Potential Of The School’s Educational Space In The Teacher’s Development

Abstract

The article is devoted to the problem of the teacher's professionalism development as an educator. The authors of the article try to identify the leading factors which influence the development of the teacher’s professional skills as an educator in the educational organization. The article assumes that the educational space, created by the school’s teachers and oriented towards the goals of education, has an impact not only on the child, but also on the development of the teacher’s professional skills. The authors believe that the methodological basis of the development of the teacher’s professional skills as an educator is a set of such approaches as: systemic, phenomenological, andragogic, axiological, environmental and ambivalent. Based on these approaches, the authors put forward a number of initial assumptions about the specifics of the process of the teachers’ professional skills development as educators. The article substantiates the importance of external and internal factors of teachers’ professional development. When describing factors, authors’ special attention is paid to both contributing factors and factors hampering the development of the teacher’s professional skills. It is also suggested that the presence of a formal professional community is not a factor in the development of the teacher’s professional skills as an educator, so special conditions must be created to this. The authors argue that the professional community is a factor of the teacher’s development of professional skills as an educator if there are constructive intergenerational and interstatus relations in this community and it has the features of a "co-existential community".

Keywords: Professionalismteacher as an educatorprofessional community

Introduction

In the conditions of a dynamically developing economy, the educational system of all states faces a global problem which is the creation of conditions in which, on the one hand, all educational institutions at all levels ensure the stable development of human resources and, on the other hand, the preservation, transmission from generation to generation values and beliefs. At the level of postgraduate education in Russia, this function is carried out by the system of advanced training, represented by the institutions of raising the qualifications of educators, municipal systems for improving the professional skills of teachers and the educational institutions that have their own internal systems for the development of the professionalism of teachers. At the same time in recent years, more attention has been paid to the role of professional pedagogical associations in the development of professional skills of teachers.

Problem Statement

From the point of view of Theodor Schultz's theory of human capital, education gives an economic effect when it accompanies a person throughout his life and the professional development is a priority in his professional career. The embodiment of this theory has exacerbated the ethical problem in practice. The accessibility of knowledge and technology brings to the fore the problem of human value orientations to any person. It is important to become not so much the possession of knowledge, competence, as moral responsibility for their application. The school has a great potential in the moral formation of man and the leading role is played by the teacher as an educator who has a personal and professional position of the educator whose main motives for pedagogical activity lie in the "spiritual sphere and are connected with the teacher's understanding of his civil and cultural mission in society" (Selivanova & Stepanov, 2010, p. 9). It is the teacher's orientation to the priority of educational activities in the school that creates an educational space that is oriented toward the transfer of humanistic values. This is clearly demonstrated by studies of the phenomena of "children's space" (Demakova, 2014), "educational space" (Novikova, Sokolovskij 1998; Selivanova, 2010; Grigor'ev, 2001), the possibilities of the educational space in the process of formation and development of the sociocultural identity of schoolchildren (Shakurova, 2017), as well as studies of the educational potential of "learning communities" (Mitchell, Sackney, 2009, Smith, McCann, 2001) and "educational space CTBA» (Brown, Antink-Meyer, 2017; Chervinska, 2015) of the school.

The educational space created by the school’s teachers, aimed at achieving the goals of upbringing, affects not only the child, but also the development of the professional skills of the teacher. Thus, the vector of the formation and development of the teacher’s professional skills as an educator is shifted to the space of the general educational organization.

The urgency of this problem determines the purpose of this study which is the definition of the theoretical basis of the professional skills’ development of the teacher as an educator in the conditions of a general education organization.

In the definition of the theoretical bases of the professional skills’ development of the teacher as an educator, the research is based on several methodological approaches, that is:

  • the systems approach allows us to single out systemic bases, hierarchy and subordination of various levels’ subsystems, sociocultural and pedagogical phenomena;

the phenomenological approach allows us to consider a person as the owner of a unique ability to perceive and interpret the world in his own way and as having the need to realize his potential, that is, having a need for personal growth;

  • the use of the andragogic approach allows us to describe the optimal conditions of the adults’ educational process realization;

  • the axiological approach provides us with an opportunity to analyze the pedagogical reality through the prism of values;

the environmental approach allows us to consider the professional skills’ development of the teacher as a complex, non-linear process of the emergence and growth of a professional in the conditions of micro- and macroenvironment, a combination of natural and social conditions;

  • the use of the ambivalent approach allows us to explore opposing, exclusive, contradictory sides within one concept, and to consider as many alternatives as possible in its description.

The analysis of theoretical works and the results of empirical researches, which are currently available in various areas of the professional activities of the teacher, makes it possible to talk about significant progress in understanding the essence of the process of the professional skills’ development of the teacher as an educator (Basinska, 2012; Grigorieva, 2014; Selivanova, 2010; Slastenin, 2006; Sergeev, Borytko, 2014). However, in science, the theoretical foundations of the professional skills’ development of the teacher as an educator are not sufficiently disclosed. The ways of ensuring this process in the conditions of educational organizations are not adequately described; the role of the teacher's own resources and the resources of the multi-age professional community in this process is not clear.

Research Questions

The leading issue of this study is an understanding of the potential of the school's educational space at the level of professional communities to develop the professional skills of the teacher as an educator.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to identify the leading factors affecting the development of the teacher’s professional skills as an educator in an educational organization.

Research Methods

The following research methods have been used: analysis, generalisation, comparison, interpretation, systematization.

Findings

Determining the initial provisions of the theory of the professional skills’ development of teachers as educators, we proceed from the following concepts:

the process of the professional skills’ development of a teacher as an educator is characterized by changes in the motivational and operational spheres of professional activity which ensure the realization of the humanistic personality-development paradigm of education in educational and upbringing activities;

the professional skills’ development of a teacher as an educator is manifested in the processes of professional self-identification, self-actualization taking place in the space of professional and children-adult communities;

the process of the professional skills’ development of a teacher as an educator is carried out at the stages of adaptation, identification and implementation. Pedagogical reflection is the leading factor ensuring the development of professional skills;

the following organizational and pedagogical conditions influence the professional skills’ development of a teacher as an educator: the value-orientation and conceptual unity of the professional community; the nature of intergenerational and interstatus relations within the educational organization; polysubject interaction with participants in educational relations; the teacher's involvement in the process of creating and operating children's adults; orientation of the teacher in professional activities to achieve educational results; orientation in the development of the teacher's qualification for the processes of self-identification, self-actualization as an educator; implementation of the principles of managerial support of the professional skills’ development of a teacher as an educator; implementation of pedagogical reflection of the process and results of professional activity;

the managerial support of the professional skills’ development of a teacher as an educator is implemented because of the following principles: systematic, delegation of authority, feedback, referentiality, awareness, openness, personal advancement, reflection.

Pedagogical and psychological researches of the problem of the teacher’s professional skill development consider this process as changes in the personal and professional sphere of a person, which are carried out under the influence of internal and external factors.

The research carried out by us allowed us to identify the following external and internal factors:

  • The following external and internal factors can be attributed to the factors contributing to the development of the teacher’s professional skills as an educator. The external factors are:

  • the membership of the teacher in professional communities with the intergenerational and interstatus relationships that have developed in them;

  • the nature of the teacher's relationship with pupils;

  • the nature of the teacher's relationship with colleagues and the administration;

  • the training of a teacher-educator, organized as a facilitation process;

  • moral and material stimulation of teacher-educator.

The internal factors can be: the teacher's ability to professional reflection; the teacher's desire for self-improvement; the teacher has a professional ideal; positive attitude.

  • Factors hampering the development of the teacher’s professional skill as an educator can also be divided into external and internal. The external factors can be shown as the lack of personal work of the administration with each teacher in an educational organization; the lack of clear criteria for the successful performance of educators; the nature of the control of the professional activity of the educators, which is reduced not so much to the training and support of the teacher as to accusations and disciplinary measures; the formal character of continuing education of teachers and educators. Internal factors are clearly expressed manifestations of fatigue, characterized both in external behavior and in reducing tension in the work process; reduction of social, professional and personal needs, interests, needs of the highest level; substitution of a romantic and optimistic view of life with criticality, cynicism or indifference; absence or decrease of peak positive bright sensations; occurrence of fears, exaggeration of the level of danger, narrowing of the horizon of life opportunities due to small negative or deviating facts or assumptions; decrease the need for search, movement, friendly communication; a decrease in the ability to objectively evaluate one's own activity (Lizinskij ed al., 2017, pp. 50-51).

The factors of the professional growth of the educators characterized by us are interrelated, since external factors "launch" and "accompany" the manifestation of internal factors, are the original catalysts for their action.

In our opinion, one of the leading external factors, including the most optimal manifestation of internal factors, is the professional community.

A significant contribution to understanding the role of the professional community in the development of professionalism was made by the development of the theory of the learning organization. The leading ideas of the self-learning organization were formulated by P. Senge (Senge, 1990), and then developed in the domestic "self-learning organization" (Il'yasov, Kudinov & Zaripov, 2011; Yarychev, 2011) and foreign (Brodie & Borko, 2016, Brown & Poortman, 2018; Durrant, 2013; Mitchell, & Sackney, 2009; Slater, 2015; Whitby, 2016).

The trainees are "... organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together» (Senge, 2009: 3).

As leading differences from traditional organizations, these organizations have five "component technologies":

  • Systems thinking. Systemic thinking not only allows us to examine the existing process, the organization at the present time, but it also allows us to see the development perspective. It is not so much to focus your attention on the details, but to see the whole organization as a whole and treat it as a dynamic process. In this vision, feedback plays an important role as a tool for prompt response to emerging changes and the more complex the system, the more important is the presence and quality of feedback.

  • Personal mastery. ‘Organizations learn only through individuals who learn. Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning. But without it no organizational learning occurs’ (Senge, 1990, p. 139). Personal mastery is the discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience, and of seeing reality objectively’ (ibid: 7).

  • Mental models. If organizations are to develop a capacity to work with mental models then it will be necessary for people to learn new skills and develop new orientations, and for their to be institutional changes that foster such change. ‘Entrenched mental models… thwart changes that could come from systems thinking’ (ibid.: 203).

  • Building shared vision. This vision has the ability to improve and encourage experimentation and innovation: ‘it’s the capacity to hold a share picture of the future we seek to create’ (ibid.: 9).

  • Team learning. Such learning is viewed as ‘the process of aligning and developing the capacities of a team to create the results its members truly desire’ (Senge, 1990, p. 236). It builds on personal mastery and shared vision – but these are not enough. People need to be able to act together. When teams learn together, P. Senge suggests, not only can there be good results for the organization, members will grow more rapidly than could have occurred otherwise.

However, studies on the relationship between society / government and the educational organization demonstrated the following trend in the development of professional communities (Bandura, 2001), (Durrant, 2013). In the case of the school's orientation toward an external evaluation, in a situation where the school receives a negative evaluation of its activities, there is a decrease in support from the outside environment and this directly affects the "self-efficacy" of teachers (Durrant, 2013) and thereby restrains their individual and collective potential, aimed at the development of the school and the professional community.

An external negative evaluation of school activities creates a barrier for the development of teachers and professional communities. This position is confirmed by the study of S. Bridley. «I sought to demonstrate that the systematic exclusion of teachers from the discourses of power meant that teachers were positioned in a powerless state, literally with no means of making their voices heard. A solution, I believed at this time, was to have teachers as researchers, thereby creating a community using a discourse of possibility. This approach assumed that all teachers thus engaged would create and take part in a discourse of shared values and beliefs» (Brindley, 2015).

Thus, S. Bridley emphasizes that the development of the teacher's professionalism is facilitated by including him in professional discussion, forming his own opinion in the conditions of professional communities, will influence his professional development and the creation of common values and beliefs.

Our study also confirms the position of S. Bridley that the presence in the educational organization of a formal professional structure in the form of a methodical association of class leaders, working groups, temporary creative collectives, etc. is not a factor in the professional development of the teacher as an educator, it is necessary to create a number of conditions.

First, the activities of the pedagogical association should be oriented towards the professional development of the teacher as an educator, which, in our opinion, is aimed at changing the motivational and operational spheres of the professional activity of the teacher, ensuring the realization in the educational activities of the humanistic development paradigm of education.

Secondly, the process of guiding the activities of the pedagogical association should be aimed at implementing a "strategy of supportive management" (P.V. Stepanov) (Selivanova & Stepanov, 2011, p. 143).

Thirdly, the professional development of the teacher is the professional competence and professional position of the teacher as an educator.

Fourthly, the nature of the relationship in the pedagogical association is formed as a special type of pedagogical community of professionals - "co-being" (Slobodchikov, 2010), united by unified ideas about values, principles and goals of education, and acting as a factor their professional development.

The emergence of a co-existential community, in many ways, is a continuation of the ideas of E. Durheim (Durkheim, 1947) that professions can be a positive moral force in society, acting as a bulwark against economic individualism and an authoritarian state. He envisaged moral communities created by professionals acting as an alternative source of solidarity in the era when old ties of the traditional moral order collapsed.

Co-existence in common, according to V.I. Slobodchikova, "is formed on the common value-semantic basis of its participants" (Slobodchikov, 2010: 4) and is characterized by specific features such as:

  • created by joint efforts of its participants;

the initial form of community is a stable spiritual connection between its participants, providing an understanding of one individuality of another individuality and acceptance by people of each other;

  • there is constant communication, dialogue, mutual trust and empathy between the group members;

norms, goals, values, meanings of communication and interaction in the community are brought by them themselves.

Conclusion

In the school’s educational space, the teacher is influenced by factors that both contribute to and impede the development of the teacher’s professional skills as an educator. The most successful development takes place in professional communities with constructive intergenerational and interstatus relations that have developed in them and possess the features of a "co-being community".

Acknowledgments

The article was prepared within the framework of the state task of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, registration number 27.7091.2017 / BCh "Theoretical and methodological basis for the preparation of future teachers for educational and career guidance in the system of general and additional education" (2017-2019).

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Publisher

Future Academy

First Online

18.12.2019

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2018.09.02.77

Online ISSN

2357-1330