Educational psychology 2

[5 abstracts]

1. Model of reading comprehension for primary school students  [presentation, ppt, 310 kB]
Pečjak S., Kolić-vehovec S., Ajdišek N., Rončević B., Podlesek A.
First author's affiliation: Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Reading comprehension is an indicator of reading literacy and it is also significantly related to the process of learning and students’ academic outcomes. There are different (meta)cognitive, motivational and emotional factors that contribute to reading comprehension. In our study 470 5th and 9th grade primary school students were included, of which 225 were boys and 245 girls. We proposed two confirmatory models of reading comprehension, one for younger and one for older students. Several factors were included in the models: (meta)cognitive factors (vocabulary, reading speed, summarizing, and metacognitive reading awareness), motivational factors (reading interest and reading competency), and emotional factors (feelings during recreational reading and academic reading). Models show direct and indirect effects of evaluated factors on students' reading comprehension which has further on important implications for educational praxis.

2. Reflective writing as a part of quality learning: Students’ perceptions of reflective writing task  [presentation, ppt, 54 kB]
Saric M.
Filozofska fakulteta Univerze v Ljubljani, Ljubljana, Slovenia

This paper explores the role of reflection in the learning process within a framework of the broader literature on theoretical approaches to reflection in learning, particularly on the experiential learning. There are different ways in which reflection is evidenced (e. g. conversation, learning journals) – the focus of this report is on reflective writing. This is followed by the presentation of an undergraduate experiential learning course, in which some elements of reflective writing have been used. The aim of this study was to explore written reflection in the learning process according to the learning objectives of the course. Additionally, we also wanted to examine the students’ perception of some of the elements of this task. The findings indicated that the students’ personal reflection of their own learning in written form is an important part of the learning process, and the students’ views supported the proposed usefulness of reflective writing. Some suggestions to change the future course design in order to enhance the effects of the task of reflective writing in terms of experiential learning are proposed. Furthermore, we address the question whether and/or how student written reflections should be assessed. It is concluded that by encouraging students to write reflectively about their own learning we can enhance the quality of learning.

3. Food and sensory experiences: Testing the efficacy of an educational project in the primary school of Friuli Venezia Giulia Region   
Gellini G., Agostini T.
First author's affiliation: University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy

It is well known that individual food preferences are strictly dependent on social, cultural, and cognitive factors. More recently, the relevance of the genetic component in determining people taste has been shown as well (Bufe et al., 2005; Mennella et al., 2005). In children, it is quite frequent to observe food neophobia, an unwillingness to ingest unfamiliar foods (Birch, 1980; Pliner & Loewen, 1997), which appears to be especially strong regarding vegetables. In the present research, we have tested the efficacy of a food educational method to promote correct alimentation behaviour in children. A selected sample of 340 students of Friuli Venezia Giulia primary school has been treated for three months with a sensory-cognitive didactic approach. The intervention focused on three main treatments: sensory literacy, food and drink guided testing, and didactic vegetable garden. Ad hoc prepared questionnaire has been used in the test and re-test phases of the research. Data show that children significantly changed their alimentary preferences toward a more extensive choice of wholesome foods that were experienced during the didactic phases of the research. Furthermore, the re-test revealed that children, after the treatment, increase their capabilities to argue their own food preferences.

4. Personal epistemology of students  [presentation, ppt, 88 kB]
Konrad E.
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Personal epistemology is the study of how individuals develop a conception of knowledge and knowledge acquisition, and how they use that conception to understand the world (Hofer, 2002). This study has become an area of growing interest in educational research, with far reaching implications for teaching and learning practices and knowledge management in different organizational setting. The underlying assumption has been that in learning situations where individuals are systematically confronted with the need to acquire new knowledge, the way in which they perceive and approach the process of knowing is, to some extent, influenced by their beliefs about knowledge, knowing, and learning. In early work, Perry (1970) concluded that the lack of congruence between the conceptions of learning held by university undergraduates and their teachers was responsible for some learning difficulties, particularly where students saw knowledge as simple, certain and authority based, while teachers stressed ambiguity and conflicting truths. Perry proposed a qualitative developmental framework of nine stages to describe the changes in epistemological positions of college student. This framework influenced the development of quantitative measures of personal epistemology that are more convenient for research. The central hypothesis of the present work is that personal epistemology of students develops from more naive to more mature state. To test this hypothesis, epistemological beliefs of samples of student before enrolment in university, the first psychology students and the fourth year psychology students were compared. Epistemological beliefs were measured with the adaptation of Schommer Epistemological Questionnaire (1990) which includes 12 characteristic beliefs that characterize the naive views about knowledge and learning. The resulting comparisons did not confirm the expected pattern of results. Such results are major challenge for considering the improvement in the quality of the psychology students study.

5. Social skills in psychology students  [presentation, ppt, 5249 kB]
Arnaudova S., Trajkov I., Denkova F.
First author's affiliation: Faculty of Philosophy, Skopje, Macedonia

The lack of information concerning the social skills in students of helping professions (psychologists, social workers, pedagogues, and special educators) is a very big problem. Students, as future experts in the helping professions, have to communicate appropriately with the people, community and social services, and institutions for being successful in their job and relations with their clients. In this research, we have used qualitative and quantitative methods to measure empathy, altruism, and assertiveness in psychology students. The results showed that there is a positive relation between the level of empathy and altruism, and a negative relation between the level of empathy and assertiveness in psychology students. Also, there are significant differences in the birth order, gender, year of study, the quality and the quantity of the education in the field (practical work) that they have participated in during the studies. The obtained results can not be generalized to all helping professions because of the sample limitation, but they are significant for seeing the current state in regards of the examined characteristics and for building a strategy for their improvement. At the same time, the results present a significant indicator that confirms the idea of redesigning the current study programs that would provide opportunities for the present students to get the needed competencies for providing their professional success.