Table of contents(12 chapters)
Part I: Introduction
Part II: Education and Schools
Critical thinking is a challenging term to describe but considered necessary for academic achievement, success in the global job market, and essential in developing a life-long learner (Dwyer, Hogan, & Stewart, 2012). Many definitions exist, but some of the components include the ability to analyse, reflect, judge, and strategise in a systematic way, to be able to solve problems (Dwyer et al., 2012). Some of the definitions, taxonomies, models, and theories of critical thinking have been built by Western culture, and the United States contributes information towards this Western approach (Nicholas & Raider-Roth, 2016; Wang, 2017). These definitions, taxonomies, models, and theories make a significant contribution to the pedagogical approaches to the teaching of critical thinking in the United States. This chapter details the structures that support the definitions of critical thinking and the history of the connections between critical thinking and classroom instruction in the United States.
Critical thinking is a necessary construct for twenty-first century learning and discussed in scholarly professional literature and popular media (Dwyer, 2017). The term is a part of the twenty-first century four Cs of learning: collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking (Cunningham, 2018). The teaching of critical thinking can be challenging, and this chapter presents an overview of some helpful pedagogical approaches, including project-based learning, project-based design, e-learning, and active learning and descriptions of instructional pedagogy including the general, infusion, immersion, and mixed approaches (Abrami et al., 2008; Dwyer, 2017; Ennis, 1989; Marin & Halpern, 2011; Willingham, 2008). Quality assurance is an essential component in ensuring pedagogical approaches to critical thinking are effective. The contribution of core standards in the teaching of critical thinking in the United States will be discussed.
Recent decades have witnessed increasing interest worldwide in educational quality. Many international organisations and national education systems have conducted studies on the meaning of quality, the various ways in which it can be measured and the factors that promote it as a basis for designing education reforms and rendering good practices visible. In this chapter, the authors explore conceptual perspectives on educational quality that are informed by various pedagogical approaches and examine the initiatives implemented in Spain to improve educational quality in non-university contexts, analysing education legislation over the past 30 years. The authors also propose basic elements or strategies that the authors believe would further promote educational quality in non-university settings in Spain and elsewhere. These proposals revolve around the educational project, teacher training and professional development, diversity and inclusion in education and community leadership.
The Romanian quality legislation is based on ISO 9001 family definition and considers the quality of education as mixed characteristics of a study programme and its supplier through which the expectations of the beneficiaries are met, as well as the quality standards. In 2006, the Education Quality Assurance Law was adopted (L87/2006). The law defined the main quality of education concepts, stating a methodology related to the internal and external assurance of quality, establishing the responsibilities for quality assurance through two national agencies (ARACIS for higher studies and the other – ARACIP for pre-university studies). Also, within the same law the structures which are responsible for quality assurance at a pre-university and university institutions are mentioned – The Evaluation and Quality Assurance Committee.
A downside for national specific standards, augmented by the lack of domain politics is the limited consulting of the interested groups. The authors are sharing the opinion based on which the study of education quality requires the recognition (and taking of the responsibility) of the complex and questionable nature of the cultural, economic, political and even historical implications which are executed on this reality. From this perspective, the school is not only a place where authors are teaching the child to write, read and other knowledge, but also develops his autonomy and forms his personality. Sometimes the school becomes favourable for discrimination and inequality, raising significant barriers in becoming its beneficiary when they present vulnerability. That’s why the school should have the necessary resources to remove economic, social, cultural inequity in order to offer equal chances in learning and development. The education as well as disability are strongly contextualised in the social map of the community. The authors consider the quality in education as being defined by the educational politics which are met with the school practices in the specific context of a community.
The quality as the expression of a politics should become intrinsic to education giving the system processes new connotations. It influences the school processes just as those are developed both strategically, as well as at an educational practices level. At the school institution level it gets redefined, needs to be assumed and supported by all the interested strategic groups involved (institutional and personal accountability). That is why the authors are proposing in this chapter a model of intervention with improving value for the quality management, experienced in 10 schools (five special and five mainstream schools) in an analysis of multiple cases based on quality process deployment.
In this chapter, Turkish educational system and institutional quality assessment initiatives of education are explained. And also, the relationship between educational quality assurance (QA) in Turkey and issues of effective schooling is summarised in terms of Turkish literature.
Education is widely accepted as a lifelong process. The school is an institution established in order to provide qualified education which contains complex and more abstract knowledge and ideas as well as literacy and simple numerical skills to the students. Each country has basically established education systems and educational institutions to ensure social integration, continuity and stability, and to sustain the social and cultural heritage of a society. Education in Turkey is one of the state’s basic functions according to the constitution and performed under the supervision and control of the state with the declaration of the Republic of Turkey. Ministry of National Education is responsible for the implementation of all education activities centrally managed in the Republic of Turkey. Higher Education Council (YÖK) is responsible for the management and thus the quality processes of the higher education institutions in Turkey. Two major attempts in this perspective are YÖK, which assesses the institutions with standards which are coherent with international accreditation institutions, and Higher Education Quality Council (YÖKAK), an independent and specific council which is established by YÖK. YÖK and YÖKAK are governmental-based quality-assessment institutions. Association for Evaluation and Accreditation of Teacher Colleges’ Educational Programs (EPDAD) is also an independent institution for quality assessment of education faculties which focusses on teacher training and education. The purpose of EPDAD is to strengthen the student learning in formal training and to ensure the quality standards for candidate teachers. Any undergraduate programme which meets the standards of EPDAD is accredited for three years. Standards of EPDAD are detailed in this chapter.
Congruence Between Pedagogical and Assessment Approaches: A Case of One Large Province in South Africa
This chapter discusses whether or not there is congruence between the assessment and pedagogical approaches used when teaching natural science and technology education in South Africa. According to the South African Department of Basic Education’s Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement, student assessment is integral to the teaching and learning process. This chapter draws from a research project undertaken in a large province in South Africa. The main participants were grade 4 teachers who taught natural science and technology education, which is science education. Data collection was through semi-structured interviews conducted as well as classroom observations. Guiding the chapter were the following questions: (1) What are teachers’ common understanding and rationale for assessment? (2) What were the common assessment approaches in the observed classrooms and their alignment with pedagogical approaches used by the teachers? (3) How did teachers determine the assessment method that resonated with the used pedagogical approaches for their lessons? The analysis of data followed the iterative approach as suggested by Miles and Huberman (1994). This chapter reveals the lack of congruency between pedagogical and assessment approaches used in teaching, showing a clear lack of wholistic thinking about both teaching and learning process. What further emerged was that assessment was mainly utilised for compliance purposes and not to quality assure the teaching and learning of the students. Thus, the author argues that there is a need for congruence between pedagogical approaches and assessment methods in order to benefit teaching and learning processes. The author cautions that the danger of tick-box compliance without considering the lifelong implications on the students as programme beneficiaries. The author views the tendency to please authorities as nullifying the whole purpose of teaching and learning, which should benefit students by developing them to critical thinkers, problem solvers and productive future citizens of the country.
Part III: Special Education
Inclusion of Children with Special Needs as an Opportunity to Increase the Quality of Teaching in Israel
Inclusion of children with special needs into mainstream schools reflects a society’s view of their role as caregivers for all citizens, regardless of any understanding of the benefits that educating for inclusion might have. Although inclusion should be conducted throughout all areas of life, frequently people refer to it only as an academic process that teachers must be responsible for. Thus, such inclusion provides teachers with the opportunity to lead future generations towards the development of societies that indeed practice inclusion as a natural process. However, even if we decide to focus on the process only from the school perspective, in practice teachers cannot conduct it efficiently without proper training. This chapter is thus designed to promote the understanding of possible implications of the new inclusion policy in Israeli elementary schools which will allow the development of innovative and quality teacher-training programmes, and the quality of teaching in general.
Inclusion, Diversity and Quality in the Mexican Educational Context: Perceptions of Teachers in the State of Sonora (Mexico)
The purpose of this chapter is to present some evidence of an empirical exploration carried out with 178 primary school teachers from the State of Sonora, México,1 about their perceptions regarding diversity and educational inclusion. A mixed-cut methodology was used that considered the application of a scale questionnaire and focus groups. The results allow to appreciate, in general, a tendency to incorporate diversity in the appreciation and valuation schemes. However, there are also appreciations that make an important set of deficiencies to face diversity in schools evident.
Part IV: Higher Education and Adult Education
Nowadays, the higher education institutions (HEIs) of Thailand are affiliated by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation and other relevant Ministries which connects the state-of-the-art technology/facilities to all academic programmes at HEIs. Thailand has been successful in the growth in access to higher education across the country, but there are many specific requirements to improve the accountability of higher education system in the nation across many decades. This paper provides an introduction of holistic information about Thailand’s higher education system. It then describes an overall picture of developing and managing the quality assurance (QA) of Thai higher education. It also points to the details of criteria, processes, and systems which were adopted into the model of QA such as higher education standards, accreditation process of curriculum, Thailand Qualifications Framework, as well as provides the linkage between national education act, policy and standards, QA, feedback for continuous improvement as the key component of QA in the educational system. Finally, the paper presents the challenges and opportunities in the rapid change of the twenty-first century and globalisation as the main points and crucial factors requiring Thai HEIs to continue improving their quality effectively.
This chapter analyses the current situation and perceptions of quality assurance (QA) in adult education (AE) in Latvia. In the Latvian context, QA in AE is a challenge. According to recent studies, QA should have a formative character in order to facilitate targeted benefits for adult learners, whereas in practice AE in Latvia is more focussed on the institutional perspective rather than the individual’s needs and wishes. This is in contrast with the humanistic approach to adult learning and andragogy principles, which emphasise learner-centred education. The aim of the chapter is to research opportunities for improving the QA process in AE in Latvia in order to increase personal benefits for an individual. The systematic review of scholarly papers, monographs, scientific reports on QA in AE conducted in Latvia in the twenty-first century indicated a contradiction between the theoretical concepts applied to AE in Latvia and the implementation of the QA process in practice. This chapter contributes to the overall understanding of the terminology used in AE in the country, analyses the prevailing concepts and elaborates conclusions for QA improvements based on humanistic pedagogy principles.