RP-2019-1 (en)

2019-1-cover

EMPIRICAL STUDIES

Study on the Relationship Between Mindfulness and Work-Life Balance Levels in the Romanian Young Population | Ion-Ovidiu PÂNIŞOARĂ, Georgeta PÂNIŞOARĂ, Cristina SANDU, Ruxandra CHIRCA
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Abstract: The purpose of the present study is to investigate the relationship between the levels of mindfulness and work-life balance at the Romanian young population. In the process of enhancing our levels of work-life balance, satisfaction or well being, mindfulness plays an essential role, proved by its practice and its applications. The quality of our professional life is a significant contributor to our quality of life as a whole. When society provides a qualitative professional life to its citizens, it also proves itself worthy of attracting and retaining employees. Mindfulness is not an independent concept, but one which positively influences multiple areas or dimensions of an individual’s life. These dimensions include: perspective, connection, choice, and self-knowledge. The subjects of this study were 60 young people, aged between 20-35. All of them were either students or graduates of higher education institutions. The methods used for this study were two questionnaires: the first one was a questionnaire for identifying the level of mindfulness, based on four dimensions – observe, describe, act with awareness and accept without judgement – and the second one – a scale for measuring the level of work-life balance. The results were processed in SPSS Statistics using the T-test for independent samples and Pearson’s correlation coefficient. The results showed a strong relationship between the levels of mindfulness and work-life balance of the Romanian young population.

Keywords: Mindfulness, satisfaction, well-being, work-life balance

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Initial Teacher Training to Encourage Higher Order Skills in the ClassCristina TRIPON

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Abstract: Lifelong learning has become a necessity in most professions due to the information explosion and technology integration in daily work. Teachers, obviously, fall into this category, the teaching methods, and skills that need to be developed by students in need of continuous improvement. Changes in educational reform, too fast to adapt to children and teachers, also contribute to the daily school challenges. Ideally, the school should prepare its students for the challenges of an active life. But what happens when the labor market is still growing and the necessary skills for the future are not yet required at the current level? What happens when competencies of the 21st century or skills in the soft-skills category are not developed by the graduates, that is, by the teachers? This research has focused on a specially developed program, about 1 year, for future teachers. The main objective is to improve direct educational practices from the classroom by using teaching methods that encourage the development of higher-level thinking skills.
Keywords: Certification programs, high order thinking, teacher training

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School as a Learning Organization. School Climate in Digital SocietyMariana Georgiana MORARU

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Abstract: The paper analyses the components of the educational climate in the school organization. The latter facilitates and co-participates in the learning processes while constantly developing itself. The importance of the educational climate in defining a school is metaphorically underlined by Freiberh and Stein (1999), which described the school climate as “the heart and soul of the school, and the essence that directs teachers and pupils to love school and to want to be part of it.” In recent years, worrying studies have emerged about the feelings that both students and teachers associate with the school. According to a report on the state of education in Romania, published by UNICEF in 2013, our country is the last in Europe in terms of the well-being of young people. Even when it comes to teachers, the educational reality is not very different. A recent study (2018) by the Romanian Business Leaders Foundation (RBL) and D & D Research shows that Romania occupies the antepenultimate place in the world and the last place in Europe in global index of the status of teachers in society. In order to build a learning climate and to support the development of schools, it is first necessary to carefully analyse the many dimensions of the educational climate in order to understand the complexity and value of this concept.
Keywords: Dimensions, educational climate, educational resources, information society, school development, school organization

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Role Play in Building the Communicative Skills in Students from a
Technical University | Elena TIRON

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Abstract: The article presents a brief history of role play from Moreno’s work to the present time and the specificity of role play as a teaching method. The conceptual differences among similar interactive methods are identified: group work, thinking hats, the mosaic method. The didactic method of role play is applied to a group of 90 first-year students from a technical faculty, taking the subject of Communication Techniques, for 12 weeks. The research aims to develop professional communication skills by using role play. We identified the communication problem of the students from a technical faculty, set research objectives, present the research design, the results and their interpretation. The communication problem of the first year students from a technical faculty consists in the difficulty of dealing with active listening, empathy, negotiation with others. As a result, the research objectives focused on the development of these subcomponents of the communication competences. The criteria for assessing the application of this method for the development of professional communication competences are established by the teacher. Through the SWOT method applied at the end of the 12-weeks research, students highlighted the positive aspects, the negative ones, the opportunities and the risks of implementing role play. The conclusions of the paper emphasize the need to use interactive methods with the aim of developing students’ transversal competences, but also the limitations or inadequacies of these methods.
Keywords: Professional communication skills, role play, technical higher education, training

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The Use of Technology in STEM Education. An Empirical Research |
Olimpius ISTRATE, Cosmina MIRONOV, Anca POPOVICI
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Abstract: In Romania, the latest results in PISA as well as national exams show a decrease in the interest of students in studying sciences, whilst the results are much below the OECD average. The present study has been carried out at national level by a research team from the University of Bucharest within the framework of the international Horizon 2020 project Scientix, coordinated by European SchoolNet. The study addresses the beliefs and attitudes of STEM teachers in the pre-university education on current practices, evolution and trends in the science-related skills of students. Two investigative techniques have been used: document analysis and an online standardized questionnaire-based survey. The questionnaire was developed by Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, NC State University. So far, the quantitative data was collected from 259 STEM teachers. The survey invited teachers to express their opinions related to their attitudes, values and beliefs on their teaching efficacy, development of the 21st Century skills, educational leadership, as well as some other themes such as the extent to which teaching and teachers affect student learning, the amount and quality of use of ICT for learning in STEM classes, the frequency of using certain STEM instructional practices, awareness of STEM careers. This article’s focus is on one out of the seven constructs – the use of technology in STEM classes. The construct is operationalised in eight sub-items. The discussion on the each of the constructs as well as on the relations between them is quite relevant in the light of the relationship between beliefs and practices, while the results are quite striking, with impact on tailored professional development approached.
Keywords: Computer-assisted instruction, ICT tools in education, teachers, STEM education

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Creativity, Interdisciplinary Education and the Use of
Technology – Conditions for a Modern EducationAdina MIHAI (CĂLUGĂRU)
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Abstract: The teacher can develop the students’ creativity through different strategies, and it is up to him/her that the lessons should be attractive, interesting and lead on the one hand to a good collaboration among students, and on the other hand, to a good collaboration among the teacher and his/her students. Interdisciplinary teaching appears to be a necessity to overcome the artificial boundaries among disciplines and to correlate their contents, and the use of technology within classes helps to improve the educational process by seeking knowledge and skills that enable the student to adapt to the requirements of society, which are in constant evolution. The use of technology favours the teaching process through the following features: through multidisciplinary activities, by allowing access to non-school educational resources, by using images, sounds that facilitate the understanding of some abstract concepts, through the ability of searching for sources of information that stimulate curiosity, through the possibility of practicing for the formation of skills, through collaborative interactions in solving some projects. In order to achieve a modern, but also highly qualitative education, the teacher has to combine classical and modern methods correctly, to be creative, and the technology should be used with measure and at the right time. The key to the successful use of informational and communicational technology is not the choice of tools or programs, but the ability of the teacher to plan, create and implement a creative and effective activity.
Keywords: Collaboration, creativity, interdisciplinary teaching

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Developing Young Learners’ Oral Skills Through Storytelling with LEGO® | Diana COJOCNEAN

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Abstract: The current study shows how LEGO® was used as a learning tool in the foreign language classroom with young learners (7-10 years old) during an English Foreign Language (EFL) course in order to enhance fluency and develop students’ oral skills. The findings of this small-scale study support the idea that storytelling engages young learners in the process of foreign language learning and that LEGO® bricks could create contexts very favorable to language learning. Likewise, it indicates that students’ engagement in the storytelling task is determined by several factors, such as their interest in LEGO®, their level of assertiveness, their creativity and language level. As to the type of tasks, collaborative or individual, the current paper puts forward the idea that in the case of storytelling tasks, young learners perform better individually than in pairs or in small groups. This article approaches the language benefits of storytelling activities with young learners and displays a few pedagogical suggestions for the use of LEGO® as a language learning tool.
Keywords: Collaboration, EFL, engagement, LEGO, oral skills, storytelling

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Constrastive-Comparative Study on Students’ Perceptions of Using
Literary Texts as Authentic Language Learning ResourcesLilia PETRICIUC

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Abstract: This comparative study represents an attempt to identify students’ perceptions and needs at the same time, in terms of incorporating literary texts in the foreign language class. For quite a long time literary texts (LT) have been massively marginalized as a language learning resource and consequently students display significant deficiencies in interpreting figurative language, making inferences, thinking critically. The researcher assumes that revitalizing LT in the language class would bring multiple benefits to the students who learn EFL as part of a double program training them to become teachers of other subjects as well as primary and secondary school teachers in Moldova. It is a contrastive-comparative study involving 83 students, 48 undergraduates from the University of Granada and 35 from SPU “Ion Creangă” of Chişinău, Moldova. The data were collected through mixed instruments: all of the students filled in a survey for quantitative data and the students from Moldova participated in a semi-structured interview at the end of their 2nd year course in English. The findings reveal rather positive attitudes in favor of LT as a language learning resource, but at the same time there are differences between the perceptions of Spanish and Moldovan students. The pedagogical implications of the study for stakeholders at “Ion Creangă” University suggest reconsidering the EFL curriculum with a view of incorporating more LT alongside other types of authentic materials used to develop students’ language proficiency.
Keywords: Attitudes and perceptions, authentic materials, benefits, differences, literary texts

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The Lesson of literature and ICT. The Mentimeter ApplicationMihaela STANCIU

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Abstract: Progressively, the differences between generations can be observed in schools, not only from the mentality point of view, but also through the evolution of technology. Nowadays, school has to adapt to the society’s development rhythm and prepare the youth for the future, which is characterized by change, advanced technology and science. As a Romanian Literature and Language teacher, the question which is raised is in what way the strategies, methods, and means used in class can be updated to the new types of communication and the necessities that students have according to the fundamental change of the society, such that the connection teacher-student can be realised in a more constructive and motivational way. This article proposes a new way of reflection for teachers interested in the optimization of methods and teaching means used in class – Mentimeter represents an innovative element in Romania, but currently used in the United Kingdom for high-school classes and university lectures. We will take into consideration how to define this concept, the process, the necessary means and materials, the lesson category, how to give suitable tasks in order to highlight the teacher’s and student’s role, realising didactic applications. In our opinion, Mentimeter can be an ICT method used in education, but it’s success depends on the teachers’ creativity and open-mindedness to innovation.
Keywords: Didactic application, literature lesson, methods and means optimization, Mentimeter, society change

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Attitude of High school Students Towards the Use of Technology in
the Educational Process | Lavinia DRĂGAN

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Abstract: This paper takes into account the results of a sociological survey based on the opinion poll technique, using a thematic questionnaire. The sample construction (availability sample of a relatively small number of subjects) and the data analysis and interpretation make this research similar to qualitative studies. The questionnaire addresses high school students and it is designed to analyze their perceptions and attitudes about the use of technology in learning and assessment. Both the degree of technology use during individual study and research and the level of capitalization by teachers and pupils during lessons were taken into consideration. The sociological survey also captures the respondents’ opinions on how technology can be used in teaching social science. Taking into account the development of eight key competences established in accordance with the European norms, the way in which digital competencies development can be pursued – besides the general and specific competencies provided by the sociology curriculum – has been investigated. The research results indicate an increased level of students’ receptivity and interest towards the integration of technology in teaching social science, as well as an increase in efficiency regarding teaching aims and objectives. Also, an increase in learners’ intrinsic motivation to study and their willingness to play an active role in the educational process can be observed. In conclusion, integrating technology into the teaching-learning-evaluation process proves to be beneficial, equally meeting the needs of students and teachers.
Keywords: Digital competencies, highschool, social science, technology

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The Perspective and the Effects of Robotics Courses in School Education | Ana Maria POPA

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Abstract: This research has focused on exploring how the introduction of robotics classes in school can improve the educational process, especially in the direction of teaching children with the abilities of the 21st century, due to the new robotics that are attracting more and more. Two groups of students from a state school in Bucharest, Secondary School Nr. 195, participated in this research. The experimental group participated in the Robotics course and the control group participated in a course on Applied Mathematics in Transmission of the Movement, over a seven weeks period, in the year 2017. At that time, the students in both groups were in 3rd grade, their average ages was 9-10 years. The group that conducted the Robotics course had 33 students, and the group that developed the Applied Mathematics course in Transmitting the Movement had 37 students. For this research, LEGO kits such as Lego Mindstorm have been used and assimilated, allowing students to work in teams. This facilitated the understanding of the basic notions, and the children subsequently succeeded in expressing and developing their own ideas. The notions of robotics, the basic technological concepts have been easily assimilated by groups of students aged 10. Student debates, mathematical problem solving, teamwork, and the interest of children in the process of designing robots shows that robotics is a winning discipline.
Keywords: Children, math, problems, robotics, solution
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R E V I E W S

SPERANŢA FARCA. CHILD’S INDEPENDENCY. FEAR OF SEPARATION. Bucharest, Humanitas Publishing House, 2018, 271 pages, ISBN 978-973-50-6153-1 | Andreea-Diana SCODA

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IN MEMORIAM

In memoriam. Gabriel Albu, the Pedagogue | Irina HORGA

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School Development through eTwinning

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