Numarul 1 / Anul 2023

  Complete Edition


  When I"m not at school" - fifth graders perspectives on the advantages and disadvantages of online instruction
Jelena Minić, Andjela Keljanović, Sanja Vujnović, Tatjana Kompirović

Objective: This study is part of the broader research conducted to investigate the experiences of pupils, teachers, parents and students regarding online and blended (online and face-to-face classroom) instruction in the Republic of Serbia during the pandemic, focusing on students" perceptions of the changed form of schooling. Method: The subject of this study was the descriptions of teaching-related events that left a strong impression on 5th grade students in elementary schools in the Republic of Serbia during the first semester of 2020. Thematic analysis was used to collect data in the form of narratives. Findings: The 5th grade students value events related to the transition from classroom to subject teaching (getting to know the teacher and new subjects) more positively than events related to the change in teaching model caused by the coronavirus pandemic outside (lack of direct contact, inconsistency of online and face-to-face instruction, abbreviated classes). They also highlight the benefits of this instructional model, such as face-to-face teaching (albeit not on a daily basis) and learning about new educational technologies. Conclusion: The findings can be regarded as a modest contribution to a better understanding of this problem, which remains relevant in light of the current pandemic conditions.

Keywords: online teaching, pandemic, advantages, disadvantages, students

  Teachers’ activities that best encourage learning among students of preschool teachers’ training college in Kikinda
Ana Vukobrat, Srbislava Pavlov, Angela Mesaroš Živkov

Due to numerous reforms, modern teaching now asks for the role of the teacher to be redefined as well. One of the teacher’s many tasks is to master the competencies which would enable them to encourage and stimulate their learners. In this article, authors report on a research conducted at Preschool Teachers’ Training College in Kikinda, which aimed to contribute to a reflexive analysis of the role of the teacher in the context of contemporary teaching process. The goal of the research was to answer the question of which teachers’ activities and strategies students at Preschool Teachers’ Training College in Kikinda think best encourage the learning process. This question is also th research problem. Purposive and convenience sampling was used, and the sample consisted of students of Preschool Teachers’ Training College (N=133). The instrument used in the research was the Excellent Faculty Member questionnaire by Jenrette and Napoli, 1994 (in Suzić, 2005, p. 861). The results obtained, frequency distribution and the mean of respondents’ estimates reveal high scores on all the items. The highest rated items indicate that respondents have a high opinion on teachers’ mastery of subject matter (M=3.857) and teachers’ organization (M=3.857), but also on teachers giving feedback (M=3.805), listening to them carefully (M=3.789), respecting them (M=3.782) and maintaining high professional standards (M=3.767). The lowest rated item is related to teachers setting themselves challenging goals (M=3.436). Conclusions indicate that students find it motivating for learning when teachers exhibit mastery of subject matter, when their work organization is good, when they provide students with feedback, acknowledge and respect them while keeping in mind the students’ abilities, skills, and previous knowledge, as well as when they are well prepared for the class and when they innovate the teaching contents. The students emphasized the importance of a positive emotional climate in the classroom to which humour, teacher-student relationship and challenging tasks and goals greatly contribute.

Keywords: teachers’ activities; encouraging learning; students.

  Trust, belongingness, and teacher’s self-efficacy: A quantitative investigation of an online intervention program for school teachers
Raul-Viorel Lupaș, Sabina Trif, Alina Simona Rusu

Literature indicates that teachers and students who experience trust and belongingness in their school communities have higher levels of indicators of positive quality of life, such as performance, innovation, and creativity. Also, they are open to creating more authentic relationships and fostering an environment based on psychological safety with implications on their well-being, quality of life, self-efficacy, and their general mental health. This quantitative study aims to investigate the impact of an online training program called “Development of trust and belongingness in interpersonal relationships of school teachers” on several psychological variables related to the individual well-being. A number of 475 school teachers participated in the study, from several schools located in different regions of Romania. Data were collected pre- and post-intervention with an online form composed of three different questionnaires addressing the following variables: belongingness, connectedness and teacher’s self-efficacy. The findings indicate significant effects of the online intervention program on all the target variables.

Keywords: school well-being; belongingness; teacher’s self-efficacy; connectedness.

  Exploring Virtual Reflective Learning Experiences in Higher Education
Anca Luștrea, Melinda Dincă, Mariana Crașovan, Atalia Onițiu, Dan Lucheș, Håkon Fyhn, Jens Røyrvik

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, formal education underwent a period of rapid transformation. Beyond this period, the virtual learning environment proposed a reevaluation of curriculum design and didactic strategies. The Classroom Laboratory NTNU-WUT Joint Course (CL) was introduced as a novel learning experience for students at West University of Timisoara (WUT) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). This experimental course was proposed as part of the Romania-Norway collaboration and incorporates Virtual Project Based Learning (VPBL) in cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary online learning groups. This study aims to describe the learning experiences of Romanian students enrolled at WUT in the CL course during the 2021–2022 academic year. In a quasi-experimental design, 24 Romanian students participated in a seven-week transversal CL course, collaborating with Norwegian peers to develop a solution for a social problem. ••Students made significant gains in all three dimensions targeted by VPBL: skill development, self-regulation of learning, and group interactions in the online environment. In addition, the learning of students was compared based on the field of science they are pursuing (STEM and non-STEM). The results indicate that students enrolled in STEM disciplines demonstrated greater benefits from this instructional approach, as evident in their progress across the three dimensions of PBL. The qualitative analysis of the students" journals reveals a positive learning experience in terms of knowledge acquisition, skill development, and affective engagement. In conclusion, CL and VBPL are valid strategies for online university-level instruction.

Keywords: Virtual Classrooms, Virtual Project-Based Learning, online learning, cross-cultural learning.

  The Impact of Environmental Educational Programs in Promoting Insects Conservation Awareness: A Scoping Review
Geanina-Magdalena Sitar, Alina Simona Rusu

The decline of biodiversity and natural habitats, and the lack of progress in society"s behaviour towards conservation, has prompted research into effective educational programs. Studies have shown that positive emotions towards nature, particularly in relation to the innate human predisposition towards the natural environment, can encourage environmentally friendly actions. As people"s attitudes towards species are linked to familiarity and experiences, insects, and other invertebrates, despite their vital role in ecosystems, are often underappreciated and face inequalities in research and conservation. Negative attitudes towards insects are shaped by cultural and educational factors. Hence, education, particularly environmental education, can play a significant role in changing preconceptions and attitudes towards insects and fostering positive behaviour towards biodiversity conservation. This study presents a scoping review of environmental education programs focused on enhancing students awareness of insects and their significance in the ecosystem (from 2000 to 2022). The aim was to analyse the effects of intervention programs and key characteristics that contributed to their efficiency. The review highlights the importance of program duration, outdoor experiences, and the use of inquiry-based and experiential learning methods in promoting positive attitudes and knowledge about insects. The findings have implications for the design and implementation of effective environmental education programs targeting insect awareness.

Keywords: insects’ conservation; environmental educational programs; attitudes towards insects; pro-environmental behaviour.

  Systematic literature review on digital citizenship education for primary school students
Ștefana Opria, Mariana Momanu

The trend toward the digitalization of all areas of human activity has had a significant impact on education. Today, more than ever, there is a lot of discussion about developing the students specific skills to adapt to future changes. In this context, research investigating practices at the primary school level is constantly expanding, out of the desire for researchers to identify how specific digital citizenship content is implemented in the work of young learners. This study aims to systematically review the scholarly articles to examine primary school practices related to digital citizenship. Studies conducted on participants, students, and primary school teachers, were included in the analysis. The systematic review was also developed taking into account empirical studies that investigated practical applications in the field of digital citizenship. The results showed that the practices used in primary school focus on students digital literacy and personal development through an interdisciplinary approach. The studies were theoretically grounded, focusing on only a few dimensions of digital citizenship. These results are the prerequisites for the realization of elementary education in line with the needs of young learners, taking into account the trend of digitalization in all areas of human activity.

Keywords: digital citizenship; education; primary school.

  Tools for assessing students socio-emotional competencies. A systematic literature review
Ioana Alexandra Negru, Ramona Paloș

Social-emotional competencies (SEC) represent an increasingly investigated topic in the educational context, and multiple tools have been developed to measure them. Consequently, an inventory of these tools becomes necessary for research in different educational contexts. This paper aimed to identify and analyse the existing self-reported instruments used to assess secondary school students’ SEC, developed on the CASEL model and published between 2018-2022. The CASEL model was created to help design and conduct SEC development programs and focus on five dimensions: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, managing relationships with others, and responsible decision-making. Most of the social-emotional learning programs are therefore based on the CASSEL framework. Three academic databases were searched (Google Scholar, ERIC, and ProQuest), and 1246 articles were identified. After checking the inclusion criteria, fourteen articles were included in the quantitative synthesis. Finally, eight questionnaires assessing the five SEC dimensions according to the CASEL model were identified. From this analysis, a questionnaire was noted that covers all five dimensions (i.e., the Social and emotional competencies questionnaire built by Zhou & Ee, 2012), has a relatively low number of items, and is easy to apply to children and adolescents. In addition to this questionnaire utility, developing new SEC measurement tools created on the CASEL model to offer variety remains necessary. The results of the literature review present all eight questionnaires with the dimensions they measure, the number of items, and their internal consistency. Also, this study illustrates the limitations of such a review and suggestions for future research.

Keywords: socio-emotional competencies, secondary school students, CASEL model, questionnaire.