Importance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) In Our Daily Life

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has an important role in the world since we are now in the information age era. With ICT, the company can make the business easier to happen with the client, supplier and the distributor. It is also very important in our daily lives. The lack of appropriate information at the right time will result in low productivity, low quality research works, and waste of time to pursue information and even to do research which actually others had done or in other countries. Nowadays ICT cannot be separated with our daily needs.

ICT has a great impact in our daily lives. For example, we can read our local newspaper using the online newspaper. Another example is we still can get connected with our family, relatives, or colleagues even if we are abroad by using the electronic mail, yahoo messenger, call conference, or video conference.

Digital computer and networking has changed our economy concept to the economy with no boundary in time and space because of ICT. It brings a lot of advantages for economic development enabling millions of transactions to happen in an easy and fast way.

ICT is one of the economic development pillars to gain national competitive advantage. It can improve the quality of human life because it can be used as a learning and education media, the mass communication media in promoting and campaigning practical and important issues, such as the health and social area. It provides wider knowledge and can help in gaining and accessing information.

ICT has become an integral part of everyday life for many people. It increases its importance in people’s lives and it is expected that this trend will continue, to the extent that ICT literacy will become a functional requirement for people’s work, social, and personal lives.

The use of ICT in education add value in teaching and learning, by enhancing the effectiveness of learning, or by adding a dimension to learning that was not previously available. ICT may also be a significant motivational factor in students’ learning, and can support students’ engagement with collaborative learning.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is basically our society’s efforts to teach its current and emerging citizens valuable knowledge and skills around computing and communications devices, software that operates them, applications that run on them and systems that are built with them.

As a matter of fact, we are living in a constantly evolving digital world. ICT has an impact on nearly every aspect of our lives – from working to socializing, learning to playing. The digital age has transformed the way young people communicate, network, seek help, access information and learn. We must recognize that young people are now an online population and access is through a variety of means such as computers, TV and mobile phones.

It is in this premise that educational technology and e-learning is taught in or out of the classroom since educational technology is used by learners and educators in homes, schools, businesses, and other settings.

Special Post-Grad Scholarships and Fellowships – Fulbright, Watson, and Rhodes Programs

After graduating from college, many young people take the chance to explore the world. Imagine if you could explore the world on a travel grant while adding a prestigious line to your resume!

International exchange and travel programs like the Fulbright Program, Watson Fellowships, and Rhodes Scholarships make this possible for a small number of outstanding college graduates. A variety of smaller programs also provide grant money for travel, education, and service projects abroad.

Fulbright Program – Every year, more than 1,400 B.A. graduates, students, young professionals, and artists receive a Fulbright grant to study, teach, or conduct research abroad in more than 140 countries. The Fulbright Program offers grants for international educational exchange for students to undertake graduate study, traditionally in European countries. Options now extend to the rest of the world.

Fulbright grants for recent college graduates and graduate students are administered by the Institute of International Education. Fulbright-Hays grants, including grants for doctoral and post-doctoral research, are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The Fulbright Program offers regular grants; supplemental travel grants to Germany, Hungary, and Italy; business grants; ESL student teaching assistantships abroad; and special programs. More information: Fulbrightonline.org

Thomas J. Watson Fellowship – The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship provides a $25,000 stipend ($35,000 for Fellows traveling with a spouse) for graduating seniors to pursue a year of independent study outside the U.S. Projects are not academically orientated, as the program is intended to encourage exploration rather than formal research. Watson fellows are prohibited from reentering the U.S. and their home countries, taking paid work, or becoming involved in organized volunteer projects for any length of time during their Watson year.

Only graduates of 50 highly selective small colleges are eligible. An applicant must be nominated by his or her college during the senior year before applying. 50 applicants are chosen each year. More information: Watsonfellowship.org

Jeanette K. Watson Fellowship – The Jeanette K. Watson Fellowship is awarded to 15 undergraduates a year from six divisions of the City University of New York and four independent colleges. The program allows students to intern at not-for-profit organizations, governmental agencies, and for-profit organization in New York during their first two summers. In their third summer, Watson Fellows usually intern in overseas offices of international nonprofits or community-based organizations in countries such as South Africa and India.

Applicants must be a second semester freshman or sophomore with at least four semesters remaining, and like the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, applicants must be nominated by the college. More information: JKwatson.org

Rhodes Scholarship – The Rhodes Scholarship is a very prestigious award for study at the University of Oxford, England. Rhodes Scholars may study a taught Master’s program, a research degree, or a second undergraduate degree (as a senior) – any postgraduate program offered except the MBA. The scholarship is initially awarded for two years, but may be extended to three.

Applicants are judged by academic achievement, involvement and success in sports, leadership qualities, and honesty of character and unselfish service. Approximately 90 Rhodes Scholars are selected each year from around the world, 32 from the U.S.

Applicants are nominated by selection committees. All costs of Oxford tuition and living expenses are paid for successful applicants, with additional opportunities for travel and research grants. Many recent Rhodes Scholars have chosen to pursue a graduate degree rather than a second undergraduate degree. More information: Rhodesscholar.org

Applying for College Grants – The grant application project is typically involved, as these grants are competitive and prestigious. In addition to application forms, you will need to submit a detailed proposal and acquire strong letters of recommendation. For the two Watson Fellowships, you must attend a participating university and be nominated by the university; others, like the Fulbright, are open to a wider range of applicants. Your academic advisor can tell you more about applying for college grants and student fellowships.

Psychosocial Factors That Promote Successful Aging

There are several psychological and social factors that have been linked to increased individual life expectancy and quality of life in older adults. While the majority of attention in the life extension and successful aging field has focused on physical factors such as exercise, diet, sleep, genetics and so on, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that psychological and sociological factors also have a significant influence on how well individuals age (Warnick, 1995).

Warnick (1995) believes that adjusting to the changes that accompany late adulthood and old age requires that an individual is able to be flexible and develop new coping skills to adapt to the changes that are common to this time in their lives. Aging research has demonstrated a positive correlation between someone’s religious beliefs, social relationships, perceived health, self-efficacy, socioeconomic status, and coping skills among others to their ability to age more successfully. The term successful aging has been defined by three main components: “low probability of disease and disease related disability, high cognitive and physical functional capacity, and active engagement with life” (Rowe & Kahn, 1997).

Baltes and Baltes (1990) suggested that the term successful aging appears paradoxical, as aging traditionally brings to mind images of loss, decline, and ultimate death, whereas success is represented by achievement. However, the application of the term, successful aging, they argue forces a reexamination of the nature of old age as it presently exists. “An inclusive definition of successful aging requires a value based, systemic, and ecological perspective, considering both subjective and objective indicators within a cultural context” (Baltes & Baltes, 1990).

With medical advancements and improvements in living conditions people can now expect to live longer lives than ever before. But, the prospect of merely living longer presents many problems. This fact has led researchers to investigate the psychological aspects of aging, with a goal of making the additional years more worth living. There is a great deal of information that leads us to be hopeful about the prospective quality of life in late adulthood and old age.

Religious beliefs, spirituality, and church participation have been the focus of numerous studies involving older adults. Various studies have associated religiousness with well-being, life satisfaction or happiness (VanNess & Larson, 2002). Although it will be necessary for future research to more clearly specify which dimensions of religious participation are beneficial to which outcomes (Levin & Chatters, 1998), it appears that certain aspects of religious participation enables elderly people to cope with and overcome emotional and physical problems more effectively, leading to a heightened sense of well being in late adulthood.

It is commonly known that suicide rates are higher among elderly people, and there is evidence that persons who engage in religious activity are more than four times less likely to commit suicide (Nisbet, Duberstein, Conwell, et al: 2000). The inverse association between religiousness and suicide rate in elderly individuals may be due to the fact that religious beliefs help elderly people cope with or prevent depression and hopelessness, which are established risk factors for suicide (Abramson, Alloy, Hogan, et al: 2000). The relationship between religiousness and successful aging is an extremely complex one. This makes it difficult to pinpoint which factors of participation in a religious organization lead to the increased sense of well-being, satisfaction, and happiness. It is possible that religiousness exerts its beneficial effects by creating positive emotions that stimulate the immune system. Or, it may provide access to social and psychological resources that buffer the impact of stress and aid ones ability to effectively cope (Ellison, 1995).

Membership in religious organizations also provides older individuals with a social network from which to draw emotional support and encouragement, while enhancing one`s ability to adapt to change and buffer stress (Levin, Markides, Ray, 1996). Research has shown that social networks, such as those commonly found in religious organizations are associated with positive health outcomes in older adults, including lower risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and functional decline (Seeman, 1996). The relationships that are fostered within the church or religious group serve for many as a replacement for the social groups that they engaged in at work before retirement. In addition, the attitudes that are learned from religiously committed peers may benefit ones health through encouragement of healthy behaviors and lifestyle lowering the risk of disease (Levin & Chatters, 1998).

One of the common threads that has been found to correlate with successful aging is the individual’s socioeconomic status, particularly education and income levels (Meeks & Murrell, 2001). The relationship between education level and subjective well-being has been demonstrated consistently. Meeks and Murrell (2001) found that education did have direct effects on negative affect, trait health and life satisfaction. Their research concluded that higher educational attainment is associated with lower levels of negative affect, which is related to better health and increased life satisfaction (Meeks & Murrell, 2001). This may be due to the fact that “individuals with higher education levels benefit from the opportunities and resources related to educational attainment that produce accumulated success experiences and contribute to superior functioning in later life” (Meeks & Murrell, 2001). It is also possible that more educated people develop superior methods for problem solving and coping with change. Higher education levels have been shown to provide individuals with better occupational opportunities and social status through adulthood and greater financial stability during the transition to retirement. This establishes education level as ones foundation for successful aging (Meeks & Murrell, 2001).

Material wealth and income have been shown to have a direct relationship to subjective well-being (Andrews, 1986). For many, the sense of well-being is especially effected by their feelings of income adequacy as they move into retirement. Many individuals face retirement with great anxiety due to the lack of sufficient savings to replace their income. The reality of living on a small fixed income limits the lifestyle and ability to adapt to the changes of late adult medical needs for many elderly people. People with greater resources at retirement have access to greater variety of opportunities and activities (Jurgmeen, & Moen, 2002). In addition, the access to surplus income allows for more recreation and less stress from financial concerns. This notion that wealth and well-being are related is also supported by a microeconomics theory that states that an increase in the income level of a society would lead, other things being constant, to greater well being (Easterlin & Christine, 1999).

However, it is important to keep in mind that increases in individual income levels are relative to the changes in one’s reference group (Lian & Fairchild, 1979). Increases in income are considered to be relative. In other words, if an individual’s gains in economic status outpace the gains of the reference group then the individual will likely experience a greater sense of satisfaction. On the other hand, if their gains are equal to the average in their reference group, there will likely be no change. If the increases are less than the reference group than the result will be less satisfaction. Therefore, it may be important for many older adults transitioning to retirement to have adequate savings or other income in order to maintain or exceed their previous financial status.

The relationship between education and income to successful aging is a complex one that involves numerous external variables. But it seems that there is conclusive evidence that both education and income levels help to prepare an individual for the changes that they will face in old age and “influence on their ability to view aging as an opportunity for continued growth as opposed to an experience of social loss” (Steveink, Westerhof, Bode, et al, 2001).

One of the most important aspects of how well individuals age is related to their ability to develop and maintain strong relationships and social support systems (Rowe & Kahn, 1998). It is also important to mention that solitude, or a lack of social interaction, is considered a major health risk factor (Unger, McAvay, Bruce, et al, 1999). Recent studies suggest that the effects of social ties on the risk of physical decline in elderly are greater in men than women. These studies also report that there is a strong relationship between social support or social networks to the probability to cardiovascular and all cause mortality for men (Berkman, Seeman, Albert, et al,1993).

This gender difference could be explained by the fact that women devote a greater portion of their lives caretaking and developing friendships, so they are more accustomed to building and utilizing social networks. While men, in contrast, have devoted a greater portion of their lives to their careers, therefore, they have not developed the social networks or skills to utilize these networks that most women have (Unger, McAvay, Bruce, et al, 1999). In addition, social ties appear to be most important among elderly individuals with less physical ability (Unger, McAvay, Bruce, et al, 1999). It seems that people with physical disabilities have a greater need to develop friendships and support networks to assist them in coping with the limitations caused by their conditions. Friends and family provide them with a means to continue participating in social activities and complete the tasks of everyday living that they may be unable to accomplish on their own. This provides support for the belief that establishing strong social networks may increase not only quality of life, but quantity as well.

Social relationships and social support systems serve as protective factors in many ways (Bovbjerg & McCann, et al, 1995), (Krause & Borawski-Clarke, 1994). They benefit individuals by enhancing self esteem, providing encouragement, and promoting healthy behaviors. It is also possible that social networks may provide more tangible assistance such as food, clothing, and transportation. This type of assistance enables an elderly person to remain socially active even though they may not have the means to do so on their own. It is also important to distinguish the difference between receiving support and assistance from friends or relatives as opposed to agency assistance.

Possibly the most important source of social support comes from the family, which provides self-system mechanisms which increase an individual’s subjective impression of life satisfaction. In addition families provide a system of support and interaction that may not be available from outside sources for some elderly people. All of these types of networks may prevent the degree of social isolation in old age, that is associated with depression and other psychological problems (Krause, 1991).

With all of the physical and psychological changes that people face in late adulthood i.e., decreases in vision, hearing, memory, etc., the ability to adapt to life circumstances that force aging individuals to move from one living style to another is an integral part of successful aging (Warnick, 1995). Simply maintaining the ability to perform the everyday tasks of living is not necessarily considered successful aging. Successful aging requires the maintenance of competence involving cognitive, personality, material, and social resources (Baltes & Lang, 1993). Adapting to these changes requires the use of flexible strategies to optimize personal functioning (Baltes & Baltes, 1990).

The strategies that one may employ to cope with the changes that accompany the aging process may be limited not only by the individuals ability to utilize a new strategy, such as learning sign language or walking with a cane, but also by their perception of their ability to do so. Many elderly people will avoid using new tools to adapt to change if they believe that they are unprepared to make such an adjustment (Slagen-DeKort, 2001).

Perceived self efficacy is defined as “peoples judgment of their capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to attain designated types of performance” ( Bandura, 1986). People who believe in their ability will set higher goals for themselves and expect that they will be able to achieve these goals. Self efficacy has been found to influence the adaptive strategies used by older adults (Slangen-DeKort, 1999).

There are two dispositions besides perception of self efficacy that influence individuals ability to cope, these are flexibility and tenacity (Slangen-DeKort, 1999). Tenacity is defined by an individuals persistence with which they are able to remain focused upon their goals in the face of obstacles. Flexibility refers to ones ability to readjust goals based on new information. The research of Slangen-DeKort et al (1999) concludes that self referent beliefs regarding personal competence influence adaptive behavior and the choice of adaptive strategies. “The direct effect, which is strongest, implies that even if a person appraises a certain adaptation as the most optimal one, this adaptation may not be adopted when this person perceives that the required efforts exceed his or her personal competence. In this case, a less optimal alternative strategy will be embraced.” (Maddox & Douglas, 1973).

Given the enormous number of variables that are involved in determining how well an individual will age, it is impossible to point to one factor as being the most important. But, it is safe to say that ones ability to successfully age is determined to a great extent by their attitudes toward aging and growing old. These positive and negative attitudes will be the result of how effectively an individual is able to adapt to the physical, psychological, and social changes that will take place throughout adulthood. If someone is able to accept the changes of life and look forward to the challenges that they present with hope and desire to change, then they will be better prepared to face old age. In addition, the relationships and beliefs that are developed across the life span will be relied upon in old age as a resource for support and assistance in coping. Upon examining research on successful aging, it seems that many of the concepts that are applied to earlier developmental stages are equally important in old age.

For example, change, adaptation, personal growth, and cognitive function are aspects of development that may be as important in old age as they are in childhood development. In conclusion, it seems that the present and future of aging research may be used to develop medical and psychological interventions that will provide a more positive aging experience and well-being in old age.

References and Resources:

Abramson, L.Y, Alloy, L.B., Hogan, M.E., et al: (2000). The Hopelessness Theory of suicidality, in Suicide Science: Expanding the Boundaries. Norwen, MA., Kluwer Academic Publishers

Baltes, P.R., Baltes, M.M., (1990). Successful Aging: Perspectives from the behavioral sciences. New York: Cambridge University Press

Binstoek, RH. & George, L.B. (Ed.) (1996) Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences. San Diego: Academic Press

Bovbierg, V.E., McCann, B.S., Brief, D.J., Follette, W.e., Retzlaff, B.M., Dowdy, A.A., Walden, C.E., Knopp, RH., (1995). Spouse support and long-term adherence to lipid-lowering diets. American Journal of Epidemiology, 141,451 – 460

Bosworth, H.B., Siegler, LC., Brummett, B.H., Barefoot, J.C., et al; (1999). The relationship between

self-rated health and health status among coronary artery patients. Journal of Aging and Health, 11(4),565-584

Easterlin, RA., (1995). Will raising incomes of all increase the happiness of all? Journal of Economic Behavior and Organizations. 27, 35-48

Ellison, C.G., (1995). Race, religious involvement and depressive symptomology in a Sontheastem U.S. community. Social Science and Medicine, 40, 1561 – 1572

Ford, A.B., Hang, M.R, Stange, KC., Gaines, A.D., et al; (2002). Sustained personal autonomy: A measure of successful aging. Journal of Aging and Health, 12(4),470-489

Glover, RJ., (1998). Perspectives on aging: Issues affecting the latter part of the life cycle. Educational Gerontology, 24(4), 325-330

Jungmeen, KE., Moen, P., (2002). Retirement transitions, gender, and psychological wen-being: A life course, ecological model. The Journals of Gerontology, 57B(3),212-222

Krause, N., (1995). Religiousity and self-esteem among older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 50B, 236 246

Krause, N., Boraski-Clarke, E., (1994). Clarifying the functions of social support in later life. Research on Aging, 16,251 – 279

Le Bourg, E., (2002). Are stress and longevity reaIIy linked in normal living conditions? Gerontology, 48(2), 108-111

Levin, J., Markides, KS., Ray, L.A., (1996). Religious attendance and psychological well-being in Mexican Americans. The Gerontologist, 36,454 – 463

Levin, J.S., Chatters, L.M., (1998). Religion, health, and psychological well-being in older adults: Findings from three national surveys. Journal of Aging and Health, W( 4), 504-53 I

Meeks, S., Murrell, S.A., (2001). Contribution of education to health and life satisfaction in older adults mediated by negative affect Journal of Aging and Health, 13 (1j, 92-119

Mitchell, B.A., (2002). Successful aging: Integrating contemporary ideas, research findings, and intervention strategies. Family Relations, 51(3),283-284

Nisbet, P.A., Duberstein, P.R, Conwell, Y, et aJ:, (2000). The effect of participation in religious activities on suicide versus natural death in adults 50 and older. Journal of Nerve Disorders, 188: 543-546

Parker, M.W., (2001). Soldier and family wellness across the life course: A developmental model of successful aging, spirituality, and health promotion. Military Medicine, 166(7),561-574

Rowe, J.W., Kahn, RL., (1997). ,Successful Aging. New York: Pantheon

Ryff, C.D., Marshall, V.W. (Ed.) (1999). The Self and Society in Aging Processes. New York: Springer Publishing

Seeman, T.E., (1996). Social ties and health. Annals of Epidemiology, 6, 442 – 451

Slangen-Dekort, Y.A. W., Midden, J.B.C., Aarts, B., Wagenberg, F.V., (2001). Determinants of adaptive behavior among older persons: Self-efficacy, importance, and personal disposition as directive mechauisms. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 53(4),253-274

Simonsick, E.M., (2001). Measuring higher level physical function in well-functioning older adults: Expanding familiar approaches in health ABC study. The Journals of Gerontology, 56A(lO), 644-670

Steverink, N., Westerhof, G.J., Bode, C., Dittman-Kohli, F., (2001). The personal experience of agjng, individual resourses, and subjective well being. The Journals of Gerontology, 56B(6),264-373

Tanaka, E., Sakamoto, S., Ono, Y., Fujihara, S., Kitamura, T., (1998). Hopelessness in a community populiltion: Factorial structure and psychosocial correlates. The Journal of Social Psychology, 138(5), 581-590

Unger, J.B., McAvay, G., Bruce, M.L., Berkman, L., Seeman, L., (1999). Variation in the impact of social network characteristics on the physical functioning in elderly persons. The Journals of Gerontology, 54(B), 245-251

Van Ness, P.R., Larson, D.B., (2002). Religion, senescence, and mental health: The end of life is not the end of hope. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 10(4),386-399

Warnick, J., (1995). Listening with different ears: Counseling people over sixty. Ft. Bragg CA, QED Press.

Action Research Reporting: Is Your Project Valid, Credible or Reliable?

At the end of your action research project, or even as a formative assessment halfway through, you will need to go back over your data and analyze what you have really done. This article is the last of five that outline the process for analyzing research, and analyzing action research and reporting them. Analysis and reporting are an alchemical processes through which the researcher looks carefully at all they have done and a completely new version of what happened emerges from that reflection. Whether and to what extent that new embodiment of the work is convincing or important to others has a great deal to do with how deeply you can justify whether or not your work is valid, credible, or reliable to others. This article is the last in a series of five which takes you through both reflecting upon your project, and then what is needed in reporting on it.

Research practice is typically measured against the standards of validity, credibility, and reliability. Together and make the argument that your findings and your conclusions are correct, and your report becomes convincing to your audience. Valid, credible, and reliable are concepts that apply beyond the research community, although they have very specific meaning within a research paradigm. Now, you need to question whether or not you can make a claim for your work against those three standards.

Validity

AR has two overarching goals: 1) to increase personal and community knowledge about a topic of this study and 2) to show results to improvements or movement towards defined purpose. To what extent the practitioner can demonstrate these two goals then determines the validity of their claims. Your study may be valid in one area but not in the other, as discussed previously in this chapter when we separated your personal results from your professional. Herr and Anderson go on to discuss several kinds of validity, each of which is a claim you could make in your final report.

Outcome validity is whether or not you were successful in getting to your purpose.

Process validity discusses whether you can show that your research was well done, that it included the voices of others in the context, and that it met the standards of research as discussed throughout this book.

Democratic validity is appropriate for participatory action research studies and it demonstrates that the voices of all members of the community were considered.

Catalytic validity is exemplified in the nurse’s study in the previous section of this chapter. It is when one of your outcomes exceeds your target in one or more ways.

Finally, dialogic validity can be claimed by the extent to which you can demonstrate that a diverse group of stakeholders were involved and now agree with your final conclusions and analysis. Dialogic validity requires a discussion of the ways in which others collaborated with you throughout the project and through analysis and the report writing.

Credibility

There are two attributes that you need to consider as you write your final report in order to ensure its credibility to your stakeholders: how you report the data, and how you report the process. Credibility (whether or not your case is convincing) is the degree to which the person reading the report thinks that it makes sense. This is a subjective judgment and requires action researchers to be cognizant of their audience and context. Most action research uses concurrent qualitative and quantitative data gathering strategies, and together they enhance the strength of each other. As has been discussed earlier, qualitative data such as interviews can be quantified by counting the number of times certain subjects are discussed. Also the percentages of individuals who agree to one thing or another quantifies qualitative evidence and makes it feel more solid, or credible to the reader. Likewise, quantitative evidence can be qualified by discussing key phrases that were written as comments,or adding quotations from interviews that agree with the finding which developed.Your final report will be more credible to the extent you are able to merge and weave all your data together so that the interplay between it makes sense to your reader.

The second question that you have to consider is how or whether you are going to report your process. While action researchers enjoy the cycles of discovery, measurable action, and reflection they are not inherently necessary in the final report. At the same time there can be definite reasons that you need to explain the process, in order to make what you found seem natural, and therefore more credible, to your audience. Basically, if you found that your process added to your findings you should discuss your process to your reader as well. Providing that your findings are valid, writing them up as part of the process that revealed them will add further credibility.

Reliability

Action research often tries to create an effect on things or situations that are complex. Therefore results may not dependably transfer across settings and action researchers in general do not believe in a “one size fits all” type of solution. Nevertheless, it is interesting to read what is happening to others in your field and I completely believe in the reliability of AR project result. They are useful, if not to create a model for success, at least to provoke new and innovative ideas in business non-profit and public administration. Therefore you may want to start to increase the reliability of your project through reading the studies of other action researchers.

There are two types of reliability: internal and external. Internal has to do with whether and to what extent you followed solid research practices in the way you gathered and analyzed your data. You also need to be able to demonstrate one-to-one correlation between your data and your findings. Both of these are considered internal reliability. Another test of reliability is whether or not these studies could be implemented in new settings and this is known as external reliability. It is wise to discuss both if writing a report for an academic audience.

This concludes this series of five short articles aimed at helping you as an action researcher to analyze your data and write up your final report. Also discussed in this series were: how to analyze action research from a personal point of view, or in conjunction to its purpose, or as a result of your measurable actions, and finally how to determine if you succeeded or failed overall. No matter what the outcome of this particular action research project, it has proven itself as a transformational tool and one that is very useful for individuals or groups trying to make positive changes in complex situations.

Globalisation And Primary Education Development In Tanzania: Prospects And Challenges

1. Overview of the Country and Primary Education System:

Tanzania covers 945,000 square kilometres, including approximately 60,000 square kilometres of inland water. The population is about 32 million people with an average annual growth rate of 2.8 percent per year. Females comprise 51% of the total population. The majority of the population resides on the Mainland, while the rest of the population resides in Zanzibar. The life expectancy is 50 years and the mortality rate is 8.8%. The economy depends upon Agriculture, Tourism, Manufacturing, Mining and Fishing. Agriculture contributes about 50% of GDP and accounting for about two-thirds of Tanzania’s exports. Tourism contributes 15.8%; and manufacturing, 8.1% and mining, 1.7%. The school system is a 2-7-4-2-3+ consisting of pre-primary, primary school, ordinary level secondary education, Advanced level secondary, Technical and Higher Education. Primary School Education is compulsory whereby parents are supposed to take their children to school for enrollment. The medium of instruction in primary is Kiswahili.

One of the key objectives of the first president J.K. Nyerere was development strategy for Tanzania as reflected in the 1967 Arusha Declaration, which to be ensuring that basic social services were available equitably to all members of society. In the education sector, this goal was translated into the 1974 Universal Primary Education Movement, whose goal was to make primary education universally available, compulsory, and provided free of cost to users to ensure it reached the poorest. As the strategy was implemented, large-scale increases in the numbers of primary schools and teachers were brought about through campaign-style programs with the help of donor financing. By the beginning of the 1980s, each village in Tanzania had a primary school and gross primary school enrollment reached nearly 100 percent, although the quality of education provided was not very high. From 1996 the education sector proceeded through the launch and operation of Primary Education Development Plan – PEDP in 2001 to date.

2. Globalization

To different scholars, the definition of globalization may be different. According to Cheng (2000), it may refer to the transfer, adaptation, and development of values, knowledge, technology, and behavioral norms across countries and societies in different parts of the world. The typical phenomena and characteristics associated with globalization include growth of global networking (e.g. internet, world wide e-communication, and transportation), global transfer and interflow in technological, economic, social, political, cultural, and learning areas, international alliances and competitions, international collaboration and exchange, global village, multi-cultural integration, and use of international standards and benchmarks. See also Makule (2008) and MoEC (2000).

3. Globalization in Education

In education discipline globalization can mean the same as the above meanings as is concern, but most specifically all the key words directed in education matters. Dimmock & Walker (2005) argue that in a globalizing and internalizing world, it is not only business and industry that are changing, education, too, is caught up in that new order. This situation provides each nation a new empirical challenge of how to respond to this new order. Since this responsibility is within a national and that there is inequality in terms of economic level and perhaps in cultural variations in the world, globalization seems to affect others positively and the vice versa (Bush 2005). In most of developing countries, these forces come as imposing forces from the outside and are implemented unquestionably because they do not have enough resource to ensure its implementation (Arnove 2003; Crossley & Watson, 2004).

There is misinterpretation that globalization has no much impact on education because the traditional ways of delivering education is still persisting within a national state. But, it has been observed that while globalization continues to restructure the world economy, there are also powerful ideological packages that reshape education system in different ways (Carnoy, 1999; Carnoy & Rhoten, 2002). While others seem to increase access, equity and quality in education, others affect the nature of educational management. Bush (2005) and Lauglo (1997) observe that decentralization of education is one of the global trends in the world which enable to reform educational leadership and management at different levels. They also argue that Decentralization forces help different level of educational management to have power of decision making related to the allocation of resources. Carnoy (1999) further portrays that the global ideologies and economic changes are increasingly intertwined in the international institutions that broadcast particular strategies for educational change. These include western governments, multilateral and bilateral development agencies and NGOs (Crossley & Watson 2004). Also these agencies are the ones which develop global policies and transfer them through funds, conferences and other means. Certainly, with these powerful forces education reforms and to be more specifically, the current reforms on school leadership to a large extent are influenced by globalization.

4. The School Leadership

In Tanzania the leadership and management of education systems and processes is increasingly seen as one area where improvement can and need to be made in order to ensure that education is delivered not only efficiently but also efficaciously. Although literatures for education leadership in Tanzania are inadequate, Komba in EdQual (2006) pointed out that research in various aspects of leadership and management of education, such as the structures and delivery stems of education; financing and alternative sources of support to education; preparation, nurturing and professional development of education leaders; the role of female educational leaders in improvement of educational quality; as will as the link between education and poverty eradication, are deemed necessary in approaching issues of educational quality in any sense and at any level. The nature of out of school factors that may render support to the quality of education e.g. traditional leadership institutions may also need to be looked into.

5. Impact of Globalization

As mentioned above, globalization is creating numerous opportunities for sharing knowledge, technology, social values, and behavioral norms and promoting developments at different levels including individuals, organizations, communities, and societies across different countries and cultures. Cheng (2000); Brown, (1999); Waters, (1995) pointed out the advantages of globalization as follows: Firstly it enable global sharing of knowledge, skills, and intellectual assets that are necessary to multiple developments at different levels. The second is the mutual support, supplement and benefit to produce synergy for various developments of countries, communities, and individuals. The third positive impact is creation of values and enhancing efficiency through the above global sharing and mutual support to serving local needs and growth. The fourth is the promotion of international understanding, collaboration, harmony and acceptance to cultural diversity across countries and regions. The fifth is facilitating multi-way communications and interactions, and encouraging multi-cultural contributions at different levels among countries.

The potential negative impacts of globalization are educationally concerned in various types of political, economic, and cultural colonization and overwhelming influences of advanced countries to developing countries and rapidly increasing gaps between rich areas and poor areas in different parts of the world. The first impact is increasing the technological gaps and digital divides between advanced countries and less developed countries that are hindering equal opportunities for fair global sharing. The second is creation of more legitimate opportunities for a few advanced countries to economically and politically colonize other countries globally. Thirdly is exploitation of local resources which destroy indigenous cultures of less advanced countries to benefit a few advanced countries. Fourthly is the increase of inequalities and conflicts between areas and cultures. And fifthly is the promotion of the dominant cultures and values of some advanced areas and accelerating cultural transplant from advanced areas to less developed areas.

The management and control of the impacts of globalization are related to some complicated macro and international issues that may be far beyond the scope of which I did not include in this paper. Cheng (2002) pointed out that in general, many people believe, education is one of key local factors that can be used to moderate some impacts of globalization from negative to positive and convert threats into opportunities for the development of individuals and local community in the inevitable process of globalization. How to maximize the positive effects but minimize the negative impacts of globalization is a major concern in current educational reform for national and local developments.

6. Globalization of Education and Multiple Theories

The thought of writing this paper was influenced by the multiple theories propounded by Yin Cheng, (2002). He proposed a typology of multiple theories that can be used to conceptualize and practice fostering local knowledge in globalization particularly through globalized education. These theories of fostering local knowledge is proposed to address this key concern, namely as the theory of tree, theory of crystal, theory of birdcage, theory of DNA, theory of fungus, and theory of amoeba. Their implications for design of curriculum and instruction and their expected educational outcomes in globalized education are correspondingly different.

The theory of tree assumes that the process of fostering local knowledge should have its roots in local values and traditions but absorb external useful and relevant resources from the global knowledge system to grow the whole local knowledge system inwards and outwards. The expected outcome in globalized education will be to develop a local person with international outlook, who will act locally and develop globally. The strength of this theory is that the local community can maintain and even further develop its traditional values and cultural identity as it grows and interacts with the input of external resources and energy in accumulating local knowledge for local developments.

The theory of crystal is the key of the fostering process to have “local seeds” to crystallize and accumulate the global knowledge along a given local expectation and demand. Therefore, fostering local knowledge is to accumulate global knowledge around some “local seeds” that may be to exist local demands and values to be fulfilled in these years. According to this theory, the design of curriculum and instruction is to identify the core local needs and values as the fundamental seeds to accumulate those relevant global knowledge and resources for education. The expected educational outcome is to develop a local person who remains a local person with some global knowledge and can act locally and think locally with increasing global techniques. With local seeds to crystallize the global knowledge, there will be no conflict between local needs and the external knowledge to be absorbed and accumulated in the development of local community and individuals.

The theory of birdcage is about how to avoid the overwhelming and dominating global influences on the nation or local community. This theory contends that the process of fostering local knowledge can be open for incoming global knowledge and resources but at the same time efforts should be made to limit or converge the local developments and related interactions with the outside world to a fixed framework. In globalized education, it is necessary to set up a framework with clear ideological boundaries and social norms for curriculum design such that all educational activities can have a clear local focus when benefiting from the exposure of wide global knowledge and inputs. The expected educational outcome is to develop a local person with bounded global outlook, who can act locally with filtered global knowledge. The theory can help to ensure local relevance in globalized education and avoid any loss of local identity and concerns during globalization or international exposure.

The theory of DNA represents numerous initiatives and reforms have made to remove dysfunctional local traditions and structures in country of periphery and replace them with new ideas borrowed from core countries. This theory emphasizes on identifying and transplanting the better key elements from the global knowledge to replace the existing weaker local components in the local developments. In globalizing education, the curriculum design should be very selective to both local and global knowledge with aims to choose the best elements from them. The expected educational outcome is to develop a person with locally and globally mixed elements, who can act and think with mixed local and global knowledge. The strength of this theory is its openness for any rational investigation and transplant of valid knowledge and elements without any local barrier or cultural burden. It can provide an efficient way to learn and improve the existing local practices and developments.

The theory of fungus reflects the mode of fostering local knowledge in globalization. This theory assumes that it is a faster and easier way to digest and absorb certain relevant types of global knowledge for nutrition of individual and local developments, than to create their own local knowledge from the beginning. From this theory, the curriculum and instruction should aim at enabling students to identify and learn what global knowledge is valuable and necessary to their own developments as well as significant to the local community. In globalizing education, the design of education activities should aim at digesting the complex global knowledge into appropriate forms that can feed the needs of individuals and their growth. The expected educational outcome is to develop a person equipped certain types of global knowledge, who can act and think dependently of relevant global knowledge and wisdom. Strengths of the theory is for some small countries, easily digest and absorb the useful elements of global knowledge than to produce their own local knowledge from the beginning. The roots for growth and development are based on the global knowledge instead of local culture or value.

The theory of amoeba is about the adaptation to the fasting changing global environment and the economic survival in serious international competitions. This theory considers that fostering local knowledge is only a process to fully use and accumulate global knowledge in the local context. Whether the accumulated knowledge is really local or the local values can be preserved is not a major concern. According to this theory, the curriculum design should include the full range of global perspectives and knowledge to totally globalize education in order to maximize the benefit from global knowledge and become more adaptive to changing environment. Therefore, to achieve broad international outlook and apply global knowledge locally and globally is crucial in education. And, cultural burdens and local values can be minimized in the design of curriculum and instruction in order to let students be totally open for global learning. The expected educational outcome is to develop a flexible and open person without any local identity, who can act and think globally and fluidly. The strengths of this theory are also its limitations particularly in some culturally fruit countries. There will be potential loss of local values and cultural identity in the country and the local community will potentially lose its direction and social solidarity during overwhelming globalization.

Each country or local community may have its unique social, economic and cultural contexts and therefore, its tendency to using one theory or a combination of theories from the typology in globalized education may be different from the other. To a great extent, it is difficult to say one is better than other even though the theories of tree, birdcage and crystal may be more preferred in some culturally rich countries. For those countries with less cultural assets or local values, the theories of amoeba and fungus may be an appropriate choice for development. However, this typology can provide a wide spectrum of alternatives for policy-makers and educators to conceptualize and formulate their strategies and practices in fostering local knowledge for the local developments. See more about the theories in Cheng (2002; 11-18)

7. Education Progress since Independence in Tanzania

During the first phase of Tanzania political governance (1961-1985) the Arusha Declaration, focusing on “Ujamaa” (African socialism) and self-reliance was the major philosophy. The nationalization of the production and provision of goods and services by the state and the dominance of ruling party in community mobilization and participation highlighted the “Ujamaa” ideology, which dominated most of the 1967-1985 eras. In early 1970s, the first phase government embarked on an enormous national campaign for universal access to primary education, of all children of school going age. It was resolved that the nation should have attained universal primary education by 1977. The ruling party by that time Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), under the leadership of the former and first president of Tanzania Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, directed the government to put in place mechanisms for ensuring that the directive, commonly known as the Musoma Resolution, was implemented. The argument behind that move was essentially that, as much as education was a right to each and every citizen, a government that is committed to the development of an egalitarian socialist society cannot segregate and discriminate her people in the provision of education, especially at the basic level.

7.1. The Presidential Commission on Education

In 1981, a Presidential Commission on education was appointed to review the existing system of education and propose necessary changes to be realized by the country towards the year 2000. The Commission submitted its report in March 1982 and the government has implemented most of its recommendation. The most significant ones related to this paper were the establishment of the Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC), the Tanzania Professional Teachers Association, the introduction of new curriculum packages at primary, secondary and teacher education levels, the establishment of the Faculty of Education (FoE) at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, the introduction of pre-primary teacher education programme; and the expansion of secondary education.

7.2. Education during the Second Phase Government of Tanzania

The second phase government of Tanzania spanning from 1985 to 1995, was characterized by new liberal ideas such as free choice, market-oriented schooling and cost efficiency, reduced the government control of the UPE and other social services. The education sector lacked quality teachers as well as teaching/learning materials and infrastructure to address the expansion of the UPE. A vacuum was created while fragmented donor driven projects dominated primary education support. The introduced cost sharing in the provision of social services like education and health hit most the poorest of the poor. This decrease in government support in the provision of social services including education as well as cost-sharing policies were not taken well, given that most of the incomes were below the poverty line. In 1990, the government constituted a National Task Force on education to review the existing education system and recommend a suitable education system for the 21st century.

The report of this task force, the Tanzania Education System for the 21st Century, was submitted to the government in November 1992. Recommendations of the report have been taken into consideration in the formulation of the Tanzania Education and Training Policy (TETP). In spite of the very impressive expansionary education policies and reforms in the 1970s, the goal to achieve UPE, which was once targeted for achievement in 1980, is way out of reach. Similarly, the Jomtien objective to achieve Basic Education for all in 2000 is on the part of Tanzania unrealistic. The participation and access level have declined to the point that attainment of UPE is once again an issue in itself. Other developments and trends indicate a decline in the quantitative goals set rather than being closer to them (Cooksey and Reidmiller, 1997; Mbilinyi, 2000). At the same time serious doubt is being raised about school quality and relevance of education provided (Galabawa, Senkoro and Lwaitama, (eds), 2000).

7.3. Outcomes of UPE

According to Galabawa (2001), the UPE describing, analysis and discussing explored three measures in Tanzania: (1) the measure of access to first year of primary education namely, the apparent intake rate. This is based on the total number of new entrants in the first grade regardless of age. This number is in turn expressed as a percentage of the population at the official primary school entrance age and the net intake rate based on the number of new entrants in the first grade who are of the official primary school entrance age expressed as percentage of the population of corresponding age. (2) The measure of participation, namely, gross enrolment ratio representing the number of children enrolled in primary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the official primary school age population; while the net enrolment ratio corresponds to the number of children of the official primary school age enrolled in primary school expressed as a percentage of corresponding population. (3) The measure of internal efficiency of education system, which reflect the dynamics of different operational decision making events over the school cycle like dropouts, promotions and repetitions.

7.3.1. Access to Primary Education

The absolute numbers of new entrants to grade one of primary school cycles have grown steadily since 1970s. The number of new entrants increased from around 400,000 in 1975 to 617,000 in 1990 and to 851,743 in 2000, a rise of 212.9 percent in relative terms. The apparent (gross) intake rate was high at around 80% in the 1970s dropping to 70% in 1975 and rise up to 77% in 2000. This level reflects the shortcomings in primary education provision. Tanzania is marked by wide variations in both apparent and net intake rates-between urban and rural districts with former performing higher. Low intake rates in rural areas reflect the fact that many children do not enter schools at the official age of seven years.

7.3.2. Participation in Primary Education

The regression in the gross and net primary school enrolment ratios; the exceptionally low intake at secondary and vocational levels; and, the general low internal efficiency of the education sector have combined to create a UPE crisis in Tanzania’s education system (Education Status Report, 2001). There were 3,161,079 primary pupils in Tanzania in 1985 and, in the subsequent decade primary enrolment rose dramatically by 30% to 4,112,167 in 1999. These absolute increases were not translated into gross/net enrolment rates, which actually experienced a decline threatening the sustainability of quantitative gains. The gross enrolment rate, which was 35.1% in late 1960’s and early 1970s’, grew appreciably to 98.0% in 1980 when the net enrolment rate was 68%. (ibid)

7.3.3. Internal Efficiency in Primary Education

The input/output ratio shows that it takes an average of 9.4 years (instead of planned 7 years) for a pupil to complete primary education. The extra years are due to starting late, drop-outs, repetition and high failure rate which is pronounced at standard four where a competency/mastery examination is administered (ESDP, 1999, p.84). The drive towards UPE has been hampered by high wastage rates.

7.4. Education during the Third Phase Government of Tanzania

The third phase government spanning the period from 1995 to date, intends to address both income and non-income poverty so as to generate capacity for provision and consumption of better social services. In order to address these income and non-income poverty the government formed the Tanzania Vision 2025. Vision 2025 targets at high quality livelihood for all Tanzanians through the realization of UPE, the eradication of illiteracy and the attainment of a level of tertiary education and training commensurate with a critical mass of high quality human resources required to effectively respond to the developmental challenges at all level. In order to revitalize the whole education system the government established the Education Sector Development Programme (ESDP) in this period. Within the ESDP, there two education development plans already in implementation, namely: (a) The Primary Education Development Plan (PEDP); and (b) The Secondary Education Development Plan (SEDP).

8. Prospects and Challenges of Primary of Education Sector

Since independence, The government has recognised the central role of education in achieving the overall development goal of improving the quality of life of Tanzanians through economic growth and poverty reduction. Several policies and structural reforms have been initiated by the Government to improve the quality of education at all levels. These include: Education for Self-Reliance, 1967; Musoma Resolution, 1974; Universal Primary Education (UPE), 1977; Education and Training Policy (ETP), 1995; National Science and Technology Policy, 1995; Technical Education and Training Policy, 1996; Education Sector Development Programme, 1996 and National Higher Education Policy, 1999. The ESDP of 1996 represented for the first time a Sector-Wide Approach to education development to redress the problem of fragmented interventions. It called for pooling together of resources (human, financial and materials) through the involvement of all key stakeholders in education planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation (URT, 1998 quoted in MoEC 2005b). The Local Government Reform Programme (LGRP) provided the institutional framework.

Challenges include the considerable shortage of classrooms, a shortage of well qualified and expert teachers competent to lead their learners through the new competency based curriculum and learning styles, and the absence of an assessment and examination regime able to reinforce the new approaches and reward students for their ability to demonstrate what they know understand and can do. At secondary level there is a need to expand facilities necessary as a result of increased transition rates. A major challenge is the funding gap, but the government is calling on its development partners to honour the commitments made at Dakar, Abuja, etc, to respond positively to its draft Ten Year Plan. A number of systemic changes are at a critical stage, including decentralisation, public service reform, strengthening of financial management and mainstreaming of ongoing project and programmes. The various measures and interventions introduced over the last few years have been uncoordinated and unsynchronised. Commitment to a sector wide approach needs to be accompanied by careful attention to secure coherence and synergy across sub-sectoral elements. (Woods, 2007).

9. Education and School Leadership in Tanzania and the Impacts

Education and leadership in primary education sector in Tanzania has passed through various periods as explained in the stages above. The school leadership major reformation was maintained and more decentralized in the implementation of the PEDP from the year 2000 to date. This paper is also more concerned with the implementation of globalization driven policies that influence the subjectivity of education changes. It is changing to receive what Tjeldvoll et al. (2004:1; quoted in Makule, 2008) considers as “the new managerial responsibilities”. These responsibilities are focused to increase accountability, equity and quality in education which are global agenda, because it is through these, the global demands in education will be achieved. In that case school leadership in Tanzania has changed. The change observed is due to the implementation of decentralization of both power and fund to the low levels such as schools. School leadership now has more autonomy over the resources allocated to school than it was before decentralization. It also involves community in all the issues concerning the school improvement.

10. Prospects and Challenges of School Leadership

10.1. Prospects

The decentralization of both power and funds from the central level to the low level of education such as school and community brought about various opportunities. Openness, community participation and improved efficiency mentioned as among the opportunities obtained with the current changes on school leadership. There is improved accountability, capacity building and educational access to the current changes on school leadership. This is viewed in strong communication network established in most of the schools in the country. Makule (2008) in her study found out that the network was effective where every head teacher has to send to the district various school reports such as monthly report, three month report, half a year report, nine month report and one year report. In each report there is a special form in which a head teacher has to feel information about school. The form therefore, give account of activities that takes place at school such as information about the uses of the funds and the information about attendance both teacher and students, school buildings, school assets, meetings, academic report, and school achievement and problems encountered. The effect of globalization forces on school leadership in Tanzania has in turn forced the government to provide training and workshop for school leadership (MoEC, 2005b). The availability of school leadership training, whether through workshop or training course, considered to be among the opportunities available for school leadership in Tanzania

10.2. Challenges

Like all countries, Tanzania is bracing itself for a new century in every respect. The dawn of the new millennium brings in new changes and challenges of all sectors. The Education and Training sector has not been spared for these challenges. This is, particularly important in recognition of adverse/implications of globalisation for developing states including Tanzania. For example, in the case of Tanzania, globalisation entails the risks of increased dependence and marginalisation and thus human resource development needs to play a central role to redress the situation. Specifically, the challenges include the globalisation challenges, access and equity, inclusive or special needs education, institutional capacity building and the HIV/aids challenge.

11. Conclusion

There are five types of local knowledge and wisdom to be pursued in globalized education, including the economic and technical knowledge, human and social knowledge, political knowledge, cultural knowledge, and educational knowledge for the developments of individuals, school institutions, communities, and the society. Although globalisation is linked to a number of technological and other changes which have helped to link the world more closely, there are also ideological elements which have strongly influenced its development. A “free market” dogma has emerged which exaggerates both the wisdom and role of markets, and of the actors in those markets, in the organisation of human society. Fashioning a strategy for responsible globalisation requires an analysis which separates that which is dogma from that which is inevitable. Otherwise, globalisation is an all too convenient excuse and explanation for anti-social policies and actions including education which undermine progress and break down community. Globalisation as we know it has profound social and political implications. It can bring the threat of exclusion for a large portion of the world’s population, severe problems of unemployment, and growing wage and income disparities. It makes it more and more difficult to deal with economic policy or corporate behaviour on a purely national basis. It also has brought a certain loss of control by democratic institutions of development and economic policy.

The Psychology of Education

On the need for an individualistic educational psychology emphasizing on the central role of the learner

Education and psychology are related in more than just one way and the psychology of education could be related to educational principles in psychology or how education as a discipline is taught within psychology as a subject and how these two disciplines merge. This is primarily the focus of educational psychology which studies how human learning occurs, what ways of teaching are most effective, what different methods should be used to teach gifted or disabled children and how principles of psychology could help in the study of schools as social systems.

Psychological education would be completely focused on learning methods as structured or imparted according to psychological and individual needs of the students. Education would differ according to culture, values, attitudes, social systems, mindset and all these factors are important in the study of education in psychology.

Educational psychology is the application of psychological objectives within educational systems and psychological education as I distinguish here is application of educational objectives in psychological processes. The first focus of using psychology in education is more general and the second approach of using education in psychology is more individualistic. However as far as present study of educational approach to psychology is concerned, there is no difference between individualistic educational psychology and general educational psychology and all interrelationships between psychology and education are considered within the broad discipline of educational psychology.

However a distinction between the more general educational psychology and more specific psychological or individualistic education could help in understanding the nuances of individualistic study and give a subjective dimension to the study of psychology in education. This could also help in making learning systems more student based and according to the needs of culture, society, individual or personal factors. This sort of study with a focus on personal/psychological aspects of learning is not just about social objectives and objectives within educational systems but also about personal goals and objectives and the psychological processes involved in learning. There has to be a clearer demarcation between education in psychology as a general study and individualistic education in psychology as a more specific and subjective discipline.

As of now educational psychology encompasses a wide range of issues and topics including the use of technology and its relation to psychology, learning techniques and instructional design. It also considers the social, cognitive, behavioural dimensions of learning but it would be necessary to make education more personal and individualistic through a special branch with a psychological focus on education so that individual needs are considered. There could be two ways in which this branch of knowledge could evolve – either by strengthening psychological education or individualistic approach to the psychology of education or by having two distinct branches of general educational psychology and individualistic educational psychology.

As in client centered approach to psychology, a psychology of education should also include further research that would highlight the need for individualistic dimensions in learning. Learning psychology is the use of psychological theories for example that of Jean Piaget and Kohler in the study of learning techniques, especially among children. I have already discussed Piaget but briefly Piaget’s theory higlights different stages of learning in children and Kohler suggested that learning occurs by sudden comprehension or understanding, however I will not go further into learning theories here. Whereas the focus of educational psychology is on learning techniques per se and the role of the learner is considered only secondary, a branch of individualistic psychology in education could help in emphasizing the role of the learner considering not just their disabilities or giftedness but also their personality patterns. This focus on personality patterns brings out the central role of understanding psychology in educational systems.

Educational psychology studies both the personal approaches to education as in giftedness, disability, learning theories applied to children and adults, and the more general objective approaches to learning as the role of schools as social or cultural systems.

The psychology of education could include the following branches:

General Educational Psychology

1. Learning Systems – As studied from individualistic learning perspectives and generalized learning perspectives, a discussion of the different theories, practices and systems or techniques of learning is an integral part of educational psychology and especially central to general educational psychology.

2. Social Systems – The use of education in social, cultural and economic systems could be considered within the psychological context and this relates to the role of education in society.

Individualistic Educational Psychology

1. Learning Systems – Learning techniques and systems or methods will have to be in accordance with the needs of the children or adult participants and according to skills of the teachers. Needs vary according to personal traits and abilities and individual needs will have to be considered during the learning process.

2. Social Systems – Individual learning psychology will have to be studied according to specific social and cultural backgrounds of the learners and thus a more subjective study of learning approaches and centralized role of the individual in the learning process considering their social, cultural or intellectual background will have to be considered.

Is Your Online Education Legitimate? How To Spot A Credible Online Degree Program

Educational professionals and employers have long challenged the credibility of online college degrees. Traditionalists are quick to dismiss them as easy, widely fuelling the belief that online college degrees are worthless. Employers, as a result, have jumped on the bandwagon and have been known to reject potential employees on the strength of it, stating that they do not meet the specified criteria. However, accredited online colleges and universities have been fighting this perspective with a degree of success and guidelines have been published so that individuals can distinguish between credible online college degrees and their bogus equivalents. Here is a quick guide on what to look out for.

Accredited Colleges And Universities – The safest way of ensuring that your online college degree will be taken into account when you apply for jobs is by choosing to take one with a well-known university that is established offline. The University Of Carolina or Stanford University are just two that are established universities offering online college degrees. If you present a degree from accredited online colleges and universities that already provide excellent educational courses then it will undoubtedly be taken into considerations. Although accredited online colleges and universities that operate solely on the Internet may be legitimate, employers may dismiss your degree as being fake on the basis that they have never heard of them.

Check Accreditation – Never apply for an online college degree whose provider does not display its credentials online for all prospective students to view. Some “accredited” online colleges and universities, Belford University to name but one, have been known to make up fake agencies and in effect accredit themselves so their online college degrees are absolutely worthless in the real world. This is the type of scam that gives legitimate online college degrees a bad reputation. If you can see the agency that accredited the college then you can research it to see whether it actually exists, in some cases, or is a legitimate authority. Long established agencies are more likely to be legitimate than others.

Online Verification – If your online college degree is accredited, it will be listed at the US Department of Education. Accredited online college and university programs are placed on the list if they are legitimate and thus the Department of Education will have effectively done your research for you. If the online college degree that you are considering is not on that list then be wary because it is a very expensive chance that you will be taking. Placement on the list also gives you a ready answer if a potential employer ever questions you about the legitimacy of an online college degree.

There are so many bogus online college degree companies that will churn out your piece of paper at a moments notice that it is no wonder that employers are skeptical. Whilst offering individuals a program that would have otherwise been unavailable to them, the increasing popularity of online courses has opened the floodgates to conmen and people who are out to make a quick buck. Be careful, it is your future that will be affected by your decision after all.

Inculcation Values Through Curriculum

“Today, it is no longer desirable to undertake educational reforms in piecemeal fashion, without a concept of the totality of the goals and modes of the educational process. To find out how to reshape its component parts, one must have a vision of the whole”. – UNESCO, Learning to Be, The Report of the International Commission on the Development of Education, 1972, p.175.

The National Policy on Education has laid considerable emphasis on value education by highlighting the need to make education a powerful tool for cultivation of social and moral values. Keeping in view the pluralistic base of our society, the education system besides preserving our cultural heritage has also to nurture our youth to be more adaptable to life in the changing environment. An inter-linking of education and culture has also been emphasized in the Programme of Action for implementation of National Policy on Education.

People say that “Values cannot be taught but caught”. Against this belief educationists strongly advocate that values could be taught with sufficient care and caution. The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in its publication documents on Social, Moral and Spiritual Values in Education (1979, p.56) has drawn up 84 values to be inculcated through education. The cultural values need to be identified for standard curricula all over the country. Respect for the old, care for poor and up-privileged and tolerance should be some of the values. Value based inter-personal relations, importance of racial and religious harmony and concern for humanity should form the basis for friendship and cooperation amongst the people.

Fine arts, music, creative writing, puppetry and theatre are to be given due place in the curricula right from school to the university level. The curriculum should strike a balance between theory and practice. Creative work in fields of music, dance, literature, drama, visual arts is essential to cultivate the inherent tolerance of children. Value/moral education should be thought as a compulsory subject up to the high school level.

It should be made an examinable subject at the school level. Evaluation of value education should be based on compassion, self-reliance, respect and honesty. Language is an importance medium for inculcating, fostering and propagating of moral vales and national cultural heritage. Education through mother tongue needs to be ensured.

The Importance of Grammar and Verbal Tense in ESL Teaching

Grammar and ESL Teaching: Past and Present Tense

Introduction

The teaching of grammar as part of ESL programs is important; while it is a debated subject, it has been demonstrated that “natural learners” of second languages do not become proficient in the language if they do not understand the basic structure as provided by grammar studies. Hinkel and Fotos (2002) note that individuals over a “critical period” of age 15 are at risk for this problem, as are individuals who acquire enough of the second language to be able to communicate even with grammar deficiencies, and many individuals who learn English as their second language do not receive the negative feedback that would let them know they are doing something wrong that they would receive in a structured situation (18).

The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of the literature to demonstrate the importance of thorough attention to verbal tense.

Literature Review

Plotnik discusses the effect of tense: every narrative has a base tense, one that moves the action of the communication forward. The use of the tense establishes the mood for the conversation or the story being told – past tense is traditionally the storyteller’s medium, in which events have taken place and people have acted out their destinies. There is a finite basis to expired time. Present tense, on the other hand, promotes a feeling or mood of immediacy and the potential for change or flexibility (Plotnik, 2003).

According to Mc Carthy and Carter (2002), communication involves relational aspects and the desire to express oneself politely and indirectly (as opposed to bluntly), often manifests itself in tense forms that are part of the knowledge of correct grammatical construction. These include verbs in a progressive context such as want, like, have to and so forth. The range of tense helps individuals to create communication with relational, interpersonal meaning. The speaking strategy of tense creates a relationship between the speaker, the event and the listener that can either involve or detach the participants from the event and each other. Understanding and correctly using the past and present tense has the potential of significantly increasing not only effective communication of verbal and written messages, but also of correctly and proactively establishing relational aspects of events and situations that it is an important part of proactive grammar instruction.

Limitations in the development of the English past tense affix -ed have been well-documented in ESL students across a variety of language tasks, including spontaneous conversations, elicited productions, sentence completion, sentence recall, production of nonsense forms, writing samples, and grammaticality judgments. Specifically, “the morphophonological component of English tense marking represents the patterns children need to extract from the input in order to produce the various forms associated with past tense. Specifically, children have to learn to “add -ed ” to regular verb stems and recognize the various alternative phonological processes involved in indicating the past tense of irregular verbs.”

There is a semantic contrast between tenses under three headings, location in time, factuality and backshifting. The primary use of the past tense indicates a situation in which “actions, events, processes, relations, states of affairs or whatever a clause expresses” are dynamic (in which case they ‘take place’) or static in which case they ‘obtain’…The past tense may be more directly indicated by an expression including time such as “yesterday”, a definite time in which the topic of the sentence occurred. Use of the past tense remarks on something that has happened, but does not necessary indicate that the situation continues into the present.

Huddleston (1984) noted that past time is an inherently relational concept; the past tense inflection indicates that the time the situation or even took place is past in relationship to another time, usually at the time the sentence is said or written. The time of the situation in the present tense will normally be present or future, and may also be expressed in temporal terms (such as now, next week) or by a subordinate when clause such as ‘when she gets here, I am going to talk to her’, indicating future. One important use of the subordinate clause is restricted to cases when the future situation in which the predicted event will take place is assured – Huddleston uses the example “He is ill next week” as a nonsensical misuse of the present tense as opposed to the action verb in “We leave for Paris next week” (145). This example shows how incorrect usage of past and present tense can not only impair communication and understanding, but have the potential to affect the “face” of the speaker/writer in social and work settings as well.

Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, & Svartik (1995) identified five major classes of alternations used in the making of English past participles.

The first class includes all regular verbs (e.g., cleaned, kicked, smashed) and a large set of irregular verbs, and is composed of those verbs whose past tense and past participle forms are identical (e.g., brought, built, caught, had, left, kept, said, taught, thought, told). The second class contains high frequency irregular verbs such as hit, cut, and put that remain unchanged across their present, past, or past participle forms. For a third class of irregular verbs, the past participle is generated via the affixation of -en to their past tense form. This class includes verbs like beaten, broken, spoken, stolen. For the fourth class of irregular verbs, the – en morpheme is affixed to the present tense form (e.g., blown, eaten, taken, thrown). A final class of irregular verbs uses participle forms that are distinct from both their present and past tense forms (e.g., been, drunk, gone, written, ridden).

Redmond (2003) notes that production of the English past participle requires command of four advanced grammatical contexts: the passive, the present perfect, the past perfect, and the past modal. From syntactic and semantic perspectives, each of usage is considered complex relative to simple active sentences because they require speakers to coordinate multiple relations between tense, voice, aspect, and mood within the verb phrase.

Ionin and Wexler’s 2002 research amongst 20 child ESL learners found that they almost never produce incorrect tense/agreement morpohology. Also, the researchers noted, “the L2 learners use suppletive inflection at a significantly higher rate than affixal inflection, and overgenerate be auxiliary forms in utterances lacking progressive participles (e.g., they are help people).

A grammaticality judgment task of English tense/agreement morphology similarly shows that the child ESL learners are significantly more sensitive to the ‘be paradigm’ than to inflection on thematic verbs. These findings suggest that tense is present in the learners’ grammar, and that it is instantiated through forms of the be auxiliary. It is argued that omission of inflection is due to problems with the realization of surface morphology … it is furthermore suggested that second language learners initially associate morphological agreement with verb-raising and, thus, acquire forms of be before inflectional morphology on in situ thematic verbs (95).

Conclusion

The correct use of tense is an important skill for adult ESL individuals to have and the lesson plans developed to address this directly will help them communicate effectively with co-workers and people in the community as to what they want and need, what they have had and have done and also to establish their identity based on their past history and future wants.

It is important for ESL students to learn grammar so that they are able to express personal thoughts in the appropriate syntax. Effective use of syntax is important to show different attitudes and express power and identity. Some incorrect forms of grammar may even be interpreted by the listener/reader as being rude or impolite. The more precisely an individual can express their thoughts and meanings, the more effective their communication will be, and the more potential for success they will have in their interpersonal and business communications throughout their lives.

References

Hinkel E. and Fotos, S. (Eds.) (2002). New perspectives on grammar teaching in second language classrooms. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erbaum Associates.

Huddleston, R. (1984). Introduction to the grammar of English. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Ionin, T. and Wexler, K. (2002). Why is ‘is’ easier than ‘-s’?: acquisition of tense/agreement morphology by child second language learners of English. Second Language Research, 18(2): 95-136.

McCarthy, M. and Carter, R. (2002). Ten criteria for a spoken grammar. In: Hinkel E. and Fotos, S. (Eds.) New perspectives on grammar teaching in second language classrooms. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erbaum Associates.

Plotnik, A. (2003). Tense counts! Writer, 116(10): 17-18.

Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G., and Svartvik, J. (1995). A comprehensive grammar of the English language. New York: Longman.

Redmond, S.M. (2003). Children’s productions of the affix -ed in past tense and past participle contexts. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Resources, 46(5): 1095-109.

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