Article Type:
Rowley, Glenn
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Name: Australian Journal of Education Publisher: Australian Council for Educational Research Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Education Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Australian Council for Educational Research ISSN: 0004-9441
Date: April, 2010 Source Volume: 54 Source Issue: 1

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Welcome to Volume 54 of the Australian Journal of Education. We start the new year with a varied and stimulating set of articles. It has long been my belief that the Australian Journal of Education should stimulate debate, not just report it. In recent issues I think we have been doing more of this, and this issue continues that trend.

In the opening article, Catherine Scott will challenge the cherished beliefs of many of our readers. Research on learning styles, she argues, provides no basis for the widespread belief that different teaching strategies should be employed for children with different learning styles. The wholesale endorsement of this idea by schools and education authorities flies in the face of the research evidence, and risks disadvantaging some children by not presenting them with the full range of learning opportunities. This paper will excite many and anger some. Even better, it may stimulate a continuing debate.

Kristina Gottschall and her colleagues, Natasha Wardman, Kathryn Edgeworth, Rachael Hutchesson and Sue Saltmarsh, take a fascinating look at the values underlying the marketing approaches adopted by certain elite boys schools in New South Wales. A careful study of a set of school prospectuses reveals a range of hidden and possibly unintended messages. To what extent do these messages reflect exclusivity and to what extent do they reflect gender stereotypes? It is difficult to read this article without wondering what might be learned from a similar study of elite girls schools, of which there are many.

Nobody likes to be seen as ignorant but Michael Singh identifies the virtue in being aware of what we don't know, particularly when charged with the responsibility of educating international students from backgrounds so varied that there will always be much that we do not know. Used wisely, he argues, ignorance can be a facilitator of, rather than an impediment to, learning.

Three articles in this issue directly consider important policy issues. Lawrence Ingvarson provides a comprehensive account of recent Australian developments for the recognition and reward of accomplished teachers. With education authorities, state and federal, public and independent, seemingly unanimous on its necessity, there is sorry confusion on what it might mean and how it should be done. A careful reading of this article by those with the power to make decisions might result in wiser decisions being made.

Laura Perry and Andrew McConney have found an ingenious way to examine the complex relationship of achievement with individual and school socio-economic status. The results that they present are vivid and may have more persuasive power than the complex statistics to which we have become accustomed. In presenting their results, they raise a host of policy issues, one of which (government funding mechanisms) is taken up in detail by Louise Watson and Chris Ryan. Although all governments would claim that their policies are aimed at providing greater equality of opportunity, the evidence presented in this article suggests that the effect is in the opposite direction. By studying how the increased funding to independent schools has been deployed, Watson and Ryan find little evidence that it has been used to increase accessibility through lower school fees, and much evidence of it being used to increase provision while maintaining the relative level of fees. To the extent that this is so, funding that one might expect to increase the choices available to less financially advantaged parents may in fact be disadvantaging them further, while denying them that choice. If this is so, governments--state, territory and federal--need to know this, and to consider their policy responses.

As if this were not enough, we have two reviews: Noel Pearson's Quarterly Essay Radical hope: Education and equality in Australia, reviewed by Quentin Beresford and Jan Gray, and Rosalyn Black's Beyond the classroom: Building new school networks, reviewed by Libby Tudball. While it may be unusual for this journal to review a periodical publication that will no longer be available on the bookstands when we go to press, my judgement is that the issues raised by Noel Pearson's work are so important that AJE readers should be encouraged to seek it out in their libraries or to take steps to obtain copies by mail order. If the publication of this review has this effect, it will have been well worth the effort that the two reviewers have given it.

Finally, a word for the unsung heroes of the Australian Journal of Education. We are well served by our Editorial Board and our team of Associate Editors, and their names are (rightly) up in lights in every issue of the journal. Seldom recognised but greatly appreciated, is the enormous contribution made by a large team of volunteer reviewers, without whose specialised knowledge and conscientious effort the journal could not function. So in this issue I pay tribute to all of those, as well as the Editorial Board members and Associate Editors, who have contributed reviews during 2009:

Andrea Allard, Angelika Anderson, Chi Baik, Robyn Beaman, Quentin Beresford, Bob Birrell, Jill Blackmore, Trevor Bond, Sid Bourke, Gavin Brown, Gerald Burke, Doug Clarke, Max Coltheart, Deborah Corrigan, John Cresswell, Jan Currie, Charlotte Danielson, Scott Dickson, Andrew Dowling, Daniel Edwards, Colin Evers, Peter Fensham, David Fergusson, John Firth, Marilyn Fleer, Barry Fraser, Erica Frydenberg, Rob Gilbert, Jan Gray, Patrick Griffin, Richard Gunstone, John Hattie, John Hedberg, Deborah Henderson, Tony Herrington, Chris Hickey, Alyson Holbrook, Wesley Imms, Lawrence Ingvarson, Moshe Israelshvili, Nicola Johnson, Matthew Kearney, Mary Anne Kennan, Chris Kilham, Sue Kilpatrick, Elizabeth Kleinhenz, Sue Knight, Betty Leask, Ramon Lewis, Michelle Lonsdale, Kaye Lowe, Norman McCulla, Tim Macdonald, Helen McGrath, Julie McLeod, Caroline Mansfield, Tony Mercurio, Gavin Moodie, Kate Moore, Justen O'Connor, Debra Panizzon, Shane Pill, Kaye Plummer, Scott Poynting, Leonie Rennie, Sheldon Rothman, Fiona Rowe, Catherine Scott, Terri Seddon, Richard Selleck, Umesh Sharma, Phillip Slee, Kim Snepvangers, Elizabeth Stacey, Irene Styles, Peter Sullivan, Sue Thomson, Sue Towns, Russell Tytler, Dianne Vella-Brodrick, Anthony Welch, Gerry White, Joel Windle, Rui Yang, Robyn Young.

Take a bow, all of you!

Glenn Rowley

Australian Council for Educational Research
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