1,161-1,180 of 1,200 Results

Article

Urban Inequalities in Swedish Schools  

Nihad Bunar

Segregation, aspects of school choice policy, and symbolic representations are principal structural traits, although not the only ones, that generate and sustain the system of differences and urban inequalities in Swedish schools. Pertinent to all three traits are objectively and symbolically constructed boundaries between places, institutions, and groups. Segregation in an urban context means not just a physical separation of groups with unequal access to material resources and the means of their acquisition (education, network), but also a symbolic collapse of a society into place-making dichotomies: we and them, Swedes and immigrants, suburbs and inner-cities. Assets ostensibly appreciated in the school market, such as a good school and a positive school culture, express the arbitrary nature of their symbolic construction. What is recognized as a good school is equally a matter of statistical figures proving its competitiveness and the assumed qualities of its student composition. Major policy interventions for reducing urban inequalities in schools could be divided into two segments: (a) the reinforcement-oriented policy provides additional support to schools and students in structurally disadvantaged areas, for example, more school personnel, higher salaries for teachers, more teachers in Swedish as a second language; (b) the close down and disperse-oriented policy identifies the very existence of schools with persistently low results in urban contexts as an inequality generating factor. Consequently, in the name of integration and reducing inequalities, those schools are increasingly being closed down and their students dispersed elsewhere. Neither policy has proven its capacity to unwaveringly address urban inequalities in Swedish schools.

Article

Urban School Reform in the United States  

Tiffanie Lewis-Durham and Craig Peck

In the United States, policymakers have exhibited a resilient confidence in the idea that reforming urban schools is the essential key to improving the life chances of children, especially Black and Latino youth. Since the mid-1960s in particular, this resonant belief, as articulated in different forms by politicians, interest groups, local communities, and the broader public, has served as motivational impetus for small- and large-scale school change efforts. Despite such apparent unanimity regarding the importance of city schools, disputes have emerged over the proper structural and systemic alterations necessary to improve education. Often at issue has been the notion of just who should and will control change efforts. Moreover, vexing tensions have also characterized the enacted reform initiatives. For instance, urban school policies created by distant, delocalized outsiders have routinely engendered unanticipated local effects and fierce community resistance. In addition, particular urban school reforms have manifested simultaneously as a means for encouraging social justice for marginalized youth and as mechanisms for generating financial returns for educational vendors. Regardless of such tensions, faith in urban school reform has persisted, thanks to exemplary city schools and programs that have helped students thrive academically. For many reformers, such success stories demonstrate that viable routes toward enabling academic achievement for more children living in urban areas do indeed exist.

Article

Urban Teaching and Black Girls’ Pedagogies  

Menah Pratt-Clarke, Andrea N. Baldwin, and Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown

To discuss and understand urban teaching and Black girls’ pedagogies, the fundamental premise is that Black girls are not monolithic, but complex and nonhomogenous. Black girlhood studies recognize that, because of their intersectional race, class, and gender status, Black girls have different experiences than Black boys and White girls. Core themes in Black girlhood include self-identity and socialization; beauty and self-expression; popular culture, hip hop, and stereotypes; violence; systemic discipline in schools; and resiliency and survival. Responding to the unique experiences of Black girls, Black women educators developed and adopted a pedagogy that focuses on and centers Black girls and Black girlhood in all their complexity. Using a strengths-based approach, Black girls’ pedagogy is built on a Black feminist and womanist framework that recognizes the need for culturally informed curriculum and classroom experiences, more Black women educators, and a commitment to an ethics of care.

Article

Use of Qualitative Methods in Evaluation Studies  

Namita Ranganathan and Toolika Wadhwa

Evaluation studies typically comprise research endeavors that are undertaken to investigate and gauge the effectiveness of a program, an institution, or individuals working in educational contexts, such as teachers, students, administrators, and other stakeholders in education. Usually, research studies in this genre use empirical methods to evaluate educational practices and systems. Alternatively, they may take up theoretical reflections on new policies, programs, and systems. An evaluation study requires a rigorous design and method of assessment to focus on the specific context and set of issues that it targets. In general, research studies that attempt to evaluate a program, an individual, or an institution place emphasis on checking their efficacy. They do not seek to find explanations that have led to the level of efficacy that the variables under study may have achieved. Thus, quite often, they are contested as not being full-fledged research. Evaluation studies use a variety of methods. The choice of method depends on the area of study as well as the research questions. An evaluation study may thus fall within the qualitative or quantitative paradigms. Often, a mixed method approach is used. The purpose of the study plays a significant role in deciding the method of inquiry and analysis. Establishing the probability, plausibility, and adequacy of the program can be some of the main aims of evaluation studies. This implies as well that the programs, institutions, or individuals under study would have an impact on the course and direction of future programs and practices. An evaluation study is thus of vital importance to ensure that appropriate decisions can be made about efficacy, transferability to different contexts, and difficulties and challenges to be faced in subsequent applications. Evaluation studies in India have been done in a vast range of areas that include program evaluation, impact studies, evaluations of specific interventions, performance outcome assessments, and the like. Some examples of studies undertaken by the government and the development sector in this regard are the following: assessment of interventions for adolescence education; impact studies of interventions, programs, and policies launched for education of minorities, including girls; and evaluation of performance outcomes stemming from programs for education of the marginalized. The key challenges in evaluation studies are to gather accurate data in order to establish reliable outcomes, to establish clear relationships between the outcomes and the interventions being studied, and to safeguard against researcher bias.

Article

Using Proven Programs to Improve Educational Outcomes  

Robert E. Slavin

One of the most important problems in improving educational practice and outcomes is the very limited role that evidence plays in decisions about adopting books, software, professional development, and other materials and services. Instead, these are sold using relationship marketing in which sales reps work to build friendships with key decision makers. Word of mouth among educators with similar jobs also has a powerful influence. Why should evidence of effectiveness be a major criterion in the selection of educational products and services? The most important answer is that programs with a strong evidence base that are implemented as they were in the validating research are likely to produce better outcomes for children. Further, making evidence a basis for program adoption would put education into a virtuous cycle of innovation, evaluation, and progressive improvement like that which has transformed fields such as medicine, agriculture, and technology.

Article

Using Technology to Prepare 21st Century Educators  

Therese M. Cumming

The use of real-time technology has caused the world to “shrink,” with society becoming more global and information- and communication-based. The amount of information that people are exposed to continues to increase exponentially, requiring a new definition of literacy that includes digital literacy and other 21st-century skills. However, the implementation of technology in education has not kept up with how it is used in peoples’ lives. The main role of teachers is to prepare students to become literate, globally informed citizens. Generation Z, or the technology generation, are tech savvy and used to instant action and access to information due to their experiences with the Internet. Although students are proficient with and regularly use mobile devices and other information and communication technologies (ICTs), their teachers have difficulty integrating these technologies into their pedagogy beyond basic functional uses. The goals of educational technology are often not readily apparent in classrooms; this is problematic, as technology has the potential to be used for critical thinking, collaboration, and the dissemination of new knowledge. Therefore, teacher education programs have a responsibility to ensure that teachers of the future are globally aware, proficient with current innovative technology tools and information resources, and have the ability to adapt to tools and educational strategies of the future. Supporting preservice teachers in their acquisition of digital literacy can widen their views of the world and strengthen their skills in locating, assessing, organizing, analyzing, and presenting information. Teaching preservice teachers to use the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) model and embedding new technologies throughout teacher education programs can support preservice teachers’ global understandings and information literacy, as well as develop their expertise in the use of the technology itself. Instruction in digital literacies can help preservice teachers to hone their teaching skills and minimize the isolation and anxieties that are often experienced during their field experiences.

Article

Utilizing Participatory Action Research to Build an Inclusive Classroom Community in France  

Nicole Eilers

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

Value Creation and Value-Creating Education in the Work of Daisaku Ikeda, Josei Toda, and Tsunesaburo Makiguchi  

Jason Goulah

Daisaku Ikeda (b. 1928), Josei Toda (1900–1958), and Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871–1944) are Japanese educators, Buddhist activists, and the progenitors of the global Soka movement for peace, culture, and education. As such, their perspectives and practices shape curriculum in multilingual, multicultural, and multiracial contexts around the world. While each has established his own unique ideas and contributions to curriculum, together they share important commitments and perspectives, introduced by Makiguchi and developed successively by Toda and Ikeda, that have had a remarkable impact on human being and becoming. Arguably the most important among these is the principle of value creation, or “sōka,” and its implications for value-creating approaches to education and the actualization of a meaningful, contributive, and genuinely happy life. Makiguchi was an elementary school teacher and principal who introduced his theory of value and value-creating pedagogy in the 1930 work Sōka kyōikugaku taikei, or The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy. Drawing on decades of his own classroom practice, Makiguchi distinguished truth, or facticity, from value, seeking to clarify the psychological processes of cognition and evaluation. While objective truth matters, he argued, it is not in and of itself the source of value or meaning in our lives. Rather, value is derived from the subjective and contingent meaning we create from that truth. Thus, Makiguchi maintained that creating value in terms of beauty, gain, and good—that is, value that serves oneself and others—is the means of cultivating happiness. Toda was a close colleague of Makiguchi and applied value-creating approaches to great success in his Jishu Gakkan, a tutorial school he founded. If Makiguchi introduced and practiced value-creating approaches at an individual level, and Toda applied them institution-wide, then Ikeda, who was Toda’s direct disciple, must be recognized for distilling them into their crystalline essence, expanding this essence globally, and memorializing it as the foundational ethos and namesake of the Soka schools and universities he founded. Moreover, whereas Makiguchi theorized value creation as a pedagogical concept and, with Toda, broadened it to include the realm of Buddhist humanism, Ikeda has continued and expanded upon these, also characterizing value creation as an ontological orientation for all people in all aspects of life, from children to senior citizens and from civil society to professionals and activists in areas ranging from peace, culture, and human rights to biospheric sustainability and social movements. In all this, value creation and value-creating approaches constitute a curriculum of content, context, engagement, agency, hope, and becoming for oneself and others.

Article

The Value of Play in Education  

Einar Sundsdal and Maria Øksnes

Play has been an interest of philosophers and educationalists since the first academies and a field of scholarly interest for over a hundred years. There is no memorandum of understanding on what is common to all forms of play, neither in a philosophical nor an educational context. Despite this lack of a common understanding of play, philosophers of education have had high expectations for play’s contributions to human life. In troubling times, when philosophers and educationalists assume that freedom is compromised, the future is uncertain and bleak, and there is not much hope for freedom and progress, play is often considered a valuable problem-solving apparatus. Bold claims are made on behalf of play—that it is “the absolute primary category of life,” “the purest, most spiritual activity of man,” and not least that man is “only fully a human being when he plays.” It is a common assumption that children’s play is a future-oriented practice central to all development and learning in childhood. Play has been valued for its role in the education and upbringing of children based on the belief that through play the child moves forward. This assumption raises important questions about both play and educational practice. When formal schooling is a central part of children’s lives, educationalists ask how play can contribute to the best academic education. Thus, a central question has been to figure out how play can be put to use as a means for reaching certain educational goals, and how play can be organized to best prepare children for further education and development. Most researchers do not deny that play may contribute to a child’s development, but some argue that we have gone too far in assuming the contributions play makes to development and learning. They question whether it is possible to make play work for academic education and suggest that we risk replacing the spontaneous experience of play with a more instrumental version of play where it becomes a skill or literacy. This questioning points to the discussion of when something is play and when it is not play but something else. In addition, the claim that play can contribute to a range of developmental and learning outcomes seems to hinder research premised on the intrinsic value of play.

Article

Values-Based Leadership and the Quest for Inclusive Organizational Practices  

Heather Rintoul and Anthony H. Normore

Values-based leadership is, at its core, decisional leadership. Traditionally, educational leadership has tended to fall into a range of rationality dealing with consequences and consensus. This “do things right” approach has come under intense scrutiny by decision makers searching for more ethically justifiable responses through a new vision of education and schooling, a “do the right thing” style of decision making. Decisions based in principle—that is, morals and ethics—are commonly deemed as being authentic, fulfilling, and more justifiable than decisions based on rationality and preference. Embedded in this new moral urgency lies an inherent tension in that “to do the right thing” routinely begs the question “the right thing for whom?” Differences have arisen in terms of what values-based leadership and inclusion means—whose values, who is included, how to address leadership for inclusive practices, thus rendering conceptualization and implementation of inclusive practice qualitatively different according to context. The achievement of all students must be viewed both as an economic and values-oriented imperative consistent with inclusive practices. The term, inclusion is socially constructed and can carry with it stigmatizing and exclusionary effects that ultimately result in perpetuating oppressive forces on already marginalized individuals. Values-based leadership has an emphasis on school settings that are welcoming and affirming to all students, especially those most at risk for failure. Its underlying beliefs and assumptions guide practices and policies of inclusive practices and sound moral decisions. Moral decisions are made, not in isolation, but rather through a journey of interaction and association with others. Unfortunately, this interpersonal journey is often fraught with anxiety because everyone’s experience is sourced in a different worldview. Unravelling the intricacies of resolution possibilities has become increasingly complex because often there may be several equally appropriate responses to any dilemma; therefore, the decisional challenge becomes how to adjudicate between and among possibilities. Values-based leadership for inclusive practices concerns various marginalized groups including English-language learners, those who experience gender discrimination, those who are in the foster care system, and those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered. The broader conceptualization of inclusive schools adds to extant discourses about students with exceptional needs and provides effective strategies that school leaders operating from a social justice framework can implement to create more inclusive school environments for all students.

Article

Vietnamese Education and Neoliberal Policy  

Jim Albright

Any nation’s educational policies are forged in settlements that serve as a discursive frame, which is subject to inherent destabilizing tensions and contradictions bounded within identifiable historical and geographical periods. Vietnamese policymakers have viewed education as central to nation building, which was first realized through the forging of a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist educational settlement when independence was attained in 1946. Then a second settlement was achieved as part of its neoliberal Doi Moi policy pivot in the late 1980s, which has led to the nation’s global political, economic, and cultural integration. This pragmatic resetting, aimed at nation building through increased foreign investment and scientific and technical links with regional competitors and Western liberal democracies, swept aside past presumptions while retaining a strong one-party state. Vietnam’s initial revolutionary educational settlement was forged in the years prior to 1945 and 1954. One of its achievements was the use of Vietnamese as the principal language of instruction in education. Pre-independence, in the late 1930s, mass education drives were important influences on this new policy. The French colonial regime was compelled to use Vietnamese for translation and communication, replacing Mandarin as the medium of instruction in schools and the language of the previous feudal civil service. One of the first acts as part of the revolutionary educational settlement initiated in 1945 was to proclaim Vietnamese as the official language of the nation, which was expanded to North Vietnam in 1954 and later consolidated in the nation’s reunification in 1975. From its inception, Vietnam’s revolutionary educational settlement faced a legitimacy problem that undermined its nation-building agenda. It was mistakenly believed that economic advancement would follow revolutionary educational schooling. Voluntary mass education gave way to bureaucracy and careerism, and a traditional curriculum took hold; the Vietnamese state struggled to build and support schooling. A burgeoning young population meant it was difficult for state expenditures to meet the need for classrooms, qualified teachers, and quality instruction. Faced with challenges that were exacerbated by the collapse of the Soviet Empire, in 1986 the Sixth National Congress of the Vietnamese Communist Party broke with its previous policy frameworks. Termed “Doi Moi,” this “renovation” realigned its command to a market economy. Subsequent related educational reforms overhauled preschool, general vocational, and higher and postgraduate education. In a radical departure from its past, these reforms established a dual system of state-built, -operated, and -managed public and private schools. Educational settlements are partial and tenuous. Just as there were tensions within its revolutionary educational policy settlement, so too the hegemonic nature of Vietnam’s current neoliberal consensus has its own stresses. Two are ongoing concerns about the quality of teaching and learning and the weight of a strong culture of centralism in decision making as an aspect of Vietnam’s revolutionary legacy.

Article

Village Institutes of Turkey  

Filiz Meşeci Giorgetti

In the 1930s, the primary schooling rate in Turkey was significantly low compared to the European states. Ninety percent of the population lived in villages without any schools and teachers. Therefore, promoting primary education was addressed as an issue concerning villages in Turkey. The seeds of the intellectual infrastructure in the emergence of institutes were sown at the beginning of the 20th century, during the Ottoman rule. To train teachers for villages, Village Teacher Training School [Köy Muallim Mektebi] was founded in 1927 and Village Instructor Training Course [Köy Eğitmen Kursu] in 1936. However, these initiatives were not sufficient in terms of quality and quantity. Village teacher training experiences, new education, and work school trends of Europe were analyzed by Turkish educators, opinions of foreign and Turkish experts were received, and the Village Institutes [Köy Enstitüleri] project was carried into effect based on the realities of Turkey. The first Village Institutes opened in 1937. They were established in a restricted area, with a limited budget, and a non-common curriculum until the Village Institute Law was promulgated in 1940. On April 17, 1940, the law prescribing their establishment was approved by the parliament. The number of the Village Institutes, which spread over the Turkish geography evenly, reached 21 by 1949. The period between 1940 and 1947 was when the Village Institutes were most productive. Learning by doing and principles of productive work were embraced at the Village Institutes. The curriculum consisted of three components: general culture, agriculture, and technical courses. In addition to their teaching duties, the primary school teachers that graduated from the Village Institutes undertook the mission of guiding villagers in agricultural and technical issues and having them adopt the nation-state ideology in villages. World balances changing after the Second World War also affected the Village Institutes. In 1946, the founding committee of the Village Institutes were accused of leftism and had to leave their offices for political reasons. After the founding committee stepped aside, the Village Institutes started to be criticized by being subjected to the conflict between left-wing and right-wing. Following the government changeover in 1950, radical changes regarding the curricula, students, and teachers of the institutes were made. Making the Village Institutes unique, the production- and work-oriented aspects were eliminated, and the institutes were closed down in 1954 and converted into Primary School Teacher Training Schools. Although the Village Institutes existed only between 1937 and 1954, their social, economic, and political effects were felt for a long time through the teachers, health officers, and inspectors they trained.

Article

Visual and Screen-Based Research Methodologies  

Cleo Mees and Tom Murray

Visual and screen-based research practices have a long history in social-science, humanities, education, and creative-arts based disciplines as methods of qualitative research. While approaches may vary substantially across visual anthropology, sociology, history, media, or cultural studies, in each case visual research technologies, processes, and materials are employed to elicit knowledge that may elude purely textual discursive forms. As a growing body of visual and screen-based research has made previously-latent aspects of the world explicit, there has been a concomitant appreciation that visual practices are multisensory and must also be situated within a broader exploration of embodied knowledge and multisensory (beyond the visual) research practice. As audio-visual projects such as Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel's Leviathan (2013), Rithy Panh's S-21: The Khmer Rouge Death Machine (2003), and Margaret Loescher’s Cameras at the Addy (2003) all demonstrate, screen-based research practices are both modes of, and routes to, knowledge. These projects also demonstrate ways in which screen-based visual research may differ from research exclusively delivered in written form, most specifically in their capacity to document and audio-visually represent intersubjective, embodied, affective, and dynamic relationships between researchers and the subjects of their research. Increasingly, as a range of fields reveal that the incorporative body works as an integrated “perceptive field” as it processes sensory stimuli, visual and screen-based research practices will fulfil an important role in facilitating scholarly access to intuitive, affective, embodied, and analytical comprehension.

Article

Visual Literacy  

Frank Serafini

Visual literacy was originally defined as a set of visual competencies or cognitive skills and strategies one needs to make sense of visual images. These visual competencies were seen as universal cognitive abilities that were used for understanding visual images regardless of the contexts of production, reception, and dissemination. More contemporary definitions suggest visual literacy is a contextualized, social practice as much as an individualized, cognitively based set of competencies. Visual literacy is more aptly defined as a process of generating meanings in transaction with multimodal ensembles that include written text, visual images, and design elements from a variety of perspectives to meet the requirements of particular social contexts. Theories of visual literacy and associated research and pedagogy draw from a wide range of disciplines including art history, semiotics, media and cultural studies, communication studies, visual ethnography and anthropology, social semiotics, new literacies studies, cognitive psychology, and critical theory. Understanding the various theories, research methodologies, and pedagogical approaches to visual literacy requires an investigation into how the various paradigm shifts that have occurred in the social sciences have affected this field of study. Cognitive, linguistic, sociocultural, multimodal, and postmodern “turns” in the social sciences each bring different theories, perspectives, and approaches to the field of visual literacy. Visual literacy now incorporates sociocultural, semiotic, critical, and multimodal perspectives to understand the meaning potential of the visual and verbal ensembles encountered in social environments.

Article

Vocational Education  

Stephen Billett

This chapter aims to discuss what constitutes the project of vocational education through the elaboration of its key purposes. Although taking many and diverse institutional forms, and being perhaps the least unitary of educational sectors, vocational education stands as a distinct and long-standing educational provision premised on its own specific set of purposes. It has long been central to generating the occupational capacities that societies, communities, and workplaces need, contributing to individuals’ initial and ongoing occupational advancement and their sense of selves as working age adults. It also has the potential to be, and often is, the most inclusive of educational sectors by virtue of engaging the widest range of learners within its programs and institutions. Yet, because its manifestations are shaped by country-specific institutional arrangements and historical developments, it defies attempts to easily and crisply define or capture the singularity of its purposes, forms, and contributions. In some countries it is a distinct educational sector, quite separate from both schools and universities. This can include having industry-experienced teachers. In others, it is mainly enacted in high schools in the form of a broadly based technology education, mainly intended for students not progressing educationally beyond schooling, which promotes and reinforces its low standing. In others again, it comprises in postsecondary institutions that combine general and occupational education. These distinctions, such as being either more or less general or occupational educational provision, also change across time as policy imperatives arise and decline. Much of vocational education provisions are associated with initial occupational preparation, but some are also seen more generally as preparation for engaging in working life, and then others have focuses on continuing education and training and employability across working lives. Sometimes it is enacted wholly within educational institutions, but others can include, and even largely comprise, experiences in workplaces. So, whereas the institutions and provisions of primary, secondary, and university education have relatively common characteristics and profiles, this is far less the case with what is labeled vocational education. Indeed, because of the diversity of its forms and purposes, it is often the least distinguishable of the educational sectors within and across countries. In seeking to advance what constitutes vocational education, the approach adopted here is to focus on its four key educational purposes. These comprise of (a) preparation for the world of work, (b) identifying a preferred occupation, (c) occupational preparation, and (d) ongoing development across working life.

Article

Vygotskian Theory of Development  

Yuriy Karpov

Russian followers of Vygotsky have elaborated his theoretical ideas into an innovative theory of development. In this theory, children’s development is viewed as the outcome of adult mediation: adults engage children in the age-specific joint activity (the so-called leading activity) and, in the context of this activity, promote the development in children of a new motive, and teach them new tools of thinking, problem-solving, and self-regulation. As a result, children outgrow their current leading activity and transition to the new leading activity, which is specific to the next age period. Vygotskians have described the leading activities of children in industrialized societies thus: • first year of life: emotional interactions with caregivers. • ages one to three: object-centered joint explorations with caregivers. • ages three to six: sociodramatic play. • middle childhood: learning at school. • adolescence: interactions with peers. Vygotskian developmental theory has received strong empirical support from the studies of contemporary researchers. Its major strength lies in the fact that it integrates in a meaningful way motivational, cognitive, and social factors as resulting in children’s engagement in the age-specific leading activity. This theory also provides an explanation of the mechanism of children’s transition from one developmental stage to the next, which many alternative theories of development fail to do. Some of the Vygotskians’ notions, however, weaken their analysis and can be disputed (for example, their disregard of the role of physiological maturation in children’s development).

Article

Vygotsky’s Theoretical and Conceptual Contributions to Qualitative Research in Education  

Ana Luiza Bustamante Smolka, Ana Lucia Horta Nogueira, Débora Dainez, and Adriana Lia Friszman de Laplane

Vygotsky’s approach to human development is profoundly intertwined with his methodological inquiry. This inquiry is related to his persistent quest for framing and understanding the problem of consciousness. His untiring search for a plausible explanation of the material basis of specifically human psychological functions pervades his theoretical, practical, and empirical work in the fields of psychology and education. Throughout this search, sociogenesis and semiotic mediation, at first investigative hypotheses, become explanatory principles. Excerpts from his seminal texts allow us to follow the elaboration of epistemological assumptions that anchor his process of theorization and evidence the interrelationships between object of study, explanatory principle, and unit of analysis in studies of cultural development. One of his major concerns had to do with the ways of teaching and the ways of studying teaching relations, as well as the results or effects of such relations. To talk about Vygotsky’s theoretical elaborations is, hence, to talk about method—of inquiring, of studying, of teaching. From the beginning through to the end of his theoretical endeavor, we find a deep concern about what it means to be human, what are the means to be human. Repercussions and contributions of Vygotsky’s approach to research in education, as well as their ethical and political implications, must be highlighted. His way of conceiving method escapes from rigidity, not from rigor, pointing to an instigating flexibility which approximates his efforts to the efforts of many contemporary authors in different fields.

Article

Water and Gender  

Martina Angela Caretta and Brandon Anthony Rothrock

Water relations are gendered, and there are various, differential socio-ecological and power dynamics that reify those relations at different spatial scales. There are multiple examples across the Global North and Global South that pinpoint the diverse productive and reproductive uses of water by men and women. Women, for instance, are more likely to be excluded from water management and decision making, while men are in control of water for agricultural production. Neoliberal framings of water in economic terms may exacerbate gender inequalities as neoliberal policies are often blind to the complex politics and power embedded in gender relations and water. Emerging literature on embodiment and emotions in waterscapes confronts neoliberal framings of water by theorizing the everyday lived experience of disenfranchised groups excluded from water management. Gendered studies of water relations focus largely on women, with limited attention to men. Male usage of water is often presented in relation to their role in water infrastructure management and design and water for leisure. As climate change becomes a more pressing issue in general society, existing uneven gendered relations of water resource use will be further exacerbated. With prevalent literature on gender relations focusing on women, future research needs to further incorporate studies of masculinity in gender relations to better inform adaptation and mitigation strategies. An understanding of gender and education would be insufficient without an understanding of both gender differentials in access to water and the gendered implications of climate change.

Article

Water Conservation in Schools  

Olga María Bermúdez and Marcela Lombana

Water is indispensable to life because all the functions of living beings rely on its presence: breathing, nutrition, circulation, and reproduction. Water forms part of all living bodies, both animal and vegetable. It is a natural resource necessary for human life. This natural resource has been threatened by climate change and its scarcity has been reported in many locations worldwide. According to the FAO, in 2014 almost 50 countries were faced with water shortages: Africa is the continent with the highest percentage of water stress (41%), while Asia has the highest percentage of countries with total water shortage (25%). Confronted with this critical problem, it is necessary that people of all ages, races, and cultures become aware of the value that water represents and take action in both the individual and collective spheres. To ensure that the next generation understands water’s properties and functions, and learns to value and take care of it, this action should start in schools, which play a fundamental role in the education of children and young people.

Article

Well-Being and the Preparation of Teachers  

Josep Gustems-Carnicer and Caterina Calderon

Modern society has achieved levels of well-being linked to economic prosperity, better and more extended education, and greater life expectancy. For individuals, improvements in well-being impact positively on friendships and other social relationships, marriage, and work satisfaction. There is no doubt that the future of society depends in great measure on the teachers who work with future citizens. Unfortunately, too many teachers in developed countries suffer from chronic, work-related stress, which negatively affects their health, life satisfaction, vocation, and professional stability in the education system. Ensuring the well-being of teachers is essential to ensure that future generations of citizens receive the best help in their intellectual, emotional, and interpersonal growth. For teachers, certain personality traits can mitigate the effects of stress. Mindfulness and coping strategies can also help to minimize the negative effects of stress, but the most effective way to help student teachers deal with stress is to include specific programs throughout teacher education courses in universities. Starting university is traditionally considered to be a period characterized by many changes that can cause stress among students, such as separation from one’s family, entering the job market, negotiating the student workload, changing address, and attempting to make new friendships. In teacher education, universities are in a position both to improve their students’ lives and to give them information about how to negotiate future professional difficulties. Teacher education programs must maintain constant interest in enhancing the academic performance of the students, and their affective conditions must enrich the exercise and development of students’ virtues and strengths, at the same time as students are offered tools for their working future. The actions promoted to help students develop these virtues and strengths should be accompanied by an effective tutorial action plan, a psychological health service for students, activities to help students acquire self-awareness of character strengths, a mentoring plan, tutoring among students, teamwork, programs to develop coping strategies, the organization of educational material, discipline, full class control, programs to optimize students’ time management, guidance on negotiating the increasing levels of bureaucracy in education, creative exercises to compensate for the lack of resources, collective exercise (sports), artistic activities, programs of mindfulness, religious practice, and volunteer work. Education students need to have a university experience that provides them with numerous opportunities to develop values, competences, attitudes, knowledge, beliefs, an identity, and coping strategies that will help them to be better professionals, more conscientious citizens, and happier individuals.