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IJER Vol 13-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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8 Articles

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Ignored Expertise: Teacher Response to School Reform at a “D” School

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Jonathan Gayles

Since the publication of A Nation at Risk (National Commission for Excellence in Education, 1983), school reform has not been far from the center of dialogue about public education in the United States. This report certainly provided a sensationalized reference point for much of the reform that immediately followed it and much of the reform that currently exists. Consider the ominous implications of this statement on the opening page of the report: “The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and as a People” (p. 1). The claims of some impending educational disaster have been harshly criticized for both the dubious value of these claims and the insidious impact that these claims have had on public education in this country (Bracey, 1997, 2003; Ohanian, 2000). Perhaps the most articulate critique was offered only a few years after the report was released:

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Dilemmas of School-Based Reform: An Interpretive Case Study of Teacher Empowerment and Dissent

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Elisabeth Settelmaier, John Wallace, and Peter Taylor

This article reports on a 3-year longitudinal case study of a school-based project designed to restructure and reculture the school’s teaching and learning environment. Using a participatory action research framework, groups of teachers from the school worked together to develop a community of inquiry focusing on core teaching values, student learning, professional growth, teamwork, and teacher-leadership (Wallace & Taylor, 1999). This article examines the problematic nature of such a strategy for school change through a description and analysis of the dilemmas faced by the school as it engaged with the reform project.

For many years, commentators have called for schools to change both the content of schooling and the processes by which those changes are brought about (Lieberman, 1989, 1995). Content changes require schools to be more focused on learners’ needs for active, experiential, and culturally connected learning opportunities that are supportive of individual talents and learning styles (Wiske, 1998). Reform-minded schools aim to create these learning opportunities within organizations using processes of inquiry, accountability, and shared decision making (Darling-Hammond, 1997).

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Teacher Perceptions of a PDS Partnership

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Diane Everett and Mercedes Tichenor

Professional development schools (PDSs) are collaborative partnerships between teacher education programs and K–12 schools that provide educational opportunities for teachers and students alike. Such school–university partnerships are an important part of current educational reform (Loving, Wiseman, Cooner, Sterbin, & Seidel, 1997). They are restructuring schools, impacting teacher education programs and K–12 curricula, and contributing to the knowledge base that underlies the teaching profession (Loving et al., 1997).

The body of empirical research examining PDS partnerships is growing. In particular, several studies have focused on the impacts of PDS partnerships, especially with respect to their effects on teachers, their practices, and their attitudes. For example, after interviews with PDS participants, Schverak, Coltharp, and Cooner (1998) concluded that PDSs produce positive outcomes for schools, specifically by providing extra attention for students and professional growth for participating teachers. In another study, teachers reported that, as a result of a PDS partnership, many had changed the way they teach, the way they reflect on practice, their conception of collegial work, and their conception of what teachers need to know in order to teach (Berry & Catoe, 1994). In a third study, Morris and Nunnery (1993) confirmed that teachers in PDS sites perceive an increase in their efficacy as educators, their professional knowledge, and their collegiality. Similarly, Bullough, Kauchak, Crow, Hobbs, and Stokes (1997) noted moderate changes in how teachers who were involved in a PDS practice self-reflection and view the teaching practice. Finally, after interviews with veteran teachers, Castle and Hunter (1997) concluded that, while teachers felt a PDS partnership supported their professional development, they did not believe it influenced instructional practices in the classroom.

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Reforming a Teacher Education Program for PRC EFL Teachers in Singapore: Sociocultural Considerations and Curriculum Evolution

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Lawrence Jun Zhang

As early as 1987, Young (1987) pointed out the importance of the sociocultural context of language teaching and learning in the Chinese ESL/EFL classroom. He argued for innovation in both instructional methods and materials and warned that such “innovation should be carried out in full recognizance of the delicate balance of behaviors, expectations, and beliefs which make up the culture of the Chinese classroom” (p. 27). Such a call seems to have been answered and thus it has become increasingly important that language teachers pay attention to learner needs and strive for innovation in instruction to enhance learning efficacy (see e.g., Zhang & Skuja-Steele, 2003, for a survey of research into the People’s Republic of China English as a foreign language [PRC EFL] learners). Such teacher efforts include, though not exclusively, a shift of teacher roles in the classroom, as Oxford (1998, p. 1) rightly points out. Oxford posits that the focus on the learner necessitates a change in the role of the language teacher: from the fount of all wisdom and director of classroom activity to facilitator of learning and guide toward greater learner autonomy (see also Horwitz, 1995; Wenden, 1995). This position equally applies to a TEFL teacher-education program where trainee-teachers are given a chance to express their own views on the curriculum change.

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Citizenship, Education, and Identity: A Comparative Study of Ethnic Chinese in Korea and Ethnic Koreans in China

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Sheena Choi

In general, discussion of the political theory of citizenship revolves around major contemporary processes such as democratization, consolidation and/or integration, welfare entitlements, and global migration. Those processes provide a framework for understanding individual rights and sociopolitical conflicts within a nation-state. Consequently, in nationalist perspectives, citizenship is the social glue that enables the liberation of a “portion of humanity from tribal loyalties and its fusion into a voluntary civic community” (Shafir, 1998, p. 3), thus forging a sense of common culture and shared destiny.

Citizenship, Marshall (1992) asserts, is a status bestowed on those who are full members of a community. All who possess such status are equal with respect to the rights and duties with which the status is endowed. For Marshall, “The right of the citizen . . . is the right to equality of opportunity” (p. 65), and further, the “equality of status is more important than equality of income” (p. 56). According to Marshall, citizenship consists of three elements: civil, political, and social. The civil element is composed of the rights necessary for individual freedom, such as liberty of the person; freedom of speech, thought and faith; the right to own property and to conclude valid contracts; and the right to justice. Marshall characterizes that the “right to justice” more specifically as the right to due process through the courts of justice. The political element of citizenship is the right to participate in the exercise of political power, to vote or run for office such as parliament or the councils of local government. The social element, which ranges from the right to a modicum of economic welfare and security to the right to share to the fullest in social heritage, in essence defines the right to live the life of a civilized person according to the standards prevailing in the society. Therefore, by definition, social citizenship rights are most closely connected with the educational system and social service.

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The Role of Gender in Educational Administration: A Study of Turkish Secondary School Principals

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Niyazi Can

There has been a process of great change and development leading into the 21st century in the world. Today’s employee is a very different person in terms of values and needs than the employee in earlier decades of the 20th century. Patriarchal and male power have shaped the construction of leadership, its culture, discourse, image, and practice for centuries (Reay & Ball, 2000). Numerous reasons have been cited as deterrents to women’s advancement; for example, lack of general management and line experience, less exposure to assignments that involve risk and high visibility; gender discrimination; difficulty in adapting to the corporate culture; and lack of a clear career strategy (McDonald & Hite, 1998). In the only study on attitudes in independent schools to professional development, Waite and Watson (1998) find a marked difference between men and women in the workplace, that is, women are less likely to want to take up the opportunities for further training that are offered to them. They note that this seems to be a matter of generation since younger women are more likely to accept professional training (Mclay & Brown, 2001).

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The Organization and Administration of Special Services: Variations, Tensions, and Possibilities

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Lynn H. Doyle

Educational administrators are spending considerably more time and effort on issues involving special services for disadvantaged and special needs students than they have in the past (Burrello, 2003). In light of current school improvement initiatives to improve the academic success for all students, it is likely that this will even increase. Passage of No Child Left Behind and changes in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) indicate Congress’s commitment to reform teaching and learning. These laws now mandate that at-risk students and students with disabilities be included in high-stakes testing. Mandates such as these provide not only challenges, but also opportunities for local school districts to look at past practices differently and create new possibilities to restructure teaching and learning. If ever there was a time for administrators to be visionaries who can see new ways to use special services, it is now.

The array of special services is vast, and the manner in which these services are organized differs from district to district and from school to school (Zepeda & Langenbach, 1999). When discussing special services, educators typically mean those services that fall under three umbrella categories: (a) special education, (b) related services, and (c) pupil services (also called pupil personnel services or student services). Although special education typically refers to the 13 disability areas identified in IDEA, related services and pupil services are less clear. Related services are defined as:

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A Study of Facilitative Leadership Behavior and Its Role in the Success of Schools

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Fatih Töremen

Leadership refers to an attitude, personality, or a certain position, with leaders striving to influence organizational performance. The term leader is related to a specific organizational role (such as a principal), and “headers” are individuals who possess certain attributes (e.g., traits) or who act in certain ways (Ogawa & Bossert, 1995, p. 14). In addition, leadership can be defined as the process of influencing the group activities in order to reach the group goals (Bass, 1990, p. 3). Leadership also involves affecting, directing, and managing views, actions, and education (Bennis & Nanus, 1985, p. 4). Moreover, leadership is a force that is bound to effective personal characteristics. Gorton and Schneider (1991), for example, define leadership as an ability to know how to meet the needs of the people who follow him; whereas Albrecht (1996) defines it as an ability to focus on the capacity of human beings’ predetermined objectives.

Other scholars in educational administration discuss the changing roles of school leaders. For example, according to Vandenberghe (1995):

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