Academic journal article Journal of Psychological and Educational Research

Romanian Translation and Linguistic Validation of the Civic Attitudes and Skills Questionnaire: Implications for Pre-Service Teachers' Evaluation

Academic journal article Journal of Psychological and Educational Research

Romanian Translation and Linguistic Validation of the Civic Attitudes and Skills Questionnaire: Implications for Pre-Service Teachers' Evaluation

Article excerpt

Introduction

Attitudes are considered as being potent behavioral driving forces that have been widely studied in Psychology for more than five decades. Gordon Allport (1935, apud Falk & Lieberman, 2013) defined social attitudes as "mental and neural states of readiness, organized through experience, exerting a directive dynamic upon an individual's response to all objects and situations with which it is related". In line with this definition,, social attitudes are considered primary orientations that include selective relationships with social objects (events, institutions, individuals) and that have the potential to determine individual behavioral patterns (Gavreliuc, 2007). Attitudes are important to human social functioning due to the fact that (1) they have the potential to considerably influence an individual's (our group's) behavior, (2) they function similarly to fixed cognitive patterns, extremely influential, organizing new information based on inferential schemas and (3) can be considered as inferential variables, based on which past behaviors can be retraced and future behavior patterns can be predicted (Gavreliuc, 2007).

In congruence with social attitudes, civic attitudes refer to an individual's feelings and responsibility towards the community and the assimilation of the idea that every community member has a central role in keeping the well-being of the community (Lenzi, Vieno, Santinello, Nation, & Voight, 2014). Civic attitudes are a major component of civic engagement (Lenzi et al., 2014) and can be addressed as evolutionary essential components of a functional society, especially when embodied by pre-service teachers, as they become significant behavioral role-models for the future generations. Some authors believe that the Service-Learning pedagogy (S-L) offers the greatest potential for fostering civic responsibility as it provides opportunities for students to engage directly in their communities and meet community needs while enhancing their competencies related to the course work (Robinson, 2006).

Civic attitudes are often mentioned and investigated in literature as sensitive to S-L participation: Eyler, Giles, Stenson, and Gray (2001) compared over 40 studies that confirm the hypothesis where S-L generates positive, statistically significant, increases in civic responsibility, civic action, citizenship and civic engagement of students towards community service. Measures used to investigate S-L outcomes are varied, such as: questionnaires focusing on students beliefs and attitudes (Moely et al., 2002), focus groups (Schmiede, 1995, apud Moely et al., 2002), interviews and journal writings (Eyler & Giles, 1999, apud Moely et al., 2002; Primavera, 1999; Yates & Youniss, 1996, apud Moely et al., 2002). More recently, researchers appear to prefer to combine different methods to better assess the S-L course's impact on different variables. The most common methods used are final course writing tasks and exit interviews, followed by no official course evaluations, final written reflections and posters/photography/short narratives or content course written examinations (Copaci & Rusu, 2016).

The Civic Attitudes and Skills Questionnaire

There is a unanimous agreement in literature regarding the imperative characteristic of S-L outcomes assessment, especially when thriving to deliver a high quality, authentic, inspiring and mutually beneficial experience to both the student and the community. The S-L assessment process is a cross-sectional process conducted at all stages of the project development and aims to analyses the successes and difficulties experienced by the program and participants, taking into consideration whether actions are being carried out according to expectations and whether objectives are being achieved on schedule (Centro Latino-American de Aprendizaje y Servicio Solidario, www.clayss.org.ar). There are numerous conceptualizations of S-L program assessment addressing the variables involved in S-L (students, faculty, community, institution), securing enough pertinent data to measure effectiveness and guide improvement (Hanover Research, 2011). …

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