Volume 11 Issue 1 (2022)
1

Apps to Promote Computational Thinking and Coding Skills to Young Age Children: A Pedagogical Challenge for the 21st Century Learners

pp. 7-13  |  Published Online: March 2022  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2022.111.1

Stamatios Papadakis

Abstract

Background/purpose – At the beginning of the 21st century, Computational Thinking (CT) and coding were typically considered part of secondary education programs, focusing on programming and algorithm development. The early childhood classroom was not expected to find students who developed coding skills. Nevertheless, as has been the case lately, CT and coding have been characterized as fundamental skills of the 21st century, not only for computer scientists but all for citizens. However, through developmentally appropriate technologies, the development of coding skills is increasingly possible, and the result may be the advancement of CT fluency or at least familiarity in young age children. Given the enormous success of smart mobile devices and accompanying mobile apps, the question is whether apps provide the children of preschool and pre-primary school age with opportunities to cultivate their basic coding and CT skills. This study is a review article that presents a brief literature review on the apps that promote themselves that can cultivate CT and coding skills of young students.

Materials/methods – This paper presents a literature review of empirical studies on apps that promote themselves to support young children’s learning of CT and coding skills.

Results – Despite the abundance of 'self-proclaimed educational' apps for children, there is a need for developmentally appropriate apps, specifically designed for young people to promote the development of CT concepts and coding skills in young children's life.

Conclusion – This study contributes to a small but growing body of literature investigating how children process and learn fundamental coding skills from touchscreen devices. The findings of this study provide evidence that young age children can facilitate early STEM learning and foundational coding skills from developmentally appropriate playful learning experiences on smart mobile devices.

Keywords: Mobile applications (apps); computational thinking; basic coding skills; preschool age; pre-primary school age.

2

An Exploration of Literary Genres Through the Eyes of Pre-Service English Teachers

pp. 14-27  |  Published Online: March 2022  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2022.111.2

Gamze Erdem Cosgun

Abstract

Background/purpose – As teachers of the future, pre-service English teachers’ perceptions towards literary genres were crucial as their thoughts and experiences during their teacher training program would be decisive on their use of literature in their future teaching professions. Therefore, the objective of this qualitative explanatory case study is to explore how pre-service English teachers feel about studying various genres of literature in their English literature courses and the challenges they face, and to present suggestions for using literary extracts more efficiently in ELT classrooms.  

Materials/methods – Twenty-nine pre-service English language teachers participated to the study via answering open-ended questions and participating follow up semi-structured interviews.

Results – Results illuminated that pre-service English teachers had certain preferences regarding the specific genres of literature that they read in their literature classes. Moreover, participants also mentioned certain challenges that they faced while reading literature in English. The most pronounced ones were unknown and Old English vocabulary, complex sentences, long texts, historical and cultural elements, and figurative and literary language.

Conclusion – It is concluded that literature courses for ELT students need to be tailored for the future needs of English teachers.

Keywords: Literature, genres, English teacher.

3

The Impact of Work Environment and Teacher Attributes on Teacher Job Satisfaction

pp. 28-39  |  Published Online: March 2022  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2022.111.3

Hsiang-Wei Ker, Ying-Haur Lee, Shu-Meei Ho

Abstract

Background/purpose – Teachers play a critical role in student learning processes and in their academic success, and as such their job satisfaction directly impacts upon their teaching efficacy and lecture quality. In light of the importance of job satisfaction in educational practice, this study investigates the impact of work environment factors and personal attributes on teachers’ job satisfaction.

Materials/methods – This study utilizes data from the 2019 TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) for eighth-grade science teachers from the United States.

Results – Teacher job satisfaction showed a strong association with the majority of work environment factors and professional development factors, whilst no significant relationship was found with teacher background.

Conclusion – Teachers’ job satisfaction significantly impacts on their performance, retention, and teaching efficacy. Through analysis of the TIMSS 2019 dataset, it was seen that teacher job satisfaction is primarily affected by the environment in which they work and also their professional development. These results concur with other findings reported in the literature. However, contrary to prior works, this study revealed no association between job satisfaction and teachers’ background. As a result, schools should prioritize creating a congenial work environment in order to improve teaching quality. The limitations of this research and suggestions for future work are also discussed.

Keywords: Teacher job satisfaction, work environment, teacher characteristics, TIMSS.

4

The Influence of Educational Employees’ Policy Alienation on Their Change Cynicism: An Investigation in the Turkish Public-Schooling Context

pp. 40-64  |  Published Online: March 2022  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2022.111.4

Tijen Tulubas

Abstract

Background/purpose – Policy alienation is considered to be significant for successful policy implementation and is linked to public professionals’ attitudes towards change. The current study was conducted to investigate the influence of educational employees’, namely teachers’ and school administrators’, policy alienation on their change cynicism in the context of Turkish public-schools.

Materials/methods – The sample of this quantitative, causal-comparative study comprises of 504 teachers, principals, and vice-principals enrolled in educational master’s programs of the Social Sciences Institute in a university during the summer semester of 2020-2021 academic year and the fall semester of the 2021-2022 academic year. Data were collected using two Likert-type scales, the Policy Alienation Scale and the Cynicism about Organizational Change Scale, and then analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-test, ANOVA, and regression testing.

Results – The study revealed that the educational employees had a fairly high level of policy alienation and a low level of change cynicism, although teachers had higher levels of change cynicism over school administrators. Perceived strategic powerlessness of educational employees was the highest (x̄ = 3.37), and their tactical and operational powerlessness predicted their change cynicism the most, and explained the 26% and 28% of the total variance in change cynicism, respectively.

Conclusion – The findings indicate that educational employees should be involved in policy processes, and that change benefits should be justified with a powerful rationale so as to reduce policy alienation, as this helps to gain their behavioral support for changes and reduces failures. This is also significant as a history of failed change efforts triggers change cynicism.

Keywords: Policy alienation, change cynicism, educational employee, teacher, school administrator.

5

The Mentoring Experiences of Early Career and Senior Academics in a Multicampus University in South Africa

pp. 65-85  |  Published Online: March 2022  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2022.111.5

Yaw Owusu-Agyeman

Abstract

Background/purpose – The study examines how early career academics (ECAs) and established academics perceive the importance of mentoring and how mentoring could enhance the career development of ECAs within a South African multicampus university.

Materials/methods – Two different sets of semi-structured interview questions were administered to 16 ECAs and 10 senior academics across the university’s six faculties and three campuses. The data were examined using thematic analysis that involved a process of identifying, analyzing, organizing, describing, and reporting the themes that emerged from the dataset.

Results – The study’s results revealed that the mentoring experiences of ECAs could be enhanced by, among other things, institutional arrangements designed to address the mentoring needs of ECAs in terms of teaching, researching, researcher rating and engaged scholarship, establishment of clear communication channels that inform ECAs across the different campuses of the various professional development programs available, and the appointment and training of established academics especially at the satellite campuses to mentor ECAs.

Conclusion – To enhance the professional and personal development of ECAs, the university must establish an institutional mentoring framework that focuses on equal distribution of resources across all campuses, the adaptation of ECAs to the unique university environment, and promoting professional relationships between established academics and ECAs.

Keywords: Early career academics, mentoring, social constructivist theory, institutional structure, institutional culture, multicampus setting.

6

Trends for the Segregation Practices of International Students: A Review of Higher Education in Turkey

pp. 86-104  |  Published Online: March 2022  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2022.111.6

Tugba Hosgorur, Ilker Aysel

Abstract

Background/purpose - This study aims to explain international student mobility within Turkish higher education in terms of the push-pull factors that affect students’ choices to attend Turkey based on international students studying at a provincial university in Mugla, Turkey.

Materials/methods - The current study was implemented through a qualitative approach originated from the interpretivist paradigm. This qualitative study is a case study, with data collected through semi-structured interviews.

Results - The reasons pushing students to study abroad were observed as economic such as due to high unemployment rates in their country of origin; political issues such as a state of war; educational issues such as low quality education; or personal issues such as a wish to experience a different culture.

Conclusion - The reasons behind choosing Turkey for higher education were observed to be economic factors such as Turkey’s low-cost living; political factors such as bureaucratic regulations being more accommodating for students recognised as refugees; educational factors. Such as superior quality higher education; and, geographical and cultural proximity.

Keywords: International students, segregation, higher education, push-pull factors, higher education policies.

7

Mentorship Practices and Research Productivity Among Early-Career Educational Psychologists in Universities

pp. 105-126  |  Published Online: March 2022  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2022.111.7

Abigail E. Okon, Valentine J. Owan, Mercy V. Owan

Abstract

Background/purpose – This study analyzed the contribution of three mentorship practices relatively and cumulatively to the research productivity of early-career academics in the field of educational psychology in universities. The study was conducted in the South-South region of Nigeria.

Materials/methods – The research method adopted was the quantitative approach, following the ex-post facto research design. The study’s population covered 723 early-career researchers (ECRs) in educational psychology distributed across 19 universities located in South-South Nigeria. The “Mentorship Practices and Research Productivity Questionnaire” (MPRPQ) was the instrument used for data collection. The questionnaire was designed by the researchers and then validated by three experts. Reliability analysis was performed using the Cronbach approach with estimates of .80, .79, .87, and .91 obtained for the four clusters. Primary data were collected from the field after copies of the instrument had been administered to respondents.

Results – Mentorship practices were generally revealed to significantly contribute to the research productivity of ECRs in educational psychology in universities. Specifically, the adoption of cloning and apprenticeship approaches to mentorship contributed substantially to the ECRs’ research productivity. However, the study highlighted that nurturing contributed only negligibly to the ECRs’ research productivity.

Conclusion – Mentorship practices are important determinants to the research productivity of early-career educational psychologists. In order to boost the productive research capacities of ECRs, there is a need for institutions to strengthen their mentorship practices.

Keywords: Apprenticeship, cloning, early-career researchers, nurturing, psychologists.

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