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IJER Vol 23-N1

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The mission of the International Journal of Educational Reform (IJER) is to keep readers up-to-date with worldwide developments in education reform by providing scholarly information and practical analysis from recognized international authorities. As the only peer-reviewed scholarly publication that combines authors’ voices without regard for the political affiliations perspectives, or research methodologies, IJER provides readers with a balanced view of all sides of the political and educational mainstream. To this end, IJER includes, but is not limited to, inquiry based and opinion pieces on developments in such areas as policy, administration, curriculum, instruction, law, and research.
IJER should thus be of interest to professional educators with decision-making roles and policymakers at all levels turn since it provides a broad-based conversation between and among policymakers, practitioners, and academicians about reform goals, objectives, and methods for success throughout the world.
Readers can call on IJER to learn from an international group of reform implementers by discovering what they can do that has actually worked. IJER can also help readers to understand the pitfalls of current reforms in order to avoid making similar mistakes. Finally, it is the mission of IJER to help readers to learn about key issues in school reform from movers and shakers who help to study and shape the power base directing educational reform in the U.S. and the world.

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5 Articles

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Is It Time for a U.S. Policy to Ban Corporal Punishment of Schoolchildren?

ePub

Elizabeth Breshears

ABSTRACT: This article examines corporal punishment in U.S. public schools, proposes a national conversation regarding its use, and advocates for a national policy to promote nonviolent discipline methods and prohibit corporal punishment of children in educational settings. The United States remains one of the few postmodern societies without a national policy, and close to a quarter of a million students are corporally punished in public schools annually. The article briefly reviews research regarding the effectiveness of corporal punishment, describes its historical roots and current use by educators, and examines corporal punishment of schoolchildren through a human rights and social justice lens.

The United States is one of the few remaining modern societies without a national policy or legislation on corporal punishment (CP) of children in schools. The purpose of this article is to critically review the status and extent of CP of U.S. public schoolchildren, discuss the need for national discourse regarding the consequences of CP in U.S. educational settings, and call for consideration of a national ban of physical punishment of children in U.S. schools. The article briefly reviews research on effectiveness and outcomes of childhood physical punishment and examines data and current policy regarding use of CP in U.S. schools and internationally. Historical roots of CP as an educational tool are discussed, as are key legal rulings and human rights perspectives of school CP. Last, the article asserts the need for U.S. dialogue on the merits of a ban on school CP and proposes U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as a vehicle to facilitate this national conversation.

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A History of Sex Education in the United States Since 1900

ePub

Valerie J. Huber

Michael W. Firmin

ABSTRACT: We provide a historical perspective toward the current public school practices of American sex education. The primary time frames include the progressive era (1880–1920), intermediate era (1920–1960), the sexual revolution era (1960s and 1970s), and the modern sex education era (1980s to the present). In each period, we highlight key developments that affect educators’ current decision making as public sex education continues to develop and morph in the context of contemporary society. We show that an apt understanding of sex education’s past is critical for making prudent decisions about its future.

The historical record of sex education in American public schools is relatively short. Developments after 1900 were the emphasis in this study, but a brief examination of events prior to 1900 provided an important foundation. Cultural and moral gatekeepers made sexual experimentation a forbidden activity during early American history, but those gates were forced open by a series of events after the turn of the 20th century.

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Mentoring Prospective Principals: Determinants of Productive Mentor–Mentee Relationship

ePub

Chen Schechter

ABSTRACT: Mentoring contributes to prospective principals’ growth, easing their transition from the role of teacher to that of administrator. This article reports findings from a study aimed at examining the determinant factors affecting the mentor–mentee relationship in a uniquely designed principal preparation program in New York City. The study population comprised 18 prospective principals and 6 acting principals serving as mentors. Data were collected via semistructured individual interviews and written reports. Data analysis reveals three main categories as determinants of a productive mentor–mentee relationship: personal characteristics, professional discourse, and time and frequency of communication. Findings are analyzed and coupled with recommendations for creating successful and productive mentor–mentee relationships.

Novice professionals or experienced professionals entering a new position are often accompanied by an experienced guide or an inspiring role model. While this has been an inseparable part of the professionalizing process in fields such as medicine, law, and architecture, it was not common in school administration. The idea that novice school principals should receive guidance has only recently been accepted as an important step on the road to more effective school leadership. Thus, awareness is growing within the educational systems that mentoring is an important practice, enabling prospective and beginning principals to both experience a better transition from the teaching role to the administrative one (Daresh, 2004).

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Analysis of Factors That Influence Beginning Teachers’ Perception of Their Instructional Competency

ePub

Sylvia Chong

Wai Mun Loh

Xueling Mabelene Mak

ABSTRACT: Literature concerning teacher quality indicates that there is a core body of knowledge and skills that a teacher must be equipped with to develop competencies of effective teaching. Beginning teachers (n = 3,353; 1–3 teaching years) participated in an online quality evaluation project at the National Institute of Education, Singapore. Factors underlying beginning teachers’ perceptions of their teaching competencies were explored. First, the tool proved to be a reliable and valid measure. Second, analysis focused on a hypothesized path model of how the factors interact and contribute to beginning teachers’ preparedness to teach. Possible implications are presented and discussed.

Beginning teachers’ self-perceptions of their instructional competency is integral to construct meaning about their teaching processes. These self-perceptions and beliefs affect choices, level of motivation, quality of functioning, resilience to adversity, and vulnerability to stress (Bandura, 1997). Teachers are central to the implementation of education reforms and change; it is through them that we understand the nature of educational processes (Feiman-Nemser, 2001). Researching these perceptions can provide meaningful insights into potential educational reform efforts for policy-making, accountability to stakeholders, and support for teachers’ professional growth aimed at enhancing the early teaching experience.

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Similar Paths, Different Destinations: Gender Differences in Teacher Career Paths in Oman

ePub

David W. Chapman

Thuwayba Al-Barwani

Fathiya Al Maawali

Thomas J. Jones

ABSTRACT: Across Oman, girls outnumber and outperform boys at the secondary school level. While welcoming girls’ success, the government is concerned that low male achievement may have negative consequences on national competitiveness and economic growth. One reason posited for this discrepancy in achievement is differences in the nature and quality of instruction that students receive, which is attributed in part to differences in who teaches male and female students. Drawing on data from a tracer study of 625 Omani teachers, this study investigated gender differences in how Omani teachers view their careers, and it offers an analysis of ways to encourage the retention of Omani teachers in the teaching force.

Sharp differences in academic achievement between male and female students at the secondary level in the Sultanate of Oman have sparked considerable concern: Across the country, girls consistently outperform boys. While government and education officials are pleased that girls’ achievement is high, they express concern that low male achievement may, over the long run, have negative consequences on national competitiveness and economic growth. One reason posited for this discrepancy in achievement is differences in the nature and quality of instruction that students receive, attributed at least in part to differences in who teaches male and female students. In Oman, girls are taught by female teachers, most of whom are Omanis; boys are taught by male teachers, a high proportion of whom are expatriates.

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