Fall 2011     ISSN 1096-1453     Volume 15, Issue 3
Editorial: There is no doubt that roles of teachers in education are critical to student learning and achievement


There is no doubt that roles of teachers in education are critical to student learning and achievement. Since the social cognitivism and social constructivism have emerged as prevalent paradigm of education, primary roles of teachers have been shifted from delivering direct instruction to creating an optimal learning environment for students where students are guided and facilitated to construct their own knowledge.

Creating effective teaching and learning environment involves lots of challenges and requires incorporating studentsí perspectives and their prior experiences. Students are no longer viewed as a passive respondent to environmental stimuli but rather they actively engage in social cognitive processing and interact with the environment. As social cognitive theories of learning posits, student learning is filtered through studentsí thoughts and beliefs, meaning that impact of learning environment on student success is mediated by studentsí perceptions of the environment. How students perceive and interpret their learning environment is crucial for academic success because it shapes their attitude and motivation to exert effort and persist in the face difficulties.

As educators, therefore, it is inevitable to make a continued effort to design and develop learning opportunities and test their effectiveness through the lens of student perceptions, attitude, and beliefs as well as successful learning outcomes and achievements.

The articles published in the current special issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly present various models of learning environment and instructional programs and practices designed to promote a wide range of student achievement. Balzhiser and Ingwersen examined the effect of living in learning communities on various indicators of academic success including retention and grade point average (GPA) based on institutional data and results from a national survey about student perception. They found that students of living-learning communities showed higher GPAs and retention rates than non-community residents. Knight, Perkins, Stempien, McConnell, and Kuleck conducted a case study to investigate how student-centered teaching practices are more effective than traditional teacher-centered approach in promoting student affect. Yang and Cho discussed how multicultural education can be integrated into teacher preparation programs to increase pre-service teachersí self-determined motivation to engage in the development of multicultural competence. Tapps, Passmore, Fink, Lindenmeier, and Salliotte discussed the development and implementation of college studentsí service-learning experience program with a purposive cohort. Farreras examined how a course designed to discuss abnormal psychology is effective for changing student attitudes toward seeking professional treatment to resolve psychological problems and increasing confidence in mental health providers.

In addition to research articles examining environmental and instructional influences through the perspectives and perceptions of students, the current issue also presents research investigating the direct relationship of studentsí personal factors such as attitudes and basic psychological needs to academic achievement and goal adoption processes. Kamuche examined undergraduate studentsí attitudes toward statistics as a significant contributing factor to academic achievement. Cho and Shim investigated the association between satisfaction of psychological needs and the adoption of achievement goals and found that psychological needs such as need for competence and need for autonomy were differentially related to the adoption of mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals.

I sincerely appreciate authorsí great contribution to the current issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly. Our effort will be continued to further our understanding of the way students perceive and interpret learning environment and how it affects their learning, motivation, and achievement. I am pleased to announce that we will continue a special feature on student perception, beliefs, and attitudes in the upcoming issue of Fall 2012. Submissions are welcome from anyone (researchers, administrators, teacher, graduate students, and trainers) working with students, of all ages, in a learning environment. Academic Exchange Quarterly is a peer reviewed journal dedicated to the presentation of ideas, research methods, and pedagogical theories leading to effective instruction and learning, invites you to submit articles for possible publication. We are looking for articles consisting of approximately 3,000 words. If you have such a manuscript, follow the guidelines specified in this website: http://rapidintellect.com/AEQweb/rufen1b.htm Please identify your submission with keyword: STUDENT-1. Submission deadline is any time until the end of May 2012. Early submission offers an opportunity to be considered for Editors' Choice.

YoonJung Cho, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology
Oklahoma State University