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Volume 7, No. 5 Articles
Title Authors Pages
To be fat or thin? Social representations of the body among adolescent female students in Brazil
Stenzel, L.M., Saha, L.J. and Guareschi, P. 611-631
The aims of this paper are (a) to investigate how adolescents perceive and represent the body form with respect to being fat or thin, and (b) to describe the process of how they constructed the social representations for these latter two body conditions. The data were collected by means of individual and focus group interviews with adolescent female students in Brazil who were from 11 to 21 years of age. When the adolescents were questioned about their bodies, they talked about 'being fat' or 'being thin', even though they were not asked about weight issues. Following their own logic, they did not portray 'feeling fat' and 'feeling thin' as related to their 'real' body condition or weight. Furthermore, in the adolescents' discourse, the concept of 'normal weight' was virtually non-existent and was characterised as 'nothing' or 'more or less'. By the end of the interviews, their depictions of these conditions of body weight included links from the body to their social relationships in the form of perceived group exclusion or inclusion. In our discussion we describe the adolescents' collective discourses on being fat or thin as integrated social representations, which incorporate both the physical and interpersonal dimensions of their experiences. We conclude by examining the practical implications of our findings for female adolescent behaviour, especially with respect to obsessive dieting and possible eating disorders. Finally we explore the possibility of educational programs to counter the media and other influences which give rise to the negative aspects of social representations of the body by adolescents. Social representations, female, adolescents, body image, body weight, health education, Brazil
Using regression analysis to establish the relationship between home environment and reading achievement: A case of Zimbabwe
Kanyongo, G.Y., Certo, J. and Launcelot, B.I. 632-641
In this study, we report results of a study examining the relationship between home environment factors and reading achievement in Zimbabwe. The study utilised data collected by the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ). The data were submitted to linear regression analysis through structural equation modelling using AMOS 4.0. In our results, we showed that a proxy for SES was the strongest predictor of reading achievement. Zimbabwe, reading achievement, home environment, linear regression, structural equation modelling
What makes a difference between two schools? Teacher job satisfaction and educational outcomes
Lee, M. 642-650
This article examines the interplay between school factors and teacher job satisfaction that influences educational outcomes by comparing two Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) schools in Cambodia. This small-scale qualitative case study was conducted over a period of eight weeks in 2005 in two NGO schools in a suburb of Phnom Penh. The findings show that teacher job satisfaction is crucially influenced by remunerative incentives such as salary level and welfare conditions. However, job satisfaction is also intertwined with non-remunerative incentives such as school management, principal leadership, professional development, and a meaningful sense of life through teaching. That is, both remunerative and non-remunerative incentives are associated with teacher job satisfaction. However, according to different school conditions, either remunerative or non-remunerative incentive is more prioritised by teachers. Finally, the different job satisfaction between the two faculties seems to result in the educational gap such as student enrolment rates and achievement between the schools. Teacher job satisfaction, school factors, educational outcomes, Cambodia, NGO schools
Why do they not talk? Towards an understanding of students' cross-cultural encounters from an individualism/collectivism perspective
Tan, J.K.L. and Goh, J.W.P. 651-667
Many universities today are promoting cultural diversity to prepare students to be competent in intercultural communication and function effectively in an increasingly global world. The purpose of this study is to explore how and why students from different cultural backgrounds are motivated to communicate and interact with each other. It is based on the premise that a given culture prescribes how and why individuals are motivated to interact with others from different cultural backgrounds. In order to provide a holistic view that would account for the multi-faceted and subtle nuances of human behaviour in communication, a naturalistic inquiry approach was adopted to explore the communication patterns of groups of students from predominantly individualistic and collectivistic cultures. The findings indicate layers of differences in the way students relate across cultures in class as well as social environments. The implications for inter-cultural communication for educators are discussed using the individualism-collectivism dimension. Cross-cultural encounters, communication competence, individualism and collectivism, cultural values, ethnography
Comparing university academic performances of HSC students at the three art-based faculties
Ismail, N.A. and Othman, A. 668-675
University Malaya enrols students from all states in Malaysia as well as a small number of students from overseas. The objective of this paper is to investigate the effect of past performance on students at three faculties, namely, Faculty of Economics and Administration(FEA), Faculty of Business and Accounting(FBA) and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences(FASS). Students' prior achievements include their entry scores or points in English language proficiency and mathematics at the Malaysian Certificate of Education (MCE) level. Other factors taken into consideration are gender of students and their ethnic origins. Research results show that entry points are an important factor in influencing students' achievement in all three faculties. Apart from this, female students are found to have better results than their male counterparts in FBA and FASS. It was also found that mathematics performance at the MCE level is one of the influential factors for academic achievement in FBA. Academic performance, prior achievement, entry points, language proficiency, mathematics performance
Private education as a policy tool in Turkey
Cinoglu, M. 676-687
This paper discusses privatisation as policy tool to solve educational problems in Turkey. Turkey, as a developing country, is faced with many problems in education. Large class size, low enrolment rate, girl's education, high illiteracy rate, religious education, textbooks, curriculum and multicultural education are some of the important problems. On the other hand, cultural diversity, economical problems and lack of resources, migration, central management, the rapid growth in school-age population and regional differences make the solution difficult. In principle, privatisation could help in the solution of the problems in Turkey. Private schools can increase the quality of education. Private schools can share responsibility with the government by investing money in education. In addition, private schools can also meet the needs for diversity in society promoting specific religious or philosophical views by using their own teaching methods. The paper describes the availability of private schooling in Ankara as a baseline for thinking about the development of private schooling in Turkey. Turkey, Ankara, privatisation, policy analysis, private schools
Does increasing communication through visual learning environments enhance student perceptions of lecturers?
Frumkin, L. 688-698
The current study was conducted in an effort to examine whether increased levels of communication using visual learning environments (VLEs) alters student perceptions of lecturers. Eighty-six MSc students in Computing Science participated by using She and Fisher's (2002) Teacher Communication Behavior Questionnaire (TCBQ). In addition to using the questionnaire, data from the electronic class site were used to make assessments about the quality and quantity of communication. Two types of classrooms were evaluated: a) a control condition in which the lecturer did not alter any communication aspect of the module, and b) the experimental condition in which the lecturer posted weekly discussion topics. Significant differences were found by cultural background and gender of the students. The bulletin board postings in the experimental condition were more heavily content-based than the control condition ones. The consistency in discussion topic of the experimental condition postings, both bulletin board and email, were more fluid than in the control condition. E-learning, visual learning environment, communication, culture, student perceptions, gender
Individual and flexible: Working conditions in the practice of Swedish distance-based teacher education
Lindberg, J.O. and Olofsson, A.D. 699-708
This article reports on the working conditions within Swedish ICT-supported distance-based teacher education. Data collected from teacher trainees are analysed and discussed in relation to Swedish governmental policies concerning teacher education and distance education and theories emphasising the importance of social aspects of education. The findings indicate working conditions that are mainly controlled by the teacher education program, and that teacher trainees to a high degree are fostered into individualism. Exceptions are in group work, which on the other hand seems to be given only minor attention in teacher education. This raises questions related to the intentions of teacher education. First, there are questions concerning issues of flexibility and choice, more precisely about what aspects are flexible or not. Second, there are questions concerning possibilities of teacher education providing an education that enables teacher trainees to develop the competencies needed to be able to teach. Teacher education, working conditions, flexible learning, online learning community, Sweden
State educational policy and curriculum: The case of Palestinian Arabs in Israel
Abu-Saad, I. 709-720
The state educational system in Israel reflects the declared character of the state as a 'Jewish state', and, consequently, the deep inter-group divisions in society, including a large Palestinian Arab minority. This study demonstrates how Israeli educational policy and curriculum are designed to support the Jewish nation-building project. As such, they silence the Palestinian Arab narrative while reshaping regional history for both Jewish and Arab students to fit the Zionist narrative. Furthermore, Israeli educational policy has played an essential role in consigning Palestinian Arabs to the social, economic and political margins of Israeli society. Educational policy, curriculum, Palestinian Arabs, Israel, minorities
Insisting on equity: A redistribution approach to education
Nordstrum, L.E. 721-730
Emphasis on educational efficiency, or accountability, with all its claims towards institutional improvement, has left the question of educational equity unanswered. Contemporary policy, particularly in Western nations, focuses largely on raising aggregate test scores while the greater society sees a steady increase in economic inequality. It is the purpose of this article to trace the current increase in inequality through income and wealth distributions, and argue that educational equity should also be a priority for all nations. Part one of this article gives both quantitative and qualitative examples of growing economic inequalities, and posits reasons why this is detrimental to human society. Part two provides evidence that an equitable redistribution approach to education may serve as part of an answer to these problems. Part three addresses counterarguments to these assertions, and describes how education alone cannot solve the question of equity. Educational equity, funding, wealth and income inequality, economics, redistribution
Retention and academic achievement research revisited from a United States perspective
Lorence, J. 731-777
Educational researchers in the United States contend that making low-performing students repeat a grade is an ineffective educational practice. This view derives largely from the summary of grade retention research reported by Holmes (1989). A meta-analysis of more recent studies (Jimerson, 2001) also concludes that the practice of grade retention should be abandoned. However, a thorough examination of the published articles within each of these two meta-analyses reveals that many of the individual studies evidence inadequate research designs and faulty conclusions. The overwhelming majority of conclusions from grade retention studies are unwarranted due to the poor quality of research. Overlooked and more recent retention and grade repartition studies suggest that making students repeat a grade may help increase academic achievement. This review contends that research studies do not support the contention that grade retention is always inappropriate. Suggestions for improving future retention studies are offered. Grade retention, academic achievement, meta-analysis, faulty conclusions, inadequate research designs, grade repeating
Successful pedagogies for an Australian multicultural classroom
Winch-Dummett, C. 778-789
A study undertaken in two primary schools and a pre-school in a multicultural urban area of NSW identified five pedagogical topics that incorporated successful teaching practices and processes that accord with the Delors Report recommendations. The report recommended that education for the future should be organised around the four pillars of learning, namely, learning to be, learning to do, learning to know and learning to live together. The five identified topics were: lesson organisation, lesson outcomes, teacher communication, teaching strategies, and cultural inclusion. In order to address the needs of students, the five topics have been grouped into two student-focused themes: (a) the learning environment and (b) teacher-student communication. These themes are discussed from a theoretical perspective and illustrated with examples derived from research. Cultural inclusion, pedagogies, Delors Report, learning environment, teacher-student communication, lesson organisation, multicultural classroom

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