Home' Teacher : September 2009 Contents 24 TEACHER SEPTEMBER 2009
Honour Society, joining the top 15 per cent
of students in all areas of study who are
invited to become members.
Growing up in the 1960s and '70s, I
always dreamed of being a researcher, but
sadly I didn't get the grades. Now, as I
progress through my Masters by research
degree, I'm starting to believe that dreams
really do come true. The next step, if I dare,
might be a PhD, and I might even complete
it before I'm due to retire.
I believe I'm the first in my extended fam-
ily to do this, and I'd like to light the way for
future generations of my family, show all my
nephews, nieces and cousins that effort is the
key to success and that they can achieve any-
thing, if they persist. If I inspire my students
and colleagues, that's a bonus.
Roy Smalley is a Masters c andidate at
Monash University and a VCE teache r at
a TAFE Institute in Melbourne.
I began my postgraduate research after
I noticing some disappointing trends in
outer-suburban schools regarding literacy.
I wanted to know how and why low achieve-
I'm studying part time at Monash
University -- a format I'd recom mend. While
it means my research has been drawn out
over four years, it's also allowed me to con-
tinue working two days a week in schools,
and I've been able to have some time away
from my studies to have a baby.
If I had to choose between studying
externally and studying on campus I'd have
to choose the latter since it's more produc-
tive. I've undertaken external study before
and while I enjoyed the flexibility, I missed
the contact with other students and lectur-
ers that you get on campus.
I wasn't an English teacher or trained in
literacy, so I decided to undertake my stud-
ies in a coursework and research format to
allow me to enrol in a research preparation
subject and a subject covering culture, lan-
guage and identity.
The purpose of my research is to provide
an insight into the views of stakeholders
involved at the grassroots level in middle-
years literacy education. It would seem as
though there may be a discrepancy between
the current policy documents that require
students to achieve a particular benchmark
and the understanding at a school level of
how and why those policies are enacted. My
aim in doing this research is to provide an
insight into how policies are received by the
people expected to enact them, and hope -
fully to help policymakers to have a better
understanding of this audience when creat-
ing policy documents.
This research is allowing me to investigate
at a deep level a topic that I'm really passion-
ate about. I've learned so much already from
being an independent researcher. Research
is very different to coursework, where a lot
of the material is handed directly to you.
Undertaking research is all about explora-
tion and discovery. I've also had the benefit
of a wonderfully supportive and encourag-
ing thesis supervisor.
The immediate benefits that I have
noticed are related to my broader thinking
skills and a huge expansion in my knowl-
edge. I've developed more complex ideas
about policy, identity, meaning and literacy
than I would have considered prior to start-
ing this cou rse. I'm not sure about the long-
term benefits of undertaking this research,
but I'd like to use the skills that I have devel-
oped in a school environment, and maybe
undertake more research.
Karen Lichnovsky is a Ma sters c andidate
at Mon ash Unive rsity and a teacher at Can -
te rbury Girls' Secondary College and East
Doncaster Secondary College, Melbourne.
POSTGRADUATE STUDY IS ALLOWING KAREN LICHNOVSKY TO
INVESTIGATE SOMETHING SHE'S REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT.
There's a real intellectual
stimulation in trying to
understand and manage
the tensions between the
classroom experience and
the theoretical frameworks
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