Home' Teacher : September 2009 Contents PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 27
I'm undertaking postgraduate research
because I love learning and because my pro -
fessional experience has raised for me an
intense research interest, stemming from the
fact that all the schools in which I've taught
have been monocultural communities.
What has intrigued me, in the absence of
a multicultural school environment, is how
the many literary works that are taught to
our students influence their u nderstanding
of a multicultural society. What effect does
their interaction with literature have upon
students in the absence of the everyday,
practical experience of other cultures? This
question guides my research.
Up to now, my postgraduate studies
have been part time. I've completed the
coursework and collected my data, and
what remains is to write up my research.
For this, I don't recommend part-time
study. The focus required is, in my view,
far too fierce for part-time concentra-
I've conducted my research over more
than five years, collecting data mainly with
the same group of students. This kind of
in-depth and specific research over such a
period of time would be difficult to replicate
in other professional developmental areas or
outside the workplace.
The immediate benefits have helped me
understand how students perceive, interact
with and apply what literature teaches them,
which after all is fundamental to their for-
mal education and personal learning. It has
also helped me to engage with my students
and their needs.
There's very little research in this field
and I hope one of the longer-term benefits
will be a surge of interest in it. T
Mary Vlahakis is a Doctor of Education
candidate at the University of Adelaide
and Head of English at St Columba
THE REWARDS OF POSTGRADUATE STUDY ARE HUGE, EXPLAINS MARY VLAHAKIS.
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