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Open access

Marek Madro

Abstract

Introduction: Nowadays we are looking for help and answers to our questions more and more often on the Internet. People use social networks to search for communities or groups whose members experience similar difficulties. These are often online groups that focus on psychological problems, domestic violence, etc. Members receive instant feedback and at the same time, due to the online disinhibition effect, they do not feel the fear, shame or worries they would feel in personal contact (Griffiths, 2005). The content of such self-help groups is not always helpful, but may rather induce pathological behaviour. However, the group administrator can influence the atmosphere in the group and its content itself (Niwa & Mandrusiak, 2012).

Purpose: The purpose of this research was to find a space to perform professional psychological interventions inside online self-help groups on social networks. The concept of a field worker was used in this research. The field worker offers helping services to clients in an environment natural to them and where the worker can provide the client with emergency help during the crisis and prevent other clients from offering risk advices (Ambrózová, Vitálošová, & Labáth, 2006).

Methods: We have conducted qualitative research using the method of content-frequency analysis. The sample for this study consisted of 10 closed online self-help groups focusing on topics such as depression, anxiety disorder, domestic violence, self-injurious and suicidal thoughts and tendencies, etc. For the purpose of this research we created an online group moderated by professionals, focusing on similar topics of mental disorders.

Conclusions: The research results indicated that group members exchanged useful information (35.43%), described their current difficulties they were experiencing (32.33%), shared their own experiences (10.53%), and also published information on what had helped them manage the difficult feelings and situations they had been experiencing (6.39%). However, we also identified risky statements and threatening recommendations in posts and comments. Based on the results, we outlined the possibilities of online field worker interventions and described techniques of interventions that the professional can use for the benefit of group members.

Open access

Martin Brestovanský, Janette Gubricová, Kristína Liberčanová, Naďa Bizová and Zuzana Geršicová

Abstract

Introduction: The aim of the study was to find out what is the understanding of relatively new terms coming into the cultures of Middle-European countries – inclusion, diversity, and equality (hereinafter referred to as IDE) – from the point of view of young people (n=30) and youth workers (n=16) in Slovakia.

Methods: For data gathering, we used a method of focus groups (4 meetings). Data analysis was based on three criteria: consistency in understanding the terms, an overview of types of obstacles that keep young people from self-realisation and an explicit or implicit expression of understanding the basic principles of inclusion in education. The content of IDE terms was mostly from the area of the social field. The term diversity was closely explained in the psychological-personal fields.

Results: The most frequent obstacles for applying IDE approaches were seen in the social, health and religious spheres. From the pedagogical and methodological point of view, the problem is also in the difficulty of preparing the projects based on the principles of IDE while the youth workers proclaim autonomy in solutions and do not trust the possibilities of using general methods because of specific need resulting from the specific context of their work. Also, they proclaim natural applying of the IDE principles and the existence of specific needs in the informal education does not represent any problem for the inclusion of the group members in the activities of the organisation.

Limitations: Work with youth is very varied. Performs in different areas of life and also involves working with different groups of young people. The selected research sample consists of youth and youth workers who are only a partial sample of the sample. It is assumed that in a larger group of respondents (both youth workers and youths themselves), respondents' views may differ somewhat in some of the areas studied.

Conclusions: This research provides information on understanding, implementation and obstacles to applying the principles of inclusion, equality and diversity in practice. We believe that the information we receive is very valuable as it opens the imaginative door to the specific kitchens of individual youth organizations where these principles are directly implemented. They show their nature of application in practice, they suggest some risks, as well as a certain bias towards the application of the terms emerging (probably?) from theory. As can be seen from the results of our research, the emergence of specific needs in non-formal education in practice does not pose a problem in the inclusion of group members in leisure activities.

Open access

András Semjén, Marcell Le and Zoltán Hermann

Abstract

Introduction: A robust process of centralization in education administration and school finance has taken place in Hungary in the course of the present decade. The governance, control, and funding of schools has been taken from local government by the state, and the autonomy of headmasters and teachers has diminished. However, neither the objectives of, nor the motives behind this centralization seem to be completely clear. This paper aims to contribute to the clarification of these objectives and motives, and explores whether the reform has been successful in achieving its declared objectives.

Methods: The clarification of the objectives and motives relies not only on an analysis of the existing literature, but on the textual analysis of various legal texts, together with the use of structured research interviews and press interviews with education policy makers and people working in education administration. Simple statistical methods (including inequality measures and concentration indicators) are employed to determine the impact of the centralization process via the analysis of administrative data on school finances, teacher earnings and student performance.

Results: It was found that while the declared objectives of the centralization included the reduction of inequalities in resource availability and teachers’ wages, and an improvement in equality of educational opportunity, in the first two post-reform years there was a significant drop in the level of resources per student, resulting in a slight increase of inequality of resources. A drop in expenditure may in principle indicate a growth in efficiency, but in this instance this seems actually to have been achieved at the expense of shortages and other school-level problems with a negative effect on the quality of education.

Discussion: The usual requirements to be observed in public sector governance reforms were deliberately neglected, and the reform was carried through in the absence of any pilot study or systematic impact assessment. This is all the more problematic as the recent literature on the experience of other countries does not provide unanimous support for centralization. Further, given the declared objectives of the reforms, it is rather remarkable that no systematic monitoring of results was put into place.

Limitations: The analysis offered here is confined to the short term effects of the reform. A more complete evaluation of the reform will only be possible later, when the longer term effects of the process become clear. The relatively short time since the reform does not allow the definitive identification and evaluation of the effects of the centralization on student performance. However, the short-term effects on inequalities in school finances and teacher salaries are worth investigating at this point. The limited availability of school budget data from the pre-reform period restricts somewhat the reliability of the analysis of the effects of the reform on school expenditure. A further limitation is that the statistical analysis presented here is restricted to basic schools2 only, in the interests of simplifying comparisons. However, a preliminary analysis of secondary schools showed very similar patterns.

Conclusions: The empirical results are to a certain degree inconclusive. As far as school funding is concerned, the inequality of funding increased right after the centralization, then stagnated and started to diminish significantly only after 2015. At the same time, from the perspective of school funding per student on the basis of the income of various local authorities, the results seem somewhat more satisfactory, and it is possible to identify some positive effects in this respect.

Open access

Jana Škrabánková and Martina Martínková

Abstract

Introduction: The paper deals with a possible level of risk in cerebrally gifted pupils in relation to bullying at lower secondary schools and grammar schools. In terms of personality characteristics, gifted pupils form a very diverse group, but some research suggests that they might be a risky group concerning school bullying. In the Czech Republic, the most of cerebrally gifted pupils attend ordinary primary schools or grammar schools and they are in daily contact with other pupils. Due to ambiguous research results, there is a question if it is really possible to think of certain risks in the case of cerebrally gifted pupils in relation to their school environment. Quantitative research tried to answer these questions.

Methods: The research was focused on the perception of selected areas in the class social environment by the diagnosed cerebrally gifted pupils, the undiagnosed gifted ones and the ordinary pupil population. A quantitative research strategy for bullying incidence mapping in primary and grammar schools were determined. As a research tool, a questionnaire was chosen. Gathered data from the initial questionnaire were evaluated by the following methods: dispersion analysis (ANOVA) for data spread by Gauss curve, Kruskal-Wallis test for data with non-Gauss distribution, arithmetic mean, Pearson Chi-Square Test, correlation analysis and contingency tables.

Results: There are differences among the class climate in ordinary classes and the classes with diagnosed cerebrally gifted pupils and undiagnosed pupils. The comparison was at the level of schools, it means among primary schools and grammar schools. It was found out that the cerebrally gifted respondents repeatedly met some form of bullying.

Discussion: On the basis of the findings, the authors assumed that cerebrally gifted pupils (GP) represent a risky group in social interaction with their peers and are more prone to different symptoms of bullying. This has not been statistically confirmed. The overall score was similar in other groups.

Limitation: The views of teachers and the views of some psychologists suggest that within the GP group, there is a special group of GP that is not identifiable by traditional questionnaires. For further research, it is worthwhile to consider opting for such research methods that could reveal those pupils.

Conclusions: Based on these results, it is possible to support those authors who consider GP as a specific group with their own problems, different values and perceptions, but similar to their peers.

Open access

Kateryna Ryabchikova

Abstract

Introduction: In the presented paper, the role of practical training in the formation of intercultural competencies is considered in terms of Dublin descriptors on the basis of educational intercultural practice.

Methods: For the purposes of the study, a multi-stage model of intercultural practice was developed. The method of comparative analysis showed the correspondence of the model to the main descriptors. The study is based on the results of intercultural practice of Ukrainian students in vocational schools in Slovakia.

Results: It has been shown that the four levels of practice in the form of short-term introductory intercultural practice, ethno-cultural educational practice, scientific and pedagogical communication practice abroad, as well as long-term intercultural training correspond to the Dublin competence descriptors in the form of knowledge, skills, communication, autonomy and responsibility.

Discussion: The results of the research show the directions in the formation of intercultural competencies of students. Close cultures such as the Ukrainian and the Slovak can be a launching pad for building deeper competencies. The pedagogical practice of Slovak and Ukrainian students develops the intercultural competencies of both the trainees and the students.

Limitations: The study was conducted in a limited number of educational institutions in Ukraine and Slovakia. It is expected to increase their number on the principles of reciprocity in order to develop intercultural competencies in the students of the two countries.

Conclusions: The model is practically implemented in the process of the teaching practice of Ukrainian students in selected schools in Slovakia. An increase in the level of intercultural competencies was observed both in the Ukrainian students and in the students of Slovak schools.

Open access

Jana Harťanská and Zuzana Muchálová

Abstract

Introduction: The paper discusses the term cognitive competence of foreign language teachers and focuses on their application in practice. It also deals with possible impact of cognitive competences on choice of teaching methods. The paper identifies a list of the cognitive competences which are both expected and needed when conducting English lessons.

Methods: For the purposes of the survey, the qualitative method of direct observation was chosen. To maximise valid information about the taught lesson, identical observation and self-evaluation sheets had to be designed first. The findings are analysed, compared, and conclusions drawn for school practice.

Results: The survey data show which cognitive competences the teachers of English language use the most and the least when the teaching of pre-intermediate learners from two grades was observed at lower secondary school. The main findings also highlight the necessity of using a wider variety of more up-to date teaching methods and approaches suitable for both target grades of learners, in contrast to still prevailing traditional ones.

Discussion: It needs to be admitted that the authors of this paper are not aware of works which deal with similar research of cognitive competences. Though many authors write about social, key and teaching competences in general, cognitive competences are still a kind of Pandora’s box. It is recommended both that deeper research be undertaken in this field and that teachers pay more attention not only to relevant theoretical knowledge within, for example, courses of continual professional development, but also to the impact on their learners’ performance of the cognitive competences being used.

Limitations: The authors are aware of the limited number of observed lessons due to objective reasons such as the reluctance of some teachers to participate in the survey. The survey sample of four observed lessons is too small to enable definitive, generalisable statements to be made about the use of cognitive competences and the appropriateness of teaching methods. Additional, observed lessons would yield more valuable and valid results.

Conclusion: The survey proves that cognitive competences are a necessary part of teachers’ personalities and abilities and their usage can depend on the proficiency level of learners of English language. The authors assert that the topic of cognitive competences and their impact in foreign language teaching has still not been explored in detail. It is an interesting area involving active metacognitive and cognitive functions influenced by many factors which tend to change according to the teacher’s historical context. This idiographic survey for the purposes of a graduation thesis carried out in a small town school can be regarded as a modest contribution to the topic.

Open access

Irén Virág

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 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. Salzmann’s institution, founded in 1784 was visited by 366 Hungarian educators, among others by Teréz Brunszvik, who also gave an account of her impressions in her memoires. Yet, we also need to mention Samuel Tessedik, who made good use of his experience gained during his journey to Germany in his school in Szarvas. Purpose: In this study, four 19th century female educational institutions were selected and the presence of philanthropist ideas in the training offered there was investigated. Three of these were established for the education of the middle-class, while one was founded specifically for aristocrats. We investigated whether the presence of philanthropism can be detected in the education offered by these four schools. Methods: In the presented study, we applied source analysis as a traditional research method in history of education. Conclusions: All the institutions under scrutiny have it in common that the founding and contributing educators and teachers were provably well-acquainted with the pedagogy of the philanthropists, and they incorporated several of its elements into their programmes. The preparation for the housewife role, conveying knowledge utilizable in practice, practical approach to teaching content, and the application of the method of illustration were all emphasized. These features show that several philanthropist characteristics can be identified in the educational principles and curricula of these institutions. Nevertheless, on closer inspection, it cannot be stated that they would have taken on an institutional character exclusively reminiscent of the “philanthropinums”

Open access

Ida Zagyváné Szűcs

Abstract

Introduction: A group of researchers have worked out the Teacher Trainers’ Professional Competences in Hungary. The aim of the research was to explore whether there are any differences among certain groups of teacher trainers concerning their self-reflection, self-evaluation and commitment to ongoing professional development. Methods: Structured interviews were carried out with a sample of 6 teacher trainers whose selection was based on two principles - those who are considered to be teacher trainers in Hungary and those who are available in one of the most important teacher training centres in Hungary - Eszterházy Károly University. The data analysis was done with the General Step-by Step Model of Qualitative Content Analysis supported by MAXQDA 12 software programme. Results: Self-reflection and self-evaluation are the most important factors in teacher trainers’ professional development. Existing standards and criteria to which they compare their achievements play an orienteering role in these two processes, as well as in their self-regulatory learning. However, the levels, the types and the methods of self-reflection can differ depending on what field of teacher training they are involved in and when they were trained as teachers. Discussion: The results of the study promote deeper understanding of teacher trainers’ professional competences regarding their commitment to professional development. It has been clearly stated for which group of teacher trainers scientific research as the highest level of reflection can be a basic requirement, and for which group it should be an expected learning outcome in the future. As research-based teacher training is being introduced in Hungary, parallel to it, all groups of teacher trainers will gradually be expected to carry out scientific research to accomplish the highest level of reflection. Limitations: The sample size does not cover the whole scope of teacher trainers, as instructors teaching specific disciplines were not interviewed, and the research was done in qualitative design, therefore the results cannot be generalized. A future research of quantitative design should cover more teacher trainers from other universities and regions. Conclusions: The general step by step model of qualitative content analysis has provided a detailed picture of the driver of the teacher trainers’ professional development. The evidence of the acceptance of the position of a role model for their instructed, mentored or supported student teachers, teacher assistants and teachers has been given by this research. The need for research-based teacher training in Hungary has been confirmed. Further research should be carried out focusing on teaching strategies, methods and good practices where self-reflection and self-evaluation play a crucial role in enhancing self-regulatory learning

Open access

Gabriela Rozvadský Gugová

Abstract

Introduction: The theory of attachment is widely recognized (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978). This theory is based on four basic types of relationships. The sEMBU questionnaire does not focus on the relationships but parental behavior, however, parental behavior is the presentation of the relationship. Our goal was to determine the types of attachment and to obtain information about secure attachment by using cluster analysis. Methods: sEMBU primarily finds out about three basic patterns used in parental behaviour - rejection, emotional warmth and overprotection. We used the 23-item s(short)-EMBU which previously demonstrated to be satisfactory on the samples of students from Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, East-Germany, and Sweden (Arrindell et al., 2001). The Slovak translation of the original sEMBU was published in 2007 (Poliaková, Mojžišová, & Hašto, 2007). Since relationships are closely related to rejection, emotional warmth and overprotection, we tried to find behavioral patterns based on Bowlby’s attachment theory. We did not use standard procedures. Using cluster analysis, we also sorted the sample into four groups based on the presupposed attachment styles. Results: 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 expected to find out that the secure type of attachment prevails over avoidance both in mothers and fathers. Conclusions: Our results surprised us; in the case of mothers, secure attachment did not occur at all. We suggest to continue in the research of the Slovak version of sEMBU focused on the types of attachment, especially on the secure type of attachment.

Open access

Zuzana Geršicová and Silvia Barnová

Abstract

Introduction: The presented paper deals with the issues of the work of class teachers and their further education in the field of personal and social training. The main goal of the research was to find out about changes in personal and social development after the realization of social-pedagogical training. Methods: On the level of personal development, the authors were interested in the field of values and attitudes. On the level of social development, they focused on the changes in communication and opinion scales. The changes in the above fields were measured by means of a pre-test and a post-test which were administered before and after the realization of the training. Results: In the participants of the realized research, the research team, to a certain extent, succeeded in reducing prejudice and beliefs and the participants learnt about the necessity of considering students’ individual abilities and specific environmental influences on their behavior and manifestations at school. On the level of opinions, there was a shift towards a stronger belief in the significance of the impact of the environment and the family background on students’ behaviour and their personality traits. Discussion: The presented data are the results of a pilot probe and have brought initial insights related to the presented issues for the purposes of a longer and deeper research, which is in the phase of its realization. Limitations: As the project was realized with ten groups of teachers showing a deep interest in participating in it, it is not our ambition to generalize the obtained results; nevertheless, we find them interesting and inspiring. Conclusions: Along with knowledge from pedagogy and psychology, class teachers need a huge amount of creativity, ideas, techniques and methods, which can promote the development of students’ value orientation. The authors can see a clear perspective for teachers’ lifelong learning here