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TAKING THE LEAD: NEW ROLES FOR UNIVERSITY TEACHERS


Galina Gushcha — Ph.D., Associate Professor,

Ukrainian State University of Finance and International Trade

(Kyiv, Ukraine)
E-mail: gallo4ka@bigmir.net
The article is devoted to the role and the place of University teaching staff in educational process of institutions of higher learning. The key concepts of pedagogical activities are defined. The research highlights the teacher’s creativity regarding educational efficiency.

Key Words: teaching staff, institutions of higher learning, structural and functional components of educational system, acmeology, pedagogical craft, pedagogical excellence, educational activities.
The principal element of the educational system, in our opinion, is higher school which determines not only the whole hierarchy of academic training but also the state of society and nation in general. The dominant features of higher learning institutions are accumulating and delivering intellectual potential of society, as well as transferring humanistic values according to the formula of present-day education: from a man of education to a man of culture.

Throughout the past decades the world has been saturated with intensive processes of formation of a new educational paradigm based on taking account of current changes in the nature of public demand for the individual and the role of the individual in the social process. Since the process of education in postindustrial, informatiolized society is essentially determined by personality factors, it is the value of identity and their inter- ests which should be the assumption of higher professional education.

However, the society of the new century stipulates primarily changes in knowledge organization and processing wherein computer and related advanced information train- ing technologies are playing the key role. Information and knowledge are then commer- cial products, while the ability to produce information makes it as a strategic resource, a source of strength and power.

In the context mentioned above the study was conducted to determine the role and place of teaching and research staff in the educational operations of Ukrainian institu- tions of higher learning which are to be in conformity with the latest Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education”, as well as with the other normative legal documents. It’s common knowledge that identity formation is not spontaneous, under any self-determined rules, even if the current policy of high school reinforces the arguments in favour of students` autonomous studies. Who will solve the current problems of vocational education and performance targets? Who will carry out the leading functions of the system? Accord- ing to our deep conviction, the only correct answer is: it’s the university teacher, whose activities are supposed in a different light given the challenges in the higher education. When analyzing the problem researched we’ve drawn on learner-centered ap- proach that deliberately creates a new teaching ethics wherein the principal feature

© Gushcha Galina, 2015
is mutual understanding between a lecturer and a student, as well as a teacher’s mas- tering new trends and techniques of the teaching and learning process. This ethics changes the position of students and teaching staff in communication, approves per- sonal communication (support, compassion, trust etc.) rather than role behaviour. It also determines the need for dialogue as a dominant form of academic commu- nication, encourages the exchange of ideas, experiences, simulation of generic job- related situations; it includes modeling situations, advancing success, self-reflection, self-evaluation, as well as educational diversity and inclusiveness materials for each student [Savchenko, 2006: p. 3-4].

Undoubtedly, in the formation of an intended professional staff member, their out- look and merits of spiritual, moral and ethical values the leadership belongs to univer- sity teachers. Their influence is certainly different from the school teachers` impact, primarily because the nature of the relationship between lectures and students in higher school varies throughout educational operations greatly. The current “lecturer — stu- dent” system as described in the National Doctrine of Education of Ukraine is aimed at educating a highly qualified specialist, a citizen, as well as a patriot. The writings on the subject of a great deal of researchers (B. Hershunskyi, V. Davydov, I. Zyazyun, Z. Kurlyand, N. Levitov, A. Matyushkin, O. Moroz, O. Morozov, A. Rean, V. Synov, V. Slas- tonin, V. Strumanskyi, B. Tyeplov etc.) emphasize the relationship between the process of personality formation and the influence on a student’s mind and feelings by a teacher. A university teacher must be highly qualified as a scientist, an expert in their field, as well as a master educator. Their personality plays a crucial role in a subject-subject in- teraction between communication partners because much of that knowledge and skills gained by a student as a personality during years of study at university remains with a trainee all their life and largely determines their would-be destiny.

The teacher is an entity who organizes the educational process and directs it. Their personal characteristics, competence, level of pedagogical and methodological training, manner, style of communication, ability to establish relevant relationships with col- leagues and students determine the effectiveness of the educational process, personal development and socialization of the individual, academic success for future careers.

Higher school teacher’s activities in the subject and research context, academic communication as well, are involved the functions imposed on a lecturer by the state and society. The analysis of literature shows that the problem of psychological and pedagogical activities was investigated by lots of authors, as follows: V. Galuzinskyi,



  1. Evtukh, V. Kan Kalyk, N. Kuzmina, A. Mudryk, M. Nikandrov, F. Spirin etc. Tack- ling the problem the researchers have identified and described the structural and functional components inherent in an educational system. In particular, the function- al components include the gnostic (research), constructive, organizational, commu- nicative and projecting elements [Kuzmina, 2000; Rean, Kolomytskyi, 1999: p. 265; Kan Kalyk, Nikandrov, 1990: p. 67].

Gnostic component covers the teacher’s growth of knowledge and skills. It is not only the subject knowledge, backgrounds of the teaching and learning process but also gnosis of pedagogical communication and trainees` personality psychology, self- understanding drive as well. A teacher’s gnostic activity consists in planning their own cognitive activity equally as students`. Teaching students a lecturer should constantly study himself.
Constructive component includes a teacher’s planning of their activities and pre- dicting the results. This element is presented in day-to-day developing of content terms and process of educational work. A teacher’s constructive activity is a complex creative process based on a teacher ability to use everything created by others in or- der to find their own ways with no standard and copying. It is not only a teacher’s accumulation of educational materials and teaching methods but also the knowledge how the students will absorb the specific version and memorize it, which thoughts and feelings will be aroused. Availability of knowledge is only the part of a teacher’s professional experience. A lecturer should certainly be able to apply it into practice. It would be reasonable to cite K.Ushynskyi: “teaching methods can be found in books, but skills acquisition can be only on the basis of long practice” [Ushynskyi, 1949: p. 544]. The essence of high performer lies in the fact that intelligibility in education (the point at issue is not about the popularization of educational information) is achieved through maximum possible, methodically weighted brevity and simplification of ma- terial without reducing its scientific and social importance.

Organizational component covers the structure of educational process. Organi- zational activities are closely linked with constructive component. The abilities and skills to create a friendly psychological environment, to choose rational forms, tools and working methods in view of favourable factors, to plan, to organize and imple- ment successful management of students` training activities lead to the effectiveness of the educational process. Since students` mental state can influence the learning outcome directly or indirectly, it is the teacher’s task to create proper conditions for setting communication aimed at students` making sure of their abilities to use best intellectual potential.

Projecting component involves advanced goals and strategies of training and edu- cation, as well as the ways to achieve them. Though teachers` and students` aware- ness of the goals and study objectives, evaluation criteria is quite different. Therefore, we often observe that students` and teachers` subjective opinions on the structure of the educational process, on selection of the best practices and techniques that can improve efficiency of studying a discipline may not be the same. A teacher’s plans, expectations and aims, as well as actually existing learning environment are reflected through the prism of a student’s subjective knowledge learning and are transformed into subjective models of a student’s operational environment, in their self-esteem [Arkhangelskyi, 1989: p.20]. That’s why the teacher’s proper planning of their own activities and students`, also the ability to provide adequate methodological and prac- tical assistance and to control learners` knowledge are of great importance.

Communicative component of a teacher’s pedagogical activity are identified in educational contacts with trainees, colleagues and the public. The teacher has to man- age attention, to intensify students` thinking, to react quickly to the atmosphere in the classroom and to respond to questions aptly etc.

For effective implementation of these functions the teacher should have the rel- evant training which also depends on certain personality traits as the basis for the for- mation of professionalism in teaching activities. The latter are divided into the moral and ethical qualities of a teacher (they are kindness, honesty, conscientiousness, in- tegrity, love for the young people and ability to work with them, humane treatment etc.), their communication competence (attention to people, courtesy, confidence,
tact, empathy, ability to be a good companion), volitional powers (endurance, tem- perance, independence, purposefulness etc.); organizational and administrative com- petences (self-discipline, the ability to plan, to monitor, to make decisions, to evaluate yourself and the others).

Psychological and pedagogical competences combined with skills (constructive, organizational, communicative, didactic, perceptual, suggestive, cognitive, applied ones) form the basis of generating pedagogical excellence upon which the above-men- tioned components can be implemented at different levels of mastery. Depending on a teacher’s results N. Kuzmina specifies five mastery levels:



  • reproductive (teachers retell what they know, they do not control how stu-

dents absorb the information);

  • adaptive (teachers transfer the information taking into account the learn-

ers);

  • locally modeling (at this level teachers determine the task to form an entire

system of knowledge on specific issues, topics);

  • system-modeling knowledge (teachers generate a coherent system of sub-

ject knowledge in trainees);

  • system-modeling activities of a student (teacher not only creates a system of learners` knowledge of a particular discipline but also contributes to their development as the subjects of learning of the knowledge and their social- izing as the subjects of other activities [Kuzmina, 2000: p. 65].

The concept of pedagogical mastery in the modern science is interpreted as the ability to optimize all the educational activities in a professional manner, to direct them to the full development and improvement of a student personality which in turn will provide a high level of learning. The notion is characterized by significant de- velopment of generalized special abilities and its essence is the teacher personality, their ability to manage students` team efficiently. Active technique is determined by a teacher’s ability to convert their emotions, as well as the attitude to the subject and students to the instrument of a profound pedagogical effect [Zyaziun, 1999: p. 67]. This is particularly true for non-core disciplines in higher education institution, for example, Second (Foreign) Language in non-linguistic universities. In this regard, it’s much more difficult to keep up learners` motivation at appropriate level. Therefore, foreign language teachers must take into account such factors as the formation of sustained interest in students` language learning. Job-related tasks and case studies offered either in the classroom or in extracurricular time have a beneficial effect on it. By applying the students` interest to their would-be profession, foreign language teachers in their lessons set the stage for the formation trainees` professionally mean- ingful mental activities that are produced during professional subjects learning.

Pedagogy demands that a teacher should perform their duties at a top professional level because they create the most precious creature in the world — a human being. A creator can only be educated by a creator. Distinguishing the concepts of “pedagogical craft” and “pedagogical excellence”, it should be noted that they are similar in content but not identical. The reason for this may be the following: “to be a master hand at work means to master their profession, thereby mastery is normally associated with wide experience. A teacher can become a creative person initially even he/she is not a master yet” [Morozov, 2012: p.33].


Based on the position of creative andragogy, teacher professional activity is con- sidered in terms of educational efficiency, self-development factors and professional excellence achievement that is possible only in the creativity context. We share the view of those scholars who consider creative work to be the highest pitch of excellence (V.Zahvyazynskyi, N.Kuzmina, V.Synov et al.).

Organization of person-oriented innovative learning involves not only delivering knowledge aimed at learning by heart but enriching experience of creativity, forming a student self-identity mechanism for future professional activities. In this context, the personality of a teacher or a process manager of educational activity acts as a leading element of training process but their role is changing towards themselves and cadets. The teacher is not only a translator of content knowledge, media, norms and traditions but also a facilitator, a consultant as well, in the development of a student individual. The nature of management, impact on a trainee is also changing. The au- thoritative power position has lost. Democratic-way communication, cooperation, as- sistance, inspiration, attention to students` initiatives and their personality formation are coming to stay. The trainee position is also changing towards an active interaction with the teacher and the group rather than the result of learning and estimation.

A modern day teacher should be at the forefront of new technologies and have a continual appreciation for learning. Regarding the role of pedagogical interaction in up-to-date educational technologies it should be noted that these aids are likely to be seen as a tool but not a source of personality intelligence, their creative thinking cul- ture, professional knowledge and skills.

Regarding a teacher of a new millennium it is impossible to imagine him with- out innovation activity. The use of the term “innovation” is valid when there are ap- proaches, methods and technologies that have been used yet. But it is a set of the ele- ments or individual elements of educational process wherein progressive principles allow to effectively meet the challenges of modern education, performing such various functions as an expert, a consultant, a designer, an innovative technologist [Morozov, 2012: p.285].

The need to adapt to a new life in a social instability demands from a human the ability to live within the changes taking place in the world. As a result, a teacher is ac- quiring very important skills, as follows: readiness to respond to force majeure, to make independent decisions requiring risk, willingness to bear them, criticism in assessing their own and others’ actions. In these circumstances an important factor in the effi- ciency and harmonious activities is a teacher’s change of mind in relation to their mo- tives and values. The predominance of positive motivation determines a teacher’s be- haviour: they take into account the objective conditions, actively seek out solutions and adequately respond to failures, become more resourceful in achieving their goals.

If we consider the value of creativity and professionalism, the latter category has a hidden contradiction. On the one hand, the differential features that distinguish the teaching profession from others, determine the requirements system, the failure of which deprives a person of professionalism image. On the other hand, the higher the problem complexity related to acmeological characteristics skill, the more evident the position of innovator. The closer the top achievement is, the more a creator does not follow the rules showing creative self-expression not always fit into the accepted framework.


As the major parameters for measuring value attitude of teacher professionalism in acmeology are proposed the following:

    • the skill to consider their work as a socially significant value;

    • the ability to see the beauty of future results in creative teaching and strive for it;

    • availability of consistency and sequence in the teacher`s work;

    • general theoretical, cultural, social and psycho-pedagogical competence;

    • professional readiness for teaching and excellence implementation to the practice of their work;

    • self-organization and self-correction of their professional activities;

    • high level of training and education of students, i.e. the presence of an effec- tive personality as a result of creative educational activities.

Teachers are different in choice and combination of teaching methods, in their at- titude to students, dynamics and demands level, the nature of errors and difficulties. For some teachers their activity is the way to self-realization, where each class is an opportunity to open themselves as a person and a professional, others express them- selves in the amateur field.

Problems of higher education related to vocational training of learners as moral, spiritual and free members of society can be successfully resolved by a teacher of new formation, who has obtained appropriate professional and psycho-pedagogical edu- cation and has this scope vocation.

In our opinion, pedagogical vocation is the system of personal values and priorities based on such spiritual and moral principles as a high level of awareness, self-respect, respect for the opinions of others, the ability to perceive spiritual values, the ability to make decisions and take responsibility for them.

It would be reasonable to conclude that high school teachers who meet modern criteria of professional pedagogical culture are creative people with version thinking, desire for new creativity. W.Ward`s statement should be the motto of every teacher “an average teacher instructs, a good teacher explains, an outstanding teacher shows, a great teacher inspires”.





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