International Association of Educators   |  ISSN: 2834-7919   |  e-ISSN: 1554-5210

Volume 12 Issue 3 (October 2016)

Original Articles

Diversity, Neoliberalism and Teacher Education

Arturo Rodriguez & Kevin Russell Magill

pp. 7 - 23


In this essay, we conduct a brief analytical review of teacher preparation programs, which claim to prepare lifelong culturally responsive teachers. Initial evaluation revealed factors limiting program success, they include: deeply embedded dominant ideological assumptions, use of traditional methods to train teachers, inability to understand or work toward non-hegemonic social relations and a pervasive and closed neoliberal epistemology limiting diversity in the preparation programs and profession. Finally, we critique existing understandings of teacher education, consider alternatives in philosophy, structure and function for preparation programs and critical humanism as a framework for working with teachers, to transform indoctrinating and dehumanizing educational practices. 

Keywords: Culturally responsive, pedagogy, social justice, neoliberalism, labor

Integrating Diversity Education and Service Learning: A 15+ Year Journey Continues

Myra N. Womble & Elaine Adams

pp. 24 - 34


This paper reports the 15+ year journey undertaken by university faculty to integrate service learning with diversity education. It has taken the faculty from its initial integration of academic community learning and diversity education in 1999 to its current course offering in 2015. The purpose of this integration has remained the same, to engage graduate students in exploring varied aspects of diversity while learning to work and live in a diverse world and serving the needs of the community. Over the years, graduate students enrolled in the diversity course have been participants in service learning experiences of their choice in diverse, non-profit community-based organizations. With few exceptions, based on student reflective journals, the instructor’s service learning pedagogy, and the students’ organization choices, service learning in diverse environments has contributed to positive change in students’ views about diversity. 

Keywords: Graduate students, Diversity, Service learning

Social-Cognitive Career Model for Social Studies Teacher Candidates’ Leadership in Educational Technology

Özkan Akman

pp. 35 - 46


In today’s knowledge society, constant changes and developments in the information and communication technologies has affected all areas as well as educational systems. In order to comply with these changes and developments, teachers need to develop a proficiency in using the technology in a sufficient manner. Although the number of research studies were done on this proficiency of the social studies' teacher candidates is not sufficient, but the results of these studies are quite satisfactory. In the study, it was aimed to contribute to the literature, the attitudes of the social studies' teacher candidates have been studied according to the model of ‘’Social-Cognitive Career Theory’’ (SCCT); the candidates have also been evaluated in terms of self-sufficiency, interests, intentions, and result expectations—the four important attributes of SCCT. A five-point Likert scale, adapted from a Turkish study by Sahin (2009), used in this research. Among the results, significant relationships were observed between the self-sufficiency, interests, intentions, and result expectations of the social studies' teacher candidates with regard to technology. 

Keywords: Social studies, Social-cognitive career theory, Education technologies, Technology education

Seventh Grade Students’ Conceptual Understanding about Citizenship: Does a Constructivist Social Studies Program Make a Difference?

Osman Sabancı, Şefika Kurnaz & Nejla Yürük

pp. 47 - 61


Many studies have shown that students at different age levels come into classrooms with a variety of alternative conceptions. Commonly held alternative conceptions are the main source of the difficulties that students and teachers face in learning and teaching. The aim of this study was to compare the conceptual understanding of students who were exposed to previous traditional/behaviorist and the current constructivist social studies programs. Descriptive and quasi-experimental research designs were used together in this study. The participants of this study consisted of 606 seventh-grade students in 15 middle schools located in 5 different districts in Ankara. Data collected through administrating a three-tier multiple choice concept test as a post and pre-test was analyzed by using different statistical techniques, such as percentage-frequency tables, independent samples t-test, and chi-square. There was a significant difference between the conceptual understanding of students who were exposed to the previous and the current program after they were taught about the common human rights, democracy and citizenship concepts. This difference was in favor of the current program. 

Keywords: Conceptual understanding, alternative conceptions, social studies, program

The Effects of an Argument-Based Inquiry Approach On Improving Critical Thinking and the Conceptual Understanding of Optics among Pre-Service Science Teachers

Esra Kabataş Memiş

pp. 62 - 77


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the university-level application of an ArgumentBased Inquiry Approach, as compared to the traditional laboratory teaching method, on the ability of students to learn about optics and to demonstrate critical thinking. In this quasi-experimental study, pretest-posttest scores and CCDTI were used as data collection tools. The study sample consisted of a total of 44 students receiving lessons in science education and laboratory applications in two separate classes within the Faculty of Education at a small university in the north of Turkey in the school year 2013-2014. While the students in the control group carried out experiments using the traditional laboratory method, the students in the experimental group carried out activities in groups of three to four based on research using the ABI approach. Students in both groups performed seven activities. In the study, we used pretest and posttest results. The Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficient of the test was determined to be 0.71. In addition, the CCDTI scale, adapted into Turkish, was used at the beginning and end of the study in an attempt to determine the change in students’ capacity for critical thinking. The findings show that university-level use of the ABI approach provides a statistically significant contribution to students’ success in learning optics. Moreover, it was established that the argument-based approach produces significant differences in students’ capacity for and tendencies towards critical thinking compared to the traditional method. 

Keywords: Argument-based inquiry approach, Critical thinking, Science education, Scientific achievement, SWH.

Building a Community of Practice in a Teacher Preparation Initiative

Ann Marie Smith, Jeannine Hurst & Elizabeth Murakami

pp. 78 - 90


The purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences of faculty as they engaged in professional development under a Teacher Preparation Initiative (TPI). This initiative engaged faculty in a community of practice that included activities such as aligning curricula, professional development, and examining teaching practices. This study was developed using an ethnographic approach, including autobiographic narratives as a method of data collection. Faculty narrative responses illustrate Wenger’s (1998) concept of identity transformation in their acknowledgement of their professional experience and their willingness to critique, then move beyond the limitations of a professional development program.

Keywords: Professional development, Higher education, Teacher Preparation initiative

Preparation and Evaluation of Children's Rights Education Curriculum: An Action Research Regarding on Protection Rights Module

Şükran Uçuş & Hakan Dedeoğlu

pp. 91 - 109


Children’s rights education is to enable children to gain the necessary social behaviors and essential knowledge for creating a democratic society that is based on respecting human rights. The purpose of this study was to investigate the preparation, application and assessment of a curriculum for teaching children’s rights in elementary education. The research was designed as action research. The study was conducted in 2011-2012 education year during spring term in Ankara with the participation of 5th grade students whose families have middle and low income levels. Within the context of this study is a part of 11-weeks children’s rights education curriculum which comprises activities to enhance awareness about children’s rights were implemented. Protection rights activities were conducted from 6th weeks to 10th weeks. During the implementation period, in line with their ordinary study curriculum, students were requested to participate in various activities at least for 2 days in a week (6 hours) about kidnapping, protection from all forms of violence, child labor, sexual exploitation, refugee children, the right of privacy, other forms of exploitation, children in the war detention and punishment. Data collected in this study were based on both qualitative and quantitative methods. As a result of the quantitative and qualitative assessments done over the curriculum, it is revealed that the study group had demonstrated a clear progress on learning of children’s rights, using this knowledge as a behavior, developing an awareness of these rights and freedoms. A significant difference was seen on students about teaching children about their rights. Moreover, it was revealed that a great awareness was seen in the study group about children’s rights. 

Keywords: Children ’s rights, Convention of children’s rights, Children’s protection rights, Curriculum

Investigating the Competence of Classroom Teachers in Terms of Nominating the Students with High Creativity and Gender-Biased Decisions

Feyzullah Şahin

pp. 110 - 120


The main purpose of this study was to analyse the classroom teachers’ competence in identifying above–average creative students, and their gender–bias during the identification process. A descriptive survey model was employed as a research method. A total of 317 elementary school students took part in this study. As data collecting tools, a teacher observation form, the creativity scale, and the Torrance Thinking Creativity Test were used. The results of the study enabled the determination of a teacher rating scale that helped the teachers categorize their students more clearly and differentiate them in such a way as to enable gender–bias to be reduced when compared to the teacher’s opinion method. . 

Keywords: Creativity, Identification, Gender–bias, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Teacher proficiency

Children’s Drawings and Descriptions of their Ideal Schools: A Case Study from Turkey

Gökhan Güneş, Gözde Çakıcı Güneş & Berrin Akman

pp. 121 - 133


The aim of this study is to examine 4-7 year old children’s drawings of the school of their dreams and to compare them with today’s schools. In a total of 45 children who attend private institutions in Ankara participated in the research. The method of the research is qualitative and data collection tools consisting of picture drawing and interview forms directed at children after drawing are also prepared with a qualitative approach. Children’s drawings were examined according to their developmental stages and children’s dream schools were compared with today’s schools by performing descriptive statistics on drawings and responses to interviews. According to the findings, drawings of younger age range were more unusual than drawings of older age range and physical structures, materials; and education programs of existing schools exhibit a remote image of the dream schools of a large portion of the children who were involved in the survey. 

Keywords: Children's school drawing, School dreams, Materials and education programs, Creativity.

The Analysis of the Relationship between Being a Cyberbully and Cybervictim among Adolescents in Terms of Different Variables

Özlem Çakır, Deniz Mertkan Gezgin & Tuncay Ayas

pp. 134 - 154


The purpose of this study is to analyze the factors that cause high school students to commit cyberbullying acts and become a victim of cyberbullying. The study group consists of 622 high school students in two different cities. Relational survey model, which is one of the quantitative research methods, is used in this study. For the purpose of examining the factors that affect students’ cyberbullying behaviors and being a victim, “Cyberbully/Cybervictim Scale” is incorporated. Results indicate that there is no statistically significant difference between being a cyberbully/cybervictim and the variables of gender, technological competence of parents, owning a smartphone and the city in which the student lives. However, a significant difference is found with the some of the variables such as grade level, having a personal computer, having an internet connection at home, places accessed to a computer, places accessed to internet, daily internet use, level of technology use, the skill of technology use, educational level of parents. Furthermore, a moderate positive relationship is found between being cybervictim and exhibiting cyberbullying behaviors. 

Keywords: Cybervictim, Cyberbullying, Problematic internet use, Adolescents, High school.

The Correlation Between School Managers’ Communication Skills and School Culture

Ali Sabancı, Ahmet Şahin, Melek Alev Sönmez & Ozan Yılmaz

pp. 155 - 171


The purpose of this study was to explore the correlation between school administrators’ communication skills and school culture. This research was conducted as a survey using a descriptive method in order to ascertain the views of school managers and teachers about the correlation between school managers’ communication skills and school culture in Turkey. The data were collected from teachers and managers working in Kindergartens, Primary Schools (1-8th grades), and High Schools in the province of Antalya, Turkey via the “Interpersonal Communication Skills Questionnaire” and “Organizational Culture Questionnaire” designed with five-point Likert scales, ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. A total of 1037 questionnaires were included in the analysis. Pearson correlations coefficient and Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to examine the extent to which communication skills of school managers predict school culture. Consequently, interpersonal communication skills of school managers and organizational culture were found to be correlated moderately. 

Keywords: School culture, Interpersonal communication, Managers’ skills, Culture change.

Complexity, Diversity and Ambiguity in Teaching and Teacher Education: Practical Wisdom, Pedagogical Fitness and Tact of Teaching

Martina Riedler & Mustafa Yunus Eryaman

pp. 172 - 188


There is consensus in the literature that teacher education programs exhibit the characteristics of complex systems. These characteristics of teacher education programs as complex systems challenges the conventional, teacher-directed/ textbook-based positivist approaches in teacher education literature which has tried to reduce the complexities and ambiguities of the life in teacher education programs to something knowable, measurable and controllable. The increasing interest towards complexity in teacher education has brought with it some challenging questions which this narrative research study aims to address: what is complexity and ambiguity in teaching and teacher education? Do preservice teachers identify or do they experience complexity in classrooms? How do preservice teachers deal with diversity, complexity and ambiguity in their teaching practices? What kind of strategies do preservice teachers develop to deal with complexity and ambiguity in diverse school settings? How do preservice teachers define and interpret Practical Wisdom, Pedagogical Fitness and Tact of Teaching to deal with complexity and ambiguity in culturally diverse classrooms? 

Keywords: Practical Wisdom, Pedagogical Fitness, Tact of Teaching, Complexity, Diversity, Ambiguity, Teacher Education, Narrative Inquiry

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