Title

Student and teacher-identified attitudes and needs at the Australian Islamic College

Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education and Arts

Abstract

The Australian Islamic College is a co-educational Islamic Independent school with three campuses in Metropolitan Perth which cater for migrant students from war-torn countries and others with culturally and linguistically, diverse backgrounds. The purpose of this study was to identify the strengths and interests of Islamic students, across eight of Gardner’s intelligence domains, as perceived by the students, and to explore student and teacher attitudes and perceptions of current school practices, so that the College could better meet the needs of these students. This study is important for the Islamic Colleges because it is hoped that the study will lead to the provision of opportunities for students to increase their confidence, self-esteem and motivation, and to achieve better in academic and non-academic areas.

Data relating to the research questions were collected from three sources: (1) a survey on Student Self-Views (eight scales) (N=321); (2) Teacher Guttman Scaling questionnaires (three scales) and open-ended responses (N=32); and (3) student Focus Group Interviews (N=4X=32). The student survey data were analysed using the Rasch Unidimensional Measurement Model computer program (RUMM 2020) to create eight linear, unidimensional scales measuring Student Self-Views for the Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, English, Mathematics, Art, Music, Sport and Drama domains. The Teacher Guttman scales measured perceptions of: (1) Priority Activities Providing Links to the Western Culture; (2) General Types of Resources Needed; and (3) School Needs for Professional Areas.

The following valid inferences were drawn from the linear scales: (i) female students do not have statistically significantly higher mean measures for Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Self-Views than male students, (ii) males have statistically significantly higher Mathematical and Sports Self-Views than females; and (iii) females have significantly higher English, Art, Music, and Drama Self- Concept than males. Findings from the student interviews and teacher surveys have direct implications for staff; that is, teachers need to adapt their pedagogy to suit the multiple student needs in their classrooms, and take on a more active role in their students’ emotional well-being by enhancing the current pastoral care to include positive relations with the students’ parents. Staff should have consistent positive reinforcement and behaviour management strategies in their classrooms, collaborative learning needs to be introduced in subjects that are content-laden, and practical, ‘hands-on’ activities need to be increased in their classrooms.

The findings from the interviews and open-ended responses suggest that there is a need for the Principal to foster inclusion of shared philosophies across the entire school community (parents, teachers, students and Islamic leaders), and to review

LCSH Subject Headings

Islamic education - Western Australia

Muslim children - Western Australia

Muslim families - Western Australia

Refugee children - Education - Western Australia

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