PEDAGOGICAL EDUCATION FOR FUTURE UNIVERSITY TEACHERS: DETERMINANTS OF EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION

Abstract


The study is aimed at identifying and analyzing the determinants of effective pedagogical education for future university teachers. Research interest in this issue stems from world wide dramatic changes in higher education caused by interdependent processes of globalization, massification and digitalization, which in turn foregrounds the problem of effective teaching in a more diverse and complex university environment. The research is based on both theoretical analysis and comparison of modern approaches to the problem under study, generalization of pedagogical experience and empirical investigation. The authors focused on students’ expectations and perceptions regarding real and ideal university teachers. Data collection involved the qualitative approach with the use of focus group method as well as focused interviews. The findings obtained helped to substantiate key determinants of effective pedagogical education for future university teachers, namely an opportune content and teaching methods updating, relevant forms of training, consideration of students’ expectations. The results of the research are of interest to a wide range of experts in the field of higher education and can be applied within the courses of “Pedagogy of Higher Education”, “Pedagogy and Psychology of Higher Education”, “Methods of Teaching at the University”, etc.

Full Text

Introduction Higher education is becoming increasingly important as an instrument of economic, social and cultural development nowadays. Meanwhile, the system of higher education is changing dramatically. These changes are caused by interdependent processes of globalization, internationalization, massification and digitalization of education and reflected in the development of more and more diverse and complex university environment. Higher education as an institution has already lost its elitism, the number of students has been increasing each year and the growth is predicted to continue. Researchers name the number of 400 million students worldwide in 2030 compared with 100 million in 2000 [18]. The students enrolled are from diverse backgrounds, many of them have significant gaps in basic knowledge and are not fully prepared to study at a modern university without assistance. According to the expert of the Center for International Higher Education M. Knobel, universities today should find adequate approaches to teaching heterogeneous student groups in order “to guarantee not only the access but the success of every student, reducing the failure and dropout rates” [18]. Furthermore, one should remember that the mission of a modern university is not limited to training highly qualified professionals. The universities face the task of the development of a personality with a formed general cultural competence, value system, capable of self-development, self-improvement and self-realization. Today the universities have to achieve these challenging objectives in the context of pandemic resulted in distance education. Despite obvious advantages and strengths of face-to-face higher education, experts argue that pandemic crisis will significantly expand the use of distance learning and online technologies [15]. With this view of modern higher education, the role of university teachers is therefore changing. In addition to being a subject expert acquainted with ways to transmit knowledge, higher education teachers are now required to have effective pedagogical skills for delivering student learning outcomes in changing educational environment. It involves several dimensions, including the effective design of curriculum and course content, a variety of learning contexts, facilitating and using feedback, and effective assessment of learning outcomes [17]. The main goal is to help to acquire and to teach students how to acquire knowledge. Thus, we face the problem of university teachers’ pedagogical education and the development of professional competences related to teaching. The problem is not new for pedagogical science. The issues of university teachers’ professional competence and professional expertise, the system of their training and development are the subject-matter of numerous pedagogical and psycho-pedagogical research both in Russia and abroad [3; 9; 12; 13; 16; 19]. In recent years much attention is paid to methodical competence of university teachers. As N. Kh. Rozov noticed, “the axiom is that teaching any discipline is the most complex sphere of human activity, where excellent possession of the content of the subject and own achievements in creative research do not guarantee success. For ensuring success it is not enough for the teacher to be a scientist - it is necessary to master perfectly the complex of teaching methods and techniques and be able to transfer knowledge and organize the process of education. It is necessary not only to know perfectly what to teach, but also to be able to teach brilliantly” [11]. In this regard, pedagogical education for future university teachers is considered to play a systemic role and determine the content of professional training [7; 10; 11; 24]. Nevertheless, insufficient attention is paid to the factors influencing the efficiency of pedagogical training for future university teachers in changing educational environment. The goal of the study was to identify the determinants of effective pedagogical education for future university teachers relying on the theory of pedagogy of higher education as well as generalized personal pedagogical experience and taking into account students perceptions and expectations, their “image” of real and ideal university teacher. Materials & Methods The study includes a comparative analysis of relevant scientific literature and teaching aids on pedagogy of higher education, the analysis and generalization of personal pedagogical experience. Theoretical research was supported with empirical procedure. In the cause of empirical research titled “University teacher through the eyes of students” the authors focused on students’ expectations and perceptions regarding real and ideal university teachers. Data collection involved the qualitative approach with the use of focus group method as well as focused interviews. The sample consisted of 60 bachelor and master students from Moscow Region State University, who major in education/primary education. In total, 3 focus groups were formed: first year bachelor students (20 participants), senior bachelor students (20 participants), master students (20 participants). Results & Discussion The goals of pedagogical training are to be achieved in the framework of such courses as “Pedagogy of Higher Education”, “Pedagogy and Psychology of Higher Education”, “Didactics of Higher Education”, which are usually included in master and postgraduate study programs and provide thorough theoretical background. However, drawing on the analyses conducted it seems possible to infer that practical training of future/novice university teachers remains a challenge. In order to develop teachers’ holistic understanding and mastering of pedagogical aspects of professional activity in the modern higher education environment one should take into account the undermentioned factors. The content of the relevant disciplines should be revised and updated timely and regularly. In this case current situation and specific features of a particular educational institution must be considered. For instance, current pandemic crisis expanded the use of distance learning and online technologies and the task of ICT application in education is on the agenda now. The problem has been under discussion in scientific literature for quite a long time [2; 4; 20]. One can state that modern university teachers have to know not only the basic principles of using ICT, but they have to be familiar with a number of Web-based services and applications that are already being used in education. Therefore, it becomes topical to include such issues as blogs, wikis, multimedia sharing services, podcasting and content tagging services application into the curriculum, to analyze and assess their didactic scope. Special attention must be paid to the stages and types of student pedagogical support within the process of online learning. For internationally oriented universities with international students’ enrolmentthe problem of pedagogical support within the process of foreign students’ academic and sociocultural adjustment must be relevant [5]. Another topical issue (and it is proved by the results of empirical research) is the ethics of teaching and ethical behavior. The issue is widely discussed in foreign literature including university textbooks [14; 19]. It concerns the problems of respect, confidentiality, honest academic conduct and fair evaluation, exploitation and discrimination. As Wilbert J. McKeachie noted, that “the most difficult questions that teachers face often have nothing to do with the content of the course or the way it is represented. They focus instead on the ethical issues of teaching, how we relate to our students, to our institution, to our discipline, and to society at large…” [19]. Active and interactive forms and methods of teaching should predominate in the process of pedagogical training. Pedagogical training is considered to be effective when it is understood as the process of constructing knowledge and the situations of experience, as a process of critical thinking and problem solving. Future university teachers -master and postgraduate students - should take both student's and active creative positions, be involved in cooperation with other participants of the educational process, conduct constructive dialogue; they should have an opportunity to behave naturally and not be afraid of making mistakes [6]. Active and interactive forms and methods of teaching help us in solving the task. They can be divided into two groups: simulation (gaming and non-gaming techniques) and non-simulation (methods of cognitive activity intensification).One should name the most popular among them, i.e. discussion, case study method, role-playing and games, brainstorming, problem teaching and project work. Detailed recommendations, tips and techniques for these forms and methods implementation can be found in various sources [14; 25]. For instance, when using discussion as a free exchange of ideas between class members, one should choose an issue or a topic which causes different, even the opposite, points of view. A good example of such issue is the following: · A student whose performance was much below standard approaches you and pleads for an opportunity to retake the exam because of extenuating circumstances during the first test administration. · You notice that a student who has been working hard in your class and whom you expected to do well has instead failed the exam miserably. Questions: To what extent should the student be allowed an opportunity that is not available to all the other students? Does providing that opportunity constitutes unethical behavior? To what extent should your assessment of students’ abilities counter actual performance? Where do you draw the line in helping students? [19]. Brainstorming as a form of discussion is used for generating ideas and considered to be an effective technique for problem solving, decision making, creative thinking and team building, developing listening skills [22]. It can be used as a kind of “attention-grabber” or a form of activity break during the lecture. Potential examples of brainstorming questions are the following: · One can be a good teacher, if he/she... · I will appreciate the teacher who... · As a teacher, what will you do if students do not attend your class? · Why is it necessary to develop extracurricular activities at the modern university? Another suggested method is case study which is rather effective if the task is to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills, to “immerse” future university teachers in real-life pedagogical situations. The group is given a set of circumstances usually based on real events and is asked to diagnose particular problem or to diagnose a problem and provide possible solution/solutions. It is necessary to support the reasons and ideas using recognized theories, legal acts, etc. Case study method has been worked out thoroughly, there are different classifications of task types [6] which can be applied in the context of such courses as Pedagogy of Higher Education. Students perceptions and expectations, their “image” of real and ideal university teachers should be taken into account. Students perceptions and expectations is a significant factor not only determining students’ attitude towards the process of education and particular disciplines. Being analyzed and considered, they can have an essential impact on the content of university teachers’ pedagogical training. Students’ “image” of real and ideal university teacher is certain to vary in different educational institutions and even in one university depending on the faculty/specialty/year of study. Nevertheless, there can be some common ideas. The empirical research titled “University teacher through the eyes of students” was conducted at Moscow Region State University, the authors focused on students’ expectations and perceptions regarding real and ideal university teachers. Data collection involved the qualitative approach with the use of focus group method, the results were clarified with selective focused interviews. The sample consisted of 60 bachelor and master students who major in education/primary education. In total, 3 focus groups were formed: first year bachelor students (20 participants), senior bachelor students (20 participants), master students (20 participants). Within each focus group the moderator posed a series of questions intended to reveal students’ perceptions regarding their university teachers as well as their image of ideal teacher. Here we will discuss only expectations and the traits of ideal university teacher. According to the study, students make great demands on the university teacher i.e. his/her cognitive and emotional spheres, motivation and behavior. The findings demonstrated that students’ expectations tend to change, though insignificantly, over the period of study. Discussing their expectations and teacher’s ideal image, first year bachelor students named high moral qualities, competence, ability to arouse interest in the subject, individual approach to the student. 100% of respondents shared these ideas. According to senior bachelor students the ideal university teacher is a modern person both internally and externally. He/she possesses contemporary knowledge, master modern methods and techniques, loves his profession and students, looks fashionable (the ideas are shared by 100% of respondents). 50% of respondents in the group stressed tendency to self-development, self-education, open dialog with students, insistence and authoritativeness. The ideal university teacher for master students (third focus group) is a communicative, well-educated, erudite person who is honest, fair, clean-living. These ideas are shared by 85% of respondents. 100% of the participants in the group see the ideal university teacher as a mentor/supervisor who can help and support students in difficult circumstances. The results obtained are substantially relevant to the conclusions of the previous empirical research conducted at Russian universities [1; 21]. Thus, Safronova & Klyukina stated that content knowledge, general erudition and command of modern technologies are the most important for the students. The most essential components of teacher personality are the ability to listen and hear and the respect for students [21]. So, we see, that besides content competence and methodical competence, personal characteristics and good moral values are of importance for modern students. They expect some kind of support and guidance. This actualizes the significance of behavior training, master classes and simulations for effective implementation of university teachers’ education. Conclusion Pedagogical education is an integral, systemic part of university teachers’ training. It aims at the development of teachers’ holistic understanding and mastering of pedagogical aspects of professional activity and provides its effective realization in the context of changing university environment. Analyzing in comparative perspective modern pedagogical literature and generalizing personal professional experience, we identified and discussed the following determinants of effective pedagogical education for future university teachers: · the content of the relevant disciplines should be revised and updated timely and regularly; · active and interactive forms and methods of teaching should predominate in the process of education; · students’ perceptions and expectations, their “image” of real and ideal university teachers should be taken into account when designing the programs of relevant courses. The problems stated in the process of research require more in-depth study and comprehension in modern conditions. For example, it is relevant to search for a flexible, adaptive model of pedagogical training for future university teachers, taking into account the specifics of the educational environment of a particular institution. The results of the research are of interest to a wide range of experts in the field of higher education and can be applied within the courses of “Pedagogy of Higher Education”, “Pedagogy and Psychology of Higher Education”, “Methods of Teaching at the University”, etc.

About the authors

O. K. Logvinova

Moscow State University of Psychology & Education


Ph.D.

V. K Vittenbek

Moscow Region State University


Ph.D.

G. P Ivanova

Moscow Region State University


ScD.

References

  1. Albakova, Z. A.-M. (2015). The Student Image of the Teacher of the Higher School of the XXI Century. Akmeologiya, (3(55)), 25-26. (In Russian).
  2. Ermolova, T. V., & Litvinov, A. V. (2014). On the Question of Pedagogical Aspects of Education through Computer and Internet Technologies (Following the Foreign Studies). Russian Scientific Journal, (3(41)), 100-106. (In Russian).
  3. Zaslavskaya, O. V., & Salnikova, O. E. (2018). The Formation of Professional (Teaching) Personality of Teacher of Higher School: A Review of the Scientific Literature. Izvestiya Tula State University, (4), 49-56. (In Russian).
  4. Ibragimova, L. A., & Skobeleva, I. E. (2017). Electronic Learning Resources as a Main Element in Providing High-Quality Training for the Future Experts of the Secondary Professionals Education. Bulletin of Nizhnevartovsk State University, (3), 16-20. (In Russian).
  5. Ivanova, G. P., Logvinova, O. K., & Shirkova, N. N. (2018). Pedagogical Support of Foreign Students’ Sociocultural Adjustment: The Experience of Implementation. Higher Education in Russia, (27(3)), 60-69. (In Russian).
  6. Ivleva, M. L., & Saenko, N. R. (2016). Features of the Application of the Case Method in the Course “Pedagogy and Psychology of Higher Education” for PhD Students. Universities for Tourism and Service Association Bulletin, (2(10)), 59-67. (In Russian).
  7. Kozlova, N. I. (2010). System-forming Role of Pedagogical Knowledge in Professional Training of a Higher School Teacher. Uchenye zapiski Zabaikal'skogo gosudarstvennogo gumanitarno-pedagogicheskogo universiteta im. N. G. Chernyshevskogo, (5(34)), 37- 44. (In Russian).
  8. Martynenko, A. V. (2019). University Teacher: Modern Challenges, Inconsistency and Prospects of the Profession. Simbirskii nauchnyi vestnik, (3(37)), 19-24. (In Russian).
  9. Mitrofanova, K. A., & Penkova, E. A. (2015). Competency-Based Approach in Higher Education: Training Teaching Staff. Innovation in Education, (6), 50-60. (In Russian).
  10. Rozov, N. Kh. (2014). Timeless Appeal of the Teaching Profession. Higher Education in Russia, (12), 26-35. (In Russian).
  11. Rozov, N. Kh. (2016). A Profession is a Teacher. The Moscow University Bulletin. Series 20. Pedagogical Education, (2), 3-9. (In Russian).
  12. Senashenko, V. S. (2017). On the Prestige of the University Teacher Profession, Postgraduate Academic Degrees and Titles. Higher Education in Russia, (2), 36-44. (In Russian).
  13. Sadovnichy, V. A. (2017). Universitety v evraziiskom obrazovatel'nom prostranstve. Moscow. (In Russian).
  14. Fry, H., Ketteridge, S., & Marshall, S. A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Enhancing Academic Practice (2009). New York & London.
  15. Altbach, P. G., & De Wit, H. (2020). Postpandemic outlook for higher education is bleakest for the poorest. International Higher Education, 102, 3-5.
  16. Blondeau, N. (2017). “Pedagogie universitaire”: de quoi parle-t-on? Academia, (8), 76-94. (In French). https://doi.org/10.26220/aca.2795
  17. Henard, F., & Roseveare, D. (2012). Fostering Quality Teaching in Higher Education: Policies and Practices. OECD Publishing, https://clck.ru/Qg9KT
  18. Knobel, M. (2015). Sustaining Quality and Massification: Is It Possible? International Higher Education, (80), 9-10. https://doi.org/10.6017/ihe.2015.80.6136
  19. McKeachie, W. J., & Svinick, M. (2006). McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers. Boston.
  20. Mercader, C., & Gairin, J. (2020). University Teachers’ Perception of Barriers to the Use of Digital Technologies: The Importance of the Academic Discipline. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, (4), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-020-0182-x
  21. Safronova, V., & Klyukina, E. (2020). The Image of Modern University Teacher: Studying the Student Perceptions. Rural Environment. Education. Personality. (REEP) Proceedings of the 13th International Scientific Conference, (13), 134-141. https://doi.org/10.22616/REEP.2019.020
  22. Sajjad, S. (2010). Effective teaching methods at higher education level. Pakistan Journal of Special Education, 11, 29-43.
  23. Veiga-Simão, A-M., Flores, M-A., Barros, A., Fernandes S., & Mesquita, D. (2015). Perceptions of University Teachers about Teaching and the Quality of Pedagogy in Higher Education: A Study in Portugal. Journal for the Study of Education and Development, (38(1)), 102-143. https://doi.org/10.1080/02103702.2014.996408
  24. Vlkova, I. (2019) Minimum Pedagogical Education for University Teachers. In EDULEARN19 Proceedings, 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (Palma, 1-3 July 2019), Palma. 7813-7818. https://doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2019.1899
  25. Yakovleva, N. O., & Yakovlev, E. V. (2014). Interactive Teaching Methods in Contemporary Higher Education. Pacific Science Review, (16), 75-80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pscr.2014.08.016

Statistics

Views

Abstract - 0

PDF (Russian) - 0

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies