The Role of Education in a Time of Austerity and Social Turbulence in the European Union and Greece

The article focuses on the educational systems in European countries and Greece, examining the reasons of new phenomena, among which the resurgence of xenophobia. It suggests a cause-and-effect relationship between the main ideas propagated by the extreme right, disseminating in the EU fanatic nationalism and xenophobia and the ideas prevailing in the educational institutions. Despite the big differences among countries, all educational systems in the EU are ethnocentric. Thus, although influence of multicultural ideas is notable, and as far as education is concerned, evolution has been radical, schools still reproduce the idea that nations are fundamental entities, related by a common language, common origins/ancestors, and having a history and a culture of their own. As far as Greek society is concerned, analysis shows that Greek school textbooks contain a highly ethnocentric conception of history and culture, placed within an extremely Eurocentric context, reproducing, instead of challenging, the stereotype of European superiority. The Eurocentric taxonomy is inferiorizing the Greek national identity, while at the same time it is considering the products of ancient Greek culture as being of universal value. The article suggests that this evaluative double bind is harmful for Greek youth. Since Greek Antiquity is presented by schools as the emblem distinguishing Greek people from their “southern” and “oriental” inferiority, the fictitious “Greekness” narrated, in accordance with the alleged European superiority, is cultivating a national identity ambivalent and fragile, thus, an identity unavoidably defensive, xenophobic, and incapable of coping with the European times.

Students’ Attitudes toward Reading for Pleasure in Greece

Research has indicated that students with more positive attitudes toward reading for pleasure tend to read more often, leading to higher reading achievement. As Greece is a country with below-average reading achievement in all PISA assessment cycles and with very limited related nationally representative research available, it is deemed important to examine factors related to attitudes toward reading for pleasure in Greece and explore any relation to reading achievement. Therefore, the present study, with the use of multilevel modelling analysis of the most recent relevant PISA database, examines factors related to fifteen-year-old students’ attitudes toward reading for pleasure in Greece, focusing on reading achievement, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES). Findings indicated that there is a positive relation between students’ reading for pleasure attitudes and their reading achievement, as well as a weak but positive relation between reading for pleasure attitudes and SES. In addition, boys were found with more negative attitudes toward reading than girls, even after controlling for reading achievement. The present study offers valuable insights for policy and practice and suggests that the promotion of reading as a meaningful recreational activity should constitute a major focus on behalf of parents, teachers, schools and government.

Teaching for Self-Regulated Learning: Why Aim for Behavioural Compliance When We Can Inspire Learning?

This study explored teachers’ pedagogical practices for effective learning in the middle years of schooling. In the context of the primary–secondary schooling transition years in Australia, teacher interviews and classroom observations were conducted to investigate teachers’ everyday practices for planning, instruction, and classroom organisation to frame a pedagogy for self-regulated learning. Evidence-informed practices were identified and classified through the fundamentals for self-regulated learning to explain how the teachers provided opportunities aimed at enabling young adolescent students to rationalise their goals, to accept responsibility for their learning, and to develop their capabilities as resourceful learners within social learning environments. The outcome of this research is a pedagogical model for self-regulated learning. The significance of this model is that it informs teachers’ professional reflection and learning. The findings articulated four core pedagogies that explain what the teacher did to: connect the learning, facilitate the learning; diversify the learning; and socialise the learning. Through these core pedagogies the teachers provided external supports of motivation to generate students’ internal desires for learning that go beyond achieving their behavioural compliance. The model represents a self-regulatory approach to classroom behaviour management that is intended to inspire young adolescent students towards being resourceful learners.