Medium 9781475816426

IJER Vol 14-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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Exploring the Trend Toward Isomorphism in International Education

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Ryan Wells and Alan B. Henkin

International education has been expanding in popularity and importance within institutions of higher education (Hayward & Siaya, 2001; Siaya & Hayward, 2003). The legitimacy of international education as a field has been strengthened by the emergence of related professional associations and by institutional programs that have become integral parts of endogenous organizational environments (Siaya & Hayward, 2003). Reported increments in organizational integration of international education programs suggest high levels of fit between structures and practices of these programs and institutional standards deemed to be generally acceptable in the respective college and university environments. Such standards reflect organizational norms, values, and beliefs (Scott, 2003).

Legitimizing features of international education programs strengthen referent perceptions of international education as being valid and relevant (Scott, 1991). The actual capabilities and internal technical efficiency of international education programs may be less important, ostensibly, than meeting standards of legitimacy set by internal (organizational) and external (environmental) referents (Daft, 1998; Meyer & Scott, 1991; Scott, 2003). Programmatic adjustments may be made, at times, for the acquisition of institutional legitimacy rather than for technically rational reasons (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983).

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Problems and Expectations of University Students Attending Higher Education in Turkey: Orientation Services

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Mustafa Kutlu

The term orientation has an important place in counseling and guidance services, and it refers to the counseling and guidance services offered to help university students adapt to new milieus and conditions; cope with potential problems; contemplate the objectives of the university education; understand the responsibilities of a university student; get informed about the opportunities and services offered by the university; learn about the rules and principles of the university; obtain the information needed to make rational and accurate decisions during their university lives; and know about the university campus, faculties, and hostels, as well as its surroundings and host city.

Today university youth and the problems they experience constitute a significant matter that calls for attention. Especially those newcomers, having won university admittance and visiting for the first time, come up against a variety of problems. Among those problems, adaptation to the new environment and orientation take the lead (Alexitch, 1999; Alexitch & Page, 1996, 2001; Alexitch & Page, 2001; Barbarik, 1980; Bloom, 1987; Holdway & Kelloway, 1987; Johnson, 1994; Levine, 1981, 1997; Mathiasen, 1984; Renner, 1988). University students’ problems assume different aspects. Some of the familiar and pending problems include their wanting answers for numerous questions about their physical development and sexual issues, the problems with exams, weariness caused by studying excessively, the difficulty in having social relationships (especially with the opposite sex), neurotic tendencies, anxiety, depression, adaptation to the environment, accommodation problems, homesickness for family and hometown, overdependence on parents, academic and professional problems, and social adaptation (Aksu & Paykoç, 1986; Aydin & Demir, 1989; Çağlayan, 1989; Carroll & Tarasuk, 1991; Doğan, 1997; Güven, 1992; Johnson, Ellison, & Heikkinen, 1989; Levine, 1997; Mathiasen, 1984; Oliver & Paul, 1995; Özdoğan, 1989; Özgüven, 1989a, 1989b; Stoltz & Gallasi, 1989). Those students experiencing such problems are affected by them in different ways (Akkoyun & Dökmen, 1989; Alexitch, 1999; Alexitch & Page, 2001; Barbarik, 1980; Bloom, 1987; Çuhadaroğlu, 1989; Holdway & Kelloway, 1987; Levine, 1981; Renner, 1988; Silverthon & Gekoski, 1995). Yet it is quite difficult to say that the students receive professional support or are provided with such a service in coping with all these problems (Alexitch, 1999; Carroll & Tarasuk, 1991; Henricksen, 1995; Holdway & Kelloway, 1987). Counseling and guidance centers and the counselors there have an active role in conducting the services that may help the university students solve these problems. To offer this service effectively, these counselors should define their duties clearly for themselves (Remley & Albright, 1988). Moreover, a close and effective cooperation should be established between the staff offering these services and the administrators, school counselors, and others dealing with education (Kepçeoğlu, 1989; Tan, 1990).

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The Impact of Vocational Education on Economic Development in China

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I-Ming Wang and Chich-Jen Shieh

Study of the history of developed civilizations reveals that the affluence of a nation depends on its natural resources, economy, and labor force. Although China has an abundance of natural resources, it holds no superiority in this area when the resources are apportioned over the large population. China has not yet reached the conditions necessary to make full and efficient use of its resources. The labor force is its best resource. With 20% of the world’s population, China is often called “a nation of manpower.” However, the education received by most Chinese people is below the average of developed countries, a scenario that has been an important factor contributing to the relative poverty in China.

Since joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, China has made many social and economic reforms aimed at strengthening the nation. These reforms include improving science and technology, improving education systems, and adopting sustainable educational practices. Through its laws of education, China has enacted educational reforms to promote the sustained development of various educational programs and establish and perfect the “whole-life” educational system to better meet the demands for developing the socialist market economy and social progress. Yang (1997) points out that China is transitioning from a traditional planned economy to a socialist market economy. This transition has a crucial impact on the labor market, and its success depends very much on the quality of the labor force. Vocational education is an important part of the whole-life educational system and is important in the strategy of both building a labor force and strengthening China in science and education.

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Standards-Based Assessment With a Difference: The Impact of the New Zealand National Qualification Framework Reforms on Secondary School Science

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Barend Vlaardingerbroek

The Education Act of 1989 brought into existence the New Zealand National Qualifications Authority (NZQA), of which the first major task was to develop a national qualifications framework (NQF; New Zealand Government, 1989). The NQF was initially envisaged as a unified framework into which all secondary, vocational, and tertiary qualifications would be accommodated. Although nonuniversity tertiary education providers such as polytechnics rapidly affiliated themselves with the new framework, the established universities did not. The NQF accordingly encompasses qualifications awarded by schools, polytechnics, teachers colleges, and a host of vocational training providers in both the public and the private sector. From sheepshearing and scuba diving to chemistry and calculus, all qualifications attained from any of the accredited education and training providers are entered on people’s records of learning by the central qualifications authority. Course offerings by various providers have considerable overlaps—for example, the same elementary course in agriculture may be conducted by schools, polytechnics, government ministerial training bodies, and commercial providers. Once a student has passed a given course, the identity of the provider theoretically becomes immaterial, and the student can progress to an advanced course at the same, or another, provider institution. Courses are categorized by level, there being up to eight such levels where Level 1 represents Year 11 secondary school studies and Level 8, although initially intended for postgraduate degrees including doctorates (New Zealand Ministry of Education, 1999), in practice now generally represents the final year of a 4-year polytechnic degree. Vocational skills do not always fall neatly into this implied sequence; the hands-on course in chainsaw operation, for example, is at Level 3.

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Elementary School Principals’ Level of Practicing Democratic Values

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Remzi Y. Kincal and Halil Isik

Values can shape the behaviors of people. Values are also guiding principles for people (Rycman & Houston, 2003; Shwartz, 1992). Changing the values is difficult; however, education can empower one’s values. Schools have a vital role in nurturing democracy (Branson, 2004; Good-lad, 1996; Soder, 1996; Wood, 1992). Many authors have agreed that democracy can be taught to younger generations (Dewey, 1916; Finkel, 2003; Goodlad, 1996; Parker, 1996; Soder, 1996; Wood, 1992). Moreover, there are enormous efforts to teach democratic values in schools (Finkel, 2003). However, school administrators have a responsibility to establish a safe and orderly school environment (Pohan, 2003). Many times, school administrators miss the nurturing of the democratic values and ideals in their schools for the cost of establishing a safe and orderly environment. For educating democratic citizens, schools must be democratic places. A democratic school environment has positive impacts on student achievement (Pryor, 2004). In addition to providing better schooling results, a democratic school environment enhances “active citizens in their communities” (Parker, 1996, p. 197). Democratic values are the keys for having a safe and orderly school according to Johnson, Johnson, Stevahn, and Hodne (2002).

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Organizational Learning in Primary Schools

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Ali Taş

It is possible for organizations to renovate themselves perpetually and to keep up with the conditions of the age by organizational learning. Scholars have identified the concept of organizational learning differently. Organizational learning is the examination of an organization’s capability of both gaining experience and learning from its mistakes and successes by analyzing, observing, and experimenting. In other words, as Argyris and Schon (1978) and Argyris (2002) have identified, organizational learning is the process of identification and correction of mistakes. In the same way, Özgener (2002) defines organizational learning as the reformation process of the organization’s actions by its having right and consistent information and by thinking better. Senge (1995) has claimed that the factors that strengthen learning include gaining systems thinking, individual talent, mental models, a shared vision, and team learning.

Today, accessing information and using it in a meaningful way has become an important ability for organizations. Organizational learning is a contemporary understanding of administration, and it provides superiority in reaching and using information. For that reason, much attention has been recently given to organizational learning (Aydemir, 2000).

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A Reformal Approach for Turkey: Emotional- and Social-Oriented Teacher Education

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Nilüfer Özabaci

Educational reforms and studies have focused on the school and ignored its relationships with the different dimensions of psychological, social, political, and economic life. Philosophers and scholars of education have reemphasized and debated the importance of the efforts of an educational reform (Turan, 2000). Discourses about teacher education have traditionally been regarded as national issues. National compulsory school and teacher education and training are usually interlinked. The purpose of schooling is not only to provide a nation with a qualified workforce but also to provide new generations with a cultural heritage and a language, strengthening their national identity. Increasing global competition intensifies the tension between the dual aims of education, which makes teacher education reforms ideologically and politically more important than before (Hargreaves, 1994). Popkewitz (1987) has underlined the importance of ideology and social formation in teacher education. The language, rituals, behaviors, and emotions are structured by cultural codes that govern the way people act and think toward schooling. The challenge comprises carrying out the responsibilities of a teacher, working as a part of a system of public education, and trying to do one’s best for the students.

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Book Review

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W. Brad Johnson

On rare occasions, the adage Less is more is confirmed in a short and pithy book that changes the course of a discipline. Carol A. Mullen’s Mentorship Primer (2005) falls into this elite category. Written for teachers, administrators, and educational leaders of all stripes, Mullen’s primer is a study in terse and cogent writing on the increasingly salient topic of mentor-ship. Although there is much in this volume for the new mentor in any educational setting, it is likely to have primary impact on those of us who lead, supervise, and administer programs, departments, and schools. Mullen nests the topic of mentoring squarely within the key contemporary concerns in modern education, such as accountability standards, organizational culture, multiculturalism, social justice, curriculum, and educational leadership, to name a few. The result is a cutting-edge and admittedly postmodern treatise on the state of mentoring in education and the decisions that our discipline faces about where the art and practice of mentorship go from here. Mullen notes that “a driving force behind this book is to raise awareness about how mentoring can become an even more potent force for making our educational thinking conscious and action deliberate” (p. 4).

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