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IJER Vol 15-N2

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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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10 Articles

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The Essence of Education in a Secular Islamic Land: One Is as Free as Is Responsible

ePub

Kemal Duruhan and Süleyman Nihat Şad

To connect, even if in your mind’s eye, today and when everything about Islam started, this article follows a chronological order of the educational aspect of the Islamic lifestyle, ending up with the most recent happenings, such as global terrorism, September 11, Turkey’s participation in the European Union as an Islamic nation, so-called democratic maneuvers in the Middle East, and so forth. The article deals with and emphasizes education in Islam and, especially, humanistic tenets of Islamic education in Turkish history, starting from long before the foundation of the young Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Because most of the divine religions promise to offer what we human beings seek to have in this world and the other, it is inevitable for them to soak into the thinnest nerve of an individual and the smallest cells of society. That is why all such religions imply some certain doctrines for the individual and the society. These, of course, include rights and obligations, dos and don’ts, all for structuring an orderly and comfortable life in this world, thereby pledging one a turnkey for the other world. With Christianity and the Jewish religion, Islam has been the leading divine religion, accepted and obeyed by millions over a large geography since its declaration in the early 7th century. This article sheds light on some milestones in Islamic civilization, such as the golden age, the Abbasids, the Ottomans, and the rise of Western civilization from the viewpoint of education. This makes for more than 14 centuries full of myths and truths, de factos and de jures, wars and peaces, policies and politics.

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The Status of Evolutionary Theory in Undergraduate Biology Programs at Lebanese Universities: A Comparative Study

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Barend Vlaardingerbroek and Yasmine Hachem-El-Masri

Lebanon is a cosmopolitan democratic nation comprising a little less than 4 million people, 95% of whom are designated as Arabs and around 70% of whom are Muslim (principally of the Sunn’a and Shi’a traditions, as well as a significant Druze minority) with most of the remainder being made up mainly of Maronites and members of Eastern Orthodox churches. Adult literacy is at about 90%, and education is highly valued; roughly two-thirds of children attend private schools, whereas all but one of the universities are likewise private institutions (the number of which depends on one’s precise definition of a university, but the count exceeds 10). The public education system, akin to the Lebanese public sector as a whole, retains a discernible French character, reflecting the prominent European influence that France exerted over Lebanon despite its short-lived colonial mandate—from the end of World War I, when Lebanon was unburdened of Ottoman rule, until 1943, when independence was declared. Anglophone influence—particularly, American influence—has been strongly increasing since the Second World War, and this, too, is clearly visible in the private education sector, much of which is modeled on the American system, although the government-mandated secondary school exit qualification yardstick is the French-derived Lebanese baccalaureate. Bacc curricula are delivered and examined in French and English—students actually have a choice of which language to write their examinations in. However, most universities are Anglophone, and many French-educated Lebanese undertake an Anglophone university education.

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A Descriptive Study on Psychopathology of Women in Turkey: Implications for Education Reform

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Omer Tutkun

Turkey is a country founded on the Anatolian peninsula, where the continents are nearest, which has been the center of various cultures in the historical process and has today the traces of both Eastern and Western civilizations and cultures. Turkey is partly Balkanian, Caucasian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean. Having an area of 814,578 square kilometers, the country has a population of 71,337,204, according to the 2003 year data, and 49.97% of the population is composed of men and 50.03% women. The birthrate is 1.38% (Sahin, Doganay, & Ozcan, 2004). According to 2000 data, 64.9% of the population live in towns and 35.1% live in rural areas. The literacy rate of the population in Turkey is 86.5%: 78.5% for women, 94.4% for men (Population and Citizenship Affairs, 2005). A majority of the Turkish population is Muslim, and Turkey is a country governed by a secular democratic parliamentary system. Having turned to the West since the foundation of the republic in 1923 and made many reforms for this aim, Turkey has come to the point of joining the European Union. Research has shown that the Turkish people support this process. In this context, Turkey has been undergoing significant economical, social, and cultural changes for the last 20 years. It is inevitable that the society and its individuals are affected by this change. From this point of view, the purpose of this research was to determine the extent to which women in Turkey have been affected by this change.

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The Impact of Principalship on School Culture: A Turkish Case

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Mustafa Celikten

The concepts of principalship and culture are intertwined. Organizational literature has recognized principalship as an essential element in determining culture and productivity (Chelte, Hess, Fanelli, & Ferris, 1989). By the same token, culture has been recognized as a powerful element in determining principalship effectiveness. This linkage is evident in educational research where school culture has been related to principal effectiveness (Anderson, 1982), faculty trust in the principal, and trust among teachers (Tarter & Hoy, 1988).

Krajewski (1996) states that the principal is the “chief enculturing agent” (p. 3) because the principal is expected to be the initiator, facilitator, visionary, and leader of the school. According to Krajewski, principals must make the culture come alive for staff through developing shared purposes, beliefs, values, and core concepts that focus on teaching and learning, community building, collegiality, character development, and other school issues and concerns. Further, Portin, Shen, and Williams (1998) remind us that the principal needs to be viewed as the master teacher of the learning organization, offering students and faculty safe and caring surroundings that contribute to developing educated minds.

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An Analysis of the Curriculum Reform Movement in Turkey

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Fatma Bıkmaz

Substantial reforms and transformations have been proposed in the educational systems of many states since the early 1990s. International economical competition has led to the attention of the workforce and the readjustment of educational systems for coping with international economical changes in many countries (Charles, 2002; Cross, Mungadi, & Rouhani, 2002; El-Sheik Hasan, 2000; Flouris & Pasias, 2003; Huang, 2004; Zajda, 2003), and there has been a general failure for implementing reform into school practices around the world (El-Sheik Hasan, 2000; Enderlin-Lampe, 2002; Flouris & Pasias, 2003; Labaree, 1999; Zajda, 2003). The focus of these changes is school curricula that aim to promote necessary skills such as global awareness, social skills, problem solving, and proficiency in information–communication and foreign language for living in the global market (Law, 2004).

During this reform process, the most articulated changes include the following: behaviorism to constructivism; teacher-centered practice to child-centered practice; textbook-based learning to activity-based learning; product assessment to process assessment; in-service teacher education to school-based professional development; centralized education system to decentralized, distributed education system; and so forth. In other words, a fundamental shift in pedagogy is occurring from teacher-dominated learning models to an emphasis on diversified knowledge sources and interactive learning beyond classroom boundaries (Boyd, 2000; Gough, 1999; Sani, 2000).

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“She Made Us Principals”: A Case Study of a Female Principal Who Pushed 12 Teachers to Principalship

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Rina Barkol

The aim of this article is to attain insight into the issues of empowerment and motivation in principalship in general and in feminine leadership at schools in particular. It presents a case study of a woman principal who “bred” 12 principals during 12 years of principalship, most of them in her last 5 years on the job, in the middle of the 1990s. This case study is based on data collected during 3 years, during which I was deeply involved in her school as an organizational consultant. The principal investigated is part of a constantly growing majority of women principals in Israel in the state-secular Jewish section. The analysis focuses, therefore, on the gender aspect of leadership and mentoring in education. In this article, I deal with two questions: First, how did the principal behave as a leader? Second, how did she act as a mentor of potential principals?

Following this introduction is a discussion of relevant theories regarding principalship, leadership, and mentoring. I then present the study and its findings. Finally, I link findings with theory and emphasize the unique contribution of this study to the understanding of leadership and mentoring in education.

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Has Teachers’ Participation in Decision Making Increased in China? Local Responses to the Implementation of Education Decentralization in Guangdong Province

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Jocelyn L. N. Wong

The decision to decentralize education systems is often based on the assumption that such a move will make educational content more relevant to local interests and demands by offering more decision-making power to local educational stakeholders. In such a context, teachers who are seen as the linchpins of educational reforms will be able to enhance their professional competency and status by having increased autonomy in deciding school matters. Both the Carnegie Forum on Education and Economy (1986) and Holmes Group (1986) emphasize the need to increase professional autonomy of teachers in school affairs through allowing teacher participation in deciding school matters. Teachers cannot act as intelligent professionals unless a democratic working environment allows them to develop their skills and knowledge. That is, a decentralized educational system aims at transforming schools into self-analyzing, self-reforming institutions where teachers can develop their efficacy through democratized workplaces and improved working conditions (Datnow, 1994; Webb & Ashton, 1987). More important, as Desimone (2002) argues, teachers will be able to modify educational reforms by matching students’ needs and thereby develop senses of ownership and create senses of accountability for themselves. Following this line of reasoning, giving teachers more participative decision-making power will have an impact on their enhancement of professional development.

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Girls’ Education in the United States and Ghana

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Elizabeth K. Davenport, Lenford Sutton, and Clement Kwadzo Agezo

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (2000) delivered a speech at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal, stating that, of the 110 million children in the world who should be in school but are not, two-thirds are girls. The lack of equality is contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, in which governments committed to the right to a free education to everyone at the elementary level. For the worldwide female population, the denial of the right to a free education is a double blow. In their daily lives, girls are often denied the equal rights of men and women as proclaimed in the UN Charter, which means, for most of the world’s women, a life of poverty. Annan stated that no development strategy is better than one that involves women as central players. According to the secretary-general, the immediate benefits include nutrition, health, family savings and investment, the community, and the nation. Educating girls is a social policy that has a long-term investment because it yields high returns.

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Faculty–Department-Chair Relationships: Examining the Nexus of Empowerment and Interpersonal Trust in Community Colleges in the Context of Change

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Melina J. Moye, Alan B. Henkin, and Deborah J. Floyd

Interpersonal communication in community colleges, like that in other social institutions, often depends on a degree of trust, given that initial moves are commonly made without complete knowledge of how the other will respond. Trust-based interactions constitute a critical synthetic force that affects the operations and levels of connectivity in these complex organizations (Lane & Bachmann, 1998; Nooteboom, 2002; Sztompka, 1999).

At the institutional level, trust is acknowledged as an essential component of well-functioning organizations and as a requisite foundation for constructive associations (Lane, 1998; Sztompka, 1999). In colleges and schools, trust is recognized as a key factor in organizational effectiveness (Carnoy & Hannaway, 1996; Coats, 2000; Cunningham & Gresso, 1993; Gmelch & Miskin, 1993; Gould & Caldwell, 1998; Hecht, Higgerson, Gmelch, & Tucker, 1999; Lucas, 2000; McArthur, 2002). Trust is, moreover, an essential mediating force in subsystems (here, departments) of educational organizations (Seagren, Creswell, & Wheeler, 1993).

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Exploring Faculty Incentives and Barriers to Participation in Web-Based Instruction

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Wanjira Kinuthia

The area of integration of technology in education is a continuous effort that revolves around looking for factors and practices that can be applied to encourage faculty to integrate technology into their areas of teaching. Web-based instruction (WBI) is one of the technologies affecting higher education (Burbules & Callister, 2000), and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have not been left out (Roach, 2000a). WBI comprises several components, including e-mail, listservs, bulletin boards, newsgroups, interactive tutorials, and interactive conferencing, among other tools. Other features include text, graphics, animation, audio, and video (Dempsey & Van Eck, 2002). Courses that are designed to take full advantage of the interactive capabilities of the web are those that can claim the label web-based, and instruction is delivered through course management systems such as Blackboard, WebCT, and university-specific course sites. On the other hand, the term web-enhanced refers to on-campus courses that use the web to supplement instructional materials and activities, such as the syllabus, electronic discussions, and readings (Dempsey & Van Eck, 2002).

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