The process included an analysis of training needs, a revision of the curriculum and production of materials. This new training curriculum forms a complete package for rail organisations and training providers and includes implementation workshops and a ready-made suite of resources for use by training practitioners within the industry. These resources have enhanced the quality of training and development offered. As a result of training curriculum standardisation, harmonisation and portability, the rail industry will have a higher qualified workforce with an increased performance capacity.

P4.119 – Mentoring and coaching in rail (Report)
Mentoring and coaching are two distinct processes and practices related to human resource management. Together, they form a cohesive approach to career and succession planning, performance management, supervisory capacity building, tacit knowledge transfer, workplace learning, retention and engagement and diversity management. Effective mentoring and coaching practices can increase workforce capacity and renewal, identify workplace learning and improve competencies to benefit employers and employees alike. Following a review of relevant national and international literature, the research team engaged in consultation and in-depth research with a wide range of respondents in seven participating rail organisations. The overall goal was to investigate the innovative models and practices in relation to mentoring and coaching so as to inform the development of a contextualised mentoring and coaching framework for use industry wide. An overriding consideration was to convert findings into helpful tools and techniques that could be integrated easily into existing rail strategies on workforce development. The research from this project shows ways to make the most of mentoring and coaching opportunities through a practitioner handbook, frameworks, tools and tips and other helpful resources.

These projects are funded by the Cooperative Research Centre for Rail Innovation (2010-2014): $1,062,527


Addressing the teacher exodus: enhancing early career teacher resilience and retention in changing times

Prof Bruce Johnson, Prof Barry Down, Dr Rosie Le Cornu, Dr Judy Peters, Dr Anna Sullivan, Dr Jane Pearce, Ms Janet Hunter

Australia is currently facing a teacher shortage crisis. Many new teachers leave the profession early in their careers. the difficulties faced by new teachers which lead to this exodus are well documented. However there is little research on how early career teachers develop resilience to overcome these difficulties and sustain their commitment to teaching. the aim of this project is to identify what internal strengths and external support strategies promote teacher resilience, and how these impact on teachers' decisions to remain in the profession. The research will identify policy initiatives and school based strategies that best promote early career teacher resilience.

This research will produce new knowledge, strategies, models and recommendations that will help to keep early career teachers in the profession in regional, rural and remote areas. In doing so it will address the problem of teacher shortage that is currently threatening the nation's educational, economic and social outcomes. The research outcomes will have particular credibility at the national level because they will be the result of dialogue and collaboration across three universities and six industry partners who are the key stakeholders in teacher employment in two states. In addition, the collaborative approach will facilitate implementation of recommendations at the local, state and national levels.

For more information, please visit the Early Career Teacher Resilience website.

This project is funded by the ARC Linkage Project LP0883672 scheme (2008-2014): $304,000
Partner Organisations: Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, Department for Education and Child Development (DECD - SA), Department of Education and Training (WA), Australian Education Union (SA), State School Teachers Union (WA), Association of Independent Schools (WA), Association of Independent Schools (SA), Catholic Education Office (WA), Catholic Education (SA)

Areas of study and research

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