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Educ. Sci., Volume 14, Issue 2 (February 2024) – 97 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This study reports on the supporting processes and tools for a collaborative inquiry-based systematic reflection of five teacher educators and the effects of their use in constructing professional knowledge about Initial Teacher Education. The focus of inquiry, the links among inquiry, reflection, and action, as well as the contributing role of collaboration within a professional learning community (PLC) are presented to provide teacher educators or/and facilitators of PLCs in teacher education with a methodology for supporting professional knowledge through collaborative inquiry and reflection. View this paper
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20 pages, 1598 KiB  
Article
Digital and Social-Civic Skills in Future Primary Education Teachers: A Study from the Didactics of Social Sciences for the Improvement of Teacher Training in Competences
by Rafael Guerrero Elecalde, Javier Contreras García, Antonio Luis Bonilla Martos and Begoña Serrano Arnáez
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020211 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 752
Abstract
The use of technology, especially among young people, is providing new possibilities, including in the academic field, and requires teacher training through the development of skills and competences. At this point, Social Science Didactics plays a fundamental role, as it prepares future teachers [...] Read more.
The use of technology, especially among young people, is providing new possibilities, including in the academic field, and requires teacher training through the development of skills and competences. At this point, Social Science Didactics plays a fundamental role, as it prepares future teachers to teach social knowledge in order to achieve useful and meaningful learning for students and society. Using an online questionnaire, structured with the Likert scale, which had previously been validated and published by Professors Peart, Gutiérrez-Esteban, and Cubo-Delgado, 156 students of the Degree in Primary Education of the subject Didactics of Social Sciences at the University of Granada (Spain) participated (academic year 2023–2024), with the aim of investigating the digital and socio-civic competences of trainee teachers in order to seek ways to improve their training. The results were processed in the IBM SPSS Statistics 25 programme, carrying out a descriptive statistical analysis, considering the mode and the variance ratio. The participating students mainly use digital environments to communicate with acquaintances and, although they know and value a democratic society, they do not exercise their citizenship on the Internet. This makes it even more necessary to train future teachers in digital competences, based on digital and socio-civic skills, as only in this way will they be able to train citizens capable of facing the challenges of the knowledge society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online Learning and Digital Education: Opportunities and Challenges)
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11 pages, 1999 KiB  
Article
Talking Like a Teacher—A Study of Pre-Service Teachers’ Voice and Speech Characteristics in Learning and Teaching Situations
by Kati Järvinen, Anna-Leena Kähkönen, Pasi Nieminen and Terhi Mäntylä
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020210 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 711
Abstract
Voice and speech are educational tools and a medium of pedagogy for teachers. Teachers tend to modify their voice and speech to support learning. This study aimed to investigate whether pre-service teachers modify their speech and voice in teaching compared to peer learning [...] Read more.
Voice and speech are educational tools and a medium of pedagogy for teachers. Teachers tend to modify their voice and speech to support learning. This study aimed to investigate whether pre-service teachers modify their speech and voice in teaching compared to peer learning speech and whether the changes can promote learning and be beneficial for the speakers. Nine pre-service physics teachers’ voices were recorded in three learning situations and in one teaching session with similar external circumstances. Duration of speech turns, pausing, speech rate, fundamental frequency (F0) and its variation, sound pressure level (SPL) and its range, and voice quality were analyzed. Results showed that the participants had longer speech turns, decreased speech rate, and increased pausing when teaching compared to speech in peer learning situations. F0 and SPL were higher in teaching, indicating that the teaching situation was more stressful than the peer learning situation. For F0, this was confirmed by correlation analysis. From the learning point, increased pausing and slower speech rate may be beneficial, but increased F0 and SPL may, on the other hand, be harmful to future teachers as they can increase the risk of vocal overloading. Voice training for future teachers is strongly recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Teacher Education)
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19 pages, 1079 KiB  
Article
Inclusive Special Needs Education and Happiness of Students with Physical Disabilities in Saudi Arabia: The Role of School Satisfaction and Self-Concept
by Wided Ragmoun and Abdulaziz Abdulmohsen Alfalih
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020209 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 785
Abstract
This research aims to discover how inclusive education practices can determine the happiness and school satisfaction of students with physical disabilities through the development of self-concept. To achieve the objective of this study, quantitative research was used by administering a questionnaire to 403 [...] Read more.
This research aims to discover how inclusive education practices can determine the happiness and school satisfaction of students with physical disabilities through the development of self-concept. To achieve the objective of this study, quantitative research was used by administering a questionnaire to 403 students with special needs in secondary and high school in Saudi Arabia. The collected data were analyzed according to structural equation modeling. Our findings support the considerable agreement on the importance of inclusive special needs education for the happiness of physically disabled students. A total mediating effect of self-concept between ISNE and school satisfaction is also confirmed, which shows the great importance of the psychological dimension in special education. These results can orient and assist school managers in defining an appropriate educational environment for students with special needs. They can provide specific directives for raising the happiness and the quality of life of such students, making them more productive and socially active. Following this research, a new school framework can be drawn to protect, assist, and change the self-concept of students with physical special needs to shift the perspective of disability from an obstacle to overcome to an opportunity to exploit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Special and Inclusive Education)
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17 pages, 585 KiB  
Article
Value Co-Creation: A Strategy for Enhancing Inclusiveness in Special Education
by Pennee Narot and Narong Kiettikunwong
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020208 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 879
Abstract
This qualitative study examines the educational management practices of a municipality in Thailand by evaluating the current delivery of special educational services with underlying principles rooted in value co-creation (VCC)—a business concept often employed to enhance engagement and participation with the aim of [...] Read more.
This qualitative study examines the educational management practices of a municipality in Thailand by evaluating the current delivery of special educational services with underlying principles rooted in value co-creation (VCC)—a business concept often employed to enhance engagement and participation with the aim of creating mutual value. The study’s objective is to identify gaps in real-life practices. The research methodology encompasses in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, focus group discussions involving school board members and parents, and content analysis to extract core concepts for policy recommendations. The study’s findings reveal that the municipality is increasingly recognizing the potential of VCC in enhancing student outcomes, particularly for those with special educational needs. However, challenges stemming from schools’ financial constraints and the influx of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds impede the full realization of VCC principles. Consequently, it is crucial for the government to prioritize the alignment of VCC strategies with special education. This can be achieved by considering reengineering the education budget allocation and making investments, whether direct or indirect, to support the VCC process. These measures are essential to promote the evolution of VCC and sustain special educational service operations effectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultivating Inclusive Classrooms: Practices in Special Education)
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14 pages, 229 KiB  
Article
University Teaching as a Site for Professional Learning of Teacher Educators: The Role of Collaborative Inquiry and Reflection within a Professional Learning Community
by Sofia Avgitidou, Konstantinos Karadimitriou, Maria Ampartzaki, Christina Sidiropoulou and Maria Kampeza
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020207 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1117
Abstract
While initial teacher education (ITE) has been acknowledged as an important process for improving the quality of education by preparing future teachers, less attention has been paid to the support of the continuous professional learning of teacher educators (TEs). This study reports on [...] Read more.
While initial teacher education (ITE) has been acknowledged as an important process for improving the quality of education by preparing future teachers, less attention has been paid to the support of the continuous professional learning of teacher educators (TEs). This study reports on the supporting processes and tools for a collaborative inquiry-based systematic reflection of five TEs and the effects of their use in constructing professional knowledge about ITE. The reflective written reports and reflective discussions of the TEs are thematically analysed to show the focus of inquiry, the links among inquiry, reflection, and action, as well as the contributing role of collaboration within a professional learning community (PLC). The results show that the TE inquiry was a continuous process of exploring the beliefs, understandings, and participation of pre-service teachers (PSTs) during teaching; the impact of the teaching context on TE actions and decisions; and the ways in which their collaboration enhanced professional learning. The inquiry results informed the reflections and practice design of TEs. Guiding questions, sustained interactions among the PLC members, and support from a facilitator created opportunities for the collaborative construction of the professional learning of TEs. This article provides TEs or/and facilitators of PLCs in teacher education with a methodology for supporting professional knowledge through collaborative inquiry and reflection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teachers and Teaching in Teacher Education)
23 pages, 1709 KiB  
Review
Empowering Vocational Students: A Research-Based Framework for Computational Thinking Integration
by Seppe Hermans, Tom Neutens, Francis wyffels and Peter Van Petegem
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020206 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 895
Abstract
Vocational Education and Training (VET) faces significant challenges in equipping individuals for modern workplaces, which increasingly require digital literacy and Computational Thinking (CT) skills. This paper addresses the imperative of integrating CT into VET programs and outlines key research questions. Our methodology primarily [...] Read more.
Vocational Education and Training (VET) faces significant challenges in equipping individuals for modern workplaces, which increasingly require digital literacy and Computational Thinking (CT) skills. This paper addresses the imperative of integrating CT into VET programs and outlines key research questions. Our methodology primarily involves a systematic literature review, resulting in the identification of 29 relevant papers. Through qualitative content analysis, we develop a CT integration framework that connects CT practices and integration elements to the engineering design process, while highlighting the VET context. Arguably, the innovative aspect of this framework lies in its core dimensions of harnessing computational power for enhanced efficiency. Raising the question of whether computers can optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of specific tasks is paramount for addressing challenges in technology-rich environments. Therefore, this inquiry merits unwavering attention at every stage of the process. The proposed framework provides educators with a structured approach to identify integration opportunities and help prepare students for multifaceted vocational careers. Furthermore, other key findings underscore the inherently interdisciplinary nature of VET, the growing demand for STEM competencies, and the transformative potential of CT integration. Implications emphasize the need for further research, supportive policies, and practical CT integration. Despite limitations, this study strongly advocates for CT integration, empowering VET students for success in the contemporary workforce. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section STEM Education)
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13 pages, 553 KiB  
Article
Do Good Intentions Lead to Expected Outcomes? Professional Learning Amongst Early Career Academics in a Problem-Based Program
by Nikolaj Stegeager, Sofie Jensen Traulsen, Aida Olivia Pereira de Carvalho Guerra, Patrik Kristoffer Kjærsdam Telléus and Xiangyun Du
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020205 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 764
Abstract
This paper presents findings from a study of pedagogical beliefs and practices amongst early career academics attending an extensive professional development program. The research questions of this study were as follows: how do early career academics define their pedagogical beliefs in relation to [...] Read more.
This paper presents findings from a study of pedagogical beliefs and practices amongst early career academics attending an extensive professional development program. The research questions of this study were as follows: how do early career academics define their pedagogical beliefs in relation to a pedagogical development program, and how do their beliefs manifest in their pedagogical practice? This study was based on a qualitative document analysis of 145 project reports written as the finalizing part of the early career academics’ participation in the program. Reports were collected with the consent of participants, coded, and analyzed to search for emerging pedagogical beliefs and subsequent practices. The findings indicate that while almost all participants express beliefs that are aligned with the core values of the university, their reported practices are quite diverse. Based on this, we propose a framework for understanding teaching development amongst early career academics centered on their individual development and their interaction with students. This framework provides a contribution to our understanding of the teaching trajectories of early career academics and the intricate interplay between pedagogical beliefs and pedagogical practice. This framework may be of use for educational developers when planning and conducting pedagogical development activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Higher Education)
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15 pages, 589 KiB  
Article
Independent Semantic and Syntactic Representations in L2 Mandarin Learners: Evidence from Structural Priming
by Douglas J. Getty, Xiang Wei and Lin Chen
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020204 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 644
Abstract
Structural representations in English have been shown to be quite abstract, with structural information being represented independently from semantic information. Mandarin has a relatively sparse marking of syntactic information, with no inflections for case, number, or tense. Given this syntactic sparsity, Huang et [...] Read more.
Structural representations in English have been shown to be quite abstract, with structural information being represented independently from semantic information. Mandarin has a relatively sparse marking of syntactic information, with no inflections for case, number, or tense. Given this syntactic sparsity, Huang et al. (2016) hypothesized that, distinct from English-language findings, Mandarin learners may have shared syntactic and semantic representations, such that semantic information can guide structure building. We examined this question in L2 Mandarin learners using a structural priming paradigm that required reading Mandarin primes. We found that L2 Mandarin learners exhibit within-language structural priming, and this effect is independent of semantic information. These findings have two implications: (1) this represents the first demonstration of within-language L2 Mandarin structural priming; (2) L2 learners can develop syntactic representations independent of semantic representations, even when the target L2 language lacks rich marking of syntactic information. Full article
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28 pages, 1535 KiB  
Article
Technology-Mediated Hindustani Dhrupad Music Education: An Ethnographic Contribution to the 4E Cognition Perspective
by Stella Paschalidou
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020203 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 667
Abstract
Embodiment lies at the core of music cognition, prompting recent pedagogical shifts towards a multi-sensory, whole-body approach. However, the education of oral music genres that rely exclusively on direct teacher–disciple transmission through live demonstration and imitation is now undergoing a transformation by rapidly [...] Read more.
Embodiment lies at the core of music cognition, prompting recent pedagogical shifts towards a multi-sensory, whole-body approach. However, the education of oral music genres that rely exclusively on direct teacher–disciple transmission through live demonstration and imitation is now undergoing a transformation by rapidly adapting to technology-mediated platforms. This paper examines challenges in embodied facets of video-mediated synchronous distance Hindustani music pedagogy. For this, it takes an ethnomusicological stance and showcases a thematic analysis of interviews featuring Dhrupad music practitioners. The analysis is driven and organized by the 4E Cognition principles, which stress the intimate relationship between body, mind, and environment. Findings indicate that while this adaptation aims to make music content more widely accessible, it comes at the cost of reducing opportunities for multi-modal engagement and interaction among participants. Results reveal limitations in transmitting non-verbal, embodied, multi-sensory cues, along with visual and acoustic disruptions of a sense of shared spatial and physical context, that hinder effective interaction and a sense of immersion, elements that are deemed vital in music education. They prompt concerns about the suitability of conventional videoconferencing platforms and offer key insights for the development of alternative technologies that can better assist embodied demands of the pedagogical practices involved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultivating Creativity and Innovation in Music Education)
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16 pages, 320 KiB  
Article
What If I Were the Exile? Linking Past and Present for Democratic History Teaching with Pre-Service Educators
by María Belén San Pedro Veledo, María Luisa Zagalaz-Sánchez and Carmen González González de Mesa
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020202 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 562
Abstract
The academic literature has fostered a debate in recent decades regarding the concept of historical empathy and the typology of activities that can help to treat and develop it, although there is no consensus as to the real effectiveness of narrative activities of [...] Read more.
The academic literature has fostered a debate in recent decades regarding the concept of historical empathy and the typology of activities that can help to treat and develop it, although there is no consensus as to the real effectiveness of narrative activities of a descriptive type that involve the projection of the person into the past. The aim of this research was to check whether the implementation of a programme that uses historical contextualisation, contact with primary testimonies, the use of sources and historical empathy, linking the situation of the exiles of the Spanish Civil War with the current refugees, can contribute to the development of tolerant attitudes towards the figure of the displaced in pre-service teachers and the degree to which these attitudes are modified after the application of the programme. The research design is quantitative and corresponds to a quasi-experimental design with a control and experimental group. A questionnaire was used to measure the attitudes of 101 pre-service teachers at a Spanish university towards refugees. The questionnaire was completed at two different times, before and after a historical empathy exercise on the exiles of the Spanish Civil War. The results indicate that programmes using historical contextualisation, testimonies close to refugees and historical empathy relating the situation of refugees to that of the exiles of the Spanish Civil War can contribute to increasing and/or reinforcing positive attitudes towards refugees in pre-service teachers. Full article
19 pages, 1817 KiB  
Article
Teachers in the Loop: Integrating Computational Thinking and Mathematics to Build Early Place Value Understanding
by Mai Dahshan and Terrie Galanti
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020201 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 926
Abstract
With increasing attention on the potential overlap between computational thinking (CT) and mathematical reasoning, STEM education researchers seek to understand how integrating CT and mathematics can deepen student learning across disciplines. Although there are various professional development programs that introduce teachers to CT [...] Read more.
With increasing attention on the potential overlap between computational thinking (CT) and mathematical reasoning, STEM education researchers seek to understand how integrating CT and mathematics can deepen student learning across disciplines. Although there are various professional development programs that introduce teachers to CT concepts and strategies for curriculum integration, limited research exists on how teachers might apply this knowledge to create math + CT activities for use with their students. Additionally, the majority of research on CT integration through programming has focused on upper elementary grades, leaving the early grades (K-2) relatively unexplored. This qualitative exploratory study aims to examine how teachers in a graduate STEM education program collaborated with university STEM faculty to explore and critique a set of integrated math + CT block-based programming activities designed to build place value conceptual understanding. In-service elementary teachers enrolled in an online graduate CT course for educators (n = 13) explored these activities as learners and drew on their experiences as classroom teachers to offer feedback for program redesign. A sequence of deductive pattern coding and inductive holistic coding of course transcripts, collaborative problem-solving slides, and individual teacher reflections provided insights into how teachers were able to establish connections between their mathematical knowledge related to teaching place value and their emerging understanding of CT concepts, such as abstraction, algorithms, decomposition, and debugging. Implications for the design of professional development for elementary teachers on integrating CT and mathematics are offered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue STEM+C for Kids: Innovations in Pre-school and Primary Education)
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19 pages, 1614 KiB  
Systematic Review
Non-Digital Games That Promote Mathematical Learning in Primary Years Students: A Systematic Review
by James Russo, Penelope Kalogeropoulos, Leicha A. Bragg and Marion Heyeres
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020200 - 17 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1030
Abstract
Despite primary school teachers demonstrating strong preferences for using non-digital games over digital games to support mathematics instruction, much of the research review literature has focused on learning outcomes associated with digital mathematical games. To address this gap, the current systematic literature review [...] Read more.
Despite primary school teachers demonstrating strong preferences for using non-digital games over digital games to support mathematics instruction, much of the research review literature has focused on learning outcomes associated with digital mathematical games. To address this gap, the current systematic literature review focuses on non-digital, games-based, empirical studies in the primary mathematics classroom over the past two decades from 2003 to 2022. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA) statement was employed as a guideline for the data-collection process. The review presents an analysis and synthesis of 34 manuscripts, representing 32 distinct studies. Over three-quarters of manuscripts employed quantitative methodologies and around half qualitative methodologies, whilst studies focused exclusively on student, as opposed to teacher, outcomes. Despite Australia and Indonesia being comparatively overrepresented, the studies in scope were notable for both their geographic diversity and the eclectic range of game types and structures incorporated; although they did tend to disproportionately focus on number and operations, as opposed to other mathematical content areas. Moreover, the impact of mathematical games was generally positive across the broad range of outcomes considered, suggesting that mathematical games are potentially effective for both developing mathematical proficiencies, as well as improving dispositions towards mathematics. Future research directions are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section STEM Education)
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12 pages, 710 KiB  
Systematic Review
Motivational Climate, Physical Self-Concept, and Social Relationships in Adolescents in Physical Education Classes: A Systematic Review
by María del Carmen Flores-Piñero, Pedro Valdivia-Moral, Luis Ramos-Mondejar and Juan González-Hernández
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020199 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 707
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to provide a comprehensive summary of scientific evidence related with the influence on physical self-concept and prosocial behaviours in adolescents, taking into account the motivational climate generated in Physical Education classes by the teacher. Studies with [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to provide a comprehensive summary of scientific evidence related with the influence on physical self-concept and prosocial behaviours in adolescents, taking into account the motivational climate generated in Physical Education classes by the teacher. Studies with similar samples have shown that special consideration must be given to the motivational climate of involvement with the task and the coach’s style in support of autonomy in a greater occurrence of prosocial behaviours in the sports context, which shows that the social context is the most important variable in the direction of moral behaviours. Following the application of a search protocol in the Web of Science (WoS) database, 131 articles were initially identified, with eight manuscripts finally being analysed according to previously established criteria for the various stages of the PRISMA checklist. Despite only a relatively small number of articles being available to have rigorously evaluated the topic of interest, analysed studies revealed a direct relationship between motivational climate and physical self-concept. In contrast, no relationship emerged with prosocial behaviour. Full article
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20 pages, 1460 KiB  
Article
Bridging the Gap between Theoretical Learning and Practical Application: A Qualitative Study in the Italian Educational Context
by Stefania Fantinelli, Michela Cortini, Teresa Di Fiore, Stefano Iervese and Teresa Galanti
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020198 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1192
Abstract
In the contemporary educational landscape, there is a growing recognition of the transformative impact of practical experiences within traditional learning frameworks. This shift reflects a pedagogical evolution that values contextualized learning and the acquisition of practical skills together with theoretical knowledge. In the [...] Read more.
In the contemporary educational landscape, there is a growing recognition of the transformative impact of practical experiences within traditional learning frameworks. This shift reflects a pedagogical evolution that values contextualized learning and the acquisition of practical skills together with theoretical knowledge. In the Italian educational context, School–Work Alternation (SWA) represents a proactive response to the evolving needs of the workforce and the imperative for educational institutions to prepare students for professional life. This study’s objectives include a deep exploration of students’ SWA experience, evaluating its impact on employability perceptions and the sense of agency, examining the influence of Self-Orientation, and contributing insights to the discourse on integrating practical experiences in education. Employing a mixed methodology and a bottom-up approach, 63 high school students of different Italian regions participated in an online in-depth interview and an ad hoc questionnaire designed to measure the experience of SWA in relation to variables of interest, utility, advantage, perception of support, quality of received mentoring, engagement, and satisfaction. The quantitative results indicate that personal choice significantly influences the perceived usefulness of and satisfaction with SWA, with those students guided by curiosity exhibiting higher utility and satisfaction. Qualitative analysis underscores both positive and negative aspects, with respondents viewing SWA as a useful experience bridging work, corporate, and school realms provided that students are key players in the SWA experience’s choice and that the SWA’s partners are motivated to guide them in this practical training. Moreover, results highlight SWA’s relevance in guiding academic and career paths, emphasizing its potential to offer valuable support to students. This study contributes nuanced insights into integrating practical experiences in education, offering recommendations for educators and policymakers to better prepare students for the dynamic demands of the modern job market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Higher Education)
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13 pages, 840 KiB  
Article
Democratisation and Educational Inclusion during Lockdown Times: Perceptions of Portuguese Teachers
by Leonor L. Torres and Mariana Gaio Alves
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020197 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 608
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on school education, as confirmed by numerous studies produced at the international level. One of the most profound effects was the potential change to the political mandates of schools and resulting alterations in professional teaching practices, [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on school education, as confirmed by numerous studies produced at the international level. One of the most profound effects was the potential change to the political mandates of schools and resulting alterations in professional teaching practices, given the proliferation of remote (online and blended) teaching. This article aims to explore the extent to which the pandemic crisis has reconfigured schools’ educational priorities, with an emphasis on democratisation and inclusion at the expense of learning outcomes and meritocratic approaches. Based on an extensive study as part of a wider international project, the results of a questionnaire survey of Portuguese teachers (n = 3983) during the initial lockdown period in 2020 are analysed. The empirical evidence suggests that the pandemic resulted in a strengthening of the democratising pole, underpinned by the principles of equal opportunities, inclusion, and social justice, even though the practices and priorities of teachers as a whole are not homogeneous. This heterogeneity reflects pre-existing professional and school cultures, which vary depending on level of education, gender, school type, and career length, among other important factors. Full article
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33 pages, 1418 KiB  
Article
From Research to Retweets—Exploring the Role of Educational Twitter (X) Communities in Promoting Science Communication and Evidence-Based Teaching
by Monica Déchène, Kaley Lesperance, Lisa Ziernwald and Doris Holzberger
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020196 - 15 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1412
Abstract
Twitter has evolved from its initial purpose as a microblogging social network to a pivotal platform for science communication. Equally, it has gained significant popularity among teachers who utilize communities like the German #twitterlehrerzimmer (TWLZ; Twitter teachers’ lounge) as a digital professional learning [...] Read more.
Twitter has evolved from its initial purpose as a microblogging social network to a pivotal platform for science communication. Equally, it has gained significant popularity among teachers who utilize communities like the German #twitterlehrerzimmer (TWLZ; Twitter teachers’ lounge) as a digital professional learning network. (1) Background: To date, no studies examine how science communication is conducted on Twitter specifically tailored to teachers’ needs and whether this facilitates evidence-based teaching. (2) Methods: Answering the three research questions involved a comprehensive mixed methods approach comprising an online teacher survey, utility analysis using Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) models, and machine learning-assisted tweet analyses. (3) Results: Teachers implement research findings from the TWLZ in their teaching about twice a month. They prefer interactive tweets with specific content-related, communicative, and interactive tweet features. Science communication in the TWLZ differs from everyday communication but notably emphasizes the relevance of transfer events for educational practice. (4) Conclusions: Findings highlight that dialogue is essential for successful science communication. Practical implications arise from new guidelines on how research findings should be communicated and encourage teachers to reflect on their Twitter usage and attitude toward evidence-based teaching. Recommendations for further research in this emerging field are also discussed. Full article
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17 pages, 228 KiB  
Article
Learning to Become a Physics Teacher: A Case Study of Experienced Teachers
by Ozden Sengul
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020195 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 821
Abstract
This paper focuses on Wegner’s concept of learning to examine how experienced physics teachers conceptualize and explain their professional identity. Participants were four female physics teachers with more than 15 years of teaching experience. These four teachers were selected as illustrative and contrastive [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on Wegner’s concept of learning to examine how experienced physics teachers conceptualize and explain their professional identity. Participants were four female physics teachers with more than 15 years of teaching experience. These four teachers were selected as illustrative and contrastive cases for the purpose of the study. The data collection included semi-structured interviews and field notes from classroom observations in each participant’s classroom. Interview and classroom observation data were analyzed through the constant-comparative method. The results showed that these teachers had positive and negative experiences in different types of schools; and higher-achieving students motivated these teachers to solve different types of problems. Although teachers believed that science should be taught through experiments or inquiry-based instruction, they did not have any opportunity to teach in a laboratory. Their role was confined to teaching in a classroom to solve problems. They defined their concept of learning to become a physics teacher with metaphors that focused on the cognitive demands of teaching and the learning process. Further research on teacher education should support teacher development through addressing social and epistemic demands of teaching and learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Teacher Education)
12 pages, 970 KiB  
Article
Activity Proposals to Improve Children’s Climate Literacy and Environmental Literacy
by Ricardo Ramos, Maria José Rodrigues and Isilda Rodrigues
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020194 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 784
Abstract
With the climate crisis, schools have a fundamental role to enrich children’s climate literacy, which should begin in their early years and continue for life. Developing activities in the classroom can be an excellent way of bringing this about. This work is part [...] Read more.
With the climate crisis, schools have a fundamental role to enrich children’s climate literacy, which should begin in their early years and continue for life. Developing activities in the classroom can be an excellent way of bringing this about. This work is part of a larger research project, during which a previous study was carried out with 245 children aged 9 to 13, in which we identified some limitations in their knowledge about climate change. Based on these results, we decided to present some proposals for activities that could help improve these children’s climate literacy. The study we conducted was of an exploratory character, and the main objective was to understand the impact of applying a set of activities to 54 children. The objectives of this work were to increase the climate literacy of the children involved—more specifically, to evaluate the impact of implementing three activities related to climate change and identify the knowledge about the cases and consequences of climate change that were acquired by the children involved. To collect the data, we used a focus group technique and content analysis to process it. The results revealed that the children acquired a better understanding of the problem of climate change—in particular, the causes and consequences of it and of the concept of the ecological footprint—as well as motivation to contribute to mitigating the problem. We conclude that the activities proposed could contribute to improving climate literacy, as well as stimulate children’s curiosity and proactivity so that they become citizens capable of exercising their active citizenship. Full article
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15 pages, 563 KiB  
Article
The Role of Second Language Reading Proficiency in Moderating Second Language Word Recognition
by Xiaomeng Li and Tianxu Chen
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020193 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 643
Abstract
Drawing upon the division of labor between orthographic and phonological information, this study investigated whether and how L2 reading proficiency moderates learners’ reliance on phonological and orthographic information in retrieving word meanings. A total of 136 Chinese collegiate students who learned English as [...] Read more.
Drawing upon the division of labor between orthographic and phonological information, this study investigated whether and how L2 reading proficiency moderates learners’ reliance on phonological and orthographic information in retrieving word meanings. A total of 136 Chinese collegiate students who learned English as a foreign language (EFL) completed English reading proficiency tests and were divided into higher and lower reading proficiency groups using an extreme-group approach. Behavioral tasks were used to measure the participants’ sensitivity to and processing skills of orthographic and phonological information. The analysis showed that the reliance on phonological and orthographic information differed significantly across L2 reading proficiency groups: The higher reading proficiency group was sensitive to both phonological and orthographic information within words, while the lower reading proficiency group was only sensitive to orthographic information; only orthographic processing skills significantly contributed to the word meaning retrieval of individuals in the higher reading proficiency group, while phonological processing skills were the only predictor for the lower reading proficiency group. These results suggest that the use of phonological and orthographic information vary as a function of L2 learners’ English reading proficiency. Implications regarding the changing patterns of L1 influences and the language-universal and language-specific aspects of word recognition were discussed. Full article
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33 pages, 1612 KiB  
Systematic Review
Creative Thinking in Art and Design Education: A Systematic Review
by Mariela Samaniego, Nancy Usca, José Salguero and William Quevedo
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020192 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1393
Abstract
This study aims to identify and analyze relevant characteristics associated with creative thinking, particularly in arts and design education. A systematic literature review was conducted following the PRISMA protocol, utilizing the Scopus database, where 292 studies were retrieved through search strings. From these, [...] Read more.
This study aims to identify and analyze relevant characteristics associated with creative thinking, particularly in arts and design education. A systematic literature review was conducted following the PRISMA protocol, utilizing the Scopus database, where 292 studies were retrieved through search strings. From these, 187 studies were selected for the final analysis. The results highlight an emphasis on experiential learning, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), and interdisciplinary approaches as prevalent educational methodologies for fostering creative thinking. The identified techniques include interdisciplinary projects, artistic practices, nature-based activities, and the use of digital tools. The core skills identified include originality, fluency, flexibility, and elaboration. Furthermore, it was observed that most of the studies were conducted in higher education institutions. The study underscores the urgency of promoting research in specific regions, such as Latin America, to contribute to advancing and enriching the educational landscape in these areas. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of fostering creativity from an early age. The significance of this study lies in its contribution to more effective pedagogical practices for the development of creative thinking that positively impacts education and prepares individuals for the challenges of the 21st century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Teacher Education)
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15 pages, 313 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Executive Functions in School Considering Motor and Sociodemographic Factors: A Joint Vision for School-Based Occupational Therapists and School Staff
by María José López-de-la-Fuente, Víctor Berdejo, Silvia Madrona-Velasco, Laura Gonzalo-Ciria, Laura Lasso-Olayo and Carmen López-de-la-Fuente
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020191 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 596
Abstract
Executive functions (EFs) and motor skills are essential for many school and daily tasks. Many school-based occupational therapists need help addressing EFs. The current study aims to provide new insights into the relationship between executive functions and motor development by considering confounding factors. [...] Read more.
Executive functions (EFs) and motor skills are essential for many school and daily tasks. Many school-based occupational therapists need help addressing EFs. The current study aims to provide new insights into the relationship between executive functions and motor development by considering confounding factors. Ninety-six second-grade children were tested in one state-funded (public) school and another state-subsidised private school. Children were assessed with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 (MABC-2), Neuropsychological Assessment of Executive Functions in Children, and Test of Perception of Differences–R. Families completed a sociodemographic questionnaire, and teachers completed a previous questionnaire and subsequently evaluated the information the occupational therapist provided. Mixed results were obtained regarding the correlation between motor and executive skills. Furthermore, children who received worse scores on the MABC-2 had more difficulties on the EFs tests. The Impulsivity Control Index was not correlated with any motor variable. Our results show that sociodemographic variables (except gender) correlate more with EFs than motor skills. The teachers showed a high degree of agreement with the occupational therapist (4.0 ± 0.8), even in children with good academic performance. They expressed the need for additional training and classroom interventions. A joint vision of motor-executive functioning can facilitate the design of effective interventions, especially in schools with more disadvantaged populations. Full article
20 pages, 253 KiB  
Essay
The Work Environment of the School Leader in Australia: The Case for Sustained Change in Role and Practice
by Brian J. Caldwell
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020190 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 571
Abstract
The questions addressed in this essay are (1) how has the work environment of school leaders changed in the early years of the 21st century, (2) how have these changes affected the role of the school leader, (3) what is the association between [...] Read more.
The questions addressed in this essay are (1) how has the work environment of school leaders changed in the early years of the 21st century, (2) how have these changes affected the role of the school leader, (3) what is the association between an evident deterioration in the work environment and the trend to more autonomy for schools and their leaders, and (4) how can school systems be more effective in supporting school leaders? The essay is organised into three domains that emerged from a review of the literature on changes in the work environment: intensification–intimidation, autonomy–accountability and system–support. Six recommendations are derived from the evidence: principals should have greater control over their work environment, system leaders should remove many reporting requirements from schools, there should be “organised abandonment” of outdated practices, the potential benefits of AI should be realised, there should be more engagement in planning for the future, and there should be further research on processes and outcomes through randomised controlled trials of new practices. It is not so much new theories in leadership but rather new roles and new practices within different arrangements for governance, informed by ongoing research as the context changes, amid evidence of deterioration in professional wellbeing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transforming Educational Leadership)
16 pages, 250 KiB  
Article
Teachers’ Experiences of Online/Distance Teaching and Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Mainstream Classrooms with Vulnerable Students in Cyprus
by Panayiota Christodoulidou and Charalampia (Hara) Sidiropoulou
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020189 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 665
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school lockdowns in many countries forced teachers to deliver lessons online to ensure that students continued their studies. This shift, which caused major challenges for school systems worldwide, significantly affected the Cypriot education system, which is highly centralised [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school lockdowns in many countries forced teachers to deliver lessons online to ensure that students continued their studies. This shift, which caused major challenges for school systems worldwide, significantly affected the Cypriot education system, which is highly centralised and in which teacher-centred practices are widely used. In many countries, teachers and students were unfamiliar with the new teaching and evaluation methods, and learners in the most marginalised groups were deemed to be at risk of falling behind. For these reasons, an online survey was undertaken in Cyprus from March to September 2020 as part of an international online survey initiated by a university in the Northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. The survey examined teachers’ perspectives on the new online pedagogical practices; the challenges they faced; and the impact of these practices on the learning progress of all students, including two vulnerable groups, i.e., individuals with learning disabilities and immigrant students aged 6–18 years. Key findings suggest that the teachers were unprepared to design inclusive student-centred digital activities and deliver online lessons and that distance teaching may have negatively affected students’ learning experiences, especially in the vulnerable groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges and Future Trends of Inclusion and Equity in Education)
18 pages, 520 KiB  
Article
The Training of Flamenco Dance Teachers of the Escuela Sevillana (Sevillian School): From Practical Experience to the Practice of Teaching
by Macarena Cortés-Vázquez and Vicente Llorent-Bedmar
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020188 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 669
Abstract
Flamenco is a traditional way of expressing values and knowledge from one generation to the next as part of informal education and is now a consolidated artistic genre in Andalusia. A legal framework was created to protect and promote flamenco as a unique [...] Read more.
Flamenco is a traditional way of expressing values and knowledge from one generation to the next as part of informal education and is now a consolidated artistic genre in Andalusia. A legal framework was created to protect and promote flamenco as a unique element of Andalusian culture, and to incorporate flamenco studies into the official school curriculum. There is nothing written on what constitutes flamenco content or how it should be taught. We conducted a small phenomenological ethnographic study of women who teach a specific style of flamenco dance which is important in the field of teaching, namely the Escuela Sevillana, and we aimed to understand how they constructed the pedagogical content knowledge that enabled them to teach it in the public and private spaces where it is taught. The study design was qualitative and interpretive. The study population comprised all women teaching this style of flamenco dance. Data collection was through in-depth interviews, with a bibliographical review of relevant material for context. The results focus on interpreting and understanding the reality studied, and describing in detail how these dance teachers constructed the pedagogical content knowledge in order to teach it effectively. We draw the conclusions that there are various stages of teaching professionalisation, and experience-based learning is important for consolidation as a teacher. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Curriculum and Instruction)
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16 pages, 240 KiB  
Review
Lessons from Two Decades of Research about Successful School Leadership in England: A Humanistic Approach
by Monica Mincu, Alyson Colman, Christopher Day and Qing Gu
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020187 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 778
Abstract
This paper reviews the research on successful school principalship carried out in England over the last 20 years. Drawing on evidence synthesized from the International Successful School Principalship Project (ISSPP) and related English school leadership research conducted by ISSPP scholars, this review aims [...] Read more.
This paper reviews the research on successful school principalship carried out in England over the last 20 years. Drawing on evidence synthesized from the International Successful School Principalship Project (ISSPP) and related English school leadership research conducted by ISSPP scholars, this review aims to answer a conceptual research question: How do the principalship’s moral purposes and contextual understanding shape the time-sensitive, informed adoption of combinations and accumulations of strategies that lead to sustained school success? This paper identifies five research insights derived from case studies in England and elaborates on the complex, values-led layered web of interactions between the school principal and key stakeholders within and outside the school in the context of frequent social changes and policy interventions in England. Whilst the pace has been greater and more intense than in many other countries, the direction has been, and remains, similar. The body of scholarship here reviewed engages with national policies as filtered and then enacted by successful principals. While ‘effective’ principals lead to students’ success as measured by performance on national tests and examinations, our focus is upon an empirically founded definition of ‘successful’ school leadership that is located in complexity theory and encompasses the enactment of the core purposes of education that include but go beyond the functional. In doing so, it avoids ‘what to do’ formulae and the limitations of certain theoretical ‘leadership’ models, finding that successful school leaders’ work embodies a broader humanistic view of student learning and achievement, which implies the preordinance of the personal over the functional. Taken together, these research insights contribute to the ISSPP’s continued effort to refine and advance the knowledge base of successful school leadership within and across different countries. Full article
11 pages, 232 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Gender Gap: Motivation, Procrastination, Environment, and Academic Performance in an Introductory Physics Course in a Human-Centered Private University in Northeast Mexico—A Case Study
by Humberto Martínez-Huerta, Wendy Xiomara Chavarría-Garza, Osvaldo Aquines-Gutiérrez and Ayax Santos-Guevara
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020186 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 748
Abstract
Progress has been made in recent decades toward achieving gender equality, but today, the gender gap is still noticeable, especially in STEM fields. In support of Goal 5 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda: achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, [...] Read more.
Progress has been made in recent decades toward achieving gender equality, but today, the gender gap is still noticeable, especially in STEM fields. In support of Goal 5 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda: achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, we analyze the context of a private university in northeastern Mexico using a sample of 249 students (157 males and 92 females) enrolled in the first-year engineering course Physics I. The sample presents better academic performance in favor of women by the end of the course as reported through the final course score (F); thus, we explore potential gender differences in student profiles, such as their motivation and level of procrastination using Kruskal–Wallis correlation tests, and measuring the effect size with Cohen’s d. Our tests reported here reveal significant differences in extrinsic motivation (EMO) and intrinsic motivation (IMO), where females obtained higher means in IMO, while males reported higher levels of procrastination (PRO). Contrary to other cases in the literature, the sample presents better academic performance in favor of women. Our findings here aim to encourage programs and strategies that strengthen women’s intrinsic motivation to support women’s empowerment and keep reducing the gender gap. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender and STEM Education)
16 pages, 227 KiB  
Article
Learning the Practice from the Practice: Theory–Practice Courses in Teacher Education
by Orit Oved and Nirit Raichel
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020185 - 12 Feb 2024
Viewed by 775
Abstract
In teacher education programs, it is important to deepen knowledge alongside developing practices through practical experience. One practice of the Professional Development School’s (PDS) model in clinical experience is designing courses linking theory to practice. The present study examines the perception of the [...] Read more.
In teacher education programs, it is important to deepen knowledge alongside developing practices through practical experience. One practice of the Professional Development School’s (PDS) model in clinical experience is designing courses linking theory to practice. The present study examines the perception of the administrative officers in colleges of education in Israel regarding the Ministry of Education’s Theory–Practice (TP) courses and the challenges in implementing them in the curriculum. This study was conducted in 16 state academic colleges for education and 37 administrative personnel participated: presidents, vice presidents, rectors, deans, and heads of courses and practical training. A semi-structured interview was used, and the data was analyzed thematically. The research participants believe that TP courses as a tool implemented as part of the PDS model may be effective in training teachers to integrate theory with practical experience. The participants raised three major challenges to implementation: systemic, pedagogical, and organizational. The participants emphasize that designing and implementing TP courses is a complex, slow process requiring organizational change and the mindset of administration and teaching staff at both the colleges of education and the schools. Long-term assessment is required to examine the effect of reducing hours dedicated to education theory and subject knowledge. Full article
21 pages, 300 KiB  
Article
Examining Teacher Attrition through the Experiences of Former Teachers before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Kimberley Devers, Ibrahim Duyar and Karen Buchanan
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020184 - 11 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1248
Abstract
Schools across the nation are impacted by the influx of teachers leaving the profession. Record-high teacher shortages devastate public schools as classrooms remain unstaffed, and students miss quality instruction. The current study examined the experiences of former teachers before and during the COVID-19 [...] Read more.
Schools across the nation are impacted by the influx of teachers leaving the profession. Record-high teacher shortages devastate public schools as classrooms remain unstaffed, and students miss quality instruction. The current study examined the experiences of former teachers before and during the COVID-19 pandemic that led to their exit from the profession. The overall research question was, “What experiences led teachers to exit the profession before and during the COVID-19 pandemic?” Using Maslach’s Burnout Theory as a guiding framework, qualitative data were collected during 10 in-depth interviews with former educators. Ten participants were selected using purposive sampling for interviews. The following criteria were utilized to select participants for interviews: taught in a South Carolina public school for at least eight years, taught during the pandemic, and quit or retired early. Potential limitations that were identified for the study included a limited number of participants, the emotional distress of reliving leaving the teaching profession, and the utilization of a virtual platform to conduct interviews. Data analyses resulted in the following themes contributing to teacher attrition: Lack of support from the administration, lack of professional autonomy, and increased stress. These were the most consistent themes noted before and during the pandemic. This research study provides educational leaders and policy makers with the voices of teachers who have left the profession, thus providing valuable data to make informed decisions in an effort to reverse the current teacher attrition trend. The determinants of teacher shortage identified in the data analysis of this phenomenological study can be addressed immediately within individual schools to help resolve the teacher shortage. Recommendations for future practice include administrators developing trusting relationships with teachers as well as educational leaders providing educators with a voice in decisions that affect their classrooms. Full article
19 pages, 759 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Factors Contributing to the Formation of Secondary School Students’ Interest towards Higher Education Studies
by Athina G. Mitsopoulou and Evangelia A. Pavlatou
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020183 - 11 Feb 2024
Viewed by 851
Abstract
The present study’s objective constitutes the examination of the prognostic factors that influence the inclination of students in secondary school towards pursuing higher education. To achieve this goal, an existing questionnaire was utilized and appropriately altered to align with the Greek educational system. [...] Read more.
The present study’s objective constitutes the examination of the prognostic factors that influence the inclination of students in secondary school towards pursuing higher education. To achieve this goal, an existing questionnaire was utilized and appropriately altered to align with the Greek educational system. The survey involved the participation of 301 secondary school students from Piraeus, which comprises one of Greece’s major cities. The outcomes of the research yield substantial endorsement for the principles outlined in the social cognitive career theory. Specifically, the study highlights the significant role of family background, encompassing the educational levels of the parents, the students’ perceptions of the family’s financial situation, and the financial support provided by the family during the students’ academic journey, in shaping the students’ intent towards pursuing higher education. Moreover, the presence of a secure attachment bond between students and their parents suggests a favorable inclination towards higher education. Conversely, students deriving from low-income families are prone to exhibit hesitancy in pursuing higher education. The acquired data reveal a constructive relationship among outcome expectations, social support, as well as the process of students’ interest in developing a desire for higher education. Conversely, factors such as gender and age, as well as the presence of siblings studying in higher education, appear to have little influence in this regard. Full article
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22 pages, 3694 KiB  
Article
Culturally Relevant STEM (CReST): An Integrated Support Curriculum for High School Chemistry and World History
by James K. Ferri and Rachel Sparks White
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020182 - 10 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1524
Abstract
Convergence education, driven by compelling or complex socio-scientific problems, is an approach to bring cultural relevance into secondary STEM education. National trends show the need to increase the STEM workforce by leveraging educational research and innovative practices within the secondary level to increase [...] Read more.
Convergence education, driven by compelling or complex socio-scientific problems, is an approach to bring cultural relevance into secondary STEM education. National trends show the need to increase the STEM workforce by leveraging educational research and innovative practices within the secondary level to increase student interest prior to graduating high school. We introduced CReST (Culturally Relevant STEM) in a US high school pilot study. Student participants included 276 Chemistry students and 19 World History I students. The study also engaged four (4) high school teachers in chemistry and social studies with the challenge of cultural heritage conservation through the lens of the (physicochemical) life cycle of mural paintings in Europe. Teachers were provided with (1) professional development; (2) a digital curriculum; and (3) modular kits for hands-on learning. The research focused qualitatively on the experiences from the teacher and students as well as quantitatively to assess whether there was an increase in student academic performance. We found a statistically significant gain with respect to Chemistry (4.0%) and World History (13.4%) content. Students and teachers responded with overwhelming positivity in individual and focus-group interviews. This amplifies the further need of convergent educational approaches in high school STEM education to enhance engagement and increase student learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue STEM Education in the Classroom)
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