Does one’s learning theory and/or epistemology change over time?

While researching studies to support my own learning theory, I stumbled across a longitudinal study that addressed this very question. Walker, Brownlee, Whiteford, Exely, & Woods (2012) studied if and how teachers’ learning theories and epistemologies changed throughout their training, from when they first entered the program to when they completed their four-year degree (pp. 24-35). Their findings have significant value for future teacher-training programs.

SpringAs the students progressed through their teacher training, they were: “more likely to believe that knowledge is integrated rather than consisting of a series of facts” (p.28-29); “more likely…to believe that learning might take time” (p. 29); “more likely to believe that the characteristics of successful students include more than innate ability” (p. 29); and “more likely…to believe that knowledge is uncertain” (p. 29).

Autumn

Walker, et. al. (2012) discuss other research studies in their article that illustrate how teachers’ epistemological frameworks influence their teaching styles. For example, students who believed more in an objectivist epistemology at the start of their teacher training “…were less likely to accept a range of solution strategies or algorithms [in mathematical thinking] that were invented by children” (p. 26). The article also discusses a study that shows how the use of contradictory articles helped develop critical thinking skills, which, in turn, influenced personal epistemologies (p. 32).

Winter

The authors conclude that, “Engaging in reflection, experiencing contradictions in theories and opinions, developing a deep understanding, and gaining further knowledge are categories which suggest that challenging, meaningful learning experiences seem to have an impact on preservice teachers’ personal epistemologies” (p. 31). If these categories impacted new teachers’ ways of thinking, then one could surmise these constructivist type activities would have an effect on different students’ thinking in other ways.

References

All images by DGJ, Retrieved from openclipart.org.

Walker, S., Brownlee, J., Whiteford, C., Exely, B., & Woods, A. (2012). A Longitudinal Study of Change in Preservice Teachers’ Personal Epistemologies. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 37(5). Retrieved: http://ro.ecu.edu.au/ajte/vol37/iss5/4/.

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Learning about research

After working my way through the tutorial for the Tri-Council Policy Statement (2ndedition): Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2) Course on Research Ethics (CORE), I was amazed that researchers could willingly undertake some of the very unethical research projects in the past.

traffic sign - coloured

Frankes, Retrieved from openclipart.org

Throughout history, the belief that the “end justified the means” has been strong. This allowed a number of horrifying research projects to take place. Granted, some projects were allowed to start due to the ignorance of the researchers in how damaging the project could potentially be, such as the Stanford Prison Experiment. However, far more were not only allowed to start, but to continue even though the researchers and funders involved knew better.

Perhaps the most famous would be the horrific experiments that the Nazis completed on their prisoners during WWII. These became internationally known during the Nuremberg Trials. “The actions were so despicable that 20 physicians were put on trial in Nuremberg for violation of the Hippocratic Oath and behaviour incompatible with their education and profession” (N. MacDonald, R. Stanwick, & A. Lynk, 2014).

Justice was served, at least with regards to the Nazis and their experiments.

The Nuremberg Code of Medical Ethics was drafted in 1947. In 1964, the World Medical Association (WMA) adopted the Declaration of Helsinki to address the ethical principles for research involving humans. During the time from the start of the Nuremberg Trials to the drafting of the Declaration of Helsinki, any researcher, at least in the developed countries such as Canada and the USA, would have been well aware of the need to respect the dignity of the subjects of any research.

Unfortunately, some Canadian researchers seem to feel that the Nuremberg Code did not apply to them. Just recently, information has come to light about the research conducted on Aboriginal children in the Residential Schools, which began in 1942 and ended in 1952, five years after the first draft of the Nuremberg Code that listed recommendations for experiments completed on humans. Perhaps the researchers of the Aboriginal studies could claim “ignorance” due to the tight timelines. However, when we analyze the purpose of the experiments, it is quickly realized that the potential results were already well known even before the experiments began (MacDonald, Stanwick, & Lynk, 2014). These experiments should never have even started, much less continued after the world analyzed the Nazis’ experiments during WWII.

Slow Road Sign

schoolfreeware, Retrieved from openclipart.org.

There have been other unethical research projects that have been undertaken in Canada. In his paper, Research Ethics Boards: A Historical Background, Douglas Kinsella, MD (2010) lists a few (unbelievably) unethical research projects in both Canada and the USA
and calls for the Tri-Council Code of Conduct to move from a non-legislated policy to a legislated policy in order to prevent continued lack of protection for research subjects. Let’s hope that some of Dr. Kinsella’s recommendations were implemented in the current TCPS 2, that researchers will never be able to receive funding and support for unethical research in this country again, and that those who are found to be guilty of conducting unethical research are held accountable for their crimes.

References

MacDonald, N., Stanwick, $., & Lynk, A. (2014). Canada’s shameful history of nutrition research on residential school children: The need for strong medical ethics in Aboriginal health research. Paediatr Child Health. 2014 Feb; 19(2): 64; retrieved http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3941673/.

 

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Honoring Vahid Tizfahm: Day Seven of the #7Bahais7years campaign

Topic: Situation of Iranian Baha’is

NEW YORK—20 May 2015

Today is the day the world will honor Vahid Tizfahm, who has been wrongfully imprisoned since 2008 solely for his religious beliefs, as part of the global “Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years in Prison for the Seven Baha’i Leaders” campaign.

Mr. Tizfahm, 42, is an optometrist and owner of an optical shop in Tabriz, where he lived until early 2008, when he moved to Tehran.

Like five of his six colleagues, he was arrested at home in Tehran in the early morning of 14 May 2008. He was first sent to Evin prison, where he was held for some four months in solitary confinement, like the others.

After an unfair trial in 2010, he and the other four male members of the seven were sent to Gohardasht prison.

Earlier this year, he sent a letter from prison that sought to answer why he has held to his beliefs in the face of persecution, especially the relentless questions of his interrogators.

“Yes, I think differently, I act differently and I see differently,” he wrote. “My world is a world of kindness and love. My approach is service to others and my mentality desires the elimination of all forms of prejudice. My aspiration is to create unity among all my compatriots from every ethnicity, group and religion.”

“My heart is free of any animosity and my hands – after many years of confinement and unending pain and suffering – continue to be willing to shake the hands of those who accompany me in the reconstruction of my home land and the revival of our beloved Iran,” he said.

Mr. Tizfahm was born 16 May 1973 in the city of Urumiyyih. He spent his childhood and youth there and, after receiving his high school diploma in mathematics, he went to Tabriz at the age of 18 to study to become an optician. He later also studied sociology at the Advanced Baha’i Studies Institute (ABSI).

At the age of 23, Mr. Tizfahm married Furuzandeh Nikumanesh. They have a son, who was in the third grade when Mr. Tizfahm was arrested in 2008.

Since his youth, Mr. Tizfahm has served the Baha’i community in a variety of capacities. At one time he was a member of the Baha’i National Youth Committee. Later, he was appointed to the Auxiliary Board, an appointed position which serves principally to inspire, encourage, and promote learning among Baha’is. He has also taught local Baha’i children’s classes.

Mr. Tizfahm was one of seven who formed the entire membership of the now-disbanded ad hoc group known as the “Yaran” or “Friends,” tending to the spiritual and social needs of the Iranian Baha’i community in the absence of formally elected Baha’i leadership, which was banned in 1983.

The names of the others are Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, and Behrouz Tavakkoli. Ms. Sabet was arrested on 5 March 2008.

In 2010, the seven were tried and wrongfully convicted on charges of “espionage” and “spreading propaganda against the regime,” among other false accusations. They were sentenced to 20 years in prison, the longest terms of any current prisoners of conscience in Iran.

The campaign to remember them will run until 21 May 2015. Events are being planned around the world by Baha’i communities and others to call attention to the plight of the seven, along with the wrongful imprisonment of 110 other Baha’is in Iran – as well as other prisoners of conscience there.

Each day, a different member of the seven has been commemorated. Tomorrow, 21 May, the campaign wraps up.

Facebook event pages in English (https://www.facebook.com/events/1638889016341780/) and in Perisan have been set up as rallying points and a hashtag has been designated: #7Bahais7years. For more information, go to: www.bic.org/7Bahais7years.

(NOTE: I did not write this post. I copied it directly from the Baha’i International Community – United Nations Office website: https://www.bic.org/news/Honoring-Vahid-Tizfahm-Day-Seven-7Bahais7years-campaign.  Please pass this information onto your network so these types of injustice can be stopped.)

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Honoring Behrouz Tavakkoli: Day Six of the #7Bahais7years Campaign

Topic:   Situation of Iranian Baha’is

NEW YORK—19 May 2015

Today is the day the world will honor Behrouz Tavakkoli, who has been wrongfully imprisoned since 2008 solely for his religious beliefs, as part of the global “Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years in Prison for the Seven Baha’i Leaders” campaign.

Mr. Tavakkoli, 63, is a former social worker who lost his government job in the early 1980s because of his Baha’i belief. Prior to his current imprisonment, he has also experienced intermittent detainment and harassment and, in 2005, he was jailed for four months without charge, spending most of the time in solitary confinement.

Like five of his six colleagues, he was arrested at home in Tehran in the early morning of 14 May 2008. He was first sent to Evin prison, where he was held for some four months in solitary confinement, like the others.

After an unfair trial in 2010, he and the four male members of the seven were sent to Gohardasht prison.

In 2014, in a poignant letter sent from prison to his granddaughter, Mr. Tavakkoli said he was proud to be imprisoned for his beliefs.

“I don’t want you to ever bear any ill will toward your countrymen,” he wrote. “I assure you that we even love those who have persecuted us; not only do we not feel hatred toward them, but we pray for them.”

His son, Naeim, said he father was an ordinary person who was called upon to do extraordinary things.

“My father is not an unusually brave man, or gifted with exceptional talents, nor does he possess the ability to learn faster than others.  But when it comes to serving the Faith, he fears nothing – absolutely nothing,” he wrote in 2009.

Born 1 June 1951 in Mashhad, Mr. Tavakkoli studied psychology in university and then completed two years of service in the army, where he was a lieutenant. He later received additional training and then specialized in the care of the physically and mentally handicapped, working in a government position until his firing in early 1980s.

Mr. Tavakkoli married Ms. Tahereh Fakhri Tuski at the age of 23. They have two sons, Naeim and Nabil.

Mr. Tavakkoli was elected to the local Baha’i governing council in Mashhad in the late 1960s or early 1970s while a student at the university there, and he later served on another local Baha’i council in Sari before such institutions were banned in the early 1980s. He also served on various youth committees, and, later, during the 1980s he was appointed to the Auxiliary Board, an appointed position which serves principally to inspire, encourage, and promote learning among Baha’is.

To support himself and his family after he was fired from his government position, Mr. Tavakkoli established a small millwork carpentry shop in the city of Gonbad. There he also established a series of classes in Baha’i studies for adults and young people.

He has been periodically detained by the authorities. Among the worst of these incidents was in 2005 when he was held incommunicado for 10 days by intelligence agents, along with colleague Fariba Kamalabadi. He was then held for four months and during that confinement developed serious kidney and orthotic problems.

Mr. Tavakkoli was one of seven who formed the entire membership of the now-disbanded ad hoc group known as the “Yaran” or “Friends,” tending to the spiritual and social needs of the Iranian Baha’i community in the absence of formally elected Baha’i leadership, which was banned in 1983.

The names of the others are Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm. Ms. Sabet was arrested on 5 March 2008.

In 2010, the seven were tried and wrongfully convicted on charges of “espionage” and “spreading propaganda against the regime,” among other false accusations. They were sentenced to 20 years in prison, the longest terms of any current prisoners of conscience in Iran.

The campaign to remember them will run until 21 May 2015. Events are being planned around the world by Baha’i communities and others to call attention to the plight of the seven, along with the wrongful imprisonment of 110 other Baha’is in Iran – as well as other prisoners of conscience there.

Each day, a different member of the seven will be commemorated. Tomorrow, 20 May, the campaign will focus on the situation of Vahid Tizfahm.

Facebook event pages in English (https://www.facebook.com/events/1638889016341780/) and in Perisan have been set up as rallying points and a hashtag has been designated: #7Bahais7years. For more information, go to: www.bic.org/7Bahais7years.

(NOTE: I did not write this post. I copied it directly from the Baha’i International Community – United Nations Office website: https://www.bic.org/news/Honoring-Behrouz-Tavakkoli-Day-Six-7Bahais7years-Campaign.  Please pass this information onto your network so these types of injustice can be stopped.)

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Honoring Saeid Rezaie: Day Five of the #7Bahais7years Campaign

Topic: Situation of Iranian Baha’is

NEW YORK—18 May 2015

Today is the day the world will honor Saeid Rezaie, who has been wrongfully imprisoned since 2008 solely for his religious beliefs, as part of the global “Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years in Prison for the Seven Baha’i Leaders” campaign.

Mr. Rezaie, 57, is an agricultural engineer who has run a successful farming equipment business in Fars Province for more than 20 years. He is also known for his extensive scholarship on Baha’i topics, and is the author of several books.

Like six of his colleagues, he was arrested at home in Tehran in the early morning of 14 May 2008. He was first sent to Evin prison, where he was held for some four months in solitary confinement, like the others.

After an unfair trial in 2010, he and the four male members of the seven were sent to Gohardasht prison.

Mr. Rezaie’s family has also been touched by persecution. His two daughters, Martha and Maaman, were arrested in May 2006 along with 52 other youth for conducting a Baha’i-inspired literacy program in Shiraz to help under privileged children. Part of their punishment was to attend a three-year Islamic education class.

Mr. Rezaie was born in Abadan on 27 September 1957. He spent his childhood in Shiraz, where he completed high school with distinction. He then obtained a degree in agricultural engineering from Pahlavi University in Shiraz, attending with the help of a scholarship funded from outside the country.

In 1981, he married Ms. Shaheen Rowhanian. They have three children, daughters Martha and Maaman, and a son, Payvand, who was about 12 years old at the time of his arrest.

Mr. Rezaie has actively served the Baha’i community since he was a young man. He taught Baha’i children’s classes for many years, and served the Baha’i Education and Baha’i Life Institutes. He was also a member of the National Education Institute.

A scholar and an author, he has served as an academic adviser to Baha’i students.

During the early 1980s, when persecution of Baha’is was particularly intense and widespread, Mr. Rezaie moved to northern Iran and worked as a farming manager for a time. Later he moved to Kerman and worked as a carpenter and at other odd jobs in part because of the difficulties Baha’is faced finding formal employment or operating businesses.

In 1985, he opened an agricultural equipment company with a Baha’i friend in Fars Province. That company prospered and won wide respect among farmers in the region.

He has experienced various forms of persecution for his Baha’i belief, including an arrest and detention in 2006 that led to 40 days in solitary confinement.

Mr. Rezaie was one of seven who formed the entire membership of the now-disbanded ad hoc group known as the “Yaran” or “Friends,” tending to the spiritual and social needs of the Iranian Baha’i community in the absence of formally elected Baha’i leadership, which was banned in 1983.

The names of the others names are Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm. Ms. Sabet was arrested on 5 March 2008; the others were arrested on 14 May 2008.

In 2010, the seven were tried and wrongfully convicted on charges of “espionage” and “spreading propaganda against the regime,” among other false accusations. They were sentenced to 20 years in prison, the longest terms of any current prisoners of conscience in Iran.

The campaign to remember them will run until 21 May 2015. Events are being planned around the world by Baha’i communities and others to call attention to the plight of the seven, along with the wrongful imprisonment of 110 other Baha’is in Iran – as well as other prisoners of conscience there.

Each day, a different member will be commemorated. Tomorrow, 19 May, the campaign will focus on Behrouz Tavakkoli.

“Our hope is that people around the world will organize spirited actions, reach out to governments and society at large, and involve friends and family in an effort to draw attention to the situation of each member of the seven on the day designated to him or her,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.

Facebook event pages in English (https://www.facebook.com/events/1638889016341780/) and in Perisan have been set up as rallying points and a hashtag has been designated: #7Bahais7years. For more information, go to: www.bic.org/7Bahais7years.

(NOTE: I did not write this post. I copied it directly from the Baha’i International Community – United Nations Office website: https://www.bic.org/news/Honoring-Saeid-Rezaie-Day-Five-7Bahais7years-Campaign. Please pass this information onto your network so these types of injustice can be stopped.)

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Honoring Afif Naeimi: Day Four of the #7Bahais7years Campaign

Topic:    Situation of Iranian Baha’is

NEW YORK—17 May 2015—

AFIF NAEIMI

Today is the day the world will honor Afif Naeimi, who has been wrongfully imprisoned since 2008 solely for his religious beliefs, as part of the global “Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years in Prison for the Seven Baha’i Leaders” campaign.

Afif Naeimi, 53, is an industrialist who was unable to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor because as a Baha’i he was denied access to a university education. Instead, he diverted his attention to business, one of the few avenues of work open to Baha’is, taking over his father-in-law’s blanket and textile factory.

Arrested on 14 May 2008 in an early morning raid on his home in Tehran, Mr. Naeimi was sent first to Evin prison and then, after the 2010 trial of the seven, to Gohardasht prison.

Mr. Naeimi was born on 6 September 1961 in Yazd. His father died when he was three and he was raised in part by his uncles. While still in elementary school, he was sent to live with relatives in Jordan and, although he started with no knowledge of Arabic, he soon rose to the top of his class.

He has long been active in volunteer Baha’i service. He has taught Baha’i children’s classes, conducted classes for adults, taught at the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education, and been a member of the Auxiliary Board, an appointed position which serves principally to inspire, encourage, and promote learning among Baha’is.

He married Ms. Shohreh Khallokhi in the early 1980s. They have two sons.

Mr. Naeimi was one of seven who formed the entire membership of the now-disbanded ad hoc group known as the “Yaran” or “Friends,” tending to the spiritual and social needs of the Iranian Baha’i community in the absence of formally elected Baha’i leadership, which was banned in 1983.

The names of the others are Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm. Ms. Sabet was arrested on 5 March 2008; the others were arrested on 14 May 2008.

In 2010, the seven were tried and wrongfully convicted on charges of “espionage” and “spreading propaganda against the regime,” among other false accusations. They were sentenced to 20 years in prison, the longest terms of any current prisoners of conscience in Iran.

The campaign to remember them will run until 21 May 2015. Events are being planned around the world by Baha’i communities and others to call attention to the plight of the seven, along with the wrongful imprisonment of 110 other Baha’is in Iran – as well as other prisoners of conscience there.

Each day, a different member of the seven will be commemorated. Tomorrow, 17 May, the campaign will focus on the situation of Saeid Rezaie.

“Our hope is that people around the world will organize spirited actions, reach out to governments and society at large, and involve friends and family in an effort to draw attention to the situation of each member of the seven on the day designated to him or her,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.

Facebook event pages in English (https://www.facebook.com/events/1638889016341780/) and in Perisan have been set up as rallying points and a hashtag has been designated: #7Bahais7years. For more information, go to: www.bic.org/7Bahais7years.

(NOTE: I did not write this post. I copied it directly from the Baha’i International Community – United Nations Office website: https://www.bic.org/news/Honoring-Afif-Naeimi-Day-Four-7Bahais7years-Campaign. Please pass this information onto your network so these types of injustice can be stopped.)

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