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Comparison of Teachers’ Opinions on Inspections

Abstract

Introduction: The quality of school depends on a well-functioning school management, managed by the top school managers. It is very important to know the real conditions of the school to be able to provide any effective changes. Especially, it is necessary to know the educational process which can be efficiently determined by an inspection process. The inspection process is present in current pedagogical science and in pedagogical practice which deserves increased attention of all participants in the educational process.

Methods: The study is based on a theoretical analysis of the presented issues and on a research. The findings were analysed, compared, and conclusions were drawn for school practice. We used the following research methods:

- content analysis of the existing literature;

- the quantitative method of gathering data by the medium of a twelve-item questionnaire containing four closed and eight semi-open questions. The questionnaire contained data necessary to process and evaluate the questionnaire, these were inserted as the last question;

- statistical data processing methods.

Results: New times bring a new style of management and a new understanding of the inspecting activity, which creates a partnership between the student and the teacher. It is to promote mutual understanding between them, based on the principles of democracy. Innovations in the educational practice also affect the realization of inspecting activities. The aim of managers, as well as inspectors, is to promote inspections not only as a tool for evaluating the teaching process but also as methodological help for teachers. The goal of our research was to map the state of the inspecting activity in selected high schools and to find out about the changes in teachers’ opinions on inspecting activities over the twenty-year horizon. We cannot generalize our findings for schools of all kinds as only 88 respondents (44 respondents participated in the 1998 research and 44 respondents in the 2017 research) took part in our research.

Discussion: Managing the educational process and taking the responsibility for its quality are among the basic duties of the school management and in the conditions of the Slovak Republic, as it follows from Act no. 596/2003 on state administration in education and school self-government as last amended. Supervising school leadership is one of the fundamental means of feedback that allows the study of the level of educational and training results, the fulfillment of the conceptual development of school, and the fulfillment of the tasks in the short-term school plan. The objective of the principal of the school is to obtain objective information about the level and the outcomes of the educational work of the school and, if deficiencies are identified, it is his/her duty to eliminate them. The most important task of the school is to implement the School Educational Program in line with the State Educational Program (SEP), which should take into account the needs of students, the interests of students and their parents, and contribute to improving the processes going on in the school, especially in the educational process. The research revealed that inspections conducted by school managers (the principal, deputies, administrators) are the most beneficial for the work of teachers. This fact was caused by the effort of the school managers to view inspections as a means of personal growth of teachers and not only as a controlling mechanism of teachers’ work. This was also confirmed by the research showing that inspections by the members of school management are now clearly focused on emphasizing the positive aspect of teachers’ work. This was caused by a shift in the inspectors’ perception of the inspecting activities in the period of twenty years - they use them as a teacher-oriented tool.

Limitations: The number of participants in the research sample was one of the methodological limitations of this research. We cannot consider this number to be representative for the purpose of generalizing the results.

Conclusion: In this study, we realized a mutual comparison of attitudes and opinions of teachers regarding inspecting activities. This comparative study, taking into account the twenty-year time span, has shown that the inspectors (school managers) have acquired such methods of evaluating their teachers, which objectively refer of their actual performance, that the most beneficial inspections for teachers’ own pedagogical work are the inspections conducted by the members of the school management, that the adherence to pedagogical ethics by the inspectors has an increasing tendency, and that formalism, as well as the subjective evaluation of teacher’s work, have a downward tendency and have disappeared from the conclusions of inspections. Based on the research results, it can be concluded that, in the course of two decades, significant changes have taken place in the realization of inspections, both on the part of the inspectors and on the part of the teachers and their perception of inspections.

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Developing Students’ Language Competence and Essential 21st Century Skills for Future Employability: The Case of Latvia and Lithuania

Abstract

Introduction: Nowadays, language and intercultural competences have become core employability skills in many fields, supporting the development of other skills which emphasizes the necessity for specific pedagogic approaches in developing online learning materials and courses that would develop learners’ language competence and other relevant 21st century skills for future employability. The current comparative summative evaluation research conducted in two higher education institutions in Latvia and Lithuania analyses students’ feedback, elicited from 200 students, on the efficiency of the methods and methodologies applied in the course development and their suitability to develop the above-mentioned skills and competences.

Methods: The research implies a mixed-model design comprising a students’ questionnaire (a quantitative tool) and students’ essays (a qualitative tool). Quantitative data analysis was done applying descriptive and inferential statistics tests by IBM SPSS 22 software, qualitative data analysis – applying discourse analysis.

Results: The findings indicate that students highly evaluate the learning platform and the courses created. They find them as useful, visually appealing, interesting, interactive, well-structured, and easy to understand. Students acknowledge that they have developed their knowledge of professional lexis, reading skills, grammar and gained useful knowledge in their field. Significant differences were found concerning students’ group, specialization and the course completed – local students vs. international students as to the evaluation of the learning platform, students of IT field vs. business fields, Latvian students vs. Lithuanian students as to the intercultural B2/C1 English course completed. The research results strengthen the cognitions derived from theory on significant issues to be observed when creating blended-learning courses.

Discussion: The course designed is an alternative way of learning and may be useful for anyone who wishes to update their language and intercultural competence either through a formal or non-formal education course or on a lifelong learning basis.

Limitations: The research period covered one semester only. Although the study materials for 16 languages have been created, the current paper analyses only the results obtained in piloting English and Spanish courses, with the predominance of learners opting for English courses.

Conclusions: The research results show that the methods and methodologies applied in the given interactive blended-learning courses have developed the students’ language competence and have fostered the development of their digital competence, team-working and collaboration skills, problem-solving skills and learning-to-learn thus motivating them to become autonomous learners. The pedagogy-based approach applied in the current research has been successful despite a few flaws in the design of the course materials.

Open access
Moral Reciprocity, Ethics of Appropriation of Indigenous Medicinal Plant Knowledge and Associated Biopiracy

Abstract

Introduction: Although this paper deals mostly with the positive effects of a posthumanist worldview on environmental sustainability, partnership, or moral accountability in science and scientific research, it also promotes a new understanding of our educational practice in higher education. The ideas espoused have the ability to inspire educators at all levels to show students, future researchers or other professions about the importance of a progressive, holistic approach to our environment. We claim that being sensitive and caring for our environment is not only part of our moral and ethical responsibility, it is an inseparable aspect of our environmental education, our environmental intelligence. This paper discusses posthumanist1 reciprocity ethics in the context of traditional knowledge (TK) and the protection of indigenous traditional knowledge from commercial exploitation.

Methods: Instances of unethical bioprospecting and biopiracy were common throughout the turn of the 21st century and are discussed using cases in countries such as Cameroon, India, South Africa and Australia, where medicinal plant species were, are still a highly sought-after source of potent, pharmacologically active phytochemicals.

Results and discussion: The observed increase in regulations against bioprospecting on indigenous land in these countries as a result of intellectual property monopoly by big pharmaceutical companies is discussed in this paper along the lines of a ‘humanist vs posthumanist’ ontology. Patent exclusivity laws have historically marginalized the proprietary owners of indigenous traditional knowledge, creating a moral and ethical rift between those that seek to exploit this knowledge commercially and those from whom the knowledge originally comes from. This disconnection from nature and natural resources due to a humanistic approach2 to growth and development, often leads to environmental exploitation, exploitation of indigenous people and unsustainable commercial practices. Existing research and bioprospecting ethics that are practiced on indigenous lands must be questioned in their ability to provide mutually beneficial outcomes for all stakeholders.

Conclusions: The posthumanist approach to morality and research ethics is discussed in this paper as a possible and practical alternative to humanism along with the potential for posthumanist ethics to be a tool to shape legal frameworks and the policies that protect at-risk communities and their respective natural environments. Our current developmental trajectory as a collective species has us blurring the lines that separate the ‘human’ from the ‘non-human’ elements in our world as humanity grows towards a more technologically advanced but equally environmentally dependent people. Thus, the currently existing systems of ethics that govern the relationship between the ‘human’ and ‘non-human’ must be called into question. This paper aims to illustrate the positive effects of a posthumanist worldview on issues such as environmental sustainability, partnership, moral accountability and reciprocity ethics in the context of modern science and modern scientific research.

Open access
Philosophical, Aesthetic, Psychological and Pedagogical Aspects

Abstract

Introduction: Computers and the applications of today’s high technology can simulate reality so realistically that virtuality has become part of both children’s and adults’ lifestyles (Nagy & Kölcsey, 2017; Szécsi, 2012). However, it did not emerge with the computer applications, but with human thinking and part of that, the virtual conception of the world. In addition to social changes this development can be observed on individuals as well.

Purpose: This study shows the development of virtuality through the examples of cultural, philosophical, aesthetic, then the psychological and pedagogical development of the individual with the help of some important studies.

Methods: This study presents the social and individual development of virtuality throughout theoretical analysis of the research results.

Conclusion: Virtuality has already an important role in the technological and economic sphere and its impact on social innovations, individual and social life can be felt as well. Virtuality-research, its application and improvement contribute to experience a more complete reality and to the improvement of human life quality.

Open access
The Role of Resilience in Coping with Negative Parental Behaviour

Abstract

Introduction: Negative parental behaviour is among the significant risk factors that can have a negative impact on an individual’s development. In certain contexts, when appropriate protective factors are available, individuals deal with adversity better and it does not come to a decrease in their social performance nor their achievement in various spheres of life.

Purpose: The purpose of the presented paper is to provide a literature review on the role of resilience in dealing with harsh circumstances when negative parental behaviour occurs in a family.

Methods: In the study, the traditional desk research method was used to gather data.

Conclusions: Exposure to negative parental behaviour – including abuse and neglect, as well as domestic violence, can have detrimental consequences for children’s health and welfare. Under such circumstances, protective factors available to children play a significant role. Exposure to negative parental behaviour, including abuse and neglect, as well as domestic violence, can have detrimental consequences for children’s health and welfare. Under such circumstances, protective factors available to children play a significant role. If a family fails to protect a child or even represents a risk factor in the child’s life, the importance of other social institutions, such as schools, church, peer groups, etc., increases, as both internal and external protective factors are important. They can provide children at risk with support, help them develop own coping strategies and foster their resilience in order to overcome significant adversity in their families without serious harm. An individual’s resilience is a decisive factor in the process of dealing with threatening situations.

Open access
Are Slovak Universities Prepared to Create the Department of Geragogy and Train Future Geragogues?

Abstract

Introduction:The authors of this paper base their research on the following assumption: the development of both geragogic education (older adult education) and profession is conditioned by the existence of a study program of geragogy provided by departments of geragogy created at universities (as public institutions of higher education). The fact remains that a qualified training of geragogues is absent in the Slovak conditions.

Purpose:When compiling a graduate profile, inclusive of a list of competences that a geragogue should possess, a range of specific local circumstances needs to be taken into consideration. Subsequently, it is necessary to define a position of a geragogue. Geragogue is a professional working in the field of senior education, just like a pedagogue or an adult educator work in their fields. It is also important to identify and accentuate the philosophical and social context in which these professionals are confronted with the demands of today’s society, in a form of a society based on knowledge, questions of the ongoing social changes and defining the meaning of life.

Results:The task of creating the department and program of geragogy is formulated as a social demand of the time, debunking the current myth of the crisis of universities. In history, a university was a vital place where the values serving social integration emerged. It was also a practice field for the educators to train so they could spread these values and transform them into social skills.

Conclusion:In the conclusion, the authors propose key areas of undergraduate training of geragogues, including the definition of institutional anchoring, with the goal to contribute to ongoing professional discussion and to creation of the department and the program of geragogy.

Open access
Coping with Adversity in the Lives of Children in Foster Care

Abstract

Introduction:The theoretical-empirical study is based on two particular case studies of families bringing up children from institutional care. It deals with the real needs of foster families, with the foster parents’ perception of fostering and their experiences from the time spent with children in foster care, about the children’s behaviour in adverse situations, which the foster parents must deal with in the period of the child’s adaptation to the new environment of their households. The authors accentuate the importance of communication and emotional education from the aspect of personality development of children placed into new families. These children should be prepared for moving from a known into an unknown environment. In the conclusions, the authors give several specific recommendations within the framework of semantic categories dealt with in the chapters and subchapters of the study.

Methods:The study is based on a theoretical analysis of the presented issues. For the purposes of the research, the following research methods were used

- Content analysis of official documents (job description of social workers in foster family care).

- Case studies of two clients of the offices of Social and Legal Protection of Children and Social Curatorship in the field offices of Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family in Nitra and Bratislava Self-Governing Regions carried out in 2018.

- Logical operations - analysis, synthesis, comparison.

- Interviews with foster carers (Family 1 and Family 2) carried out throughout the whole year 2018.

- Generalization in semantic categories which, at the same time, are the titles of the chapters and subchapters bellow, and also in the conclusions and recommendations for foster care and the social practice.

Results:For personal development, children need relationships with others. Maternal and paternal love, and care are the basic elements of these relationships - as confirmed in the interviews with foster parents. Alongside with biological parenthood, the so-called “psychological parenthood” has an important role to play. The role of a psychological parent can be filled by the members of own (i.e. biological) family as well as by adoptive parents, foster parents, the biological parents’ partners (stepmothers and stepfathers) and - under certain conditions - also by personnel in facilities of social care. Their psychological needs and the extent of their satisfaction determine what they will experience and how they will feel.

Discussion:It is important to prepare parents to accept the fact that foster parenthood is different from biological parenthood. Prospective foster parents often come to the offices of Social and Legal Protection of Children and Social Curatorship with the opinion that not even biological parents are being prepared for their parental roles. Foster parents already having biological children argue - as it follows from the interviews carried out throughout the research - that they are experienced parents and, so, they can bring up foster children as well. They do not realize that foster children bring something new that biological children have never experienced. Biological and foster parenthood are definitely not the same.

Conclusions:In the conclusions, the authors point out that children in foster care identify with their parents’ values and opinions. For children who have faced significant adversity in their lives, it is beneficial if the family environment and education are harmonious. Such good conditions can have a positive impact on the children’s entire future lives. In the process of adaptation, the whole network of relationships within the family must be re-structuralized, which requires well-prepared family members.

Open access
Manager’s Personality and Their Professional Career

Abstract

Introduction:The research study deals with the personality of managers in regard to their professional career. The main objective of the study was to find the relationship between the personality dimensions according to the Big Five personality traits model and Holland’s typology of the six personality types and work environment types.

Methods:The research sample consisted of 121 managers from different levels of the subordinate system in state organizations and private companies in Slovakia. The personality dimensions Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness were in this research measured by the NEO Five-Factor Inventory. We have also used the SDS questionnaire - Self-Directed Search to determine the personality types and work environment types - RIASEC codes. The statistical evaluation was performed using the SPSS 20 statistical system, with the data evaluated by methods of descriptive and correlation analysis.

Results:There were the highest values recorded in Conscientiousness throughout the research sample. The lowest values were recorded in Neuroticism. We found out that the Summary Code of managers is ESI (Enterprising, Social, Investigative), of male managers is EIR (Enterprising, Investigative, Realistic), of female managers is SEC (Social, Enterprising, Conventional). When comparing the individual RIASEC personality types, we found significant differences between males and females. Males are more realistic than females, more investigative and enterprising than females. Females are more social and conventional compared to males. There was no gender difference in artistic orientation. The RIASEC personality types in the entire sample match the RIASEC work environment types according to SDS, regardless of age. The results demonstrated relationships between the NEO - FFI personality dimensions and personality types and RIASEC work environment types codes according to SDS.

Discussion:We can say that managers in our research sample are primarily Enterprising types with leading life orientation. Typical representatives of this personality type are characterized especially by traits such as dominance, ambition, focus on success, self-confidence, sociability, and responsibility. In the context of a manager’s success and their effectiveness, or ineffectiveness in work environment, the most predictive Big Five factor for an effective manager is Neuroticism, all effective managers scored low in Neuroticism. Results obtained by the SDS questionnaire - Self-Directed Search confirm our findings of prevalent personality dimensions in the overall personality profile of managers. The overall RIASEC personality code of managers according to SDS is ESI in the whole research sample, thus we can conclude that in the case of the overall personality type - RIASEC code of manager the dominant personality type is Enterprising/leading, followed by the Social personality type and the third is the Investigative personality type.

Limitations:One of the methodological limitations of this research is the number of participants in the research sample. We do not consider this number as representative for the purpose of generalizing the results.

Conclusions:Research results show that there is a relationship between professional orientation and personality. Some personality dimensions are significantly related to professional orientation types and to professional interests, whereas others are related only non-significantly or not at all. Significant relations were found between the dimension Openness and Artistic, Leading, and Social type, between the dimension Extraversion and Enterprising and Investigative type, and between the dimension Agreeableness and the Social type. Realistic type was not related to any personality dimension. The dimension Neuroticism was negatively related to all professional types. For the career counseling practice and selection of job seekers and manager position applicants, this may mean that despite confirmation of these convergences, there may be different relations between different Holland’s professional types and personality dimensions.

These findings can be the focus of further research on students in their final year of secondary school when they are deciding on their future professional career.

This research study, we believe, has contributed to the understanding of the relationship between personality and professional career. The results confirm that professional orientation and personality interact and influence the professional behavior of a person.

Open access
The Pedagogical Work of Vieth and GutsMuths

Abstract

Introduction:Philanthropism as it evolved at the end of the 18th century in Germany wanted to break completely with the contemporary methods persisting in education, with the hegemony of classical languages, and with the study of antique authors’ works; instead, it laid emphasis on practical and useful knowledge, on teaching modern languages, on acquiring knowledge based on demonstration, and on an intimate connection to nature. The aim of philanthropist education was to train virtuous citizens who honestly pursue their ordinary profession, in whose training they assigned a central role to physical education.

Purpose:In our paper, which is a part of our research exploring the appearance of the pedagogical ideas of philanthropism in Hungary, we set out to investigate the question: What was the focus of physical education in the philanthropinums? As a first step in our investigation, we give an overview of the philanthropists’ ideas regarding physical education, then we take a close look at how these ideas were put into practice in two selected institutions, namely among the walls of the philanthropinums in Dessau and Schnepfenthal, by relying on the contemporary works of Gerhard Ulrich Anton Vieth and Johann Christoph Friedrich GutsMuths. Finally, we consider their impact in Hungary.

Methods:In this study we apply the source analysis as a traditional research method in the history of education.

Conclusions:The impact of philanthropism on contemporary Hungarian public education, especially in the first half of the 19th century, can be clearly detected, which can be accredited to study trips to Germany and the Hungarian translations of German works. The presence of philanthropism can also be perceived in swimming instruction. Basedow and GutsMuths initiated the instruction of swimming and lifeguarding, and the general institutionalization of swimming instruction. The impact of philanthropists could also be felt in Hungary. Károly (Carl) Csillagh’s textbook on swimming appeared in German in 1841 with the title “Der philantropische Schwimmmeister” (“The Philanthropist Swimming Instructor”). The first book on swimming in Hungarian appeared in 1842.

Open access
Some Issues Concerning Values in Measuring Achievements in Education

Abstract

Introduction:This study analyzes the mode of value transmission and those set of values that promote the measurement of educational outcomes.

Purpose:The focus of this contribution is to discover helpful guidelines for a set of educational values.

Methods:In the present study, we applied source analysis as a traditional research method in the philosophy of education.

Conclusion:We would like to point out that education is the observation, consideration and formation of needs and, at the same time, pedagogy is at least as a regulating as a descriptive kind of an activity. The ideal educational system of methods and objectives are neither open nor closed, it only contains elements that provide possibilities for the individual to fulfill requirements in quantity and quality according to their aptitude. On the other hand, it assures forming behavior and socialization simultaneously.

Open access