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VOLUME 16 NUMBER 10 October 2017

Table of Contents
Education of Students with Disabilities in the USA: Is Inclusion the Answer? .............................................................. 1
Myung-sook Koh and Sunwoo Shin

A Cloze-styled Textual Enhancement Targeting Prepositions ...................................................................................... 18


Michael Heinz

Understanding and Responding to the Unique Needs and Challenges Facing Adjunct Faculty: A Longitudinal
Study....................................................................................................................................................................................... 27
Kimberly Buch, Heather McCullough and Laura Tamberelli

Being together in the locker room is great, but showering together just forget it! The Janus Face of the
Wardrobe Practice in Physical Education .......................................................................................................................... 41
Bjrn Tore Johansen, PhD, Martine Mhle, MSc, yvind Oland, MSc, and Tommy Haugen, PhD

How Pre-Service Teachers Learn: An Investigation of Motivation and Self-Regulation ............................................ 58


Ali A. Alenazi, PhD

What Makes up an Effective Emotional Intelligence Training Design for Teachers? .................................................. 72
Niva Dolev and Shosh Leshem

Advanced Academic Writing Course for International Students Belonging to One Belt, One Road .................... 90
Chang Chen*, Habiba Khalid, and Farrukh Raza Amin

A Correspondence Analysis of Nine Japanese Historical English-as-a-Foreign-Language Textbooks ................... 100


Ryohei Honda, Kiyomi Watanabe and Toshiaki Ozasa

And Still They Persisted: A Discussion of Indigenous Students Perspectives on a Year in Pre-Nursing Transitions
............................................................................................................................................................................................... 114
Kathy Snow

The use of Social Networks by the Students of a Mexican Public University............................................................. 132
Juan Ignacio Barajas Villarruel, Mara Gregoria Bentez Lima, Ricardo Noyola Rivera and Juan Manuel Buenrostro Morn
1

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 16, No. 10, pp. 1-17, October 2017
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.16.10.1

Education of Students with Disabilities in the


USA: Is Inclusion the Answer?

Myung-sook Koh
Eastern Michigan University
Michigan, USA

Sunwoo Shin
Oakland University
Michigan, USA

Abstract. American society has continued to question what the most


appropriate way is to educate students with disabilities. Whether
teaching students with and without disabilities in the same classroom is
a best practice has become the most controversial topic in education. The
present study attempted to examine the present state of inclusive
education through a comprehensive review of the literature from 30
years of practice and current teacher preparation programs. Results
showed that although quantitative physical inclusion in the United
States has doubled, new general education teachers were not prepared
enough to teach students with disabilities confidently and have held the
similar perceptions, concerns, and perceived barriers regarding the
success of inclusion to the ones since the beginning of the inclusion
movement. Accountability for the academic and social success in the
inclusive classroom did not result in a more effective system than the
dual educational systems of general education and special education.

Keywords: Inclusion; inclusive education; teacher preparation;


perceptions of inclusion; elementary teachers

Introduction
While holding common concerns in the rapid inclusion movement of students
with disabilities, inclusion practice has gained popularity while gathering
feasibility over the last 30 years. Various supporting models, inclusion designs,
and educational strategies involving the curriculum, staffing, instruction,
accommodation, and modification have been designed and implemented to
make classrooms more inclusive as well as more appropriate learning
environments for students with and without disabilities (Cronis & Ellis, 2001;
Shogren, Gross, & Forber-Pratt, 2015; Walther-Thomas, Bryant, & Land, 1996).
For example, special education positions have changed to include a teacher

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2

consultant position, with enriched and advanced educational and assistive


technology being developed and used for instruction, functional skills, and
communications. Even special education related documents and forms have
become available in electronic forms, in order to reduce time involved in writing
an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
The key question is, then, what is the results of these changes? How has
inclusive education in the United States progressed toward providing the best
education to both students with and without disabilities? Are the changes and
efforts to improve inclusive education over the past three decades effective? Is
the education of students with disabilities in a general education setting working
for all involved? Is the inclusion movement now supported by empirical
evidence?
Obtaining a Right for Public Education
Since 1975, American society has continued to question what the most
appropriate way is to educate students with disabilities. Consequently, the
educational system has undertaken multiple reforms over the last 30 to 40 years
(Ross-Hill, 2009). The civil rights movement and the Education for All
Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (PL 94-142) affected every school in the
country and have resulted in public schools opening their doors for students
with disabilities. Under this law, a federal list of educational disabilities was
identified and used to qualify the students to receive special education services.
In addition, the least restrictive environment (LRE) and appropriate
education pushed public schools to provide a continuum of special education
services to students with disabilities. Consequently, professionals and parents
could choose the most appropriate educational settings for their students best
educational opportunities.
These revolutions required changing the roles of general and special educators,
school administrators, parents, and others involved in the educational process.
Training of special education teachers (versus general education teachers) began
as a requirement for those teachers who would become case managers of
educational programs of identified students with disabilities (Heward, 2012;
Shogren, Gross, & Forber-Pratt, 2015).
Questioning about the Receiving Specialized Education
The goals identified in PL 94-142, however, came up against another educational
perspective in 1982, as a result of the publication of A Nation At Risk (U.S.
Department of Education, 1982), which resulted in a widespread call for a
systematic reform of schools. The debates on Regular Education Initiative (REI),
the full inclusion movement, had its beginnings during this restructuring
period and resulted in an increasing number of students with disabilities
moving back into general education classrooms, ultimately calling for general
education teachers to be more responsible for the education of students with
disabilities (Ainscow, 1997; Cagran & Schmidt, 2011; Patton & Edgar, 2002).

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3

Two Perspectives on Appropriate Education


Interpretations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
mandatory regulations and the 1980ss REI reform movement sparked ceaseless
debates on what the best educational services for students with disabilities are,
in order to guarantee their rights and privileges for an education (Heward,
2012). These debates included two perspectives for LRE. Full inclusion
proponents believed that educating students with disabilities in special
education settings or apart from their typically achieving peers limited their
rights to public education and was therefore a type of segregation (Eitle, 2002).
Full inclusion opponents believed that special education settings and supports,
like the continuum of special education services, could provide a free
appropriate public education for students with disabilities who need unique
supports and educational delivery (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994). The inclusion
proponents hold that LRE is a mandatory regulation requiring that students
with disabilities not be segregated from general society and general education
classrooms, in the interest of human rights. The opponents of the full inclusion
movement question how best to address the human rights of the students with
disabilities including their rights to a free and appropriate public education.
Placing students with disabilities in a general education setting with the same
teacher, curriculum, and standard regardless of the nature and severity of their
disability and difficulty is not sufficient support for their educational needs.
Teaching all students in heterogeneous classroom does not address the rationale
of offering a continuum of special education services: students with disabilities
were referred for special education due to their inability to learn in general
education classrooms (Farrell, 2000; Ferri & Connor, 2005; Ruijs & Peetsma,
2009).
How have these two perspectives (full inclusion vs. continuum of services) used
empirical evidence of the effects on students to defend their interpretations?
Inclusion proponents have insisted that students with disabilities would learn
better academically and socially in general education classroom. Socially,
students with and without disabilities would experience more balanced
friendships in the inclusive settings, and academically, students with disabilities
would acquire more academic knowledge through the effective general
education teacher instruction because general education teachers were the ones
certified to teach academics (Grider, 1995; Hartzell, Liaupsin, Gann, & Clem,
2015; Hunt, Farron-Davis, Beckstead, Curtis, & Goetz, 1994; Mather & Robers,
1994). In other words, inclusion proponents believed that general education
settings were the best educational setting to provide appropriate education to
students both with and without disabilities. The opponents, however, provided
evidence that almost 90% of the students with disabilities were identified as
needing special education in schools after earning learning deficiencies in the
general education classrooms. Returning these students to a general education
setting means they were going back to failed educational settings without
hands-on system or structure (Farrell, 2000; Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994; Grider, 1995;
Ruijs & Peetsma, 2009). After 30 years, the debate continues, unresolved still
today in the field of education in the United States.

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4

Quantitative Practice of Inclusion Since 1986


Without any resolution of these controversial debates regarding the best service
delivery model for educating students with disabilities, the national prevalence
statistics from the NCES showed that over the course of a 22-year period (1988-
2014), the practice of inclusion for students with disabilities, age 6-21, who
received education in general education settings for at least 80% or more of
school day (not 100% full day, but 20% may be for related services) in the U.S.
has doubled (from 31.7% to 62.2%). Figure 1 shows the percentages and a line
graph denoting the progress of the number of students being included (National
Center for Education Statistics, 2017).

65.0 Prevalence Trends of Physical Inclusion 60.5 61.2 62.2


60.0 58.5
54.8 59.4 61.1 61.8
55.0 51.5 56.8
46.8 48.2 54.2
50.0 45.7 45.9 49.9
48.2
45.0 44.8 46.1 46.0 46.5
40.0
35.0 33.1
30.0
31.7
25.0

Figure 1. The Percentage of students aged 6 through 21 served under IDEA


educated in the general education classrooms more than 80% of school time.
Additional statistics from the NCES website showed this information on
prevalence trends disaggregated by primary educational disabilities. As seen in
Figure 2, there was an increase in the education of students with disabilities in
inclusive education across each disability category. For example, students with
speech/language impairment (SLI) were educated in inclusive settings more
than any other disability area, although over time, the total percentage
decreased by 1%. All disabilities increased their instructional time in general
education settings, especially students with autism (113% increase) and deaf-
blindness (98% increase), followed by emotional disability (73% increase), TBI
(63%), OHI (53%), and specific learning disability (SLD, 51%). On average,
national statistics showed that only one disability (SLI) area ranked at the 50%
level of their education being in inclusive settings for 80-100% of the school day
in 1988, increasing to six (almost seven) of 12 disability areas ranked at that level
by 2011. Surprisingly, students with learning disabilities, the disability with the
highest incidence and strongly related to academic learning deficits, were not
educated in inclusive settings as much as those students with speech/language
impairments. There was no data available specifically for students with mild
intellectual disability separate from those with moderate/severe/profound
intellectual disabilities, although students with mild intellectual disabilities
comprise more than 85% of the entire intellectual disability category, and
academic areas are typically their main school concerns resulting in IEP goals
and objectives.

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5

Increase Rate of Inclusion by Disability Categories


100

80
Percentages

60

40

20

0
Multiple Intellect Deaf- Emotion Orthope Speech
Autism TBI HI OHI VI SLD
D ual D Blind al D dic I Lan.
Year 1997 10 12.6 13.6 18.3 24.9 29.8 29.8 38.8 41.4 48.1 43.8 87.8
Year 2014 13 16.4 22.6 39.9 46.6 49.9 54.3 60 65.1 65.8 68.8 87

Figure 2. Percentage of students ages 6 through 21 served under idea, part b, by


educational environment, year and disability category: Fall 1997 and fall 2014.
Common Concerns
As a result of the varying perspectives for best practice in teaching students with
disabilities, there have been vague roles for general education and special
education teachers, and insufficient planning and preparation to support the
needs of students with disabilities involved in the inclusion movement (Dorn &
Fuchs, 1996; Kauffman & Smucker, 1995; Will, 1986). With more inclusion of
students with disabilities, their education in general education settings
predominantly fell to general education teachers. In the mid 1980s when the REI
began in the United States, both proponents and opponents of inclusion
movements shared a common concern about the general educational system not
being prepared to meet the diverse educational needs of students with
disabilities and to remediate their learning deficiencies, especially general
education teachers. The major concern was whether or not general education
teachers were prepared for successful inclusive education, because successful
inclusion necessitates highly qualified teachers who were ready to meet the
needs of exceptional learners (Allday, Neilsen-Gatti, & Hudson, 2013; Harvey,
Yssel, Bauserman, & Merbler, 2010; Smith, Polloway, Patton, & Dowdy, 2012;
Thompkins & Deloney, 1995).
The purpose of this study is, therefore, to investigate how much inclusive
education has progressed toward the goal of providing the best education to
students with disabilities. Specifically, is inclusive education working overall for
the education of students with disabilities? This question will be addressed by
investigating these three important questions: 1) Are general education teachers
well trained to handle the additional responsibilities of teaching in classrooms
with increasing numbers of students with disabilities? 2) Are the perceptions of
general education teachers positive and supportive towards their students with
diverse needs, and have their concerns lessened or subsided? 3) Are there
measureable academic and social outcomes that demonstrate the success of
students being educated in inclusive classrooms?

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6

Method
Search Procedure of Literatures and Teacher Preparation Programs
The focus of the extensive literature review conducted for this study included
identifying research and statistics in three key areas. The results were aimed to
draw conclusions as to the success of the inclusive education over the past 30
years.
For question one, an online review of current teacher preparation programs in
all 50 of the United States was conducted. The data was collected and analyzed
in the following sequence. First, using the National Council for Accreditation of
Teacher Education (NCATE) website, the list of NCATE accredited
university/college names were selected and sorted by states. Second, these
university/college names, each were then searched to identify colleges of
education, undergraduate programs (graduate programs were looked at when
they were the only ones), majors, teacher education, and elementary education.
Third, from the teacher education and elementary education programs, program
requirements, required courses, plans of study, student handbooks, and
university catalogs; course requirements/descriptions were reviewed including
prefix and course numbers, the title of courses, credit hours, and field experience
requirements. Some programs did not have clear course prefixes, describing
whether or not it was a special education course, so an extended search for
confirmation was needed. Fourth, information from evaluated programs was
sorted using qualitative categories of perceived level of preparation, labeled as:
None, basic, and more complete (more than two courses including method
courses). The authors reviewed only elementary programs for initial
certifications because they were the main teacher preparation programs and
were more comprehensive than secondary level programs that needed to be
searched by specific subject areas and in addition, may have different special
education course requirements by subject area. Although the time involved in
this comprehensive website review was intensive (10 to 50 minutes per
university/college to find listed information), this information was essential for
a complete understanding of teacher preparation programs in the United States
and specifically of special education training within general education teaching.
For questions two and three, comprehensive literature reviews of peer-reviewed
journals were conducted using ERIC as the research tool with no-restricted
dates. For question two (teacher perceptions and concerns regarding inclusive
teaching), the database was searched using the key words of inclusion and
perception, and for question three (measurable success of academic and/or social
inclusion), the search was conducted using the keywords inclusion as a
document title and academic or social within the articles. The articles were
then filtered while focusing on in-service (not pre-service) teachers, grades PreK-
12th, and research sited in the United States only.
The results for question two were then sorted in a qualitative manner, based
upon the independent interpretation of each author, using the following labels:
positive, negative, or mixed perceptions about inclusion. The articles were
sorted as positive when the perspective of teachers within the article was
supportive of the inclusion effort, negative when they were not. The category of

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7

mixed was used when the teachers supported the concept of inclusion but also
identified a list of concerns, barriers, or conditions. It was sometimes difficult to
determine whether the study results should be classified as having either
positive or negative results, because both perspectives were offered. An example
of these cases, teachers might have been responding positive for mild disabilities
but negative for severe disabilities.
For question three, the number of studies and results (gains, no
difference/decreased, or mixed) were sorted by decade (three groups: 1986-1995,
1996-2005, and 2006 to current) to look for changes over time and by
quantitative/measurable evidence. Only literature published after 1986 was
selected because prior to this, inclusive education was not actively practiced and
not officially on-debates for the efficacy of inclusive education yet. Also, studies
on this topic were not active before then. In addition, students of disability rates
consisting of the total enrollment were reviewed to see the prevalent trends of
students with disabilities as well as high incidence disabilities during the
inclusion movement periods.
Results
The present study examined the 30-year practice of inclusive education.
Approximately 225 elementary teacher preparation programs in 50 states were
reviewed and 158 peer-reviewed articles were identified and examined in order
to answer the three research questions.
Question 1: Teacher Preparation State
General education teacher training and preparation for teaching in an inclusive
classroom is undoubtedly a critical factor for successful inclusive education
(McCray & McHatton, 2011). There was no pre-data available to compare how
general education teacher preparation programs have trained teacher candidates
for inclusive education each decade. The current review of 225 elementary
teacher preparation programs encompassing all 50 states, found that
approximately 15% (34 programs) of the universities did not include any special
education course in their programs, approximately 62% (140 programs) of the
universities required one introduction to special education course and 3% (7) of
the programs offered only elementary and special education combined majors
without a separate elementary program. The table 1 shows the summary of the
national teacher preparation status.
Table 1
Comparison of Elementary Teacher Preparation Programs with Special Education
Courses (N=225)
SPED Courses None Intro. to SPED Two or more courses
15% 62% 19.5%
Course Credits 2 credits 3 credits 4 credits
7% 82% 4%
Field Experiences None Required Exact hours or credits
62% 30% 18%

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8

Classroom/behavior management courses were not counted as a special


education course, because most universities offered it as a non-special education
course.
The number of credit hours for the special education courses and the field
experience requirements were checked as an indicator of how rigorous the
special education courses were. Among 218 special education courses offered by
191 programs (34 had no courses), the majority of programs offered three-credit
special education courses. Approximately 21% (48 programs) of the programs
offered unique major/minor programs, such as elementary and special
education double endorsements, special education concentration, or minor
programs. Among those 48 elementary and special education dual programs, 41
programs offered two options: only elementary major or the elementary and
special education combined major. In these 41 two-option programs, elementary
only programs did not require any special education courses. Some programs
offered special education as a supplemental component in their elementary
major such as a no-licensing-based add-on to the elementary majors with 12 to
20 extra special education credit-hour requirements. In these programs, special
education was one of the options the candidates could choose amongst three or
four other areas such as English Language Learners (ELL), extracurricular
subjects, etc. Some programs made supplemental add-on programs as
mandatory for the elementary majors and some offered it as an option. The five-
to six-year combined undergraduate and master program majoring elementary
and special education did not have separate elementary or special education
licensing programs, nor the undergraduate or graduate only degree programs.
Among 225 programs, approximately 30% (68 programs) required some form of
field experiences in special education settings and 62% (143 programs) did not
mention it in the course descriptions. Among 68 programs requiring field
experiences, only 61% (41 programs) clearly required exact field hours (40
minutes to 40 hours) or one credit lab/course hour, but 39% stated that field
experience may be required. Among the required field hours, 10, 15, and 20
hours were the most frequently required hours in the course descriptions.
Question 2: Perception Trends of Teachers Regarding Inclusion
Results of 86-literature review from 1970s to current were sorted by decades and
then by positive, negative, and mixed feelings. Mild disabilities and learning
disabilities were addressed most often in the studies as the target population. A
majority of these perception studies focused on the participants feelings on the
general concept or principle of inclusion. While reviewing the literatures, the
following points were identified by the authors regarding how professionals
perceive the meaning of inclusion. First, some studies differentiated between the
teachers perceptions on the general concept of inclusion and their willingness to
teach in an inclusive classroom; the participants responses showed ambivalence
where they supported the concept of inclusion but were not willing to teach in
such settings because of the listed concerns and barriers. Second, some studies
demonstrated discrepancies between the teachers support and self-confidence
in terms of their knowledge on how to teach diverse learners and their actual
teaching in inclusive classrooms. Third, the teachers length of teaching
experiences or previous inclusive teaching experiences did not impact their

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9

positive perception, but their special education backgrounds positively impacted


their willingness to teach in inclusive classrooms. More experienced teachers
supported inclusion less, but those who came from stronger special education
backgrounds were more supportive of inclusion.
Overall, 14% of the studies concluded their participants supported inclusion,
62% were against, and 24% had mixed feelings about it. Figure 3 demonstrates
the trends of teachers perceptions regarding inclusion in each decade.
Percentages of Teacher Perceptions Regarding Inclusion
Positive Negative Mixed

88
76
69
60
29
18
11 11 24
16
0 6
1970's 1980's 1990's 2000-current

Figure 3. The percent of teachers perceptions on inclusion between 1970 and 2014.
In the 1970s, a majority (88%) of teachers voiced negative feelings about the
inclusion, but it has gradually changed to mixed feelings (60%) in recent years
while the negative feelings have dropped to 24%. Overall, after the 1990s, it
would appear that teacher perceptions of inclusion began to improve, which
continued into the recent years and the decreasing negative feelings may have
influenced the increase in teachers with more mixed feelings. Interestingly,
teacher perceptions that are positive about teaching in inclusive settings have
remained low, at less than 20% over the entire four-decade period.
Teacher-perceived barriers and concerns to effective inclusion. Although the
results of this literature review showed less negative and more mixed feelings
regarding inclusion in recent years, it also showed that the factors contributing
to the teachers ability to teach students with and without disabilities in
inclusive settings have not changed over the last 30 years. Even the most recent
studies (Cameron & Cook, 2007; Kilanowski-press, Foote, & Rinaldo, 2010;
Logan & Wimer, 2013; Muccio, Kidd, White, & Burns, 2014) disclosed that
several impeding factors played a part in participants mixed feelings about
inclusion. In other words, the same barriers and concerns to effective inclusive
education were listed throughout the 40-year inclusion practices.
Among 86 studies, 44 studies clearly included barriers and concerns, either as
the main focus of the study or as add-on results. The most frequently mentioned
barriers and concerns throughout time periods were inadequate and insufficient
training to help teach in inclusive classrooms and lack of resources available for
effective inclusive education from the early decades to current. Lack of planning
time and class size are other demands for teachers that affect their feelings about
inclusion. The adequate training needs were mostly focused on how to adapt
and modify curriculum, teaching materials, and programs, to collaborate with
special education teachers and multidisciplinary team members, to assess

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10

academic progress and interpret evaluation results, to manage behavior


problems, to write behavioral objectives and IEP, to lead IEP conferences, etc.
General education teachers were found to prefer co-teaching with special
education teachers in their classrooms than collaborating with teacher
consultants.
Question 3: Accountability of Inclusive Education: Academic and Social
Outcomes
From 1986 to 2014, 72 studies were reviewed and sorted by publication decades,
40 focused on academic outcomes and 32 on social outcomes. A majority of
studies on both study topics (approximately 88% of 40 on academic outcomes
and 81% of 32 on social outcomes) were published in the first two decades (1986-
2005). Although this might still allow for good pre- and post- comparisons, an
imbalance of the quantity of studies in recent years (2006 to 2014) did not lend
itself to such comparisons.
Academic outcomes of inclusive education. Among 40 peer-reviewed studies
on academic outcomes, a little less than 50% utilized standardized measures
involving pre- and post-testing before and after inclusion practices.
Approximately 28% used self-reported data, such as interviews, surveys, etc.,
and another 28% used existing records such as state-wide test results, report
cards, graduation rates, referral rates, etc. Some studies utilized more than two
measures.
Given the limitations in comparing the results of these studies comparing the
academic outcomes of inclusive education for students with disabilities, the
reported outcomes find that approximately 20% of the studies (8 studies)
showed evidence of academic gains, approximately 48% (19 studies) found no
difference or a decrease in academic scores, and approximately 32% (13 studies)
showed mixed results.
The comparisons made in these 40 studies varied. Most of the studies (68%)
investigated the academic outcomes of inclusive classrooms (no particular
inclusion models or strategies were specified), which may be able to be
compared with non-inclusive general education classrooms and/or special
education settings (resource rooms or self-contained classrooms).
Approximately 40% of the studies focused mainly on the academic achievement
of students with mild disabilities and learning disabilities in inclusive
classrooms, and the results with overall 20% gains were not encouraging.
Approximately 33% of the studies compared academic outcomes of students
with disabilities and typically achieving students. These studies showed varied
results, such as comparing the outcomes of students with learning disabilities
with low achieving general education students. The results of that study found
students with learning disabilities gained academic skills, but not the low-
achieving students. Another inclusion study compared the academic outcomes
of students with learning disabilities, low, middle, and high achievers. The
example results were that students with learning disabilities and high achievers
demonstrated progress, but not low or average achievers. The typical studies
were measuring reading, math, spelling, and writing achievements of students
with mild or learning disabilities and typically achieving students in low,

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11

middle, and high academic levels. Only 10% of the studies had typically
achieving students as subjects and measured whether including students with
moderate/severe disabilities negatively impacted typically achieving students
academic achievements or academic behaviors. The results of these studies
found that there was no negative impact on academic learning when students
with moderate/severe disabilities were included. Approximately 32% of the
studies on academic outcomes were focused on measuring the efficacies of
specific inclusion models, evaluating the inclusion process, or strategies, such as
Welsh Inclusion Models which measured the results of intensive year-long
professional development on how to implement inclusive education through
academic outcomes of students with disabilities and typically achieving
students.
Social outcomes of inclusive education. Among 32 studies on the social
outcomes of inclusive education, approximately 41% (13) of the studies found
inclusion was effective in promoting social skills and growth, while
approximately 25% (8) did not demonstrate growth, and approximately 34% (11)
showed mixed results for students social skills changing as a result of inclusion.
Approximately 31% of studies focused on the social skill improvement of
students with mild and learning disabilities while only 15% had
severe/moderate disabilities as subjects. The remaining studies did not indicate
specific disability areas but rather, general disabilities. Approximately 31%
included typically achieving students. Approximately 72% of the studies utilized
self-reported data based on surveys or interviews, only 9% of the studies used
standardized measures using pre- and post-testing, and about 34% used data
from direct observations on the growth and gains of peer interactions and
contacts, friendships, social acceptances using commercial-based checklist or
researcher developed rating scales and sociometric measures like peer
nominations. Only 19% of studies examined the efficacy of specific inclusion
models or evaluated how the inclusion process on social aspects was conducted,
which usually was through testimonial type of narrative.
In summary, the extensive research review designed to show whether the trend
towards more inclusive education over the last three decades has resulted in
improved learning and social skills finds inconclusive results. Figure 4 shows a
comparison of the academic and social outcomes of inclusive education from the
literature identified across the last 28 years.

Academic and Social Outcomes of Inclusive Education


55 Academic
48
% of Outcomes

45 Social
41
35 34
25 32
20 25
15
Gains No differences Mixed

Feature 4. Academic and social outcomes of inclusive education from 1986 to 2014

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12

Discussion
The number of students with disabilities being educated in general education
settings for at least 80% of the school day has almost doubled since 1988. Is this
effort to teach atypically achieving students with typically achieving students
working in the United States? The intent of the current study was to investigate
how much inclusive education has progressed toward the goal of providing the
best possible education to students with and without disabilities. To answer this
question, the study investigated three critical facts regarding the inclusive
education: The teacher preparation status for inclusive education, teacher
perceptions and any progress of their perceptions regarding inclusive teaching
during the 30-year inclusive practices, and academic and social outcomes of
students with disabilities.
When PL 94-142 was enacted in 1975 to address the education of students with
disabilities, there was a sudden need to train special education teachers,
requiring at least a Bachelors degree with specific training for teaching students
with particular disabilities. However, in the mid 1980s, when the REI was
initiated, which required general education teachers to take more responsibility
for educating students with disabilities, there was no national effort to mandate
special coursework or certification to prepare general education teacher
candidates for their future teaching students with educational deficiencies and
behavioral issues. In fact, this study found that by 2014, there has been no
mandatory changes of general education teacher preparation programs to
address the increasing need for teaching academically and behaviorally diverse
students, although the number of these students has been doubled in general
education classrooms. The alarming findings are that the majority (77%) of
elementary teacher preparation programs in the United States require only one
introduction course or none. Preparing to be an effective teacher for inclusive
education requires a sound knowledge base along with direct classroom
experiences working with students with exceptionalities. Yet, the results of this
study showed that only 18% of the 220 NCATE accredited elementary teacher
preparation programs in the United States clearly required any special education
field hours/credits. Although inclusive education has doubled since the 1980s,
the preparation of general education teachers to effectively teach in inclusive
classrooms has not matched the needs that they will face in their classrooms.
There is no evidence that the teacher preparation programs in the United States
prepare general education teachers to take the responsibility of teaching ALL
students regardless of the nature and severity of disability and educational need.
This study also addressed teacher perceptions of teaching in inclusive
classrooms, to better understand if their teacher training and/or field experience
has helped them to feel confident to manage the wider range of student abilities
and needs. Results of the extensive literature review showed that even after 40
years of special education and 30 years with a focus that has increasingly served
students with disabilities in general education settings, general education
teachers still hold negative and mixed feelings (84%) about teaching in inclusive
classrooms. Teachers in the early decades expressed that they did not have
sufficient training and resources available to provide effective inclusive
education, and most modern studies disclosed that teachers universally face the

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13

same barriers for successful inclusive education. Considering only 23% of


teacher preparation programs are requiring more than two special education
courses or are offering elementary and special education combined majors and
only 30% of these programs require some form of basic field experience, it is not
surprising to see 84% of the recent studies (2000s to the present) found that
teachers still had negative or mixed feelings about inclusive education. The
inadequate training for teaching students with disabilities has been the number
one concern of general education teachers. The alarming fact is that from the
1970s to 2014, teachers positive perception on inclusive education has stayed
below 20%. Yet the feeling of empowerment to teach academic and functional
curriculums to students with any academic abilities and learning deficiencies is
the most critical factor for successful and efficient inclusive education. Thus, if
general education teachers feel too much frustration regarding their effective
teaching in inclusive classrooms, positive outcome of inclusive education cannot
be expected (Kilanowski-Press, Foote, & Rinaldo, 2010; Muccio, Kidd, White, &
Burns, 2014).
Educational effectiveness is the result of efficient teaching by highly competent
and qualified teachers. With the limitations found in teacher preparation and
weak teacher competence and supports regarding inclusion, the results of 82%
of the studies on academics and 57% of studies on social outcomes with no or
mixed gains are not surprising.
Considering all these intertwined results, is inclusion the answer? Perhaps the
answer is not yet. Given the findings on the limitations in teacher training
programs to provide a strong background in knowledge and skills for working
with students with disabilities, then, could an improvement (suggested by the
self-reported data) in training programs nationwide for general education
teachers better prepare them to teach the array of abilities of students within
their classroom?
Limitation of the Study
As in all studies, there are a number of limitations the authors must disclose.
First, this study was not able to review all teacher preparation programs offered
in the United States, specifically those not accredited by NCATE. There may be
different requirements in the programs accredited by the different authorities.
Second, the results of teacher preparation status may not equally represent all 50
states because nine states had less than four universities/colleges in the NCATE
list. Four states had only one university/college, another four states had two
universities/colleges, and one state had only three programs in the NCATE list.
Third, the information found regarding field experience requirements in the
teacher preparation programs was dependent only on course descriptions. Thus,
there may be more programs, which require special education field experiences
but that information could not be found from online descriptions. Fourth, there
was no pre-data available in the early stages of the inclusion movement to
compare teacher preparation status. Fifth, the literature used in this study may
be limited because only the ERIC database was used. There could be a larger
number of studies found by using other search engines as well as by using
different key words. Sixth, by limiting this study to information about inclusion
in the United States, the study was not able to review as many studies as are

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14

available about the results of inclusive education especially for the academic and
social outcomes. Many studies have been published in European countries,
which the authors had to exclude from this study. Specifically, very rare studies
have been conducted using empirical, experimental, and scientific research
methods (standardized instruments), which can be critical for the efficacy testing
studies of any particular program or policy, but could not be included in this
study using professional literature about U.S. education. As Lindsay (2007)
claimed, using more empirical study methods is important to provide a clear
endorsement for the positive effects of the efficient inclusion. As a result, the
final limitation of this study is that there is a lack of evidence from appropriate
studies in the United States to conclude that there are positive social and
academic outcomes of inclusive education.
Conclusion
The United States has established the expectation that ALL students will learn
and have access to a free, appropriate public education. If the goal is to educate
ALL students to the highest-level possible, and in the least restrictive
environment, inclusion makes sense, but not as it exists presently, which
ironically, was already addressed by opponents of rapid inclusion movements
almost three decades ago when inclusion was initiated.
The research (Caspersen, Smeby, Olaf Aamodt, 2017; McHatton & McCray, 2007;
Schumm & Vaughn, 1995) shows that in fact, the success of the academic and
social skills for any student is dependent on their teachers strong feelings of
empowerment for teaching the curriculum for students of any ability and
disability. According to Van Reusen, Shoho, and Barker (2000, p.13), teachers
limited learning and training opportunities produce lowered achievement for
students, thereby further reinforcing teachers negative attitudes or beliefs about
inclusion. Pre-service cross training of general education and special education
teachers is vital if inclusion is to be the answer. Thus, it is time to blend the skills
of general education teachers who are adept at teaching content with the skills of
special educators, who have been trained with specific skillsets to address the
learning needs of students with disabilities. Many schools in the nation have
already identified this need and are trying to support general education teachers
with special education consultants. But even more importantly, it may well be
time to cross train general education teachers with special education knowledge
and experiences, just as special education teachers are required to have general
education teaching certificates.
In addition, once teachers are in the field, the practice of co-teaching could bring
more confidence and strategies into the successful teaching of all students in
inclusive classrooms (DaFonte & Barton-Arwood, 2017; Strongilos, Tragoulia,
Avramidis, Voulagka, & Papnikolaou, 2017). This practice is already occurring
in many schools in the United States, especially secondary schools, where
general and special educators work together in classrooms to address the
individual needs of the students. If co-teaching strategies were added to pre-
service education courses, the skills and feeling of synergy and empowerment
that could result from having two teachers plan and execute lessons might result
in even greater success for students, both typically-achieving and those with
disabilities. General and special education teachers need time to learn these new

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15

strategies and techniques and to keep abreast of new technology as they


continue efforts to link the general education teachers knowledge of curriculum
with the special education teachers knowledge of methods and materials for
diverse learners.
Without preparing teaching personnel and pushing full inclusion for all school
age students regardless of their ability, disability, personal uniqueness, and
individual learning needs, we may be trying to provide equal educational
opportunities, but will also provide unfair educational quality, resulting in
inappropriate education to both groups of students. National special education
data collection in the United States shows that teaching students in inclusive
classrooms continues to grow as the preferred service delivery model. More
research is needed to highlight the strengths and to build accountability into the
practice of using this delivery model. This study showed the need for more
research in the United States that scientifically measures the academic and social
outcomes of inclusive education for students both with and without disabilities
and to show what is and is not working in regards to the instruction to help all
students to learn. This same type of scientifically-measured research is needed to
compare the effectiveness of different inclusion models, the inclusive
classrooms instructional environment, and behavior management and teacher
effectiveness.

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18

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 16, No. 10, pp. 18-26, October 2017
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.16.10.2

A Cloze-styled Textual Enhancement Targeting


Prepositions

Michael Heinz
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
Seoul, South Korea

Abstract. Even at the highest level of bilingual competency for Korean


learners of English, prepositions remain a significant challenge. Based on
the classroom observation that incidental learning was not significantly
improving proficiency with prepositions amongst a group of graduate
school interpretation majors, a classroom exercise was executed as form of
intervention. The participants in this study demonstrated very high
proficiency in both English and Korean although all consider Korean to be
their mother tongue. The exercise involved giving ten texts with Cloze-
styled textual enhancements to 33 students to determine if their proficiency
with prepositions could be improved. Students were given a pretest and a
post-test before and after the assignments respectively. The results were
promising showing an average increase of 5.7% from pretest to post-test.
Additional examination of the data showed that students of lower
proficiency on average saw a 9.6% increase in scores. Qualitative feedback
from students confirmed positive educational experiences and strongly
supported the idea that incidental learning is insufficient. Further study is
recommended based on the findings in this study.

Keywords: Cloze; Text Enhancement; Incidental Learning; EFL; SLA

Introduction
For Korean-speaking learners of English, preposition errors tend to persist
even at the highest levels of bilingual competency. This can be a great source of
frustration for those learners and can lead to a sense of hopelessness. At the highest
levels most of these learners have already learned all of the rules related to
prepositions and may even be able to execute them accurately on standardized tests.
However in speaking tasks preposition errors often appear. Since most of the
standard aspects of language learning have been exhausted already students look to
find new methods. This study examines a particular teaching method utilized to
improve preposition usage for English learners, but we must first look at what
prepositions are before we can delve into how teaching them has been approached
and how this study contributes.

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19

Unlike other aspects of language that can be somewhat superfluous or based


purely on conventional usage, prepositions are grammatical words whose purpose
is to help execute the essential grammatical goal of a sentence (Thornbury 2002).
Moreover their prevalence is such that they appear in nearly all aspects of speaking
and writing (Morenberg, 1997). Form, function and meaning can be used to classify
prepositions. In terms of form they may be a simple one-word preposition, or they
be contain two or more words making them complex prepositions. Single word
prepositions are essentially fixed in the sense that new prepositions cannot be
created whereas new complex prepositions are created with some frequency
((Grubic, 2004, cited in De Felice & Pulman, 2008).
Prepositions in the English language are considered one of the most
challenging grammatical features for L2 learners to master (Kao, 1999). Some have
gone so far as to argue that the mastery of prepositions may be the greatest
challenge that English learners face (Takahashi, 1969). EFL teachers and learners
generally regard prepositions as taxing aspect of learning English due to the
inconsistent ways in which they collocate with verbs requiring a considerable
amount of memorization (Pittman, 1966). The rules for applying prepositions are
not great in number and many prepositions themselves may possess a variety of
functions (Swan, 1988).
It is against this backdrop that the current study was undertaken. Initially
conceived of as a classroom activity to improve L2 learners mastery of prepositions;
the data collected from the students revealed some strong patterns which made it
worthy of development. The current study examines the effect of using text
enhancement in the form of a cloze test assignment utilizing authentic materials to
see if students mastery of prepositions could be improved.

Literature Review
Much of the impetus for this study began with classroom observations over
several years that determined incidental learning to be insufficient in terms of
meaningfully impacting mastery of prepositions. The researcher observed that
preposition errors (and article errors) amongst students for whom Korean is their
mother tongue persisted long after high bilingual capacity had been achieved. This
is not surprising since incidental learning through extensive reading interventions
has shown improvements mostly in vocabulary ((Brown et al., 2008; Cho and
Krashen, 1994; Hayashi, 1999; Pigada and Schmitt, 2006; Rott, 1999; Sheu, 2003).
Though some studies have shown some improvement in grammar as well (Sheu,
2003; Tudor and Hafiz, 1989). Overall it has been concluded that while incidental
learning is not without merit, it is on the whole a process that is unpredictable and
not particularly fast (Hulstijn et al., 1996; Paribakht and Wesche, 1999).
As such it has been asserted that input most be attended to with conscious
deliberation with a particular need for the subjective experience of noticing to
acquire greater linguistic sophistication (Schmidt 1990; Schmidt 1993; Schmidt 1994;
Schmidt1995). Studies have established that there is link between learners noticing
of forms and successful learning (Robinson 1995; Skehan 1998). That noticing can
take on many forms of textual enhancement that draws attention to particular

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20

language structures such as altering text by italicizing it, making it bold,


underlining it, color coding it and so on (Cross, 2002). In order for this to be
effective it may require a certain amount of frequency for the learner to actively
notice the language structures unique features (Swain, 1998).
Ellis (1997) with his focus on forms asserts that it is perfectly natural to
attend to meaning before noticing form. Thus students of a new language are quick
to key into content words and to guess based on context at the meaning of an
utterance or sentence. Therefore things such as prepositions, articles or conjunction
are often unconsciously disregarded initially. However with the help of a qualified
L2 teacher, students can be brought to an awareness of these target language forms
and in time students will come to grow and enhance their linguistic abilities.
Ellis (1997) asserts that this noticing of a grammatical feature is essential to
acquire usage of it. Studies based on this assertions have looked at the role of textual
enhancement and noticing and found promising results for rule-based linguistic
forms (Fotos, 1991; Simard, 2009). Another study found a strong link between article
acquisition and textual analysis (Ha, 2017). Two more studies found textual
enhancement was helpful in the learning of phrasal verbs (Behzadhian, 2016;
Ahmadi & Panahandeh, 2016). Additionally, one study has even looked into the
role of textual enhancement and the acquisitions of prepositions with findings that
support the usage of such methods (Hassani, Azarnoosh, Naeini, 2015).
The current study wanted to see if noticing could be made more explicit and
more effective by using textual enhancement that changed large numbers of
authentic texts into Cloze tests. The research question being: if such texts were done
in repetition many times would student proficiency increase?

Test Subjects

33 students in an interpretation and translation graduate school were


identified as having persistent preposition errors despite possessing overall high
fluency. None of the students in the present study considered their English to be at
a native level. The students are considered to have high level bilingual capacity as
the entrance exams for the graduate school seek to single out those abilities
specifically. Standardized tests are not relied upon to assess students due to general
distrust of their results in East Asia. Instead, students are given four essays to write:
two in Korean and two in English. Numbers vary but typically the number of
applicants is above 500 students minimally and may go as high as 1,000. Roughly
120 students are singled out based on their essay responses to go through an oral
interview. During the interview students are expected to perform basic
interpretation skills for English and Korean in both directions without preparation
or note taking. The governing principle used to select the roughly 60 students that
are selected is bilingual competency.

The researcher noted after years of teaching at this graduate school that
despite the high bilingual competency possessed by the students, that their greatest
number of errors occurred in the area of prepositions and articles. Corrective

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21

feedback whether immediate or delayed seemed not to make much of a difference


which led to the formation of more direct approaches to correct these issues.

Methodology

The study was undertaken in the form of homework but careful data
collection and promising results led to the development of this paper. As such
certain flaws in the experimental design are obvious and cloud interpretations of
the result but the results themselves do suggest the value of further study.
Students were given a pretest, homework and post-test all in the form of
Cloze tests drawn up by parsing authentic speeches for some of the most common
prepositions. Authentic texts were selected because they are thought to be more
effective as teaching tools and tend to be more engaging (Guariento and Morley,
2001; Mishan, 2004) Texts for the pretest, homework, and post-test were all draw
from speeches with subject matter that is common to the students such as
presidential addresses by then U.S. President Barrack Obama or talks about
economics.
The texts were parsed using the "replace all" function common to text
software. In this case the author wrote a bit of java script to hasten the process but
the replace all function in software such as Microsoft Word or Google docs would
work just as well. The prepositions: From, On, With, To, In, By, At,
and For were selected as being representative of the most commonly occurring
prepositions and as the items often misused by the students. Prepositions were
replaced in one of two ways. The first stage was to replace prepositions such as "of"
or "to" with an empty parenthesis block liking like this: ( ). The second stage
employed on the tests and the homework was to parse the texts so that the existence
or position of the aforementioned prepositions could not ascertained. Instead
student would have to make sense of the sentence and include prepositions
wherever they thought they were necessary.
The pretest and post-test were identical and consisted of 72 questions in
which the position of a missing preposition was indicated and a second text in
which 72 prepositions had been removed but their number, and position were not
known to the student. Placing a preposition where no preposition should was
valued as a loss of a point so it was possible to achieve a negative score on the
second half of the pretest or post-test. Two samples are given below to illustrate
what the pretest looked like:
Section 1 (Missing prepositions positions are indicated)
Its an honor ( ) be back ( ) the American Legion. ( ) the story ( ) your service
we see the spirit ( ) America. When your country needed you most, you stepped forward.

Section 2 (Missing prepositions are not indicated)


And more broadly, the crisis Iraq underscores how we have meet today's evolving
terrorist threat. The answer is not send large-scale military deployments that overstretch
our military, and lead us occupying countries a long period time, and end up feeding
extremism.

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22

After student pretest results were scored and collected, students were given
access to a database of speeches parsed in the manner of both sections of the
pretest/post-test. Students were given the originals as well and tasked with
repetitively taking the Cloze worksheets to the point of mastery. Students were
given 10 weeks to work on 10 worksheets at their leisure and were not observed
therefore the level of student engagement cannot be accurately measured. However,
the students were all graduate school students who tend to show high level study
habits and motivation.

Results
The average score on the pretest for the 33 participants was 103.5 out of a
possible score of 142 (Standard deviation=8.99), which means they displayed an
accuracy rate of 72.9% and showed some variance in test score average. The average
score on the post-test was 111.6 out of a possible score of 142 (Standard
deviation=6.56), which means they displayed an accuracy of 78.6% with a slight
reduction in score variance. So the reported increase in proficiency on average was
5.7%. A t-test revealed that the results were statistically significant.
Overall the method can be seen as successful with some qualifications. First
and foremost there was no control group so the results lack external validity.
Moreover, the homework of the students was not monitored and as such the effort
put into the process itself cannot be verified when considering all participants. The
final concern is that the pretest and the post-test were identical so some of the
improvement seen in the data could have resulted from familiarity with the test
document, however the students were not shown the correct answers after they
took the pretest.
When looking at the data a pattern was clear beyond the overall results.
Students who scored above 105 (73.9%) on the pretest showed generally no
improvement between pretest and post-test or in many cases actually had a reduced
score. Conversely students who scored below 105 saw greater improvements in the
scores overall. For this low scoring group the pretest average was 97.5 (68.7%) and
their average post-test score was 111.3 (78.3%), so overall an increase of 9.6% in
terms of proficiency.
After the data had been collected and analyzed qualitative feedback was
generated in terms of in-depth discussions with the students in which a number of
affirming comments were made about the process. Overall students reported
learning a lot about prepositions through the process and the general feedback was
positive about the learning outcomes. Many said that they broke long term patterns
that they had not been aware of previously. Generally students with lower levels of
bilingual competency were more positive about the homework. Some students
admitted to not taking the homework as seriously as they might have and lamented
not having the time to do so. All agreed that it was time consuming process which is
one of the definite downsides to this technique. Additionally all students agreed
that the text enhancement in which the placement of prepositions is unknown was a
much harder task than simply engaging the Cloze-styled text enhancement.

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23

One of the more interesting and encouraging comments was about the text
selection. One student was certain that the researcher had selected texts that
mirrored the questions on the exams so that we would learn the proper collocations
for certain prepositions. Many students agreed with this comment feeling that the
texts were selected with some pattern as to preposition usage. It was this comment
that led the researcher to move towards publishing this data because absolutely no
consideration was given to which prepositions occurred in each homework text.
Instead texts were chosen purely on the basis of authenticity and relevance.

Discussion
Considering 5.7% increase in proficiency on average or the 9.6% increase
seen amongst the less proficient students, either way the results are modest but not
insignificant. What is encouraging about these results however comes from the
anecdotal experience researcher which is that generally students do not appear to
approve in this area of proficiency over time within the program. There may be an
extent to which this approach can improve students and it may be that more
arduous direct instruction may need to accompany this kind of activity.
The comment made by a student regarding the apparent patterns between
the homework and the tests that he thought was intentional, may provide some
insight into the learning that takes place in this process and seems not to be
occurring during incidental learning. The general agreement with that students
comment suggests that students did not realize that the placement of prepositions
and their natural collocations were passing before their eyes all the time. These texts
were in no way unusual for them to read or interpret/translate into Korean. These
students read as many five such texts every day and dissect them for meaning
vigorously. This may be a very strong indicator that incidental learning is wholly
insufficient for this particular issue. It is conversely a strong endorsement of textual
enhancement and for the notion that learners seek out meaning independent of
form.
There is a serious question posed by the data that either reveals a need for
greater controls in future studies or suggests a learning plateau of some importance.
The fact that in general the students who scored lower on the pretest scored
considerably higher relative scores on the post-test cannot be properly accounted
for. It is entirely possible that students with higher proficiency (though there were
no scores on the pretest or post-test above 85%) did not aggressively engage the
homework assignments because they did not feel they had much to learn. It could
also be that students with high proficiency are somewhat negatively affected by this
kind of exercise and it may cause them to overthink their responses in the quest for
perfection. An additional possibility is that there was a smaller gap to close for the
higher proficiency students so improvements they may have made may need to be
interpreted as smaller steps forward given that an overall improvement in scores
did occur.

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24

Future Studies
This study serves in many ways as a preliminary study for a much more
thorough examination of this Cloze-styled text enhancement. A future study is
being planned that can examine this technique with a proper control group and an
additional group distinction that compares the Cloze-styled text enhancement with
and without direct instruction about prepositions. For such a study a number of
variables remain to be determined.
One of the most significant drawbacks of the current study was the lack of
control over student work. By having the students do the work as homework there
was no way to determine if they were legitimately repeating exercises to the point
of relative mastery. It is entirely likely that some or many students did not engage
the texts given to them more than once or twice before moving on. Any future study
should find a way to keep the students under observation as they complete
assignments.
One variable of additional concern is text selection. The current study opted
for an authentic text but this comes with a number of drawbacks. First, there was no
way to control for the types of prepositions that were in each of texts. Thus it was
possible that many of the homework texts did not prepare the students to take the
post-test. On other hand student feedback seems to suggest otherwise fairly
strongly. Yet with some measure of control or even some editing of an authentic text
there such enhancement may better streamline the learning process.
Another variable that was left unaccounted for was the differences between
learning impact of the two forms of text enhancement used in the study. Students
noticed a difference in terms of difficulty but not enough serious discussion
occurred about the perceived differences in learning that came from the different
textual enhancements. A future study would need to decide if both should be
included, or only one, or conversely a third one might be added such as color-
coding prepositions read in a similar text before engaging the other forms of textual
enhancement.

Conclusion
Overall this pilot study contains a number of imperfections that occurred
due to its not having been launched as a study but merely as a classroom activity.
The findings are still suggestive of strong possibilities given the ease with which the
process can be replicated using any modern form of document software. Much of
this classroom activity grew out of the realization that Cloze tests could be created
in massive quantities with just a little software-based manipulation of texts. Still a
larger and better designed study is needed to determine the significance of many of
this studies findings.

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25

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 16, No. 10, pp. 27-40, October 2017
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.16.10.3

Understanding and Responding to the Unique


Needs and Challenges Facing Adjunct Faculty:
A Longitudinal Study

Kimberly Buch, Heather McCullough and Laura Tamberelli


University of North Carolina Charlotte

Abstract. This study reports the results of a longitudinal study of


adjunct faculty at a large research-intensive institution. A needs
assessment found that adjunct faculty felt isolated and disconnected
from their departments and colleagues, and reported a lack of formal
and informal supports needed for success in their instructional roles.
These findings guided the development and campus-wide
implementation of adjunct-specific programming and resources. A
program evaluation found improvements in adjunct faculty perceptions
of support as well as directions for future programming and
development opportunities.

Keywords: non-tenure-track faculty; adjunct professors; professional


development; part-time instructors.

Introduction
Non-tenure-track faculty are the largest and fastest growing segment of the
American professoriate. Recent data (Kezar & Maxey, 2014) indicate that over
70% of all faculty across 2- and 4-year institutions work off the tenure track, a
trend that has been on the rise for the past two decades. Non-tenure-track
faculty also tend to carry heavier teaching loads and teach larger course sections
than tenure-track faculty (AAUP, 2013). Clearly, this new faculty majority
(Kezar & Sam, 2010) is impacting a growing percentage of American college
students. This reality raises many important questions in need of exploration:
Who are non-tenure-track faculty? What are their unique needs and challenges?
What types of targeted resources and professional development opportunities
are most responsive to these needs and challenges? How do adjunct faculty
respond to institutional efforts to deliver targeted resources and programming?
We attempted to address these questions with a three-year study of adjunct
faculty at a large, research-intensive public university.

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28

Who are Non-Tenure-Track Faculty? This diverse group of faculty presents


definitional challenges as researchers have counted over 50 terms used to
describe them (Kezar & Sam, 2010). The American Association of University
professors (AAUP) uses the term contingent faculty because it signals the
tenuous, contractual relationship between these faculty and their academic
institutions, while the American Society for Higher Education (ASHE) prefers
the term non-tenure track (Kezar & Maxey, 2014). Both terms (contingent and
non-tenure track) are widely accepted umbrella terms that include part- and full-
time faculty who are appointed off the tenure track, ranging from adjuncts
(typically part-time and compensated on a per-course basis) to lecturers
(typically full-time and paid a salary). Both the AAUP and ASHE argue that it is
important for researchers and practitioners to be aware of and acknowledge the
heterogeneity within this group of faculty (Kezar & Maxey, 2014).

Of the dimensions on which non-tenure-track faculty differ, perhaps that with


the greatest bearing on their professional development needs is the part-time vs.
full-time dimension. First, part-time (here referred to as adjunct) faculty are the
fastest growing segment of the professoriate, and constitute an estimated 51.2%
of instructional faculty in American higher education (Kezar & Maxey, 2014).
Sheer numbers will require institutions to leverage the strengths and manage the
challenges of this large and rapidly growing group of faculty. Thus, this study
focused exclusively on part-time adjunct faculty and intentionally excluded full-
time lecturers, even though the latter are non-tenure-track faculty whose jobs
also differ significantly from traditional tenure-track faculty.

What are the Unique Challenges and Professional Needs of Adjunct Faculty?
Although there is a relative paucity of research examining adjunct faculty, there
is much anecdotal evidence that adjunct faculty face challenges unique to their
part-time status. One challenge is a general lack of understanding about adjunct
facultye.g., it is widely assumed that adjunct faculty work part-time
completely by choice and that they often have other employment (and benefits!)
outside of the university. However, many adjunct faculty are working part-time
because they cannot obtain a full-time teaching position (Kezar & Maxey, 2014),
and the majority of part-time adjunct faculty do not have professional careers
outside of academe (AAUP, 2013). This exacerbates the problems inherent in
their place at the bottom of the multi-tier academic labor structure (AAUP,
2013). This multi-tiered system that is increasingly bottom-heavy, is clearly
inequitable in terms of salary, benefits, and job security. The median pay per
course for adjunct faculty is $2,700 (Kingkade, 2013), and part-time faculty are
estimated to make 65% less than full-time faculty for the same work (Levin &
Hernandez, 2014). They face working conditions that often differ dramatically
from those of full-time faculty, including fewer instructional resources, less
institutional support, limited interaction with colleagues, and little input into
faculty governance (Buch & McCullough, 2016; Kezar, 2012; Levin & Hernandez,
2014).

Based on the above, it is not surprising that adjunct faculty are much more likely
than full-time faculty to experience feelings of isolation, lack of connectedness to

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29

the academic community, and perceptions of marginalization (e.g., Buch &


McCullough, 2016; Fagan-Wilen, Springer, Ambrosino, & White, 2007; Forbes,
Hickey, White, 2010; Levin & Hernandez, 2014; Webb, Wong, & Hubball, 2013).
Other researchers have noted the relationship between these experiences of
isolation and the job satisfaction and turnover rates among part-time faculty
(e.g., Hoyt, 2012; Meixner & Kruck, 2010). It seems clear that these realities have
important implications, including concerns about workplace fairness and equity
and threats to the instructional mission of post-secondary institutionsafter all
faculty working conditions are student learning conditions (New Faculty
Majority, 2015). Given the changing state of the professoriate, and its
tremendous implications for higher education, increased attention to adjunct
faculty is urgently needed (Kezar & Sam, 2010; Levin & Hernandez, 2014).

Methods
Phase 1: Needs Assessment. This study took place at a large, public research-
intensive institution and was initiated by faculty and staff in The Center for
Teaching and Learning (CTL). The study emerged from an effort to better
understand the needs of the adjunct faculty so that institutional supports and
professional development opportunities could be developed in direct response
to these needs. As described above, the faculty population of interest was the
group most typically referred to in the literature as adjunct faculty, which we
define as non-tenure-track faculty working part-time and compensated on a per-
course basis. Although adjunct faculty at this institution can and do participate
in all instructional and professional development opportunities provided by the
CTL, we wanted to ensure programming and support that was aligned with the
unique needs of adjunct faculty.

Data obtained from the Office of Institutional Research at the beginning of the
study indicated there were 398 adjunct faculty (approximately one-third of all
faculty), who together taught 26,992 students in 730 courses, for a total of 2,094
course-hours. A brief electronic survey was developed by the researchers and
sent via university email to 390 adjunct faculty. The survey contained five open-
ended questions asking about major challenges facing adjunct faculty; types of
professional support provided them in their adjunct role; awareness of
professional development support available from the CTL; types of additional
support/resources/ programming they would find beneficial; and factors that
would encourage them to participate in professional development opportunities.
Responses were received from 98 faculty, a 25% response rate. A qualitative
analysis of responses identified a gap between current levels of support received
and desired levels of support, as well as suggestions for closing this gap based
on the reported realities and challenges of adjunct faculty.

Specifically, results indicated that fewer than 10% of respondents were satisfied
with the level of support they received from the institution. Approximately 25%
indicated they received no support from their academic departments, or support
only when they seek it out or ask for assistance. Of the 75% reporting they
receive professional support, the type of support varied. The major form of
support reported was administrative (secretarial, office space and supplies,

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30

email access, etc.); for many, this was the only type of support received. Fewer
than a quarter of respondents reported some type of pedagogical/ instructional
support from their units (e.g., shared syllabi, teaching plans and ideas, advice
and teaching suggestions, drop-in consultations, feedback on teaching materials,
etc.). The majority of reported support was informal (ad hoc, on request), with
fewer than 25% participating in formal support from administrators, peers, or
mentors. Sources of support varied, with about 10% provided by department
chairs; another 10% reported support from colleagues, and a smaller percentage
reported support from a mentor or lead instructor.

Another line of questioning asked about the instructional and professional


development opportunities offered by the CTL. Over one third of respondents
had not participated in any resources or programming by the CTL. Over one
third of respondents had participated in one or more technology workshops
(e.g., Moodle, Mahara, Clickers) conducted by the CTL; almost that many
reported use of the online CTL teaching tutorials and guides. These findings are
consistent with the literature in several ways. Studies consistently reveal a gap
between the desire of non-tenure-track faculty to participate in professional
development activities and the institutional provision of opportunities to do so
(Fagan-Wilen, Springer, Ambrosino, & White, 2006; Gappa & Leslie, 1993; Hoyt,
2012; Kezar & Sam, 2010).

The next open-ended question asked respondents to identify specific types of


supports not received which they would find most beneficial. Again, the
responses varied greatly but two major themes emerged from content analysis:
pedagogical/instructional support and basic orientation support. Almost 40% of
comments were related to teaching and pedagogy, ranging from use of the LMS
(learning management system) to attendance policies, to pedagogical strategies,
to online teaching, to classroom management. The other theme pertained to
more basic, onboarding types of supports, such as accessing campus
resources, policies and procedures, human resources, parking, textbook
adoptions, etc. Both of these themes would be instrumental in the design of our
adjunct initiatives, as described in stage 2 below.

The needs assessment also asked faculty to report (via write-in format) the major
challenges they face as adjunct faculty. While a wide range of challenges were
reported, the overwhelming theme to emerge from content analysis was a sense
of isolation and disconnectedness from their departments and colleagues.
Comments related to this theme were reported by almost a third of respondents
(32%). The following quotes are illustrative of this theme:
I have little contact with my department.
It requires a lot of extra effort to stay connected with
colleagues.
It is entirely an independent enterprise.
Lack of interaction between adjunct and full-time faculty.
Being an island. Being unaware of the larger picture.
Isolation.
No real support.

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31

Feeling marginalized and excluded.


You constantly feel on the run and out of the loop.

The next most frequently reported challenge loaded on the theme of lack of
training or orientation, which was mentioned by 24% of respondents, followed
by juggling multiple job demands (9%); poor pay and benefits (5%); lack of
contracts (4%); lack of space (4%); and cost of parking (3%). Only 11% of
respondents either left the item blank or wrote in that they currently faced no
challenges. (See Table 4 below for a comparison of challenges reported in the
needs assessment and how they changed in the post-survey.)

Another line of questioning in the needs assessment asked respondents what


would encourage them to participate in the support and development
opportunities that currently are or will be offered in the future. This was
important because the literature suggests that participation rates in development
opportunities and institutional supports among part-time faculty are modest,
ranging from 48% to 56% to 63% (Hoyt, 2012). As shown in Table 1, the
following themes emerged from responses to this question: 1) timing of
offerings; 2) incentives to participate; 3) awareness of offerings; 4) format of
offerings; and 5) usefulness of offerings. Clearly, the first of these is a simple
matter of better communication among units, the CTL, and adjuncts. The others
are more important as considerations in program design, and contributed
greatly to our programming and design decisions, as described below.

Table 1. Needs Assessment: Thematic Results and Direct Quotes of Respondents


What Would Encourage you to Participate in Professional Development
Opportunities?
Timing of Offerings
Evenings; Afternoons; Early mornings; Multiple repeat offerings to
accommodate diverse schedules;
Incentives to Participate
Payment/stipend; Recognition by department; Certificates of
Achievement; Make it worth my time; Not having to pay for parking to
attend; Some kind of monetary incentive; Current pay level not sufficient
to invest more time
Awareness of Offerings
Access to a training schedule at the start of the semester; Better
advertising of opportunities and recurring each semester; A monthly
calendar; Knowing about opportunities in advance; Overview of
opportunities and timely notice; Reminders
Usefulness of Offerings
Anything that would benefit my students; Knowing they will positively
affect my students learning; Relevant topics; The promise of practical
training and classroom-ready methods; Meaningful and directly aligned
to what I teach; A course specifically designed for adjuncts
Format of Offerings
Digital; Online; Remote Access; Face-to-face if opportunity to meet
other
adjuncts

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32

Phase 2: Institutional Response to Adjunct Needs. The needs assessment


provided a wealth of information for designing targeted adjunct resources and
programming. First, findings on the types and sources of supportboth
received and desiredidentified a strong need for institutional-wide, formal
supports in two major areas: a general adjunct orientation and
instructional/pedagogical support. Findings about the high level of isolation
and disconnectedness suggested a strong need for some type of face-to-face
programming or opportunities for adjunct interactions, yet scheduling
challenges suggested a concurrent need for online, on-demand offerings.
Findings also suggested that adjunct faculty need to be compensated for their
time investments in professional development activities. In response to the
needs assessment results, the university developed a range of support and
development opportunities for adjunct faculty. In designing professional
development opportunities and resources to be responsive to these findings, we
also tried to be cognizant of the heterogeneity of the adjunct community, as
recommended by Kezar and Maxey (2014) and others. Each of the initiatives
designed and implemented by the institution within a year of the needs
assessment is described below.

1. Adjuncts-Only online resources. In the absence of any centralized


orientation for new adjuncts, and with a quarter of adjuncts reporting they
receive no support from the departments that hire them, there was a clear need
for a university-wide welcome and orientation program for new hires. Adjuncts
preference for on-demand resources and timely, targeted and relevant
information provision confirmed beliefs that the program should be developed
and delivered via the Universitys learning management system (LMS) at the
time, Moodle 2. Another advantage of this design choice was to provide adjuncts
the opportunity to see the LMS from the perspective of their future students. The
goal of the orientation was to welcome new adjunct faculty to the institution and
to equip (new and returning) adjunct faculty with the information needed to be
successful instructors and satisfied employees. It was designed just as one of
their courses may be: introduction, lessons with additional materials, and
quizzes. The lessons built upon each other chronologically from becoming an
adjunct through course design and professional development, as follows: 1)
Getting Started; 2) Policies & Guidelines; 3) Classroom Guidance; 4) Campus
Resources. Beginning with a welcome from the Provost, the self-guided modules
can be completed in order or as needed by each user. Completion of the
modules is optional but the goal is for each new hire to be directed to the
program by their hiring unit and encouraged to use it as a getting-started guide
and as a departure point for seeking additional information.

The online orientation went live to all adjuncts (new and returning) in June 2015.
From June 2015 through August 2016, the orientation was hosted exclusively in
Moodle 2 and was accessed by 274 faculty members. During Summer 2016, the
University rolled out a new LMS (Canvas) and adjunct orientation went live in
Canvas by the beginning of that academic year. During the first semester in use,

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33

it was accessed by over 205 faculty, had greater than 5,000 pages views, and over
130 quiz submissions.

Our second online adjunct resource to follow the needs assessment was an
adjunct website (adjunct.uncc.edu), designed as a one-stop shop for adjunct
faculty. This website contains much of the same content as the orientation but is
designed with quick reference in mind. As a public-facing website, it provides
general information to prospective adjunct faculty in addition to existing ones.
Usage data collected for a one-year period after launching indicate the website
was viewed 2,847 times from unique IP addresses. Each visit consisted of an
average of 2 clicks per visit. More user data about these new online resources
was obtained from our post-survey of adjuncts and is reported in Phase 3,
below.

2. Adjunct-specific professional development programming. In response to the


needs assessment theme of isolation and disconnectedness, we felt it
important to supplement the online resources with face-to-face programming
exclusively for adjunct faculty. We chose faculty learning communities (FLCs)
as a vehicle for building adjunct community because of their flexibility and
proven track record in the faculty development literature. Cox (2004) defines a
Faculty Learning Community (FLC) as a form of professional development that
brings together cross-disciplinary groups of professors to engage over a period
of time in an active and collaborative program focused on building a sense of
community and enhancing teaching and learning. Faculty Learning
Communities have become a popular method for improving teaching and
learning as well as for promoting the professional success of faculty at all levels
(e.g., Herrelko, 2016). Cox identified two basic forms of FLCscohort-based
and topic-based. A cohort-based FLC consists of a group of faculty who share a
common characteristic, need, challenge, or goal, and is more likely to be
sustained over time and to focus on developmental needs of its members. Thirty
years of studies offer definitive evidence supporting the use of cohort-based
FLCs to promote the success of tenure-track professors (Cox, 2013) and more
limited research has shown promising potential of FLCs with adjunct faculty
(Buch & McCullough, 2016; Lambert & Cox, 2007).

The first adjunct FLC cohort was implemented at the beginning of the academic
year following the adjunct needs assessment with 15 diverse faculty members
who received a modest stipend for their participation. Since then, the program
has evolved from a year-long to a semester-long program and has served 84
adjunct faculty. FLC program popularity has been so great that we have gone
from one to two concurrent cohorts per semester, each consisting of 15 adjuncts
facilitated by a separate CTL staff member. FLC members are selected through
an application process on a first-serve basis, and every semester each FLC fills
quickly and we have a wait-list. Each FLC session consists of two parts, each
designed in direct response to needs assessment findings. The first half of each
session is for community-building and consists of facilitated discussions about
topics of relevance to adjuncts at our institution. The second half responds to
the expressed need for more pedagogical/instructional support, and consists of

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34

a choice of two teaching workshops delivered by CTL faculty or staff. In a pilot


program evaluation, FLC participants reported positive effects on teaching
effectiveness and professional satisfaction (Buch & McCullough, 2016).

Our inability to meet the demand for the FLC program led to our second face-to-
face program, a book club for adjuncts. Faculty who applied for but were unable
to be accommodated in the FLC were encouraged to attend the book club, which
was held at the same time on Friday mornings once a month during the
academic year. The first book club book was the same one used by the first FLC
cohort (Grieve & Lesko, 2011) and all adjunct faculty were invited to attend on a
drop-in basis (in contrast to the monthly commitment required of FLC
participants). The book club was facilitated by a former CTL faculty fellow and
university teaching award winner. Marketing for the club included direct emails
to all adjunct faculty and digital signage in prominent places on campus.
During the first academic year, attendance averaged 5-10 adjuncts per session,
and this declined during its second year. We did not offer a book club
exclusively for adjuncts this past semester, but instead encouraged adjuncts to
participate in one of the book clubs offered by CTL to the entire faculty and staff.
Our post-survey, as reported below, indicates that this was our least utilized
adjunct initiative but anecdotal evidence suggests that adjunct faculty
participate in the full-faculty book clubs at rates higher than tenure-track faculty.

Phase 3: Adjunct Post-Survey. A follow-up survey was sent to all adjunct faculty
members 5 semesters (2.5 academic years) after the needs assessment reported in
Phase 1 above. The survey was completed by 111 of the 319 adjunct faculty
employed at the time of the survey, a 35% response rate. Both the pre and post-
surveys were completely anonymous and the adjunct population had of course
changed, so there was no way to match respondents on the two surveys. The
survey methodology was the same as the first survey, but most survey items
were changed from an open-ended format to a check-list format consisting of
responses obtained from the first survey. Item 1 listed the four adjunct initiatives
(described in Phase 2 above) by name and asked respondents to check all they
were aware of and a second item asked them to check all they had
participated in or utilized.

The next two items listed 11 specific types of support (formal and informal)
reported by adjuncts in the needs assessment survey and asked respondents to
check all that they Do/Did receive in their adjunct role (see Table 3 for list of
supports). There was a twelfth option stating NONEI did not receive any
type of formal or informal supports as well as a space to write in additional
(unlisted) supports they may have received. A fourth item provided the same
list of supports and a space to write in additional ones that they did not receive
but would find beneficial in their adjunct role. Item 5 was an open-ended
question asking for major challenges facing adjunct in your unit. The final
open-ended item solicited additional input toward the goal of adjunct support
and development.

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35

Results
The first four items were tabulated as percentages and are reported in Tables 2
and 3. Results revealed that both awareness levels and participation rates among
adjuncts are encouraging: 62% of respondents have utilized or participated in at
least one adjunct initiative and many of these have participated in more than one
program. The most popular program is the FLC, which almost a third have
participated in. Almost half of respondents have utilized at least one of our
online resources. This number may not reflect true usage rates for our target
audience (new adjuncts) since our respondents may disproportionately
represent more seasoned faculty who no longer have a need for an orientation
and may have fewer questions that can be answered on the website. Less
encouraging is that about a quarter of respondents were not aware of any of our
new initiatives, indicating that we may need to step up our marketing efforts.
There was a relatively small gap between awareness of and participation in the
FLC (44% aware and 31% participated), suggesting that faculty who know about
it are likely to participate in it (written comments indicated that several had
applied but had not yet been accepted).

Table 2. Post-Survey Responses to Adjunct Initiatives


Aware of Participated
Initiative/ in/ Utilized
Resource
Adjuncts Website 32 23
Online Orientation 41 24
Faculty Learning Community 44 31
(FLC)
Book Club for Adjuncts 21 1
None 26 38

Table 3 identifies the types of formal and informal supports received by


respondents, as well as those not received that they would find beneficial. The
most compelling finding is that only one respondent (.9%) reported NO support,
a huge improvement over the 25% reporting an absence of support in the needs
assessment. Another change from pre to post-survey is the types of supports
most frequently received; in the pre-survey the most common was
administrative support while in the post-survey more received instructional
support than administrative support. This finding reflected intentional efforts to
center all adjunct initiatives around their core work activityteaching. The only
other types of support received by more than half of respondents in the post-
survey were: 1) receipt of communications, 2) administrative support, and 3)
contact with colleagues and opportunities to collaborate. Direct comparisons of
the two surveys cannot be made because the pre-survey solicited this
information with open responses while the post-survey listed items identified in
the pre-survey and could more easily be quantified.

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Table 3. Post-Survey Responses to Formal and Informal Supports

Received Not received but


beneficial
Administrative Support (typing, copies, etc.) 59 21
Adjunct Orientation 39 16
Instructional Support (course syllabi, advice, etc.) 61 14

Communications (on events and opportunities) 57 10


Formal Mentoring 22 26
Inclusion in unit business/ operations 31 15
Inclusion in instructional decision making 21 20
Contact with colleagues and collaboration 51 25
opportunities
Referrals to useful resources/opportunities on campus 29 24
Professional development by college/department 15 23

Professional development by CTL (Center for Teaching 40 12


& Learning)
Other (write in) Peer Teaching Observation and 36 22
Feedback
Opportunity to observe others teaching 0 1
Graduate Assistants 0 1

Post-survey responses reveal that over a third of respondents did not check any
items as beneficial but not received, which, when taken with the write-in
comments to the last open-ended item, may indicate satisfaction with available
adjunct supports (see Table 5 for item 5 response summary). Of the listed
supports, those endorsed the most as beneficial but not received include (in
order of frequency): formal mentoring, contact with colleagues and
opportunities to collaborate, referrals to useful resources, and professional
development by college/department. Clearly, given the many adjuncts
reporting receipt of these same supports, it can be extrapolated that delivery of
these supports varies across units and that some units are better at referrals and
collaboration than others. Two colleges have formal mentoring programs and
professional development for adjuncts and these results suggest that adjunct
faculty from the other five colleges would benefit from similar programs. Of the
write-in supports ranked as not received but beneficial, peer observation of
teaching was listed the most frequently.

The open-ended item asking adjuncts to list the major challenges they face in
their adjunct role were content analyzed and revealed the following themes, in
order of endorsements: 1) no challenges listed, or none reported; 2) poor pay
and benefits; 3) isolation and disconnectedness; 4) lack of job security; and 5)
lack of on-campus space to work and meet with students. Table 4 shows these
challenges and how they differ from those reported in the needs assessment.
Most notably is the sharp decline in adjuncts reporting a sense of isolation

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37

dropping from 32 % to 7%. Another notable decline is the percentage of


adjuncts either not reporting any challenges or reporting none, dropping from
11% to 33%. Other challenges showed little change from pre to post-surveys,
although the frequency of these was relatively low.

Table 4. Major Challenges Facing Adjuncts: Pre and Post Surveys

Themes Pre Post


1. No challenges faced 11% 33%
2. Isolation and Disconnectedness 32% 7%
3. Poor Pay and Benefits 10% 12%
4. Lack of Job Security 6% 8%
5. Lack of Campus Space to Work and Meet with 5% 5%
Students

The final post-survey item asking respondents for open-ended input toward
our goal of adjunct support and development were content analyzed and
themes are reported in Table 5. One encouraging theme was that many adjuncts
reported satisfaction with current levels of support and appreciation for the new
adjunct-specific initiatives. Two additional themes (see Table 5) reflected
adjuncts desire for a continuation and expansion of formal adjunct-specific
programming, as well as the provision of more informal campus-wide adjunct
supports, including a forum for adjuncts to communicate with each other, more
opportunities to meet and interact with other adjuncts, centrally-shared
dedicated work/ meeting space for adjuncts, and a one-day adjunct conference,
perhaps including adjuncts form other area institutions. A final theme was
labeled structural changes to adjunct faculty role which was comprised of
issues also mentioned in Table 4, such as poor pay and the lack of benefits and
yearly contracts. The low percentages of respondents mentioning structural
issues like these in either survey is likely related to the purpose and source of the
surveys. Both surveys were sent from the CTL, and both were clearly focused
on soliciting input about professional development rather than structural issues.

Overall, results of our longitudinal study provided strong support for the
success of our institutions adjunct-specific resources and professional
development programming, and also identified new opportunities to improve
institutional support for adjunct faculty.

Table 5. Post-Survey Write-in Comments: What other input do you have toward our
goal of adjunct support and development?
Themes and Illustrative Quotes
1. Satisfied with Current Support
I am satisfied with the support I receive
I participated in the adjunct FLC and found it extremely beneficial
I am supported and valued by my department
I am very happy with whats offered
2. More Formal Adjunct-specific Programming

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More online opportunities through CTL


Summer Canvas (LMS) course for adjuncts
More professional development geared specifically to adjuncts
Ability to take existing courses online/ virtually
3. Informal Campus-wide Adjunct Support
Forum for adjuncts to communicate with each other
Monthly meetings with other adjuncts
Social events/ opportunities to meet other adjuncts
Brown-bag lunches for adjuncts
4. Structural Changes to Adjunct Faculty Role
Need yearly contracts
Living wage
Health Benefits
Transition assistance to full-time roles

Discussion
We began this paper with several important questions about adjunct faculty that
our findings have helped elucidate. Can targeted resources and professional
development opportunities meet the unique needs and challenges of adjunct
faculty? How do adjunct faculty respond to institutional efforts to deliver
targeted resources and programming? Our needs assessment found that
adjunct-specific online resources and face-to-face programming were desired by
adjuncts and our post-survey found that these offerings were widely embraced,
with about two-thirds of responding adjuncts utilizing or participating in at least
one. Our study also found that increased attention to the unique needs of
adjunct faculty can enhance adjunct facultys perceptions of their level of
institutional support, both formal and informal. We also observed that the
provision of targeted resources and programming in direct response to adjuncts
voiced needs can alleviate major challenges such as feelings of isolation and
disconnectedness.

There are some clear implications of this study for our own as well as for other
institutions. First, as reported in the literature (e.g., Forbes, Hickey, & White,
2010; Kezar, 2012; Meixner & Kruck, 2010) and discussed above, adjunct faculty
are different from full-time faculty and have unique needs and challenges.
Institutions should respond with tailored professional development
opportunities, targeted resources, and a range of formal and informal supports.
While there are some cross-institutional trends in needs and challengesboth
professional development and structuraleach campus should begin with its
own needs assessment which should drive all subsequent adjunct initiatives.

Once adjunct initiatives have been implemented, it is important to track both


awareness and participation levels and to continue to monitor changing adjunct
needs and perceptions. We are already using our data to make changes to
existing resources and programs and to identify directions for future
programming. For instance, this study identified several promising directions
for future programming and support, including an expansion of the peer
observation program that is currently isolated in one college, as well as the

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39

provision of more unit-specific (department or college) professional


development opportunities to supplement the institutional initiatives reported
here. Respondents in the post-survey made some suggestions for innovative
adjunct support that we in the CTL had never even considered, such as the
adjunct-specific conference and the shared adjunct commons. Other suggestions
reinforced some ideas we had been discussing, such as professional
development credits (e.g. badges), prize drawings, or other tangible incentives
for participation besides stipends. Our findings also identified ways to improve
the assessment process itself in order to better understand which specific groups
of adjunct faculty we are serving and which are not being reached, and why
which in turn will allow us to refine and improve our initiatives.

While our findings offered support for our research-guided approach to


supporting adjunct faculty, it is important to acknowledge that our successes are
limited and that there is still much work to do. In spite of serious campus-wide
communication efforts during the past five semesters, a quarter of adjuncts
responding to our post-survey were unaware of any adjunct-specific resources
or opportunities. And even though we tried to incorporate adjuncts input from
the needs assessment in our design and delivery, we still have not reached over
a third of responding adjuncts with any of our initiatives. Finally, our
professional development initiatives have notand cannotaddress some of
the major issues and challenges facing adjunct faculty on our campus and across
the nation. These are structural issues of inequity in pay, benefits, upward
mobility, and job insecurity for adjunct faculty in relation to tenure-track faculty.
Not only is it an ethical imperative to begin a dialogue around these difficult
inequities, it is also vital to the instructional mission of the university for many
reasons.

First, as already stated, faculty working conditions are student learning


conditions, and student learning is clearly impacted when faculty are not
provided with the support and resources needed to be effective teachers.
Second, adjunct faculty have been shown to be dedicated, competent, hard-
working professionals committed to the success of their students and eager for
community with their colleagues (e.g., Kezar & Sam, 2010; Webb, Wong, &
Hubball, 2013). Failure to provide working conditions that will retain this
workforce can lead to higher rates of turnover in an increasingly tight labor
market (Flaherty, 2017). Inviting open dialogue about structural inequities can
also help build a climate of trust and collaboration for adjunct faculty while
raising awareness among tenure-track faculty, many of whom are unaware of
the implications of a two-tier faculty system for adjunct faculty or students.
Finally, those involved in centers for teaching and learning, faculty mentoring
programs, and other forms of faculty development and support must realize that
failure to acknowledge and confront structural issues can undermine or negate
even the most well-intentioned and effective professional development
initiatives.

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40

References
AAUP (American Association of University Professors, (2013), Contingent Appointments
and the Academic Profession. Retrieved from http://www.aaup.org/report
Buch, K., & McCullough, H. (2016). Addressing the needs of adjunct faculty with a
cohort-based faculty learning community. Learning Communities Journal, 8(1), 35-
50.
Cox, M. D. (2004). Introduction to faculty learning communities. In M. D. Cox & L.
Richlin (Eds.), Building faculty learning communities (pp. 5-23). New Directions for
Teaching and Learning, No. 97. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Cox, M. D. (2013). The impact of communities of practice in support of early-career
academics. International Journal for Academic Development, 18(1), 18-30. doi:
10.1080/1360144X.2011.599600
Fagan-Wilen, R., Springer, D. W., Ambrosino, B., & White, B. W. (2007). The support of
adjunct faculty: An academic imperative. Social Work Education, 25, 1, 39-51. doi:
10.1080/02615470500477870
Flaherty, C. (2017). Youngstown State adjuncts celebrate 25 years without a raise. Inside
Higher Ed, February 22, 2017.Retrieved from
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/20137
Forbes, M. O., Hickey, M. T., & White, J. (2010). Adjunct faculty development: Reported
needs and innovative solutions. Journal of Professional Nursing, 26(2), 116-124.
Doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2009.08.001
Gappa, J. M., & Leslie, D. W., (1993). The invisible faculty: Improving the status of part-time
faculty in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Grieve, D., & Lesko, P. (2011). A handbook for adjunct/ part-time faculty and teachers of
adults (7th Edition). Ann-Arbor, MI: The Part-Time Press.
Herrelko, J. M. (2016). How learning community guidelines impacted a mathematics
professional learning community. International Journal of Learning, Teaching, and
Educational Research,15, 11, 111-127.
Hoyt, J. E. (2012). Predicting the satisfaction and loyalty of adjunct faculty. The Journal of
Continuing Higher Education, 60(3), 132-142. doi:10.1080/07377363.2013.722417
Kezar, A. (2012). Spanning the great divide between tenure-track and non-tenure-track
faculty. Change, http://www.change.org/se/util/display
Kezar, A. & Sam, C. (2010). Special Issue: Non-tenure-track faculty in higher education:
Theories and Tensions. ASHE Higher Education Report, 36, 5, 1-91.
Kezar, A., & Maxey, D. (2014). Troubling ethical lapses: The treatment of contingent
faculty. Change, July/August, 34-37. Doi: 10.1080/00091381.2014.925761
Kingkade, T. (2013). Faculty pay survey shows growing gap between public, private
colleges. The Huffington Post, 4/8/2013.
Lambert, H. E., & Cox, M. D. (2007). The two-year effort to build a program that
provides part-time faculty pedagogical support, community, and a sense of
mission. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty. Bolton,
MA: Anker.
Levin, J.S. & Hernandez, V.M. (2014). Divided identity: Part-time faculty in public
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10.1353/rhe.2014.0033.
Meixner, C. & Kruck, S.E. (2010). Inclusion of part-time faculty for the benefit of faculty
and students. College Teaching, 58, 141-147. doi:10.1080/87567555.2010.484032
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41

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 16, No. 10, pp. 41-57, October 2017
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.16.10.4

Being together in the locker room is great,


but showering together just forget it!
The Janus Face of the Wardrobe Practice in
Physical Education

Bjrn Tore Johansen, PhD, Martine Mhle, MSc, yvind Oland, MSc,
and Tommy Haugen, PhD
University of Agder
Kristiansand, Norway

Abstract. The aim of this study is to examine the wardrobe context


among students in physical education (PE) in lower secondary school
and describe their various experiences of the atmosphere in the locker
room and their showering habits. 16 semi structured in-depth
interviews with eight boys and eight girls, all aged 15, in the 10th
grade (third and final year of lower secondary school) were conducted
to grasp some of the ongoing interactions between students and the
context of the wardrobe practice before and after PE lessons. The
planning of the interviews is grounded in a variety of topics such as
the class environment, the influence of teacher behavior, self-
evaluation, and the role of social media. Four main categories emerged
when describing the students various experiences of the wardrobe
practice in PE; 1) Friendship, 2) Physical Facilities, 3) Digital Life and 4)
Shyness. Overall, the students feel comfortable as well as motivated for
participation in the PE lessons and the atmosphere in the wardrobe
seems to play a vital part. However, students may be exposed to an
unhealthy body image through their fellow students, the role of social
media, and the societys view of what is an ideal body. The results
may suggest that in general puberty and the major bodily changes
occurring in this age create unpleasantness and shyness of being
exposed to other students previously unknown to them. Habitually,
most of the girls choose not to shower while exposed to fellow female
students after ended PE session while the boys who are showering do
it in their underwear.

Keywords: Wardrobe practice; comradeship; puberty; shyness;


showering habits

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42

Introduction
There are reasons to believe that students perceive the context of the
wardrobe practice differently, and O'Donovan, Sandfjord, and Kirk (2015) argue
that the wardrobe in physical education (PE) is perceived as a value-laden place
where physical closeness to others can facilitate a process of comparison,
monitoring, and self-regulation which may lead students to develop barriers for
undressing and showering. Moreover, the mandatory practice of showering
after PE lessons is long gone, and today the teacher, at least in Norway, has no
further opportunity to decide whether the students should shower or not after
PE lessons. Routine showering at school after PE seems to be relatively rare and
may be causally related to lower physical activity levels and cardiorespiratory
fitness, especially among girls (Sandercock, Ogunleye, & Voss, 2014). In a study
of English students Sandercock et al. (2014) documented that 53% of the total
2,141 boys and 67.5% of the total 1,779 girls choose to never be showering after
PE lessons. In Norway, an informal online poll conducted by www.ung.no in
March 2016, with 10,500 people responding revealed that seven students out of
ten choose not showering after PE lessons (Ung.no, 2016). The question
addressed on the website was: "Take a shower after PE classes? and the results
are indicating that a combination of several reasons play a part in explaining this
perceived barrier for showering (frequency of answers in percent):

34.5%; Yes, it is important to shower after training


26.5%; No, do not like being naked with other
17.5%; Showers, but feel uncomfortable
7.1%; Only if I get a private cubicle / cloakroom
5.9%; Showers, but uses bikini / bathing shorts
4.4%; No, afraid someone will come in to see or take a picture of me
4.0%; No, the showers at school are dirty / nasty

Based on the results of the poll it is more than fair to claim that students in
Norway feel a kind of embarrassment related to exposing their own body to
others, even peers in their own class. May this perceived barrier be related to
body image, nakedness itself, or is it general human shyness? Moreover, if
students are reluctant to shower after physical education classes and reduce
their own involvement in PE, the potential benefits of PE may not be realized
(Sandercock et al., 2014). Consequently, for teachers in PE to fulfill the ambitious
goal for the subject; Physical education is a general education and a subject to
inspire a physically active lifestyle and create lifelong enjoyment of movement
(Udir, 2016, p. 1), they seem to have a mountain to climb to create a positive
learning climate.
However, as much as the shower habits among students is only a part of
the wardrobe practice, there is also a need to clarify distinctions of the shower
pattern. For instance, Sandercock et al. (2014) found that students who reported
being physically active with their parents were 73% more likely to take a shower
at school. This may reflect familial social norms and values around sport and
exercise within families (Wheeler, 2012). Moreover, those who play team sports
or those who work hard in PE tended to shower after PE lessons (Sandercock et
al., 2014). Thus, the more positive shower pattern among active and team sport

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43

students documented by Sandercock et al. (2014) may be due to that the


wardrobe or locker room in the sports context is where the club feeling is
created, camaraderie developed, news can spread, and common values can be
created. One may argue that the wardrobe at school is not exactly a place where
sport club feeling is important, but can it function as an arena for forming
companionship and belonging? Hence, Sandercock and colleagues (2014) claim
there is little research examining the shower behavior in the school, and they
suggest that the potential socializing effect of the wardrobe practice should be
examined. Moreover, all human development and learning takes place in
context (Bronfenbrenner, 1979), and our behavior is always shaped by the
constraints of where we live and who we are (Silbereisen, 2003). Therefore, the
primary subject of this paper is the repeated processes of increasingly complex
interactions between an active receptor (e.g., student in PE) and the other
individuals, objects, and symbols in the immediate surroundings (e.g., the
wardrobe in PE). To grasp some of the meaning of the interactions going on in
the wardrobe practice in PE, the shape, strength, content, and direction of these
processes that vary systematically as a function of the overall characteristics of
the person, as well as the physical and social environment (Bronfenbrenner,
1979; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006) should be examined. The individual is
both a manufacturer of its own development and the result of development
processes (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006). The acceptance of multidimensional
relationships and interaction processes as a basis for development is essential in
the quest for new knowledge (Magnusson, 2001). Even though the wardrobe
context appears at school and during school time, it differs from the traditional
school context in way that there is no teacher present and the students may feel
free to play some music, be loud and extrovert with each other. Conversely, this
context and its interactions may also for some students lead them to develop
barriers for nakedness and showering (ODonovan et al., 2015). Consequently,
one may claim that the notion for investigating the development of the
wardrobe practice in PE correspond to Bronfenbrenners (1977, p. 513) view on
research generally conducted on human behaviour: the science of the
strange behavior of children in strange situations.. . When human
development occurs, it is in fact the interaction between human and human
environment that has changed (Hutchins, 1995; Johansen, 2009; Lerner &
Damon, 2006). Moreover, Lerner and Damon (2006) clarifies that when we
consider the context then it will first and foremost say that we recognize that we
are all in constant interaction with complementary contexts of everyday life.
Magnusson and Stattin (1998, p. 694) claim that to understand human
development, behavior, and functioning, two parallel processes should be
considered: a) the continuously ongoing bidirectional process of interaction
between the person and his or her environment, and b) the continuously
ongoing process of reciprocal interaction among mental, biological, and
behavioral factors within the individual. Higaard and Johansen (2015) believe
that the context in sport and PE refers to both a relationship and interaction, and
the context change with different social contexts and environments. Thus, the
social context may be different in the wardrobe in PE than for example in the
class room. In PE lessons the students are often evaluated based on their
demonstration of different skills and appropriate movements in sport activities,

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44

and not through oral or written sentences which most of the time is the case in
the class room (Higaard & Johansen, 2015). There are reasons to believe that the
students self-evaluation, or at least part of it, in the PE lessons will influence
their self-evaluation in the wardrobe practice before and after a PE lesson. This
may be considered as a new context with different opportunities for different
actions and realizations. However, it is still more or less a complementary
context with the same individuals, and the behavior demonstrated in the
wardrobe practice is most likely a result of the constraints in this new context
perceived by the student based on for example the teacher behavior, peer
relations, and self-perception in PE.
Consequently, the abovementioned contextualization and interactional
assumptions of the wardrobe practice in PE provide consequences for
methodological choice and/or instruments. Hence, the participants in this study
will be interviewed and asked to elaborate on their thoughts and experiences
related to their perception the wardrobe practice in PE including their
showering habits. Therefore, the overall aim of this study is to investigate the
students experience of the wardrobe practice context prior to and after the PE-
lessons.

Method
Participants
The participants in this study are 16 students (eight girls and eight boys,
all aged 15 years) from 10th grade in a lower secondary school in southern part
of Norway. In rural areas of Norway, students generally come from various
school districts and different elementary schools before being assigned to new
schools and classes at lower secondary level. To avoid factors such as insecurity
of unfamiliar school environments, new class mates, and new teachers, students
from the third and final year were recruited. Additionally, to gain variation of
the students experiences of the research topic at hand, different background
among the selected participants was warranted. Therefore, two contact teachers
were asked to select 16 students that voluntarily agreed to participate in this
study after the following inclusion criteria; 10th graders, age 15 years, different
competencies in PE, different level of activity in PE lessons, and active in sports
or not. The study has been approved by the Norwegian Social Science Data
Services (NSD).

Procedure
All selected students expressed an interest in taking part and were orally
informed about the study and their rights in accordance with ethical guidelines
for social science. Written consent from the participants was obtained, in
accordance with the National ethical regulations. The interviews were
conducted at the students school during the school day, located in convenient
facilities. To create an optimal and adequate atmosphere, the semi-structured
interviews were conducted by a female researcher for girls and a male
researcher for the boys. The interviews lasted between 20 and 35 minutes and
the audio-recordings were subsequently transcribed as textual files. The
transcription-process resulted in a total of 128 pages of raw data (double spaced,
font Times New Roman in Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, size 12).

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45

Instrumentation
Interview guide
A semi-structured interview guide was developed with the intention of
exploring how a selection of informants experienced the wardrobe practice
among students in physical education. The interview guide had questions
relating to the informants thoughts and experiences concerning perception of
the teacher (e.g., Ommundsen & Kval, 2007; Siedentop & Tannehill, 1999), peer
relations (e.g., Bjrnebekk, 2015; Siedentop & Tannehill, 1999; Borgen & Rugseth,
2014) self-evaluation (e.g., Cash & Pruzinsky, 1990; Harter, 2000; Kvalem, 2007;
Zimbardo, 1981) and digital environment (e.g., Bjrnebekk, 2015; Moen, Westlie,
Brattli, Bjrke, & Vaktskjold, 2015). Figure 1 illustrates the four main themes
used to highlight the topic "wardrobe practice among students in physical
education".

Teacher Peer
Perception Relations

Self- Digital
evaluation Environment

Figure 1: The figure shows the four main themes in the interview guide.
Note. The grey background area represents the contextual and interactional life of the
wardrobe practice experienced by the students participating in this study (see
Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006).

Data analysis
The interviews verbatim were transcribed immediately after completion
and subject to a descriptive phenomenological analysis (Robinson & Englander,
2008). The four steps of Giorgis (1985) human scientific method were used to
explicate the data. Step one and two are mainly practical steps and required
reading of all the raw data and sorting it into meaning units (Robinson &
Englander, 2008). Step three required transformation of the data to a physical
education science perspective through describing the meaning of the text
(Robinson & Englander, 2008). In the last step Microsoft Excel was used to
organize and sort data in emerging primary and secondary categories. This

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46

process was repeated to gain a better overview to ensure that the most exact
meaning units and categories of descriptions were found (Malterud, 2012).

Results
The experiences of each student of the wardrobe practice in PE appeared
to follow a similar pattern or sequence of events. After the data analysis four
main categories of description emerged; 1) Friendship, 2) Physical Facilities, 3)
Digital Life and 4) Shyness as illustrated in Figure 2. The result section will
provide an overview over these categories, including sub-categories,
accompanied illustrating quotations.

Physical
Friendship
Facilities

Digital Life Shyness

Figure 2: The figure shows the four main categories that influence the students
experience of the wardrobe practice in PE, emerging from the data analysis.

1) Friendship

Room of Cohesion
The wardrobe in PE seems to be a room where students thrive. They say
that it is socially, they sing, they dance, they talk, and they fool around;
"In the dressing room there is really very good atmosphere, lots of singing, chatting
and dancing. (...) It's usually just that we are kidding and having fun. It's just that
it's a fun place to be. One can be loud without it having any consequences, without
anyone necessarily pays attention to you."
Several students are talking about that the wardrobe may be forming
good cohesion between students. They are gathered together at the same place
and this has a positive effect among them;
"No, it's nice there. We're good buddies and friends all together. We always have
something to talk about. We thrive in wardrobe. (...) Indeed, it is a place we all have
in common. When its break time in the school yard, everyone goes everywhere."

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47

Togetherness and Enjoyment


Overall the interviewees expressed a general perception that they enjoy
school, in the wardrobe, and that they thrive well in PE lessons. The students
claim that physical education is a subject they learn a lot and emphasize
cooperation, respect, fun, variety, and motivation as the main factors for the
well-being. One student reported;
Everyone takes the initiative, and everyone has at least one friend. So, there is a
sense of solidarity. It is good. We work and there is nothing negative. We respect
each other for what we are, whether we participate in gym class or not. "
The perspective of enjoyment is pinpointed by a participant as; "Perhaps,
because many people find it fun. At least in the gym room, so they think it is very fun
with different activities and stuff." The enjoyment through variation in PE is
underlined by a participant as; "It's a lot of theory otherwise, so it's very nice with
something practical."

Respect and Cooperation


The students experience the class in PE good at cooperating, provide
excellent feedback, and they respect each other. Students believe that the teacher
focuses on fair play, which has a positive impact on attitudes to each other. The
learning environment in PE seems therefore to be supportive and they are good
at encouraging each other also in the wardrobe;
"That's cooperation then. We are a very tight-knit class.; "Yes, they are good at making
positive things and are encouraging."; "We are quite confident in each other."
Asked what the teacher focuses on in PE lessons concepts such as fair
play, well-being, enjoyment and effort are reported;
"Hmm, you learn that its smart to put in maximum effort and do the best you can
in addition to fair play. Thats what our teacher says something about. (...)
Partnership, positive comments, helpful feedback, and some different stuff. "
Students were asked what makes a teacher a good PE-teacher. Some
students reported that they found that the teacher him/herself should
participate in activities during lessons as they believe this might increase the
motivation of students and their perception of the wardrobe practice;
"As long as there is a physical education teacher who is active. It is a plus if the
gym teacher can participate in the activities themselves. I do not think it is any fun
when gym teacher just sits on the bench. (...) She sits mostly on the bench and note
if she sees something. It has been okay so far but I think it would be more fun if she
had been running along with us."

"The positive feedback on how you are doing it. For example, in the gym then, they
[the teachers] say your name and tell you what was good. Then you remember it
longer and at least until the lesson is over."

2) Physical Facilities
A very characteristic observation in this study is the distinguishing
difference students make between the locker room and the shower room in their
experience of the wardrobe practice in PE. While the social environment
connected to the wardrobe situation was experienced as positive, the physical

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48

environment or more precisely the built environment exemplified through


shower facilities played a more multifaceted role.

The lack of Shower Facilities


The results revealed that bad shower facilities at the school influenced
the students experiences of the wardrobe practice and even their behaviour
during the lesson in PE;
Showers are old and ugly, there are cracks in the tiles and there is almost no water
pressure in the showers.
"Its dirty and it tempts not exactly going in there [in the shower], and in that way,
it affects how you are working in the gym, so one cannot do everything, because you
cannot shower afterwards."
When students were asked about the showering habits and why it was
more or less okay for students to undress in front of each other but not to take a
shower together they emphasized the significance of better facilities and shower
routines among the students;
"Best had probably been if all had showered. (...) And in the wardrobe, it should be
a change that people should shower more."
Inserting cubicles, shower curtains, and private locker rooms would have helped
but the cubbyholes are not a guarantee that they choose to shower. But shower
curtains most certainly.

Lack of Privacy
When the students were asked about the showering habits body pressure
and body focus were mentioned as reasons for not taking a shower after a PE
lesson;
"It may be some do not like that the showers are so close together. It's sort of half a
meter to one meter between each shower. They may be afraid that others will see
"the knob" maybe. (...) Most tend to have soap or boxer in front when they enter.
"Although we have a very good class, people can be insecure about their body ...
that there is a bit like that if they see that no one showers, then they think that, nor
can I shower because then they will look down on me "
"It's probably due to body pressure, and that they do not feel safe in class for
it's showering together with someone. It's sort of very embarrassing ..."
"I do not think so much about it, but no, it is quite normal [not to shower]."
"I think I'm a little afraid of being judged or that other girls in the class will judge
me because of my body.
The respondents were also asked about the practice in the locker room
when someone was having a shower. A male student reported;
We stand with "the knob" against the wall. It is silent. Or maybe someone ask if
they can borrow soap or something. Maybe we are not so fond of showering with
others. We like to keep things a little private, not too fond of showing off "the knob"
to others.
It's more thigh against thigh. There are those on our side who are close. It's sort of
just a small half meter, and when one is naked it is found within the intimate zone
really."

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49

Exposed to Puberty
Some of the students refer to puberty and the transition phase over to a
new school and new classmates as plausible reason for discomfort. There are
also students who demonstrate that puberty and new hair growth makes it
uncomfortable to shower naked together;
"No, I'm a little unsure. When we went from elementary school, then had a shower
we, yes, but when you get into a new school and new pupils, so it becomes a little
embarrassing. When one begins not to shower, and it has just become a habit that
one does not. (...) It is well because one will not show off some might not have
reached puberty etc. Some may think it is embarrassing not to have come so far. (...)
There is no shower culture here. "

"Probably because many reach puberty, and then the hairy some places, and so yeah
... (...) Yes, it is embarrassing then. (...) Firstly, it was a whole new class with new
people, and then it's not the first thing one does to walk naked in the shower with.
"Think maybe it has something to do that they are afraid to show off their bodies,
that they are unsafe. They are afraid to get ugly feedback, or little positive feedback /
comments. Maybe there are some who find it unnecessary to shower, but I think
most that it is what they are afraid of what other people think. (...) That body
changed differently. Perhaps some feel uncomfortable if their body changed later
than others, that they somehow feel they are not accepted."

3) Digital Life
All informants in the present study reported that they use different social
media such as Facebook, Snapchat, and/or Instagram and they cannot imagine a
life without them. How this use affects their experience of the wardrobe practice
is somehow complicated to apprehend.

A Perfect Body
Some of the girls in study admitted that the various online services affect
their relationship to their body. They reported the media can be both strengthen
and weaken upon their confidence;
"I see the kind of girls who are really nice, and they have the body, right? But then
you can feel better that you look like other girls that has forms and shapes like your
own body, right? You can in a way look at yourself in the picture. One can
somehow see that it is actually fine, and I might be good enough if she is good
enough.
"It affects it really pretty much. People [class mates/friends] put the pictures of
the sort when they are out and exercise, shirtless, or with only a bra or something
like that, for them to show that they are fit and like that and to show as much of
their bodies. And then it is very like the feeling you are not good enough, the other
is thinner than yourself, and it affects it [body image] really quite a lot."

Likes and be Liked


The informants reported that social media is used to catch up on what
friends are doing and that you have get as many likes as possible to get
recognition. And what is posted seems to affect the students body image;

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50

"It's always a real treat with much likes, but it is not what really matters. There are
certainly many who like image to duplicate images somehow, but it is not certain
that they actually like it.
"Yes, I feel it. One will often have as many as possible likes his picture, if you post
something. To get some recognition then."
A boy in this study says that you notice what the girls press "like" and
what they comment in relation to the images on social media and in media. It
may seem that this creates an illustration of what is good and how you ideally
should look like;
"Or it's like someone who sees the image, for example, if a girl scrolls down on
Instagram and look at an image of a nice man with a good six pack and she says,
that's fine". Then perhaps the boy who sees that is feeling that it is a plus to have a
great six pack.
"It might be that, but I think it is most especially on snap chat and Instagram in
that regard. People post pictures where they are somewhat scantily dressed. Then
people are in that way being influenced to look a little thinner or to have more
muscle."

The Silent Pressure


Additionally, it seems to exist agreement or understanding among the
students about liking each others pictures and some believe that someone adds
more "friends" to get more "likes" on their images, but nobody is talking about it
in public;
"It depends a little on how many friends you have on Facebook, etc. I know usually
all I have on Facebook. There are a lot that just add many without really knowing
them to get more likes.
"It could be that the focus of social media is how you should look like and like it has
meant that they did not feel they meet the requirements for how one should look
like. It is well simply that they certainly feel insecure about themselves, and perhaps
in some schools it's said that one gets to hear it if you are not this or that.
It is a kind of body pressure out there [on social media], but that it is not being
said aloud. Some of us call it a silent or silently body pressure. I think this is a part
of the reason that the shower culture has become so taboo.

4) Shyness

Cover up and Hide


Shyness in terms of discomfort, embarrassment, and shame seems to be a
common term about how students experience both the wardrobe situation and
the showering habits in school. Furthermore, some of the students expressed
how the feeling of discomfort presents itself when to change clothing and/or be
naked in front of each other. The need to hide with towel or other clothing when
they change is regarded as quite necessary;
"No, they like, go down t-shirt sort of It is only with your pants many
standing with jacket still on so that it covers ... Maybe they do it to not see the
body, I do not know ".
"I think it has something with the body to do .... I am afraid to be judged, or that
other girls in the class will judge me because of the body ".
"I dont shower because I'm afraid to show myself."

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51

But if you shower with boxer, for example, I think like most others that it's stupid
to be scared. But no one says anything. It's sort of allowed to be you really. (...) No,
there are not so many. We are about 4 or 5 that shower maybe."

Intimate Zone
The students reported that they feel discomfort in that the showers are so
close together. They feel they come within intimate zone to another. A few did
take a shower, but it still depends on whether they are sweaty or not;
"Depends on what we do in physical education class. Some activities will be
sweatier than others."
"Surely no one had showered, but we had perhaps thought that one had to smell
sweaty the rest of the day. It's someone who washes their arms."

Reduce Effort or Forget


Several girls in the present study reported that they deliberately lessened
intensity level in PE because they did not want to take a shower afterwards and
to avoid smelling sweaty. One of the girls deliberately forgot gym clothes if
there was a risk to get sweaty;
"Yes, sometimes I dont bring gym clothes because of that [being in the locker
room and/or need for showering]."
"We tend never to look exhausted after a hard lesson but if we had so I think I only
had washed my face in a bit of water in the sink and under the arms and stuff. Do
not think I ever have taken a shower."

Discussion
The overall purpose of this study was to investigate the wardrobe
practice in PE and to examine how this context influence the students
experiences and their attitude towards the subject PE, and whether they shower
or not after the lessons. After analysing all the interviews, four main categories
emerged when describing the students various experiences of the wardrobe
practice in PE; 1) Friendship, 2) Physical Facilities, 3) Digital Life and 4) Shyness.
Even though we put the students experience in four various categories of
descriptions they are all interwoven and equally highlight the phenomenon
studied.
Nevertheless, the first reason for operating and presenting four distinct
categories describing the students experiences of the wardrobe practice in PE is
to emphasize that these categories are not merely description but also represent
an interpretation. In this study what we mean by interpretation is the adoption
of a non-given factor to help account for what is in the students experience,
such as a theoretical bearing, a hypothesis, or an assumption (Giorgi, 2012). In
that way it is easier to reveal not only if students are showering or not after PE
lesson (i.e., description) but what might be the reason behind their showering
habits (i.e., interpretation). The second reason for the data presentation is that
one may highlight the complexity of the phenomenon studied and grasp
different distinctions and peculiarities of the informants experiences (sub-
categories and illustrating quotations). Hence, the findings in this study have
revealed that students in lower secondary school experience the wardrobe
practice in PE both in a positive and in a negative way. Additionally, the
contrast in the students thoughts and feelings have painted a picture that vary

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52

from (1) that the wardrobe practice in PE is the greatest place and arena in
school for growing friendship on one hand to (2) being a place and arena they
almost hate and avoid being a part of if possible on the other hand. One may
claim that for some of the students in the present study the wardrobe practice,
and probably the PE subject itself, represent what we might call a Janus face,
showing two different sides of one face. Moreover, the intricacy in the
informants different experiences in the present study also emphasize the value
of using a contextual and interactional theoretical framework when describing
and interpreting development and behavior among adolescents.
There is also a Janus face tendency when it comes to the showering habits
of the students participating in this study, some did shower, and some did not.
In line with previous research in the field (Bjrnebekk, 2015; Sandercock et al.,
2014; ODonovan et al., 2015; Moen et al., 2015) approximately 1/3 of students
did shower regularly after PE and there were more boys than girls showering.
Almost everyone among the informants who did shower reported that they used
underwear. Based on the participants different background such as varying
competencies for PE, diverse level of activity in PE lessons, and active in sports
or not, provided by the contact teacher in advance, we found the same pattern of
showering habits as in Sandercock et al. (2014). Students of high intensity level
in PE lesson, occupied in sport, and girls participating in team sports were those
who did shower after the lessons. Thus, findings related to shower habits in this
study may reflect positive familial (parental) attitudes to physical activity in
general or PE lessons at school (Birchwood, Roberts, & Pollack, 2008; Wheeler,
2012). Interestingly, but not surprisingly, students who reported high self-
confidence and expressed a positive self-perception were also those who did
shower. This well-being affects students at many levels will probably affect how
students act socially and positive experiences of physical activity may create
feelings of satisfaction and may be fun (Yli-Piipari, Watt, Jaakkola, Liukkonen, &
Nurmi, 2009). There are reasons to believe that these students dont perceive any
barriers connected to nakedness nor exposing their bodies. However, most of the
participants did report these barriers and felt quite some embarrassment
connected to not only undressing and being naked in front of their class mates,
but also standing close to another person when showering. This embarrassment
is in line with what Zimbardo (1981) has described as a short-term acute loss of
self-esteem and students seem to react with shyness. This situational
embarrassment, like shame and shyness, seems to be triggered because of an
unconscious and bodily mirroring process with others present, as Bjrnbekk
(2015) also have demonstrated.
Additionally, other findings indicate that the shyness or the body image
among the students may interact with the digital life they live. All informants
reported that they were consumers of Facebook, Instagram, and/or Snapchat
similarly to all their friends. They revealed that the use of social media when
class mates or friends gave likes of posted picture of either a girl or a boy they
know or any famous model, it influenced their perception of their own body. As
pointed out earlier, the concept of body image is complex (Cash & Pruzinsky,
1990; Harter, 2000; Kvalem, 2007; Tiggemann, 2014), and when the boys in this
study were asked whether they are affected by the girls' views on the ideal body
several answered without hesitating yes because they know what the girls in

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53

their class appreciate about the boys and their bodies, and what they comment
on Facebook and Instagram. Nevertheless, the boys still seem to have a nuanced
picture of the ideal body and reported that they are not so concerned if someone
is thick or thin if they are satisfied themselves. Whether students body image
makes them unsafe in the locker room or the shower may be difficult to
conclude, however, based on the present findings one may suggest that
students self-evaluation may vary with the different contexts they live in and
are comfortable with. None of the informants reported that they were afraid of
be filmed or taking a photo of in the wardrobe for this material to eventually
being distributed. However, several participants pinpointed the backside of
social media by reporting the huge pressure perceived should they not receive
enough likes on their profile and, consequently, their popularity was sinking.
This affected their well-being and their attitude towards school in general and
the subject PE and the wardrobe practice in special.
In this study we have tried to shed some light on various aspects in and
around the wardrobe practice in PE. The overall findings indicate that the
wardrobe itself is perceived as positive. Students seem to thrive, they are
enjoying chatting, singing, dancing, they fool around, and some students
mentioned that there is even better well-being in the wardrobe than at recess.
They are experiencing the wardrobe practice as unifying and social and this
practice seems to lead to the formation of social relationships, particularly
between the boys. However, when the informants were asked about the shower
habits the situation abruptly contrasts. Most of students did not shower and
according to several of the informants it seems like the transition between
primary and secondary school is a critical period. Students come from different
elementary schools and meeting with new students in a new class creates
challenges in relation to shower together. Findings indicate that the body image
and puberty have a vital role where the student feels uncomfortable with the
rapid transformation of the body. This causes embarrassment, discomfort, and
shyness even among 10th graders knowing each other for more than two years.
However, there seems to be a different trend when students talk about
showering before and after swimming lessons. In this setting, it is regarded as
normal behavior to shower and everyone does it some with swimming
trunks/suits on while others with out. Students reported that it is easier to
shower when everyone else is doing it and one would probably not be the one
who will not shower.
Further, there seems to be several practical reasons for not showering.
Reasons reported in this study are that it is better to shower at home if PE is the
last lesson of the day, gym clothes occupies too much space in your pack, a lack
of time, or that they are simply too lazy. Some students reported showering as
too challenging work and there is simply no shower culture among these
adolescents. In addition, some feel that they are not sweating enough during PE
lesson and there is no point in showering. Whether the wardrobe practice has an
influence for activity and participation in PE is difficult to conclude and is
beyond the scope of this paper. However, based on most of the informants
experiences they thrive in the PE lessons and want to do their utmost to achieve
the best possible grade. Based on this fact and that students want the PE-
teachers to be active themselves one may, perhaps, ask the question: Is the level

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54

of activity in PE lessons in this study at a level (so low) that the students find it
not necessary to shower?

Strengths, limitations and implications


This study is not without its limitations and these issues should be
considered when interpreting the findings. The limited numbers of participants
in this study require carefulness in the interpretation process but the style of
analysis employed was taken to establish validity and consistency of the data. In
our opinion, the empirical material succeeds in saturating the phenomenon
examined, meaning that it is sufficient to reveal the main aspects of students
experiences of the context wardrobe practice in PE and more interviews will
probably not uncover something decisively new or different. Hence, Thelwell,
Weston, and Greenlees (2005) pinpointed in their study of mental toughness in
soccer that the interviews with six player generated data subject to the
phenomenon examined that were more than adequate in terms of richness and
content. Lincoln and Guba (1999) argue that a thick description and prolonged
engagement are preconditions establishing trustworthiness of a qualitative
study. Moreover, the strategic variation in the data generated from the 16
contributors in the present study should, therefore, be more than adequate to
gain detailed descriptions of the phenomenon experienced by the informants
(Malterud, 2012).
All quotations used in this article were translated from Norwegian to
English. To avoid possible limitations in the analysis because of language the
whole analysis process was completed in the original language (van Nes, Abma,
Johnson & Deeg, 2010). The findings in present study do not represent a diverse
socio-economic group and a more heterogeneous population could provide
insight into subcultural demands of students of different ethnicity and
socioeconomic status. Common criticism of the phenomenological method is
that different researchers may find dissimilar meanings in the same interview
and because of this the method is not scientific (Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009).
Nonetheless, the researchers background and pre-understanding can be an
advantage in qualitative research because of the access gained into the
informants everyday world (Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009). Robson (1993) argue
that qualitative data often must face criticism that the work is unreliable and
invalid and the problem, which is the central strength at the same time, is the
reliance on the human instrument. Both these conditions are taken in
consideration and strengthen trustworthiness in the present study.
In relation to the procedures that can be facilitated to get more students
to thrive in the wardrobe and feel comfortable when showering after PE lessons,
one may start with the physical facilities. Shower curtain/cubicles, private
locker rooms, and at least modern and hygienic showering facilities are all a
possible solution. However, given the complexity of the phenomenon studied
there is no guarantee for minimization of the bodily embarrassment perceived
by these adolescents. Moreover, this implies an economic burden most of the
schools may be unable to bear. Further, the habit of not showering after a PE
lesson appears to come from a kind of trend among the youth, and PE-teachers
and parents should do a better job to motivate students for several reasons to
take a shower. A better collaboration between school and home, especially

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55

regarding the transition from primary school to secondary school, seems to be


warranted. A clarification of the role of the teacher in PE related to not only
motivate but also gain more knowledge about what is going on in the wardrobe
is recommended. However, adopting peephole in the teachers wardrobe
monitoring the students are not recommendable, but some closer mental
attendances when students want to be seen either during the PE lesson or in the
context of the wardrobe practice could be fruitful. These are just a few practical
implications and assumptions that may help young people in a rapid and critical
period of development and, hopefully, in the subject of PE to be inspired for a
physically active lifestyle and create lifelong enjoyment of movement.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 16, No. 10, pp. 58-71, October 2017
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.16.10.5

How Pre-Service Teachers Learn: An


Investigation of Motivation and Self-Regulation
Ali A. Alenazi, PhD.
College of Education, Jazan University
Jazan, Saudi Arabia

Abstract. This study investigated the effect of using a self-assessment


tool known as a Knowledge Survey (KS) on the motivation and self-
regulation of thirty-four pre-service teachers in an introductory
educational course. The pre-service teachers were provided with a 115-
question KS during the first week of class to use as an independent
study guide for a 14-week semester. Data collection included journals
entries, observations and focus group interviews. The results provided
evidence indicating that the use of KS contributed to an increase in the
pre-service teachers motivation and ultimately improved their own
learning through self-regulation. The pre-service teachers employed
metacognitive and cognitive strategies to learn the content and skills
required for the course through the KS, tracked the progress of this
learning, and adjusted strategies as needed.

Keywords: pre-service teachers; self-regulation; self-regulated learning;


motivation; knowledge survey.

1. Introduction
Self-regulation is a significant aspect in pre-service teacher education endeavors.
It is crucial to academic success and also to teaching career development (Buzza
& Allinotte, 2013). Pre-service teachers need to learn self-regulation skills that
enable them to evaluate their teaching and to gradually improve it over time.
Ryan and Cooper (2012) depict this notion as follows:

Although it is important to prepare ... teachers for initial practice, it is


even more important to help them develop the attitudes and skills that
will enable them to become lifelong students of teaching. Ideally, rather
than relying on authority... they will continually examine and evaluate
their practice, effectiveness, and accomplishments. (p.164)

Unfortunately, developing teacher self-regulation skills is often not perceived as


a priority in teacher preparation programs (Dembo, 2001; Bembenutty, White, &
Velez, 2015). The main focus in teacher preparation programs is often restricted
to pre-service teacher knowledge of subject matter, knowledge of students, and
instructional practices and how to put those practices to effective use in their

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59

classrooms (Edge, 2015). Zimmerman (2008) supported the notion that self-
regulation skills are essential for pre-service teachers to develop and thus
demanded that current research focus on investigating the ways pre-service
teacher motivational feelings influence their self-regulation learning. One way to
gather insight into such influence is to provide self-regulation related learning
experiences to pre-service teachers (Randi, 2004). Accordingly, this study aimed
to address how motivation and self-regulation of pre-service teachers interact in
an introductory educational course.

2. Background
Self-regulation is a cyclical process of taking control of one's own learning.
According to Zimmerman (2000), self-regulated learning (SRL) consists of three
stages. The first stage is forethought where a learner analyzes the task and sets
goal(s) to complete it. The second stage is performance where the learner selects
metacognitive and cognitive strategies to perform the task, monitors the
effectiveness of the strategies selected, and adjusts them as needed. The third
stage is reflection on performance where the learner evaluates his/her
performance on the learning task.

Metacognitive strategies are referred to those used for regulating the learners
own activities, such as thru planning (Nelson & Narens, 1994; Pintrich, 2002).
Meanwhile, cognitive strategies are approaches used for processing of
information, which learners apply to learn and understand their study material.
Examples of this include rehearsal (Duncan & McKeachie, 2005). Jaafar,
Awaludin, and Bakar (2014) argued that acquiring a knowledge of
metacognitive and cognitive strategies is significant, but insufficient for self-
regulation in which learners must be motivated in order to able to use such
strategies to regulate their cognition and effort.

Pintrich and Groot (1990) advocated the notion that self-regulation is inspired by
motivation. In their study, they proposed three motivational components that
influence self-regulation. The first component is an expectancy component, Can
I do this task? This is self-efficacy, which refers to the beliefs of the learner
about his/her ability to perform a certain task (Bandura, 1997). The second
component is an emotional component, "How do I feel about this task?" This
refers to the emotional reactions of learner when performing a task that might
affect the final outcomes. The third component is a value component, Why am I
doing this task? It represents the learners reasons for performing the task. The
interaction of the three motivational components determines the type and
magnitude of the influence on self-regulation.

The current study explores how the interactive relations of the three
motivational components influence pre-service teacher self-regulation as they
use a self-assessment tool, a Knowledge Survey (KS). A KS is a self-assessment tool
that includes the full-breadth of learning objectives of a course, which are
presented as a large collection of questions. These questions are designed
according to Blooms Taxonomy (i.e., knowledge, comprehension, application,
analysis, synthesis, and evaluation). Learners are not required to answer the KS

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60

questions; rather, they use a rating scale to assess their confidence levels in their
abilities to answer each question with competence if the question were to appear
on an actual test. That is, what is being surveyed is the confidence learners have
in their own judgment compared to actual performance (Nuhfer & Knipp, 2003;
Wirth & Perkins, 2005).

Research shows that KS is a useful self-assessment tool that allows pre-service


teachers to predict performance and to monitor their learning over time (Clauss
& Geedey, 2010; Alenazi, 2014). Pre-service can apply a pre-course KS to gain
insight into their learning needs, a post-course KS to determine their learning
gains, or a KS throughout a course to monitor their learning. KS can be used as a
study guide [to] support students in learning their material, focus their
attention on important topics and help them review for quizzes and tests
(Conderman & Bresnahan, 2010, p. 169). Namely, it focuses student attention on
what to learn and how to learn it.

However, little is known about whether a KS can motivate pre-service teachers


to regulate their own learning. The purpose of this study is to investigate how
the three motivational components influence pre-service teachers self-regulation
learning in an introductory educational course as they apply a KS. This
investigation focuses on three sub-questions: Can pre-service teachers answer
the KS questions? How do pre-service teachers feel about answering the KS
questions? and Why are pre-service teachers answering the KS questions?
Analysis of the answers to these questions and the magnitude of self-regulation
applied by the pre-service teachers were utilized to understand the extent that
KS can motivate pre-service teachers to regulate their own learning.

3. Research Question
To what extent does a Knowledge Survey motivate pre-service teachers to regulate
their own learning in an introductory educational course?

4. Methodology
4.1 Sample
The current study sample consisted of thirty-four pre-service elementary school
teachers from a male college of education at a Southern University in Saudi
Arabia. The participants were 1922 years old with a mean age of 20. The
participants needed to successfully complete a four-year teacher preparation
program in order to graduate and become certified elementary school teachers.
Among the thirty-four participants, fifteen were special education majors, fifteen
were art majors, and four were physical education majors. The participants were
in their coursework stage of study in the program; this stage precedes the stage
that includes student teaching experience. At the time of the present study, the
participants were enrolled in a three-hour introductory educational course that
emphasizes learning basic principles of curriculum and instruction. All the
participants volunteered to participate in the study based on their desire to learn
about and to help the researcher learn more about motivation and self-
regulation.

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61

4.2 Instrument Development


The instrument for this research was a KS of 115 questions. The KS contains all
the content and skills assigned for the course, but are presented in a particular
structure, with a question format. In other words, every part of the required
course requirements was presented in the KS as a question. For example, the
book states the definition of a teaching method as the strategies implemented by
the teacher to achieve desired learning goals by students. In the KS, this
definition is presented as What is a teaching method? The questions in the KS
measure all levels of thinking as evenly as possible. The answers to questions of
low-level thinking (i.e., knowledge, comprehension, and application) were often
found in the required book or readings as opposed to the high-level thinking
(i.e., analysis, synthesis, and evaluation) where participants need to generate
new answers by examining and breaking information into parts, compiling
information together in a different way, and making judgments about certain
statements. The process of developing the instrument underwent two stages:

4.2.1 Item collection and creation


Questions were collected or created to cover all the course materials (a 405-page
book titled, Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction and readings of 21
pages). First, high-volume questions were collected from: 1) previous exams
conducted by the researcher or other instructors during past years of teaching
the same course and 2) the literature. Second, other questions were created for
parts of the course materials that were not covered by the collected questions. In
order to cover such wide range of course materials, most of the collected or
created questions were subjective. The reason is that subjective questions (e.g.,
extended-response essay) cover more content as opposed to objective questions
(e.g., multiple choice questions).

4.2.2 Item identification and selection


Two faculty members who have taught the course for at least three years were
asked to identify the best questions that meet the course objectives from among
the questions collected and created in the first stage. Next, the candidate
questions were organized into six order-levels according to Blooms Taxonomy.
To develop the KS, 115 questions were selected and distributed as evenly as
possible across Blooms Taxonomy and to cover all the content and skills
imbedded in the course materials. The KS included a 4-point scale (0 = I cannot
begin to answer this problem; 1 = I can partially answer this problem; 2 = I can
answer most of the problem; and 3 = I can answer the entire problem with full
confidence) that participants can use for each question to predict and monitor
their mastery level in the course (See Table. 1).

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Table 1: Excerpt of six items from the 115-item knowledge survey


Bloom Level Question 0 1 2 3
1. Knowledge What are the essential components of
curriculum?
2. Comprehension Explain how goal seating can contribute to
good curriculum design?
3. Application Write learning objectives in each level of
Blooms Taxonomy.
4. Analysis Compare student-centered leaning to
teacher-centered learning.
5. Synthesis Develop an original lesson plan in your field.
6. Evaluation In your opinion, which is more effective in
measuring student-learning outcomes:
subjective test questions or objective test
questions? Why?

4.3 Procedures
The study was conducted over fourteen weeks. Every participant was handed a
hard copy of the 115-question KS during the first week of class for use
throughout the semester as a study guide and was instructed on how use it. No
obligation was imposed to solve the survey questions. The participants were
informed that two mid-term exams would be given in the 6th week and the 12th
week in addition to a final exam at the end of the semester. All exams were
counted as 70% towards the total grade of the course (10% for each mid-term
and 50% for the final exam). They were also informed that the course exams
questions would be drawn from the KS, but not necessarily with the same
format or quantity.

To illustrate, answering the following question, In your opinion, which is more


effective in measuring student-learning outcomes: subjective test questions or
objective test questions? Why? The answer of this question entails having an
adequate knowledge of the definition, representative examples, and pros and
cons of both subjective questions and objective questions. Thus, several sub-
questions can be derived from the above question. One sub-question can be
elicited as, Discuss the pros and cons of using subjective questions to measure
student-learning outcome. Another sub-question would be, What are objective
test questions? Provide examples.

4.4 Data Collection


Data were collected from: (1) one open-ended question survey, (2) participant
journals (3) researcher observations and (4) follow-up focus group interviews
with the participants. First, participants were asked in the first week to review
the KS and then answer the expectancy component sub-question, Can you
answer the KS questions? This was done through an open-ended question
survey in order to gain an insight into the participants self-efficacy. Second,
each participant was asked to write a journal entry every two weeks until before
the second mid-term. Skipping the mid-term exam weeks (6th and 12th), each
participant submitted five journal entries to describe in details their experience
with using the KS. No limitations or restrictions were imposed.

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63

Third, participants activities were observed. I took notes when I met


participants before class, in the classroom, during breaks, or even when they
visited me in my office. I expanded my notes by writing descriptive notes as
soon as passible and described what I heard or saw in details. Next, I wrote
reflective notes by jotting down my thought and opinions regarding these
specific activities. The journal entries and observations were meant to document
1) the participants statements that could provide answers to the emotional
component sub-question, How do pre-service teachers feel about answering the
KS questions? and the value component sub-question, Why are pre-service
teachers answering the KS questions? 2) Actions taken by the participants to
regulate their learning, if any.

Fourth, focus group interviews were conducted after the second mid-term exam.
Each interview lasted for one hour. The class (34 participants) was divided into
groups based on their total scores on the two mid-term exams. The mean score
was computed for each participant on the two exams. The scores ranged from
50% to 95%. Accordingly, three groups were created using a 15% interval as
follows: lower performing participants from 50% to 65% (8 participants),
moderate performing participants from more than 65% to 80% (11 participants),
and higher performing participants from more than 80% to 95% (15
participants). To obtain meaningful interaction among the participants, the
number of group members was restricted to between 5 and 10 in order for the
group to be large enough to generate rich discussion, but not so large that some
participants were left out. Since each group of moderate and high performing
participants included more than 10 members, each group was divided into two
smaller groups: (5,6) and (7,8), respectfully. The interviews were mainly
conducted to probe participants statements found in the journals or the survey
and actions noticed during the observation regarding the three motivational
components and self-regulation activities.

4.5 Data Analysis


The study involved qualitative data. The survey results, journal entries,
observation reflective notes, and interview transcripts were read carefully and
searched for participants answers and actions regarding two categories: 1) the
three motivational components and 2) the nature and magnitude of self-
regulation. A table of three main columns was created to document the entire
participants answers and actions regarding these two categories. The first
column read participant that included the participants name. The second one
had a main title read motivational component and was divided into three sub-
columns, one for each component: expectancy, emotional, and value. The third
one read self-regulation. Each answer or action made by a participant was
marked and tabulated under the related category. All the documented answers
and actions and their relationships were analyzed in light of participants
learning outcomes and utilized as the basis for arriving at a theoretical
understanding of how motivation and self-regulation of pre-service teachers
interact as they apply a KS in an introductory educational course.

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64

5. Results
The study reports on participant experience with the use of a Knowledge Survey
as they progressed throughout the semester. This experience is discussed in two
phases. Phase 1 is from week 1 to week 5 (from first day of classes until prior to
the first mid-term exam). Phase 2 is from week 7 to week 11 (between the first
mid-term exam and the second mid-term exam). All participants statements
were translated from Arabic.

5.1 Phase 1 (week 1 to week 5)


5.1.1 The Expectancy Component
The first sub-question addressed in this study was, Can pre-service teachers
answer all the KS questions? The results from the survey administered in the
first week of the semester indicated that 28 participants expressed a positive
prediction of their ability to solve the KS. They showed confidence in their
ability as they claimed that they will be able to solve the KS questions in one
way or another as they progressed through the semester. An example of a
typical statement is as follows:

Right now, I do not know all the answers for the KS questions, but I am sure I
will be able to solve them as the semester proceeds There are so many high-
level questions, but nothing is impossible. I encounter challenges every semester
and I enjoy overcoming themI am confident I will find solutions to the KS
questions alone or with the help of classmates.

5.1.2 Emotional Component


The second sub-question addressed in this study was, How do pre-service
teachers feel about answering the KS questions? The results from the journal
entries indicated that 31 participants expressed that the KS was overwhelming.
Accordingly, participant use of the KS was minimal. Evidence was clear from
the observation that only two participants brought their copy of the survey to
the classroom for every class session. The rest of the participants never brought
along the survey to class. There were also no indications of discussion about the
KS among the participants inside or outside the classroom. Certain reasons for
such disinterest in the use of the KS were found as follows:

5.1.2.1 New Teaching Tool


Participants expressed that using the KS was a new experience for them. This is
reflected in the following comments, Ive never seen such a survey. I dont feel
comfortable using it, and I am not used to this method. It is confusing.
Additional comments included, [We] usually get a summary of the course
content at the end of the semester to study for the final exam, but [the KS] is
different. Another participant suggested applying a traditional approach,
commenting, I think it would better to assign specific areas/sections of the
book for us to study. This is what other instructors usually do.

5.1.2.2 Question Volume


The volume of items in the survey was a major complaint from a majority of the
participants. They said, [The survey] has too many questions [and they] do not
know if [they] will have the time to answer all these questions. One participant

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65

explained, I have a busy schedule. It will be challenging for me to answer the


entire set of questions alone. Another stated, I have other courses to study
for.

5.1.2.3 Question Level


A few participants seemed to have uncertainty in their ability to solve items
designed in terms of higher-order level thinking: analysis, synthesis, and
evaluation. Answers to such questions are not usually found directly in the
assigned book or suggested readings. Participants needed to make an effort to
create the answer. Their statements in the journal entries were similar and
included the following, I could not find answers to some questions (higher-
order level thinking) in the book or the readings we do not usually get this
type of question I think that I will not be able to depend on myself to obtain
the correct answers to some questions.

5.1.2.4 Question Type


Participants reported having a large number of subjective questions in the KS
was a turn off for them. They preferred objective questions over subjective
questions because such questions entail less time and effort to answer. Pre-
service teachers said, The majority of the questions are subjective. We usually
have only one or two subjective questions on examswe need multiple-choice,
false/true, and fill-in-blank questions.

5.2 Phase 2 (week 7 to week 11)


5.2.1 Value Component
The third sub-question addressed in thus study was, Why are pre-service
teachers answering the KS questions? The survey results, journal entries, and
focus group interviews indicated that a majority of participants had strong
intrinsic motivation towards the course, as they believed that the course content
and skills in the KS are essential for their future teaching career. They often
pointed out that their main goal is to master such content and skills by the end
of the semester. Using the KS to achieve such goal; however, was overwhelming
for them due to the heavy workload associated with it as they preferred to learn
through typical instruction such as lectures.

This overwhelming feeling completely changed after the first mid-term exam
where a large change was observed in participant behavior in the weeks after the
first mid-term exam. Participants started to pay substantial attention to the KS,
whereas two main activities were detected. First, there was noticeable
continuous discussion about the KS questions amongst the participants inside
the classroom during the break as well as outside the classroom. Second,
participants started asking me during class, after class, or even during my office
hours for clarification about certain questions on the survey.

Most of the journal entries in this time period focused on challenges that were
overcome. Participant expressions changed from passive to active, and they
switched from describing challenges and how they were difficult to deal with to
describing their own ways of overcoming these challenges. The journal entries

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66

from this period mention how the first exam was a main reason for considering
the survey in a serious manner, as demonstrated by the following comments:

[The instructor] told us that we might have questions with the same format in
the exams from the survey, but I had doubted that. I am not used to that we
had two questions out of five in the first exam directly from the survey I
started paying more attention to answering the survey questions... I have the
exam questions, this is nice. I will solve all of them no matter what it takes.

After the first mid-term exam, the participants actively began the regulation
process for their own learning. The participants collectively created their own
groups and set goals to solve the KS questions as described in representative
statements such as, We believed that we could solve all the KS questions with
the help of each other Thus, we created a WhatsApp group of five members to
discuss and share our answers. WhatsApp is an instant messaging application
for smartphones that allows users to exchange texts, photos, audios, videos,
documents, location, voice calls, and video calls for free anytime anywhere in
the world. Since the survey questions were high in volume, the participant
explained, We divided the questions among our group members, and each
student selected a mixture of approximately 24 questions from the different
sections of the KS to solve throughout the semester3 questions per week, and
posted the answers to the group.
Next, each participant created personal strategies to come up with answers to
the allocated set of questions, track the effectiveness of these strategies, and
adjust them as needed. One participant said, I devoted one hour for the KS the
night before each class. I looked up answers in the bookonce I found an
answer in a page in the book, I wrote the page number next to the question in
the survey [And/or] I wrote the question number next to the answer in the
book. However, if they encountered difficulty regarding some questions, they
responded in various ways. Another participant said, I had to search the
Internet to get more information about some questions. A third stated, I read a
different book to help me find certain answers. In a few cases, lower
performing participants sought help from their peers. A lower performing
participant claimed that he asked his friend Ahmed to help him find the
answers of a few questions.

On a weekly basis, the participants evaluated their performance progress on the


learning tasks of the KS as shown in a participants statement, We reviewed our
answers weekly during the break in-classin cases where we could not find or
disagree on an answer in our group, we discussed it with another group.
Another participant said, We usually compared our answers with the other
groups answers.

Ultimately, the majority of participants improved their grades on the second


mid-term exam compared to the first mid-term exam as shown in Table 2. They
also expressed interest in having a KS for all the classes they attend. They agreed
that the KS can be time-consuming and requires considerable effort, but the
benefits of using it made it a load they could handle and deal with. In their

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67

opinion, the KS provided them from day one with a clear road map of what and
how to master by the end of the course.

Table 2: Comparison of participants scores on mid-term exam 1 and mid-term exam 2


P MTE 1 MTE 2 P MTE 1 MTE 2
1 7 8 18 8 9
2 4.5 5.5 19 9 9.5
3 6.5 7.5 20 7.5 10
4 4 9.5 21 5 9.5
5 6 9 22 8.5 8
6 7 9 23 5.5 8
7 6 7 24 6 10
8 3 7 25 6.5 10
9 5 6 26 8 8.5
10 7 10 27 7.5 9.5
11 5 8 28 6 6
12 9 9.5 29 8 10
13 9 8.5 30 7 7.5
14 7 9.5 31 5 9
15 7 10 32 4.5 7
16 6.5 10 33 6 8.5
17 5.5 7 34 7 9.5
Note. P: Participant, MTE: Mid-tem Exam.

6. Discussion and Conclusion


The study aimed to investigate to what extent a Knowledge Survey can motivate
pre-service teachers to regulate their own learning in an introductory
educational course. The study results suggest that the sample of pre-service
teachers in this study often utilized the KS designed for the course, which
produced a positive learning outcome. These results provided evidence
indicating that the use of the KS contributed to an increase in the participant
motivation and improvement in their own learning through self-regulation.

These positive learning outcomes were the end result of the interaction between
the three motivational components of the self-regulated learning: the expectancy
component, the emotional component, and the value component. The
expectancy component involved the answer to the question, Can pre-service
teachers answer the KS questions? The participants were able to recognize what
questions they could and could not answer after an initial scanning of the survey
at the beginning of the semester. All but a few participants claimed they were
confident with their ability to learn the content and skills covered in the KS in
one way on another. This alone, however, was insufficient for self-regulation.
The reason for this is that the expectancy component was negatively affected by
the emotional component, How do pre-service teachers feel about answering
the KS questions? The participants had negative feelings towards the KS due to
the high volume of work associated with it. They claimed that the content and
skills needed was explicit and systematic in the KS and they were clear on what
to learn. However, the application of the KS requires abundant effort and is very

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68

time-consuming. Thus, they preferred to ignore the KS and learn the required
content and skills through typical in-class instruction.

Thus, the value component, Why are pre-service teachers answering the KS
questions? was the most effective in changing behavior. The participants firmly
believed that the content and skills impeded in the KS was important to their
future teaching career and mastering them a key to success in this course. Still,
they showed a clear disinterest in the KS until after the first mid-term exam.
Interestingly, participant interest changed from non-interested to very-interested
in the KS after the first mid-term exam, which included two questions directly
from the KS and three others with equivalent formatting.

Although the participants were informed in the beginning of the study that all
the course exams questions would be drawn from the KS with the same format
or an equivalent one, they apparently doubted this as this type of tool was new
to them. Once this doubt became a certainty, the instrumental value became real
and clear to them. This contributed to a noticeable increase in their motivation to
use the KS and learn the content and skills required in the course through self-
regulation. In fact, the participants were not interested in the KS itself, as solving
the entire set of questions can be tedious and very time-consuming. They were
actually interested in the outcomes of solving the KS questions, which was
mastering the content and skills required in the course and obtaining good
grades as a result (Panadero & Tapia, 2014).

To regulate their own learning of the KS content and skills, the participants
employed the first and third stages of SLR collectively and the second one
individually at most. The first stage (i.e., forethought) was done collectively
where the participants set goals with certain properties to solve all the KS
questions. The goal properties were labeled as specific, short-term, and
achievable. The following sentence is a representative example of these goals,
each student selected a mixture of approximately 24 questions from the
different sections of the KS to solve throughout the semester (specific) 3
questions per week (short term)... we could solve all the KS questions with the
help of each other (achievable). Schunk (2001) argued that these three goal
properties are empirically found to boost motivation and enhance self-
regulation. The reason is that 1) specific goals determine a clear framework and
the amount of effort needed to perform a certain task as opposed to general
goals, 2) overly easy goals and overly difficult goals do not usually motivate
people. Moderately difficult goals that are perceived as achievable do motivate,
and 3) short-term goals are clearer and are executed quicker than long-term
goals.

The second stage (i.e., performance) was mostly done individually where each
participant created their own strategies to come up with answers to the allocated
set of questions, monitored the effectiveness of the strategies, and adjust them as
needed. In limited cases, some participants performed the second stage with the
help of another participant. The third stages (i.e., reflections on performance)
was done collectively where the participants evaluated the entire group

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69

performance on the learning task as a whole. This finding is consistent of the


view of that learners employ different types of regulations during cooperative
learning situations: self-regulation (an individual learner regulates his/her own
learning), co-regulation (an individual scaffolds and regulates another
individuals learning), and shared-regulation (individuals work together to
regulate each others learning) (Hayes, Smith & Shea, 2015; Fernandez-Rio,
Cecchini, Mndez-Gimenez, Mendez-Alonso, & Prieto, 2017)

One might argue that the KS served as an extrinsic motivation that could
undermine participant intrinsic motivation to learn. While the KS is considered
to be a form of extrinsic motivation, it did provide the participants with more
autonomy, which linked their motivation more closely with internal causality
(Harmes et al., 2015). The results showed that the participants were already
motivated intrinsically to learn the content and skills of this course because they
believed that this course was important to their future teaching career. The KS
was just a boost to stimulate their existing intrinsic motivation. What differed is
that the participants usually engage in learning course materials throughout the
semester in typical in-classroom instruction. The KS was a new approach, and
also a unique change in instruction, that highly energized them to learn the
course materials.

In view of the results of the study, there is one main implication for researchers
studying pre-service teacher self-regulation. The study suggests the inclusion of
self-regulation in teacher preparation programs as a priority. This suggestion,
however, does not imply deemphasizing the main priorities of the programs that
include knowledge of subject matter, students, and instructional practices.
Rather, it suggests including self-regulation within these priorities in two forms.
First, teaching self-regulation skills with the subject matter. Pre-service teachers
become motivated to apply a certain self-regulation approach once they
acknowledge its benefits to their subject matter knowledge compared to other
approaches. In fact, they may learn how to self-regulate during a general self-
regulation program, but they should be given the opportunity to practice it in a
classroom. Once they experience self-regulation benefits on their own learning
of the subject matter they are studying, they are more likely to apply it to other
subject matter. Ekeke and Telu (2015) went further to argue that learning self-
regulation in school helps extend its effect to life. That is, learners become
intrinsically encouraged to apply it to in all facets of their lives and become
lifelong learners, which is an important goal in education.

Second, teaching self-regulation can be accomplished through tools that consider


the three motivational components in their design. On the one hand, the pre-
service teachers in the present study described solving the tasks of the tool as
overwhelming (the emotional component), which indicated a negative feeling
towards the tool tasks. On the other hand, they described the tasks as achievable
(the expectancy component) and significant to their future career (the value
component). Regardless of the negative result of the emotional component, they
applied the tool and produced positive learning outcomes as a result of the
interaction between the three motivational components. It is axiomatic, then,

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70

that pre-service teacher would learn better via a tool that provides them with a
positive result regarding the three motivational components. In other words, the
tasks of a tool that are perceived as achievable, interesting, and valuable are
more likely to motivate self-regulation.

This study, however, has limitations. One limitation of the study is that the KS
mostly included subjective questions. Tools in future studies should include a
balanced mixture of subjective questions and objective questions in order to
obtain better insight into pre-service teacher self-regulation. Another limitation
is the absence of female participants in the study. Although the present study
resulted in insights on self-regulation, the sample only included males. A sample
with a mix of male and female participants may yield qualitatively different
results.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 16, No. 10, pp. 72-89, October 2017
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.16.10.6

What Makes up an Effective Emotional


Intelligence Training Design for Teachers?

Niva Dolev
.Kinneret Academic College, Israel

Shosh Leshem
Kibbutzim Academic College of Education,
Technology and the Arts, Israel
Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Abstract. Recently there has been a growing interest in ways in which


Emotional Intelligence (EI) can be enhanced among teachers. However,
although it has been noted that effective teaching requires high levels of
EI, little is known about effective methods to develop teachers' EI. The
current qualitative study followed a two year EI development training
for 21 teachers in one school in Israel. Main emerging themes related to
the training design included the focus on teachers' own development,
the combination of personal and group processes, flexibility and self
direction, long-term in-school training, and leadership support.
Implications for future teachers' EI training design are discussed. The
findings advance our understanding of possible mechanisms for
promoting high-quality EI professional development for teachers.

Keywords: Emotional intelligence (EI); Teachers' training; EI


development; Coaching; EI workshops.

Introduction
During the last few decades a considerable body of research has
indicated that beyond abilities and backgrounds, students cognitive, emotional
and social functioning is highly dependent on the quality of the teachers that
teach them (Darling-Hammond, 2000; Muijs, 2006; van Uden, Ritzen & Pieters,
2013; Hattie, 2015). While the importance of teachers' selection in entry level has
been highlighted, high quality professional development in teachers has been
considered essential for effective teaching and for school achievements (Guskey,
2002; Day et al., 2007; Darling-Hammond et al., 2009). Knowledge of content and
pedagogy, class management and instruction skills are typically among the most
common characteristics associated with effective teaching and are also the main
target of teacher professional development (Darling-Hammond et al., 2009).
However, other skills, such as reflection and communication skills; commitment,
empathy, care and motivation; the ability to create positive and nurturing

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learning environments and positive student-teacher relationships have been


highlighted (Kyriacou, 1998; Anderson, 2004; Stronge, 2007). Stronge et al.
(2004) suggested that such qualities are characteristic of the teacher as a person
(p.29), while others noted that many of them are included in the concept of
Emotional Intelligence (EI) (Day et al., 2007). Indeed, EI, the adaptive integration
of emotion and thought (Salovey & Mayer, 1990), and the set of related social-
emotional skills and competencies (Goleman, 1995; Bar-On, 2006), has been
recently suggested to be an important ingredient to effective teaching (Haskett,
2003; Drew, 2006).
Teaching is a highly emotional and social practice (Hargreaves, 2001).
Thus, effective teaching and teachers EI skills are closely related. Teachers
experience a wide range of emotions (Nias, 1996) which affect teaching and class
behaviours (Hargreaves 2001), social relationships with students and others
(Palomera et al., 2008), teachers' well-being and personal and professional self-
view (Nias, 1996). These, in turn, impact students' well-being, learning and
academic success (Perry & Ball, 2007). In order to succeed, teachers have to
identify, understand and manage their own emotions as well as those of their
students, who experience a similarly wide range of emotions and which impact
their well-being and successes (Brackett & Katulak, 2006). Goleman (1995)
further noted that teachers play a crucial role in developing EI skills in children
and helping them gain the necessary set of skills to cope with challenges,
including those brought about by life in the modern era. This role requires well-
developed EI skills and modeling emotionally intelligent behaviors (Elias et al.,
1997; Brackett, 2008).
It has therefore been recommended that professional development
programs for teachers should define a much broader purpose than the one
commonly used, which gives prominence to academic and pedagogical
knowledge (Guskey, 2002; Darling-Hammond et al., 2009). More specifically, it
has been suggested that teacher trainings should include efforts to develop
teachers social emotional competence (Day et al., 2007; Palomera et al., 2008;
Waajid, Garner & Owen, 2013).

However, despite the fact that growing attention has been given to
students EI development through social emotional learning (SEL) programs
(Zins et al., 2007; Rivers & Brackett, 2011), there has been little focus on EI
trainings and development of EI competencies in pre-service or in-service
training programmes for teachers (Cohen & Sandy, 2007; Jennings & Greenberg,
2009; Waajid et al., 2013).

The current study is aimed at addressing this gap in the literature and
investigates what makes up an effective EI training design for teachers. This
study is the qualitative part of a comprehensive study, which followed an EI
training for 21 teachers in one school in Israel for two years and looked into the
impact of the training. The training included workshops and personal EI
sessions for teachers, led by an external team of EI experts. The training was
based on the Bar-On model of EI which includes five main scales: intrapersonal,
interpersonal, adaptability, stress-management, general mood and 15
competencies within it (Bar-On, 1997).

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The training was found to increase teachers' EI levels on group and


individual levels as measured by the Bar-On EQ-i, a self-report quantitative
measure. Shifts were found in total group EI, from 101.57 to 105.24, and in 14 of
15 EQ-i subscales. Interviews indicated that the teachers embraced EI as highly
important in educational context and to their own work, and viewed the training
as highly effective and meaningful. The training had a profound perceived
impact on teachers' EI levels and upon EI related behaviours. Shifts that were
credited to the training were highly individual in nature and extent, and were
perceived as an on-going process. Teachers further noted developing awareness
to students' EI skills, and voluntarily beginning to develop their EI informally,
through modeling and interactions and formally, through EI lessons.
Additionally, improvements in team relations and atmosphere, and
organizational efforts to formally incorporate EI in the curriculum were noted
(Dolev & Leshem, 2016).
As part of the study, the participants were asked about the elements that
contributed to the training effectiveness, the focus of the present study. The
insights might contribute to the design of effective teachers' EI trainings.

Theoretical Background
Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EI) has been first introduced by Salovey and Mayer
(1990) who suggested that EI relates to the effective integration of emotion and
thought and described it as comprised of the ability to identify, use, understand
and regulate emotions in the self and others. Defining EI more widely and
discussing EI as a set of skills that manifest themselves in behaviours, Bar-On
suggests that EI is a cross-section of interrelated emotional and social
competencies skills that determine how effectively we understand and express
ourselves and others and cope with daily demands (Bar-On, 2006, p. 3).
Teaching has been suggested as one of the professions in which EI plays a
particularly important role (Sutton &Wheatley, 2003; Drew, 2006; McCown et al.,
2007; Myint and Aung, 2016). EI has been linked to different aspects of school
life, such as students' pro-social behaviours (Brackett et al., 2004), interactions
with teachers and peers, learning and academic achievements (Elias et al., 1997;
Zins et al., 2004; Brackett et al., 2007; Eccles, Devis-Rozental, & Mayer, 2016). For
example, Haskett (2003) found EI competencies, and in particular the General
Mood scale of the EQ-i to correlate with effective teaching, comparing 86
Teaching Award recipients with 200 randomly selected non-winners. Similarly,
Hwang (2007) found teaching effectiveness to be positively associated with
overall EI, as well as with a number of specific competencies, including
empathy, self-esteem and leadership. Furthermore, teachers' EI levels play an
important role in developing children's EI (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009)
through formal teaching, modeling EI behaviours and building secure
attachments (Ulloa, Evans & Jones, 2016).
Yet, while the role of EI and its contribution to teachers' effectiveness has been
recently highlighted, concern has often been voiced over the lack of data
regarding the emotional and social characteristics that underlie teachers
effectiveness and the paucity of efforts to develop them in teachers (Haskett,

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75

2003).

Developing EI Skills
A growing body of research indicates that successful EI development efforts can
enhance EI levels (Bar-On, 2006; Lennick 2007; Cohen-Katz et al., 2016; Herpertz,
Schtz, & Nezlek, 2016), and result in increase in personal and professional
effectiveness (Cherniss & Goleman, 2001; Abraham, 2005; Clarke, 2010). For
example, Slaski and Cartwright (2003) found significant improvements in the
mean total EQ-i (from 95.6 to 100.8) and in the general health and well-being of
group members. Significant gains in EI increases in total EQ-i score (from 94 to
100) and improved financial outcomes were also found in studies of the
American Express Financial Advisors EI-training programme (Lennick, 2007).
It has been argued that the development of EI in teachers could benefit teachers
too; enable them to better understand what underlies their motivations and
behaviours (Haskett, 2003), enhance less-developed competencies (Kaufhold &
Johnson, 2005), develop greater understanding of students emotions (AbiSamra-
Salem, 2010), improve teacher-student relationships (Jennings & Greenberg,
2009) and promote effective teaching (Cohen, 2001).

Teachers' EI trainings however are much less common than in other


settings and have not been widely studied (Brackett et al. 2009; Corcoran and
Tormey, 2010). This lacuna is also reflected in discussions of teachers qualities.
Trainings for teachers typically take part within an SEL program and focus on
providing knowledge on EI and methods to deliver EI programs to students,
rather than on teachers own EI development.

The limited number of existing efforts did show promising results, indicating
the ability to develop EI in teachers (Dolev & Leshem, 2016; Ulloa, Evans &
Jones, 2016). Such efforts have led to increased teachers recognition of the
importance of EI to schools (Maree & Mokhuane, 2007; Dolev & Leshem, 2016).
It also enhanced teachers sensitivity to students emotions in different situations
and increased their ability to respond constructively to students social-
emotional needs (Brackett et al., 2009).
Characteristics of Effective EI Development

With mounting evidence that certain EI training programs can increase


EI, it has become important to identify the characteristics which make EI
development most effective (Cherniss et al., 1998). Firstly, scholars have noted
that as EI relates to personal abilities or skills, effective EI development involves
not only providing a theoretical basis and an understanding of the concept, but
also the development of EI competencies and changes in habits, attitudes and
behaviors (Bharwaney, 2007; Boyatzis, 2007; Neale et al., 2009).

Cherniss et al (1998) further identified a number of main characteristics related


to effective EI training in organizations. Those included, gaining organizational
and leadership support, voluntary and self-motivated participation, adjustment
of the participants expectations and needs, and self-directed processes. These
were noted to contribute to motivation and encourage participants to be
personally accountable for their progress and take an active part in it (Cherniss

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76

& Goleman, 2001; Boyatzis, 2007; White, 2006). Process-integrated personal EI


assessments and feedback allow individuals to recognize areas of strength and
serve as a foundation and motivation for subsequent development processes
(Cherniss et al., 1998; Bharwaney, 2007; Hughes & Terrell, 2009).

The use of varied, active and experiential training strategies creates and
maintains interest and caters for different learning styles. Providing
opportunities to practice newly acquired skills through repeated exercises and
feedback sessions in different settings, would enable developing skills and
establishing new behaviors (Cherniss & Goleman, 2001; Bryan, 2006). It has been
further acknowledged that EI development requires an extensive, routinized,
long-term effort, which provides time for the above mentioned exploration,
development, practice and repetition (Neale et al., 2009), including in teachers EI
training (Brackett et al., 2009).

EI trainings can be conducted in groups or individually. EI group-based


training is the most common type of training.

Beyond its cost effectiveness, the group element has been noted to
address the interdependence between learners and their environments (Dasho et
al., 2001); to facilitate peer support (Cherniss et al., 1998; Boyatzis, 2007); to
provide real-world training opportunities; to help solve social problems within
the group (Caruso and Wolfe, 2001); and to enhance collegiality and
collaboration (Cherniss & Goleman, 2001; Cohen & Sandy, 2007). Furthermore,
relationships within the group in EI development processes were noted to
provide participants with context, guidance, permission to change and to
develop group norms (Druskat & Wolff, 2001).

In particular, relationships with colleagues during teacher training were


argued to promote collaborative inquiry (Zins et al., 1997), and to allow for the
sharing of ideas and peer-learning (Anderson, 2004). Moreover, group work
among teachers within students' social emotional learning (SEL) programmes
was noted to provide a sense of ownership over processes and to create a sense
of synergy (Haynes, 2007), which contributes to learning and to personal
development processes in teachers (Richardson, 1998; Hargreaves, 2005).
At the same time, efforts to develop EI in a one-on-one process are
becoming more available, mainly with leaders. Those are often relying on the
practice of coaching (Chapman, 2005). EI coaching is an individual-based
training specifically designed to help individuals develop their EI skills so that
they can become more effective and incorporate the theoretical and empirical
aspects of EI and of effective EI development with coaching tools (Bharwaney,
2007). Typical EI coaching processes encourage individuals to select EI skills and
competencies that require development (Hughes & Terrell, 2009), often utilizing
an EI assessment tool (Orme & Cannon, 2000), and to define personal and
professional goals that these enhanced competencies can help achieve (Peterson,
1996; Bharwaney, 2007).

The one-on-one setting allows to focus on individual EI competencies,


unique circumstances, strengths and challenges, vision and goals (Robertson,
2004), to adjust learning styles to the learner, and to provide a safe, supportive,

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77

intimate and private arena for development (Chapman, 2005). One-on-one


coaching has been found suitable for teachers as it allows them to understand
themselves, enhance accountability and self-efficacy and to achieve personal
goals (Broun, 2007).
The combination of one on one coaching with group-based training has
recently been recommended as an effective EI-development tool (Hughes &
Terrell, 2009; Neale et al., 2009). Brackett et al. (2009) similarly suggested that
incorporating a few personal coaching sessions in group EI training for teachers
can be beneficial.

Methodology
The study followed an EI training which took place in one secondary school in
Israel. Based on the interpretive view of reality, qualitative research frameworks
allowed the researchers close proximity to the participants experiences within
the training in its natural setting and facilitated the accumulation of thick and
rich descriptions (Geertz, 1973). The study, which was part of a larger study on
the impact of the training, employed in-depth semi-structured interviews with
all 21 training participants, 4 males and 17 females, age 33-64, all active teachers
in the school.

The Research Setting


The setting of the research is a secondary school in northern Israel which
was the only school in the country undertaking an extensive EI training. At the
time of the study the school had approximately 600 students, age 13-18, and a
staff of 70 full-time teachers. It is typified by a heterogeneous population,
comprising students from both rural and urban settlements, different home
environments and of different ethnicities and economic status.
The Training
The EI training programme was initiated by the schools head-master
and introduced to staff as part of the schools continual professional
development programmes. Participation was voluntary and open to all teachers
but management and position holders comprised a big number of the
participants. All the participants went through the same elements of training
and in the same sequence.
The training, which lasted two years, was based on the Bar-On model of
EI. The first year comprised a series of twelve interactive group workshops,
conducted at the school after school hours and on holidays. Each workshop
lasted from a few hours to a full day and punctuated by intervals of typically
one month. The second year consisted of 10 individual coaching sessions, in 2-3
weeks intervals, accompanied by additional (less frequent) group workshops.
Group workshops focused on EIs theoretical and empirical foundations; its
relevance to effectiveness among individuals, teachers, students and schools;
and on each of Bar-Ons 15 EI competencies. The competencies targeted for
development included self-awareness, self-regard, assertiveness, self-
actualization, empathy, social responsibility, interpersonal relation, reality
testing, problem solving, stress tolerance, happiness and optimism. The
workshops used varied methods and facilitated activities which were conducted
with the entire group of participants, in smaller sub-groups, in pairs and in
individual reflective exercise. Within the coaching sessions each participant

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78

could develop personal EI competencies and setting personal and professional


goals. Coaching sessions focused on self introspection and awareness,
identifying areas that will be a focus of development and working toward their
development using different methods such as introspective questions, reflecting
on past experiences and identifying a vision and goals.
During the first introductory group session, a pre-training EQ-i
assessment was carried out, as part of the comprehensive study. It was followed
by a personal feedback session for each participant, in which the EI profile was
presented and discussed. These profiles later served a developmental tool in the
workshops and coaching sessions. Additionally, a group profile was presented
and interpreted to the entire group and served as a base for the work in the
group and the design of some of the workshops.

Research Procedures
Once the training ended, a general consent from the headmaster and all the
training participants was obtained. Individual interviews were then conducted
with each of the participants at a time and location of their convenience. All
interviews were approximately one and a half hour long and conducted within a
single, one-month period. Interviews were recorded in shorthand and
transcribed prior to their analysis following the request of some of the
participants. It has been made clear that participation in the research was
entirely voluntary, and that the participants can withdraw at any time or refrain
from answering certain questions. Participants were assured that all identifying
information will be kept confidential. Interview questions were formulated on
theoretical ground and incuded questions such as: can you describe the training
design? How did the training elements impacted the training and its outcomes?
What elements of the training were most (least) effective?
Data analysis
Interview analysis was carried out with the aid of qualitative software (Atlas-Ti
6). A thematic content analysis approach was used to analyse the transcripts
(Weber, 1990). Each interview transcript was analysed and coded separately,
using open coding to identify emerging themes. Cross interview categories were
then constructed and codes were again compared in order to ensure that items
were properly sorted and coded (Strauss and Corbin, 1990). Major categories
(themes) were then identified, allowing for clusters of codes within a conceptual
category to converge into clusters of meaning, a key step according to Creswell
(1998).

Results
The study was aimed at identifying the contribution of different elements to the
training effectiveness. The thematic analysis revealed a number of main themes
regarding the design of the training: a teachers' centered training, personal and
group processes, a long-term process, a self-directed process, a holistic
approach, personal EI assessment, and management support.
Teacher centered training: Participants attributed importance to putting
teachers at the centre of training, and focusing on their own development, a
focus which was described as unique in their experience of teacher trainings.
They frequently described the training as individual, personal and internal, a

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79

'personal gain' (IE) or 'a personal gift' (ISH) designed for each of us to gain self-
knowledge and self-understanding (OR). Personal development of teachers' EI
was viewed by the participants as essential to their professional effectiveness
and to a change in the school: The first step towards a meaningful change in
schools(OR); It had further enhanced their motivation to 'pay foreword' their
experiences to students and develop their EI voluntarily, in class and other
interactions, contributed to their ability to demonstrate EI-related behaviours
and to walk the talk and enhanced their ability to teach EI authentically. Many
also discussed the personal focus as creating a feeling of being valued,
appreciated and invested in, which enhanced their motivation within the
training, and their commitment to the school and to EI implementation.

Personal and group processes: The participants described the training as


consisting of group workshops and individual coaching sessions. Both elements
were perceived as central to the programme, and were equally valued by
participants. Participants noted that the two training elements had served both
distinct and overlapping purposes, found them to be complementary, and in
synergy with each other. Most participants also recommended for both elements
to be included in future teachers' training programmes more generally. The
participants later employed both personal coaching and group workshops as
part of their training sustainability efforts (for the current group and other
teachers) and in the EI-training pilot programme for the students.
Group workshops: The participants noted that group workshops, which
were offered throughout the training, provided them with personal and group
learning and development opportunities, as well as allowed for changes in the
team and in the school as a whole.
The participants noted that group workshops provided them with a large body
of EI-related knowledge, promoted awareness and acceptance of EI among the
participants and developed both personal and shared understanding of the
concept, to which many were unfamiliar: It [the EI training programme] addressed
a topic which is most important and relevant to education (USH). EI provided a
useful, comprehensive and practical framework for understanding and
developing themselves and others, and in particular students: [EI] competencies,
they sharpen your view and help you to sort things properly: What underlies different
behaviours and outcomes, how to interpret certain behaviours. It [EI] offers a theory in
place of intuition, and it is focused and structured (OY).

The workshops further provided participants with opportunities to


engage in EI on a personal level through self-exploration and reflection: For me
it all [introspection] started during the workshops, when the trainers asked us what it is
that we would like people to say about us when we retire it got me thinking (TE).

Likewise, within the workshops, many participants actively shared


feelings, experiences and insights, including those from their personal profiles,
with the group and engaged in self-disclosure. This process allowed the
participants to learn from their colleagues, to see themselves through their
colleagues eyes, and to receive feedbacks regarding their own insights and EI
skills: Whenever someone would raise a topic that was related to my own experiences [I
was able to] learn and understand something new about myself (MS). "Only then, when

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80

teachers told me, I realised that I offend people, that my cynicism that I viewed as social,
is really offensive (IE). Sharing difficulties and emotions regarding EI
development helped participants not to feel alone in the journey and to deal and
overcome them through shared experiences and support: "'it helped to know that
other people are going through similar things" (GY).
Group workshops were also the setting in which the impact of the training
was extended beyond the individual domains to the team and the organisational
(school) domains. Participants credited the group processes within the
workshops with creating cooperation and collaboration among the participants,
fostering new group norms and dynamics and improved inter-team
relationships: We started to view teachers differently to understand things
differently We started appreciating things that we had not paid attention to before
(LI). Participants allowed themselves to become vulnerable and began talking
about difficulties at work and seeking advice and help: People werent afraid to
talk about themselves or to expose weaknesses People felt safe enough to share failures
and to ask for help(WN): There is more collaboration. You are not alone anymore.
People no longer keep their knowledge to themselves (VA), You feel that people are
really together, that they want to help each other. [Theres a feeling of] real partnership
(BP).
The group discussions led to changes in the school, resulting in an
initiation and implementation of an EI program for students while still in
training. The participants spoke with much pride of their implementation effort,
referred to them as 'our programme' and put much time and effort in designing
and executing it. These broader impacts were accomplished through group
learning and discussions of pedagogic ideas: It was us who had undergone the
training, and now we were passing the knowledge on, in all kinds of ways, to the
students, because we are actually one teachers and students (OR).

Personal coaching: Personal coaching was described as a self-directed


process in which the participants received guidance and on-going support while
becoming involved in a personal development process. While self-exploration
and development began for many at the workshops, a majority viewed coaching
sessions as essential for their EI development, providing a more in-depth and
individual introspection and personal development. For some, self-exploration
only began in personal coaching. Within the coaching sessions the participants
enhanced their self-discovery and personal insights, identified and selected the
competencies, behaviours and habits they most wanted to explore and develop;
defined a vision and proceeded to develop the selected competencies: 'You (sic)
would discuss certain topics with your trainer, and [consequently] you would see
everything in a new light things would become clearer.' (GN). :'I would not have
identified many of the issues [that I had to address] myself [without my coach]. Even the
personal segment of the [group] workshops was not enough (BP).
Coaches were noted to provide a safe, supportive and challenging
atmosphere: I discussed many things that I had not discussed before I was able to be
melowered my defences. There arent many people who I trust to that extent (VA). I
could pour my heart, open up and discuss sensitive issues I was able to take risks
(RI). Support was particularly important to the participants as for many self-
exploration was an emotional and sometimes difficult process. They often
referred to the coaches as figures who are there just for you (FE), or who care

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81

about you (OY) which was seen as novelty within teacher trainings and a
personal gain.
While many participants noted the privacy of the coaching sessions and
the insights offered by coaches as essential to their progress, some assigned
much importance to the ability to share experiences with the group.
A long term process: Rather than perceiving it to be a burden, the
relatively long, two-year duration of the training programme was valued by all
participants: Schools usually dont have time or patience. They are in a hurry.
Therefore changes [in schools] are usually external and superficial (OR). It allowed
them to engage in deep introspection to develop each at their own pace, thus
affecting a real change (GY), to come together as a group, to explore ways to
bring EI to their classes, and to design and implement school changes. At the
same time, despite the lengthy duration of the programme under study, efforts
to engage non-participant teachers in EI during its course had hardly been
noted, leading, according to some participants, a relatively limited impact of the
training upon the students and the school and feelings of exclusion among some
non-participant teachers.
A self-directed process: Many participants drew attention to the flexible
and dynamic nature of the training programme, in all its stages and domains.
They said it was tailored to their individual starting points as well as to the pre-
training conditions in the school in which it took place. They appreciated the
autonomy to follow directions most suitable for them, to deal with new-found
challenges, to integrate new insights into their personal and professional
development process, and thus to take part in designing and guiding this
process. However, such flexibility did not come without a price and participants
did note instances in which the programme strained to adapt to emerging needs.
For example, some participants regretted the lack of SEL-related reading
materials (SEL not being a direct goal of the training programme).
A holistic approach: Participants explored competencies and behaviours,
values, perceptions, habits and aspirations in a variety of settings. The
programme supported exploration of both personal and professional themes, in
school and out, and thus allowed for different sources of motivation, such as the
desire to achieve personal growth, to increase effectiveness at work and to
develop EI in others. These, in turn, provided a variety of ways for EI to
permeate the school, and turned the concept of EI into a life view: Even
newspapers, I now read them differently, I see in them things that I havent seen before
I now often bring newspaper articles with me to class, I highlight events that have to do
with EI (BP)).

Personal EI Assessment: A majority of the participants noted that their


personal EI profiles (using the EQ-i) provided them with valuable information
about themselves and were central for their development and the effectiveness
of the training 'The assessments benefited each of us personally. I was able to get a
scientific proof of what I knew about myself, and to learn new and surprising things
about myself (OY).
The profiles increased awareness to personal EI skills, motivated the
participants to engage in a more thorough exploration of their EI and to
understand the manner by which EI competencies manifest themselves in their
behaviours and impact their lives and work. This, in turn, laid the foundation for

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82

a later process of looking at other people, mainly students, through the same
lens, as noted by one of the participants: Once we saw ourselves differently we were
able to see our students differently, everything became clearer (BP). The profiles
were also found to evoke deep emotions in participants who found their EI
lower than they expected or were faced with specific lower skills: I was in a state
of great uncertainty and confusion It [the feedback] touched upon my self-esteem and
affected my image as a teacher and as an educator It was really hard to go through this
process but worthwhile (MS). For the majority of them, such emotions were
temporary and did not discourage them. Two veteran teachers, however,
decided not to engage in active personal development but rather on students'
development.
Management role: a number of participants referred to the important
contribution of the commitment of the school management to the programme,
the financial, administrative and professional support and in particular, their
support for various initiatives, including the pursuit of career transitions in
search of more fulfilling roles.
Beyond it, management staff members were noted to participate in all stages of
the training as equal partners. They openly discussed personal weaknesses,
shared personal experiences with other participants during group workshops,
attended personal coaching sessions, and took an active part in coaching
students and in teaching EI.

Conclusion
During the last two decades a growing body of research suggests that
social-emotional skills are linked with the abilities to cope effectively with life
challenges and to succeed in a variety of vocations (Parker et al., 2009), including
teaching (Sutton & Wheatley 2003; Maree and Mokhuane 2007; McCown et al.,
2007). This creates the question of how to design effective EI trainings for
teachers, of high importance. However, only a few training programmes have
attended to the emotional competence of teachers (Cohen & Sandy, 2007;
Jennings & Greenberg, 2009; Corcoran & Tormey, 2010). Thus, not much is
known about effective EI training design for teachers.
The current study followed an EI training for teachers within a school. It
revealed the specific training elements which contribute to a useful framework
for EI development in a school setting, as well as areas for further improvement.
Firstly, the present findings indicate that a focus on teachers within EI training
contributed to many of the outcomes of the training program under study,
including the participants favorable view of the EI training; their high
motivation to engage in the training and their proactive initiatives to further EI
learning in their school. It has been noted that as EI is an individual capacity in
nature, EI development requires a focus on individual skills (Cherniss et al.,
1998). Others emphasized the need for teachers professional development to be
one which focuses on teachers personal development (Richardson, 1998;
Friedman & Philip, 2004). Recently, the need to focus on developing social and
emotional skills in teachers (Brackett et al., 2009), and in particular experienced
teachers (Corcoran & Tormai, 2010) has been discussed. The findings echo
Cherniss et al. (1998) and White (2006) who noted that motivation to become

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83

engaged in development is higher when perceived as promising personal, rather


than only organizational gains.

The flexibility and self-direction inherent in the teachers' focus of the


training allowed for a dynamic and evolving process which suits personal and
school needs, supporting Boyatzis (2007) claim that self-direction is crucial
within EI development efforts. Indeed, while participants were introduced to the
program in the same manner, they each joined at their own starting point, chose
whether and to what extent to be engaged in self-exploration, focused on
different skills, chose different paths and developed in their own pace and on
different levels. The self-directed nature of the training exceeded to the group
level and the participants designed the EI development program for students
themselves in a facilitated process. Focusing on areas which are personally and
professionally relevant to the teachers enhanced motivation, engagement and
accountability.

Group workshops and personal coaching were found to be central to the


training. They were described as useful in embracing EI, developing personal EI
skills, accounting for different learning and development styles, and motivating
teachers to voluntarily develop students' EI, informally and formally. These
current findings support the emerging body of recent literature in which the
incorporation of individual development and group work has been
recommended (Chapman, 2005; Bharwaney, 2007; McKee et al., 2009).

In the present study, EI coaching and group workshops appeared to


mirror two types of efforts which are common to schools worldwide,
respectively: the often-noted individual efforts in classrooms, where personal
effectiveness largely affects students success (McKinsey report 2007); and the
many collaborative efforts which teachers engage in as they strive to reach
shared pedagogic goals (Fullan, 1993), including those related to developing
students' social emotional skills.
The one-on-one work within personal coaching in this study allowed
addressing each teachers unique set of personal behavior-related EI skills. Such
a method is not typical to school training programs (Griffiths, 2005), and many
training programs provide all teachers with the exact same training and
consistently fail to recognize differences among teachers and to address their
personal needs (Anderson, 2004).

Furthermore, in view of the complex and multi-dimensional nature of EI


development (Cherniss et al., 1998; Weare & Gray, 2003), and the inherent
difficulty in identifying and changing teachers self-behaviours (Argyris, 2000),
personal EI coaching was found in this study to support self-discovery and
encourage the development of personal skills. Indeed, and in line with Lasky
(2005), teachers in the present study were more likely to risk vulnerability
during the change process when they felt safe and believed that these changes
would lead to personal or professional gains.

At the same time, Richardson (1998) has warned that failure to address
group processes in teachers' trainings may lead to incoherence in pedagogical
views and hence may negatively impact upon students. The school-located

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84

group-based workshops allowed for emotional and social processes within the
group, the fostering of new group norms and dynamics, and group discussions
of pedagogic ideas which led to shared views and to the design and
implementation of organizational change. These findings support earlier claims
regarding the contribution of group work to learning and personal development
(Anderson 2004; Hargreaves, 2005), and to the enhancement of emotionally
intelligent group norms (Druskat & Wolff, 2001).

The use of a personal assessment within the training was found to be an


important tool in the development of personal skills, extending Cherniss et al.
(1998) insights to teachers, providing valuable insights, promoting self-
understanding and creating a sense of urgency.

The long term effort was found to allow personal and group processes to
take place. This was in line with effective CPD programmes guidelines which
were recommended to be long term (TDA, 2008), and in view of the work and
effort required for an EI development process (Cherniss et al., 1998). Grant
(2007) highlighted the importance of intervals as an integral part of long-term
training processes rather than a short-term (two days), block intensive
programme. This suited the view of the participants of EI development as an on-
going process, and allowed for real life practice and reflections. However, the
impact of investing in one group of teachers within a school setting for a long
time period should be examined.

Limitations of the study


The study has a number of limitations: examining a single program in
one school, relying on a small sample, limited to personal interviews using
teachers' views only. Moreover, while various scholars have noted that training
programmes should lead to sustainable outcomes (Boyatzis, 2007), the present
inquiry ended soon after the completion of the EI development programme
under study, not allowing examining sustainable impacts. However, the
findings have an important contribution as they highlight elements which
contribute to the ability to develop teachers EI skills.
Studies could examine the elements of the training design and their
effectiveness in other settings and help determine and optimise a variety of
programme parameters, such as the optimal length of EI training programmes
for teachers, or the effects of voluntary versus compulsory participation in such
programmes. More generally, studies of other types of EI training programmes
could help identify the most effective way to develop EI in teachers.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 16, No. 10, pp. 90-99, October 2017
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.16.10.7

Advanced Academic Writing Course for


International Students Belonging to One Belt,
One Road

Chang Chen*, Habiba Khalid, and Farrukh Raza Amin


College of Chemical Engineering
Beijing University of Chemical Technology
Beijing, China

Abstract. China has attracted many international students in the past


five years through Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) to improve the
standard of higher education and research productivity. Most of the
students come from One belt, One Road countries to pursue master
and doctoral degrees. The School of International Education and
Graduate School at Beijing University of Chemical Technology (BUCT),
China implemented Advanced Academic Writing Skills (AAWS) as a
mandatory course for non-native English-speaking students, belonging
to One Belt, One Road (OBOR), to enable them to improve and polish
their academic writing skills. The ultimate goal of this paper is to
critically investigate students perception of the AAWS mandatory
course to improve their academic writing skills. Formative and
summative assessments and student perceptions were used to assess the
student satisfaction and knowledge. An evaluation index was
administered to collect student perceptions about the course. Students
reported a high degree of satisfaction with the course, indicating that the
course was well-designed and implemented. The results provided a
model to other universities to bring adjustments for the improvement of
the academic writing skills of young researchers, and comprehensively
improve the quality of research and publications worldwide.

Keywords: Academic writing; One belt, One Road; Research


productivity; Research quality; Critical thinking; Graduate writing.

Introduction
Dissemination of knowledge is essential for the growth of any academic field
and publishing scholarly work is highly expected from the people working
within academia (Morton, 2013; Uar & Yazc, 2016). Publication not only

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91

measures the research productivity necessary for promotion and performance


review but is regarded as a professional obligation (Langum & Sullivan, 2017;
Moussa-inaty, 2017). Many scientists have busy schedules, due to which they
procrastinate the task of scientific and academic writing. Furthermore, some
scientists and researchers have not developed the habit of writing on a regular
basis and therefore, have inadequate academic writing skills. Others might have
skills for writing a term paper, acquired from their past educational experience
but do not exactly know how to submit an impressive piece of writing to a
professional journal. Thus, academic writing is perceived to be a difficult and
painful task for many researchers and scientists, such that it reaches to the point
of being completely neglected. Some studies have mentioned the obstacles faced
by researchers belonging to different disciplines in publishing valuable scientific
work, however, there is a very little evidence of the successful implementation of
various initiatives in general academia to improve students writing skills
(Casa-pitarch & Calvo-ferrer, 2015; Eaton, 2017; Klimova, 2013; Rakedzon &
Baram-tsabari, 2017). Countries with a well-established education system focus
on writing courses coupled with group writing activities that divide the
workload and promote joint authorship of a publishable work (Ness, Duffy,
Mccallum, & Price, 2014).
However, the countries seeking a better repute in the provision of quality
research are becoming more focused on polishing the academic writing skills of
young researchers and scientists. China has attracted a great number of
international students in the past five years through Chinese Scholarship
Council (CSC) to improve the higher education and research productivity in the
country. Most of the students come from countries alongside the Silk Road
Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, which links China to
Europe, through Central and Western Asia, and connects China and Southeast
Asian countries via the sea to Africa and Europe. The routes are jointly referred
to as the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) (Sheu & Kundu, 2017). The international
students pursuing master and doctoral programs at Beijing University of
Chemical Technology (BUCT), China belong to Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Senegal, Iran, Afghanistan,
Korea, Myanmar, Yemen, Thailand, Somalia, and Russia (Ejdys, 2017; Marsden,
2017). In November 2016, the School of International Education and Graduate
School at BUCT approved Advanced Academic Writing Skills (AAWS) as a
mandatory course for multi-ethnic and multilingual, non-native English
speaking students coming from all the above-mentioned countries, to enable
them to improve their academic writing skills. Although these students have
been trained in English for 10-18 years, they still have poor academic writing
skills, which need to be improved. The significance of the course is to enable the
students to get started with writing different types of research papers and
improve the quality of an already prepared manuscript.
Besides, the course is significant in improving the international education of
BUCT with the accompanying objective of increasing publication success rates.
Thus, the course was subsequently opened to master and doctoral students in
2017, as a first trial session. This mandatory course had meticulously designed
chapters to broaden students perspective regarding academic writing and to
enable them to avoid writing errors. AAWS might be useful for students coming

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from OBOR countries, as they are connected globally and have more chances to
exchange the research ideas in future and train more students in their respective
countries.
The specific objectives of this study are to (a) describe the design and
implementation of this two-credit academic writing course (b) assess the
experience of participants in the course, its effectiveness and usefulness, and
how it influenced their peer-reviewing and writing skills.

Educational activity
In the curriculum used at BUCT, each course is offered once during an academic
year. The number of credit hours assigned to a course depends on the duration
of the course, just as in most other academic institutions. For example, a two-
credit course in a traditional program is equivalent to 32 instructional hours, (16
weeks, two hours each week). Keeping it in consideration, the nature and
duration of the elective course Advanced Academic Writing Skills is rather
unique.
AAWS serves as an introduction to the academic writing in various fields of
sciences such as Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Microbiology, Computer
Sciences, Material Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and
Environmental Engineering. The course includes both classroom activities and
volunteer presentations on the use of different software mentioned in the
Sample course activity section.

Sample of course schedule


The course requires 32 hours of classroom. The specific expectations are
provided by the instructor of the course. An example of a class schedule is
provided in Table 1.

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Table 1. An Example of Class Schedule in AAWS

Chapters Title Learning Objectives


1 Introduction To motivate students to be all-rounded researchers and scientists.
To enable students to identify their research problems.
2 Importance and Characteristics of Scientific To learn the scope and importance of academic writing.
Paper To learn the difference between academic writing and other writings.
3 Principles and Grammar in Writing/Class To learn the most important key points of a standard manuscript such as novelty,
practice related with correcting grammar significance, clarity, organizing ideas logically, using appropriate scientific
and logic of the manuscript language and meticulously working on the draft to ensure quality.
To learn to connect the logic tightly, while drafting a manuscript.
To learn the format/style and scientific language of the manuscript.
To practice some examples and improving the dexterity.
4 Article Types/Class Presentations To learn the difference between research paper, full length/regular article,
review, mini-review, communication, notes, technical notes, reports, case study,
special issues, book review, announcement, and calendar.
5 How to Submit to an Appropriate To learn to select a conference or journal.
Place?/Class Practice of submitting scientific To learn different examples of different indexed sources such as Science Citation
manuscript to the relevant journal, starting Index (SCI), Engineering Index (EI), Index to Scientific & Technical Proceedings
from relevant journal search to final (ISTP) along with their development and calculation of Impact Factor (IF).
submission
To understand a journal's true place in the research landscape and learning the
procedure of selecting a journal based on Web of Science data and Journal
Citation Report (JCR).
6 How to Organize Main Structure? Learning common structure for scientific paper starting from Title to Abstract,
Keywords, Introduction, Experimental part (Materials and methods), Results,
Discussion, Conclusions, Acknowledgment, Reference as well as properly going
through the instructions of the relevant journals for authors and artwork
instructions (instructions for creating illustrations).
Instructor of the course (HSS511E) has spent quality time in demonstrating the
drafting of each section with at least five examples each.

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7 Data Processing, Displaying, To learn to distinguish between high-quality versus low-quality tables, graphs,
Graphing/Detailed volunteer presentations and other relevant illustrations and learn to create them using the different
on the use of Origin, Excel, and SPSS powerful softwares.
8 Reference Managing/Detailed volunteer To learn managing references, principles of inserting in-text citations and creating
presentations on using Endnote and a bibliography for a given manuscript.
Mendeley A detailed presentation on the use of different reference managing softwares,
(Mendeley and Endnote) introduced students to the most advanced features
offered by softwares including creating their own template, creating an online
library, and modifying the reference style as per the journal guidelines.
9 Submission and Review Process To learn three main barriers in the submission and review process; the first barrier
is experimental design and data processing & analysis; the second barrier is
writing a quality draft and choosing the most relevant journal; the third barrier is
strictly abiding by the author's instructions given by the journal, formatting and
polishing the manuscript prior to submission. The instructor gave valuable
solutions to the students to overcome these barriers.
To have insights into the submission and review process, which has four
categories namely writing work, editorial work, review work, and publication
work. Students were introduced to four potential outcomes of the mentioned
process such as acceptance of the manuscript for publication, minor revision,
major revision, and rejection with major concerns.
A checklist for authors, editors, and reviewers were provided to the students to
know the process well.
10 Ethics & Anti-Plagiarism To understand research ethics and issues such as conduct of individuals, research
fraud, mistreatment of lab animals, accuracy and honesty in reporting results,
plagiarism, violation of intellectual property rights and conflict of interests. In this
course, students have learnt to overcome these issues.
Students were also informed of the serious repercussions of the unethical
behavior during research. This would result in a more careful behavior on their
part as researchers and scientists.
Students were introduced to different categories of plagiarism such as intentional
plagiarism and unintentional plagiarism. Not only this, they were given some
useful tips to avoid plagiarism in their work.

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Sample of a course activity


Since the students engaged in the course have diverse research backgrounds and
are too numerous to describe here, we will provide a representative example of a
student activity. One group of two students gave a one-hour presentation as
volunteers regarding the use of graphing software, Origin 9.1. The students were
asked to demonstrate interactive scientific graphing and data analysis. One
group of two other students gave a detailed presentation on the use of Microsoft
Excel to demonstrate commonly used functions such as constructing improved
pivot tables, getting familiar with additional image editing capabilities, to use
many new, most highly specialized formulas to improve accuracy and create
multiple graphs. One group volunteered to give a detailed presentation on the
use of SPSS for logical batched and non-batched statistical analysis. The
presenter has also taken the other students through the procedure of creating
multiple charts and graphs in SPSS.
One group of two students gave a one-hour presentation on the use of
Mendeley, to demonstrate the reference management in the manuscript or any
other academic piece of writing. The students introduced various concepts such
as managing in-text citations, bibliography and creating the library in the
software by adding the most relevant research articles germane to their research.
The other group of two students who have taken the coursework were also
introduced to advance features of powerful reference managing software, called
Endnote. The last group of two students gave a detailed presentation on
managing different reference styles and creation of their own reference style if
they intend to launch their own academic journal in future.
Furthermore, the instructor of the course got actively involved in the class and
explained some important points missed out by the presenters. Some of the
presenters created multiple illustrations during the presentation using the
software, the instructor had given valuable comments on the improvement of
the illustrations and improved some of the illustrations himself as a practical
demonstration of a better learning of the students.

Students performance evaluation strategies


The class emphasized a training component, but also include interactive lectures,
discussion groups, and assessments at the instructor's discretion. In all sessions,
both formative and summative assessments were used by the instructor. Grades
followed the standard BUCT grading policy published in the syllabus and
provided to students prior to the course.
The instructor and students agreed that teaching in a classroom is best suited
to this course. This course not only served as an information transfer but also
stimulated creative and critical thinking; therefore, questions and answers
flowed in both directions between instructor and students.
The summative assessment included the already designed manuscript
assessment for reviewing and focused group discussion on a bigger canvas than
minor details such as grammatical errors and misspellings. The title and the
keywords of the manuscript were removed prior to distributing the manuscripts
among the students. Eighteen different manuscripts were distributed among the
students to ensure that all group members actively participate and make a
different analysis, which facilitated a sharp comparison of the writing.

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Furthermore, this format facilitated focused group discussions, optimizing the


use of time, providing an equal opportunity for all members to share their
opinion and avoiding one person taking control of all the group discussion.
The readers of the manuscript having different experience and skill level
provide their input from their manuscript drafts. Each participant has actively
contributed in writing comments. All the group members working on one draft
were asked to give detailed comments while avoiding redundancy or repetition.
Every member of the group was encouraged to give new comments. The group
leader was responsible for keeping the group members on task ensure each
persons timely feedback. It is important to note that all participants have been
given sufficient time to contribute to the assignment.
The students were asked to Enlist a minimum of two manuscript strengths
and weaknesses such as novelty and scope. The participants were encouraged
to start with highlighting the positive points of the manuscript to enhance their
ability to suggest improvements.
The second question was to Enlist at least two specific ways to strengthen the
manuscript. This question received diverse answers which helped in keeping
the focus on the bigger canvas including clarity, flow, and organization, instead
of pointing out minor mistakes. However, the students were encouraged to
point out redundancy in the manuscript, which made it difficult to read. For
instance, if the writer of the manuscript continuously lacks the logic and has
poorly organized the sections or paragraphs, this could be marked as a major
element which needs improvement.
The last question asks students, To point out the single most important item to
be focused on for revision? It helps to determine whether the manuscript is
rejected out rightly rather than getting an acceptance for revision and
resubmission. The assignment was concluded with the summary of the main
points of the group discussion, confirming that the writer of the manuscript was
given sufficient guidance about their next steps in the revision process. This
assignment has helped to enhance the overall effectiveness of the course.

Evaluating the effectiveness of the course


Since it is the first time to implement this course and there is less literature
available to enable the teacher to apply models to evaluate the effectiveness of
the course. This paper provided a guideline and useful information to its readers
to further build on the effectiveness of academic writing courses. However, two
parameters were used to assess the value of AAWS, the first was the attendance
of the students who regularly attended the course in the given year. Results
showed that 90% of the students attended the classes. High attendance rate and
a very low rate of students quitting the course indicated that the course has not
only attracted but retained many students. Another parameter applied in this
study was satisfaction of this course. The effectiveness of the course was further
confirmed by employing satisfaction point, an evaluation index is given by the
participants of the course, based on their own opinions. The evaluation
indicators were taken from the previous study (Chen, Zhao, & Wang, 2016).
The indicators have been modified for relevance for the current research.
Specific evaluating indicators are shown in Table 2.

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Table 2. The Evaluating Indicator of Satisfaction Points

No. Evaluating Indicator Weight


1 I have learnt a lot from this course, understood and mastered the main 0.2
content taught by the teacher. I can troubleshoot writing problems in the
already designed manuscript
2 Teacher was confident and passionate while teaching this course 0.1
3 Teacher has prepared well for this course; lectures were understandable 0.1
4 Assignments were designed meticulously, and instructor paid enough 0.2
attention to analyzing scientific writing problems. This course had
provided the students an effective model for becoming a more meticulous
revisionist of their own writing
5 Teaching methodology was appropriate 0.1
6 Communication inside and outside the class was effective, and students 0.1
were highly encouraged to share their opinion
7 Students were taught in accordance with their aptitudes 0.1
8 This course helped to promote critical thinking 0.1

Each indicator has 5 options, A for 95 points, B for 85 points, C for 75 points, D
for 60 points, and E for 50 points. The total points were then obtained according
to the weight and grade. All students were asked to give their own evaluation
anonymously, the final score was calculated to be 95% by using weight and
grade. Finally, three indications have been given, the first was the successful
accomplishment of this course. The second indication was that the students
mastered the basic concepts of AAWS and they can meticulously review their
own manuscripts prior to submission. The third indication was that it enhanced
the research productivity and lowered the chance of the manuscript rejection.
The students were also provided the opportunity to provide free-text comments
to the course. Some of the comments are as follows:
(1) The course has provided us the unique opportunity to develop hand on
software skills, which we would not have learned otherwise. It is important to
note, that the volunteer presenters who presented on the use of different
softwares had first learned using them and then delivered presentations.
(2) The course has encouraged us to develop critical thinking.
(3) The course has enabled us to become more meticulous researchers and
writers and gave us new directions of brainstorming prior to getting started with
the manuscript or any other technical writing.
Others did offer some suggestions:
(1) We would have been more comfortable in taking the course if it was offered
in the beginning (first year of Ph.D. and Master). It would have helped us to
enhance our research productivity earlier.
(2) It would have helped us a lot more if we were given a little background
document/reading materials to read prior to the course.

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Conclusion
Results indicated that the implemented course is successful. This course offered
a series of positive adjustments in the academic writing skills of young
researchers and scientists at BUCT to improve the quality of research, education,
and publication. The instructor provided the students with courage and
expression ability, reinforced their confidence, taught them initiating the
technical writing, and increased their self-learning ability. This study provided
international students connecting with OBOR, a brief exposure to the art of
writing an impressive manuscript. Most of the students who have studied the
course were from Pakistan and other OBOR countries, who could further
disseminate the contents of AAWS to improve scientific writing skills and
educational performances in their respective countries. The most important
outcome of the study was provision of an opportunity to OBOR countries to
improve experience exchange, teaching cooperation, and education
communication. Furthermore, the results offered a model to other universities or
majors to bring adjustments for the improvement of the academic writing skills
of research scholars in China and worldwide.

Acknowledgement
This study was supported by the Teaching Reform Program in Graduate
Education at Beijing University of Chemical Technology (G-JG-PT201603) and
"One Belt, One Road" National Talent Training Project of Beijing, China.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 16, No. 10, pp. 100-113, October 2017
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.16.10.8

A Correspondence Analysis of Nine Japanese


Historical English-as-a-Foreign-Language
Textbooks

Ryohei Honda, Kiyomi Watanabe


Fukuyama Heisei University
Fukuyama, Japan

Toshiaki Ozasa
Hiroshima University (Professor Emeritus)
Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan

Abstract. The present paper aims to quantitatively describe and explain


the features of nine Japanese historical EFL textbooks and their current
counterpart, by using a correspondence analysis (CA), focusing on their
similarities / differences. The following are the obtained results. First,
the CA results proved capable of differentiating the features of the nine
historical textbooks and their current counterpart quantitatively,
showing their similarities and differences. In particular, the CA map
comprised of the two major dimensions indicated that the ten textbooks
acan be divided into four groups and that it was only Dimension 1 or
the axis of difficult vs. easy texts that differentiated the two major
groups. Second, when compared with their current junior-high
counterpart, Sunshine, all the textbooks, except for Seisoku, StandardP
and Globe, proved to be similar to each other in terms of the drill-
centered vs. natural category (Dim 2). This suggests that the six
historical textbooks are similar to their current counterpart, Sunshine and
that the other three textbooks are different from their current
counterpart in terms of the drill-centered vs. natural texts category.
Third, the explaining categories (dimensions, axes) proved to be the
difficult vs. easy texts axis (Dim 1), the drill-centered vs. natural
structure axis (Dim 2), multi-viewpoints vs. single viewpoint discourse
axis (Dim 3), redundant vs. concise texts axis (Dim 4) and childrens
vs. adults viewpoint axis (Dim 5). Finally, it was concluded that the
results of the present study suggest that CA is a useful tool for
describing, interpreting and diagnosing the features of Japanese EFL
textbooks.

Keywords: Correspondence analysis; Japanese EFL textbooks; Corpora.

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1. Introduction
It has to be stated first of all that the qualitative and quantitative analysis
of Japanese historical English-as-a-foreign-language (henceforth EFL) textbooks
is a narrow, limited area with very few researchers participating in the
development and accumulation of the academic expertise in this field. This is
probably because the research itself necessarily takes a time-consuming and
energy-consuming process, which has to start with collecting relevant data
scattered around and digitizing the collected historical data for quantitative
analysis, transforming their graphic texts into digital corpora.
Presumably, Ozasa and Nakamura (2001) was the first academic
contribution to the qualitative analysis of Japanese historical EFL textbooks in
Japan, which, after presenting a bibliographical introduction of the eight
Japanese historical EFL textbooks, depicted the contents of the eight textbooks
based on a close reading of the texts. Ozasa and Erikawa (Eds.) (2004), the
second contribution to the area, was a more comprehensive diachronic analysis
of Japanese historical textbooks, this time, both qualitative and quantitative. In
this study, sixteen historical textbooks were described and quantitatively
analyzed, covering most of the representative ones, and nine textbooks,
including H. E. Palmers The Standard English Readers, were quantitatively
analyzed in terms of nine lexical, grammatical and readability indices. It is to be
noted in this respect that the readability measuring indices used in this study
and the following ones were widely-known, universal ones, i.e., Flesch Reading
Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.
In 2007, Nakamura and Ozasa analyzed two corpus databases, (1)
fourteen EFL textbook series used in Japan across a span of 135 years and (2) five
Asian EFL textbooks, in terms of gender awareness, while Weir and Ozasa
(2007) measured the naturalness of the discourse of three Japanese historical EFL
textbooks as denoted by their appropriateness to the parts-of-speech profile
represented by the American English Brown corpus.
Further, in this context, Weir and Ozasa (Eds.) (2007) and Weir and
Ozasa (Eds.) (2008) reported various kinds of synchronic and diachronic
textbook studies using the techniques of corpus analysis, covering the areas of
grammar, vocabulary, lexical collocation, semantics, readability, language
acquisition, etc., among others. Specifically, Ozasa, Umamoto, Matuoka and
Motooka (2008) reported on the diachronic comparison of the first year books of
twenty-three historical EFL textbooks and one current one, focusing on overall
tokens, types and new types, and Matsuoka, Umamoto, Ozasa and Motooka
(2008) reported on the diachronic comparison of the same set of EFL textbooks,
focusing on the frequency of the past and the present forms of be-verbs and
general verbs, while Hosaka and his team reported a diachronic comparison of
seven Japanese historical EFL textbooks focusing on the occurrences of to-
infinitive forms (Hosaka, Abe, Uenishi & Ozasa, 2008) and of verbal forms
(Hosaka, Erikawa, Miura & Ranjan, 2008).
Weir, specialist in computer science and computer programming, put
his high-tech expertise into practical use in the quantitative analysis of EFL
textbook corpora. Weir and Ozasa (2008) computed and compared the
frequency of individual words and multiword sequences (n-grams) across three
Japanese historical EFL textbook corpora. Weir and Ozasa (2009) performed a

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102

test of the assumption that three sets of Japanese historical EFL textbooks exhibit
priority of grammatical over vocabulary consideration. Weir and Ozasa (2010)
reported on the application of computer-based text analysis tools, using three
Japanese EFL textbook corpora, in terms of n-gram frequency, hapax legomena
and Dolch word.
In 2016, a new attempt was made with an innovative approach in
Kawamura, Umamoto and Ozasa and Kawamura, Umamoto, Matsuoka and
Ozasa (2017), in which, using the same textbook corpora analyzed in Ozasa and
Erikawa (Eds.) (2004), new quantitative analyses were carried out by using a
newly developed readability measuring tools, Ozasa-Fukui Year Level, Ver.
3.4.2nhnc1-5 (Ozasa, Fukui & Watanabe, 2015) and Ver. 3.5nhnc1-6 (Ozasa,
Watanabe & Fukui, 2016).
These studies were further followed by three related studies, Sakamoto,
Watanabe and Ozasa (2017), Watanabe, Asai and Ozasa (2017) and Uenishi,
Watanabe and Ozasa (2017). In Sakamoto et al, a correspondence analysis was
carried out using five Japanese historical EFL textbooks and their current
counterpart. In Watanabe et al, the same type of corpus analysis was performed
using five different Japanese historical EFL textbooks and two of their current
counterparts. Again in Uenishi et al, the same type of quantitative analysis was
performed, this time, using six Japanese current EFL textbook corpora, in order
to quantitatively examine their similarities / differences.
The present study, motivated by the same awareness and goals as in the
preceding ones, aims to quantitatively analyze the same textbook corpora as in
Ozasa and Erikawa (Eds.) (2004), from a different perspective, using a different,
new corpus analysis technique, i.e., correspondence analysis (Henceforth CA).

2. Aim
The present paper aims to quantitatively describe and explain the
features of nine Japanese historical EFL textbooks and their current counterpart,
by using a CA, focusing on their similarities / differences. The following are
the research questions of the present paper:

(1) How similar / different in contents are the nine Japanese historical EFL
textbooks to / from each other?
(2) How similar / different in contents are the nine Japanese historical EFL
textbooks to / from their current counterpart?
(3) What kinds of dimensions explain the similarities / differences among
the ten textbooks?

The textbooks used in the present CA were nine historical EFL


textbooks used during the period from 1861 to 1952, and a currently used EFL
textbook, which was included in the present analysis for comparative purposes
(Ozasa & Erikawa, (Eds.), 2004). They were the following.

1) New English Drill Books 1 (Kenjiro Kumamoto, 1907, Kaiseikan)


(Henceforth
Drill.)

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103

2) New Jack and Betty: English Step by Step 1 (K. Hagiwara, M. Inamura & K.
Takezawa, 1952, Kairyudo) (Henceforth Jack & Betty.)
3) The Standard English Readers 1 (Tsuneta Takehara, 1932, Taishukan)
(Henceforth StandardT.)
4) Sanders Union Readers 1 (Charles Walton Sanders, 1861, Ivison, Blakeman,
Taylor & Co.) (Henceforth Union.)
5) New National Readers 1 (C. J. Barnes, 1883, A. S. Barnes & Co.) (Henceforth
National.)
6) English Readers: The High School Series 1 (Education Department, Japan (W.
Dening, 1887, Education Department Publishing, Japan ) (Henceforth Dening.)
7) Seisoku Education Department English Reader 1 (Education Department, Japan,
1889, Education Department Publishing, Japan) (Henceforth Seisoku.)
8) The Globe Readers 1Yoshisaburo Okakura, 1907, Dainippon
Tosho(Henceforth Globe.)
9) The Standard English Readers 1 (H. E. Palmer, 1926, Institute for Research in
English Teaching, Japan (Henceforth StandardP.)
10) Sunshine English Course I (Masao Niizato, et al, 2012, Kairyudo) (Henceforth
Sunshine.)

Through this analysis, we hope to quantitatively clarify the similarities /


differences of the nine Japanese historical textbooks and their relationships with
their current counterpart.

3. Method
The present study employed a one-way CA model with ten nominal
variants, in order to explore the relationships among the ten Japanese EFL
textbooks, i.e., Drill, Jack & Betty, StandardT, Union, National, Dening, Seisoku,
Globe, StandardP and Sunshine.
First, a cross tabulation table of the above-mentioned ten textbooks was
prepared as a basic datum for the present CA, using the ten textbook corpora.
This is practically a cross-textbook word-frequency table, which was made using
AntConc, a vocabulary processing tool. In this frequency table the most
frequent 100 words (content words and function words) were picked up from
the frequency list and their frequency values were placed for each of the ten
textbooks. (Since the ten kinds of 100 word lists were incorporated into one
cross-frequency word table, the number of words of the cross tabulation table
was more than 100.)
Then, using the digital datum of the cross tabulation table, CAs were
carried out by using Fukuis College Analysis, a statistics computer program
developed for social studies by Masayasu Fukui, professor of applied
mathematics at Fukuyama Heisei University, Japan. In evaluating and
interpreting the results of the analysis, some of the ideas and techniques
developed in Tono (2000) were used for reference where they were deemed
relevant and appropriate to the topics dealt with in the present paper.

4. Results and Discussion


Table 1 shows the basic statistics of the present CA, i.e., the eigenvalues,
coefficient correlations, contribution rates and cumulative contribution rates of

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104

the analysis. As the contribution rate indicates in Table 1, the relationship


among the ten nominal variants (textbooks) were explained 31.6% by the first
dimension, 16.8% by the second dimension, 13.8% by the third dimension, 11.7%
by the fourth dimension and 10.2% by the fifth dimension, the cumulative
contribution rate being 84.1% on the fifth dimension. This means that the five
dimensions should be included in the analysis and interpretation of the present
corpora.
Table 1. Basic CA Data, Ten Textbooks)
Dim 1 Dim 2 Dim 3 Dim 4 Dim 5 Dim 6 Dim 7 Dim 8 Dim 9
Eigenvalue 0.102 0.054 0.045 0.038 0.033 0.021 0.014 0.009 0.008
Correlation 0.319 0.233 0.212 0.195 0.181 0.144 0.116 0.097 0.089
Contribution rate 0.316 0.168 0.138 0.117 0.102 0.064 0.042 0.029 0.024
Cumulative
0.316 0.483 0.622 0.739 0.841 0.904 0.946 0.976 1
contribution rate

Table 2 shows the values of the ten textbooks on the five dimensions
and Figure 1 visualizes the CA results of the ten textbooks on Dim 1, as a
description of the relationships among the ten variants. As it is clear in Table 2
and Figure 1, on the first dimension, the value is the highest for Dening (1.864),
the second highest for Union (1.142), and the lowest for Sunshine (-1.564), the
second lowest for Jack & Betty (-1.088), the third lowest for Drill (-0.914), while
National, StandardT, Globe, StandardP and Seisoku coming in between them. In
decreasing order, the ten textbooks were: Dening > Union > National > StandardT
> Globe > StandardP > Seisoku > Drill > Jack & Betty > Sunshine.

Table 2. Values of Ten Textbooks on Five Dimensions


Dim 1 Dim 2 Dim 3 Dim 4 Dim 5
StandardP -0.252 -0.862 -0.544 0.576 -1.027
StandardT 0.591 -0.224 0.103 0.056 -0.084
Jack&Betty -1.088 -0.021 -0.235 0.44 0.201
Union 1.142 0.403 0.869 -0.176 -0.696
Seisoku -0.316 2.129 -1.413 -0.963 0.696
Drill -0.914 -0.154 -0.398 -0.242 -2.044
National 0.708 -0.119 1.546 -1.788 0.094
Globe 0.273 -1.953 -1.181 -0.608 1.441
Dening 1.864 0.592 -0.296 2.039 0.241
Sunshine -1.564 0.204 1.628 1.019 1.159

Figure 1. Values of Ten Textbooks on Dim 1

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105

The differences / similarities among the ten textbooks on the first


dimension could best be explained by the category of difficult vs. easy texts; in
Dening, Union and National, grammatical and lexical items were not strictly
controlled, allowing more freedom for natural communication and
communicative activity while in Sunshine and Jack & Betty, the texts were written
using a small, limited number of basic grammatical and lexical items in every
lesson.
For example, when the following two pieces of the first lessons of the
two contrasting textbooks, Dening and Sunshine, are compared, it is obvious that
in Dening the text sounds more natural and therefore more challenging for fresh
EFL learners and their readability is contrastively high while Sunshine uses easy
and basic patterns repeatedly. For this reason, the first dimension was termed
difficult vs. easy texts. The contribution rate of the first dimension was 31.6%,
covering approximately one-third of the whole contribution.

(Dening) Once upon a time a clam, who had opened his shell wide, was basking
in the sunshine on the sea shore. A snipe happened to see what was going on.
(Lesson 1)
(Sunshine) Hi, I am Saki. Oh, you are Saki. Im Tom. (Program 2. Program 1 is
on Classroom English.)

It is to be noted at this stage that this CA readability judgment is not a


direct, measurement-based estimation like readability measurement but an
indirect one based on a highly advanced correlation-based mathematical
processing of cross-frequency tabulation of the top one-hundred words of the
ten textbooks. In order to ascertain the degree of accuracy of this CA estimation,
the present CA results were compared with actual direct measurements of the
same nine textbook corpora, quoted from Kawamura, Umamoto and Ozasa
(2016). (Since all of the nine textbooks were included in the ten textbooks used
in the present CA analysis, the nine textbooks were compared between the two
sets, the readability sets and the CA sets except for Drill.) Table 3 and Figure 2
show the readability values of the same nine textbooks as those in the present
analysis, which were measured using the then-newest readability measuring
tool, Ozasa-Fukui Year Level, Ver. 3.4.2nhnc1-5 (Kawamura et al, 2016, p. 95).

Table 3. Readability Measured by OFYL


Dening 6.68
Union 4.23
National 3.4
Globe 3.22
StandardT 3.11
StandardP 3.1
Seisoku 3.07
J&B 1.51
Sunshine 1.49

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Figure 2. Readability Measured by OFYL

As it is clear in Tables 2 and 3, and Figures 1 and 2, when the two sets
were compared in terms of their decreasing order, they corresponded to each
other almost perfectly except for Globe and StandardT. It could be stated that the
indirect readability estimation of the CA is fairly accurate, almost as accurate as
the estimation of the direct measuring tool, on two grounds. First, the accuracy
(prediction rate, r^2) of Ozasa-Fukui Year Level, Ver. 3.4.2nhnc1-5 is 0.8802 or
88.02%, which means that there are about 12% chances of errors in its estimation
itself (Kawamura et al, 2016, p.88). Second, the nine corpora used in the two
analyses were not the same in the strict sense of the word; in the present CA, the
whole corpora were used without any kinds of modification while in the direct
readability measurement, the corpora were cleaned or processed, in which
unnecessary parts of the passages were deleted so that only normal sentences
could be measured. These facts considered, it must be concluded that the
estimation of the present CA judgment of the ten corpora is surprisingly
accurate, accurate enough for the purpose of the present analysis.
This conclusion, or the judgment of the Dim 1 results could be
generalized to the other four dimensions (Dims 2 to 5); although they are
indirect estimation of the textbook categories, it could be reasonably accurate
and trustworthy estimation and interpretation of their features.

Figure 3. Values of Ten Textbooks on Dim 2

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107

On the second dimension, as it is also clear in Table 2 and Figure 3, the


value is the highest for Seisoku (2.129), and the lowest for Globe (-1.953) and the
second lowest for StandardP (-0.862), the other seven coming in between them.
In decreasing order, the ten textbooks were: Seisoku > Dening > Union > Sunshine
> Jack & Betty > National > Drill > StandardT > StandardP > Globe. The difference
of the values among the ten textbooks could best be explained by the category of
drill-centered vs. natural structure; in Seisoku, linguistic items were organized
so that a small number of grammatical and lexical items were selected, graded
and carefully embedded into the text / discourse for each lesson or unit while in
Globe this kind of linguistic control is rather loosely observed, giving more
freedom for natural communication and communicative activity. In other
words, Seisoku observes the principle of a step-by-step progression, while Globe
observes the principle of freer communication as a basic strategy of EFL
textbook organization. For this reason, the second dimension was termed drill-
centered vs. natural structure. The contribution rate of the second dimension
was 16.8%.
Also, on the third dimension, as it is also clear in Table 2 and Figure 4,
the value is the highest for Sunshine (1.628), the second highest for National
(1.546), and the lowest for Seisoku (-1.413), the second lowest for Globe (-1.181),
the other seven coming in between them. In decreasing order, the ten textbooks
were: Sunshine > National > Union > StandardT > Jack & Betty > Dening > Drill >
StandardP > Globe > Seisoku. The differences / similarities among these ten
textbooks could best be explained by the category of multi-logue vs.
monologue. In Seisoku (the lowest) and Globe (the second lowest), almost all of
the texts take the form of my monologue or my depiction, in which the subject
I alone talk or depict; in contrast, in Sunshine (the highest) and National (the
second highest), almost all of the texts take the form of intercommunication
among two or more interlocutors. In contrast, Drill and Jack & Betty, and others,
whose values lie in between the two contrasting ends, are comprised of various
kinds of styles such as monologue, dialogue, passages, structure-based pattern
practices, etc. For this reason, this dimension was termed multi-logue vs.
monologue discourse. The contribution rate of the fourth dimension was 0.138,
covering only the 13.8% of the whole contribution.

Figure 4. Values of Ten Textbooks on Dim 3

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108

On the fourth dimension, as it is also clear in Table 2 and Figure 5, the


value is the highest for Dening (2.039) and the second highest for Sunshine (1.019)
, while it is the lowest for National (-1.788). In decreasing order, the ten
textbooks were: Dening > Sunshine > StandardP > Jack & Betty > StandardT >
Union > Drill > Globe > Seisoku >National. The differences / similarities among
these ten textbooks could best be explained by the category of redundant vs.
concise texts. In Dening (the highest) and Sunshine (the second highest), for
example, a considerably large part of the text are long and tends to sound
redundant although sentences are syntagmatic and cohesive, while in National
(the highest), the dialogues and expository passages are generally brief and
comprehensive without tedious repetitive drill-like sentences. For this reason,
the fourth dimension was termed redundant vs. concise texts.

Figure 5. Values of Ten Textbooks on Dim 4

On the fifth dimension, as it is also clear in Table 2 and Figure 6, the


value is the highest for Globe (1.441) and the second highest for Sunshine (1.159),
while it is the lowest for Drill (-2.044), and the remaining seven textbooks are
coming in between them. In decreasing order, the seven textbooks were: Globe >
Sunshine > Seisoku > Dening > Jack & Betty > National > StandardT > Union >
StandardP > Drill. The differences / similarities among these ten textbooks could
best be explained by the category of childrens vs. adults viewpoint. In Globe
(the highest) and Sunshine (the second lowest), a considerably large part of the
texts are motivated and predominated by the viewpoints of young children or
learners, while in Drill (the lowest), for example, the dialogues and expository
passages are generally motivated and predominated by adults or instructors
viewpoints. For this reason, the fifth dimension was termed childrens vs.
adults viewpoint.

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109

Figure 6. Values of Ten Textbooks on Dim 5

As a summary of the above descriptions and discussions, Figure 7


visualizes the spatial relationships among the ten nominal variants or textbooks
in focus, in which the x-axis represents the first dimension or the axis of difficult
vs. easy texts and the y-axis the second dimension or the axis of drill-centered
vs. natural structure. As it is clear in Figure 7, the ten textbooks can be
classified into four category groups, i.e., Group 1 (+ on x-axis, around 0 on y-
axis), Group 2 (- on x-axis, around 0 on y-axis), Group3 (around 0 on x-axis, - on
y-axis) and Group 4 (around 0 on x-axis, + on y-axis). In Group 1 (difficult text
and neutral in terms of drill-centered vs. natural structure), there clustered
were four textbooks, i.e., Dening, Union, National and StandardT. In Group 2
(easy text and neutral in terms of drill-centered vs. natural structure), there
clustered were three textbooks, i.e., Sunshine, Jack & Betty and Drill. In Group 3
(natural text and neutral in difficulty), there were two textbooks located, i.e.,
StandardP and Globe and in Group 4 (drill-centered text and neutral in difficulty),
there were only one textbook located, i.e., Seisoku.
Clearly, it was only Dim 1 or the axis of difficult vs. easy texts that
differentiated the two big groups, Group 1 and Group 2. In other words, this
large cluster consisting of the seven textbooks were divided into two groups on
the basis of their locations on the difficult-easy axis. This will suggest that x-axis
(difficult vs. easy texts) can be an efficient and dominant differentiator of the
historical EFL textbooks in focus.

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110

X-axis: difficult vs. easy texts


Y-axis: drill-centered vs. natural structure
Figure 7. CA Map of 10 Textbooks

It is true that the CA map based on the two selected major dimensions
(axes) can differentiate the major features of the ten historical and current EFL
textbooks but naturally it cannot differentiate all of their features detected in the
analysis. In order to overcome this weakness, a new attempt was made to
display the whole pictures of their features based on the values of the whole
dimensions dealt with in the present analysis. It is a way of computing the
actual distance (Euclidean distance) of the ten individual textbooks on each of
the nine dimensions, by multiplying the weighted correlation coefficients by the
coefficients proportional to the contribution rates. Using the thus-computed
Euclidean distances of the ten textbooks on the nine dimensions, a cluster
analysis was performed using College Analysis, by maximum distance method,
so as to draw a dendrogram of the ten textbooks. Figure 8 is a dendrogram
which visually summarizes the degree of similarities and differences among the
ten nominal variants of the present analysis, based on the values (distances) of
all of the (nine) dimensions computed in the present analysis, not based on the
results of the two selected dimensions as in Figure 7.
Dendrogam is a branching diagram like biological taxonomy,
representing a hierarchy of categories based on degree of similarity or the
numbers of shared characteristics and graphically displays the internal cohesion
and external isolation of the variants in focus, i.e., the ten textbooks in the
present analysis. As it is clear in Figure 8, there identified were two groups, one
(Group A) comprised of five textbooks, StandardP, Jack & Betty, Drill, Sunshine
and Seisoku, the other (Group B) comprised of five textbooks, StandardT, Union,
National, Dening and Globe. In Group A, among the five constituents, Standard P

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111

and Jack & Betty are the highest in closeness or cohesion to each other at the first
branch (clade), the relationship of which with Drill is the second highest at the
second clade. In the same way, the lowest is the relationship of the four
textbooks with Seisoku in Group A. In the same manner, in group B, the
closeness between StandardT and Union is the highest and the relationship
among Globe and the other four textbooks are the lowest. (It is to be noted in this
respect that in dendrogram, the lower a clade is in height, the higher the
relationship of the constituents in the group.)

Figure 8. Dendrogram of Ten Textbooks by Maximum Distance Method

The above interpretations and discussions of the dendrogram can also


be summarized using brackets, as in the following.
Group A: ((((StandardP, Jack & Betty) Drill) Sunshine) Seisoku)
Group B: ((((StandardT, Union) National) Dening) Globe)
Interestingly, Group A consists of the textbooks authored by Japanese authors
except for StandardP, while Group B consists of the textbooks authored by
native-speaker authors except for StandardT and Globe.

5. Conclusion
So far, the results of the CA has been analyzed, interpreted and
discussed, focusing on the characteristic features, similarities and differences
among the nine textbooks with their current counterpart, which proved that CA
is powerful enough to quantitatively analyze their features. As a summary of
the results and discussions of the present CA, the RQs were answered as in the
following.
RQ 1. How similar / different in contents are the ten Japanese EFL
textbooks to/from each other? The CA results proved capable of differentiating
the features of the ten textbooks quantitatively, specifying their similarities and
differences. In particular, the CA map comprised of the two major dimensions
indicated that the ten textbooks can be divided into four groups and that it was
only Dimension 1 or the axis of difficult vs. easy texts that differentiated the two
major groups. The dendrogram, which was comprised of the nine dimensions
(axes), indicated that the ten textbooks could be divided into two groups, Group

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A and Group B based on the mutual similarities / differences (distances) among


the ten textbooks.
RQ 2. How similar / different in contents are the nine Japanese
historical EFL textbooks to/from their current counterparts? When compared
with their current counterpart, Sunshine, all the textbooks, except for Seisoku,
StandardP and Globe, proved to be similar to each other in terms of the drill-
centered vs. natural category (Dim 2). This suggests that the six historical
textbooks are similar to their current counterpart, Sunshine and that the other
three textbooks are different from their current counterpart in terms of the drill-
centered vs. natural category.
RQ 3. What kinds of dimensions explain the similarities / differences
among the ten textbooks? The explaining categories (dimensions, axes) proved
to be the difficult vs. easy axis (Dim 1), the drill-centered vs. natural axis (Dim
2), multi-viewpoints vs. single viewpoints axis (Dim 3), redundant vs. concise
axis (Dim 4) and childrens vs. adults viewpoint axis (Dim 5).
Finally, it was concluded that the CA proved to be powerful enough to
quantitatively analyze, interpret and clarify the characteristic features,
similarities and differences among the nine historical textbooks and their current
counterpart.

References
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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 16, No. 10, pp. 114-131, October 2017
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.16.10.9

And Still They Persisted:


A Discussion of Indigenous Students
Perspectives on a Year in Pre-Nursing
Transitions

Kathy Snow
Cape Breton University,
Sydney, Canada

Abstract. Access and Transitions Programing has been a focus in


Canadian Educational reform for over fifty years. Though made smaller
through transitions and access supports, the gap between non-
Indigenous and Indigenous students attainment in higher education,
remains large. One has to ask why? Evaluation of said programs in
current literature is dominated with Eurocentric approaches and bias
based in institutional needs such as retention, attrition and graduation
rates. However, the statistics do not tell a complete story about how
Indigenous students are navigating post-secondary experiences.
Through the lens of the Medicine Wheel the experiences of four women
participating in a Pre-Nursing Transitions Program (PNT) at a western
Canadian University will be discussed. The results of this case study
which was conducted during the 2013-14 academic year identify clashes
between the Eurocentric paradigm of the University and students
values. At face value, conflicts centered around prioritisation of family,
types of knowledge valued and the way information was presented.
However, these conflicts speak to larger issues around the construction
and intention of transitions programming and this article aims respond
with a word of caution for post secondary institutions however well
intentioned aiming to respond to the 2015 Truth and reconciliation call
for indigenization of the academy.

Keywords: persistence; transitions; indigenous pedagogy; achievement


gap; higher education reform.

Introduction
A growing number of Indigenous students are graduating high school and
entering post-secondary education but the gap between Indigenous and non-
Indigenous students university completion continues to grow (Parkin, 2015).

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115

Increased enrollments at post-secondary have been supported by the


implementation of Access and/or Transitions programs for Indigenous students
entry and preparation yet evaluations of their effectiveness remains elusive
(Maltest & Associates., 2004; Williams, 2004). In a review of literature, it was
found that very little literature examined Access and Transitions programs
ability to support students to graduation. The limited data that was found
located the evidence in the language of institutional needs (retention and
attrition) rather than student needs (persistence or life impact). It should be
noted that much of this research was dated and evaluated the persistence
decision making process of students using models such as Tintos (1975, 2012)
student integration framework. Tintos framework, though considered one of
foundational models for describing student persistence is problematic when
describing Indigenous students, because it was not designed with them in mind,
but rather the mainstream student population of the era, middle class youth
entering university directly out of high school. One could further argue that both
Access and Transitions programs are inherently colonizing practices through
their naming with the underlying assumption being it is the students whose
deficits must be accommodated (Access) or in the case of Transitions programs,
the students who must to adapt to the university system and culture.
Indigenous scholars such as Marie Battiste (2013) have argued that
colonization continues through education with the organization of learning and
there is a need for Indigenous people to make their voices heard to begin to
decolonize and re-frame thinking around education in Canada. This research set
out to lend evidence to Battistes call by examining a Pre-Nursing Transition
program designed for First Nations students from First Nations perspectives.
The study question developed in consultation with members of the Indigenous
community at the university became: What organizational and institutional
structures support student persistence? The response to the question that is
shared in this research forms two narratives. The first story describes program
structure and aspects of programming that support and hinder positive
persistence decisions. While the second story paints a picture of the resilience of
the women within the program. Women who did not succeed because of the
university, but perhaps in spite of it. The lens or framework used to evaluate the
response, was not that of Tinto, nor was it based in institutional measures of
success. Instead, within this article I further discussion of higher education
reform from the perspective of the medicine wheel a framework found almost
universally in First Nations groups within Canada and used to describe wellness
and balance for individuals. I begin the article by setting the stage and sharing a
brief background on transition programs and then describe the context of the
Pre-Nursing transitions program and the methodology of the study. I share the
stories of three women who persisted in transitions and share the themes arising
from their stories through the universities ability to support persistence through
well being as described by the medicine wheel. Finally, I close with a discussion
about what this work does to extend the conversations around the
decolonization of higher education.

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116

The Background
Many post-secondary institutions in Canada, like the one that provided the
setting for this research, offer separately named Access and Transitions
programs. Access programs distinguish themselves from Transitions by focusing
on mitigating barriers to access, such as applying modified entry requirements
or physically locating classrooms in communities that need them. Transition
programs focus on transitioning students into mainstream educational
provisions by offering a period of preparation that has been tailored to meet
students need. Philosophically the two types of programs are different but the
actual application of supports offered by both types of programs overlaps to the
extent that it may be difficult to distinguish them in practice. For the purpose of
this article, the term transitions program will be used throughout because this is
how the university chose to identify their program. However, the term may refer
to either or both types of programming due to the limited literature available
and the natural connections between the two.
From an institutional perspective, transitions programs appear to have
made some difference in graduation rates for Indigenous students though little
empirical evidence exists as to how or exactly how well they work (ACCC, 2010;
Valentine, Hirscy, Bremer, Novillo, Castellano & Banister, 2009). The structure of
transitions programs vary but most commonly include revisions to the entrance
requirements for the target student population alongside pre-university
orientation workshops, the introduction of cultural content, preparatory credit
courses, mentoring programs, tutoring, academic advisement, financial and
personal counselling, housing and childcare assistance (Association of Canadian
Community Colleges (ACCC), 2010; Anonson, Desjarlais, Nixon, Whitemand, &
Bird, 2008; Gregory, Pijl-Zieber, Barsky, & Daniels, 2008; Hardes, 2006; Smith &
Gottheil, 2011; Swail, Redd, & Perna, 2003; Valentine et. al, 2009). In the few
qualitative studies examining student experiences that were found, a list of
promising practices for transition program design has been identified: the
importance of a multifaceted approach, academic preparation, family support,
faculty support, and flexibility to allow students to maintain an active presence
in home/community (Astin, 1984; Barnhardt, 1994; Guillory & Wolverton, 2008;
Larimore & McClellan, 2005; Reyhner & Dodd, 1995). In an examination of the
study of nursing education specifically, successful Indigenous programming
appears to include the aforementioned features with the addition of the early
promotion of applied nursing skills (Kulig, Lamb, Solowoniuk, Weaselfat,
Shade, Healey, White, & Crowshoe-Hirsch, 2010). Critics of transitions programs
have claimed universities design and offer these programs as a form of
benevolent charity through an attempt to mitigate student deficits instead of
examining the factors leading to persistence and how this might impact the
larger university organization (McMullen & Rohrback, 2003; Munro, 2012;
Walberg, 2008). In an investigation of Australian transition programs, Fleet and
Kitson (2009) criticized transition programs as being providers of short-term
add-on fixes rather than actual support mechanisms to address the broader
changes needed to combat the discrepancy between Indigenous and non-
Indigenous students persistence. Recent work by Fleet, Wechmann and
Whiteworth (2012) outlined the need for holistic support networks which
reiterated the need for collaboration between university, family and community

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117

to support students as one of the most significant factors enabling students to


persist. However valuable these shifts have been in promoting persistence
Walburg (2008) and Battiste (2013) claim the fundamental differences between
the epistemologies of Western and Indigenous world views are not really
addressed in post-secondary educational design. The Truth and Reconciliation
Commission of Canada (2015) identified this conflict as ongoing colonization
through Eurocentric approaches to teaching and learning and calls for the
adoption of Indigenous pedagogies into mainstream educational offerings. This
is no easy task. Indigenous students entering post-secondary may be from one of
three distinct cultural groups: First Nations, Inuit or Metis, and within these
groupings members of different cultural groups again. The heterogeneous
nature of Indigenous student populations entering higher education further
complicates social and academic integration from an organizational perspective
because a universal Indigenous approach cannot adequately meet diverse
students needs (Bastien, 2004; Martin & Kipling, 2006; Timmons, 2009). To
reduce melting pot effects, this research does not set out to describe
Indigenous student experience universally, but rather the experience of one
specific group, urban raised First Nations students in a pre-nursing program at a
large urban centre.
What is my role in sharing this story? As a non-indigenous researcher, my
knowledge of First Nations experience will always be limited. This research is
the result of two years of work with the community in question, a year of
consultation and direction seeking and a year of conversations with students
and faculty. Ideally these stories would be written by the women themselves,
but they were busy, getting on and getting through university to obtain their
goals. My intention was to act as an ally; to give voice to those not in a position
to speak or write but who wanted to effect positive change for future students
by sharing their experiences. So I offered my time and a safety net, an outsider
with nothing to gain or lose, who could voice authentic experiences with no risk
to those who spoke. The choice of the medicine wheel as analytic frame, and the
degree to which this was successfully done also speaks to my own process of un-
learning (Wilson, 2008) and decolonizing myself.

Setting: The Pre Nursing Transitions (PNT) Program


The development of the case study was informed and guided by the
Director of Indigenous Programming at a western Canadian University (referred
to as the University throughout the remainder of this article). The Director
stated, like many transitions programs across Canada the cost/benefit equation
of the Indigenous Pre-Nursing Transition (PNT) program within the
Universitys budget was being questioned. The program was expensive to
operate and graduation rates were low (personal communication, 2011). Facing
institutional funding cuts the Director wanted to know what aspects within the
current PNT program supported students transition beyond the numbers that
could be obtained from the registrars office. Of Indigenous descent, the Director
also had first hand experience with transitioning to university and wanted to
know: What aspects of the program worked well for the students and what areas
needed improvement? Also, what evidence could be offered that illustrated the

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118

programs were having a positive effect on students to support its continued


existence?
The PNT program of the University was relatively resource heavy in
comparison to the first year nursing offerings for mainstream students. PNT like
the mainstream pre-nursing program was designed to completed in one year
and included all of the first year pre-requisite courses for the three-year Bachelor
of Nursing. The difference between the Transitions program and the mainstream
pre-nursing year was that Transition candidates were cohorted and
participated in specific sections of the core biology courses which were all taught
by the same instructor. Cohorting reduced the typical class size of the university
from over 100 to approximately 20 students. In addition, PNT students were
expected to participate in mandatory tutorials, visit an academic/personal
counsellor monthly as well as take part in a week long orientation program. No
specific Indigenous practices were adopted in course or program design and
Indigenous content was limited to elective courses in Indigenous studies. The
instructor of the core courses did not alter the content or structure of the lessons
from the mainstream sections but provided PNT students with additional
learning supports such as recorded lectures and pre-instruction Power Point
notes, which were not provides to the parallel mainstream classes. Rather than
being program specific, cultural support was provided for all Indigenous
students at the University through an Indigenous students centre. The building
was home to a full time Elder in residence and offered a friendly space to spend
time, computer access, free printing and a lunch room. Staff working in the
centre coordinated a variety of social and cultural events open to all students as
well as facilitated mentorship opportunities.

Methodology and Methods of Data Collection


Approximately a year was spent in consultation with the Director of
Indigenous programming, the faculty instructor described above, the
administrator of the PNT, the academic councillor of PNT and several program
leads of the varied Indigenous focused programs offered at the University before
a methodology was determined. Through these pre-research conversations, it
became apparent that the University needed more qualitative evidence about the
function of the PNT. All of the aforementioned community members discussed
the need to look beyond the statistics to see the real value of the program for the
students, with the most poignant example coming from the Director as she
outlined the problem of persistent students, or more accurately, the funding
problem created when students did not complete the ten-month program in the
allocated ten months. As a non-Indigenous researcher focusing on questions
involving Indigenous participants I felt the methodology needed to be
positioned in a manner similar to the aims of the program, as a middle ground
or bridge between two worlds (Augustine, 1998). The research methodology
chosen was case study, to reflect the unique population of students in the
particular context. I attempted to blend both Indigenous and non-Indigenous
epistemologies through the use of predominantly qualitative methods with open
ended interview protocols that became sharing sessions rather than interviews,
as a form of bricolage (Kovach, 2009; Lowan-Trudeau, 2012). The research
approach was also grounded in relationship building guided by the seminal

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work of Kirkness and Barnhardt (1991) 4Rs: respect, relevance, reciprocity and
responsibility. Data collection took place through a series of four individual
meetings with each self-selected student candidate during one academic year,
September, 2013, to May, 2014. Through chain sampling, from participating
students identification of key influences on their persistence additional
interviews were conducted with the academic counsellor and the primary
faculty instructor. The sessions were recorded, transcribed and analyzed for
themes using in vivo coding according to the protocols established in Saldana
(2013). Trustworthiness of the data was achieved through a process of member
checking and research collaboration with the participants. My interpretations
were brought back to each participant prior to commencing the subsequent
interview and interpretations were verified or corrected until the participants
identified their experience had been accurately captured and represented. Both
the primary instructor of the biology courses as well as the academic counsellor
were also interviewed at the end of the data collection period in an effort to
refine themes as they emerged from the data and to triangulate. The participants
themselves, became co-researchers rather than the subject of research. As the
year progressed they brought me stories and analysis of their university
experience. They searched to describe concrete factors that could contribute to
improved learning for the students following in their footsteps in subsequent
years. Through these stories a picture of who they were, their motivations and
resourcefulness became apparent.

The Women
Three self identified First Nations students participated in research
conversations but asked to remain anonymous, therefore pseudonyms have
been used. All women gave their time freely without incentives. When our
official communications concluded at the end of the transition year four themes
emerged (1) organization of learning, (2) scaling the university experience, (3)
pacing the program and (4) facultys role in advocating for students. Each of
these themes begins to emerge from the students stories that follow.

Carol
Carol entered the pre-nursing transition program as an adult learner after a
long gap in education as well as through a non-traditional high school
graduation route. On our first meeting Carol outlined how challenges with her
step-father led her to marry early as an escape from home. After raising her
family and working her way up to a successful career in sales through a variety
of entry level jobs. Carol was highly motivated to return to school, not only
because of her own educational goals but to be able to move into a career that
offered more stability to her family. Carol regularly cited her children as
motivation factors for her return as well as ongoing persistence efforts over the
course of the year, both in terms of strategizing her own success, my kids, they
depend on me, and I dont have the option to not do what I need to do as well
as the change her new lifestyle brought to the home, Im home, I mean I am
very busy, school is busy but I am home [more] with the kids, I notice they are a
lot happier.. Carol was responsible for the primary care of her children as well
as felt responsible for care of her extended family. When an extended family

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member, who lived in another province, fell ill during the term Carol reported
feeling immense guilt that she could not be physically there to support her. She
felt the stress of this situation would have caused her to leave the University
entirely had it not been for her close relationship with the transition program
mandated counsellor. Carol often identified her relationship with the counsellor
as an important aspect of her stress management, I dont have time to let it
[stress] creep in and if it does I just go knock on the counsellors door with a box
of Kleenex. Carol also identified the primary instructor of her core biology
classes as important to her success because the instructor appeared genuinely
interested in students, but Carol was also critical about the way in which the
content of the courses was presented,

she is a fantastic instructor and she cares and all those things, but I think
she is like so smart that like her language is very intense and it was well
over and above what we were ready for and that was a huge difficult
struggle throughout. ..I have spoken to her about it before, there is a
disconnect between what I am being taught and I think I understand ...
And there has been [from the beginning] and that has been a very
frustrating point for me.

Carol suggested both the type of content selected for the program (general
science as opposed to nursing specific) as well as the way it was structured
(from cells to systems instead people to parts) increased the challenge of the
program,

We are still learning the individual pieces the intestine, all of that, and
apparently now we are going to learn how it works, apparently by the
end of next term thats going to be the big reveal. Well see.

She was also disappointed in what appeared to be a complacency on the


side of the institution with regard to expectations saying [The instructor said]
the average is 60%, and thats a good scorewhen I was in high school that was
not goodIm just flabbergasted. Throughout the year, Carol returned to these
feelings of disconnect, that the university had somehow gotten the process of
learning backwards. In spite of these feelings, Carol completed the PNT, in the
year she entered and was accepted into the competitive nursing program.
However, it is important to note that Carol deliberately took courses in advance
of entering PNT, to test out university prior to entering PNT. When asked at
the end of the year what motivated her to complete her answer was very simple,
how many times have I been told no because I dont have that piece of paper
so I guess just to prove to everyone else I guess, I will feel good about it.. She
felt very alone in this goal, and as a single mother she had the added pressure of
supporting her children now and in the future. Getting the paper represented
proof for her children and herself that things could be different.

Anne
Anne also left home at an early age and returned to complete high school as
an adult learner. Anne identified herself as a high achiever stating that, In high
school up until the end of my grade 10, [the year she left school] my marks

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ranged from 85 to 95%. Anne had successfully graduated from a college


program in a different health care field and left that career to enter the PNT. She
was married without children and indicated her spouse was extremely
supportive of her decision to return to school, having my husband, hes wicked,
he is amazing its so nice to have someone that is your cheerleader and is just so
supportive during exams he cooked dinner every night and he did laundry
and like all these things.. Together they had prepared a financial plan in order
to be able to pay for the nursing degree without, she hoped, having to access
student loans or bursaries. Anne, although considered a first year student had
started taking courses at the University one term prior to her start in the PNT
program in an effort to better prepare for her return to school. She did not feel
she needed the counsellor and participated only to the extent that she completed
the mandatory minimum number of meetings required of the PNT program.
Anne was highly self-motivated and didnt feel she had time for socializing at
the university. After the first term of varied attempts to connect with both
members of her class, the Indigenous community on campus and the nursing
faculty she withdrew from social contacts with the university generally. The
only relationship Anne attempted to maintain was that with her primary
instructor,

shes also youngerso shes a lot more personable, so [she is] more
inclined to have a personal conversation where a lot of other instructors
really arent a lot of times they seem very busy they are approachable in
that you can ask them questions in regards to assignments and stuff but
other than that they tend, they are gone...

Anne identified this action as strategic. It was not that she did not want to have
connections on campus, but as an adult learner she approached school like a job,
arriving on campus daily in a 9-5 pattern. Rather than spending her out of class
time in social activities she preferred to seek out quiet corners on campus to
study. Originally, this home was the Indigenous student centre because she
found it to be a comfortable place and welcoming space. By the mid point of the
year, as her familiarity with the campus grew she moved on to find study areas
in the nursing building, because she wanted to overhear and learn about what
she needed to know after PNT. In her explorations with relationships on
campus, once she determined a particular relationship to be a time waster
because it did not directly lead to gains academically or contribute to her
professional goals she ended it. The only non-academic activity Anne added to
her daily campus routine was a regular workout time at the gym, which she said
was important to managing her stress levels. Anne was highly motivated,
before the completion of PNT she had mapped out an accelerated program for
herself for nursing so that she could enter into a masters degree. Her goal was
to enter nursing on her academic standing alone by not using one of the seats
reserved for Indigenous students. She achieved this. When I asked her what
advice she had for anyone considering entering PNT she said, you can succeed
if you use the supports, if you are committed, you really have to commit to
being here in general, so if you are at that point, you know for sure that is what
you want to do, and you dont let anyone distract you from that.. For Anne,

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completion was all about mitigating distractions and obstacles with a sense of
humour. In our interviews we laughed a great deal about the challenges she
faced and her recounting of her response to them.
Mary
Mary entered the PNT in a more traditional route, with a three-year gap
between graduation from high school and application to the University. Not
confident in her ability to be successful at the university level upon graduation
from high school Mary completed a two-year college program first, I wasnt
ready to commit to university, a long program and a lot of money right out of
high school... I knew I was interested in something in the medical field but I
wasnt sure what that was.. However, during her internship in this program
she decided she wanted a more challenging career in the medical field. She
lived at home with her mother and siblings just outside the city and had a long
daily commute using public transportation. Money was an important issue for
Mary as she not only paid for her own tuition, but also contributed to the family
income by paying rent and helping out financially as needed. Mary maintained
her job on a part-time basis upon entering the University full-time through
traditional channels. Shed joined the PNT program six months after her original
start due to a chance encounter with another Indigenous student at the
Indigenous student centre. Mary like Carol and Anne identified her immediate
family as a family of workers who did not fully understand the complexities
she faced with her return to school, I dont have a horrible life, but I want better
things, for my family, even though they dont really acknowledge [my efforts].
Mary maintained social contacts with both friend she made within the PNT and
also from her previous term on campus. She regularly met the girls for coffee
and gossip, although she intentionally limited these contacts to the school day
and deliberately chose not to socialize on the weekends reserving this time for
her friends and family outside of the University. Prior to entering PNT, Mary
had a challenging first term on campus and viewed it as a learning experience
because she felt it was not the content of the courses that was difficult, but
rather, the course load balance and time management that had caused her the
most problems. She attributed this at least in part to her lack of familial
mentorship,

its really hard for me, no one in my family went to university so I cant
say oh my mom is pushing me or whatever, um I would say its just
myself, I just changed a few things, obviously, studying habits, you
know I learned, like how to group what with what and just go from
there, self motivate myself.

Mary also outlined stress in relation to the size of the university. Having come
from a smaller school outside the city she found both the physical size of the
campus and the number of students in the typical classroom to be daunting. She
identified the scaled down PNT cohort as an important feature in establishing
her connection to the University. Although she did not develop relationships
beyond the level of familiar faces in the cohort, Mary appreciated the fact that
she was both noticed as a person by classmates and the instructor because of the
small class size. At the end of the PNT year Mary chose not to apply to nursing

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123

but instead to return for a second year in PNT. Her plan was to enroll in the
nursing electives open to any university student as well as re-take some of her
previous courses where her grades had not been strong. Having learned from
her early experiences in the university, that choosing a good balance of courses
was critical to success, she wanted to lighten her load in the nursing program by
reducing the course credits she would need initially as well as ensuring she had
the foundations in physiology and anatomy provided by the PNT.

The Medicine Wheel as Analytical Lens


Pamela Toulouse (2007), an Ojibwe scholar, has put forward the argument
that Indigenous Peoples academic success is inherently tied to self-esteem and
identity, which she describes using the medicine wheel. This lent further
evidence for the need to an alternative evaluative frame. The Medicine Wheel is
one of the most widespread symbols found among North American Indigenous
cultures (Canada Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1996). Each of the
four directions (East, North, West and South) of the wheel may be attributed
different meanings based on the cultural heritage of the speaker, but each
reflects holistic attributes of an individuals life that should be kept in balance
with the attributes of the other directions (Landon, 2012). These attributes
include emotional, physical, mental and spiritual domains and should one
aspect of a persons life fall out of balance all others are impacted (Toulouse,
2007). Entering university represents a major change in an individuals life
causing many aspects to shift in and out of balance as a student adjusts to the
new environment. Because of this, it was through the lens of the medicine wheel
that I chose to describe the students experiences rather than the more traditional
student integration framework of Tinto (2012) which as previously mentioned is
not relevant for Indigenous students and focuses on retention from an
institutional perspective. As a non-indigenous researcher working with First
Nations participants, I was challenged with unsettling myself, second guessing
my own understanding of experiences and post-secondary education. Using the
medicine wheel became a tool for me to evaluate my own expectations and
question factors impacting student persistence not formally represented in
literature.

Learning from the stories


In reviewing the transitions program through the lens of the medicine
wheel, I added two more voices, that of the instructor of the cohort courses and
the oft mentioned academic counsellor. Here we see a second and perhaps more
important story emerge. One that attests to the resilience of the women in the
face of change and the challenges they must negotiate to persist: (1) central role
of family, (2) strategies to navigate two worlds (3) isolation and the (4) desire to
give, serve and succeed for others. It is important to note, these are the
characteristics the students brought to the program and the areas that were not
served well by the university.

The East: Emotional Domain


The East or emotional domain describes your mental state and how your
emotions impact your relationships with others (Toulouse, 2011). Student

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124

participants universally approached their academic journey as one that needed


to be completed alone. Their comments evidenced both feeling isolated from
family as well as a need to make in on my own. When directly asked about the
changing nature of relationships, all three students identified varying degrees of
support with regard to familial understanding of the academic journey. All three
women indicated because they came from a family of workers they were often
misunderstood. Hardes (2006) identified that for many Indigenous students
joining the university community means, at least to some degree, a separation
from family community. The academic counsellor reiterated examples from
students and identified familial relationships as a key theme impacting
persistence,

you know when you have students that have family who dont
understand what it takes to be a student at university or they are coming
in from you know the north on a weekend and say no we want all your
attention meanwhile the student is caught between working on their
studies or being there with their family they are caught in that catch
22. Ive heard that story so many times.

Pidgeon (2009) proposed that Indigenous students must negotiate a


challenging balance between the cultural values of home versus the western
values given priority at the institution, with both worlds conflicting in various
realms of decision making and prioritizing. The student participants discussed
this conflict indirectly. All participants were hesitant to join the PNT
community, citing family commitments and life outside the university as more
important than investment in new relationships that were seen as transient.
There was also reluctance related to involving family members in the University
environment, with the only exception being the Indigenous students Christmas
party. Gold (2011), has shared similar evidence claiming that family connections
take priority over educational group membership for Indigenous students.
Sitting between these two worlds lead to feelings of isolation and the search for
someone to identify with. For Carol the search for advice and balance came from
regular meetings with the academic counsellor. Anne on the other hand, felt the
academic counsellor was at times a burden or requirement of the program and
sought out a mentor through the Indigenous mentorship program at the
University. Anne however ended the mentorship relationship after only a few
brief meetings with her mentor because she did not find him relatable. Anne
switched to a complete separation of relationships of university and home and
found her support from her husband. During the course of the year, Mary never
quite found a grounding relationship on campus. She had many loose social
connections with classmates and other Indigenous students on campus, but she
did not socialize with these students outside of the university environment, nor
did she introduce them to her family. The isolation and lack of role models is a
theme that has been addressed frequently in the literature, but has yet to be
addressed in practice effectively (Battiste, 2002; Hare, 2011; Kanu, 2011).
Students initially reached out for emotional connections in the university, but
finding few or not prepared to invest the time needed to build deeper
connections they adopted coping skills that helped them persist alone.

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125

The South: Physical Domain


The south or physical domain of the medicine wheel represents basic needs;
food, shelter, health and general well-being of an individual (Toulouse, 2011).
For Carol the motivation for returning to school was based in her ability to better
meet the physical needs of her children,

The job that I had, I mean it paid a lot of money, it was very good
financially but, um its also a lot of hours and a lot of time, so it was like 6
days a week, always evenings and weekends, and like I never saw the
kids, the kids were shipped around from daycare, to babysittersThey
still need me right, I found my son really struggled a lot with um, me
being gone all the time.

Childcare and family caregiving have been found to be critical challenges


impacting Indigenous womens education post-secondary school completion
because of the absence of supports such as adequate/affordable childcare
(ACCC, 2010; Kitchen, et al., 2010). The evidence presented by the students in
this work indicated this remains an ongoing problem, in particular for women.
Carol indicated the delay in her return to university was directly attributed to
her children, we started a family and so my education got pushed back.. While
Anne, who did not have children, indicated her delayed entry at university was
caused by her need to meet her own physical needs after being forced to leave
home at an early age. She only felt confident now to return to school because she
and her husband had planned and set aside savings to allow them to maintain
their lifestyle with the loss of her salary. Anne had faced difficult times in the
past, going from a straight A student to a drop out in high school because of the
large number of school days missed for work once she was living on her own.
Both Mary and Carol were still facing this challenge, working and caring for
family while trying to study. The same commitments that motivated them to
return to university, the ability to provide better support for their family, were
also the ones that caused them to miss time. Flexible and blended learning
designs have been cited in the literature as possible means to further support
students who must miss time (Donnelly, 2010; Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakia,
& Jones, 2009; Woltering, Herrier, Spitzer, & Spreckelson, 2009). For all three
student participants the online learning supports in the form of the Power Point
course notes provided scaffolding for filtering and prioritizing face-to-face
content, however they did not access recorded lectures also made available.
When questioned, the women indicated that they found recordings too time
consuming to listen to when they were already trying to catch up. Using the
Power Point notes or gathering notes from other students helped to filter what
needed to be learned into manageable pieces more efficiently. All women also
indicated the instructors flexibility, caring and advocacy were important to
passing the course. Citing examples of permission to hand in late submissions,
allowing extended absence for personal reasons and academic support for these
absences, students contrasted the qualities of their instructor against other
experiences of the opposite. At some points when listening to the women, I felt
the university was holding them hostage because of their physical needs,
because improving ability to meet physical needs was the primary motivator for

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126

all women, but structures in place for academic achievement made balancing
current needs challenging. This is why the women relied so heavily and
appreciated so deeply the flexibility of the instructor, because she humanized
institutional processes.

The West: Mental Domain


In the mental sphere, defined as the cerebral activities of a person, students
cited conflicts with the order in which materials were presented. The first
conflict students identified related to processing of information. Both Carol and
Anne indicated the presentation of the course content was exactly the opposite
of their own understanding of learning. Their preference was for information to
be presented holistically and then deconstructed as opposed to the presentation
of smaller pieces building up to the whole, as exemplified by Anne in speaking
about a theoretical physiology lesson: I dont even know how to ask the
question to better understand whatever it is you are talking about because I
dont even know what you are talking about.. Within the Canadian context
there is evidence that suggests that the conflict between Indigenous ways of
knowing and the Eurocentric deductive approach to knowledge acquisition has
indeed contributed in part to lower graduation rates for Indigenous students
(Landon, 2012; OECD, 2017; Whitely, 2014; Zinga & Gordon, 2014).
In their discussions of Indigenous pedagogy, Kanu (2011) and Slee (2010)
raised the same concerns about the disconnection between holistic learning
approaches and the Eurocentric deductive approach to knowledge acquisition.
Each participating student acknowledged a level of disconnect from her desired
profession, nursing. They felt there should be greater ties to the nursing
community, nurses and a more obvious relationship between the content of their
courses (biology and nursing) and their future role in the community as
practicing nurses. Carol stated this feeling most blatantly,

I dont want to kill somebody, I want to walk out of here and feel
confident that I know what I am frigging doing when I work in a hospital
I dont want to go be unsure and what I am hearing from other nursing
students is no, its up to you to know, cause you know [coursework] and
then you are not ready [for work in hospital].

The personal relevance of the course content and the important


knowledge to retain for future was a large concern for students who felt this was
not being filtered appropriately. Anne made a point of spending time in the
nurses student lounge, not to make friends, but to find information that would
help her pass critical nursing exams. The desire for personal relevance for these
women was not met. However, personal relevance has long been advocated by
Indigenous scholars who note that this issue is at odds with the Eurocentric
approach to standardized learning progression (Battiste, 2002; Munroe, Borden,
Orr, & Meader, 2014).

The North: Spiritual Domain


The north or spiritual domain refers to all the thoughts, activities and rituals
that connect a person to the world (Toulouse, 2011). Contrary to evidence from
the literature (Barnhardt & Kawagley, 2005; CESC, 2003; Fleet & Kitson, 2009),

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127

student participants in this research did not explicitly identify or recognize a


spiritual disconnect between Western education systems and Indigenous ways
of knowing. So it is here, we see an imbalance in the wheel. This absence in the
study data does not necessarily indicate that one did not exist, but rather that the
students were unable or unwilling to identify it. It is important to note, that all
women were raised in and around urban centres and attended provincial
schools prior to university entry. When these observations were discussed with
the instructor, she responded,

High school is already so disconnected for many of the studentsIve


taught in isolated communities and there it is different, then you had
[students who were] very culturally in touch and immersed and that is
more the day to day lifein this cohort there is a mix of everything
[backgrounds] but the bulk of the students are not in touch with their
cultural roots.

The instructors conclusion was evidenced in student comments as well. After


using a word in the Ojibwe language, Anne stated: I am trying to learn all these
new words, indicating her disconnect to her heritage language. Students
appeared to be distanced from traditional Indigenous languages and cultural
activities. Anne made some attempts early in the PNT program to participate in
Pow wows and other cultural activities however she became frustrated and
began to see the events as time wasters in her overburdened schedule.
Spiritual and cultural practice was not integrated into the students schedule
either by the University or the students themselves, despite the fact that research
in promising practices indicates that cultural competence leads to greater
academic achievement (Chain, et. al, 2017). Although they identified some
disconnects that they felt stemmed from the bias of the Eurocentric presentation
of course content, they did not explicitly identify this as a cultural disconnect.
When students were asked about the importance of an Elder in residence, only
one student identified a desire to communicate with the Elder. All other
participating students indicated this practice was foreign to them or something
they had given up in their past. Battiste (2013) has claimed that the erosion of
Indigenous culture, language and knowledge is an end result of the colonial
education systems the students participate in and that students need to be re-
educated in their own culture. To that end, the University provided open
cultural events for all Indigenous students which the students appreciated.
However, as the term progressed they spent less time involved in these cultural
events as the demands for their studies grew.

Conclusion
The evidence presented in this paper is cyclical. As my relationship with the
students deepened I learned and relearned what grounded persistence decisions
and the personal costs students experienced because of their decisions. Initially, I
saw the surface, the program critiques and supports as outlined as organization
of learning, scale of the university, pacing and faculty advocacy. As the year
progressed, I learned more about the complexity of university transition and the
personal conflicts participants faced in relation to family, university

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128

membership, isolation and desire to help others. Entering university can be a


highly conflicting space for Indigenous students, impacting their sense of self-
worth, their relationships and identity. Negotiating this change is the key to
persistence, but the mechanisms offered by post-secondary institutions need to
at minimum acknowledge this complexity. The missing connection to the
spiritual domain is not insignificant. Evaluated through traditional western
lenses of student integration, spirituality is seen as unimportant, but Indigenous
scholars tell us it is critical to identity and well being. The lack of formal
recognition of spiritual (not religious) ceremony and practice and its role on
persistence demands further study, but it is an area of change that higher
education is cautious to enter. Ultimately, all students were persistent, although
not necessarily successful in negotiating the transition program through the plan
laid out by the University. Returning to upgrade or complete missing credits
meant that students were taking up seats that could not be counted as new
intake or graduates and therefore un-countable, which was the original
problem identified by the program director in pre-research consultation.
However, in response to University or budgetary critiques of lack of success
from transitions these women have evidenced not only persistence from a
positive perspective but also shared insights that would facilitate a greater
Indigenous student centered focus for transitions programming. Moving
forward, the implications for transitions design are:
1. Students lives are complex, and western approaches to timelines and
lock-step processes alienates students who may miss time because of
family or other obligations. Flexibility of process and understanding are
critical.
2. In connecting to the university space, relationships with instructors are
critical. Faculty need to be aware of the central role they play in
persistence decisions because they are the key face of the university for
students.
3. Building on both of the above, a holistic approach to education is
needed, not only in content, which has been oft mentioned in the
literature but in supporting the connection building between school,
family lives and individual well being.

These concepts are not new in public education. In essence the themes
arising from this work speak to humanizing the educational experience. Post-
secondary institutions have been far slower to adapt to the changes in
educational approaches seen currently in public school. Transition programs
aim to teach students how to adapt to the industrialized process of education
seen at this level. But it is exactly this industrialized approach, large scale
classrooms, standardized instruction and the positioning of student-faculty
relationships that was identified as alienating to the students involved in this
research. Until we begin to foundationally re-think and redefine the way we
engage with students at the post secondary level we are guilty of perpetuating
colonization effects regardless of how well intentioned our work is. Responding
to the Truth and Reconciliations call requires more than investing in
improvements of sustaining programs built from colonial perspectives. Un
settling and institution requires listening and taking time to understand the

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129

complexity associated with attending higher education and responding


holistically using alternative frameworks such as the medicine wheel as a guide
to evaluate and respond to the needs of the students.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 16, No. 10, pp. 132-148, October 2017
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.16.10.10

The use of Social Networks by the Students of a


Mexican Public University

Juan Ignacio Barajas Villarruel, Mara Gregoria Bentez Lima, Ricardo Noyola
Rivera and Juan Manuel Buenrostro Morn
Facultad de Contadura y Administracin,
Universidad Autnoma de San Luis Potos
San Luis Potos, Mxico

Abstract. The purpose of this study was to determine the relation


between the students use of digital social networks and the variables of
age, time, gender, reasons and their Bachelors Degree program, in the
context of the Faculty of Accounting and Administration (FAA) at a
Mexican public university (MPU).The specific objectives were:
determine the places and devices used to access their preferred digital
social networks; their use and motivations to use these tools. The design
of the research was non-experimental with a correlational quantitative
focus. An instrument was designed, validated and applied to 842
students of a population of 3670. A descriptive analysis was done and,
Spearmans Rho, ANOVA and students t tests were applied. The results
determined that Facebook is the most popular social network, followed
by YouTube; the main significant reason was leisure. Also there is no
influence among the age of the students of the FAA and the time that
they spend on digital social networks; the gender of the participants
does influence the reasons why they take part in the digital social
networks. Furthermore, neither their BA programs, nor the reasons why
they take part in the networks, influence the type of digital social
networks they use.

Keywords: ICTs, Digital Social, Digital Social Networks, Users, Higher


Education, Web 2.0.

Introduction
One of the main changes in education is the use of Information and
Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the teaching-learning processes; which
have modified the forms of interaction between the students and their
classmates as well as teachers. Prensky (2001) considers that students think and
process information in a significantly different way from their predecessors and
named them the Digital Natives generation. Also, Gardner and Davis (2014)
identify them as the App Generation, as they believe this age group masters a

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133

digital language; thus, it can be said that this situation calls for innovation in
terms of the educational processes.

On the other hand, in the case of higher level students, influence of the Internet
technological tools, has been determining. Thus, Gmez, Roses and Faras (2012)
state that all applications or social media, which emerged from the 2.0 web,
including the digital social networks, suppose the active participation or users,
who in turn become producers and recipients. These authors also determined
that the academic use of the digital social networks is low, and that the students
use them for clarification of school assignments and questions from the class,
and for activities during their lessons.

Furthermore to this, Richmond, Rochefort and Hitch (2011) noted there is a


limited impact of the digital social networks, in the current formal teaching.
They deduce it is possible that traditional formal teaching is deeply rooted in
Universities. Also, Herrera (2014) pointed out social networks are indeed being
utilized in the university context as a mean of interaction and communication
due to its ubiquity and immediacy, he added that students do not only share
pictures, videos, ideas, etc., but also use them to coordinate their assignments,
distribute materials and school documents.

Results of the study carried out by Herrera (2014) on the use of Information and
Communication Technologies (ICTs) for school tasks and socialization, showed
that 98% of students belonged to a particular digital social network, and
Facebook turned out to be the most popular one.

A study was carried out in the Faculty of Accounting and Administration (FAA)
at a Mexican Public University (MPU). The Faculty has 3698 undergraduate
students and there are 298 students enrolled in graduate programs. Based on the
most recent institutional report, students of this Faculty constantly demand the
use of ICT, more particularly access to web 2.0 technological tools, such as
digital social networks (Villar, 2016).

Furthermore, the University authorities of the FAA, where this case study was
conducted, have established an Institutional Development Plan 2013-2023 (PIDE
2013-2023), which states the comprehensive actions the University must carry
out on the basis of the definition of policies, institutional programs, objectives
and strategies (UASLP, 2013). In this regard, the PIDEs strategies that justify
this study are: a) Increased use of ICTs in order to support the educational
processes of the academic institutions and, b) Improvement and innovation of
the teaching practice (UASLP, 2013).

In accordance to what have been said and considering that students access to
digital social networks in the FAA, the research problem of this study is the lack
of information on students use of digital social networks; also, in order to enable
a greater interpretation of the research problem, three variables were taken into
consideration: age, gender and the BA program they study as there is not
information about the influence of such variables in terms of the time they spend

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134

using the digital social networks and the reasons why they used them. This
information will allow us to define an instructional design proposal that
includes the use of digital social networks for academic purposes, aligned with
the context of the BA programs of the Faculty and according to the institutional
policies of the University.

Social networks
Social networks are defined as a delimited set of elements or members which can
be individuals, groups, organizations, communities, global societies and others
(Lozares, 1996). The members of these groups relate to each other based on
compatibility.

On the other hand, Castell (2009) defined social networks as a set of nodes
which are interconnected and can have greater of less relevance for the network
in such a way that the particularly important ones are denominated Centers
(p.39). Hence, social networks represent a space of communication that is
generated by interconnected nodes.

Furthermore, Vidal, Niurka and Hernndez (2013) pointed out that social
networks are a structure built by an open system of permanent construction,
which involves people who are related by some similar reasons, needs and/or
problems; based on principles of sharing, collaboration and creation.

The concept of social network used in this study was built based on the
definition provided by Castell (2009), it is then understood as a set of at least two
nodes which are interconnected (people, groups, institutions, etc.) through a
mean of communication in which members relate to one another and whose
relationships can have greater or less relevance.

Digital social networks


Digital social networks started with the use of Internet, and are part of web 2.0
technologies (Sandoval, Gmez, Demuner, 2012). According to Valenzuela
(2013) Friendster and Xing are among the first sites that fostered friends
networks and they appeared between 2001 and 2002; later in 2003 MySpace,
LinkedIn y Facebook started.

Initially, digital social networks were focused on entertainment and


socialization; however, Islas and Arribas (2010) explained that subsequent
revisions enabled them to start implementing useful functions of linking and
social bond, which was fertile ground for the development of social networks
based on collective intelligence of active groups and prosumers (p.153), this
means the fusion between producer and consumer; thus, public information was
generated, and the prosumers took the primary role in the information and
knowledge society (p.154).

There is a great diversity of digital social networks; Islas and Arribas (2010)
classified them as follows: (a) professional purposes (b) innovation purposes, (c)

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intended for community service, (d) for virtual socialization (e) entertainment
and (f) educational contexts.

The concept of social network used in this study is based on the definition
provided by Castell (2009), and it is as follows: a set of nodes interconnected via
Internet, which enhances communication and interaction of members of a virtual
community with a common interest, through technological tools built into a
virtual platform.

Related studies
A diversity of research shows the growth of the social networks on internet, on
all social areas and the use they give them; specifically in the case of young
university students, the use give the networks is of entertainment,
communication, and interaction (Horgan y Sweeney, 2012). The study carried
out by Gmez, Roses and Faras (2012) focused on the university students
academic use of social networks; results showedstudents make intensive use
of social networks as they are part of their life and daily tasks they are
essentially connected all day long; however, the academic use of social networks
is limited (p. 6).

Parra (2010) studied the use of digital social networks, within the university
students habits. Main findings of this research showed that curiosity and
entertainment are the principal reasons for those who visit social networks
(p.206). Also, Kim, Sohn and Choi (2011) examined and compared, motifs of the
use of digital social networks, among Northamerican and Korean university
students. These authors determined that the main reasons to use digital social
networks, on both student groups, was to look for friends and leisure.

Similarly, Turkey (2013) investigated the use of social networks by university


students in relation to their gender, type of use, type of cell phone, and type of
sites. A questionnaire was administered on sample of 120 university students;
the results showed that students use social networks mainly for social purposes
and not so much for academic purposes. Furthermore Turkey (2013) the results
showed that Facebook was the most common social network among the
students. It was further revealed that there was no significant difference in the
use of the Internet.

In Mexico, within the National Youth Survey (IMJUVE, 2010), an individual


questionnaire was administered to a sample of 29, 787 Mexicans between 12 and
29 years old; it was a representative sample at a state and national level,
including six metropolitan areas. The results showed that out of 69.5% of the
participants, 47.1% use Internet for social networking purposes; 88.2% use
Facebook, only 4.1% use Twitter and 6% other social networks. According to
these results, Women and men used Internet mainly for networking purposes;
in a lesser degree, they also used Internet to search and receive information;
chatting on Facebook is young Mexicans favorite choice of young Mexicans in
this study (p.33).

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136

Regarding the use of the social networks, 92% of the Mexicans who have access
to Internet, use a digital social network regularly, the remaining 8% do not visit
these sites due to lack of interest and time, and because of data protection
reasons (AMIPCI, 2013, p.19).

Purpose of the Study


The purpose of this research is to determine the relation between the students
use of digital social networks and the variables of age, time, gender, reasons and
their BA program, in the context of the Faculty of Accounting and
Administration at a Mexican public university.

This will be done in order to collect evidences that will help build an
instructional design proposal that involves the use of digital social networks in
this educational context.

Research Questions
1. Which places and devices are used by the students of the Faculty of
Accounting and Administration of a Mexican public university to access digital
social networks?
2. Which are the preferred digital social networks of the students of the Faculty
of Accounting and Administration of a Mexican public university?
3. How is the use of the digital social networks by the students of the Faculty of
Accounting and Administration of a Mexican public university?
4. Which are the reasons why students of the Faculty of Accounting and
Administration of a Mexican public university, use the digital social networks?
5. Is there a relation between the age of participants and the time they spend on
digital social networks?
6. Is there a relation between the gender of participants and the reasons for
using digital social networks?
7. Is there a relation among the participants of a BA program and the type of
digital social networks they use?
8. Is there a relation between the participants BA program and the reasons why
they take part in the digital social networks?

Method
This is descriptive, non-experimental study based on a correlational quantitative
approach (Creswell, 2012); parametric statistics Students t-tests were applied as
well as the unidirectional analysis of variance ANOVA; the non-parametric
statistics test of the Rho Spearman correlation coefficient was also applied
(Hernndez, Fernndez y Baptista, 2014). The descriptive analysis helped
identify the type and use of the social networks used by the FAA students. On
the other hand, the parametric and non-parametric tests showed the existing
correlations among the variables of age, time, gender, BA program, type of
digital social networks, and the reasons of use of social networks.

The population for the study was composed of 3670 students, who were
registered during the 2014-2015 Academic session, in the following BA
programs: Public Accounting; Administration; Public Administration;

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137

Agribusiness; and Strategic Marketing. A stratified sample was used


(Hernndez et al., 2014), making sure all strata were represented in every BA
program. The sample consisted of a total of 450 students, distributed by BA
program: 259 of Public Accounting; 348 of Administration; 123 of Public
Administration; 64 of Agribusiness, and 48 of Marketing.

The designed questionnaire was named: Use of Digital Social networks by


students of the Faculty of Accounting and Administration of a Mexican public
university. It was designed based on the questionnaire of the 17th Survey of the
Association for Media Research (AIMC, 2014) in Spain. The ERSD questionnaire
was structured into two sections. The first one contains three items that are
related to the students general information. The second section includes the
following dimensions: (a) places where they access to digital social networks (4
closed-ended items and one open-ended question) (b) devices they use to access
digital social networks (5 closed-ended items and one open-ended question), (c)
frequency of use of digital social networks (16 closed-ended items and one open-
ended question), (d) use of digital social networks (12 closed-ended items), (e)
activities they perform in the digital social networks (16 closed-ended items) and
(f) reasons that drive them to use digital social networks (8 closed-ended items).
The 61 closed-ended items provided a balanced scale of five answer choices
based on the Likert Scale. The instrument was sent via Internet to all students
who were registered in the school year; the level of responses exceeded the
estimated samples by BA program.

Validation Process.
The pilot test applied made possible to identify mistakes, correct answer choices
and questions; also, Cronbachs Alfa was applied in order to validate the
congruence of the 61 instruments items. Table 1 shows the global results of
validation were 0.820.

Table 1: Validation of instrument with Cronbachs Alfa


Number of
Cronbachs
Dimensions closed-ended
Alfa
items

Places where they access digital social 4 .743


networks

Devices they use to access digital social 5 .794


networks

Frequency of use of digital social networks 16 .864

Use of digital social networks 12 .877

Activities they perform in the digital social 16 .859


networks

Reasons to access digital social networks 8 .790

Total 61 .820
Source: prepared by the authors

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Results
Descriptive Analysis. General information of the 842 participants in this study
shows the distribution of frequencies of the four-age range. The total and
percentage of each range were: 48% of the participants are between 18 and 19
years old, 39% between 21 and 23, 10% between 24 and 26; and 3% 27 years old
or older. Results also show that 36.5% are men and 63.5% are women. Regarding
their major, 31% of participants study the BA in Public Accounting, 41% Public
Administration, 15% Marketing, and 8% Agribusiness.

Table 2: Places where they access digital social networks


Do not attend Almost
Never Sometimes Always
regularly always

Home 4% 11% 1% 23% 61%


Work 25% 26% 11% 23% 15%
School 3% 37% 11% 33% 15%
Internet 37% 31% 18% 8% 6%
caf
Source: prepared by the authors

Table 2 shows the places where the 842 students access digital social networks,
33% of participants said they access from the FAA, 23% from home; 37% said
they never access from an Internet caf, and 25% do not access social networks
from their workplace.

Table 3: Devices students use to access digital social networks


Never Sometimes Do not Almost Always
attend always
regularly

Smartphone 2% 6% 1% 22% 70%


Desktop 14% 37% 11% 25% 13%
computer
Laptop 9% 26% 7% 35% 23%
computer
Tablet 41% 23% 14% 12% 10%
Game console 64% 15% 12% 6% 4%
Source: prepared by the authors

The table 3 shows that a 70% of the participants of the study always access
digital social networks from their smartphone; 35% almost always access from a
lap-top; meanwhile 64%, never access from a videogames console.

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Table 4: Digital social networks accessed by students of the FAA


Never Sometimes Unknown Almost Always Unanswered
always

Badoo 68% 7% 21% 1% 1% 2%


Facebook 1% 10% 1% 28% 58% 2%
Twitter 44% 26% 2% 16% 11% 2%
Fotolog 71% 4% 20% 0% 1% 3%
Google+ 20% 22% 2% 25% 29% 3%

Habbo 71% 4% 22% 1% 0% 3%


Hi5 78% 5% 13% 1% 1% 3%
Instagram 36% 8% 2% 19% 19% 15%
MySpace 80% 7% 8% 2% 1% 3%
Neotlog 72% 2% 21% 1% 0% 3%
LinkedIn 68% 7% 18% 2% 1% 3%
Pinterest 61% 9% 19% 4% 4% 3%
Sonico 72% 4% 21% 1% 0% 2%
Tuienti 70% 2% 23% 1% 0% 4%
Flickr 69% 4% 22% 1% 1% 4%
YouTube 2% 17% 1% 36% 41% 3%
Source: prepared by the authors
Table 4 shows the following results: 58% of the participants always access
Facebook, 41% YouTube, 29% Google. Finally 50% never use networks such as
Myspace, Pinterest, Tuenti among others.

Table 5: Favorite social networks of students of the FAA


Digital social networks Preference percentage
Facebook 70%
Twitter 4%
Instagram 6%
WhatsApp 10%
YouTube 7%
Pinterest 2%
Tumblr 1%
Source: prepared by the authors

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140

Table 5 shows about the students preference of social networks. 10% of the
participants said they preferred Whatsapp. Even so, WhatsApp was not
considered a social network in this study, but a messaging tool.

Table 6: Students use of digital social networks


Never Sometimes Unknow Almost Alway Unanswere
n always s d

Relationships 68% 7% 21% 1% 1% 2%


with friends
Family 1% 10% 1% 28% 50% 11%
relationships
Relationships 44% 26% 2% 16% 11% 2%
linked to
school
Hobbies 71% 4% 20% 0% 1% 3%
Social events 20% 22% 2% 25% 29% 3%
News updates 71% 4% 22% 1% 0% 3%
Rumors at 78% 5% 13% 1% 1% 3%
school
School news 36% 20% 2% 19% 19% 3%
School 80% 7% 8% 2% 1% 3%
assignments
Parties 72% 2% 21% 1% 0% 3%
Video 68% 7% 18% 2% 1% 3%
downloads
File downloads 61% 9% 19% 4% 4% 3%
Source: prepared by the authors

Results on Table 6, show the use of social networks; 50% are used to family
related activity; 29% for social and cultural events; 19% for school related news.
Meanwhile 80% never use them for school tasks; 78% for gossiping; 71% for
leisure and hobbies and 71%, never use them for news updating.

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141

Table 7: Activities performed by students on the digital social networks


Never Few Uncertain Regularly Always Unanswered
times

Comment and 6% 43% 5% 34% 10% 2%


share ideas
Post photos 5% 45% 4% 35% 9% 2%
School assignments 1% 19% 4% 52% 18% 6%
Search for 4% 18% 9% 45% 21% 3%
bibliographic
materials
Search for scientific 7% 26% 14% 38% 13% 2%
articles
Read newspapers 9% 31% 12% 34% 12% 3%
Search for 12% 34% 15% 28% 8% 4%
academic
magazines
Take a look at 14% 31% 14% 29% 7% 3%
popular magazines
Download music 11% 19% 7% 39% 22% 3%
Follow singers 20% 28% 9% 24% 15% 3%
Follow politicians 32% 26% 10% 20% 9% 3%
Watch music 4% 17% 5% 43% 27% 4%
videos
Watch 7% 22% 7% 38% 22% 4%
entertainment
videos
Share music 20% 33% 10% 22% 11% 3%
Share videos 20% 33% 8% 24% 12% 3%
Download videos 29% 31% 8% 18% 10% 3%
Source: prepared by the authors

Information in table 7 shows the percentage of students participation in


different activities performed on the digital social networks: 27% watch music
videos, 22% to download music, and 22% to watch entertainment videos. Data
also show that 45% of participants do not use digital social networks to post
photos; 43% of participants use social networks to place comments, and 32% of
them never use social networks to follow a politician.

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Table 8: Students reasons to participate in the digital social networks.


Strongly Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Unanswered
agree disagree

Entertainment 3% 2% 8% 49% 35% 3%


To facilitate 3% 6% 16% 47% 26% 2%
their learning
Curiosity 4% 6% 24% 46% 17% 3%
To stay up-to- 3% 4% 21% 49% 20% 3%
date with
social and
recreational
activities
To stay up-to- 2% 2% 12% 54% 27% 3%
date with news
To make 9% 12% 30% 34% 11% 4%
friends
To have fun 3% 6% 21% 48% 18% 3%
To relax 6% 8% 24% 41% 18% 3%
Source: prepared by the authors

Data in table 8 inform about the students reasons to participate in the digital
social networks. Answers show that 54% of the students use social networks to
stay up-to-date with latest news, 49% for entertainment purposes; 49% of
participants use social networks to stay up-to-date with social and recreational
activities; 9% disagrees on the idea of using social networks to make friends.

Parametric and Non-Parametric Statistics Analysis. The correlational analysis


conducted in this study included the relation between the time spent by students
on social networks and their age; participants gender with the reason they use
digital social networks; their BA program with the type of social networks they
use, and the reasons why they participate in the social networks. The parametric
students t-test was applied for this correlational study, as well as the one-way
analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the non-parametric statistics test of
Spearman's rank correlation coefficient (Hernandez et al., 2013).

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Table 9: Spearman's Rho correlation coefficient between age and time spent on the
digital social networks
Correlations

Time spent
on the
networks Age

Rho de Time on the Correlation 1.000 -.062


Spearman networks coefficient
Sig. (bilateral) . .078
N 813 813
Age Correlation -.062 1.000
coefficient
Sig. (bilateral) .078 .
N 813 842
Source: Prepared by the authors

Table 9 shows the results of the Spearman's Rho correlation coefficient regarding
students age and time spent on the social networks, data show the correlation of
-.062, a significance level of .078, based on this information it can be said that age
does not influence the time students spend on the social networks as the result is
higher than the critical level of 0.05.

Table 10: Students t-test between participants gender and reasons to take part in the
digital social networks.
Independent sample test

t- test for equality of means Group statistics

Sig. Measure
t gl (bilateral) differences Gender Mean

Participation Equal
rate variances 2.271 782 .023 .10995 Man 3.8361
assumed
Equal
variances 2.285 604.77 .023 .10995 Woman 3.7262
not assumed
Source: prepared by the authors.

Table 10 shows the students t- test between participants gender and the reasons
why they take part in the digital social networks; findings show that the
measure difference of .10995 between men and women was not significant as the

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144

significance level was 0.023, (below the critical level 0.05), which allows to
identify there are differences in terms of gender and the reasons why students
participate in the social networks.

Table 11: Relation between the BA programs they study and the type of social network
they use.
ANOVA
Type of networks rate
Typical
N Mean deviation Sig.

BA in Public Accounting 205 1.9918 0.62908 0.066

BA in Administration 285 2.1077 0.60276

BA in Public Administration 115 1.9832 0.46168

BA in Strategic Marketing 48 2.1784 0.52084

BA in Agribusiness 55 2.0602 0.47825

Total 708 2.055 0.57807


Source: prepared by the authors.

Table 11 shows the results of the ANOVA test, it can be seen that the average
maximum by BA program was 2.1784, and the minimum was 1.9918; because
the significance analysis got a value of .066 (above the critical level of 0.05); this
allows us to identify there is no relation between the BA program of students
and the type of digital social networks they use.

Table 12: ANOVA test. Relation between the BA programs the study and the reasons
why they participate in the digital social networks.
ANOVA
Participation Rate
Typical
N Mean Sig.
deviation
BA in Public Accounting 237 3.7542 0.60101 0.988
BA in Administration 327 3.7764 0.6846
BA in Public Administration 117 3.7895 0.58576

BA in Strategic Marketing 47 3.7633 0.80388

BA in Agribusiness 59 3.75 0.71015


Total 787 3.7689 0.65475
Source: prepared by the authors.

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Table 12 shows results of the ANOVA test in terms of the relation between the
BA program the participants study and the reasons why they participate in the
digital social networks; these results show that the average maximum was 3.7895
and the minimum 3.75 as the value obtained through the significance analysis
was 0.988 (above the critical level of 0.05). Such results allow us to identify there
is no relation between the BA program in which students are enrolled and the
type of digital social networks they use.

Discussion
Results helped to determine that the majority of students who use digital social
networks are in the 18-23 age group. This information is consistent with the
results provided by the AMIPCI (2013) regarding the age group and the device
users prefer to access digital social networks. Findings also show that women
represent the majority of participants who use digital social networks.

On the other hand, the most common places where students access to social
networks are: their house, followed by school, work and Internet cafs. In this
regard, it is interesting to identify that results suggest the existence of not very
conventional places to access social networks such as: shopping centers, parks
and or restaurants. In addition, results show that the Smartphone is the main
device used to access the social networks, followed by laptops, desktops and
tablets. It is important to point out that tablets are not frequently chosen by users
as a mean to access social networks, this information is important, especially if
we consider that tablets represent a technological trend whose prices seem to be
more reasonable than in the past.

Regarding the social networks used by the students of the faculty of Accounting
and Administration, and based on the results of the National Youth Survey
(2010), AMIPCI (2013), as well as Turkeys (2013), Snchez, Ruz and Snchez
(2015) and Domnguez and Lpez (2015), it is evident that the most popular
social network among the students who participated in this study is Facebook,
followed by YouTube, Instagram and +Google. In this respect, findings made by
Quan-Haase and Young (2010) showed that 82% of university students reported
they use Facebook several times a day.

In regard to the use of digital social networks, results helped determine that the
majority of participants in this study use social networking mainly to interact
with friends or family, they use social networks less frequently to stay up-to-
date with news and current events, to do homework, and to download academic
papers, respectively.

The main activities students do on the digital social networks include watching
and downloading music and entertaining videos; they also download
bibliographic materials and use social networks to do their homework. On the
other hand, the activities that participants do less frequently are: check out
academic and popular magazines, follow politicians and singers, and post
photos.

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146

The main reasons to access digital social networks are the ones related to
socialization and entertainment as well as recreation. The foregoing coincides
with the information of studies conducted by Parra (2010); Gmez, Roses y
Farias (2012); Turkey (2013), Snchez, Rodrguez, Ruz-Palmero y Snchez-Rivas
(2015) and Domnguez and Lpez (2015), who demonstrated that university
students use digital social networks for curiosity and entertainment purposes.

Other results determined that: (a) can be determined: (a) there is not influence
between the participants age and the time they spend on the digital social
networks; (b) the BA program of students do not influence the type of social
networks they use or the reasons why they participate (c) students gender does
influence their reasons to participate on the social networks.

On the other hand, regarding the contribution of this research to the field of
studies on digital social networks in the context of Mexican universities, it is
reaffirmed the election of BA programs in economics and administration to
conduct studies on digital social networks (Domnguez and Lpez, 2015).

In addition, these authors stated that the majority of these studies were
conducted in institutions located in Mexico City, which means this research adds
evidence about the uses of social networks in a different context, as it was
carried out in a University that is not located in the Mexico City area.

Conclusions
Based on the previous results, it can be concluded that it is necessary to
reconsider the use of digital social networks as technological tools that
communicate, organize, relate, value, and share information that supports
learning processes of the students at the Faculty of Accounting and
Administration. It is recommended to establish a strategic plan about the formal
use of digital social networks in the learning process of the FAA, on the bases of
the didactic planning (instructional design), teacher education on the use of
digital social networks, and multidisciplinary collaboration through these
technological tools.

Facebook is the most popular digital social network among students of the FAA
followed by YouTube. Consequently, further study is recommended in this area,
more particularly on YouTube and its impact on Higher education students.

Another important point is the use of WhatsApp, given its growth trend due to
the use of mobile devices such as the smartphone. It is suggested, then to study
its potential in the educational context.

It is important to point out that participants in this research were mainly women
and, considering the gender variables and the reasons for using social networks,
it can be said that there is a relation between such variables, which permits to
conclude that women have clear reasons to use digital social networks. This
information is confirmed by the studies conducted by Tfeki (as cited in
Sponcil & Gitimu, 2011) who points out that women use more social network

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147

sites than men; also Sheldon (2008) notes that women use social networks to
keep in touch with friends and family, and for entertainment purposes.

In addition, the BA program of students does not influence the reasons why they
participate in social networks; regardless the BA program, they use them for
entertainment and recreational purposes; based on this information it can be
concluded that the approach of BA programs does not foster or promote the use
of digital social networks for academic activities, thus, there are not limitations
for the use of social networks based on the BA program. These results allow us
to confirm that positive attitude of students towards technological tools and
their great communicative potential are factors that will contribute to include
such tools in the educational process if professors integrate them properly in an
instructional design process. It can be said then, that giving a new meaning to
social networks in the context of education remains as a major challenge.

References

Asociacin Mexicana de Internet (2014). Estudio sobre los hbitos de los usuarios de internet
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