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IJER Vol 16-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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11 Articles

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Toward a Professional Learning Community: A Critical Discourse Perspective

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Chen Schechter

Growing dissatisfaction with the social, physical, and linguistic architecture of schoolwork demands the instilling of new ways, opportunities, and spaces within which all school stakeholders can talk and work with one another (Fielding, 1999). To achieve this standard, it is important to provide practitioners with the context—the time and space—for dialogue as a key factor of collective learning. In other words, the isolated working teacher will need to shift into interactive professionalism, where teachers continuously learn, with their colleagues, how to solve teaching and learning problems (Fullan, 1993). Nevertheless, whereas collective learning entails the social processing of information, processes and activities that permit an exchange of information through faculty interactions rarely occur in schools (Leonard, 1998). As traditional hierarchical models of policy and school administration clash with the advocated value of social processing of information, researchers argue for the reorganization of schools into professional webs of interactions (Caldwell & Spinks, 1988; Louis & Miles, 1990), thus attempting to reculture schools into professional learning communities (Scribner, Cockrell, Cockrell, & Valentine, 1999). This in turn serves to enhance teachers’ professional development, which may help to diminish teacher isolation, alter teaching practices, and contribute to student learning (Andrews & Lewis, 2002; Cowan & Hord, 1999; Crowther, Hann, McMaster, & Ferguson, 2000; Huffman & Hipp, 2001).

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Global Education: A Glance at the Russian Front

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Ilghiz Sinagatullin

The contemporary, changing, and globalizing world necessitates the conceptualization and implementation of the ideas of global education on all hierarchical levels, ranging from kindergartens to universities to the programs of educating the adult. As in many countries, the current issues of global education assume great importance in Russia, a country undertaking large strides in establishing pedagogical cooperation with other countries within the European and global educational space. This article draws on a range of questions pertaining to the nature and principles of global education; it offers an account of how global education issues are elaborated in the Birsk State Sociopedagogical Academy, Bashkortostan, Central Russia, where I work as teacher educator; and it examines aspects of global competency that secondary school graduates need to possess to effectively interact in a contemporary interdependent world.

Global education that educators and specialists of various realms of science write and talk about is a product of historical development of humanity and one of a contemporary roaring globalization. It is in the late 20th century that the optimal contours of global education as a separate field of science began to take shape. The ideas of global education are interrelated with multicultural education, as postulated in my book Constricting Multicultural Education in a Diverse Society (Sinagatullin, 2003). In my opinion, “it is of little benefit to multiculturalize the educational process without providing a global context; it is equally useless to globalize education while ignoring a multicultural context (p. 2). Yet multicultural and global education may exist as separate areas of study, and from a pedagogical perspective, each may possess its own content and structure. Multicultural education traditionally deals with cultural, linguistic, religious, gender, and social class issues within national boundaries, whereas global education aims at conceptualizing wider sociocultural and pedagogical issues, transcending national boundaries and taking on a form of a cross-cultural phenomenon. The teaching and learning public at large has not yet grown in knowledge and understanding to fully integrate multicultural and global contexts. In other words, a time has not yet arrived to implement such a huge overarching reform in the global educational space.

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Domain Theory Perspectives and Reforming Instructional Directions for Promoting Young Children’s Moral and Social Growth: A Qualitative Analysis of Six Chinese Teachers’ Responses to Preschool Children’s Transgressions

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Jenny Yau

Moral education is a major part of schooling in Chinese culture, traditionally as well as in recent years (Cheng, 2004; Wang, 2004), and it is allied to character education, moral principles, and citizenship education. Recent studies on moral education in contemporary China and other Chinese societies have extensively investigated the changes in curriculum and policies as well as the instructional activities in elementary and secondary schools (e.g., Cheng, 2004; Lu & Gao, 2004; Zhan & Ning, 2004). Little empirical research, however, has been conducted to examine the contextual influence from teachers’ behaviors and messages in their daily interactions with children, particularly in the early childhood educational settings. As such, how do teachers define right and wrong for young children? What roles do they play in the process of children’s acquisition of social rules? The present study was an attempt to analyze the nature and impact of Chinese teachers’ responses to young children’s violation of rules, from the social–cognitive perspective, with the goal to explore reforms in the practice of promoting young children’s moral and social growth.

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Relationship Among Learning Styles, Mathematics Attitude, and Anxiety for Students in Secondary School Teacher Training Institutes in Turkey

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Kürşat Yenilmez

People have been curious about how to learn. Learning can be defined as simply a change of behavior toward wanted aspects. To effect positive change in behaviors, at first we need to determine students’ learning styles. In addition, we must choose suitable learning experiences, then apply these experiences with suitable learning materials.

Metacognition is one of the important factors in increasing effectiveness in the learning process. Metacognition involves learners’ asking themselves such questions as “What do I know about this matter?” “How many times do I need to learn this?” and “How do I estimate a solution to this probelm?” (Slavin, 1986). In other words, the concept of metacognition involves being aware of these informational processes in learning and so directing the learning toward them. People who have this characteristic can develop and predict their learning—what, how, and at which speed—and can so choose their own suitable learning strategies (Woolfolk, 1993).

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The Officers to Education Project: A Retrospective

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Alex Schneider and Rina Barkol

In his speech to the National College for School Leadership, British prime minister Tony Blair (1999) said, “Leadership and vision are crucial to raising standards and aspirations across the nation’s schools. We cannot leave them to chance.” According to the U.S. Office of Educational Research and Improvement’s Principal Selection Guide (1987), principals must articulate a vision and a set of values that they can use to transform and revitalize a school’s atmosphere. Principals should be determined, creative, enthusiastic, and willing and able to confront problems and seek opportunities to inspire their school communities toward achieving beneficial change. Such opinions are also strongly expressed by Israeli authorities.

The intention of raising standards and aspirations in education is an outcome of the expectation that principals will make their marks in a feasible way, not only in the schools they lead, but also on the school communities and on society in general (Caldwell, 2003; Chen, 1999). The challenge, therefore, is to find and train educational leaders who will translate their commitment into visions, who will raise standards and aspirations across school, community, and society. But where will these educational leaders come from? What missions will they be qualified to accomplish? What challenges will they be competent to face (Barkol, 1999; Chen 1999)?

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Assessment of and Problems With the Support Campaign for National Education in Turkey

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Elife Dogan

On September 8, 2001, Semra Sezer—wife of Turkish Republic president Ahmet Sezer and a retired teacher—started the Support Campaign for National Education (2003, 2004, 2005). This campaign aimed at finding problems in national education and offering solutions. Assessment meetings about the campaign were held on May 5–6, 2003, in Istanbul; October 9–13, 2004, in Izmir; and November 16–18, 2005, in Antalya. Those who attended the assemblies came from 81 cities and included students, teachers, representatives of civil society organizations, authorities of the Ministry of National Education, wives of governors, and academicians. At the assemblies, the Support Campaign for National Education examined the Turkey’s economic, social, cultural, and educational dimensions and considered the relations between civil society organizations and the state.

This section discusses problems with the education of the educators, as well as economic, social, and cultural problems; in addition, it examines the problems regarding civil society organizations.

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Turkey Bridging Eastern and Western Civilizations and Education in the 21st Century

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Kemal Duruhan

History has always witnessed the confrontation and differentiation of the East and the West and sometimes that of North and South, as in the rare examples of Africa, America, and Korea. During the course of history, this conflict has been named in many ways: Christianity versus Islam, modernity versus brutishness, developed versus underdeveloped, democratic versus dictatorial, and so on. The difference between East and West has always been as distinct as day and night. It has always been easy to label most of the nations and lands as Eastern or Western. But this does not necessarily mean that one of these civilizations is the ideal that the other pursues. Each has its peculiar problems and advantages: Whereas the East has been criticized for its intolerance to democratic expansions owing to its poverty and underdeveloped mental and material infrastructure, the West has suffered from excessive consumption; overdependence on petrol, causing debates about nuclear power production and concerns about environmental problems; deterioration in family relations and the prevalence of broken families and youngsters susceptible to criminality; discrimination against non-Western nationalities; and so forth.

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The Educational Problems of the Turkish Citizens Living in Switzerland in the Process of Adjustment to Europe

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Asim Ari

Every society experiences migration and influxes of immigrants. Migration is a change experienced by moving from one cultural environment to another, whether temporarily or permanently. The most common reasons for migration include political and economic obligations as well as wishing access to better educational opportunities (Balcıoĝlu, Doksat, & Tan, 2001). Although the concept of migration is as old as human history, Turkish society encountered the concept after World War II. Given the lack of workforce in western European countries following the war, great waves of migration from the Mediterranean countries occurred. Migration from Turkey, starting first in the late 1950s by individuals, was encouraged by the government in the early 1960s through employment policies abroad. Following this period, 2 million Turkish workers migrated to approximately 30 countries to find better lives (Alper, 2005; Üstel, 2002). Switzerland was one of those countries.

Switzerland is a country with an area of 41,284 square kilometers (about one-ninth of Germany), and it has a population of 7.5 million. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, and owing to the variation caused by its geography, it accommodates varied cultures. Protestant and Catholic belief forms the majority of religion, and German, French, and Italian are the predominant languages. Apart from these languages, Rumantsch is spoken at a rate of 0.5%. This varied characteristic of culture can clearly be observed in literature, art, architecture, and music. The capital city is Bern, and the country is composed of 26 cantons, which are types of city–states. Members coming from the cantons form the federal government.

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Relationships Between Sociocultural Characteristics and Cognitive Styles of Student Teachers in Turkey

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Bulent Guven

Every individual has unique characteristics. These differences include physical differences, such as weight, height, sound, fingerprints, and many other features. Beyond the external characteristics, lifestyle and behavioral characteristics are differentiated. For instance, some people have a well-planned daily life, but some others not. Some people are careful, but others not. Some people are patient, but others not. It is possible to see hundreds of similar examples. Under the light of these examples, these differences can affect the process of teaching and learning. However, most of the time, teachers have problems knowing about these individual characteristics as they relate to teaching and learning.

In terms of cognitive styles, learning involves the brain’s processing individual experiences into meaning. This transformation process is called sensory recording. Cognitive style is defined as the way that learning occurs, which transfers experiences into a kind of meaning (Kagan & Messick, 1976). The concept of cognitive style was used first by Allport (1937); after whom, many other authors used this term widely. Witkin, Moore, Goodenough, and Cox (1977) state that cognitive styles are important if they are based on individuality. Dikdere (1999) lists cognitive styles as relating to understanding, knowledge, problem solving, studying, relating with other people, choosing a career, childrearing, and participating in group activities. Kagan and Messick (1976) state that cognitive styles include perceptions, remembrance, and problem solving as related to information processing. Under the light of these definitions and statements, cognitive theories focus on how the brain processes the information, organizes it, and keeps it for future use. To understand these cognitive processes, teachers need to know students’ cognitive styles; as such, teachers will be able to teach more effectively (Miller, 1995).

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Job Satisfaction of Academics: Reflections About Turkey

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Filiz Bilge, Yasemin Akman, and Hülya Keleciogğlu

Turkey is a developing country with a great degree of effort put toward modernization and industrialization. As such, education, particularly, higher education for its young generations, is a vital component of these efforts toward catching up with the developed world.

Turkish higher education offers 2-year associate, 4-year undergraduate, and graduate degrees. Both private and state universities function under the supervision of the Council of Higher Education, which was established in 1983. Persons with high school and equivalent degrees who wish to pursue higher education take a national university entrance exam, which is held by the Student Selection and Placement Center. Students are placed in higher educational programs according to their scores and to the program choices they make after they learn their scores.

Academicians in Turkish universities include professors (assistant, associate, and full), junior faculty (lecturers and lab instructors with doctorates), lecturers (with undergraduate and graduate degrees; e.g., teachers of English as a second language), temporary assistants, and research/teaching assistants. Lecturers teach general and compulsory courses (e.g., Turkish). Temporary assistants can be experts in educational planning and research assistants hired on a temporary basis. Research/teaching assistants contribute to research studies, teaching activities, and administrative work. They hold at least undergraduate degrees and are often graduate students. A small portion of these persons hold doctoral degrees. It is worth noting that academics in Turkey are classified as faculty members and academic staff. Faculty members are assistant, associate, and full professors. The rest of academics are referred to as academic staff.

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Brown v. Board of Education II: A Major Enterprise of Social Reform?

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Margaret Engl and Steven B. Permuth

The great School Segregation decision of May 17, 1954, made nothing happen. . . . This first “decision had no consequences.”

—Alexander Bickel (1962)

The first of three articles (Engl, Permuth, & Wonder, 2003) in this series dealt with the background leading to the original decision of Brown v. Board of Education (1954); the second article (Engl, Permuth, & Wonder, 2004) made an analysis of the case itself. This concluding article deals with the attempted implementation of Brown through the mandating address of the Supreme Court in Brown II (1955).

Brown II

Historically, the Supreme Court responds to the majority of cases brought before it with a decision or commentary that directs one or both of the parties on what to do—whether reparations by judgment, delivery of specific property, incarceration, or cessation of doing something. In May 1954, when the school segregation cases of Brown were decided, the Court could have acted as it normatively had and so issued a decree ordering the children of Brown (and the like students in the respective districts) to be admitted to the represented schools; the Court instead found itself in the situation, in finding segregation unconstitutional, of creating a governing principle. This principle—desegregated public education—would affect not just a few dozen petitioners and their home districts but all the states having school districts with dual systems: some 5,000 districts, 9 million White students, and 3 million Black students. The Court now had the task of mandating how to operationalize the Brown decision, an undertaking that, if held at the Court’s level, would in effect make the Court a “super school board.”

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