Editorial Damijan Štefanc
This year’s last issue of the Journal of Contemporary Educational Studies
contains four scientific articles in Slovenian and five in English.
The importance of resilience among future educators is the topic addressed by
Karmen Drljić, Tina Štemberger, and Vanja Kiswarday. As the authors show, the
resilience of teachers can be defined as a dynamic psychological and social construct
that includes one’s personal as well as professional characteristics and is shaped
within a particular context. They conducted a study that aimed to determine how
the students of various initial teacher training programs assess their own resilience
and its protective factors. The results show that among the protective factors of
resilience, students rank learning community the highest—that is, collaboration,
discussion, and reflection, as well as the motivation for the teaching profession.
There is also a significant correlation between the protective factors of resilience,
with the highest being between student engagement and their management of high
expectations. The authors have also found that the students who, in the context of
practical pedagogical training, had the goal of working with children with special
needs rated the protective factors of resilience higher.
Katja Jeznik, Petra Gregorčič Mrvar, and Marjeta Šarić write about
parents’ view of school counseling work. Initially, they bring forward the main
principles of cooperation between school counselors and parents. They also mention
some of the hindrances that counselors need to pay attention to. In the second part
of the paper, they present a part of the findings from a larger empirical study about
the school counseling service in Slovenia—specifically, the part that dealt with the
question of how parents are acquainted with the school counselors’ work, which
counselors’ tasks they find to be the most important, and in which areas they would
need more help, support, or information to be provided by the school counselors.
Data show that parents have quite a solid knowledge of the school counseling service
and generally express a positive attitude towards it—and the same goes for school
counselors in relation to parents. As further emphasized by the authors, the data
itself do not allow to conclude that school counselors invest enough efforts into
establishing quality cooperation with parents: counselors face many challenges and
obstacles, such as administrative requirements, that consequently lead to wasting
time that could otherwise be spent more productively. Therefore, the authors conclude,
the level of counselors’ administrative burdens should be analyzed in order
to find solutions that would allow counselors to establish quality cooperation with
all the relevant stakeholders, including parents.
The next paper addresses a topic that belongs to the adult education area:
Nives Ličen, Maja Mezgec, and Matej Urbančič write about integrative pedagogy
and mentors’ learning at the Slovenian Third Age University (U3A). As the
authors point out, education has a different meaning for older adults than it does
for the young and the adults who are part of the active population. Instrumental
knowledge is no longer so important, while dialogic knowledge is gaining in importance,
as is developing new connections between different types of knowledge, wisdom and practical wisdom. Therefore, mentors working with older adults need to be trained differently than mentors who work with children, young adults, or adult employees. The empirical study that Ličen, Mezgec, and Urbančič present followed two theoretical presumptions: that mentorship is always part of a broader
social environment and that it needs to be based on dialogue. The authors asked
mentors about their learning in order to determine some of the mentorship features
at U3A. They established that at U3A the mentorship is actually being developed
in accordance with the characteristics of integrative pedagogy. However, they also
recommend continuing and deepening the research in order to even better understand
the role and features of mentorship in study circles.
The next scientific paper is contributed by Ana Kavčič Pucihar and Branka
Rotar Pance. The authors write about the features of individual instruction in
Slovenian music schools and emphasize that, while the educational aims of the Slovenian
music schools are well integrated with the aims of the Slovenian educational
system in general, it nonetheless has its own specifics. From the organizational
point of view, instruction in music schools is quite different from that of the general
education. One of the specifics of music education is individual instruction that
allows for a much more intense cooperation between the music teacher, his or her
students, and their parents. Nonetheless, this kind of instruction does not allow
for a very intensive cooperation of students with their peers in the same class,
meaning that students are often deprived of positive-competence models that could
also serve as additional learning motivation. By conducting empirical research,
Kavčič Pucihar and Rotar Pance tried to determine the features of individual flute
instruction in Slovenian music schools. They were interested in what difficulties
teachers encounter most often when teaching the flute, be it while teaching students
or cooperating with their parents.
The last four papers are published only in English and address very different
and challenging issues in the international context.
Anka Jurčević Lozančić, Sanja Basta, and Ivan Šerbetar present the
development and evaluation of the questionnaire that enables measuring teachers’
attitudes toward collaboration with parents. As they initially highlight, the interest
in research on collaboration with parents is becoming more apparent as family engagement
changes. Therefore, a questionnaire that would allow evaluating teachers’
attitudes toward collaborating with parents would consequently be a significant
contribution to educational methodology.
The acknowledgement of child abuse by teachers of preschool, primary, and
secondary education in Spain is the topic covered by Mar Badia, Xenia Garcia,
Pilar Escotorín, and Marc Brundelius. As part of the European WIDE (Witnessing
Domestic Violence and Audit Education in the school system) project, they focused
on the design of a training model that provides tools and intervention protocols to
teachers and school agents in order to detect and intervene properly in the event
that students witness intra-family violence against women. As the authors point
out, a high proportion of teachers have never used the necessary approaches to
acknowledge child abuse, which they deem concerning.
In the contribution entitled Some aspects of developmentally (non-) stimulating
interactions of parents with preschool children—implications of basic determinants
of parental behavior, Dženeta Camović notes that children encounter different
parental behaviors, both stimulating and non-stimulating. She emphasizes that
at an early age, parental encouragement and supportive behaviors are crucial for
children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development. Therefore, her research was
aimed at gaining insight into certain aspects of the interactions between parents
and preschool children in relation to some basic determinants of parental behavior.
The last scientific paper in this issue of the JCES addresses the question of how
students and teachers in secondary schools in Croatia perceive the school climate.
Jelena Pavičić Vukičević, Marko Prpić, and Irena Cajner Mraović build
their research on the proposition that the school climate represents a relatively permanent
quality of the school environment, which is based on a common perception
of behavior in the school and is affected by its formal and informal organization,
participants’ personalities, and the school management. In their study they tried
to determine the differences between students’ and teachers’ perceptions of the
school climate. The results showed that the teachers assessed all dimensions of the
school climate more positively than the students.
And last but not least, we are very honored that in this issue of the JCES we
can publish a special anniversary note for our respected Professor Janez Sagadin,
who recently celebrated his 90th birthday. It is not possible to sum up in only a few
lines how important the work of Professor Sagadin has been for the educational
sciences, in particular in the field of educational methodology: the foundations
established by him allowed the educational sciences and educational methodology
in Slovenia to develop and grow for the last fifty years!