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Teachers’ Experiences of Keeping Special Education Students Informed of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Study
In times of such public health crisis as the COVID-19, staying well-informed can not only help people get prepared and make wise decisions, but also relieve anxiety. Students with disabilities, however, face great difficulty in keeping up-to-date on the pandemic. Using a qualitative research method, this study explored the experiences and perceived difficulties of special education teachers in trying to keep their students informed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Semistructured focus group interviews were conducted with a total of 24 teachers from seven special education schools in China. The results showed that teachers adopted various measures to improve students’ information access, such as holding weekly class meetings, making use of posters and LED displays, working with families and collaborating with local health institutions. Despite these efforts, teachers reported facing multiple challenges and much remains to be desired. This research highlights the need for a holistic approach to providing information for students with disabilities, one that is tailored to their special needs and that involves other players in addition to teachers.
Teachers’ Emotions: Validation of the Teacher Emotions Scales in Albanian
The topic of teacher emotions has gained increasing research attention over the past years. Initial predominantly qualitative inquiry methods have been complemented by quantitative ones, and different instruments to measure teacher emotions have been developed. These instruments mainly stem from Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) countries, and yet it is still unknown if these instruments are of universal cultural functionality. The current study aimed to validate the Teacher Emotions Scale (TES) in the low-to-middle income, Southeastern European country of Kosovo. Findings from N = 258 teachers in Kosovo provide evidence that TES-Albanian operates equivalently in terms of factor structure as the original German version of TES and the English version. Supporting the external validity of the scale, we found consistent low-to-medium relationships between the three emotions measured with the TES (enjoyment, anger, and anxiety) with other teachers’ experiential and behavioral constructs such as positive and negative affect, job satisfaction, burnout, self-efficacy, and the teacher–student relationship. Overall, we conclude that TES can effectively be translated into different languages to measure teacher emotions also in non-WEIRD cultural contexts.
Early-Grade Reading: The Challenges That Affect Teachers’ Practice of Phonological Awareness: The Case of Koorete Language
This study aimed to identify the challenges affecting teacher practice of phonological awareness (PA) in the first-grade classrooms of the teaching of the Koorete language. The study adopted the descriptive research design using the survey method and exploratory case study technique, and it was conducted in selected schools in Amaro in the Southern part of Ethiopia. The qualitative method was used to observe and interview the selected participating teachers, and questionnaires were used with the thirty native-language teachers selected. Thirty participating schools were selected through stratified sampling, and 30 native-language teachers were selected through targeted sampling from the selected schools based on their qualifications, experience, and recommendations for merit. Classroom observations, in-depth semistructured interviews, and questionnaires were used to collect data. The recorded data was then transcribed, translated, analyzed, and then it was thematically discussed. The results of the study showed that a lack of subject content and pedagogical knowledge, inadequate teaching materials, inadequate teacher-training programs, a lack of an enabling, literacy-rich environment, and a lack of in-service training in the first grades pose major challenges. The study recommends that teachers need to be adequately equipped with content and pedagogical awareness, to be provided with phonological awareness resources, and they require support by way of in-service training to enhance the teaching of native-language reading skills in early grades. Finally, all stakeholders need to work on the access and quality of textbooks and supplementary reading materials, adopt explicit and systematic teaching practices, organize in-service training, and create a literacy-rich environment for the teacher education program.
“You Are Essentially Just a Number”: Discourse Elaboration and Devaluation among Natural Science Students
This article analyzes first-year natural science students’ experiences of discourse and devaluation as new members of the Natural and Agricultural Sciences Faculty at the University of Pretoria (UP). This study aims to highlight students’ perspectives on navigating digital learning during COVID-19. Second, the analysis aims to highlight how intersections between languages, digital learning tools, and students’ identities intersect in an academic literacy module. Lastly, the investigation aims to formulate methodical propositions that academic literacy facilitators can apply to generate experiences of discourse elaboration as opposed to devaluation. This study was conducted at the Hatfield campus of the University of Pretoria, Gauteng province in South Africa among first-year natural science scholars. To unearth students’ experiences, this analysis employed a qualitative and phenomenological line of inquiry. Accordingly, the researchers interviewed 17 students in 2021 as part of a pilot project for a master’s degree project. All structured interviews were conducted via live video transmission using Zoom. The results of the study indicated that most of the participants missed face-to-face interactions with peers and academic staff. The majority of participants indicated that the sole utilization of eLearning induced discourse devaluation. Simultaneously, participants expressed discourse elaboration through interacting with digital literacies in the LST 110 module. Key variables that shaped students’ diverse experiences of discourse elaboration and devaluation are languages, identity, culture, and digital learning tools.
Dynamics of Content Knowledge: Learned from Indonesian Arabic Teachers
The dynamics of content knowledge among Indonesian Arabic teachers is a critical area of research due to the increasing demand for Arabic language education. This study aims to investigate the content knowledge of Arabic teachers in Teacher Professional Education Programs at UIN Malang, Indonesia. The research utilized factor analysis and exploratory factor analysis to explore the structure of the developed instrument measuring teachers’ content knowledge. The findings revealed that the reliability of the test items in the instrument was in the moderate category, with variations in difficulty levels between two test packages. The components of Nahwu and Shorof were found to have the strongest influence on Package 1, while Balaghah had the strongest effect on Package 2. The results of Rasch model analysis indicated three categories of proficiency levels among Arabic language teachers (low, moderate, and high), providing insights for developing more accurate assessment instruments and training programs. The limitations of the study include the focus on content knowledge only and the need for further analysis with relevant methods in future studies. The implications of this research contribute to the understanding of Arabic language teachers’ content knowledge dynamics and can inform the development of effective training programs and assessment instruments for Arabic language education.
Students’ Perception toward Teaching Strategies of Native and Nonnative English-Speaking Teachers: A Case Study in Indonesia
This study aimed to investigate the students’ insights toward native English-speaking teachers’ (NESTs) and nonnative English-speaking teachers’ (NNEST) teaching strategies and to examine the reasons for their insights. Fifty-eight English students, 30 females, and 20 males, with prior experience of learning from both NESTs and NNESTs in East Java, Indonesia, participated in the study. They were purposively selected. A set of questionnaires was used to elicit quantitative data on students’ perceptions and focus group discussion was used to elicit qualitative data on the underlying reasons for their perceptions. Quantitative data were analyzed with descriptive and inferential statistics, whereas qualitative data were analyzed based on themes. The finding revealed that the students perceived NESTs slightly better than NNESTs, with a grand mean of 9.92 and 3.74. Another finding indicates that the perception percentage for NESTs is 75%, while NNESTs achieved 63.8%. However, when the grand means of both groups are tested statistically using a correlated sample t-test, it reveals that there is no significant mean difference (). This means that the mean difference of 3.92 and 3.74 occurred by chance only, and it is not considered different statistically. This suggests that the students perceived NESTs and NNESTs the same. The qualitative data were classified into six themes: explanation, class interaction, teaching strategy, improvization, and ideal teachers. The data indicated that students have more or less similar reasons for these themes. Eventually, the results of qualitative and quantitative data analysis suggest that NESTs and NNESTs are not two distinct groups, one necessarily better or more qualified to be teachers than the other.