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Article

Educational research on how children and adolescents make sense of the social world and how this social–cognitive ability develops across time and cultural contexts remains in its infancy. An important question for psychoeducators and developmentalists is how to best measure the diverse multidimensional and interconnected social–cognitive skills among children and youth. Research that explores social–cognitive skills such as theory of mind (ToM), self-regulation, and moral reasoning such as deception within the context of education explores this question. ToM refers to the ability to understand others’ mental states to explain behavior, and self-regulation refers to the ability to regulate or control one’s thoughts, emotions, and actions. The measurement of multidimensional topics such as self-regulation and ToM is important for educators to help students learn important life skills such as perspective-taking and empathy. Such social reasoning skills will help students navigate the complex social landscape of the school. Multidisciplinary, transcultural, and mixed-method longitudinal studies provide fruitful investigations into the development of social–cognitive abilities and how this plays a role in children and adolescents developing a sense of self, relationships, and their understanding of others as intentional beings. Further systematic research is needed to explore the role of social–cognitive and metacognitive processes within young people’s personal, social, and educational worlds. In summary, future research needs to explore new interdisciplinary and dynamic developmental frameworks that aim to ignite new theories and empirical tests that build on extant models of neurobiological susceptibility and child and adolescent brain development. To advance research in applied developmental social neuroscience, interdisciplinary collaboration among developmental cognitive neuroscientists, educators, and clinicians must increase. For example, developmental scientists who work with cross-cultural, longitudinal samples could be recruited for scanning, whereas neuroscientists’ extant data sets could be made accessible to developmental scientists and educators. Such shared research could then be applied to the educational setting and provide opportunities for prevention and intervention models and assessment tools aimed to foster young people’s social–cognitive development.

Article

Elina Lahelma, Tarja Tolonen, and Sirpa Lappalainen

Feminist ethnography in education has in so-called Western countries developed in the late 1900s into a research approach with its own identifiable characteristics. Starting points are in feminist theorizations that draw from perspectives of different marginal groups, raised in the context of cultural radicalization of the 1960s and 1970s. In Finland, feminist ethnography took the first steps in the 1990s and achieved a stable position in educational research in the early 2000s. This emerging research has provided possibilities for subtle analysis in educational institutions on gendered, spatial and embodied practices, which have impact on intersectional inequalities. A theoretical and methodological invention developed by the first Finnish feminist ethnographers in the 1990s is differentiation between the official, informal, and physical layers of the school. Teaching and learning, the curriculum, pedagogy, and formal hierarchies belong to the official layer. Interaction among teachers and students, including informal hierarchies and youth cultures, takes place in the informal layer. The physical school refers to temporality, spatiality, and embodiment. These layers are intertwined in the everyday life of the school; the distinctions between them are analytical. This differentiation is one illustration of nuanced ways to conduct analysis of gendered, classed, and racialized processes and practices in schools. This analytical tool was elaborated in the large ethnographic project, Citizenship, Difference and Marginality in Schools—With Special Reference to Gender (1993–1998). The project was conducted in schools in Finland, collaborating with a similar project in the United Kingdom. The collective project was conceptualized in comparative reflections on contemporary educational politics and policies in both countries and included cross-cultural ethnographic analysis. The layers were used as tools in constructing the theoretical-methodological layout of the project and in focusing the ethnographic gaze in the field, as well as in analysis, interpretation, and writing. Using the layers of the school as an analytic tool passed on to later studies and have further been developed in novel ways, demonstrating the usefulness of collaborative feminist work in national and international networks.

Article

How to judge the quality of a piece of research is a question that permeates academic work. A clear conception of quality is the backbone of the design and conduct of research, as well as the basis for supervision, manuscript review, and examination papers. Qualitative methodologies justify their usefulness through the development of more sophisticated interpretations of specific study objects than can be achieved within other methodologies. However, it is difficult to arrive at a decision concerning the quality of a piece of research because there are many aspects or facets to consider. Academics develop their competence for reaching decisions through experience, coupled with taking part in ways of reasoning about quality in qualitative research. Within this reasoning process there are a number of quality facets that should be considered. Each facet is grounded in various ways in different research traditions, and each has a foundational meaning but must also be assessed in relation to limitations. From the perspective of the text as a whole, one must consider whether it shows an awareness of the consequences of the research assumptions and other aspects of internal consistency. Ethical considerations are yet another facet. From a narrower perspective, the quality of the interpretation of empirical data must be able to capture rich meaning and present it in a structured way so that the interpretation can be clearly discerned. Another facet is how the interpretation contributes to existing knowledge about the issue or phenomenon that was studied. A classic question concerns the relation between an interpretation and the empirical basis, its credibility or validity. Here there are various facets to consider: Is the interpretation well anchored in data, and how do specific data fit when they are put together? Another facet is whether the interpretation opens up new ways of understanding an issue or process and whether more sophisticated action can result from embracing the interpretation. A proper evaluation of qualitative research should consider all facets; however, the ultimate appraisal rests on professional wisdom of the judge developed through experience and participation in deliberations related to what constitutes quality in academic texts. Determination of quality in qualitative research is not a mechanical process.

Article

Indigenous knowledges (IK) are complex, intact, resilient, and adaptable systems generated by and through diverse Indigenous peoples with long-term ties to place and land. Key challenges include ongoing perceptions of IK as primitive, isolated, and/or static knowledge, in spite of research that confirms Indigenous knowledges as [w]holistic, dynamic, and scientific. Enduring methodological questions include how to effectively Indigenize or shape Indigenous spaces in higher education for the benefit of Indigenous students. As surface descriptions of IK and Indigenous methodologies are insufficient for an authentic understanding, specific examples are included that illustrate how Alaska Native knowledges and methodologies are presented in higher education. Concluding sections include a brief case study of the University of Alaska system’s engagement of Indigenous knowledges and content; this section also considers issues of control and constraints of authentic integration of Alaska Native knowledges in a Western higher education system.

Article

Gunther Dietz and Laura Selene Mateos Cortés

Doubly reflexive ethnography is a collaborative research methodology developed in the social and educational sciences through a combination of classical ethnographic methods of participant observation and lifeworld-oriented interviewing, on the one hand, and participatory methods of co-interpreting, co-theorizing, and co-validating empirical research results together with the collaborating actors, on the other hand. Double reflexivity is defined here as the result of a dialogical, collaborative conversation between different actors involved in educational research processes, starting from the research design, problematization and delimitation, going on through a cyclical accompaniment via observations and interviews, and culminating in a dialogical, often collective data analysis, which leads to collaborative and diversified ways of assessing, validating, and evaluating research results. This doubly reflexive approach integrates and relates the researcher reflexivity with the reflexivity contributed by the collaborating actors, be they organizations or institutions active in an educational field. Doubly reflexive ethnography maintains close relations with the main features of ethnography and classical ethnographic methods; it has transited from originally and historically extractive ethnographic practices toward collaborative and participatory alternatives of research methodologies. The key semantic, pragmatic, and syntactic dimensions of doubly reflexive ethnography are identified and illustrated as those dimensions that allow for a spiral, cyclical research and collaboration process that includes visual, observational data; verbal, interview data; and textual, documentary data in an integrated system of collaborative-ethnographic methods. This system integrates and triangulates diverse sources of information, diverse degrees of data abstraction, and diverse degrees of researcher involvement, thus avoiding and overcoming conventional dichotomies of quantitative versus qualitative research and of unilateral, extractive versus proactive, participatory strategies.

Article

Education inequality has been a challenging issue worldwide, and disparity across schools constitutes a significant proportion of total inequality. Effective policies to turn around low-performing schools (LPS) are therefore of great importance to both governments and students. The Elite School Education Group (ESEG) policy is an emerging one, and it has quickly become very influential in China, a country with one of the largest and most diversified education systems in the world. Under this policy, elite public schools (EPS), which have exceptionally enriched educational resources (i.e., high-quality teachers, strong principal leadership, excellent school cultures, etc.), are encouraged by the government to build school groups with LPS. Within the school group under the elite school brand, branch schools (i.e., the previous LPS) can share all kinds of resources from the EPS (including teachers and principals), and they may even utilize the prestige of the brand itself as a means to attract high-performing students. The ESEG policy enables the delivery of multiple turnaround interventions to LPS in an autonomous way, through building partnerships between EPS and LPS. While some LPS are successfully turned around, some are not. It depends on the effectiveness of the reforms undertaken in the branch schools. Of particular importance is the access to strong principal leadership, excellent teachers, and the school cultures from EPS. Incentives for EPS to participate in this reform include obtaining flexibility in personnel management, expanding school scale and influence, and mobilizing other resources. Despite the potential positive influence on the branch schools, the ESEG policy may have a more complex influence on the entire education ecology than initially expected. Indeed, there are now some concerns that the ESEG is creating new LPS, because more and more high-performing students are drawn out of normal schools and attracted to the ESEG-partnered schools during admission. Thus, the effectiveness of the ESEG policy should not be solely based on attracting high-performing students, but on improving overall education quality.

Article

Melissa M. Jozwiak and Karen L. B. Burgard

It is essential that universities and local or government agencies begin to work together to do unconventional and impactful research that is mutually sustaining to both partners. When done well, the partnerships will strengthen the positions of each institution to continue to do their work and create new opportunities for equity and advancement. The challenges associated with building these types of partnerships are numerous, but even more challenges exist when the partnerships are committed to working in solidarity. To create partnerships that are examples of solidarity leading to mutual sustainability, partners must be intentional about using an ecological-systems model to shape the decision-making process. In doing so, the partners enact an Ecologically Sustaining Research Partnership (ESRP), which ensures that both partners are strengthened by and exist beyond the life of the partnership. Importantly, ESRPs are committed to equity and empowerment and use the ecological-systems model to shift the basis of power in favor of commonly oppressed groups. This emancipatory approach to research is essential for the field of early childhood, but it can also be expanded to guide partnerships between universities and communities across disciplines.

Article

Inclusive education is increasingly prioritized in legislation and policy across the globe. Historically, the concept of inclusion within educational contexts refers primarily to the placement of students with disabilities in general education classrooms. More recent descriptions of inclusive education focus on ensuring that all children can access and participate in physical, social, and academic aspects of the classroom. However, a growing body of research suggests that students continue to experience exclusion even within educational contexts that express a commitment to inclusion. In France, a growing number of private, independent schools seek to create the inclusive environments that, despite the ministry of education’s initiatives focused on inclusion, the public school system does not yet provide. One such school engaged in a participatory action research project to create an inclusive classroom that responded to the evolving needs and interests of the community, resulting in a sense of belonging for all members. As all classroom community members (students, families, and teachers) participated in the project of creating an inclusive classroom, the elements of participatory action research allowed inclusion to become a flexible, ongoing, and reflexive practice of identifying and responding to contextually specific needs of classroom members. Approaching inclusion as a participatory action research project in the classroom offers a promising approach to moving beyond interpretations of inclusion that fail to actively address pervasive inequalities and their impact on classroom experiences.

Article

Gabriel Huddleston and M. Francyne Huckaby

The relationships between curriculum studies and qualitative inquiry are built upon similar trajectories and theoretical concerns. There are key points in the histories of both of these inter/trans(un)disciplinary fields, the work of certain scholars working in both, and shared concerns. Historically, the lineage of curriculum studies and qualitative inquiry intersect around a shared investigation of education, specifically in schools. Of note is the common turn away from (post)positivism and an attentiveness to emic forms of inquiry that seek to understand from the inside out. Some commonalities include, but are not limited to, currere, duoethnography, autobiography, and broader qualitative research. Comparing the journey of curriculum studies and its qualitative forms of inquiry to traveling through the universe, travel begins on a home planet, reaching the farthest reaches of spaces, but a return is required, or at the very least, eventually inevitable. In the case of curriculum studies, explorers return to curriculum and, therefore, education. As curriculum has expanded beyond questions of knowledge to include the lives of those experiencing curriculum, qualitative inquiry has been a constant and loyal companion forging a journey that does not require one land at the place from which one launched.

Article

A culturally affirming approach to research methodology centers Indigenous, Black, People of color in the research process and recognizes the value of our own ways of knowing and sharing knowledge. Unlike a decolonizing methodology that remains tied to a colonial discourse against which it seeks to argue its relevance, an affirming methodology originates from within the worldviews, realities, and practices of the people from whom knowledge is sought and shared. Culturally affirming research is surrounded by its own traditions and ways of knowing so that its worth is in its own right, and it is valuable in and of itself. The Caribbean region, with its indigenous history and localized present forged from peoples both local and global, has created social interactions, rituals, and cultural practices that signify and affirm themselves and their ways of knowing. Indigenous knowledges affirm the diversity of histories and experiences that shape our human development, and indigenous scholarship challenges the oppression by Western academia of indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing. Liming and ole talk is a uniquely Caribbean way of knowing, having its origins in the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Liming explains the way we have learned to share knowledge and is reflective of our thinking, experiences, values, and principles. Ole talk is not only what knowledge we share but how we share that knowledge. Liming methodology, incorporating liming as research methodology and ole talk as research method, is not derived from Western interpretations but grounded within a Caribbean context. Liming methodology has been developed and employed as a culturally affirming research methodology for use with Caribbean peoples and in Caribbean contexts. Understanding ourselves can only be done when we center our cultures without the shadow of a colonial or decolonizing framework and when the questions that we ask and the solutions that we seek emanate from what we truly affirm and embrace to be ours. Liming methodology emphasizes the relational aspects of sharing knowledge and the solidarity that this brings to the practices, experiences, and histories of Black, Indigenous, and People of color. Research methodologies such as liming and ole talk, based on regionally relevant theoretical frameworks intrinsic to Caribbean social and historical authenticities, allow us to gain a more accurate and true knowledge of the world of our people.