By Reinhard Golz | May 26, 2020

Dear Readers and Authors of International Dialogues on Education: Past and Present,

In the context of the publication of issue 2-2019 of our journal, we promised – at that time still completely unaware of the approaching worst crisis in society since the end of the Second World War – to publish issue 1-2020 on time on May 31, 2020. The COVID crisis has left its mark on everyone and everything, and, of course, on our editorial work. As Editor-in-Chief, I would like to thank the authors, reviewers and all the members of the editorial team involved for their commitment and reliability above and beyond the line of duty during this complicated time; we were again able to be on time, as promised. It is, among other things, this experience that shows us that, even in difficult times, our team is capable of mastering new, previously unimagined editorial challenges to “International Dialogues on Education”.

This means that we will continue to regard different academic traditions, interests and analyses of results as enriching for academic dialogue and international, intercultural and inter-religious education and communication. But it also means that we will continue to accept only scientifically sound contributions that are imbued with humanistic, democratic values, social responsibility, respect for the autonomy, diversity and dignity of individuals, groups and communities, and without attempts at proselytization or missionary work. In the context of the Corona crisis, we see ourselves as part of the enlightened majority of people, who are not allowing themselves to be misled by burgeoning conspiracy theories and anti-democratic, nationalistic activities, but who can and will contribute to overcoming the crisis with reason, attention, a sense of reality, international and interpersonal solidarity.

At this point we would also like to draw your attention to a special Call for Papers from Dr. Arthur K. Ellis, Professor, Seattle Pacific University (USA), one of our most important cooperation partners, inviting you to participate in a discussion on the current uncertain future of education, in addition to or independent of the previous thematic orientation of our journal. The Call is about your thoughts, predictions, or even assumptions about how the education system will change as a result of the crisis in your opinion and experience; how the rapidly advancing digital educational technologies will change the idea of school as such; what the “new normal” for education will look like; what effects the Corona disaster may have on teaching, learning, administration, personnel, finances, evaluation, health and well-being, etc.

Worrying but inevitable thematic considerations and questions naturally touch not only educational scientists and practitioners, but also representatives of other humanities and social sciences disciplines, e.g. philosophers, sociologists, psychologists, philologists, political scientists, historians. The current situation requires and enables us to further strengthen our interdisciplinary work.

  • You are all invited to participate in this discussion in our journal with contributions that we will publish in a special section of the November 2020 issue (see the Call for Papers).
  • Another section of the November issue will of course – as before – include articles in the context of our basic thematic orientations (see: About the Journal).

Now some remarks on the articles in this issue (IDE 1-2020), which in turn corresponds to the concern of our journal to analyze international educational dialogues and developments from both historical and current perspectives.

First we will deal with three more historical-pedagogical contributions.

In the article by Olga Graumann and Sören Affeldt “The Hanseatic League and Education – A Neglected Chapter in European and German History” the focus is on the tension between economy and education. Using the example of the qualification needs of Hanseatic merchants since the Middle Ages, it is shown that the development of German and European popular education has been remarkably influenced. Of particular interest for today’s educational processes is the significance of “teaching abroad” for learning foreign languages and getting to know foreign cultures, as well as the “learning by doing” that has characterised merchant education since the Middle Ages. The presentation, which is based on works by H.-P. Bruchhäuser, also uses insights from museum pedagogy.

In his contribution on “Realism, Pansophy and Mentality in the Work of the Czech and World Pedagogue J.A. Comenius” Dietmar Waterkamp analyses under new aspects three fundamental German habilitation theses and their significance for international comeniology. These are the works of the East German comeniologist Franz Hofmann and the two West German comeniologists, Klaus Schaller and Andreas Lischewski. The selection of these works is justified by the high international reputation of the authors as comeniologists. The analysis of the different views of Comenius is based, among other things, on the comparison of his world view and pedagogy between East Germany and West Germany, as well as between Protestant and Roman Catholic interpretations.

Hein Retter analyses “The Dispute Over the Reform Pedagogue Peter Petersen (1884-1952) in Jena 2010: Review of a ´Total Desaster´ After Ten Years”. The author describes the controversies about the pedagogical heritage and the attitudes of the reform pedagogue Peter Petersen during and after the time of National Socialism. The starting point of disputes among educational scientists and politicians was a book published by Hein Retter in 2010. His interpretation of Petersen’s ambivalent, not always apparent positions at the time of the Hitler regime and in the context of the political power relations after 1945 was judged very questionable by some authors in a heated atmosphere. With his detailed look back and by using contemporary historical and current documents, Retter defends himself (not always free of emotion) as the trigger of the ongoing “Petersen dispute”. He is counting on everyone involved in this process to be able to learn from it.

A further seven articles deal with more current educational science problems and developments.

The article “Thinking and Acting Across Ponds: Glocalized Intersections of Trepidation, Neoliberalism, and Possibilities for 21st Century Teacher Education” by Kenneth J. Fasching-Varner et al. is based on the cross-continental experiences of teachers in their initial and continuing education in Australia, Germany and the United States. The local experiences in the individual countries are contextualized with global phenomena. Through a glocal (global and local) lens, it recognizes that the dynamics that counteract successful education and training are multifaceted, locally significant and globally consistent. In particular, it is a matter of internal university resistance and disputes about financing, status and role, as well as excessive dependence on market economies, which are accompanied by nationalism, neoliberalism and xenophobia. The authors invite a broader international discussion in their respective contexts in order to promote the democratic dialogue.

Irina A. Kolesnikova’s contribution “Innovative Changes in Education of the 2010s: Pro and Cons” offers a theoretical analysis of the advantages and contradictions of innovative changes in modern education, based on data from the program and report documents of UNESCO, the Council of Europe and other international organizations. It focuses on ideas of lifelong learning, inclusion and open education that have developed particularly since the 2010s. The capitalization of knowledge, digitization and socialization of networks are presented as the main sources of the innovative education boom of the 2010s. The author points to the digital future of young people and suggests intensifying pedagogical research in this field, to develop a new way of learning, respectively of dealing with knowledge and information. To what extent superficiality is favoured by the digital medium is pedagogically and methodologically controversial and certainly needs to be examined in detail, because with technological developments there can also be risks of repressing humanitarian values from educational processes. The need for constant critical reflection on the results of innovation is emphasized.

The narrative investigation “Strengthening Resilience in School – A Narrative Examination of How Teachers Promote Resilience by Providing Social Support”, of Manuela Diers is focused on children and young people who suffer from psychological risks in their environment, and what role social support from teachers plays in strengthening their resilience. The author points out that teachers can initiate a creative metamorphosis of biographical identity in order to overcome suffering. The connection between biographical and resilience research is discussed using a case study and it is emphasized that a constructive, trusting and appreciative teacher-pupil relationship is the basis for the resilient development of children at high risk.

Using an example from Belarus, Natalia V. Bylinskaja examines “Aspects of a Categorization of the Concept ´Personality` in the Professional Consciousness of Teachers …”. The article presents research on the concept of “personality” in the categorical grid of the consciousness of primary and secondary school teachers. With regard to the data obtained, the author shows the existence of an orientation in the minds and activities of teachers to implement personality-based, humanistic learning models. At the same time, she points out that the structure of the concept of “personality” revealed in the pedagogical consciousness is not cognitively complex and holistic. This determines specific tasks of psychological education to clarify and enrich the perception of the personality of teachers.

In their contribution “Salamanca 25 Years Later: A Commentary on Residual Dialogues of Disability and Diversity”, Margaret Winzer and Kas Mazurek deal with the discussions on concepts, premises and promises of inclusive school education as a global movement that have been held since the UNESCO World Conference on Special Needs Education in Salamanca in 1994. The authors emphasize that despite the strong influence of the Salamanca Conference, a number of new and continuing challenges have emerged. They focus, among other things, on the role of UNESCO in the construction of an architecture for more inclusive school education and on other controversial core issues and different interpretations of the Salamanca directions.

The aim of Sonya Corbin Dwyer’s study “The impact of ESL Discussion Groups in an Undergraduate Counselling Psychology Course” is to understand the impact of an experiential learning activity in a third year bachelor’s programme on the theory and practice of counselling and psychotherapy on a small Canadian university campus. The experiential learning activity required students to participate in biweekly one-on-one interview groups with international students participating in English as a Second Language (ESL) programs at the university. The results of pre- and post-evaluation activities showed that students’ cultural competence and cultural intelligence improved after participation in the course. The author believes that the results could encourage more university teachers to develop experiential learning activities between local and international students.

“A Comparative Study of Higher Education Governance in Greater China” is the title of the article by Claire Y.H. Tao. The author reviews and compares strategies for higher education reform adopted by the respective governments in Greater China, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Singapore. She examines, for example, why these countries tried to reform their higher education systems, how they achieved the desired results, and how the respective governments reacted. The author focuses on the four areas of “rule of law”, “transparency”, “effectiveness” and “accountability” to examine whether and how the governance of these selected cases has been implemented in higher education in Greater China over the past 30 years.

This issue concludes with three reviews of recently (2019) published books.

Anja Franz, in her review of the book by Andrea Òhidy and Katalin R. Forray on “Lifelong Learning and the Roma Minority in Central and Eastern Europe”, stresses that little is known about the Roma so far, and that the book provides rich information on this largest and fastest growing, but at the same time most disadvantaged minority group in Europe in terms of health, employment, housing and education.

Krisztina Sebestyén reviews Romina Meinig’s book “Zwischen Antiziganismus und Resilienz. An Empirical Study of Successful Sinti and Roma in Germany” (Between Antigypsyism and resilience. An empirical study about successful Sinti and Roma in Germany). The reviewer particularly focuses on the author’s research results regarding the reasons for the existing successful careers of some Sinti and Roma in Germany, which are demonstrably mainly due to participation in education and integration efforts.

The anthology published by Tatyana Tsyrlina-Spady and Peter Renn “Nurture, Care, and Trust. Transformative Pedagogy Inspired by Janusz Korczak” is reviewed by Reinhard Golz and David Whybra. They emphasize that the book provides new insights into the professional ethics of the Polish pediatrician, pedagogue and writer Janusz Korczak (1878-1942), who did not abandon the orphans entrusted to his care on the way to the Treblinka extermination camp and went to his death with them. The reviewers draw particular attention to the inspiring pedagogical-didactic considerations in the articles and materials for teaching and learning from a contemporary perspective, which are based on Korczak’s work.

So much for the articles in this issue of IDE-Journal. As always at this point, I would like to remind future authors that we publish two issues per year, the first issue being published at the end of May and the second at the end of November.

This means for the next issue (2-2020) that the intended contributions should be sent to the Editorial Board as soon as possible, but not later than 15 October 2020.

Authors are requested to adhere to our editorial standards and requirements in the Instructions to Contributors.

We look forward to further high-quality contributions: articles, essays, book reviews, conference reports and information on research and teaching projects.

About the Author

Prof. Dr. Reinhard Golz: Emeritus, Historical, Comparative and Intercultural Education, Otto-von-Guericke-University, Magdeburg (Germany); Editor-in-Chief of the IDE Journal from 2014 to 2020; e-mail: golz@ide-journal.org