14 SES 03 A, Aspects of Place-based Education III
Parallel Paper Session
In my research of small schools with composite classes I have repeatedly encountered a lack of professional publications based on empirical research about the learning processes in Czech rural primary schools. So, there is the inevitable question whether the Czech research of elementary schools (in Czech primary and lower secondary level in one institution) only gives evidence of education in urban schools. Similar questions do not appear in the Czech context only but with foreign experts too (Arnold et al, 2005, De Young, 1987, and others). They show that there is asymmetry in research reports, both in terms of topics (taking into account whether a research problem is formulated in view of the spatial dichotomy between cities and the country) and in terms of the localization of the sample of research respondents. Research conducted in urban or suburban space is clearly preferred.
At the same time, it is still true for most developed countries that the spatial organization of social and educational phenomena affects their form (Majerová et al, 2002, Beeson, Strange, 2000). Since there is no blanket monitoring of educational outcomes at elementary schools in the Czech Republic and the evaluation of educational processes has usually a self-reflective function (data cannot be compared), the role of educational research in the mapping of the course and effects of elementary education remains very important. In the present research I have carried out a content analysis of the Czech educational research at elementary schools in order to demonstrate the extent to which the spatial polarity between cities and the country is contained in it.
Research questions are: How often is spatial polarity a part of the definition of the research topic? How often is spatial polarity a criterion for the selection of the research sample? What other characteristics (research topic, research design and data collection methods, research outcome) do these projects have? The answers to these questions may contribute to a more general discussion which takes place on an international scale, investigating in whether the current educational science gives evidence of education in the urban space only, to what extent this fact is reflected, and whether this is an obstacle for the implementation of today’s key educational principles such as equity and equality. Does rural education need more attention? If so, in what respect and why? What have we so far learned about it? I suppose that the finding of the asymmetry in the Czech educational research of rural elementary schools can also start an international discussion about how to integrate spatial characteristics in educational research and education policy (see Hargreaves, Kvalsund, Galton, 2009, Beeson, Strange, 2000).
Arnold, M., Newman, J.,H., Gaddy, B., Dean, C. (2005) A Look at the Condition of Rural Education Research: Setting a Direction for Future Research. Journal of Research in Rural Education, vol. 20, no.6. Retrieved from http://jrre. psu.edu/articles/20-6.pdf Beeson, E., Strange, M.(2000) Why Rural Matters: The need for Every State to Take Action on Rural Education. Journal of Research in Rural Education, vol 16, no. 2, pp 63 – 140. DeYoung, A. (1987) The Status of American Rural Education Research: An Integrated Review and Commentary. Review of Educational Research, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 123 – 148. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1170233. Hargreaves, L., Kvalsund, R., Galton, M. (2009). Reviews of research on rural schools and their communieties in Britisch and Nordic countries: Analytical perspectives and cultural meaning. International Journal of Educational Research, vol. 48, no. 1, pp. 80 – 88. Kvalsund, R. (2004) School and local community – dimensions of change. A review of Norwegian research. Research report no. 58. Volda: University College Volda. Kucerova, S. (2010) Territorial Differentiation of Elementary Education in Czechia during the Second Half of the Twentieth Century. Prague: Charles University. Ph.D. Thesis (in czech) Majerova, V. (2002) Cesky venkov 2000. Zakladni udaje. Praha: PEF CZU Philips, E.(1997) A Critique of the Existing research into Small Primary Schools. British Journal of Educational Studies, vol. 45, no. 5pp. 235- 247 Trnkova, K., Knotova, D., Chaloupkova, L. (2010). Small schools with Composite Classes in the Czech Republic. Brno: Paido (in czech) Trnkova, K. (2006) Vyvoj malotridnich skol v druhe polovine 20. stolete. In: Sbornik praci FF Masarykovy univerzity U 11, Brno, pp. 133-144.
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