An analysis of normative pressures in Queensland state high schools

Murray, Louis (1987). An analysis of normative pressures in Queensland state high schools PhD Thesis, Graduate School of Education, The University of Queensland.

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Author Murray, Louis
Thesis Title An analysis of normative pressures in Queensland state high schools
School, Centre or Institute Graduate School of Education
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1987
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Total pages 320
Language eng
Subjects 9304 School/Institution
1701 Psychology
Formatted abstract This thesis is concerned with the nature and consequences of rule or norm governed behaviour in state high schools in Queensland, Australia. The thesis postulates that the in-school behaviour of teachers and students is significantly constrained by, and in many ways a response to, pressures residing in: the social cultural system (political institutions, organized interest groups, parents, employers and those members of the public who are able to exert influence on educational policy); the social structural system (the Queensland Department of Education); and the social system (particular schools).

These postulates are generated from a theoretical model. Figure 3, established through a review of the literature and clarified and tested by means of empirical procedures used in sample schools and related fieldwork settings. The model uses concept labels to depict the types of norms arising in the social cultural system, the social structural system and the social system. The model suggests that these norms act cumulatively on teachers and students and are in turn, modified subjectively by these social actors.

The thesis concludes, on the basis of the postulates, that the consequences of normative pressures vary for students, teachers, schools and society. Some of these consequences are as follows. For students, schooling is said to be an institutionalized routine in which the cognizance of the importance of educational achievements merges with norms of authority to operationally constrain student behaviour. For teachers, cumulative pressures for measurable accountability are rendering the process of schooling more complex, pushing teachers in the direction of restricted professionalism. Added to this is teacher scepticism about current academic practices in schools and ambivalence towards the superimposition of legal-rational control on teaching activities. For the schools, normative pressures help to create marked uniformity in organization in which actions sanctioned by statutory regulations are highly visible. Also, professional standards, arising out of the collective and accumulated wisdom of the teaching profession tend to superimpose themselves thereby controlling the demands and wishes of the clients, that is the students, of schools. Finally, the major consequence of normative pressures on schooling for Queensland society is the production of a state high school system large, complex and overwhelmingly rational and expedient in its organization. The system is said to have responded historically, and continues to adjust, to the demand for equality of opportunity. Appeals to government and political processes are the dominant motifs endorsed by the society for the realization of equality of opportunity through educational practice.
Keyword Child psychology
School management and organization -- Queensland
Social psychology
Stress (Psychology)
Organizational behavior
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Document type: Thesis
Collections: Queensland Past Online (QPO)
UQ Theses (RHD) - Open Access
 
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Created: Thu, 03 Dec 2009, 13:21:38 EST by Ms Natalie Hull on behalf of Social Sciences and Humanities Library Service