In 2016, the 4th conference of the Network on Extracurricular and Out-of-School Time Educational Research (NEO ER), was held at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea. The topic was ‘Expanding the Horizon of Research in Extended Education: Perspective, Fields, and Methods’.
Presenters came from six countries – Germany, Switzerland, Japan, the US, Australia, and South Korea. Many members of the Korean Afterschool Study Association attended the conference and had an active discussion with the participants. The presenters suggested that more attention should be paid to what has been unnoticed and less studied, such as safety of children and teachers’ working conditions in the extended education setting. For instance, children’s safety is an essential prerequisite to all other developmental outcomes like psychological and safety/security needs in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Researchers also suggested important, but less-investigated research topics and fields, such as the impact of goals and principles of extended education offerings on program participants, and the pattern of out-of-class activities and their impact at the college level. In terms of quality assurance, the quality benchmark rating system with the comprehensive quality indicators was suggested to be employed in evaluating the quality of extended education. However, participants agreed that extended education researchers, when they attempt to apply the standardized quality indicators, should pay special caution taking into account particular contexts in which the programs are implemented. Finally, presented were theoretical and practical advantages of the action research method to researchers and practitioners in this field.
The papers presented at the Seoul conference may be found in the 2/16 issue of the International Journal for Research on Extended Education (IJREE).