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Sustainable Improvement

Building Learning Communities that Endure

Coral Mitchell and Larry Sickney

Drawing on two decades of research into the nature of schools as learning communities, the authors build on a prior model of learning communities that integrated three domains of capacity: personal, interpersonal, and organizational. In this text, the authors move the capacity-building model into practice and elaborate a theory of learning communities.
This book situates learning communities in living systems and ecological perspectives. The fundamental premise is that all of human life and human activity is part of a deep planetary ecology of which mutuality and interdependence are cornerstone properties, learning and renewal are key processes, and emergent networks are foundational structures. The text juxtaposes these conceptions with educational practices in order to understand what makes practice different in learning community schools. The authors argue that sustainable educational improvement emerges from a reciprocal process of building people who are constantly learning, building commitments to authentic learning, and building schools with a relentless focus on learning. The authors conclude that building a sustainable learning community requires a profound shift in how learning is understood, discussed, valued, enabled, and expressed. This shift, they argue, is essential as schools face the challenges and opportunities in the knowledge society.

Edited by James A. Athanasou

Adult Educational Psychology is useful for those encountering psychology as a subject in adult education courses as well as those with an interest in the psychology of adult development. It is directly relevant for teachers in higher education, instructors in technical and further education, staff development and human resource practitioners as well as community educators. It provides the first major text of its type offering a wide ranging and comprehensive introduction to educational psychology from an adult perspective. It covers fundamental topics such as human development, social psychology, social learning, emotion, motivation, interest, intelligence, cognition, retention and learning. Applied chapters focus on skill development, psychological testing and human judgement. Fifteen contributors introduce the reader to recent advances in psychology with an emphasis on learning and adjustment in adulthood. Each chapter concludes with major references, questions for review and exercises.

Outcomes-Focused Learning Environments

Determinants and Effects

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Jill M. Aldridge and Barry J. Fraser

In order to make education more inclusive, outcomes-focused education is currently being adopted by schools and post-school education and training systems in numerous countries around the world. Outcomes-focused education involves a major shift from what teachers do to an 'outcomes focus’ on what students achieve and an emphasis on catering for students’ individual differences in backgrounds, interests and learning styles.
This book focuses on the successes and challenges of an innovative new post-compulsory secondary school in creating an outcomes-focused curriculum. Major research aims included evaluating the effectiveness of this school’s educational programs in promoting outcomes-focused learning environments, and investigating some of the determinants and effects of outcomes-focused learning environments.
Practically, this book suggests implications for educational systems about how effective outcomes-focused learning environments can be created to maximise educational outcomes for each individual student. Methodologically, the book illustrates the productive combination of quantitative and qualitative data-collection methods in learning environments research. Researchers and practitioners around the world are likely to make use of the widely-applicable Technology-Rich Outcomes-Focused Learning Environment Inventory (TROFLEI), whose development and validation are reported in detail in this book.

Management of Change

Implementation of Problem-Based and Project-Based Learning in Engineering

Edited by Erik de Graaff and Anette Kolmos

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and Project-Based Learning are teaching methods based on principles of student-centred learning, which target an interdisciplinary engineering curriculum. The transition from strictly traditional approaches in engineering education represents significant opportunities for change. Currently many engineering institutions in different countries all over the world exploit these opportunities for change as they move from the traditional paradigm towards the techno-science paradigm by implementing project-organised and PBL models. This book addresses the need for more structured information on the implementation process, in particular in existing engineering schools and it aims to put together on overview of examples of the introduction of PBL formats in Engineering. Concrete case histories serve as a basis for inspiration for further development but also deeper insight in the understanding of implementing change.

Theorems in School

From History, Epistemology and Cognition to Classroom Practice

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Edited by Paulo Boero

During the last decade, a revaluation of proof and proving within mathematics curricula was recommended; great emphasis was put on the need of developing proof-related skills since the beginning of primary school.
This book, addressing mathematics educators, teacher-trainers and teachers, is published as a contribution to the endeavour of renewing the teaching of proof (and theorems) on the basis of historical-epistemological, cognitive and didactical considerations. Authors come from eight countries and different research traditions: this fact offers a broad scientific and cultural perspective.
In this book, the historical and epistemological dimensions are dealt with by authors who look at specific research results in the history and epistemology of mathematics with an eye to crucial issues related to educational choices. Two papers deal with the relationships between curriculum choices concerning proof (and the related implicit or explicit epistemological assumptions and historical traditions) in two different school systems, and the teaching and learning of proof there.
The cognitive dimension is important in order to avoid that the didactical choices do not fit the needs and the potentialities of learners. Our choice was to firstly deal with the features of reasoning related to proof, mainly concerning the relationships between argumentation and proof.
The second part of this book concentrates on some crucial cognitive and didactical aspects of the development of proof from the early approach in primary school, to high school and university. We will show how suitable didactical proposals within appropriate educational contexts can match the great (yet, underestimated!) young students’ potentialities in approaching theorems and theories.

Making Connections

Comparing Mathematics Classrooms Around the World

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Edited by David Clarke, Jonas Emanuelsson, Eva Jablonka and Ida Ah Chee Mok

In this book, comparisons are made between the practices of classrooms in a variety of different school systems around the world. The abiding challenge for classroom research is the realization of structure in diversity. The structure in this case takes the form of patterns of participation: regularities in the social practices of mathematics classrooms. The expansion of our field of view to include international rather than just local classrooms increases the diversity and heightens the challenge of the search for structure, while increasing the significance of any structures, once found. In particular, this book reports on the use of ‘lesson events’ as an entry point for the analysis of lesson structure. International research offers opportunities to study settings and characteristics untenable in the researcher’s local situation. Importantly, international comparative studies can reveal possibilities for practice that would go unrecognized within the established norms of educational practice of one country or one culture. Our capacity to conceive of alternatives to our current practice is constrained by deep-rooted assumptions, reflecting cultural and societal values that we lack the perspective to question. The comparisons made possible by international research facilitate our identification and interrogation of these assumptions. Such interrogation opens up possibilities for innovation that might not otherwise be identified, expanding the repertoire of mathematics teachers internationally, and providing the basis for theory development.

Mathematics Classrooms in Twelve Countries

The Insider's Perspective

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Edited by David Clarke, Christine Keitel and Yoshinori Shimizu

This book reports the accounts of researchers investigating the eighth grade mathematics classrooms of teachers in Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, The Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden and the USA. This combination of countries gives good representation to different European and Asian educational traditions, affluent and less affluent school systems, and mono-cultural and multi-cultural societies. Researchers within each local group focused their analyses on those aspects of practice and meaning most closely aligned with the concerns of the local school system and the theoretical orientation of the researchers. Within any particular educational system, the possibilities for experimentation and innovation are limited by more than just methodological and ethical considerations: they are limited by our capacity to conceive possible alternatives. They are also limited by our assumptions regarding acceptable practice. These assumptions are the result of a long local history of educational practice, in which every development was a response to emergent local need and reflective of changing local values. Well-entrenched practices sublimate this history of development. The Learner’s Perspective Study is guided by a belief that we need to learn from each other. The resulting chapters offer deeply situated insights into the practices of mathematics classrooms in twelve countries: an insider’s perspective.

Edited by Giuliana Dettori, Tania Giannetti, Ana Paiva and Ana Vaz

Narrative has always been used as a means for learning, both in school and in informal contexts. Technology has further increased the possibilities of exploiting its potential for education. Is there an added value, though, in using technology to realize narrative learning experiences? And what are the advantages of embedding narrative in technology-based learning environments? Addressing such questions is the aim and focus of this volume. The book includes 12 chapters analysing different ways of building and using technology-mediated narrative learning environments or highlighting aspects that can help the reader gain a deeper understanding of their educational potential. The focus is not limited to cognition, but includes also motivation and emotion, which are important components of learning. The book originates from the work of the Special Interest Group ‘Narrative and Learning Environments’ of the Kaleidoscope Network of Excellence. It is addressed to teachers, educators, parents, cultural operators, researchers and software designers, and aims to help all of them increase their ability to exploit, appreciate and enjoy their work with technology-mediated narrative learning environments.