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Vol 2012 no 2 (Posted November 2012)

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Preschool Education in Belize, Central America
Pamela R. Cook, PRC Educational Consultant Services

Despite the convincing argument for the importance of early childhood education world-wide, more than 200 million children under the age of five and living in developing countries do not reach their developmental potential (McGregor, McGregor, Cheung, Cueto, Glewwe, Richter, Strupp,  2007). Early childhood educationalists have explored over a decade and still ask the same questions regarding appropriate health, growth, and development of young children (Cook, 2010).  This may be the explanation for the plight for extensive international early learning research to be considered the challenge and focus of current debates today (Abbott & Nutbrown, 2001).

Although curriculum reform of the international sense in early childhood education is not new, much of the research in the field of early learning either investigates or proposes the implementation of current approaches and programs (Cook, 2010). This may be for the limited amount of international early childhood research in developing countries that favor developmentally appropriate strategies and innovative early learning opportunities for healthy growth and development of young children (Isabell, 2001).


Sports and Competition in Higher Education: A Search for Values and Ethics
Davide Sciarabba, Contract Professor, Andrews University


The issue of competition in sports is controversial in certain philosophies of education, especially among the more conservative, often religious, educators. Some understand competition negatively, as opposed to ideal human solidarity, and therefore argue that the practice of sports conveys dangerous attitudes of violence, pride, selfishness, etc. Others view competition positively, as a realistic preparation for life, and see in sports a treasure of educational values such as fair play, spirit of unity, team work, etc. This paper is written from the humanistic perspective of a holistic anthropology. It is my contention that sports of competition can be negative or positive for the personal education of our youth, depending on the way one decides to approach them. A key role is played by the professionals who work in student services, namely educators, trainers, and coaches of sport activities. Those who discern the moral risks of sports activities related to a high level of competition suggest that it is time to provide a human -and even a spiritual- frame of reference to sports activities so that they do not dehumanize athletes. There are important values that the athletes can learn from the practice of sports. If we focus their attention on the way they compete, rather than just on the results or on their personal glory, we may help them to consolidate a coherent ethical behavior. Sports competition can be a powerful stimulus to individual growth, a positive contribution to creating community, and a valuable tool to teach personal, professional, and social ethics to this and future generations.



The Benefits of the Use of Children’s Literature in English Language and Global Citizenship Education in Japan
Yuji Takenaga, Professor of English Literature at the Faculty of Education, Ehime University, Japan

This study discusses how children’s literature can play an important role in achieving two goals: developing Japanese students’ English proficiency levels and cultivating them to be global citizens.  English as a foreign language (EFL) learners in Japan should be provided with more opportunities to engage with the English language outside the classroom.  Free voluntary reading, proposed by Krashen (2011) and based on his comprehension hypothesis, makes this possible.  The reading material provided by children’s literature is appropriate for EFL learners, because works of diverse language levels and genres are readily available.  Additionally, EFL learners can read for their own pleasure while unconsciously improving their English language abilities.
Children’s literature can also benefit global education in many ways.  Metaphorically, children’s literature serves as a window as well as a mirror.  It serves as the latter because it reflects our reality and as the former because it provides an opening to different worlds.  For example, a reading of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe can serve to enhance our understanding of Christian values.  Hence, children’s literature provides excellent teaching materials for both English language instruction and global citizenship education.

University Curricula in the Global Marketplace: Bridging the Valley Between
Jim I. Unah, Former Head and Professor of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.

Conventionally, universities are places of learning and research (Purcell, 2008); whose primary objective is to liquidate ignorance, dispel illusions and cultivate the intellect (Fahm, 1978: 1-6), and where academics are saddled with the responsibility of reflecting on and interrogating core intellectual issues in generic forms, with the aim of disseminating outcomes of such reflective and interrogative endeavours to students in the teaching-learning process. In the traditional setting, the pursuit of knowledge and learning is basically for its own sake; feeding the intellect with general principles of which reality is constituted, ways in which reality can be known, and how humans ought to comport themselves in the scheme of things to achieve social, environmental and psychological peace. But this practice is said to be slightly removed from the responsibilities of the institutions to the industrial society, where employers of labour demand the pursuit of knowledge for specific professional industrial needs; and wherein it is contended that higher education (universities) curricula is expected to be technical and trade-specific, not generic, directed at the organizational objective of profit maximization.

Engineering Sustainable Engineers through the Undergraduate Experience
Yvette Pearson Weatherton, Melanie Sattler, Stephen Mattingly, Victoria Chen, Jamie Rogers and Brian Dennis

Yvette Pearson Weatherton, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington
Melanie Sattler, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington
Stephen Mattingly, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington
Victoria Chen, Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington
Jamie Rogers, Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington
Brian Dennis, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington

In order to meet the challenges of sustainable development, our approach to education must be modified to equip students to evaluate alternatives and devise solutions that meet multi-faceted requirements.  In 2009, faculty in the Departments of Civil, Industrial and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington began implementation of a project entitled “Engineering Sustainable Engineers” to infuse the departments’ curricula with sustainability. The project, funded by the National Science Foundation, was designed to improve students’ awareness of and ability to use sustainability in alternative analysis for engineering decision making.

Key outcomes of the project are discussed. These include:

  • course modules for engineering courses that are common to most engineering curricula;
  • a sustainable design checklist, which is a tool that the team designed to facilitate alternative analysis on the basis of sustainability; and
  • models for implementing quality sustainable industry internships and multidisciplinary sustainability-related senior design projects.

Engineering Sustainable Engineers is one of the many efforts at UT Arlington to emphasize sustainability, not only as a campus initiative, but also in teaching future engineers to consider the impacts of their design solutions on future generations and on the environment. The modules and tools that have been developed can serve as models for other institutions to implement.






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