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IJER Vol 10-N3

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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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The Effects of Citizenship on Educational Choices: Ethnic Chinese in Korea

ePub

Sheena Choi

The Korean government from the 1950s through the present has had no clear policies governing the education of foreign nationals living in Korea; it has delegated education of ethnic Chinese, hence Korean-Huaqiao(s), to the ethnic community. Under these laissez-faire educational policies, Korean-Huaqiao communities replicated the Taiwanese system as the model that served “education as the basis of cultural and language transmission” (Tan, 2000, p. 381). Externally, within Korean society, Korean-Huaqiaos’ emphasis on ethnic education resulted in the lower status of ethnic Chinese in Korean society; internally, within the ethnic community, it resulted in two opposing directions; it both undermined and strengthened the ethnic community. An examination of Korea’s citizenship law and economic and educational policies toward Korean-Huaqiaos will show that preclusion from Korean citizenship and Korea’s hostile economic policies toward Korean-Huaqiaos, while granting privileges in educational area, led to Korean-Huaqiaos’ subordinate status in the larger society.

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Teaching Thinking Skills in the United Arab Emirates: An Examination of the Current Curriculum in the 1st Through 12th Grades

ePub

Khalifa Ali Alsuwaidi

A major paradigmatic teaching shift has taken place in the United Arab Emirates, from the traditional format to one in which students are actively engaged in their own learning processes. While core values that are central to Islamic beliefs are retained, the methodology now focuses on teaching thinking, rather than rote memorization. A random sample (n = 393) of teachers in 1st through 12th grades responded to a survey developed to evaluate their views of this paradigmatic shift. Overall, the respondents considered the new, modern curriculum to be a better tool than the traditional curriculum in terms of educational goals, curriculum, teaching methods, and assessment, although there are areas that continue to need improvement, particularly with regard to the educational goals of helping students develop their critical thinking skills.

Several influences have converged to create a new emphasis on the teaching of thinking and other general skills during the elementary, junior high, and high school years around the world. Prominent among these are workplace readiness and the constructivist movement. Although education in the Arab nations has been tied to religious fundamentalism during the 20th century and traditional teaching techniques relied primarily on rote learning within a teacher-centered, religious-oriented context, teaching thinking is not at all antithetical to the Holy Qu’ran. In fact, more than 640 verses in the Qu’ran challenge believers to use their minds for critical thinking, problem-solving, creative thinking, and decision-making. Particularly, as we enter the 21st century, it is important to cultivate these skills to enable our youth to function effectively in their own world as well as in the global community.

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The Transition of Retired Military Officers to a Second Career in Education: The Israeli Perspective

ePub

Chen Schechter

Since Israel became an independent state in 1948, there has been a steady stream of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) military officers retiring from active service. Lately, as a result of drastic cuts in the military budget, and the opportunity for early retirement at 40 years of age, a growing number of officers are in transition from active military service to a second career in the civilian sector, including the educational realm.

Little research exists concerning the transition of retired military officers to a second career in education. Research findings will be in greater demand with the move toward a global economy, in which monetary struggles will replace struggles in the battlefield. In this future scenario, an increased number of military personnel will need to seek a second career in the civilian sector. Before discussing the research that has been carried out during the last 20 years concerning the transition from the first career (military) to a second career (civilian), earlier research in the United States may offer insights. This will be followed by an overview of the social controversy in Israel regarding the recruitment of retired military officers for administrative positions in the educational field, the limited research on this subject in Israel, and suggestions for policymakers.

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A Blueprint for Supporting Undergraduates as Researchers Through Campus-Led Mentoring Initiatives

ePub

Carol A. Mullen

The development of motivated undergraduates as researchers should be taken for granted as part of new-millennium thinking. Students who start their research development as early as undergraduate school will have the opportunity to develop a complex set of skills that will enable them and universities to be competitive. Unfortunately, very few blueprints exist for reforming higher education institutions to promote the budding research interests of undergraduate students. In order to encourage change within the current infrastructure of universities, undergraduate research development will need to be sponsored as a goal of systemic reform. What is needed is the coleadership of top administration and committed faculty to spearhead this goal through formal mechanisms within university cultures so that all research-based disciplines can participate.

Based on the few studies that have been published, the need for undergraduate research development is being realized in the United States (O’Clock & Rooney, 1996; Strassburger, 1995). The status in other Western nations is an unknown, relative to the available literature. Regardless, more publication documentation is needed so that this area of development can be carefully appraised. We simply do not have enough evidence to know to what extent such reform initiatives are in operation, both formally and informally.

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Creating Communities of Learners: The Interaction of Shared Leadership, Shared Vision, and Supportive Conditions

ePub

Jane B. Huffman and Kristine A. Hipp

For more than 20 years, educators, policymakers, and others have targeted efforts for school reform from top-down bureaucratic governance to a more shared and collaborative focus on decision-making and innovative improvement processes. While these efforts have been admirable, and many dedicated educators have spent years working to achieve results, the results have been disappointing. Students are still not achieving as successfully as parents and society want them to, and the challenge to increase student performance to state and national standards has raised the accountability stakes to an all-time high. Schlechty (1997) commented: “The demands of modern society are such that America’s public schools must now provide what they have never provided before: a first-rate academic education for nearly all students” (p. 235).

What has gone wrong? What can schools and educators do to affect long-lasting change that addresses the needs of our students and society? Fragmented change efforts, including the Excellent Movement in the 1980s and the Restructuring Movement in the 1990s, have introduced changed initiatives, but produced minimal school improvement. What is needed is a systematic plan that coordinates and implements the essential elements needed for school improvement and student achievement. Cuban (1988) called for second-order change that would fundamentally alter organizational culture, structure, and leadership roles in schools. This reculturing of schools has been characterized by shared values and norms, an emphasis on student learning, reflective dialogue, deprivatization of practice, and collaboration (Louis, Kruse, & Marks, 1996). Sergiovanni (1994) calls on schools to become communities where professional learning is continuous, reflective, and focused on improving student outcomes. But building a professional learning community is difficult due to the many demands on teachers and administrators, the growing accountability issues, the increasingly diverse needs of students, teacher isolation and burnout, and many other unmanageable stressors. To develop, nurture, and sustain a community of learners means creating a different culture that includes a shared vision, true collaboration, administrator and teacher leadership, and conditions that support these efforts (Mitchell & Sackney, 2001).

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