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  US-China Education Review A & B

Volume 4, Number 3, March 2014

Frequency:monthly
ISSN:2161-623X; 2161-6248
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Volume 4, Number 3A, March 2014
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139-148
  

Nowadays, we intend school to be a border-less space, open to the educational community, where the roles of different educational actors can be complementary through the participation and opinion-sharing among all actors in the educational process. This research seeks to answer the following questions: 1. Is there a real participation of parents/guardians (P/G) in the council of the class (CC)? 2. At what level does it occur? and 3. How does it happen? This study, of a qualitative character, has been conducted on the basis of a case study. The analysis falls on the representations of the most important actors in this processteachers, the director of the class (DC), and the representative of P/G and students?as revealed in the interviews conducted with them. The diverse narratives of teachers and DC show the existence of a paradox at some moments, even though the statements converge on the need of a face-to-face and participative role in the CC. Some of them favor this position, recognizing that the contribution of these actors in the CC is a gain to everybodys work; Some are against it, sledging that their participation has not yet had repercussions on the group/class and considering that guardians are dispensable in the school body; Still, others manifest indifference to their presence in the CC. However, all of them recognize the existence of benefits and accept the participation of P/G, so that there can be an articulation of attitudes between the two perspectives, and consider important their action to the balance of the educational action. The students revealed a unanimous position in their opinions, invoking that P/G ought to attend all meetings, so that they can get a perspective on the class, both on academic terms and on behaviors. The P/G also identify themselves within the CC, showing the certainty that their contribution will be beneficial to the teachers, because the latter will get to know the students better and recognize as well that, in this fashion, the P/G get a more real perspective on how the class is evolving and the students benefit from the approved steps and from the articulation suggested with the P/G. Nonetheless, they did not lose the opportunity to mention that their presence in this school body is restricted to a few minutes. If their presence in this body continues to happen in such a way, the P/G can be tempted to adopt an attitude of absenteeism in the CC, and lead to their withdrawal towards the school.

 

Keywords: relationship, parental participation, council of the class (CC)

149-162

Music Composition in the Music Curriculum

Michel Hogenes, Bert Van Oers, Ren F. W. Diekstra


  

In contrast to other arts subjects, music education focuses foremost on the re-production of music, rather than the production of their own pieces of art. This article is a theoretical study, in which the possibilities to regard children as composers are explored. Three research questions are inquired: 1. What is music composition? 2. To what extent does music composition require the mastery of music notation and creativity? and 3. What are the pedagogical implications of music composition as a regular classroom activity? It is concluded that an activity theory interpretation of music composition and creativity can provide a productive basis for the implementation of music education in elementary school classrooms. A three-step-model was described for engaging and assisting students in collaborative composition activity. The authors argue that, with the help of this model, every classroom teacher should be able to work with students on music composition. It offers classroom teachers tools to motivate, stimulate, and facilitate students in working on challenging assignments, which offer them insight in musical concepts and develop their musical skills.

 

Keywords: composition process, creativity, cultural historical activity theory, music composition, music notation

163-172
  

Is it possible to reproduce historical experiments in the classroom? The outcome of our project will be presentedWe analyzed what kind of historical experiments are described in our textbooks and if students are interested in historical physics experiments. Are historical experiments really important for understanding science? The project was focused on the problem of historical experiments in teaching physics. In the textbooks, some of them are only briefly described. We studied how important it is to teach our students the history of scientific theories and understand that theories must be checked against experimental measurements. Students have to learn scientific methods in order to find out the basic principles of physics, and it can be demonstrated that the (historical) experiment is the right way of how to do it. We tested the possibility to teach and explain some topics in physics through historical experiments mostly designed with modern equipment or simple tools from everyday life. The important factor is the involvement of students themselves into this activity.

 

Keywords: historical experiments, physics teaching, physics textbook

173-182
  

For Learning Management Systems (LMSs), most publications deal with the technical and economical issues of proprietary versus open source solutions. Depending on evaluation outcomes, institutions of higher education install or migrate from commercial LMSs, like blackboard to open source, like Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (Moodle), or vice versa. This is because the leading LMSs are very similar and there is no compelling reason to choose one over the others apart from the total cost of ownership. One important issue that LMS providers ignore is the fact that learning outcomes are not bound to a specific LMS but depend on process factors, like the tutors timely feedback, interactivity, adaptation of content, and students motivation. A real game changer could be the e-textbook, because it engages students and tutors. Although lacking the traditional administrative backend of a LMS, an e-textbook can offer a wider variety of interactive features and choice of devices. Publishers have been offering e-textbooks in the form of course content integration, but not as LMS in its own right. Especially in the context of blended learning, where a physical infrastructure and administration system already exists, the drawback of a missing backend can easily be overcome. Both LMS providers and publishing houses commit to doing the things right by adding more and more technical features to the LMSs and publishing more and more textbooks in prevailing e-book formats. The real mantra, however, should be doing the right things by delighting customersthe students. Students love their mobile phones that enable them to access all sorts of information, from friends to lectures. This is a major advantage of m-learning. Since publishing houses, universities, and LMS providers are not necessarily known for delighting customers or embracing disruptive innovations, it may be self-publishing e-textbook authors who will the first to provide engaging m-learning.

 

Keywords: Learning Management System (LMS), blended learning, e-learning, m-learning, e-textbook, e-book, collaborative learning, self-publishing

183-190

Contributions of the Teaching Assistance Program for the Formation of Engineering Professors: A Survey in a Brazilian Federal University

Fernanda Cristina Barbosa Pereira Queiroz, Flvia Aparecida Barbosa Pereira, Jamil Ramsi Farkat Digenes, Jamerson Viegas Queiroz, Marciano Furukava, Christian Luiz da Silva


  

 This article aimed to identify whether the introductory course teaching of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN, Brazil) contributes to the formation of engineering professors. Still, it sought to identify the main teaching and learning methodologies that tutors and teachers used in undergraduate classes, and to identify the assessment tools used by teachers and how the performance of graduate students, teaching as trainees, contributes to the improvement of undergraduate education. As regards the methodological aspects, it is a descriptive research, using quantitative and qualitative approaches, and having target audience students enrolled in graduate programs in engineering of UFRN, who performed the teaching stage and made the introductory course teaching in 2012. The results show that the experience as an intern teaching contributes to developing some skills in graduate students to serve as lecturers in engineering courses.

 

Keywords: professional development program, engineering education, engineering teachers

191-202
  

Nursing education suffered many huge changes in last years. These modifications justify the need of a profound reflection of nursing teachers education, not only about their scientific and technological knowledge about nursing, but also about their educational knowledge. Although relevance of the pedagogic in nursing teachers education has been recognized and efforts have been made to integrate it in the professional profile, we know little about what teachers in the field think about what constitutes their professionalism as well as the place that should be occupied by pedagogical training in their professional education. The aim of the study was to answer three questions: 1. What perspectives of teaching do nursing teachers share? 2. What professional knowledge do nursing teachers recognize in the teaching practice? and 3. What training do nursing teachers indicate as a reference in terms of professionalism teaching? The study follows the interpretive paradigm of research and uses a predominantly quantitative methodology, based on the questionnaire given to nursing teachers of 10 nursing schools (450 questionnaires delivered, with 227 valid responses). For the construction of the questionnaire, semi-structured exploratory interviews were conducted. The results permitted to define an array of conceptual knowledge and professionalism teaching in nursing that consists of three axes: 1. The mission of nursing teaching is to make learn; 2. The knowledge of professional teachers of education is embedded in nursing education; and 3. The pedagogical training is in the processes of (trans)formation and teachers professional development in nursing.

 

Keywords: nursing teacher, professional teaching knowledge, professionalism teaching

203-208
  

The research aims at investigating the role of international collaboration at tertiary educational level to develop linguistic, intercultural, and technical competences in two groups of students from Polish and Chinese universities. The students communicated in pairs orally via Tencent Instant Messenger (Tencent QQ) exchanging views and opinions on topics prescribed by their teachers. The theoretical model is based on Vygotskys Social Constructivism and the concept of tandem work via technology. The results of the case study show students engagement in the task and their positive attitudes towards collaborative work between the two groups of students from the geographically distant universities. The results may be used for establishing formal collaboration projects among academic institutions.

 

Keywords: e-learning, language learning, tertiary education, tandem, project, intercultural competence

Volume 4, Number 3B, March 2014
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151-163
  

The present paper explores dictionary use from an empirical point of view, 185 undergraduate students from three departments of foreign languages (English, French, and German) at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki participated in the questionnaire study. The main issues examined were ownership of dictionaries, frequency of their use, categories of information sought, level of difficulty in the use of each dictionary type, level of student satisfaction with their competence in using a dictionary, level of satisfaction with the information provided by the dictionary they use, teaching of dictionary use, and necessity of dictionary skills training at various levels of the Greek educational system. Frequency analysis of all the variables and a cross-tabulation between the independent and dependent variables were performed with the use of the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences 17.0 (SPSS 17.0). The students answers allow for some interesting comparisons to be made with the answers given by future Greek language teachers in a similar study.

 

Keywords: dictionary use, teacher education, dictionary skills training, teaching methodology, pedagogical lexicography, higher education

164-174
  

This article presents Emirati womens experience of, and transformation through, participation in a postgraduate study program run in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in partnership with an Australian university. The paper presents the professional and personal transformations the women described during interviews about their participation in the masters degree program. The data presented in this paper indicate how deeply the experience affected both the womens professional and personal lives as they became immersed in a culture of learning, reflection, and peer collaboration. The transformations to their personal lives and what appears to be life-changing re-thinking about their futures as women and as women leaders, provide a more complex view of the relationship between educational experiences and re-imagining future possibilities.

 

Keywords: full woman, postgraduate studies, transformative learning

175-185
  

This paper presents a comparison of 67 European universities selected from the leading rankings: Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), Leiden, and Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, as well as the European University Data Collection Project (EUMIDA) dataset, in order to obtain as many different reliable data as possible for evaluating universities performance. This is combined with the budget data of these leading European universities in order to calculate a data envelopment analysis (DEA) regarding the overall efficiency of these institutions. The results help to further the discussion about the role and message of rankings in the light of efficient and effective service provided in higher education systems.

 

Keywords: university efficiency, data envelopment analysis (DEA), indicator selection, European universities

186-192
  

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the differentiated supervision initiative that was implemented in some Saudi schools as a way for school leadership improvement. Four reports written by the supervisors of districts participating in the initiative were qualitatively analyzed looking for their main themes. All reports agreed that the model is effective and helps to improve the instruction and the school environment. There was also an agreement that the model enhances the role of the supervisor in the instructional aspect of the schools daily life. According to these reports, another advantage of the model was that it increased the ability of the supervisor to focus on a few schools. Major weaknesses and barriers to its implementation were also identified.

 

Keywords: differentiated supervision model, school leadership, professional development

193-201
  

Being able to read is a magic key to all learning, yet, reading has proved to be a great problem to learners worldwide. Suggestions and theories have been tried and governments have cheeped in, but the problem remains. At its independence in 1980, the government of Zimbabwe declared education as a basic human right. The country has managed to achieve quantitative expansion in education. It now focuses on improving the quality through reading remediation. Through teachers questionnaires and Statistic Package for Social Science (SPSS) computations, the research exposes that there is no significant difference among the causes for reading deficiencies among the primary and secondary school pupils in Zimbabwe. Also, hindrances to reading are numerous, thus, a multifaceted approach is needed to counter them.

 

Keywords: reading deficiencies, reading inability, qualitative, incompetency, remediation, corrective reading, hindrances

202-210
  

Academic resilience is regarded as one of the indicators of adjustment with the university life pressure and setbacks. It is the strongest predictor of enjoyment of study, class participation, and general self-esteem. There has been relatively less research focusing on academic resilience. In Egypt, there is no scale for the measurement of academic resilience. Therefore, this article attempts to ensure that the Academic Resilience Scale (ARS) is suitable for assessing academic resilience of Egyptian university students. It also investigates gender differences in academic resilience and its relation to academic achievement of the 100 participants (57 male and 43 female students). Results of exploratory factor analysis showed that the scale is valid and reliable. A statistically significant difference was found among males and females in academic resilience, in favor of males. The correlation between academic resilience score and age was also analysed, but no significant result was found. A statistically significant relationship was found between academic resilience and achievement.

 

Keywords: Academic Resilience Scale (ARS), validity, reliability

211-218

Literate Practices, Archiving, and the Concept of Authorship

Anderson de Carvalho Pereira, Leda Verdiani Tfouni


  

The concept of authorship is related to the Social and Human Sciences since the 1960s, specifically in French academic studies concerned with the concept of subject and the structure of language. In this paper, we aim at demonstrating a theoretical rapport across researches about literacy and its link with authorship in oral discourse, based on the French Discourse Analysis, as well as in Lacanian Psychoanalysis. The concepts of literacy practices, archiving (discursive memory), and authorship will also be used. We will sustain that the subjects of literacy and writing are not coincident. For now, we can ensure that the subject of literacy, affected by the unconscious ideology, is articulated to various types of knowledge that, through signifiers, support the collective nature of literacy practices, although there are individual aspects intrinsic to their effects. This is an important point to consider when the scientist comes up with the problem of considering orality as a manifestation that includes the possibility of authorship.

 

Keywords: literacy, memory, archiving, authorship, discourse

219-222
  

Euphemism, as a common linguistic phenomenon, has attracted attention of linguists and scholars for a long time. Many of them have studied euphemism from different perspectives with fruitful contributions and achievements. Euphemisms can be classified into different types according to different angles and standards. Diplomatic euphemism is one of them and is mainly classified according to register. Based on the others research achievements, the paper, first of all, gives a brief introduction of Politeness Principle (PP). Then, it analyzes some of the euphemisms in a press conference in the light of PP. Finally, it concludes that in press conferences, sometimes, politeness is focused more on self because euphemisms are to minimize impolite expressions and maximize polite expressions of what the speaker says.

 

Keywords: diplomatic euphemism, Politeness Principle (PP), press conference

 
 

 

 

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