Social Inquiry into Well-Being https://ojs.mruni.eu/ojs/social-inquiry-into-well-being <p><strong><img src="/ojs/public/site/images/admin/sw_hor_en.jpg" alt="" /></strong></p><p><strong>Aim.</strong> The periodical peer-reviewed journal <em>Social Inquiry into Well-Being</em> aims to promote dialogue between researchers from different branches of social science (social policy, social work, sociology, education, psychology, etc.) and to present interdisciplinary studies on social development and population problems in Lithuania, the EU, Eastern and Central European.</p><p><strong>Format of publication.</strong> <em><em>Social Inquiry into Well-Being</em></em> publishes original scientific articles, reviews of scholarly monographs and other publications, abstracts and other informative publications in the Lithuanian or English languages. Upon the decision of the Editorial Board, publications in other languages may be included. The academic journal <em>Social Inquiry into Well-Being</em> publishes articles dealing with the issues from the fields of social policy, social work, sociology, psychology and education science.<strong> </strong></p><p><strong>Periodicity.</strong> The academic journal <em>Social Inquiry into Well-Being</em> is published twice a year (in May and November).</p><p><strong>Peer review.</strong> Submitted articles are reviewed by applying the double-blind method (the identities of the author(s) and reviewers are kept unknown). Each article is appointed at least two referees (scientists with a degree in the relevant field).</p><p><strong>Indexation.</strong> The academic journal <em><em>Social Inquiry into Well-Being</em></em> is included in the Ulrich’s PROQUEST, DOAJ, C.E.E.O.L. databases.</p><p><em>This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.</em></p> en-US <p><em>Mykolas Romeris University</em> retains copyright ownership and publishing rights. Authors contributing to <em id="tinymce" class="mceContentBody " dir="ltr"><em>Social Inquiry into Well-Being</em></em> agree to publish their articles under a <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/"><strong>Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public (CC BY-NC-ND) License</strong></a>, allowing third parties to share their work (copy, distribute, transmit) and to adapt it, under the condition that the authors are given credit, and that in the event of reuse or distribution, the terms of this licence are made clear.</p><p><br /><img class="img-responsive" style="width: 120px; height: 45px;" src="http://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-nc-nd/3.0/88x31.png" alt="CC" /></p> irene@mruni.eu (Editorial Board) milda.sakyte@mruni.eu (Milda Šakytė) Tue, 07 Jun 2022 00:43:11 +0300 OJS 3.3.0.8 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss 60 THE USE OF TECHNICAL AND DIGITAL MEANS OF COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION IN THE PROVISION OF SPECIAL SOCIAL SERVICES TO FAMILIES https://ojs.mruni.eu/ojs/social-inquiry-into-well-being/article/view/7091 <p>When social services had to be provided, with regard to social distancing, it was difficult for social workers to communicate with recipients of services in the usual way, thus they had to search for new ways to communicate remotely. In some cases, this is still a major problem, because not all recipients of services have the basic tools – such as computers, smartphones, laptops, etc. – that would enable them to receive the social services that they need. Another aspect is the competencies of social workers that are required when working remotely and using digital tools.</p> <p>Research on the use of technical and digital means has allowed researchers to find scientific sources (Distance Learning/Learning/Education Handbook, 2020) that examine how educators use technical and digital means, but there has been no analysis of the experience of social workers related to the use of technical and digital means in the provision of special social services. Therefore, it is appropriate to examine the application of the technical and digital means used by social workers to provide special social services. It should be noted that this research is broader and covers more social services, but the following article analyses only the provision of special social services and, based on the experience of social workers, the communication and collaboration of social workers and recipients of services when providing special social services to families.</p> <p>The aim of the following article is to reveal the technical and digital means of communication and collaboration used by social workers when providing special services to families at social risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>Research questions: What special social services were provided by social workers working with families at risk during the pandemic period? What real technical and digital means did social workers use during the pandemic when communicating and collaborating with families to provide them with special social services?</p> <p>Research methods. The qualitative research type was chosen for the study in order to reveal the kinds of technical and digital means of communication and collaboration used by social workers in providing special social services to families, based on the experience of social workers. The method of a semi-structured interview was also used. The obtained data were analysed by using the content analysis method. Qualitative content analysis was performed in the following sequence: the repeated reading of the content of transcribed interview texts, the distinction of meaningful elements in the text analysed, the grouping of the distinguished meaningful elements into categories and sub-categories, the integration of the categories/sub-categories into the context of the phenomenon analysed, and the description of their analysis.</p> <p>The sample of the research. A criteria-based sample was used in the study. The research participants were chosen according to the following criteria: 1) social workers who have a degree in the area of social work; 2) social workers working with families; 3) social workers who provide services to families with a length of service not less than three years; and 4) social workers who provided special social services during the pandemic period. The study was conducted in October-November of 2021. The study involved 22 social workers who provided special social services to families and worked in social service and social support centres and departments, care centres for children and adolescents, institutions protecting children’s rights, hospitals, and community homes for children in different parts of Lithuania. This research is based on the ethical principles of: respect for the person’s voluntary participation in the research; provision of information about the research; introduction of the aim of the research, methods, and procedures for collecting and analysing research data; beneficence and non-maleficence to the subject; confidentiality; and anonymity. When analysing research results, the characteristics of the study participants are presented in general to ensure that no personal information that would allow for the identification of a particular research participant; accordingly, the anonymity and confidentiality of study participants are ensured.</p> <p>The research revealed that during the pandemic period social workers used technical and digital means to provide the following services: development, maintenance, and/or restoration of social skills; intensive crisis management support; assistance to carers and caregivers, guardians on duty, adoptive parents, and family members, or those preparing to become such; and services for social children’s day care. The research revealed that social workers providing special social services communicate with the family through the use of internet communication tools and mobile devices. The Microsoft Teams, Zoom, FB Messenger, and Viber apps are used in the provision of services related to the development, maintenance, and/or restoration of the social skills of families in order to strengthen their communication skills, in the organization of positive parenting training or group activities, in the application of case management due to the development of parental social skills, and in the continuity of support services. During intensive crisis management support, when families are counselled by mobile teams, case management meetings are organized to restore the independence of service recipients, aid with lost social ties, and help integrate into society. This can involve providing temporary accommodation if a person or family cannot use their place of residence due to violence, abuse, the need for child protection, or for other reasons, and in these cases the Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype apps are used.</p> <p>Social workers used the conferencing and chat application Zoom to: provide assistance to carers and caregivers, guardians on duty, adoptive parents, and family members, or those wishing to become such; organize training for carers or caregivers, guardians on duty, adoptive parents, and the staff of community children’s care homes; communicate with caregivers at the social services centre; and provide the competencies necessary to raise foster, cared for, and adopted children. During children’s social day care, with a view to developing the social and life skills of the child and family members, social workers used the Zoom application to organize remote parental meetings in the pandemic period. Research participants indicated that during intensive crisis management support and case management meetings, the appointment scheduling software Calendar was used.</p> <p>According to most participants, during quarantine, physical contact and training was replaced by remote. This positive alternative allows one to quickly join a group, and, furthermore, there are no restrictions on the number of participants, as there are in physical groups. Remote social services are still provided today, especially when establishing and creating contact with recipients of services in case a family is in isolation, or if they are unable to leave their home for important reasons. As noted by research participants, by making calls with the help of the Messenger and Viber applications, it is possible to communicate and collaborate with more families over the same period of time and at least see them at a distance.</p> Vida Gudžinskienė, Diana Mačiuikienė Copyright (c) 2022 Social Inquiry into Well-Being https://ojs.mruni.eu/ojs/social-inquiry-into-well-being/article/view/7091 Mon, 06 Jun 2022 00:00:00 +0300 SOCIAL WORK WITH CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC https://ojs.mruni.eu/ojs/social-inquiry-into-well-being/article/view/7092 <p>The entire world faced a crisis associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The social impacts of the pandemic were severe, the movement of people was strictly limited, and schools, day care centres, and youth centres were closed. This affected social workers working with children and youth activities. The goal of this article is to analyse the memories of social workers working with children and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lithuania. In order to explore the memories of social workers, a qualitative research methodology was used, and non-probability purposive sampling was applied for finding research participants. In-depth interviews were used for data collection, with each research participant facing one main question: describe your everyday activities during the pandemic. Qualitative content data analysis was applied. Three categories were formulated and are presented in the article: challenges of social work during the pandemic; positive factors of work during the pandemic; and ways of working during the pandemic. These were followed by seventeen subcategories: adaptation to restrictions; organizational work; teaching; cooperation with other institutions; filming; IT knowledge; psychological aspects; activeness and tension at work; spending more time together; improved competencies; closer communication with other institutions; closer communication among social workers; courses and seminars; volunteers; IT programmes; various types of consultations; and creativity. The challenges and positive aspects revealed show that social workers looked for ways to adapt to new working conditions and were ready to overcome challenges in order to help children and youth during the pandemic.</p> Vaida Aleknavičienė, Jolanta Pivorienė Copyright (c) 2022 Social Inquiry into Well-Being https://ojs.mruni.eu/ojs/social-inquiry-into-well-being/article/view/7092 Mon, 06 Jun 2022 00:00:00 +0300 UNIVERSITY TEACHING IN THE CONTEXT OF SOCIETAL CHANGES https://ojs.mruni.eu/ojs/social-inquiry-into-well-being/article/view/7093 <p>Teaching is a part of socialization: both in society and for society. In this paper, the focus is on the university level. The responsibility of higher education is significant: a new generation receives the possibility to influence society over many decades. When talking about the quality of education, different factors are important. One aspect which influences teaching and learning is the size of study groups. For example – there are 8.4 students per one academic staff member at the top ten universities, according to the World University Rankings. In Tallinn University, where I have been teaching since 1997, this figure is 27.2. After a quarter of a century of teaching experience, it is reasonable to reflect on the situation and ways of coping. In my classes, there have always been 35 or more students. One way to handle big groups is the optimal use of energy, but optimality depends on developments in society: different times predict specific behaviours and styles of teaching. Here, the research method was a reflective approach to teaching. Teachers’ self-reflection supports education, because the readiness to analyse processes both inside and outside the school increases objectivity. The aim of this article is to analyse long-term experiences of teaching in the context of changing norms: How can one keep both students and teachers as happy as possible when there is no manual on how to deal with post-Soviet and/or other influences in society? This article concludes that, in my case, teaching began through an approach of trial and error. Later, I started to be proactive: my style of teaching changed in parallel with developments in society, and readiness to reflect become a teaching method.</p> Mare Leino Copyright (c) 2022 Social Inquiry into Well-Being https://ojs.mruni.eu/ojs/social-inquiry-into-well-being/article/view/7093 Mon, 06 Jun 2022 00:00:00 +0300 GOOD FEEDBACK IN DISTANCE STUDIES: THE CONCEPT OF FUTURE TEACHERS https://ojs.mruni.eu/ojs/social-inquiry-into-well-being/article/view/7094 <p>Pedagogical literature pays a lot of attention to feedback, discussing different types of feedback, analyzing what constitutes good feedback, and looking for advanced feedback practices. Feedback helps learners understand learning goals and anticipate areas for improvement, and student feedback has a direct impact on a teacher’s professional development, which obliges educators to make appropriate choices about activities and questions that provide information about the effectiveness of their teaching. In the study process, feedback provides opportunities for the student to find out what needs to be improved, the student receives useful information about what and how they understood, what they did not understand and why, what mistakes they made, how to do better, and learns recommendations for their more successful studies. M. Hast (2021) notes that, especially in distance learning, in hybrid teaching, and in the COVID-19 situation, it is especially important to think about organizing feedback, to find out what kind of feedback would be appropriate, and to consider how to involve students in organizing distance feedback and study (Higher Education in COVID-19: Implementing Online Feedback in a Different Way). Thus, it is important for prospective teachers to study the concept of feedback by explaining what good feedback is, as this will allow teachers to organize good feedback and student engagement more effectively.</p> <p>This article raises the following questions: What is the concept of good feedback for future educators in distance learning? What are the characteristics of feedback for future educators? The aim of the article is to reveal the concept of good feedback in distance learning for future teachers. The object of the research is the concept of good feedback for future teachers in distance learning. To this end, a survey was organized in January–March 2021, and an analysis of literature sources and legal acts was applied. The data collection method used was open questions and incomplete sentences. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the investigation was conducted remotely, using an IT tool suitable for anonymous investigation: Google Forms. Criteria selection was applied according to the following criteria: a prospective teacher who has studied pedagogical studies for at least half a year (semester), and has studied at least one semester at a distance.</p> <p>Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the data, which allowed conclusions to be drawn based on the analysed text. This method of analysis was based on systematic analytical steps: multiple readings of records, systematic interpretation of distinguished categories and subcategories, and their justification based on the evidence from the transcribed texts – confirmatory statements. According to the qualitative research methodology, confirmatory statements are extracts from answers provided by the participants which cannot be changed by the researcher; therefore, they are quoted exactly as given by the participants. The initial interview data was handled in such a way as to ensure that it was impossible to identify the persons involved in the study. The answers of the future educators were coded, and each person was assigned the letter S and a number according to the order of analysis, e.g. S1.</p> <p>The research was organized and data analysis was carried out and presented based on the principles of qualitative research ethics: ensuring respect for individual privacy, confidentiality, and anonymity, with goodwill and justice.</p> <p>After making conclusions from literature sources, we can state that any credible feedback: gives positive comments first; is provided immediately after or during the work; confirms what is being done correctly; identifies mistakes and gaps; provides clear recommendations for improvement; is identified in a clear, specific, and reasoned manner; talks about what excited people and what caused this; is about attitude and personal activity, but not about the person; chooses the right type of feedback and how to handle it; empathetically listens, adjusts, and answers; and is cognizant of the feedback’s quality and what affected it (duration and time, volume of feedback, feedback form, feedback participants, voice tone, eye contact, environment and situational circumstances, level of confidentiality, and other circumstances).</p> <p>The features of good feedback in distance learning identified by prospective educators are related to the features of good feedback presented in various literature sources.</p> <p>Conclusions. Qualitative research revealed the features of good feedback in distance learning based on the concept of future teachers, and distinguished two categories: 1) features of good feedback corresponding to those mentioned in the pedagogical scientific and methodological literature; 2) the signs of feedback (in the opinion of future teachers) that are not mentioned in the pedagogical scientific and methodological literature.</p> <p>Analyzing the features of good feedback identified by future educators, the following subcategories have been identified: creating a pleasant, safe, and benevolent environment; having positive effects; helping or encouraging self-assessment; and providing clear feedback. When talking about good feedback, future educators focused on: creating an emotional, benevolent environment during the feedback (benevolent, pleasant); methodological aspects of providing feedback (clear recommendations for improvement, encouraging self-assessment), so that positive comments are given first in the learning process, but without mentioning the appropriate choice of feedback type; comments that are justified and reasoned; feedback that talks about what excited people and what caused this; and feedback that is about attitude and personal activity, but not about the person. This study did not reveal any specific features of good feedback during distance learning. Prospective educators’ emphasis on a good emotional environment during feedback may be related to their own experiences or the peculiarities of a possible COVID-19 situation, where most people were characterized by hypersensitivity and a desire for good emotions. This can be a good experience for future educators when they themselves are the organizers of feedback rather than recipients, as an emotionally good environment is important during feedback.</p> <p>This research revealed that some prospective educators still need to delve into what constitutes good feedback and depart from an egocentric position, because feedback cannot be just compliments and naming good things. Also, the essential purpose of feedback is not to cheer and lift the mood or to expect a quick response at any time of the day.</p> <p>The results of this research allow us to state that a positive environment, clear naming of positive things, motivation, encouragement, and consideration of circumstances and practices that allow the student not to be passive (self-assessment, reflection, etc.) are especially important for organizing good feedback in distance learning.</p> Gintautė Žibėnienė Copyright (c) 2022 Social Inquiry into Well-Being https://ojs.mruni.eu/ojs/social-inquiry-into-well-being/article/view/7094 Mon, 06 Jun 2022 00:00:00 +0300 TEACHING PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS REFLECTION ON LEARNING: IMPORTANCE AND POSSIBILITIES https://ojs.mruni.eu/ojs/social-inquiry-into-well-being/article/view/7095 <p>The aim of this article is to reveal the possibilities and importance of reflection on learning for primary school students. To achieve this aim, the following method has been applied: an analysis of scholarly literature, textbooks for primary school students, and national educational documents. The analysis of scholarly literature made it possible to provide a consistent description of the development of the concept of reflection from philosophical to pedagogical approaches, to show the relevance of teaching primary school students to reflect on learning, and, based on scientific arguments, to highlight the importance and possibilities of the concept under study in contemporary schools. Lithuanian and international sources (articles, monographs, textbooks of modern didactics, and books) were selected for the analysis of scientific literature. The principles of scientific ethics have been followed – the sources in the text are provided with clear references, and the translation of the texts written in foreign languages into Lithuanian has been validated. The analysis of scholarly literature is supplemented by the analysis of primary school textbooks, exercise books, tests, and national educational documents, the validity of which is ensured by having selected only official data sources: printed materials for teaching primary school students along with studies carried out by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Sport.</p> <p>The analysis of the scholarly literature led to the suggestion that many of the world’s philosophers, scientists, child psychologists, and practitioners have written about reflection. When discussing reflection, philosophers (R. Descartes, I. Kant, G.W. Leibnitz, J.G. Fichte, E. Husserl, etc.), just like ancient thinkers (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle), emphasize that it is a way of self-examination that changes the direction of thinking from discovering one’s outside world towards self-discovery. A person is encouraged to reflect by seeking to remove any doubt and uncertainty about the way they think or act. We cannot perceive the world as self-evident – therefore, by means of reflection we have to transform the things that bother us into the object of doubt in order to find answers to questions weighing on our minds and thus gain a new understanding through reflection. The American philosopher, educator, and psychologist J. Dewey, who lived in the early 20th century, brought reflection as a method from the field of philosophy into pedagogical practice. Thus, J. Dewey stated that reflection is very important for learning, since it enables the learner to understand how to act (which methods, tools, etc., to apply) in order to succeed in learning and gain a learning experience. From the mid-20th century to the beginning of the 21st century, numerous comprehensive studies were carried out by psychologists and educators (D. B. Elkonin, V. V. Davydov, J. Piaget, L. S. Vygotskij, J. Flavell), the findings of which highlight that the cultivation of reflection has to start as early as in primary school. Children who do not acquire the ability to reflect on learning by the end of primary school have learning difficulties in high school, experience negativity and neurotic problems in multiple schools, and are not as mature as they should be. These ideas remain relevant today, as scholars unanimously agree that teaching primary school students to reflect on learning provides them with opportunities to gain an in-depth understanding of learning. Meanwhile, national educational documents highlight teaching students to reflect on learning, stating that it must become a regular part of the educational process and can help in achieving quality learning for primary school pupils. Based on the above, it can be stated that it is no coincidence that since 2016 some textbooks, exercise books, and test books (especially for teaching Lithuanian) for primary school students have been incorporating tasks teaching reflection on learning.</p> <p>Teaching primary school students to reflect on learning is important since the child learns to observe themselves in a learning situation, i.e., to monitor the process of their intellectual activity by adjusting certain elements, if needed. This has a positive impact on the learning of primary school pupils, as it enables them to learn how to study, to improve their memory, to remember more meaningful information, to increase their active attention while studying, and to fully understand and avoid their specific learning issues and their causes. This has a positive long-term effect on the learning of primary school pupils, as it encourages children in this age group to memorize significant moments in learning and, hence, learn from them. Thus, in the 21st century, reflection on learning is an important skill of lifelong learning, which promotes children’s cognitive control, especially when children are given the opportunity to reflect on learning in a consistent manner.</p> <p>In terms of possibilities, it is evident that children can and have to be taught to reflect on learning in primary school. However, it must be considered that there is no strict age limit (6 or 10 years of age), since each child develops differently. Insights that show that what can be expected in terms of reflection on learning depends very much on a child’s maturity are important, however. In the beginning, when children are not mature enough, their reflection is formal, i.e., they reflect on what needs to be done (how to act) in order to solve a particular learning difficulty. Meanwhile, as children grow older, reflection becomes deeper because they already want to find out not only what actions need to be taken to solve learning problems, but also what led to (i.e., what actions and circumstances) such learning outcomes. Thus, it is obvious that primary school students can reflect on learning, but the expression and depth of reflection will be determined by the child’s maturity and preparation.</p> <p>It should be noted that the possibilities for cultivation of reflection on learning in primary school students also depend on the teacher. Children’s reflection first emerges as a form of collaboration between a teacher and a student (when an adult asks questions and helps the child find answers to them), and only later does the child learn to reflect on their own. This is due to the fact that education in primary school is always a shared process in the beginning – the child learns not so much from the teacher as together with the teacher. Therefore, teachers should be focused on creating the conditions necessary for students to reflect on learning (appropriate tasks, lesson time planning, etc.), as the transition from the reproductive level to the reflective one does not happen by itself.</p> <p>Summarizing the results of the research, the following conclusions can be drawn: teaching primary school students to reflect on learning is important, because any learning event/situation that causes dissatisfaction – or, conversely, satisfaction – is ruminated over. It is in this way that the child who is being taught to monitor the learning process (not only the results but also the actions taken) acquires a necessary, positive, productive learning experience that can be used in other similar learning situations. In this way, the child gradually discovers the best and most effective ways of learning, masters them over time, and begins to use them spontaneously. Possibilities to teach primary school students to reflect on learning depend on their ever-maturing relationships with their environments. The role of the teacher is also crucial here, as children in this age group are not yet able to engage in internal dialogue with themselves. This is the reason why it is namely the teacher that models how children need to reflect on learning until the children are able to do it themselves, and the teacher does so by basing this pedagogical activity on a learning paradigm, by allocating time during lessons, and by using appropriate methods and tools.</p> Rasa Kulevičienė Copyright (c) 2022 Social Inquiry into Well-Being https://ojs.mruni.eu/ojs/social-inquiry-into-well-being/article/view/7095 Mon, 06 Jun 2022 00:00:00 +0300