Introduction: Currently, there has been an increasing concern about the provision of palliative care in non-oncological patients in both professional literature and clinical practice. However, there is not much scientific information on how to provide neurological and palliative care together. The main objective of the project is to create and to verify a concept of neuro-palliative and rehabilitative care for patients with selected neurological diseases in an advanced stage of the disease and also to evaluate bio-psychosocial and spiritual needs of these patients and their caregivers related to the quality of life using created standardized tools. Methodology: Triangulation of research methods (qualitative and quantitative) will be used. A concept of care and assessment tools will be developed by analyzing interviews and focus groups. Qualitative data will be analyzed using grounded theory. The concept of care will be tested in the context of the intervention study. Using quantitative analysis, we will assess the effect of an intervention provided on the saturation of needs, quality of life, and quality of care. A research sample will be made up of the patients with selected neurological diseases (Parkinson´s syndrome, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease), together with patients´ family members. Based on the results, educational materials and a certified course for health care professionals will be created. Findings: Based on qualitative data analysis, we will propose the concept of integrated care model combining neurological, rehabilitative and specialist palliative care for patients with selected neurological diseases in different settings of care and services. Patients´ needs related to quality of life will be described by newly created and validated measuring tools before the start of intervention (application of neuro-palliative and palliative approach) and then in the time interval. Conclusion: Based on the results, educational materials and a certified course for doctors and health care professionals will be created.
With this contribution, we want to show a successful example of the application of the Design Thinking methodology, in the European project 'Technology transfer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for the creative industry'. The use of this methodology has allowed us to design and build a drone, based on the real needs of prospective users. It has demonstrated that this is a powerful tool for generating innovative ideas in the field of robotics, by focusing its effectiveness on understanding and solving real user needs. In this way, with the support of an interdisciplinary team, comprised of creatives, engineers and economists, together with the collaboration of prospective users from three European countries, a non-linear work dynamic has been created. This teamwork has generated a sense of appreciation towards the creative industries, through continuously adaptive, inventive, and playful collaboration and communication, which has facilitated the development of prototypes. These have been designed to enable filming and photography in interior spaces, within 13 sectors of European creative industries: Advertising, Architecture, Fashion, Film, Antiques and Museums, Music, Photography, Televison, Performing Arts, Publishing, Arts and Crafts, Design and Software. Furthermore, it has married the real needs of the creative industries, with what is technologically and commercially viable. As a result, a product of great value has been obtained, which offers new business opportunities for small companies across this sector.
Recent literature on issues of Cultural Management (also called Strategic Management for cultural organizations) systematically seeks for models that allow such equipment to adapt to the constant change that occurs in contemporary societies. In the last decade, the world, and in particular Europe has experienced a serious financial problem that has triggered defensive mechanisms, both in the direction of promoting the balance of public accounts and in the sense of the anonymous loss of the democratic and cultural values of each nation. If in the first case emerged the Troika that led to strong cuts in funding for Culture, deeply affecting those organizations; in the second case, the commonplace citizen is seen fighting for the non-closure of cultural equipment. Despite this, the cultural manager argues that there is no single formula capable of solving the need to adapt to change. In another way, it is up to this agent to know the existing scientific models and to adapt them in the best way to the reality of the institution he coordinates. These actions, as a rule, are concerned with the best performance vis-à-vis external audiences or with the financial sustainability of cultural organizations. They forget, therefore, that all this mechanics cannot function without its internal public, without its Human Resources. The employees of the cultural organization must then have an entrepreneurial posture - must be intrapreneurial. This paper intends to break this form of action and lead the cultural manager to understand that his role should be in the sense of creating value for society, through a good organizational performance. This is only possible with a posture of strategic entrepreneurship. In other words, with a link between: Cultural Management, Cultural Entrepreneurship and Cultural Intrapreneurship. In order to prove this assumption, the case study methodology was used with the symbol of the European Capital of Culture (Casa da Música) as well as qualitative and quantitative techniques. The qualitative techniques included the procedure of in-depth interviews to managers, founders and patrons and focus groups to public with and without experience in managing cultural facilities. The quantitative techniques involved the application of a questionnaire to middle management and employees of Casa da Música. After the triangulation of the data, it was proved that contemporary management of cultural organizations must implement among its practices, the concept of Strategic Entrepreneurship and its variables. Also, the topics which characterize the Cultural Intrapreneurship notion (job satisfaction, the quality in organizational performance, the leadership and the employee engagement and autonomy) emerged. The findings show then that to be sustainable, a cultural organization should meet the concerns of both external and internal forum. In other words, it should have an attitude of citizenship to the communities, visible on a social responsibility and a participatory management, only possible with the implementation of the concept of Strategic Entrepreneurship and its variable of Cultural Intrapreneurship.
Situation Awareness can offer the potential for conscious dynamic reflection. In an era of online health data sharing, it is becoming increasingly important that users of health social networks (HSNs) have the information necessary to make informed decisions as part of the registration process and in the provision of eConsent. This research aims to leverage an adapted Situation Awareness (SA) model to explore users’ decision making processes in the provision of eConsent. A HSN platform was used to investigate these behaviours. A mixed methods approach was taken. This involved the observation of registration behaviours followed by a questionnaire and focus group/s. Early results suggest that users are apt to automatically accept eConsent, and only later consider the long-term implications of sharing their personal health information. Further steps are required to continue developing knowledge and understanding of this important eConsent process. The next step in this research will be to develop a set of guidelines for the improved presentation of eConsent on the HSN platform.
This study focuses on the sheltering response in the Middle East, specifically through reviewing two Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, involving Zaatari and Azraq. Zaatari camp involved the rapid deployment of tents and shelters over a very short period of time and Azraq was purpose built and pre-planned over a longer period. At present, both camps collectively host more than 133,000 occupants. Field visits were taken to both camps and the main issues and problems in the sheltering response were highlighted through focus group discussions with camp occupants and inspection of shelter habitats. This provided both subjective and objective research data sources. While every case has its own significance and deployment to meet humanitarian needs, there are some common requirements irrespective of geographical region. The results suggest that there is a gap in the suitability of the required habitat needs and what has been provided. It is recommended that the global international response and support could be improved in relation to the habitat form, construction type, layout, function and critically the cultural aspects. Services, health and hygiene are key elements to the shelter habitat provision. The study also identified the amendments to shelters undertaken by the beneficiaries providing insight into their key main requirements. The outcomes from this study could provide an important learning opportunity to develop improved habitat response for future shelters.
Universities and higher education institutes are finding it increasingly difficult to engage students fruitfully through traditional pedagogic tools. Web 2.0 technologies comprising social networking sites (SNSs) offer a platform for students to collaborate and share information, thereby enhancing their learning experience. Despite the potential and reach of SNSs, its use has been limited in academic settings promoting higher education. The purpose of this paper is to assess the perception of social networking sites among business school students in India and analyze its role in enhancing quality of student experiences in a business school leading to the proposal of an agenda for future research. In this study, more than 300 students of a reputed business school were involved in a survey of their preferences of different social networking sites and their perceptions and attitudes towards these sites. A questionnaire with three major sections was designed, validated and distributed among a sample of students, the research method being descriptive in nature. Crucial questions were addressed to the students concerning time commitment, reasons for usage, nature of interaction on these sites, and the propensity to share information leading to direct and indirect modes of learning. It was further supplemented with focus group discussion to analyze the findings. The paper notes the resistance in the adoption of new technology by a section of business school faculty, who are staunch supporters of the classical “face-to-face” instruction. In conclusion, social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn provide new avenues for students to express themselves and to interact with one another. Universities could take advantage of the new ways in which students are communicating with one another. Although interactive educational options such as Moodle exist, social networking sites are rarely used for academic purposes. Using this medium opens new ways of academically-oriented interactions where faculty could discover more about students' interests, and students, in turn, might express and develop more intellectual facets of their lives. hitherto unknown intellectual facets. This study also throws up the enormous potential of mobile phones as a tool for “blended learning” in business schools going forward.
The purpose of study was to examine the effects of external and internal focus of attention in the motor learning of children with cerebral palsy. The study involved 30 boys (7 to 12 years old) with CP type 1 who practiced throwing beanbags. The participants were randomly assigned to the internal focus, external focus, and control groups, and performed six blocks of 10-trial with attentional focus reminders during a practice phase and no reminders during retention and transfer tests. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures on the last factor was used. The results show that significant main effects were found for time and group. However, the interaction of time and group was not significant. Retention scores were significantly higher for the external focus group. The external focus group performed better than other groups; however, the internal focus and control groups’ performance did not differ. The study concluded that motor skills in Spastic Hemiparetic Cerebral Palsy (SHCP) children could be enhanced by external attention.
West Bengal, one of the most rapidly ageing states in India, has inadequate structure for elder care. Therefore, there is an urgent need to improve elder care which involves focusing on different care settings where the elderly exists, like - Homes, Hospitals and Long-Term Care facilities (e.g. - Old Age Homes, Hospices). The study explores various elder care settings, with the intention to develop an understanding about them, and thereby generate comprehensive information about the entire spectrum of elder care in Kolkata. Empirical data are collected from the elderly and their caregivers in different settings. The tools for data collection are narratives, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, along with field observations. Mixed method design is adopted to analyze the complexities of elder care in different set ups. The major challenges of elder care in private Homes are: architecturally inadequate housing conditions, paucity of financial support and scarcity of skilled caregivers. While the key factors preventing the Hospital and Long-Term Care Facilities from providing elder care services are inadequate policies and set governmental standards for elder care for the hospitalized elderly in various departments of the Hospital and the elderly residing in different kinds of Long Term Care Facilities. The limitations in each care setting results in considerable neglect and abuse of the elderly. The major challenges in elder care in West Bengal are lack of continuum between different care settings/ peripheral location of private Homes within public health framework and inadequate state Palliative policy- including narcotic regulations. The study suggests remedial measures to improve the capacity to deliver elder care in different settings.
Wishes and choices being respected, and the right to be supported rather than coerced, have been internationally recognized as the human rights of persons with mental illness. In Taiwan, ‘coerced hospitalization’ has become difficult since the revision of the mental health legislation in 2007. Despite trend towards human rights, the real problem families face when their family members are in mental health crisis is the lack of alternative services. This study aims to explore: 1) When is hospitalization seen as the only solution by family members? 2) What are the barriers for arranging hospitalization, and how are they managed? 3) What have family carers learned, in their experiences of caring for their family members with mental illness? To answer these questions, qualitative approach was adopted, and focus group interviews were taken to collect data. This study includes 24 family carers. The main findings of this research include: First, hospital is the last resort for carers in helplessness. Family carers tend to do everything they could to provide care at home for their family members with mental illness. Carers seek hospitalization only when a patient’s behavior is too violent, weird, and/or abnormal, and beyond their ability to manage. Hospitalization, nevertheless, is never an easy choice. Obstacles emanate from the attitudes of the medical doctors, the restricted areas of ambulance service, and insufficient information from the carers’ part. On the other hand, with some professionals’ proactive assistance, access to medical care while in crisis becomes possible. Some family carers obtained help from the medical doctor, nurse, therapist and social workers. Some experienced good help from policemen, taxi drivers, and security guards at the hospital. The difficulty in accessing medical care prompts carers to work harder on assisting their family members with mental illness to stay in stable states. Carers found different ways of helping the ‘person’ to get along with the ‘illness’ and have better quality of life. Taking back ‘the right to control’ in utilizing medication, from passiveness to negotiating with medical doctors and seeking alternative therapies, are seen in many carers’ efforts. Besides, trying to maintain regular activities in daily life and play normal family roles are also experienced as important. Furthermore, talking with the patient as a person is also important. The authors conclude that in order to protect the human rights of persons with mental illness, it is crucial to make the medical care system more flexible and to make the services more humane: sufficient information should be provided and communicated, and efforts should be made to maintain the person’s social roles and to support the family.
This investigation aims at analyzing and determining the relation between two very important variables in the human resource management: The organizational climate and the performance assessment. This study aims at contributing with knowledge in the search of the relation between the mentioned variables because the literature still does not provide solid evidence to this respect and the cases revised are incipient to reach conclusions enabling a typology about this relation.To this regard, a correlational and cross-sectional perspective was adopted in which quantitative and qualitative techniques were chosen with the total of the workers of the tourist service company PTS Peru. In order to measure the organizational climate, the OCQ (Organization Climate Questionnaire) from was used; it has 50 items and measures 9 dimensions of the Organizational Climate. Also, to assess performance, a questionnaire with 21 items and 6 dimensions was designed. As a means of assessment, a focus group was prepared and was applied to a worker in every area of the company. Additionally, interviews to human resources experts were conducted. The results of the investigation show a clear relation between the organizational climate and the personnel performance assessment as well as a relation between the nine dimensions of the organizational climate and the work performance in general and with some of its dimensions.
This study focused on tourism logistic services in the border areas of Thailand by an analysis and comparison of the opinions of tourists, villagers, and entrepreneurs of these services. Sample representatives of this study were a total of 600 villagers and 15 entrepreneurs in the three border areas consisting of Chong Anma, Chong Sa-Ngam, and Chong Jom checkpoints. For methodology, survey questionnaires, situation analysis, TOWS matrix, and focus group discussions were used for data collection, as well as descriptive analysis and statistics such as arithmetic means and standard deviations, were employed for data analysis. The findings revealed that business potential was at the medium level and entrepreneurs were satisfied with their turnovers. However, perspectives of transportation and tourism services provided for tourists need to be immediately improved. Recommendations for the potential development included promotion of border tourism destinations and foreign investments into accommodation, restaurants, and transport, as well as the establishment of business networks between Thailand and Cambodia, along with the introduction of new tourism destinations by co-operation between entrepreneurs in both countries. These initiatives may lead to increased visitors, collaboration of security offices, and an improved image of tourism security.
Turkey’s immigration policy is a controversial issue considering its legal, economic, social, and political and human rights dimensions. Formulation of an immigration policy goes hand in hand with political processes, where natives’ attitudes play a significant role. On the other hand, as was the case in Turkey, radical changes made in immigration policy or policies lacking transparency may cause severe reactions by the host society. The underlying discussion paper aims to analyze quantitatively the effects of the existing ‘open door’ immigration policy on the economic integration of Syrian refugees in Turkey, and on the perception of the native population of refugees. For the analysis, semi-structured in-depth interviews and focus group interviews have been conducted. After the introduction, a literature review is provided, followed by theoretical background on the explanation of natives’ attitudes towards immigrants. In the next section, a qualitative analysis of natives’ attitudes towards Syrian refugees is presented with the subtopics of (i) awareness, general opinions and expectations, (ii) open-door policy and management of the migration process, (iii) perception of positive and negative impacts of immigration, (iv) economic integration, and (v) cultural similarity. Results indicate that, natives concurrently have social, economic and security concerns regarding refugees, while difficulties regarding security and economic integration of refugees stand out. Socio-economic characteristics of the respondents, such as the educational level and employment status, are not sufficient to explain the overall attitudes towards refugees, while they can be used to explain the awareness of the respondents and the priority of the concerns felt.
Gymnastics is the umbrella term that represents seven different and unique disciplines of gymnastics. Men and women of all ages and abilities practice this sport, and participation in gymnastics can develop both gross and fine motor skills, strength, flexibility, coordination and balance. There are various social factors, such as a family’s socioeconomic status or accessibility to sports facilities that may play a role in affecting levels of participation. The aim of this study is to investigate the social factors that have an influence on gymnastics participation in the Western Cape. To this end, a qualitative approach is adopted to collect data. This study also adopts the ecological systems theory as the theoretical framework, and is used to analyze and interpret current social factors that directly or indirectly influence participation in gymnastics. The study’s objectives were to ascertain which social factors hinder participation, and which social factors promote participation, thus, coaches, parents and gymnasts participated in focus group discussions. Key informant interviews took place with experts in the field of gymnastics in the Western Cape. A thematic analysis was conducted on transcriptions from the focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Social factors investigated in this study occurred in the chronosystem, macrosystem, exosystem, mesosystem, and microsystem, and had both a direct and indirect influence on the gymnast’s continued participation. These systems are defined as the environment of the individual, in which they grow and develop. The research findings of this paper are used to draw conclusions and make specific recommendations for practice and further research. The information gathered in this study can assist all stakeholders within the field of gymnastics, such as parents, judges, coaches, gymnasts, and the supporting community which surround the participating gymnast.
Place-making is viewed here as an empowering process in which people represent, improve and maintain their spatial (natural or built) environment. With the above-mentioned in mind, place-making is multi-dimensional and include a spatial dimension (including visual properties or the end product/plan), a procedural dimension during which (negotiation/discussion of ideas with all relevant stakeholders in terms of end product/plan) and a psychological dimension (inclusion of intrinsic values and meanings related to a place in the end product/plan). These three represent dimensions of place-making. The purpose of this paper is to explore these dimensions of place-making in a case study of a local community in Ikageng, Potchefstroom, North-West Province, South Africa. This case study represents an inclusive process that strives to empower a local community (forcefully relocated due to Apartheid legislation in South Africa). This case study focussed on the inclusion of participants in the decision-making process regarding their daily environment. By means of focus group discussions and a collaborative design workshop, data is generated and ultimately creates a linkage with the theoretical dimensions of place-making. This paper contributes to the field of spatial planning due to the exploration of the dimensions of place-making and the relevancy of this process on spatial planning (especially in a South African setting).
This paper aims to investigate management of beach safety with a focus on tourist drownings in Samui. The data collected in this investigation will then lead to the proposal of a practical management model suitable for use in Samui. Qualitative research was conducted in the following manner: nine stakeholders from local government organizations and tourism businesses were interviewed in-depth. Additionally, a best practice case study from Phuket was applied to analyze beach safety. Twelve foreign tourists were also interviewed. Then, a focus group comprised of 32 people was used to determine practical solutions for enhancing tourists’ safety on the beach in Samui. A steering committee to coordinate between public and private organizations was proposed to manage and enhance tourists’ safety. A practical model is proposed to increase the safety level of tourists in Samui
Enhancing the feeling of public safety and crime prevention are tasks customarily assigned to the Police. Police departments have, however, recognized that traditional ways of policing methods are becoming obsolete; Community Policing (CP) philosophy; however, when applied appropriately, leads to seamless collaboration between various stakeholders like the Police, NGOs and the general public and provides the opportunity to identify risks, assist in solving problems of crime, disorder, safety and crucially contribute to improving the quality of life for everyone in a community. Social Media, on the other hand, due to its high level of infiltration in modern life, constitutes a powerful mechanism which offers additional and direct communication channels to reach individuals or communities. These channels can be utilized to improve the citizens’ perception of the Police and to capture individual and community needs, when their feedback is taken into account by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) in a structured and coordinated manner. This paper presents research conducted under INSPEC2T (Inspiring CitizeNS Participation for Enhanced Community PoliCing AcTions), a project funded by the European Commission’s research agenda to bridge the gap between CP as a philosophy and as an organizational strategy, capitalizing on the use of Social Media. The project aims to increase transparency, trust, police accountability, and the role of civil society. It aspires to build strong, trusting relationships between LEAs and the public, supporting two-way, contemporary communication while at the same time respecting anonymity of all affected parties. Results presented herein summarize the outcomes of four online multilingual surveys, focus group interviews, desktop research and interviews with experts in the field of CP practices. The above research activities were conducted in various EU countries aiming to capture requirements of end users from diverse backgrounds (social, cultural, legal and ethical) and determine public expectations regarding CP, community safety and crime prevention.
In recent years, focus-group discussions, as a resources of qualitative facts collection, have gained popularity amongst practices within social science studies. Despite this popularity, studying qualitative information, particularly focus-group meetings, creates a challenge to most practitioner inspectors. The Mons, also known as Raman is considered to be one of the earliest peoples in mainland South-East Asia and to be found in scattered communities in Thailand, around the central valley and even in Bangkok. The present project responds to the needs identified traditional Mon set menus based on the participation of Bang Kadi community in Bangkok, Thailand. The aim of this study was to generate Mon food set menus based on the participation of the community and to study Mon food in set menus of Bang Kadi population by focus-group interviews and discussions during May to October 2015 of Bang Kadi community in Bangkok, Thailand. Data were collected using (1) focus group discussion between the researcher and 147 people in the community, including community leaders, women of the community and the elderly of the community (2) cooking between the researcher and 22 residents of the community. After the focus group discussion, the results found that Mon set menus of Bang Kadi residents involved of Kang Neng Kua-dit, Kang Luk-yom, Kang Som-Kajaeb, Kangleng Puk-pung, Yum Cha-cam, Pik-pa, Kao-new dek-ha and Num Ma-toom and the ingredients used in cooking are mainly found in local and seasonal regime. Most of foods in set menus are consequent from local wisdom.
Young people today has sexual activities differing from those of earlier generations, in that teenagers are likely to have multiple partners, and are frequently in short-term relationships or with partners that are not well known to them. The proportion of teenage mothers in Thailand has increased. Young people were not specifically addressed during the overall very successful HIV-prevention campaigns. Because of this missed opportunity, they are still unaware of the risk of unsafe sexual behavior. Aims: To describe the reproductive health care services in perspectives of rural Thai teenagers Methods: This survey was one part of a mixed method approach taken using survey and focus groups with 439 teenagers aged 12-18 years in 5 villages, Udon Thani, Thailand. The standard questionnaire survey had been used for collecting data. The numeric data was checked and analyzed by using descriptive statistics. Results: Most teenager respondents stated that they do not know where sexual reproductive health services provided for them. Most teenagers felt difficult to access and talk with health staff about sexual related issues. They stated that discussing, or consulting with health providers might not be safe. Teenagers might lose opportunities to access and get advice from health care services. The mean knowledge score of contraception and condom reproductive was 6.34 from a total score 11. Most teenagers especially girls expressed a need for counseling services and reported a need for telephone services. Conclusions: The need of appropriate information focusing on sexual relationships and contraception should be designed to help young people make wise decisions and there should be set health care services for Thai teenagers to make sure that teenagers could access easily. Health care providers need to be trained to improve their knowledge, attitudes and skills in reproductive health care practices for Thai teenagers.
The study assesses the effectiveness of the Bui Dam resettlement scheme in the Tain and the Bole districts in Ghana. The study adopted a mixed approach in its data collection and analyses. Of the eight communities affected by Bui hydropower project, and thus require resettlement, four were purposively selected for primary data collection. Primary data was gathered through questionnaire administration to 157 heads of resettled households, focus group discussions with men and women and in-depth interviews with key informants. The findings indicated that the affected people had been sufficiently contacted at all levels of their resettlement. In particular, the Ghana Dams Dialogue, which served as a liaison entity between the government and the resettlement communities came up for praise for its usefulness. Many tangible policies were put in place to address the socio-cultural differences of traditional authorities. The Bui Dam Authority also rigorously followed national and international laws and protocols in the design and implementation of the resettlement scheme. In assessing the effectiveness of the resettlement scheme, it was clear that there had been a great appreciation of the compensation regarding infrastructural development, but much more would have to be done to satisfy livelihood empowerment requirements. It was recommended that candid efforts be made to restore the lost identities of the communities resettled, and more dialogue is encouraged among communities living together.
Through the exploration of the lived experiences, beliefs and values of instructional leaders, teachers and students in Finland, Germany and Canada, we investigated the factors which contribute to developmentally responsive, intellectually engaging middle-level learning environments for early adolescents. Student-centred leadership dimensions, effective instructional practices and student agency were examined through the lens of current policy and research on middle-level learning environments emerging from the Canadian province of Manitoba. Consideration of these three research perspectives in the context of early adolescent learning, placed against an international backdrop, provided a previously undocumented perspective on leading, teaching and learning in the middle years. Aligning with a social constructivist, qualitative research paradigm, the study incorporated collective case study methodology, along with constructivist grounded theory methods of data analysis. Data were collected through semi-structured individual and focus group interviews and document review, as well as direct and participant observation. Three case study narratives were developed to share the rich stories of study participants, who had been selected using maximum variation and intensity sampling techniques. Interview transcript data were coded using processes from constructivist grounded theory. A cross-case analysis yielded a conceptual framework highlighting key factors that were found to be significant in the establishment of developmentally responsive, intellectually engaging middle-level learning environments. Seven core categories emerged from the cross-case analysis as common to all three countries. Within the visual conceptual framework (which depicts the interconnected nature of leading, teaching and learning in middle-level learning environments), these seven core categories were grouped into Essential Factors (student agency, voice and choice), Contextual Factors (instructional practices; school culture; engaging families and the community), Synergistic Factors (instructional leadership) and Cornerstone Factors (education as a fundamental cultural value; preservice, in-service and ongoing teacher development). In addition, sub-factors emerged from recurring codes in the data and identified specific characteristics and actions found in developmentally responsive, intellectually engaging middle-level learning environments. Although this study focused on 12 schools in Finland, Germany and Canada, it informs the practice of educators working with early adolescent learners in middle-level learning environments internationally. The authentic voices of early adolescent learners are the most important resource educators have to gauge if they are creating effective learning environments for their students. Ongoing professional dialogue and learning is essential to ensure teachers are supported in their work and develop the pedagogical practices needed to meet the needs of early adolescent learners. It is critical to balance consistency, coherence and dependability in the school environment with the necessary flexibility in order to support the unique learning needs of early adolescents. Educators must intentionally create a school culture that unites teachers, students and their families in support of a common purpose, as well as nurture positive relationships between the school and its community. A large, urban school district in Canada has implemented a school cohort-based model to begin to bring developmentally responsive, intellectually engaging middle-level learning environments to scale.
Universities’ push toward the production of high quality research is not limited to academic staff and experienced researchers. In this environment of research rich agendas, Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are increasingly expected to engage in the publishing of good quality papers in high impact journals. IFN001: Advanced Information Research Skills (AIRS) is a credit bearing mandatory coursework requirement for Queensland University of Technology (QUT) doctorates. Since its inception in 1989, this unique blended learning program has provided the foundations for new researchers to produce original and innovative research. AIRS was redeveloped in 2012, and has now been evaluated with reference to the university’s strategic research priorities. Our research is the first comprehensive evaluation of the program from the learner perspective. We measured whether the program develops essential transferrable skills and graduate capabilities to ensure best practice in the areas of publishing and data management. In particular, we explored whether AIRS prepares students to be agile researchers with the skills to adapt to different research contexts both within and outside academia. The target group for our study consisted of HDR students and supervisors at QUT. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used for data collection. Gathering data was by survey and focus groups with qualitative responses analyzed using NVivo. The results of the survey show that 82% of students surveyed believe that AIRS assisted their research process and helped them learn skills they need as a researcher. The 18% of respondents who expressed reservation about the benefits of AIRS were also examined to determine the key areas of concern. These included trends related to the timing of the program early in the candidature and a belief among some students that their previous research experience was sufficient for postgraduate study. New insights have been gained into how to better support HDR learners in partnership with supervisors and how to enhance learning experiences of specific cohorts, including international students and mature learners.
This study aims to identify the understanding expectations of school administrators concerning school assessment. The researcher utilized a qualitative descriptive study on 19 administrators from three secondary schools in the North Kinta district. The respondents had been interviewed on their understanding expectations of school assessment using the focus group discussion method. Overall findings showed that the administrators’ understanding expectations of school assessment was weak; especially in terms of content focus, articulation across age and grade, transparency and fairness, as well as the pedagogical implications. Findings from interviews indicated that administrators explained their understanding expectations of school assessment from the aspect of school management, and not from the aspect of instructional leadership or specifically as assessment leaders. The study implications from the administrators’ understanding expectations may hint at the difficulty of the administrators to function as assessment leaders, in order to reduce their focus as manager, and move towards their primary role in the process of teaching and learning. The administrator, as assessment leaders, would be able to reach assessment goals via collaboration in identifying and listing teacher assessment competencies, how to construct assessment capacity, how to interpret assessment correctly, the use of assessment and how to use assessment information to communicate confidently and effectively to the public.