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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2011): Education - overseas

Children as decision makers in education: sharing experiences across cultures

S. Cox and others (editors)

London: Continuum, 2011

Since the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, there has been an increasing recognition globally that children need to have more say in their education. This book looks at how children can actively participate in decision-making. It builds upon previous research into student voice and decision-making, citizenship education in the school curriculum and work with children as researchers. This insightful collection is forward-looking, bringing together cross-cultural experiences and supporting individuals or groups to work collaboratively in the future.

Education as a global concern

C. Brock

London: Continuum, 2011

This book introduces the issues covered by a new series, Education as a Humanitarian Response. Colin Brock challenges the existing functions of education as widely and conventionally perceived, and promotes the notion of 'education as a humanitarian response' as its prime function. He examines the educational situations of a range of human groups that are marginalized or excluded from mainstream provision and also considers the idea that 'humane' means 'appropriate'.

Education for civic citizenship and social justice: a critical social foundations approach

M.O. Bassey

Education as Change, vol. 14, 2011, p. 247-257

In an article entitled, Teaching for Social Justice, Diversity, and Citizenship in a Global World, Banks (2004) made civic citizenship and social justice the centrepiece of multicultural education. In another article he explained that a 'new kind of citizenship education, called 'multicultural citizenship' will enable students to acquire a delicate balance of cultural, national, and global identifications and to understand the ways in which knowledge is constructed; to become knowledge producers; and to participate in civic action to create a more humane nation and world' (Banks, 2001, 5). For decades, scholars have debated the best way to prepare young people for civic citizenship and social justice, and there has been a wide range of terms, projects and disagreements among researchers and practitioners. In this article, it is argued that a critical examination of the research literature on multicultural education shows that it cannot lead to civic citizenship because it lacks a transformative agenda. The article concludes that the critical social foundations of education approach vitalises civic citizenship of all students, keeps them awake and encourages their participation for change.

Educational problems and solutions in Turkey: the views of district governors

M. Erdem and others

Educational Management Administration & Leadership, vol. 39, 2011, p. 242-256

The main purpose of this article is to assess the opinions of district governors, who are the highest ranked civilian authority within a district, on educational problems and solutions at the local level. A qualitative research approach was utilized. The district governors believe that they have a very significant and active role in raising standards of education in Turkey. The findings show that district governors spend a considerable amount of time on education-related issues. The district governors asserted that central government should simply determine the general policies concerning education and provide them with more authority.

Educational administration in Timor Leste: language policy and capacity building challenges in a post-conflict context

R. Macpherson

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 25, 2011, p. 186-203

The aim of this paper is to analyse the relationship between a national language policy that favours Portuguese and Tetun, and the establishment and administration of the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Education in Timor Leste. The author was embedded in the Inspectorate between January and June 2009. During this period he conducted an ethnographic analysis of the administration of two of the largest regions prior to helping develop the School Inspector's Manual and a strategic plan for the Inspectorate. This report was derived from those experiences. The Inspectorate in the Ministry of Education, led by an Inspector General, has a symbiotic relationship with what is termed in this paper as the 'Schools Directorate' led by a director general. Although the Inspectorate is required to improve the quality and accountability of all services provided by the Schools Directorate, a close symbiosis is encouraged between the sister bureaucracies by the Minister of Education, resulting in serious goal displacement in both organisations, degrees of confusion and paralysis in implementation. Four major reasons are identified. The Minister co-manages the Schools Directorate while the Inspectorate has a chief executive officer. Formal communications in the Ministry are conducted in Portuguese, although very few are competent in this language. Regional directorates and regional inspectorates are required to collaborate closely in review and development planning, while the activities of the latter are funded and administered by the former. The cultural norms of conflict-avoidance in a post-conflict context are all pervasive in a setting of scarce resources, to the point where no one is ever fired, even for corruption.

From learning to labour to learning for marginality: school segregation and marginalization in Swedish suburbs

D. Beach and O. Sernhede

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 32, 2011, p. 257-274

In this article, using data from ethnographic research, the authors try to present some glimpses of the way education is described as an experience and possibility 'from below', by pupils who grow up and study in schools in the most segregated and territorially stigmatized suburbs on the outskirts of major cities. What the authors feel they describe is an experience of schooling for surviving the social and economic consequences of curtailed citizenship in a post-industrial society rather than one of schooling that offers possibilities of integration and full citizenship or social transformation. The findings have significant policy implications in this respect. Sweden has historically pursued projects aimed at educational inclusion but has recently taken a significant turn toward neo-liberalism and educational consumerism, since which time various disadvantaged groups have become increasingly concentrated compared with others in under-achieving schools in an economically threatened public sector. The article discusses some aspects and possible consequences of this development.

The impact of educational reforms on the work of the school principal in the United Arab Emirates

C. Thorne

Educational Management Administration & Leadership, vol. 39, 2011, p. 172-185

Although much has been written about the complexity of educational change and reform elsewhere, the educational reform movement in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a relatively recent phenomenon with little systematic documentation as yet; educators are still searching for a clear understanding of their roles. However, it is clear that the leadership of the country is exerting great pressure for reform in schools and there is a sense of urgency about the need for large-scale change. This article examines the impact of these reforms on the work of one school principal at this time of radical transformation. It begins with a brief review of some of the specific changes taking place in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, including the introduction of a public private partnership model in public schools, and a brief discussion of the role of school principals in the management of change. This is followed by a description of the study and the methodological design underpinning it. The findings of the study are presented and discussed and the article concludes with some recommendations for further research.

Inclusive discourses in early childhood education?

H. Warming

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 15, 2011, p. 233-247

This article explores the discursive formation of inclusion in early childhood education and after-school (recreation) centres in a Danish municipality. While inclusion has been a central educational issue in research and practice for well over quarter of a century, with continuing emphasis worldwide on 'initiatives by governments', this interest has centred on the school environment and institutions of higher education. Thus, despite increasing recognition of the significance of preschool and after-school-care, inclusion in these environments remains peripheral to the main debate.

New look leaders or a new look at leadership?

S. Eacott

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 25, 2011, p. 134-143

This paper seeks to take up the challenge of complex social, political and cultural influences, uncertain economic conditions, ever advancing technologies and increasingly diverse student populations. The challenge for educational leadership scholars and practitioners is to figure out what their work as leaders should be in new times. The paper aims to discuss the issues. Drawing loosely on the theoretical work of Pierre Bourdieu, and a continued research agenda, this paper outlines a framework for educational leadership that can be measured, but is not prescriptive. The central argument of this paper is that viewing leadership as a complex social activity that is not directly observable has the prospect of moving scholarship and understanding beyond the superficial measurement of what is directly observed to a thick description of educational leadership.

Re-asserting the place of context in explaining student (under-)achievement

C. Mills and T. Gale

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 32, 2011, p. 239-256

One popular view of student achievement is that the quality of teaching they receive plays an important part in whether or not they do well at school. In this article we draw attention to 'context' as a complementary explanation, particularly regarding achievement differences between students from different socio-economic backgrounds. In making these observations, we utilise data from one Australian secondary school located in an economically depressed rural community. Drawing on the insights of Bourdieu, our focus is on the broader social and economic influences that can adversely position students and schools, as well as work to inform the institutional stance that schools take in relation to their students.

Strategies and policies for Hong Kong's higher education in Asian markets: lessons from the United Kingdom, Australia, and Singapore

A.C.K. Cheung and others

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 25, 2011, p. 144-163

The main purpose of the present paper is twofold: to examine and compare the current strategies and policies that are employed by the UK, Australia and Singapore and to recommend appropriate strategies and policies to higher education institutions and the Hong Kong government for expansion of their efforts to recruit the growing number of students from other countries who are planning to study overseas. The data for this project were obtained primarily from documents and in-depth interviews. It is clear from the findings of this present study that a set of favourable policies and strategies at the national level was behind the success of these competitors. Such policies are not confined to education but are extended to population and employment. The paper suggests that if Hong Kong is to attain success in becoming an international exporter of education services, it may need to adopt favourable policies at institute and system level, and in so doing it can definitely benefit from carefully studying the strategies and policies employed by these three competitors.

Towards innovation: a paradigm shift in the school leadership preparation programme in Singapore

P. Tee Ng and D.F. Seong Ng

International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital, vol. 8, 2011, p. 167-178

Among the many initiatives in the Singapore education system, schools are now tasked to be innovative in initiating school-based reform and to develop the spirit of innovation and enterprise in their students. To do so, school leaders will be the key. The Leaders in Education Programme (LEP) is a six-month full-time programme for specially selected vice-principals and ministry officers in Singapore to prepare them for school leadership. This paper describes how the programme attempts to develop innovative school leaders and identifies its key underlying principles. In particular, it examines one component, the innovation project, in detail so as to illustrate these principles and show how they operate in reality.

Voices of special education teachers in an inclusive high school: redefining responsibilities

L. T. Eisenman and others

Remedial and Special Education, vol. 32, 2011, p. 91-104

Because of recent changes in US general and special education policies, special educators who previously worked with secondary students in self-contained academic classes or resource rooms, or co-taught classes find themselves assigned to new roles that demand different collaborative skills. Based on 2 years of interviews, field notes, and observations in an inclusive high school, this study focuses on the perspectives of two special educators who redefined their daily practices in partnership with a university professional development specialist as they implemented an unusual collaborative-consultation model. Their responsibilities and relationships with teachers, students, and administrators are examined in light of the literature on collaborative models for inclusive education of high school students.

Vygotsky and special needs education: rethinking support for children and schools

H. Daniels and M. Hedegaard (editors)

London: Continuum, 2011

After Piaget, Vygotsky is perhaps the most important educational theorist of the twentieth century. Support for schools and pupils with additional needs has been theorised in a number of ways over the last 100 years and much interest has been shown in the development and relevance of Vygotsky's ideas. It is ironic, therefore, that so little has been written about the practical application of such a perspective in the field. This book brings together researchers working in the UK and Denmark to reflect on the benefits to be had from taking such a stance on support for children and schools. The contributors are connected with work that has been done at research centres at the universities of Copenhagen and Bath, both of which enjoy strong reputations for their contributions to cultural historical theory. The contributors pursue issues raised by a post-Vygotskian approach and make important contributions to the development of the fields of policy and practice.

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