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The Guerrilla Literacy Learners Project: Development of Literacies through Informal Learning

Abstract

Introduction: This paper deals with the options of non-formal education and, partially, a set of literacies developed within informal learning, which an individual should be equipped with in order to succeed in life in the contemporary society. At the beginning, there is a mention to the nature of learning and knowledge of society in the context of lifelong learning.

Purpose: The aim of the paper is to analyse and explain non-formal education in contemporary society of knowledge and, subsequently, to provide examples of its use when developing operational literacy. This literacy can be defined as an individual’s ability to be nimble, proactive, and responsive to various life situations.

Methods: The paper serves as an overview study of the subject. For a literary analysis, the methods of comparison and content analysis were used with examples of good practice at the end.

Conclusions: At the end of the paper, one can find an example of the international project “Guerrilla Literacy Learners” the goal of which is to find innovative strategies for informal learning and to develop a methodology that would support the development of literacy and active knowledge of a foreign language by using modern teaching resources, such as ICT, visually attractive materials and adequate methods - MOOC and blended learning.

Open access
Learning from Visual Materials: A Psycho-Didactic Experiment

Abstract

Introduction: The authors consider a book (as a pedagogical text) a traditional and timeless source of knowledge for many different groups of learners. It is a known fact that textbook authors, teachers, researchers, etc. generally pay more attention to the text part of the book than to its visual materials. However, the latter are just as important in understanding the subject matter and its applications as textual information on the topic.

Methods: The psycho-didactic experiment described in this paper aims to widen the findings about the perception and understanding of visual parts of textbooks for pupils in their first years of schooling. In the paper, a less-known research method based on eye-tracking is presented.

Results: The main results of the research are as follows: According to the findings of the authors, each pupil accepts and understands visual materials individually and this acceptance and understanding of visual materials is influenced by pupils’ personality traits. The research also shows that pupils prefer visual materials that depict reality as accurately as possible.

Conclusions: The research was designed as a case study which could be used for further research of a similar form.

Open access
Population Reduction, Unification of Curriculum and Diversification of Financial Support of Secondary Education in the Czech Republic: The Situation in the Years 2006 – 2016

Abstract

Introduction: The article focuses on the situation in the area of secondary education in the Czech Republic. Its aim is to reflect three topics: population reduction, unification of curriculum and diversification of financial support of secondary education in the Czech Republic in 2006 - 2016.

Methods: The results are underlined by available data from the national statistics. The data are collected annually and are accessible on the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. They contain the entire population of secondary schools, teachers and pupils. Analysis was provided with the use of SPSS, version 24.

Results: There is a reduction of vocational and apprentice schools, but at the same time we are increasing financial support to their fields of study. Under the 2004 law, each school has an individual school educational program, but realistically, we see that the curriculum at secondary school level of education rather standardises. On the labour market, we need graduates of vocational and apprentice schools, but we still strongly support grammar schools and other theoretically oriented schools, whose graduates are not motivated for manual professions.

Discussion: Closer analysis focused on reflection of selected trends in the area of secondary education is needed for the purposes of education policy and for planning future research studies in this area.

Limitations: Continuous development takes place in the field of education. All comparisons in the years 2006-2016 are therefore limited. The data were used in their original form, in some cases were not available and therefore they could not be included in the analysis.

Conclusions: Educational policy is very complicated, because education is difficult to control and it is based on freedom of access. Therefore, the most important target for the future is to stabilize the situation and be able to reflect maximum of factors influencing secondary education in our society. Although current trends clearly support lifelong learning and its unification, we should not forget the specific fields of apprentice and vocational schools, which are needed on the labour market.

Open access
The School Culture Heritage of the Reformation

Abstract

On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, this essay analyses those educational innovations in the history of central European education that were introduced by the Church reform in the 16th century, following these modernizations and their further developments through the spreading of the universal school systems in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Drawing examples from the innovations in the college culture of the period, the author emphasises that those pedagogical values established in the 16th century are not only valid today, but are exemplary from the point of view of contemporary education. From these the author highlights: pupils’ autonomy (in the form of various communities), cooperation with the teachers and school management and the relative pluralism of values.

Open access
A Study of Conceptualisation of Quality of Life by Czech Fifth-Graders

Abstract

Introduction: This study summarized the results of research on quality of life as conceived by Czech fifth-graders.

Methods: The subjects responded in writing to three tasks that asked them to describe the characteristics of quality of life. The first task required them to picture what they imagined under a magazine headline entitled “Quality of Children’s Lives”. The second task required them to explain this headline to their classmates, while the third task asked them to generate their own ideas of a bad life, normal life, and excellent life.

The sample consisted of 174 fifth-grade pupils from two Czech localities. The pupils’ statements were open-coded, and then the codes were cumulated to create content categories.

Results: Ten large categories emerged from the data that depicted children’s ideas of quality of life. Data processing the frequencies of the content of the categories were computed to show the ranking of the characteristics of the quality of life as selected by the children. The study revealed that the fifth-grade pupils attributed a wide range of valuable characteristics (social, psychological, environmental, spiritual and personal) to the concept of quality of life.

Discussion: In pedagogical theory, the quality of children’s lives is a concept with a number of meanings. It includes qualities related to biopsycho- personal, social, and spiritual aspects of life.

Limitations: The quality of children’s lives is a multidimensional concept and we can study only some of them.

Conclusions: Responses to the third research question can be summarized into three key answers, illustrated by relevant statements of the Czech fifth-grade students.

Open access
Civic Engagement and Environmental Sustainability in Teaching and Learning at Higher Education Institution in South Africa

Abstract

This article seeks to provide an outline the scope of professional teaching and learning activities and their connection to civic engagement and the achievement of environmental sustainability at Rhodes University and in Makana Local Municipality. Activities in the context of rainwater water harvesting and sanitation research are used as examples. The improved hydrogen-sulphide test kit was used as the tool for the assessment of microbial water quality between April and July 2016. An approach to the improvement in the design and modelling of the performance of ventillated improved pit latrines under laboratory conditions is also described. All activities described have been taking place in the context of undergraduate and postgraduate student research projects at Rhodes University. They have implications for teaching and learning, civic engagement and environmental sustainability. Teaching and learning of the concepts of sustainability can facilitate the development of the necessary connection between academia and the society at large. This can have a significant positive effect on societal conditions in South Africa. Further endeavours similar those described in this article should be stimulated in South and beyond.

Open access
An Inclusive Secondary School in Bratislava

Abstract

The study presents a characterization of an inclusive secondary school in Bratislava and provides information about the forms and methods used in the work of the teachers, school psychologists, special teachers with regard to students with special needs (students with Attention and Hyperactivity Disorder, i.e. ADHD, with learning difficulties, with emotional and behaviour difficulties, etc.), who are educated together with mainstream students. It also provides information on the first results of the measurements of the socio-emotional health of the students in the inclusive school, both as to its overall level (covitality index) and as to the level of the four psychological dimensions of mental health. The pilot project of the inclusive school confirms that inclusive secondary schools and inclusive education operating within the intentions of positive psychology help the students to develop their cognitive and socio-emotional competences, to create favourable attitudes to diversity, to form the students’ scale of positive values and to encourage positive interpersonal relationships, social cohesion and social classroom climate.

Open access
Intellectual Leadership of Researchers in Higher Education: Relationship Between the Demographic Factors and Roles (Lithuanian Context)

Abstract

The intellectual leadership of educators or teachers represents a topic of a great interest for educational research and practice. Variety of variables or factors have been examined to find the most complete explanations for teachers’, professors’ and educators’ roles, for example, institutional, financial, gender, organizational, spiritual, and intellectual. No literature was found on the relationship between the demographic variables and researchers’ roles in higher education regarding intellectual leadership. But a lot of studies are focused on the relationship between demographic and other factors in education: job satisfaction, organizational justice, religion, gender, culture, personal and professional roles, stress, mental health, and mobility. The research issue in this study is related to researchers’/scientists’ work in higher education schools and is focused on intellectual leadership, which consists of different roles. It is worth to think about researchers as intellectual leaders and to discover how they recognize or identify their roles in higher education. In this study, findings answer the following research question: “What are the relationships between researchers’ roles and their gender, work experience, dissertation defence date, and research field?” The object of the research study is the researchers’ roles in higher education. The aim of the study was to reveal the relationship between demographic factors and researchers’ roles in higher education. Data were collected by performing a questioning survey and using a validated questionnaire with 116 statements in total. The sample consisted of 304 researchers working in higher education institutions. For data analysis, Cronbach’s alpha, Mean and ANOVA calculations were used. The research findings reported that the female-researchers’ evaluations were higher in all cases regarding their roles in higher education schools. The results of the study highlighted that the male-researchers were devoted to the roles of academic citizens and mentors, while they did not refer the interest for academic freedom and the role of a knowledge producer. Findings revealed that the role of an academic citizen is perceived equally to other roles, despite the fact that researchers work in different research fields. In this research study, the highest estimates were given to the roles by the researchers representing medical sciences. Results showed that the lowest estimates for the diverse roles in higher education were provided by the researchers from engineering sciences. A correlation analysis between distinguished minor roles descriptions revealed that the participation of scientists in society debates and public policy correlates with all the remaining roles of scientists very weakly or weakly. The strongest correlation with all roles refers to academic duty, critic, personal development, and acting in one research field. In conclusion, intellectual leadership is the scope of challenging processes regarding developing, designing, creating, defining, ensuring, critiquing, teaching, instructing, researching, mentoring, enabling questioning, generating, envisioning, advocating, encouraging, re-imagining, managing, representing, counseling, achieving, evaluating, acting, and providing. The general components here refer to ideas, values, understandings, solutions, beliefs, visions, knowledge, approaches, purposes, and actions. By concluding the study, it is worth to accentuate that the demographic factors that are meaningful in studying the researchers’ roles within the intellectual leadership in higher education are the following - gender and research areas. The work experience in higher education and the year of Ph.D. defence are not the factors, which are meaningfully related to the role performance, academic duty and academic freedom of the researcher as an intellectual leader in higher education.

Open access
Psychometric Properties of the Slovak Version of sEMBU on General Adult Sample

Abstract

The factorial stability and reliability of the 23-item s(short)- EMBU previously demonstrated to be satisfactory in the samples of students from Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy (1999), East-Germany and Sweden (Arrindell et al., 2001). The Slovak translation of the original sEMBU was published in 2007 (Poliaková, Mojžišová, & Hašto, 2007). We decided to explore the psychometric properties of the translation of sEMBU on a general adult sample (N=970) in Slovakia, because the translated version of sEMBU is already utilized in research projects in Slovakia. The results show a very good alpha reliability of sEMBU. In the Slovak translation, we found similar scores of Rejection and Emotional warmth and Overprotection. A factor analysis with forced 3-factor solution sorted items to scales exactly as authors of sEMBU presupposed. Overprotection (father) has the highest share for classification and differentiation in the cluster. Emotional warmth (mother) has the highest share for classification and differentiation in the cluster. We discussed our results with the results from other studies and we suggest to continue in the research of the Slovak version of sEMBU focused on types of attachment, especially on the secure type of attachment.

Open access