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Educ. Sci., Volume 11, Issue 5 (May 2021) – 59 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In cooperative work, partners are usually seen as reliable resources that support learning. The more competent that students are, the more cooperation should help their peers. However, when students are not used to cooperation, it takes very little for the helping relationship to turn into a struggle for competence. Three studies at elementary school level indicate that working on identical texts activates a competitive social comparison that renders a partner's competence problematic. Indeed, a partner’s competence may or may not activate a threatening social comparison and yields dual effects depending on resource distribution. It is beneficial when pupils work on complementary information while it is detrimental when pupils work on identical information. View this paper
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Article
How Important Is Future Teachers’ “Connectedness to Nature”? Adaptation and Validation of the Connectedness to Nature Scale
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 250; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050250 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 545
Abstract
The teacher plays a key role in fostering sustainability and implementing Education for Sustainable Development at school. This paper presents a study aimed at adapting and validating a shorter version of the Connectedness to Nature Scale (CNS) to measure student future teachers’ connectedness [...] Read more.
The teacher plays a key role in fostering sustainability and implementing Education for Sustainable Development at school. This paper presents a study aimed at adapting and validating a shorter version of the Connectedness to Nature Scale (CNS) to measure student future teachers’ connectedness to nature. The scale has been translated into Croatian in an abbreviated form and applied to a specific sample of students from the Faculty of Teacher Education in Rijeka, Croatia (N = 138). One of the tasks was to examine whether there are statistically significant differences among students regarding their membership in eco-associations and previous participation in an Environmental Education/Education for Sustainable Development (EE/ESD) course. A special research objective was to determine the extent to which the current education and membership in an eco-association explain the connectedness to nature. In addition to the indicated research limitations, the results confirmed the significant measured characteristics of the scale. Education has so far proved to be a predictor of connectedness to nature. Additionally, the results showed that membership in an eco-association is a predictor of connectedness to nature. Based on the obtained results, it is possible to conclude that the connectedness to nature must be further explored, especially in the context of the initial education of future teachers, as a possible prerequisite for a successful practice of Education for Sustainable Development in schools. Full article
Article
Using PLS-SEM Model to Explore the Influencing Factors of Learning Satisfaction in Blended Learning
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 249; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050249 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 570
Abstract
This research explores the influencing factors of learning satisfaction in blended learning. Three dimensions are proposed: perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and learning motivation. It studied how these variables affect students’ learning satisfaction. The research hypotheses are: (1) Perceived ease of use [...] Read more.
This research explores the influencing factors of learning satisfaction in blended learning. Three dimensions are proposed: perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and learning motivation. It studied how these variables affect students’ learning satisfaction. The research hypotheses are: (1) Perceived ease of use positively affects perceived usefulness; (2) Perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use will have a positive effect on learning motivation; (3) Learning motivation positively affects learning satisfaction; (4) Perceived usefulness has a positive intermediary effect on the relationship between perceived ease of use and learning motivation. Participants included 173 freshmen who took the first-year interactive game design course at Ling Tung University in Taichung, Taiwan. The questionnaire survey method is applied in this research to analyze the relationship between the variables and verify the hypothesis based on the collected 173 valid questionnaires. The partial least square method structural equation model (PLS-SEM) is used to carry out structural equation modeling to study the relationship between latent variables. It explains that the perceived ease of use affects the perceived usefulness. Perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use have a positive impact on learning motivation. Learning motivation has a positive impact on learning satisfaction. Perceived usefulness as an intermediary factor of perceived ease of use has an indirect impact on learning motivation. The contribution of this research is to provide empirical evidence and explain what factors may affect learning satisfaction. Some other related factors that may affect learning satisfaction should be taken as the factors that teachers should pay attention to when implementing blended learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Comparing Classroom and Online Learning)
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Article
A Survey Study on U.S. College Students’ Learning Experience in COVID-19
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 248; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050248 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 716
Abstract
COVID-19 affected various aspects of our life. Many college students were forced to take courses remotely. It was not clear how they adapted to this new environment and how their mental health was affected. The objective of this study is to understand college [...] Read more.
COVID-19 affected various aspects of our life. Many college students were forced to take courses remotely. It was not clear how they adapted to this new environment and how their mental health was affected. The objective of this study is to understand college students’ learning experience one year after the outbreak of COVID-19. An online survey was developed to investigate students’ overall learning process, mental health, perception of the learning community and student support. Sixty-two college students in the U.S. were recruited through an online survey platform. Findings of this study revealed: (1) improved mental health of college students compared to the beginning of the pandemic; (2) an overall positive learning experience and perceived belongingness to their learning community, as well as high satisfaction with the student support; (3) the major hindrance in the online learning environment was the lack of interactions with teachers and classmates; (4) a relationship between family income and perception of the learning community was discovered, and the students from low-income families were found to feel more belonging to the learning community; (5) hybrid was the optimum learning mode during COVID-19; (6) on-campus students perceived more student support than off-campus students. These findings provided a guideline for future research to further explore, and improve, the online learning environment. Full article
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Article
Transfer of the German Vocational Education and Training System—Success Factors and Hindrances with the Example of Tunisia
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 247; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050247 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 468
Abstract
As the German vocational education and training (VET) system, with its dual learning environment in both firms and vocational schools, is an international benchmark, many concepts and projects are aiming to transfer this approach to other countries and education systems. In such contexts, [...] Read more.
As the German vocational education and training (VET) system, with its dual learning environment in both firms and vocational schools, is an international benchmark, many concepts and projects are aiming to transfer this approach to other countries and education systems. In such contexts, it is important to consider the specific concepts and requirements of educational transfer. This paper outlines success factors and hindrances for such endeavors. Therefore, a literature review is combined with empirical survey results from Germany. This is directed at a specific project regarding a transfer of the dual VET system from Germany to Tunisia, but it also exemplifies general factors for any such concept transfer. As important success factors, “quality assurance” and “perspectives for graduates”, for example, are identified. Full article
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Article
Visual Representation Construction for Collective Reasoning in Elementary Science Classrooms
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 246; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050246 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 445
Abstract
There has been a recent increase in research interest in the ways that visual representation is used to facilitate students’ understanding in science classrooms. Yet while many studies have explored individual students’ drawing, few studies have looked into drawing as a collective tool [...] Read more.
There has been a recent increase in research interest in the ways that visual representation is used to facilitate students’ understanding in science classrooms. Yet while many studies have explored individual students’ drawing, few studies have looked into drawing as a collective tool to engage students in thinking and talking together in science classrooms. This study employed a case study approach to understand some of the possibilities for visual representation construction as a collective reasoning tool. By examining two cases of visual representation construction during classroom talk in two elementary science classrooms, this study demonstrates how teachers use visual representation as an instructional strategy, and how visualization engages students’ reasoning, meaning making, and social interactions. We selected two cases that demonstrate the emergence of the teacher’s and students’ drawing activities and analyzed each with a focus on the interactions that occur during the construction of visual representation and how this interaction promotes scientific reasoning and meaning making. For the case analysis, three researchers reviewed the video cases separately several times, and then collectively developed in-depth discussion to bring forth possible themes. The findings include (a) that there were common grounds of visual representation established for collective reasoning, and (b) that visual representations expanded knowledge and reasoning from the individual to social level, thus playing a critical role in students’ reasoning and knowledge building during classroom talk. Pedagogical questions and reflection are discussed for further research on visualization as a cognitive and social tool in classrooms. Full article
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Article
Interpersonal Meaning: Verbal Text–Image Relations in Multimodal Science Texts for Young Children
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 245; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050245 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 449
Abstract
Verbal text and images constitute the principal semiotic modes interacting to produce interpersonal meanings in multimodal science texts for young children. These meanings relate to pedagogical perceptions about children’s learning. This study examined verbal text–image relations regarding the interpersonal meaning dimensions of address [...] Read more.
Verbal text and images constitute the principal semiotic modes interacting to produce interpersonal meanings in multimodal science texts for young children. These meanings relate to pedagogical perceptions about children’s learning. This study examined verbal text–image relations regarding the interpersonal meaning dimensions of address (the way the reader is addressed), social distance (the kind of the relationship between the reader and represented participants), and involvement (the extent to which the reader is engaged with what is represented) in multimodal text excerpts from science-related books for preschool children. The sample consisted of 300 randomly selected units of analysis. For each unit, the verbal and the visual content was analyzed along each dimension, and the relevant verbal text–image relation was determined. Results indicated that regarding address and involvement, relations of convergence appeared significantly more frequently than relations of complementarity and divergence. Concerning social distance, relations of complementarity and divergence were observed more frequently than relations of convergence. Results are discussed in the context of the Systemic Functional Grammar and the Grammar of Visual Design, in the light of the socio-cognitive perspective on science teaching and learning. Implications for the selection, design, and use of multimodal science texts for young children are also discussed. Full article
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Article
Can Pre-Service Biology Teachers’ Professional Knowledge and Diagnostic Activities Be Fostered by Self-Directed Knowledge Acquisition via Texts?
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 244; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050244 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 342
Abstract
In a diagnostic context of reasoning about instructional quality, scientific reasoning skills can be described as diagnostic activities, which require professional knowledge. Different approaches to enhance pre-service teachers’ professional knowledge (PCK, CK, PK), as well as diagnostic activities exist. However, results about their [...] Read more.
In a diagnostic context of reasoning about instructional quality, scientific reasoning skills can be described as diagnostic activities, which require professional knowledge. Different approaches to enhance pre-service teachers’ professional knowledge (PCK, CK, PK), as well as diagnostic activities exist. However, results about their effectiveness are still inconsistent. We systematically investigated the effectiveness of self-directed knowledge acquisition via texts on PCK, CK, PK, and diagnostic activities of 81 pre-service biology teachers following an experimental design. Paper-pencil tests, measuring PCK, CK, and PK, and the video-based assessment tool DiKoBi Assess, measuring diagnostic activities in the context of diagnosing instructional quality, were used pre and post an intervention. Intervention included four treatments on self-directed knowledge acquisition via texts on (1) PCK, (2) CK, (3) PK, (4) combination PCK/CK/PK. Treatment (5) served as control. Mixed ANOVAs showed large time effects for PCK and CK, but no interaction effect concerning knowledge facets between time and treatment for any of the treatments. Time effects might be due to pre-service teachers’ scientific reasoning on biology instruction that activated knowledge. An ANCOVA showed no significant effect of treatment on diagnostic activities either. We conclude that scientific reasoning about instructional quality is more effective for knowledge acquisition than text-work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section STEM Education)
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Article
Factor Structure and Validation of the 12-Item Korean Version of the General Health Questionnaire in a Sample of Early Childhood Teachers
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 243; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050243 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 357
Abstract
The 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) is designed to detect a diagnosable psychiatric disorder and has demonstrated positive psychometric properties in adult populations. Despite these findings, the psychometric properties of the GHQ-12 have hardly been examined with regard to early childhood teachers. This [...] Read more.
The 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) is designed to detect a diagnosable psychiatric disorder and has demonstrated positive psychometric properties in adult populations. Despite these findings, the psychometric properties of the GHQ-12 have hardly been examined with regard to early childhood teachers. This study purposed to examine the factor structure of the GHQ-12 and to assess its psychometric properties vis-à-vis a sample of Korean early childhood teachers. An aggregate of 252 participants completed the Korean version of the GHQ-12 in tandem with other psychiatric measures, including the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The resulting data were subjected to confirmatory factor analyses to compare the goodness-of-fit of the previously proposed models of the GHQ-12. The three-factor model comprising anhedonia/sleep disturbance, social performance and loss of confidence was found by the goodness-of-fit indices to excellently fit our study sample. The average variance extracted and all factor loadings exceeded the recommended threshold of 0.50; hence, convergent validity was established. The criterion posited by Fornell and Larcker verified the discriminant validity. The instrument evidenced superior reliability evinced by its adequate internal consistency and composite reliability. This evidence allows the assertion that the GHQ-12 may be deployed as a screening tool for the evaluation of general symptoms of psychiatric disorders in Korean early childhood teachers. Full article
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Article
Preschool Children Science Mental Representations: The Sound in Space
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 242; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050242 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 475
Abstract
The aim of the current study was to examine the way in which preschool children deal with the concept of sound. For this purpose, a study was carried out in the context of detecting and categorizing the mental representations among young children of [...] Read more.
The aim of the current study was to examine the way in which preschool children deal with the concept of sound. For this purpose, a study was carried out in the context of detecting and categorizing the mental representations among young children of sounds which propagate through space from source to the receiver. Specifically, 91 preschool children aged 5–6 years voluntarily participated in individual semi-structured interviews which were carried out by three researchers in a special area of kindergartens. During these interviews, the children were asked to express their views on the three following axes: the concept of sound itself; the subjective characteristics of sound; and the phenomenon of the production and propagation of sound. The results of the research showed that while a small percentage of children recognized the propagation of sound in space, the vast majority of them associated sound with either the object that produced it or with the object that received it. Full article
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Article
Tipping Point: Perceptions of Diversity in Black and White
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 241; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050241 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 439
Abstract
By 2044, the USA is projected to be a majority-minority nation. Research suggests that when people of color reach 40–60% of the population, a tipping point occurs in which white individuals experience a collective existential threat and threat to their status and resources, [...] Read more.
By 2044, the USA is projected to be a majority-minority nation. Research suggests that when people of color reach 40–60% of the population, a tipping point occurs in which white individuals experience a collective existential threat and threat to their status and resources, resulting in more negative attitudes toward diversity. Institutions of higher education are microcosms of society. We were interested in how perceptions of diversity might differ across two universities—one that had reached the tipping point of only 50% white Americans; 543 black and white undergraduates completed items from the Diverse Learning Environment Core Survey measuring perceptions of belonging, diversity, and discrimination. We found that white students in the more diverse context were less satisfied with diversity on campus than their white counterparts (at the less diverse university); moreover, these students reported the highest level of discrimination in the study—even higher than that of black students in the less diverse context. These findings highlight the ways in which increasing representation and enfranchisement of racially and culturally different others may result in feelings of disenfranchisement for white Americans. With implications for the larger society, we argue that centering and deconstructing whiteness and white racial socialization is essential for the next era of equity and diversity aimed at redressing structural inequality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Equity in Higher Education)
Article
Teachers’ Expectations and Perceptions of the Relevance of Professional Development MOOCs
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 240; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050240 - 17 May 2021
Viewed by 592
Abstract
Online professional-development courses such as massive open online courses (MOOCs) could bring relevant content to a wider base of teachers who might not otherwise have access to professional development. However, research on the relevance of such online courses is scarce. The main aim [...] Read more.
Online professional-development courses such as massive open online courses (MOOCs) could bring relevant content to a wider base of teachers who might not otherwise have access to professional development. However, research on the relevance of such online courses is scarce. The main aim of this study is to investigate the relevance (individual, societal, and vocational) of MOOCs (mostly participatory cMOOCs) from the viewpoint of teachers now and in the future. We examined teachers’ expectations and perceptions of 10 courses before (N = 364) and after (N = 177) the courses, using an online questionnaire developed on the basis of relevance theory. According to the results, the studied teachers had positive expectations for the courses in terms of their usefulness for their prospective teaching (especially vocational relevance). Teachers’ expectations related to the usefulness of the course for the future (individual and vocational relevance) were most strongly met. Effort put into the course was connected to, for example, how the course improved the teachers’ interest. The results of this study indicate that MOOCs can serve as relevant courses for teachers’ professional development in science, mathematics, and technology education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Teacher Education: A Global Perspective)
Article
Teachers’ Beliefs about the Role of Digital Educational Resources in Educational Practice: A Qualitative Study
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 239; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050239 - 17 May 2021
Viewed by 621
Abstract
Information and Communication Technologies and Digital Educational Resources have undergone a rapid evolution and have been swiftly introduced into educational contexts. Teachers play a key role in integrating these technological resources into the classroom. The objective of the present study was to determine [...] Read more.
Information and Communication Technologies and Digital Educational Resources have undergone a rapid evolution and have been swiftly introduced into educational contexts. Teachers play a key role in integrating these technological resources into the classroom. The objective of the present study was to determine the value that teachers attribute to digital resources in their educational practice. Based on a qualitative methodology, the necessary information was obtained via an open-ended interview, in which a Spanish school’s Early Childhood and Primary Education teachers participated. The results revealed that teachers value the integration of digital resources into the classroom, though no consensus was reached as to the suitable level of integration. Use satisfaction was mainly related to student motivation. Certain problems or limitations also came to light, however, linked to students’ digital training. An important conclusion according to the perception of teachers is that the integration of digital resources in their educational practice was significant and improved the quality of the educational process. Full article
Article
Conceiving Socioscientific Issues in STEM Lessons from Science Education Research and Practice
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11050238 - 17 May 2021
Viewed by 508
Abstract
This paper aims to elicit the different conceptions of Socioscientific Issues (SSI) in formal, non-tertiary STEM lessons. An examination of recent publications in the field of science education was conducted to elicit the most common conceptions of SSI as per the components of [...] Read more.
This paper aims to elicit the different conceptions of Socioscientific Issues (SSI) in formal, non-tertiary STEM lessons. An examination of recent publications in the field of science education was conducted to elicit the most common conceptions of SSI as per the components of STEM lessons, namely: purpose, contents, teaching and learning strategies and assessment. As for purpose, the conceptions elicited have been organized in terms of contributing to citizenship goals, or to scientific competence. As for contents, it was found that SSI are related both to knowledge of science and knowledge about science and linked to skills such as argumentation. In terms of teaching and learning strategies, SSI are mainly associated with Inquiry-Based Learning; and with student engagement techniques such as dilemmas and group discussions. Lastly, performance assessment of student learning processes and results is typical when SSI are conceived as a method of assessment of STEM lessons. This conception sets up strong foundations for the design and evaluation of innovative SSI teaching. It shall also help to open new lines of research establishing connections among applications of SSI in different subjects, cultural contexts and educational systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated STEAM Education: A Global Perspective)
Essay
When We Teach for Positive Creativity, What Exactly Do We Teach For?
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 237; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050237 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 830
Abstract
Positive creativity is creativity that makes the world a better place—that makes a positive, meaningful, and potentially enduring difference to the world. Positive creativity can be a bit of a slippery concept in that, what is positive to one person or one group [...] Read more.
Positive creativity is creativity that makes the world a better place—that makes a positive, meaningful, and potentially enduring difference to the world. Positive creativity can be a bit of a slippery concept in that, what is positive to one person or one group may be neutral or even negative to another group. Much of teaching young people for positive creativity, therefore, involves providing the tools to decide what positive creativity means to them, and teaching them how to defend their decision. This essay focuses especially on alternative conceptions of what positive creativity means. It considers a variety of approaches, such as definitional models—objective and subjective betterment; ratings, including from layperson and experts; philosophical models—utilitarian and categorical-imperative models; decision-theory models—minimax, maximin, and maximax models; psychologically based models—a Four-C model and a model based on wise creativity. The essay also discusses steps toward teaching explicitly for positive creativity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educating for Positive Creativity)
Article
Financial Gains and Moral Satisfaction as Key Factors for Greater Efficiency in the Field of Education
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 236; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050236 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 372
Abstract
The present study examines teachers’ perceptions regarding moral satisfaction, financial gain and professional motivation in order to examine the relationship between these factors and their work efficiency. The degree of agreement and disagreement in the perceptions of 270 Primary Education teachers, regarding the [...] Read more.
The present study examines teachers’ perceptions regarding moral satisfaction, financial gain and professional motivation in order to examine the relationship between these factors and their work efficiency. The degree of agreement and disagreement in the perceptions of 270 Primary Education teachers, regarding the extent to which their effectiveness at work is affected by the existence of the above factors, is studied, and the study was conducted in 31 primary schools in Greece. The size of the sample and the way the results are extracted is a key innovation of the research, as for the first time, the above concepts are quantified through the answers of those involved in education. Their answers are examined by the method of quantitative research and the statistical program IBM-SPSS 24. It appears that moral rewards, the relationship with their manager and colleagues and their degree of self-esteem are elements that, if increased and positive, lead to higher productivity in their work. The recognition of the overall offer of the teachers by colleagues, the manager, society and the state have a positive effect on the effectiveness of their work, while its lack reduces their motivation to be efficient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Teacher Education)
Article
Critical Pedagogy and Language Education: Hearing the Voices of Brazilian Teachers of English
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 235; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050235 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 452
Abstract
Based on an ethnographic research study involving Brazilian teachers from different educational contexts in the city of Salvador, Brazil, this paper aims to approach and discuss the dialogic relationship between critical pedagogy and language education, within the context of English as a global [...] Read more.
Based on an ethnographic research study involving Brazilian teachers from different educational contexts in the city of Salvador, Brazil, this paper aims to approach and discuss the dialogic relationship between critical pedagogy and language education, within the context of English as a global lingua franca. The main goal of the original work was to investigate how EFL teachers see themselves as language professionals in the contemporary world, how aware they are of the implications related to the condition of English as an international language or a global lingua franca, and to what extent they conceive teaching the language under a critical intercultural pedagogy. Data were generated through a questionnaire, class observation sessions, and video recordings of semi-structured group interviews in which issues like the globality of English, culture teaching, interculturality, and critical (language) pedagogy were approached and debated. Results have shown that participants are aware of the implications of the global status of English and that teaching the language in these current times cannot happen in a neutral and/or uncritical way. It was also revealed that teachers find difficult to systematize the teaching of culture in their EFL classes, as much as it is challenging for them to see themselves as critical intercultural professionals who can engage in critical pedagogy in their specific educational settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Language Pedagogy)
Article
The Demographic Transformation of the Teaching Force in the United States
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 234; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050234 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 981
Abstract
This article summarizes the results of an exploratory research project that investigated what demographic trends and changes have, or have not, occurred in the elementary and secondary teaching force in the U.S. over the past three decades, from 1987 to 2018. Our main [...] Read more.
This article summarizes the results of an exploratory research project that investigated what demographic trends and changes have, or have not, occurred in the elementary and secondary teaching force in the U.S. over the past three decades, from 1987 to 2018. Our main data source was the Schools and Staffing Survey and its successor, the National Teacher Principal Survey, collectively the largest and most comprehensive source of data on teachers available in the U.S. These surveys are conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Education. The results show that the teaching force has been, and is, greatly changing; yet, even the most dramatic trends appear to have been little noticed or understood by researchers, policy makers, and the public. This article summarizes seven of the most prominent trends and changes that we found. The U.S. teaching force is: larger; older; less experienced; more female; more diverse, by race/ethnicity; consistent in academic ability; unstable. For each of the trends, we explore two broad questions: 1. What are the reasons for and sources of the trend? 2. What are the implications and consequences of the trend? Full article
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Article
Conceptualising ‘Disaster Education’
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 233; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050233 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 482
Abstract
‘Disaster education’ has been studied in various disciplines such as disaster risk management and environmental studies. However, disaster education is a relatively ‘new enquiry’ in the field of education. Particularly, the literature that conceptualises ‘disaster education’ in education is minimal. This paper aims [...] Read more.
‘Disaster education’ has been studied in various disciplines such as disaster risk management and environmental studies. However, disaster education is a relatively ‘new enquiry’ in the field of education. Particularly, the literature that conceptualises ‘disaster education’ in education is minimal. This paper aims to fill this gap by synthesising existing disaster education literature linking them with educational concepts. The paper suggests three possible conceptualisations for disaster education. The first is based on a temporal distinction between education undertaken in usual times or unusual times. The second conceptualisation applies modes of learning and teaching: formal, non-formal and informal. Thirdly, establishing disaster education as a sub-discipline in the field of education is proposed: one sub-discipline is lifelong learning and the other is public pedagogy. Critiquing each method of conceptualisation, the paper argues for the suitability and usefulness of locating ‘disaster education’ within public pedagogy. Full article
Article
Designing an Accounting Course Module on Cost Allocation: Pedagogical and Didactical Considerations from a Norwegian Perspective
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 232; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050232 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 596
Abstract
This paper aims to elucidate some didactical and pedagogical issues related to the design of a course module on cost allocation, a pivotal topic in management accounting education at the undergraduate level around the globe. The module in question is specifically tailored to [...] Read more.
This paper aims to elucidate some didactical and pedagogical issues related to the design of a course module on cost allocation, a pivotal topic in management accounting education at the undergraduate level around the globe. The module in question is specifically tailored to third-year undergraduates in business pursuing a major in accounting-related topics. As a theoretical backdrop, the paper draws on the didactical relationship model developed by Norwegian education researchers Hiim and Hippe. While it has proved to be of considerable value in planning education and teaching in Norwegian primary and upper secondary schools, this model, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, has not previously been applied in the context of accounting education at the university level. Without seeking to wholly generalize our thoughts and views to all higher educational institutions, we refer, in this paper, primarily to our own personal experiences of teaching management accounting gained at the three Norwegian universities, namely, Nord University, University of South-Eastern Norway, and The Arctic University of Norway. It is argued in this paper that the didactical relationship model may be of great help to accounting educators by providing an illustrative account of key conditioning factors (didactic elements) to consider while planning the learning process. Additionally, the paper strives to delve deeper into the use of technology in light of the current COVID-19 situation that we are all locked in. Full article
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Article
Student Perceptions of a Synchronous Online Cooperative Learning Course in a Japanese Women’s University during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 231; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050231 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 565
Abstract
As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic expanded worldwide, most Japanese universities launched online learning as an emergent measure; hence, securing the quality of online learning remains a challenge. This study aimed to understand reasons behind students’ preferred mode of online learning during [...] Read more.
As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic expanded worldwide, most Japanese universities launched online learning as an emergent measure; hence, securing the quality of online learning remains a challenge. This study aimed to understand reasons behind students’ preferred mode of online learning during the pandemic and to explore the impact of online cooperative learning on students’ class participation by analyzing their voluntary comments. A qualitative content analysis identified three factors that are related to students’ decisions and motivation about participating in synchronous online classes: mutuality resulting from interaction, the impact of COVID-19 on their life and learning, and individual circumstances. This small-scale study was conducted under the unusual circumstance of the pandemic, and the quality of student interaction was excluded from the analysis. However, their enjoyment arising from interaction encouraged their participation in a synchronous class and discussion. They expressed themselves and listened to others attentively, creating a favorable climate for learning. Students’ positive interdependence observed in this study suggests that cooperative learning cultivates a classroom culture where students are willing to contribute without the fear of losing face. This study indicated that participation, cooperation, and active engagement create a positive feedback loop, promoting each aspect even in an online setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cooperative/Collaborative Learning)
Article
Learner-Centred Learning Tasks in Higher Education: A Study on Perception among Students
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 230; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050230 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 452
Abstract
Universities face the challenge of constantly improving the quality of higher education and changing the learning behaviour of students, from passive reactive learning to active self-regulated learning. Learner-centred, constructively designed learning tasks offer a great opportunity here. This paper investigates to what extent [...] Read more.
Universities face the challenge of constantly improving the quality of higher education and changing the learning behaviour of students, from passive reactive learning to active self-regulated learning. Learner-centred, constructively designed learning tasks offer a great opportunity here. This paper investigates to what extent the learning process is challenged by these learning tasks, and how these tasks are perceived by the students, using a before and after survey of students studying at bachelor level in business courses at a German university. The paper starts with a short description of constructivism in the context of task design and the main characteristics of learner-centred, constructivist-orientated learning tasks: openness to problems, situation orientation, openness to solution paths, and degree of difficulty. Then the research method used is outlined before the findings are presented. The before and after survey shows that despite an increased complexity and workload, the motivation to deal with topics on the subject remained stable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Research and Trends in Higher Education)
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Article
Development of Game-Based M-Learning Apps for Preschoolers
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 229; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050229 - 12 May 2021
Viewed by 512
Abstract
Recent studies indicate tablets as the preferred devices of preschool children, due to portability, autonomy of use and variety of apps. There is also extensive evidence of the contributions of digital technologies in different areas of learning at these ages. The Aprender XXI [...] Read more.
Recent studies indicate tablets as the preferred devices of preschool children, due to portability, autonomy of use and variety of apps. There is also extensive evidence of the contributions of digital technologies in different areas of learning at these ages. The Aprender XXI project aimed to develop game-based learning apps, with content recommended in the Curriculum Guidelines for Pre-School Education (CGPE). The project used Design-Based Research (DBR) methodology, which combines scientific research and technological development. It was divided into three phases: preliminary study (literature review, search for existing apps, study of preschool curriculum), development (specifications, scriptwriting, design and programing) and evaluation (tests with users and conclusions). The preliminary study identified the needs to define robust apps. The evaluation with children and educator validated the development and defined improvements in the apps. As a result, we obtained four thematic apps—environment, health, citizenship and professions, composed of a set of games, suitable for autonomous use for children or for educational activities guided by educators in kindergarten. In addition, a website collects children’s play data, which is represented with flowers in a virtual world, to illustrate their participation/collaboration for a better future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Trends in Game-Based Learning)
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Article
Secondary Mathematics Teachers’ Perception of Their Readiness for Emergency Remote Teaching during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Case Study
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 228; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050228 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 804
Abstract
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused a worldwide unexpected interruption of face-to-face teaching and a sudden conversion to emergency remote teaching (ERT). In this exploratory study, a sample of 244 secondary mathematics teachers was considered to analyze their perception of their readiness [...] Read more.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused a worldwide unexpected interruption of face-to-face teaching and a sudden conversion to emergency remote teaching (ERT). In this exploratory study, a sample of 244 secondary mathematics teachers was considered to analyze their perception of their readiness to ERT during the COVID-19 pandemic based on their technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK), their previous training in digital teaching tools, their level of digital competence for teaching mathematics, and their adaptation to ERT. An online questionnaire was applied, and the answers were quantitatively analyzed. Given the use of a large number of digital resources and the high percentage of self-developed materials using educational software, secondary mathematics teachers reflected adequate digital competence and TPCK for teaching mathematics. The sudden transition to ERT forced teachers to slow down the pace of teaching and to reduce the content taught. Significant differences were observed based on gender and age with respect to teachers’ perception of their adaptation to ERT. Despite the positive influence of previous training on their perception of readiness for ERT, in general, teachers recognized that they need more training. The demand for preparation for video editing and online quiz composition can be considered for the design of future training programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Assessing Mathematics in a Digital World)
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Article
Scenario-Based Instruction: The Case of Foreign Language Training at Multidisciplinary University
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 227; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050227 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 365
Abstract
Strong communication skills, in varied professional settings, have become an absolute necessity for young professionals. Therefore, university educators are challenged to provide novice specialists with the effective foreign language training that could bring the real professional world into the classroom. This study suggests [...] Read more.
Strong communication skills, in varied professional settings, have become an absolute necessity for young professionals. Therefore, university educators are challenged to provide novice specialists with the effective foreign language training that could bring the real professional world into the classroom. This study suggests an innovative method for teaching communication skills to students, through the use of real-life scenarios, drawn from the professional context. The core objective of the research was to define whether the scenario-based instruction could effectively enhance the development of professional communication skills of students in the context of university foreign language training. The data were collected through active observation and critical incidents technique, analyzed and summarized by means of descriptive statistics. The results of the study indicate the efficacy of scenario-based communication training in higher education. However, scenario-based instruction requires careful assessment of learners’ needs and expectations, thoughtful selection and design of teaching materials, and the development of an active learning environment. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Diversity Programs in Higher Education Training Contexts in Spain
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 226; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050226 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 452
Abstract
Measures adopted by educational systems to improve and adapt the educational response of pupils with disability or diversity conditions arising from their personal and social conditions, have enabled them to gain tenure throughout the various stages of education. Educational institutions have been progressively [...] Read more.
Measures adopted by educational systems to improve and adapt the educational response of pupils with disability or diversity conditions arising from their personal and social conditions, have enabled them to gain tenure throughout the various stages of education. Educational institutions have been progressively adapting and responding to the educational needs of students who start university, and this fact highlights the lack of inclusive culture in university institutions. The lack of training of university teachers in the educational response to the needs of students with disabilities is evidenced by the high dropout rates of this group and in successive complaints of teachers who do not have the skills or tools to cope with this situation successfully. The review of a set of 75 programs developed by different Spanish universities to meet the needs of these students shows an insufficient institutional and administrative response while reflecting the lack of unity of jointly developed criteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research in Inclusive Education)
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Article
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Teaching Mathematics and Students’ Knowledge, Skills, and Grades
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 225; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050225 - 10 May 2021
Viewed by 933
Abstract
As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to secure public health, many processes have moved to the online space. The educational process is not an exception. Our main goal, which is presented in this article, was to re-design the educational process [...] Read more.
As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to secure public health, many processes have moved to the online space. The educational process is not an exception. Our main goal, which is presented in this article, was to re-design the educational process from face-to-face to distance learning in the Mathematics 1 course at the Technical University of Košice. This article describes our approach to teaching, observations, and experience. This case study examines three factors: Firstly, the impact of distance education on overall assessments of students. Using descriptive statistics, the results of student evaluations were compared from the overall assessments for the last six academic years. It was found that distance learning does not affect excellent students and eliminates the number of students who do not pass. Secondly, the participation of students during online lessons, and thirdly, the use of electronic materials. The questionnaire survey and the data from the learning management system Moodle were used to examine the second and third factors. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the questionnaire survey data (frequencies, percentages and averages). An exploratory factor analysis was performed in order to assess the underlying key concepts regarding student evaluation of the teaching process. The exploratory factor analysis confirmed that this questionnaire followed the four key concepts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
Psychosocial Obstacles in Young Children Argumentative Interactions
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 224; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050224 - 08 May 2021
Viewed by 549
Abstract
Argumentation is an important aspect in the field of education because of its impact on learning processes. At the same time, argumentation is a complex activity in terms of cognitive, relational, emotional and social dynamics. In this paper, I investigate and I describe [...] Read more.
Argumentation is an important aspect in the field of education because of its impact on learning processes. At the same time, argumentation is a complex activity in terms of cognitive, relational, emotional and social dynamics. In this paper, I investigate and I describe possible difficulties encountered by children during the argumentative process. The study involves 25 preschool children at a kindergarten engaged in three building tasks. The tasks were video-recorded and the argumentative discussions transcribed. For the aim of this paper, I analyze how argumentation are distributed among participants. I select interactions in which participants apparently do not argue or there are differences in the degree of argumentative participation between participants of the same group. I analyze these interactions and moments of impasse in the argumentative steps. The findings show how the simplicity of solving the task (e.g., when children do not encounter any problem in completing the activity) and the children’s self-perception of their competences in solving the task may have an impact on argumentation activities. Moreover, this perception is co-constructed by children within the interaction. The study contributes to the line of research on designing argumentation and highlights the role of the adult in managing children’s interactions. Full article
Article
Doing Critical Language Teaching through Tasks: Insights from the Brazilian Context
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 223; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050223 - 07 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 460
Abstract
Although Brazilian governmental documents have conceived language teaching from a critical perspective, the recent scenario points to a backlash towards critical perspectives on teaching, which have been socially perceived as indoctrination. Since we understand critical pedagogy in additional language classrooms as a necessary [...] Read more.
Although Brazilian governmental documents have conceived language teaching from a critical perspective, the recent scenario points to a backlash towards critical perspectives on teaching, which have been socially perceived as indoctrination. Since we understand critical pedagogy in additional language classrooms as a necessary emancipatory perspective, this article aims at discussing possibilities for promoting critical language development. More specifically, it draws on two doctoral studies in which teacher-researchers implemented critical task cycles that aimed at promoting critical language development by fostering elementary and high school students’ reflections on gender issues. In both studies, tasks were developed to promote learners’ communicative and critical development following task-based principles. The comparison of the results, derived from the analysis of learners’ interactions during implementation, responses to questionnaires and interviews, and of the teacher-researchers’ self-report diaries, revealed not only the feasibility of teaching critically through tasks, but also the positive role of: (1) A critical needs-analysis in designing and implementing critical tasks; (2) the use of critical dialogue for fostering knowledge co-construction; (3) the development of final projects to challenge common-sense discourses. These findings indicate, thus, relevant principles for teaching critically through tasks, emphasizing possibilities and challenges for promoting social transformation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Language Pedagogy)
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Systematic Review
Foreign Language Learning Gamification Using Virtual Reality—A Systematic Review of Empirical Research
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 222; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050222 - 07 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 750
Abstract
Virtual reality has shown to have great potential as an educational tool when it comes to new learning methods. With the growth and dissemination of this technology, there is a massive opportunity for teachers to add this technology to their methods of teaching [...] Read more.
Virtual reality has shown to have great potential as an educational tool when it comes to new learning methods. With the growth and dissemination of this technology, there is a massive opportunity for teachers to add this technology to their methods of teaching a second/foreign language, since students keep showing a growing interest in new technologies. This systematic review of empirical research aims at understanding whether the use of gaming strategies in virtual reality is beneficial for the learning of a second/foreign language or not. Results show that more than half of the articles proved that virtual reality technologies with gaming strategies can be used to learn a foreign language. It was also found that “learning” was the most evaluated dependent variable among the chosen records, augmented reality was the leading technology used, primary education and lower secondary was the most researched school stages, and the most used language to evaluate the use of gamified technology was by far the English language. Given the lack of directed investigation, it is recommended to use these technologies to support second language learning and not entirely replace traditional approaches. A research agenda is also proposed by the authors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Online Technical Applications for Non-Face-to-Face Learning)
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Article
COVID-19 Lockdown Education: The Importance of Structure in a Suddenly Changed Learning Environment
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 221; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11050221 - 06 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 630
Abstract
In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, which resulted in global lockdowns. As a result, education could no longer be provided in its current form and was therefore provided online. This study discusses the consequences of online instruction in secondary education and how [...] Read more.
In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, which resulted in global lockdowns. As a result, education could no longer be provided in its current form and was therefore provided online. This study discusses the consequences of online instruction in secondary education and how students perceived this new way of learning. Specifically, this research focuses on how online education was facilitated, how this differs from regular education and how students and teachers experienced these practices. In this study, qualitative and quantitative data were collected from teachers and students. Our findings revealed that the students were missing a proper structure in the lessons. There was a decline in the understanding and enjoyment by students in all courses. This study also shows that the variety of instructional strategies that the teachers used increased during the lockdown period. However, teachers were lacking in other aspects that define good instruction. Moreover, teacher data demonstrate that the teachers needed guidance from the schoolboard. It is remarkable that the schoolboard plays a key role in improving this situation. This research suggests that if the schoolboard provides guidelines on planning education, teachers could focus more on other aspects of a good instruction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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